Contradictory religious truth-claims…

The formal laws of logic demonstrate the impossibility of all religious truth-claims being true at the same time and in the same way. For example, Jesus Christ cannot be God incarnate (Christianity) and not God incarnate (Judaism, Islam) at the same time and in the same respect (the law of noncontradiction: A cannot equal A and non-A).

Contradictory religious claims have opposite truth value, meaning that they negate or deny each other. Therefore exactly one is true and the other false. And, accordingly, Jesus Christ must either be God incarnate or not be God incarnate; there is no middle position possible (the law of excluded middle: either A or non-A).

Since Jews, Christians, and Muslims all conceive the identity of Jesus of Nazareth differently (human teacher, thus blasphemer; God incarnate, human prophet), logically speaking, their conceptions cannot all be true. While it is logically possible in a contrary relationship that all three positions are false (for example, if he never existed at all), they definitely cannot all be true. Thus, the claims of popular religious pluralism fail to comport with the self-evident laws of thought. This observation led Christian philosopher Ronald H. Nash to conclude that “anyone who would become a pluralist must first abandon the very principles of logic that make all significant thought, action, and communication possible.”

In direct contrast to the “tolerant” sentiment often expressed by popular pluralists, the laws of logic insist that one must be rigidly “intolerant” when it comes to the morass of contradictory religious truth-claims. Whenever the claims of one religion directly contradict (negate or deny) the claims of another religion, then both claims cannot be true.

Some people argue that logic does not apply to religion. They insist that ultimate truth comes only through some type of nonrational intuition. Their argument betrays them, however, because in arguing against logic they must first presuppose the laws of logic to attempt a refutation. To do so is self-contradictory. For even those who claim, “Logic does not apply to God,” must use logic in the formulation of that very statement. It is not reasonable to use logic to disparage or reject logic.

Is it possible that the laws of logic apply to all other areas of life except religion? The answer cannot be yes. To divorce oneself from the self-evident laws of thought when it comes to ultimate reality is to resign oneself to irrationality. Netland replies that this price is too great, for it requires the “forfeiture of the possibility of meaningful affirmation or statement about anything at all—including statement about the religious ultimate. One who rejects the principle of noncontradiction is reduced to utter silence, for he or she has abandoned a necessary condition for any coherent or meaningful position whatsoever.”

Kenneth Richard Samples, from Without a Doubt, kindle location 1844

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s