Do you remember when you had “vocabulary” as a subject in school? I remember, that we had to learn the spelling, and meaning of different words, and in first or second grade, the teacher told us that we couldn’t define a word with itself. If I was asked what a shirt was, I couldn’t say “a shirt,” I had to say “a piece of clothing, made to cover the top half of your body,” or something similar. Not too hard of a concept.
For some reason, people haven’t retained this idea, and what we get is circular logic. It’s infuriating, because I’m seeing more and more of this circular logic pop up in discussions, and arguments. The reason I’m writing about this, today specifically, is that last night I saw some of dumbest arguing I’ve ever seen, and I wanted to talk about it.
Circular logic, can make the argument of someone who’s premise I agree with, seem completely ridiculous and unintelligent to me, and if the opposing side has a more thought out argument it can make me think about the other side, no matter how much I disagree with the premise. A couple of months ago, I wrote about Tomi Lahren, and Ben Shapiro being opposite ends of the arguing ability spectrum, and it’s kind of what I’m talking about now.
So, the argument last night, started when a friend of mine said, “I’m sick of this God out of schools shit. If you want to brainwash your kid do it your damn self. Don’t you know not everyone has your same beliefs,” on his Facebook status. Of course, the pro-God arguments came in like a flood, and while some were reasonable, or were at least non-combative, there was one that struck me as particularly unintelligent, “So here is one for you all!?? If Jesus ain’t real why are so many Christians getting killed and persecuted for our belief? ? And why does the devil want to hide the truth from people if God ain’t real?? Think about it folks. Jesus loves you and died for your unbelief. Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are saying. All i know is i ain’t no monkey and didn’t come from a Ape. How ridiculous does that sound. Truth can make people upset it’s in our hearts.”
Now, I’ve heard very good arguments in both defense of God, and in defense of atheism, but this is certainly not one of them, but you can tell that this man doesn’t understand that. It’s like a lesson in how not to argue. So I want to break it down line by line, because really if everyone were able to make better arguments, and think critically, perhaps things would get better, or at the very least we’d be able to have intelligent conversations, so let’s start from the beginning of that statement:
“So here is one for you all!?? If Jesus ain’t real why are so many Christians getting killed and persecuted for our belief?”
Alright, so is this circular logic, not exactly, but it is poor logic, based on a hugely flawed premise. Many people, of many different belief systems have been persecuted, that does not at all mean that they are correct. In fact, some of these belief systems are in conflict with each other, so it would only be logical that they cannot all be right. Now this point doesn’t disprove Jesus, or Christians either, it effectively provides no evidence or proof, and should offer no persuasion whatsoever. Now to the next line:
“And why does the devil want to hide the truth from people if God ain’t real?? Think about it folks.”
I think this is a kind of circular logic that only seems to happen regularly with the God/no-God argument. In this way of thinking, the person is aware that their opponent or conversation partner does not believe in God, but for some reason thinks he or she does believe in the devil. Now, I’m not an atheist, but every single atheist I know, believes there is no devil either. It’s not that they think the exact same scenario is true, with the exception of God. They’re not imagining Heaven run democratically by angels; they believe that this life as we know it, and in some cases science we have yet to explain, is all that there is. No God, no devil, no angels, no demons, no Heaven, no Hell. So, while this argument may not appear to be ‘circular logic’ at face value, it is in this manner. The assumption that the atheist concedes there is a devil, and the fact that the devil is trying to disprove God must in fact mean there is one, is in itself circular logic.
“Jesus loves you and died for your unbelief. Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are saying.”
Telling us part of story, whether it is a true story or not, does not prove the story to be true. Repeating the reason Jesus died adds nothing to this argument, except for condescension, which leads into the second half of that line. This isn’t at all an appeal to the argument, but rather a manipulation. If you want to pray for non-believers, go ahead, I think there is a level of arrogance to that, but ultimately that’s your business, but posting your prayers into Facebook makes no sense. Do you think God’s gonna ‘follow’ this conversation? This is nothing more than virtue signalling, and perhaps an attempt to manipulate any doubt the atheist might have into feeling ashamed of his or her non-belief.
“All i know is i ain’t no monkey and didn’t come from a Ape. How ridiculous does that sound.”
While I wholeheartedly disagree with this line, it is the closest thing to a coherent argument being offered. He (the author of this response is a male) actually offers something outside of the Bible, a secondary source. Whether he knows it or not, he’s making reference to The Origin of the Species, and the theory of evolution. I think there is an overwhelming preponderance of evidence in favor of evolution, but I can understand why if you don’t know much, this may seem illogical. So, verdict on this one, I disagree with the point, but I’ll at least call it a point. Lastly:
“Truth can make people upset it’s in our hearts.”
Again, more virtue signalling, more condescension, no actual point, nothing new introduced, nothing new examined. This is just a shitty comment to feel superior.
So what is my point? Like I have mentioned many times, I’m not an atheist, (in all fairness, I don’t identify with any particular religion either) but I’ve heard people make arguments that can make a lot of sense, on both sides, and I feel as if I learn more when I hear them, regardless of side, and I feel like I’m more complete. When I see arguments like this (and it’s not just religious, unfortunately there are a ton of these dumb arguments in real life, and on the internet) we don’t gain anything, and you realize that the arguers are unwilling to hear anything. There is no growth on either side, regardless of how great the opponents argument may be. It’s stagnation at best.
So how do we fix this? Honestly, I’m not sure that we can. I have had these conversations on a variety of topics, and I say to people “no think about what you’re saying, trace it back a few steps, if you think Z, what was Y? If you then realize Y backs up Z, then what was W? But the problem is, whether you believe in God or not, (or gun-control, or abortion, or the death penalty) and you’re using circular logic like this, it is likely that you have been brainwashed, regardless of your side. Circular logic is what people often use when parroting back beliefs that were ingrained into them, and so they don’t require logic, or thought, they just believe, and that’s the opposite of intellectual, or honestly, spiritual growth.
I’ll leave you with a quote that one of the God believers in the conversation said, that I thought wasn’t necessarily a great argument for God, but was a great argument for thought and discussion:
“i have read the bible numerous time over my life and each time i get something more out of it, it told me to question everything, EVERYTHING!! it also says that one man sows, another man waters, but God provides the increase. Which from my understanding means don’t force your beliefs on someone, but we can have conversations about it and maybe we will both learn something,”