The foundation of religion

At the very core of religion, well, at least conservative Christianity and a lot of your more common apologetic methods, are a series of logical fallacies:

Ad hominem – “All have fallen” and blah, blah, blah. You are a dirty rotten sack of sin. So horrible and unworthy and blah, blah, blah. It all starts with personal attacks that lump in a lot of perfectly normal and healthy behavior with the truly bad stuff so that everybody can be called a sack of shit.

Appeal to antiquity – It’s an idea that has survived the test of time. However, just be cause it’s old, doesn’t mean it’s good or right. Geocentricism is a very old idea and it still has adherents, but it’s dead wrong, just like a more popular one, which brings us to…

Appeal to popularity – Christianity may be the most popular religion in the world, but facts are not decided by majority vote.

Appeal to authority – Christian doctrine always appeals to the Bible, it’s the authority, after all it’s word of God. Of course, how do we know it’s the word of God or that their even is a god? This brings us to…

Appeal to consequences – Pascal’s Wager is one of the best classical examples, what could happen to you, with out evidence that it will doesn’t not support the proposition.

Circular reasoning – The only evidence to support the authority of the Bible, is the text itself. Even the Christian belief in a god and their god specifically is derived from this book that says describes this god. So it says there is a god, describes this god, and claims that the god proposed in it’s text has inspired the text and it’s therefore an authority. It doesn’t get much more circular than that.

Post-hoc fallacy – Christians pray for all kinds of things all the time. It ranges from finding keys and overcoming bad habits/personality defects to curing diseases and ending war. Sometimes it happens, other times it doesn’t. When it does, then it’s because God worked a¬†miracle, when it doesn’t then it must not have been God’s will. However, just because you recover from a disease after people pray for you, it doesn’t mean the prayer helped. Odds are petty good that it was the doctors treatments.

There’s no evidence for Christianity (or any religion for that matter), so it’s no wonder it’s all based on fallacious logic. It all makes perfect sense when you’re on the inside looking at it, especially since something isn’t necessarily false just because it’s fallacious, but once you attempt to look at it from the outside, even if it’s to try to find ways to convert heathens like us, it quickly looks like a self-contained bubble of fallacies just floating around, completely detached from reality.

If you’re successful at pointing this out to someone, be gentle, you feel kind of silly when you realize you’ve been living in a bubble. Trust me, I remember what what that I was like.

I know this is quite brief, but I’m short on time and putting this together before heading across Oregon for my brother’s wedding. What’s your favorite logical fallacy found at the core of religion?

4 Comments



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