Monday, July 06, 2009

Does Logic Presuppose the Christian God? Part II: Reasons Why Logic Cannot Presuppose the Christian God, #3: Contradictions in Christ

Ayn Rand broadly understood logic as ““the art of non-contradictory identification” (Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, p. 36), and in my view she was correct. She saw logic as “the fundamental concept of method, the one on which all others depend” (Ibid.). Since the goal of logical thinking is knowledge, and knowledge is understood here as an integrated sum of non-contradictory identifications, the view that logic is the fundamental standard of non-contradictory identification is incontestable.

Given this fact about logic, then, Christianity can have nothing to do with its foundations. As I have argued elsewhere, a core essential of Christianity involves worship of a contradiction as such. The worship of Jesus Christ is entirely non-negotiable in Christianity, and early Christian creeds, which orthodox Christianity takes seriously and affirms as validly describing its defining tenets, identify Jesus Christ as both “wholly God” and “wholly man.” As I point out in the above-linked paper, this results in a series of internal contradictions (I list no less than 20) which constitute Christianity’s object of worship. It should not be difficult to see why, since the qualities distinguishing the Christian god are explicitly negated in the nature of man. Christianity teaches that its god is supernatural, infinite, eternal, divine, immutable, non-physical, etc., while man is clearly not supernatural, not infinite, not eternal, not divine, not immutable, not non-physical, etc. But according to what Christianity teaches, Jesus Christ is an entity which is both of each of these contraries crammed together into a single unit. In each respect, then, Jesus is essentially both A and non-A, in the same respect (since the “wholly man” part explicitly negates the attributes of the “wholly God” part) and at the same time (i.e., always). Jesus is literally a walking contradiction, and Christians worship this.

Attempts to defend against this discovery by arguing that this is actually a case of “A and B” instead of “A and non-A,” ignore the fact that the paired qualities which results from designating Jesus Christ as both “wholly God” and “wholly man” are made up of diametrically opposed contradictories, e.g., supernatural and non-supernatural. This is not analogous to, say, a park bench which is composed of various materials, such as wood and steel. It is rather a case of affirming that an entity consists wholly of a set of qualities along with their negations. So the “A and B” defense fails, and the contradictions informing the person of Jesus Christ remain.

Perhaps the “best” response to this criticism that I have seen, at least in terms of entertainment value, is Paul Manata’s peanut butter sandwich analogy. In his comments to this blog, Manata presented the following mock dialogue to make his last-ditch defense against my points:

Bithrack [sic] said: "the idea that a single entity can have two entities."

Christian dummy thinks: "is a sandwich an entity?"

everyone answers: "yes"

Christian dummy asks: "can a sandwich have penut butter and jelly, i.e., two entites?"

everyone answers: "yes"

christian dummy says: "so a single entiity (sandwich) ca have two entities (penutbutter and jelly)?

atheist dummy: "no fair! leave me alone and stop making the wisdom of this world (me) turn into foolishness before God! [SIC]

The problem with this defense should be obvious: a sandwich made of peanut butter and jelly is not “wholly” peanut butter and “wholly” jelly; it’s not even “wholly” peanut butter and “wholly” jelly and “wholly” bread. The same will be the case with any conglomerate entity composed of two or more ingredients: the resulting entity is not going to be wholly one substance and wholly another substance, both of which make up the entity in question. A chair consisting of a wooden seat and back and metal legs is not “wholly” wood and “wholly” metal. On the contrary, it is part wood and part metal. Similarly with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich: it is part peanut butter, part jelly, and part bread (make mine whole wheat, I’m on a diet!). So as an attempt to salvage the doctrine of the incarnation of Jesus Christ from my criticism with analogies of everyday things, seems to be doomed by virtue of missing some very significant and relevant facts.

With defenses like this proposed to salvage Christianity from such clear-cut defeaters, it appears that it will be impossible for Christians to overcome the inherent contradictions inherent to their object of worship. For purposes of the present inquiry, the question becomes:

How can a worldview consisting of worship of something that is inherently self-contradictory on multiple levels have anything to do with the foundations of logic, whose task is to safeguard non-contradictory identification?

The presuppositionalist literature does not seem to anticipate this objection, nor does it explain how something that is inherently self-contradictory can serve as the foundation of the laws of logic. Indeed, such points are totally ignored and kept out of sight so that they do not impede the credulity of confessionally invested believers who swallow the whole bottle of Christianity’s toxic pills. Consequently, since the conclusion that Christianity involves the enshrinement of self-contradiction is rationally undeniable, the claim that Christianity alone can “account for” logic falls apart in a most embarrassing manner.

by Dawson Bethrick


Justin Hall said...

Dawson, interesting read as always. Wish we had more discussion here like in the past. Why doesn't Mr Pike post here, surely is is aware of this. Ah well, and yes I know it is a rhetorical question. I wounder if the the new cap of 4,096 characters has had effect on the level of discussions we once had here

Rocky Rodent said...

That exchange involving Paul Manata, groundfighter and yourself and various others is truly outstanding - if I hadn't read Triablogue before, I'd assume it was an attempt at being a parody of some description.

The best bit is this:

Dawson, a response is forthcomming [sic]. Stay tuned. You may not like it because I will require strict adherence to the laws of logic. Your posts ignore technical logic.

Before commencing with his example of the 'peanut butter/jelly sandwich' dialogue!

At least he got one thing right when he said

Anyway, it will be embarrassing.

Keith said...

I think Mr. Manata's "Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich" analogy also misses the point in two other critical ways:

1) As you intimated, the "components" that make up the nature of Jesus Christ (make him both man and God), fundamentally contradict one another. There is no contradiction between peanut butter and jelly - they are different, but not contradictory. So the analogy fails in this respect.

2) I've always thought it was accepted amongst Christians (perhaps I am wrong) that the defining characteristic of man is his sinful nature. Jesus had no such nature - so he was missing the most salient characteristic (according to Christians) of being human. Contrast that with the sandwich analogy - the defining characteristic of any peanut butter sandwich is, well, peanut butter (hence the name). So to use it as an analogy for the composition of the Savior misses the point that Christ himself was devoid of the defining characteristic of all human beings: sin.


Anders Branderud said...

I wish ppl have challenged my doctrines more while I was a Christian.

Only a finite number of aspects can be represented in a physical being. Being Infite, the Creator cannot be a physical being since a physical being is, by definition, finite.

The left menu at contains a formal logical proof of the existence of an Intelligent and Perfect Creator (of the universe).