Theologica is a Theological discussion forum started by Michael Patton of Reclaiming the Mind Ministries for the goal of having irenic, open discussion on theological matters. But acceptance of that sort of thinking is slow in coming thus I’ve seen several things percolate on the board. Folk have their own pet theologies that they keep close by and whatever chance they get, it winds up on the table. Other folk have a single theology they abhor so every chance they get, they’re attacking it. But in all of this I’ve noticed that the way several folk go around attacking (or defending) is altogether off base. Here then is my list of argument mishaps that don’t prove your point-even if your point is technically right on.
- Well, You’re A Liar and a Heretic.
Even if you’re right it doesn’t mean what the person is saying is wrong. Instead you’re take everything they’re saying and lumping it under their character to disprove it. That doesn’t dismantle any argument: it ignores it.
- Sounds like you’ve been reading X’s heretical garbage.
This has nothing to do with what the person is saying. Look above.
- Well, you can’t trust what he says: he’s started up a bunch of incendiary threads.
Heck, maybe they were even a criminal and a murderer. It doesn’t matter that the person has done a lot of wrong in the past: his or her statement stands apart from that.
- Calvin, Luther, Piper and Joel Olsteen would say you’re wrong.
Ooooh: they’re big and famous and agree with you but, sorry bro, that doesn’t mean your position is right. If there’s equally famous people that disagree with your position then what you’re doing is pretty much name-dropping uselessness.
- The majority of Church History would disagree with you so you can’t be right.
Okay, that’s pretty interesting information but it still doesn’t prove the argument wrong. Just because the majority of any group holds a certain position it doesn’t make it right or wrong: it just makes it popular. Now true, the Spirit of God was working throughout Church history but there’s no possible way that you or I can say “Yes, this is most definitely the Hand of God” without some sure sign of heaven.
- Either this doctrine is true or God is a liar.
It may very well be that your doctrine has nothing to do with God’s truthfulness but you’ve elevated to a level where it shouldn’t be.
- If this isn’t true, then there is no basis to believe the Bible. If there’s no basis to believe the Bible then we might as well be atheists.
This argument also shows up a different way. For example: God can’t do that–if He did it would make him the author of Evil and I can’t believe in that sort of God. Okay, that’s a fine opinion but it doesn’t disprove or prove any argument. The latter is a matter of wishing something was true and the former is a matter of setting up a very steep slope with your doctrine at the very tippity top. In both cases it doesn’t make your position right or wrong: it’s just a non-decider.
- Well, when you’re a charismatic, you’re happy and that means you really enjoy God.
Just because it makes you happy doesn’t mean its right.
- IF you don’t believe my position then you’re unregenerate and going to the lake of fire for eternal torment.
Not only is this a false dilemma but scaring me into your position? Is that really the way you want to win your argument?
- Paul was a Calvinist because He wrote Romans 9-11 which has been proved to be Calvinistic.
This is just one horrendous circle-nothing good can come of this sort of arguing.
- 75% of the posts here are theologically adept: it’s amazing that 75% of the Church is this theologically astute.
I haven’t seen this one yet, but I’ll give it some time.
- You can’t prove that there was death before the fall, therefore there wasn’t.
See, this sort of thing makes no sense. Honestly, the other party can’t prove there wasn’t death before the Fall either that doesn’t mean that the opposing position is correct.
- I’ve always believed in Arminianism and my parents and pastor taught me it when I was younger so it’s true.
Not necessarily. My parents told me that you get head colds by not wearing socks.
- Dispensationalists believe in a separation between Israel and the Church which means they believe in two separate gospels. Paul says that salvation is by Christ alone so Dispensationalism is wrong.
Not only does this oversimplify matters but it sets up Dispensationalism as an idiotic puppet that you can attack full force and show you’re strength when you drop kicked it.
- I am neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian but right in the middle-which I know to be the correct place to be.
Wrong. Just because you’ve found some place to stand between the two camps doesn’t make your position any more right or wrong than the others. It just means you found a place to stand.
(And here are the technical terms.)
4 replies on “Words That Don’t Prove A Thing”
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Each will have their own convictions, some of it will be very strong. How will you determine when a person is simply expressing their strong convictions. Or are you simply saying that we should not get personal in our disagreement.
Actually I agree that everyone will have convictions and sometimes very strong ones: I think we should be convinced on things though open to reform.
My main concern is with how things are argued. The above are all logical fallacies which detract from the conviction and don’t prove the conviction.
[…] a handy fallacy and maybe repeat it a few times. I’ve already written several posts on a list of fallacies (including the Scriptural kind) that I’ve seen pop up, but I wanted to devote a post to this […]