Wednesday, 1 September 2010

This statement is false...!

It is symptomatic of the simplistic statements that pass for thoughtful arguments - here it is:
The Bible was written by men, men are imperfect, therefore the Bible is imperfect.
Now what is the problem here?  There are two statements to the argument, followed by the conclusion.  The two statements are undeniably true - the Bible was written by men, and men certainly aren't perfect, but the problem is that the conclusion doesn't follow.  It is not the case that everything that men write or say is untrue or imperfect.  Indeed, if you meet this challenge you can ask the challenger what is wrong with the statement he has made.  Presumably the challenger believes his statement to be true, but if men are imperfect then on the logic of the challenge the statement must be imperfect too!  Or you could respond by asking him what is wrong with the following statement, 2 + 2 = 4.

The challenger may then refine the challenge to say that a collection of 66 books like the Bible is bound to contain some errors.  Firstly, even from a purely human standpoint the challenge is only likely to be true, but not necessarily true.  If someone has knowledge of what they are writing about then they can write without a mistake.  However, the main weakness of the argument is that is assumes what it sets out to prove, that the Bible is not inspired by God.  The mistakes need to be shown, not assumed.