Lately I have come across a problem that happens all too often in Christian discourse. When trying to argue for one’s position, a Christian will often say something like the following: “The bible is inspired; it says so in 2 Timothy 3:16.”
Anyone see the problem? All you philosophers will immediately. This person has just committed the informal fallacy called “begging the question.” It occurs when, in the situation above, no real support is offered for the point being put forth, (eg the bible is inspired). All that is really being done is that the point is simply assumed or restated to be true.
Sadly, I saw this blunder committed more than once in one of my textbooks for class. Oh well, I guess I can’t judge since I have fallen prey to this mistake. You must go outside of the bible to “demonstrate” (either deductively or inductively) its truthfulness, at least in the rational sphere. This little real-life example hopefully shows in a small way why an understanding of logic is necessary to doing theological work. [HT: McInerny]