When Human Logic Fails Us

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Logic is a wonderful tool, but it is not perfect. Sometimes logic fails to provide answers or lead to truth, especially when dealing with metaphysics.

I’m a perfect human being.

You read that right. I am a perfect human being, and I can prove it.

Absolute perfection is not achievable and so the standard for measuring perfection is humanity. People make mistakes and do wrong things. I am a human being who makes mistakes and does wrong things. Ergo, I am a perfect human being.

That argument is logical. However, that argument is false. First, the standard I set for measuring perfection is, in the end, myself. Second, I infer that the imperfect is the perfect standard. Third, I allude that I am perfect after arguing the opposite. Nevertheless, there is a logic to the argument.

If you think about it, the argument I proposed, though full of logical fallacies, is based on a simple syllogism:

  1. All human beings are imperfect
  2. I am imperfect
  3. Therefore, I am a perfect human being.

I Tend to Think Syllogistically

Those who know me know that I am a fan of Dr. Gregory House, who was based on Sherlock Holmes. House and Holmes were deductive thinkers. My wife has commented many times how much I think like Dr. House. I can see her point.

I love logic, especially deductive logic. It’s how I think and how I often define the world. Though I think logically, I do affirm many seemingly illogical things as absolutely true: the Trinity, God’s existence, creation ex nihilo, etc. I have deep faith and beliefs. Nevertheless, I think logically, and generally syllogistically.

However, I recognize that my logic, especially deductive reasoning, can lead to false conclusions. Though some logicians may disagree, inductive reasoning also can lead to false conclusions. Why? Human logic is inherently flawed because humans are inherently flawed. Human logic, however it is approached, is neither infinite nor infallible.

[bctt tweet=”Human logic is a great tool, but it is also an imperfect tool.” username=”jrothra”]

In Apologetics, Logic Only Goes So Far

Many apologists engage in logical argumentation to prove their case. Some use deduction, others induction. Some are more scientific, others more philosophical. I myself would probably tend toward a deductive-philosophical approach.

However, many non-believers respond with science, philosophy, and their own logical arguments. So who is right? If a Christian logically proves their case, but then an atheist logically proves the opposite view, both cannot be correct. So, who is right? Whose logic is sound, whose is flawed? Often the answer to that question depends on one’s presuppositions and predispositions.

When it comes to apologetics, logic can only go so far. One cannot logically prove something that falls flat when put to the test of human logic. And I emphasize human logic.

Human logic is based on human understanding and human knowledge. Humans are finite, flawed creatures. Therefore, their logic will inherently be finite and can be flawed.

Conversely, God’s logic is based on God’s understanding and God’s knowledge. God, if he truly be God, must be infinite, perfect, and transcendent of humanity. Therefore, God’s logic is infinite, perfect, and transcends human logic.

Notice what I did there? If not, go back and read those two paragraphs again.

When trying to understand the divine, there must be a level of faith because human logic cannot reach the levels of divine logic. Human understanding falls far, far short of God’s understanding. Nevertheless, many hold to the conviction (aka, faith, belief) that if something makes no sense according to finite, fallible human logic, then it cannot be true, thus making the imperfect the standard of perfection.

[bctt tweet=”Human knowledge & logic is finite & fallible; God’s knowledge & logic are infinite & perfect.” username=”jrothra”]

It is illogical and naïve to presume that just because it makes no sense to us it, therefore, must be untrue. Such a belief is the height of pride and presumes that man possesses all knowledge, that there is nothing left for us to learn.

When engaging in apologetics, logic only goes so far. It has limits because humans have limits. Therefore, there must be a level of faith involved. Faith, at the very least, that there is someone out there with far superior knowledge, far superior logic, and far superior wisdom.

Human logic is a great tool, but it is also an imperfect tool. Use it wisely.

About John L. Rothra
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