How would you fight this argument? I get this a lot, it's a basic for of christian "logic".

 

The bible is the word of god > god is perfect because the bible says so > Because god is perfect the bible must be perfect  because it is his word and the word of god is perfect.

 

When I try to point out that this is circular reasoning they look utterly confused, how do I get this concept across?

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Short of going back to remedial logic lessons, most of them won't grasp that.  The kind of argument that's most likely to shut them up (not convince them, because that's impossible, for some of them) is going Old Testament on their ass.  Even if you get some of the mooks who claim that the Jewish law doesn't apply anymore, which is itself a bullshit argument anyway, they can't deny the fact that it was their perfect god running around doing everything.

 

There's a ton of imperfect stuff in the Pentateuch.  Among other things, Moses had to talk God out of wiping out the Israelites, explaining to Yahweh how it would make him look like a fool.  At that point in history, Yahweh was just an asshole war deity in the Ugarit pantheon, which is why he acts the way he does.  It wasn't until later in the Old Testament that he has the more reasonable deities blended together into him, and he becomes more reasonable.

 

Essentially, the best tool to use against a Christian is the Bible.  Exposing how little they know about it is a victory in itself.  Read it.

 

Oh, and get a newer translation than the KJV.  If you're likely to read stuff on a computer, try BibleGateway.comMany different translations for free.  I'm a fan of the NIV.

I cross-reference but I'm a fan of the KJV.  I just dig the archaic thou art's xD (for one thign they correct things like "unicorns" in Job so it's now "bison"

 

I think decrying it as circular reasoning may not have any meaning to them (it's triangular reasoning!)

 

It might require you breaking down those steps you list and insiting on them demonstrating that step. Meanwhile get schooled up in some counter apologetics

 

Skeptics Annotated Bible

is a handy reference

 

Any of Bart Ehrman's books are good material on how the bible came to be written (very useful for demonstrating god did not write this, in fact we don't really know who did, but we've got a shrewd idea of why...)  For example, I'm debating a Christian now who says the bible is real because unlike other texts - Jesus words are recorded. A classic example is the "let he who is without sin" line in John. Definitively not originally part of the bible. Someone made it up. So I've got that lined up once I've got her to commit to saying the bible is true therefore...

 

But you can break down

 

"the bible is gods' word" (Oh no it isn't)

 

"God is perfect becuase the bible says so", the bible makes other clams which are wrong (bats are birds, mustard seeds are the smallest seed, salt can loose it's flavour is god ignorant of the biology he created and the atoms he stitches together?) Why should we believe that one any more than the others - I need more that just 'cos it's written down I should believe it. Are they n the habit of just believing everything they read?

 

Because god is perfect the bible must be perfect  because it is his word and the word of god is perfect. - We already know it isn't but specifically this is a fallacy of assuming a conclusion that doesn't follow from the premise as we've just demonstrated, deny them this step.  Any argument which contains fallacious reasoning is wrong by definition.  Assert the moral high-ground: either they give you a sound reason (i.e without resorting to fallacy) to believe as they do or you will be justified in thinking their conclusion unjustified.

 

But always at each step start with, okay 'that's what you think' I accept you think it, but why should I think it to. Give me a satisfactory reason to believe as you do. The atheistic response is: "I don't find that a convincing reason to believe in the theists claim and here's why..."

 

Here are a couple more references:

Ask him to reconcile the differences in the 10 commandments, and other Biblical Contradictions. Then say since there are contradictions in the bible it isn't inerrant, therefore there is no god, (which is just as bad a logical expression, but it doesn't matter). It isn't worth arguing over.

Here's a (silly) method that pops to mind:

WIn front of them, write down on a piece of paper something like, "Your hair is purple. This is true. God wrote this".

Then say to them, "hey, your hair is purple."* When they say, "no it isn't", show them the paper, and say, "it says so right here", and claim that it's true because God wrote it. (it says so). Over their objections, you can claim that God just inspired you to write it, and that they need to prove that God didn't etc.

The point being, the Bible is a book, written a long time ago, how could one possibly know that god inspired it, and that it wasn't just people claiming that (just as you did).

I have no idea if it would be effective, but it could prove very entertaining to both parties.

* This could be any claim that would be ridiculous and self-evidently false to a Christian, such as "the Eiffel tower is made of swiss cheese", etc.

I thought up something in the shower, this morning, but it won't work.  It's similar to what George said, but a bit more serious.

 

Go get another holy book and read it (this makes it not worth actually doing, already).  Find the part where it says how their deity dictated the holy book to someone.  Actually, wait, you can do this with the Quran.  It was dictated to Mohamed by an angel.  You can do a Google search to find the passage that describes that.  Show them that passage.

 

They'll then promptly use special pleading ... which they won't understand, either.  No, the Quran is wrong and was written by a man, where the Bible was written by God.  So, the bible gets to be self-proving, while the Quran does not, because the Bible is perfect and written by God.

 

That's the way the argument will go down.  These people are immune to logic.  The only way to have any chance is by showing them what's actually in their Bible.  Bring along your Bible, so you can show it to them in context.  That's another bullshit argument of theirs.  They can excuse child rape as a holy act, because you're telling them about it out of context ... and within the context of the Bible, it's Godly and righteous.  Never mind the fact that they won't go read it in context and explain to you what makes it holy.

No, the Quran is wrong and was written by a man, where the Bible was written by God.

 

Not thinking of my friend Lisa, are you Joseph? ;^)

Nope.  Totally forgot about that, actually.  I've heard it in several other Christian arguments, anyway.
Good luck. I actually had a Christian relative tell me she doesn't use circular arguments, but she uses this same rationale for her belief in God.

I actually used this one one time.

 

Me: Why aren't you a mormon?

Dude: Because they're wrong.

Me: But their book was given to Joseph Smith by god and jesus and angels.

Dude: So he says, but he could have been lying.

Me: That's what I am trying to say, he's making the exact same claim as the people who supposedly wrote the bible.

Dude: Yeah but that was less than 300 years ago, the bible was written way before that.

Me: But if go  is all powerful and infinite than couldn't he appear to JS less than 300 years ago?

Dude: Well, yes.

Me: So why aren't you a mormon?

 

That's a rough draft of what I could remember. My basic point was that all religions make the same basic claims about their holy books (that they were dictated, inspired or given by a god).

 

Dude: Yeah but that was less than 300 years ago, the bible was written way before that.

 

If they go for primacy by way of history.

 

You can tell them the Bagahvad Gita  - the foundational text of Hinduism was completed 500 years before the bible was even started.

 

Why aren't you a Hindu? ....

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