The Danger of Logical Fallacies

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I grew up in the late 70’s and the 80’s. I remember when everything was Satanic. Rock music was Satanic. Movies were Satanic. He-Man was Satanic. Even Johnson & Johnson was Satanic…

Not to say that any of those were or were not Satanic, but that interestingly, Jesus only ever said that one specific thing was Satanic, and He said so twice.

Jesus said that speaking in lies is Satanic.

Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5: 33-37:

“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

This passage isn’t about oaths per se. It is about how the Jews in the first century misused oaths. What they swore by determined how meaningful (and therefore how truthful) their oath was.

The specific type of lie being used is the logical fallacy of semantics/equivocation.

A logical fallacy is simply a lie that is presented as truth using flawed logic.

The Logical Fallacy of Semantics or Equivocation is when a word or words are used in an ambiguous way, with the meaning changing in the midst of the argument or discussion. In other words, the term is spoken with the understanding that it means one thing, and then the meaning is changed later on to suit one side of the argument.

Another way Matthew 5:37 is translated is, “let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.”

Jesus commanded His disciples that our words should mean what everyone understands them to mean. To say something knowing that someone thinks you mean something else is a lie from Satan.

The ironic thing is that we are so deceived by Satan that we use logical fallacies to argue that we are not using logical fallacies or lies. One of the most dangerous uses of the logical fallacy of equivocation is when we redefine ‘truth’ to mean, “Information which confirms that which we already believe to be true.”

Instead, we need to define truth as: “Information which is true regardless of whether or not it conforms to our predispositions and is true whether or not we believe it or accept it to be so.”

To be clear, all lies, and by extension all logical fallacies because they are all lies, are from Satan.

In John 8, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

[The Jews who claimed to believe in Him] answered, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone” (a lie).

[…] “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. […] You are doing the works of your own father. […] You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Satan speaks in lies as his native tongue. Throughout the Bible, Satan is often paired with the words: ‘deception’ and ‘deceive.’ Twice the New Testament specifically states that Eve sinned because she was deceived by Satan.

Humans sin when they act on Satan’s deception. Satan runs a world-wide system of deception in order to keep men in bondage to sin.

Humans only escape bondage to sin and Satan when they begin to know and keep the truth of Jesus’ commands and example as His disciples. Disciples of Jesus replace their words and their ways, which are the product of deception, with His words and His ways, which are truth incarnate. And in doing so, they are conformed into His image.

As Jesus stated, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Unfortunately, the world is so enraptured in Satan’s deception that lies and logical fallacies have become not only the native tongue of Satan, but of all of mankind. The world speaks as children of Satan.

Moreover, I noticed long ago that believers speak in logical fallacies as much as the world does. I have heard as many logical fallacies in churches as I have in the world.

Speaking in logical fallacies is not just an unfortunate or bad habit, according to Jesus (our King and example) it is Satanic. Even if we are doing it unknowing, it is still Satanic. When we use logical fallacies, we speak as children of Satan.

There are multiple Proverbs that address lies and deception. In the most famous, the writer lists seven things God hates, and several of them are lies or related to lies:

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community” (Proverbs 6:16-19).

As disciples of Jesus, one of the best places that we can begin to imitate and obey Him is by identifying where and when we have a tendency to use logical fallacies and stop doing do; replace deception with truth; replace our words and ways with His words, His ways.

Over the next few weeks, we will identify several common logical fallacies and how we tend to use them, even as believers.

Near the end of Proverbs, the writer prays a simple prayer, “Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread” (Proverbs 30:7-8).

As disciples of Jesus, let us actively work to keep falsehoods and lies far from us as well.

For King Jesus,

Curt Erskine for the Discipleship.org Team

As we finish out 2021 we are re-releasing the Top 10 podcasts from the Discipleship.org Disciple Maker’s Podcast. If you missed these or want to hear them again, here are numbers 7 & 8!

#8 – S8E65: Submitting to Others in Discipling Relationship (feat. Jim Putman and Ariyana Rimson with Bill Hull)
#7 – S8E66: Evangelim Strategies with discipleFIRST Part 3 (feat. Craig Etheredge and Gary Chevalier with Glenn Underhill)

Thank you for listening!

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