10 Questions

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I saw this video on another blog (the link is to the website that produced it): http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/10questions.htm

It’s worth watching. I was told at the beginning at this video that I am assumed to be a thinking person. Well, I am a thinking person, and I have noted several logical fallacies in this video. The most prevalent fallacy that is the fallacy of the straw man argument, a method of argument that unfairly misrepresents an opponent’s position–real or otherwise–and proceeds to shoot down that position. Here is my response to the first three questions (feel free to continue on the last seven):

Logical Fallacies in This Video:
Question 1:
Non sequitur: Premise 1: God responds to prayer and can perform miracles; premise 2: God ignores amputees because we know that God does not perform the miracles they ask for. Conclusion: premises 1 and 2 are contradictory. Wrong. The correct conclusion is that God does not always perform a miracle when we ask for it. Furthermore, premise 2 is not founded. Do we know that God ignores amputees?

Ad Hominem: “You stop thinking about it because you’re uncomfortable with it.” This is an attack on a person who might act this way, not a logical argument.

Question 2:
Fallacy of the false dichotomy (also called bifurcation): Ultimately, the choices we are given in this argument are that 1) God does not exist; or that 2) God does not care. There are other options that are not given, such as building an argument that God allows the least amount of suffering and produces the greatest amount of good. It’s a tough argument to make, to be sure, but it is a viable possibility. The video does present a third option, but it is a rediculous option that not many thoughtful people will adopt, and the video presents it as the only choice besides the first two listed above. This is logically irresponsible.

Question 3:
Fallacy of the complex question: “Why would a loving God want us to murder our fellow human beings over such trivial matters?” This is akin to asking, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

I pray fervently that whoever visits this site would recognize these fallacies. There are lots of respectable arguments for atheism and other objections to evangelical Christian theology. One very intelligent atheist is Austin Dacey, and he has debated many of the top Christian scholars in our nation. I am not against debate. I believe that there are good reasons for believing in God, and I welcome and respect challenges to those reasons. I do not respect this video, because it puts forth its views without supporting them. To be fair, I realize Christians do this as well, and I believe this too is irresponsible and even a sin when it is done knowingly or because a Christian does not want to work hard to study the issues. May God forgive me when I do this myself.

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Comments

  1. This is very helpful and thoughtful. I'll link this to my blog! Thanks.P.S. How might you respond to those who might say "I don't want to worship a God who heals the old woman with cancer but let's the child with cancer die"?

  2. Boy, you ask all the tough questions! That must mean you're a good youth minister, because I'm sure youth are comfortable asking those questions of you as well.My answer will focus around theological issues, and will assume that we agree on the necessity of discerning how to approach the question pastorally (such as determining whether the questioner is asking a hypothetical question or is asking because he or she has lost a young child or sibling).There are two things that I would bring to the conversation. First is the assertion that God really has created the best of all possible worlds while at the same time allowing for free will. This is a complex theological and philosophical argument that needs to be made carefully. When it is not made carefully and thoughtfully, it can seem like a cop-out (and end up on a whywontgodhealamputees.com video). But I believe it is a valid argument that does make sense and does help explain evil and suffering in our world and will help to remove obstacles to worshipping God. Second, I would take a posture that I learned from Mac Stiles in Speaking of Jesus. In short, we should point to the suffering of Jesus, the human being who least deserved the sort of punishment he received leading up to his death. This does not explain suffering such as a child with cancer, but it does allow for a God who knows our hurt better than we could ever imagine because he has experienced such pain and suffering and even desertion by God. Of course, central to this is the belief that Jesus was sinless and indeed suffered as recorded in the gospels and the rest of the New Testament, including the bearing of all the sin of humanity, and I do not presume to know your theological stance on these subjects. How would you approach the same question?

  3. If interested, I'm formulating some response, whit full understanding of the problems you've understood.http://geoffreyrobinson.blogspot.com/search/label/10%20questions

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