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The bitter dispute between faith and logic

This article is the first installment in a two-part series exploring the claim of atheism that Christianity is an irrational belief system that evades reason and abandons rationality and evidence in exchange for intellectual dishonesty and ignorance of the truth.

The bitter dispute between faith and logic does the evidence actually show? The fact is that no atheist can validate his unbelief by pitting it against the true doctrines of Christianity. The truths of pure, New Testament Christianity are logically consistent. Indeed, they came from the thoroughly rational mind of the eternal God. Atheists are big on insisting that truth may be known, arrived at logically, and sustained by evidence. They constantly allege that Christianity and the Bible are at odds with a logical approach to reality.

They insist that Christianity is unreasonable and conflicts with the laws of logic. Harris has also insisted: Faith is a declaration of immunity to the powers of conversation.

He freely ridicules Bible teaching as unreasonable and illogical: We either have good reasons or bad reasons for what we believe; we can the bitter dispute between faith and logic open to evidence and argument, or we can be closed; we can tolerate and even seek criticism of our most cherished views, or we can hide behind authority, sanctity, and dogma.

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Harris is certainly not alone. Christopher Hitchens summarizes the atheistic mentality of our day: Such invectives are not new. Skeptics, atheists, and unbelievers have railed against Christianity and the Bible for millennia, insisting that belief in the Christian religion and the divine origin of the Bible is irrational, illogical, and fraught with error and contradiction.

As noted above, however, their indictments aptly apply only to those within Christendom who have embraced false depictions of Christianity e. What the skeptic must realize is that fairness demands that the authenticity of Christianity be assessed—not on the basis of the thicket of confusion, diversity, the bitter dispute between faith and logic doctrinal disagreement that characterizes Christendom—but upon what the New Testament actually teaches.

Bloom, 1987so many well-meaning, but incompetent, practitioners of Christianity have thrown their hands up in exasperation, concluding that arriving at certainty is a hopeless endeavor. They have relegated the pursuit of doctrinal correctness to the dust bin of antiquity. Atheists sit back and, rightly, laugh at this unfortunate distortion of Christianity—this sellout to secular culture.

Faith and Reason

Without even examining the Bible and the claims of New Testament Christianity, a person ought to be able to see that pluralism in religion is self-contradictory and discredited.

Those who espouse it inconsistently insist that they are correct. They are dogmatic in their insistence that no one should be dogmatic. They hold as absolute truth the absurd notion that there are no absolute truths. They have to deny their viewpoint in order to hold their viewpoint.

In the meantime, the atheist claims to transcend this the bitter dispute between faith and logic by dismissing all religion as false, feeling confident that he has firmly legitimized his infidelity via logic and rationality. Many well-meaning, religious people take the foolish position that truth is elusive and unattainable, and that doctrinal correctness is unimportant and unnecessary. Only in the task of interpreting the Bible do such people take the position that truth is relative, always changing, and something of which they can never be sure.

For example, when they go to the doctor because they are not feeling well, they communicate to the doctor their symptoms, the bitter dispute between faith and logic expecting to be understood. They expect the doctor to gather all the relevant evidence the verbal information the patient gives, as well as the symptoms displayed by the body and test results.

That evidence must then be properly interpreted to draw the right conclusions concerning the ailment and its proper treatment.

The religious person then takes the prescription home and the bitter dispute between faith and logic the label, fully expecting to understand the directions. When it comes to their religion, however, many religious people abandon rationality.

Every single day that we live, we interpret thousands of messages accurately. We read the newspaper or watch the bitter dispute between faith and logic news, fully expecting to understand what we read, hear, and see.

We read bills, books, and text messages with the same expectation. We go to the mailbox, get our mail, and browse through it, fully expecting to interpret properly the messages being conveyed.

The fact that misunderstanding sometimes occurs does not negate the fact that more information can be examined in order to draw the right conclusions and arrive at correct interpretations. We go through this process constantly—every waking hour of the day, day in and day out, year after year. You are reading this article with a reasonable expectation of being able to understand it. We give ourselves credit for having the ability to operate sensibly and communicate with one another intelligibly.

Yet, a host of religious people turn right around and imply that the God of heaven, the One Who created our minds and our thinking capacity, the One Who is infinitely wiser and more capable than humans, is incapable of making His will known to humanity in a clear and understandable fashion. Many people who claim to embrace Christianity ridicule and denounce logic, debate, argumentation, and emphasis upon being rational and reasonable. The practical effect of such propaganda is the upsurge of subjectivity, emotions, and personal taste often attributed to the Spirit as authoritative standards in religious practice.

The Bible as the comprehensive, comprehendible, unchanging source of religious authority is thereby supplanted, and the satanic severance of human culture from the God of heaven is complete. Such behavior fuels unbelief. Atheists can see the hypocrisy and inconsistency. They are rightly repulsed by such religion. Nevertheless, they are obligated to distinguish between the manifold manifestations of false religion and the one true religion of the New Testament.

A person is logical when he or she reasons correctly. Does the Bible reflect affinity with the laws of thought and logic? Did Jesus, Paul, and other inspired speakers and writers argue their cases, prove their propositions, and engage in rational, reasonable discourse?

The truth is that those who were selected by God prophets, apostles, and Bible writers to communicate His will to the world the bitter dispute between faith and logic presented their divinely inspired communication with logical precision. They never once committed a logical error.

They always argued the case for Christianity accurately and rationally—precisely what one would expect if they were guided by the perfect rational Mind. The Master Logician While on Earth, Jesus demonstrated incredible proclivity for rationality in His sharp, potent, penetrating use of logic and sound argumentation. His first recorded responsible activity consisted of a logical dialogue between Himself at the age of twelve and the Jewish theologians.

He reasoned with John in order to convince John to immerse Him Matthew 3: Debate with Satan Matthew 4: Satan posed three arguments, urging Christ to act on the basis of his erroneous reasoning. In other words, satisfying the legitimate need of hunger must never take precedence over the need to obey God and tend to spiritual needs first. Further, miracles did not have as their divine purpose to satisfy physical needs Mark 16: For it is written: Yet, this clever ploy, intended to create the illusion of legitimacy, was in fact a mishandling of the evidence—a twisting of Scripture 2 Peter 3: Jesus countered with additional Scripture Deuteronomy 6: In other words, Psalm 91, though intended to convey the care and protection that God extends to the faithful, was not intended to provide sanction for what Satan proposed: The context of Deuteronomy 6: The only logical response to such a challenge was the very one that Jesus, in fact, mustered: Do not put Him to the test since such indicates your own lack of faith!

Instead, he shifted his verbal barrage to a third challenge, by dangling before Jesus the glory of the kingdoms of the Earth. Based on Deuteronomy 6: God alone is worthy of worship. With the bitter dispute between faith and logic third display of devastating logic, Satan ceased his verbal assaults and fled the scene. Jesus wielded logic and reason throughout His earthly sojourn. He consistently responded to His contemporaries with piercing, devastating logic.

He continually was the bitter dispute between faith and logic with questions and verbal tests Luke 11: Consider these additional examples: He called attention to the case of David vss. When David was in exile, literally running for his life to escape the jealous, irrational rage of Saul, he and his companions arrived in Nob, tired and hungry 1 Samuel 21: In doing so, David clearly violated the law. Did the Pharisees condemn him? They held him in high regard. In fact, nearly a thousand years after his passing, his tomb was still being tended Acts 2: On the one hand, they condemned the disciples of Jesus, who were innocent, but on the other hand, they upheld and revered David, who was guilty.

Their inconsistency betrayed both their insincerity as well as their ineligibility to bring a legal charge against the disciples. After exposing their hypocrisy and inconsistency, Jesus next turned to answer the charge pertaining to violating the Sabbath. He called their attention to the priests who worked in the temple on the Sabbath 12: After all, the Sabbath law did not imply total inactivity—as if everyone was to sit down for 24 hours and do nothing.

The Law gave the right, even the obligation, to engage in several activities that did not constitute violation of the Sabbath regulation.

Examples of such authorization included eating cf. Priestly activity on the Sabbath gave the appearance of violation when, in fact, it was not. After pointing out the obvious legality of priestly effort expended on the Sabbath, The bitter dispute between faith and logic stated: