The introduction to logic noted logic’s basic rule: the law of non-contradiction — something can’t be true and false at the same time. In spite of how obvious that is, it’s surprising how often someone argues exactly that. In this case, the important lesson is not how non-contradiction was violated, but why — something you must avoid.
Current events brought the death-penalty discussion back, as people on both sides endlessly debate the issue. More interesting is the logic behind those reasons, rather than the pro and con themselves.
Arguing Truth and False at the Same Time
A blog post from Sojourners (Jim Wallis’ organization) argues Christians should not support capital punishment.
Yet, I think it is problematic for Christians to root their support of capital punishment in the Jewish Scriptures.
Such thinking requires a bit of arbitrary Biblical picking and choosing. Sure, the Old Testament prescribes death for anyone who commits pre-meditated murder. …
Okay, they’re against capital punishment. They’re free to put forth their reasons for doing so, and this one is simple: some capital punishment arguments come from the Old Testament, and the author says we shouldn’t follow the Old Testament.
Christians shouldn’t use the Old Testament to support government roles. Got it.
That’s his view, and it’s not interesting to debate if he’s right or wrong, for that’s not really the problem — his logic behind the reason is.
But, what does Jim Wallis say? From an article titled “Caring for the poor is government’s Biblical role” he cites:
- Jeremiah and Josiah
- Psalm 72
- Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy
Governments should provide a check on powerful people, institutions, and interests in the society that, if left unchecked, might run over their fellow citizens, the economy, and certainly the poor.
But wait, we’ve just been told not to use the Old Testament to justify political processes.
The law of non-contradiction. Sojourners argues at different times we should, and should not use the Old Testament, or “~A ⇒ A.” They both can’t be true.
Philosophy and Theology
What’s the problem? Violating the most basic of logical laws is glaringly obvious. The vital lesson to learn is why these errors came up.
Anyone reading even a bit of Sojourners and Jim Wallis quickly discovers they’re a far-left political organization.
That’s fine, it’s their choice. The problem occurs when poor logic creates theological problems. For example, government should do more for the poor, and increase taxes on the rich to pay for it. The Old Testament also exampled a flat-tax with everyone paying, but that’s not an idea I’ve ever seen Sojourners promote.
They justify this position using the Old Testament and the nation of Israel, and many of the previously noted Old Testament passages.
But when it comes to capital punishment? Then the example of Israel gets tossed out, and we’re told not to use the Old Testament.
Why the difference?
Radical far-left proponents try to mold the Bible to political agendas, instead of forming views from the Bible. The process they use is 100% backward. Consider standard leftist ideology:
- Anti death-penalty
- Increase taxes on the “rich”
- Increased government social programs.
To justify #3 and #4, Sojourners uses the Old Testament — A HA! Look at Israel, they did these things, therefore we must as well.
But when capital punishment is brought up? Then we not only ignore Israel and the Old Testament, it’s stated we should not use the Old Testament.
Arguing something is both true and false, violating the law of non-contradiction.
How does this happen? Groups like Sojourners begin with radical far-left ideology, and then try to make the Bible fit it.
In this case, the first question is should Christians use Israel as an example for modern government? Sojourners argues both sides — depending on if the issue in question matches radical far-left ideology.
That’s an error you don’t want to make. Don’t try and cram ideology to the Bible; allow God’s Word to form your ideology.
If you don’t, you’ll end up arguing something is both true and false at the same time, which violates basic logic, as well as common sense.
And you thought logic wasn’t important, didn’t you?