Essay: Christianity Explains Logic by Glenn Hendrickson
Christianity Explains Logic by Glenn Hendrickson
There have been many attempts to prove God’s existence, the validity of Christianity, the resurrection or deity of Christ, etcetera. All of these fall under the broad heading of Christian Apologetics. Various methods and data have been employed in this enterprise, all aiming at justifying part of, or the entire, Christian worldview. I hope to demonstrate in my brief essay that the Christian worldview is justified over and against an atheistic worldview on the basis of humanity’s everyday use of logic.
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The argument might be presented as follows:
1. All we experience is grounded in the laws of logic.
2. The Christian worldview alone adequately explains and accounts for the laws of logic.
3. Therefore, all we experience cannot be explained or accounted for outside of the Christian worldview.
Point 1 is hardly controversial. Whether consciously or unconsciously, all humans use logic. We avoid contradictions, lies, making poorly informed choices, etc because (among other things) these are not logical. People strive for consistency in thinking and living, looking for patterns, making decisions based on the past, altering behavior which yielded undesirable results. When people budget money to avoid overspending they use logic. When planning classes, meetings, parties, etc they use logic. Although much of the logic of which I write is not immediately recognized as logic, it is an undeniable experience shared by all.
Point 2 is a bold assertion which perhaps needs the most justification. Sure, humans of all stripes use logic of some kind to get through the day. But how is this possible? If humans everywhere can recognize patterns, count, communicate (even at basic levels), acquire knowledge, and so on, then how do we explain this? Perhaps if logic was only discernible in societies with schools and better education systems we could say it is learned. But this is clearly not the case. Primitive people groups have been observed telling and re-telling stories, performing religious ceremonies, passing beliefs and knowledge down from generation to generation. Their way of life is notably different than many of the people who will access this article online, yet they exhibit logic in their everyday life nonetheless.
The contention that the Christian worldview alone adequately explains and accounts for the laws of logic is a statement which needs to be unpacked. The Christian worldview is the outlook and interpretation of life, God, man, the world, etc that is presented in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the Bible. This worldview is in opposition to all other competing worldviews, whether they are religious or secular in nature. The Bible paints a picture of man being created in the image (or likeness) of God (Gen. 1:26-27; James 3:9). The triune God thus created us with the capacity to reason logically, reflecting the way in which he thinks and reasons. Logical behavior in humanity is reflective of the logic inherent in the person of God.
An evolutionary worldview, for instance, might put forth the idea that humanity has evolved from lower life forms in a purely naturalistic process. If we suppose for the sake of argument that this is the case I would press the question of how logic is to be found in all people? We see the same basic process at work in civilizations and cultures so completely different and removed from one another that it is difficult to accept the assertion that the process of evolution could yield logical, reasoning people across the board.
Contrary to an atheistic worldview which is forced to assume some sort of evolutionary process to explain the existence of intelligent, rational beings, the Christian worldview cogently explains that all of mankind makes use of logic because God created us to do so. The presence of everyday logic is easily explained by the Christian worldview, it fits hand in glove with its explanation of the nature of God (as a logical being) and of man (that is, of all men and women as creatures made in the image of God).
From points 1 and 2 it follows in point 3 that all we experience cannot be explained or accounted for outside of the Christian worldview, as it alone can adequately explain the universality of the laws of logic. The atheist is at a disadvantage without a satisfactory account for the existence of logic in man. The biblical worldview makes sense of logic, reasoning, and so forth – but the atheist has no good explanation for the phenomenon of logic or for their use of logic (if we grant atheistic presuppositions). It is almost humorous that in order for an atheist to present an argument against God’s existence, they must first reach into the Christian worldview to borrow their tools – logic, reasoning, ethics, morality, etc.
This argument for Christianity is best understood, not as a reasoning starting from the ground up (that is, moving autonomously from neutral premises to a definite or probable conclusion), but as a recognition that Christianity must be assumed true at a presupposition level in order to use logic at all. Much the same could be said for ethics, beauty, knowledge, reasoning, the concept of absolute truth, value judgments, moral indignation in the presence of evil, recognition of evil, love, honor, etc. On atheistic premises, man is the highest court of appeal. These and many more become relative and meaningless without the biblical God in the picture. In short, the fact that there is a picture to begin with proves the biblical worldview.