Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Bible Says So

Some arguments are bad arguments; others are just ineffective. But an ineffective argument is not necessarily a bad argument. Consider the following:

“You should believe that x is true, because the Bible says so.”

Christian apologists typically treat this like a bad argument to present to unbelievers. Yet certainly we would say that it’s not a bad argument to present to believers. But how can an argument be good or bad depending on who it’s presented to?

In interactions with unbelievers, it’s not a bad argument so much as an ineffective one. It simply lacks usefulness because the unbeliever doesn’t yet have what he needs in order to accept an argument like that. So this might very well be an argument you shouldn’t use with unbelievers, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad argument.

The unspoken premise in the argument is this: Whatever is in the Bible, you should believe. That’s the premise that the unbeliever doesn’t accept. And since he doesn’t accept this premise, the argument isn’t compelling to him. But again, this doesn’t make it a bad argument, or a weak argument, or a poor argument. It just makes it an ineffective argument.

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