Why Bother Arguing?

This talk covers some of the basic concepts of truth, logic and persuasion which are helpful when we are 'defending and communicating the faith'. The notes below highlight a few of the issues covered.

Truth – what corresponds with reality

Laws of logic

Law of non-contradiction – something cannot be so and not so at the same time in the same way
Law of the excluded middle – either-or

Discovering the truth by reason, deduction, testing – coming to a tentative conclusion

Absolute 'proof' exists only in mathematics

Scientific 'proof' – looks at the apparent weight of evidence – science moves on

Areas for doubt caused by

– sensory confusion, memory failure, etc.
– bias
– our limited understanding
– our limited knowledge
– limits from being a part of the universe
– our limited view of the past

Two books of truth – book of Nature and book of Scripture

In Scripture, God spoke through individuals – not dictate Scripture

Nature – Experiments
Scripture – Interpretation or Hermeneutics

Argument – how we tease out truth logically, by reasoning and deduction
Asking "What is the evidence for that?"
Probability – is something more likely than it’s negation.

Knowledge – warranted true belief.
Some beliefs cannot be demonstrated to be true – properly basic beliefs: our own physical existence, other minds are real, reality of the past and validity of memory, etc.

Propositional truth: assertions that something is true: God exists; God appeared in history in Jesus; God will judge the world.

Biblical approach of apostles: persuasion is needed, not just proclamation. Includes refuting falsehoods.

Are our beliefs well grounded? 

© 2013 Peter May