Hello everybody. I've finally got round to posting again - only two months since the last one. What can I say, I'm a busy man.
Just a few thoughts here about logic. Somebody asked me the other day why Christianity needed to be logically consistent - why do I think that we can use human logic to talk about spiritual things? What if God's logic is different to our logic? Can't God do the impossible?
There are probably many people who hold the belief that God's logic is higher than our logic, so we shouldn't use logic when talking about God. However, this simply demonstrates that they don't understand what logic is.
Now, off the top of my head, these are my ideas on what logic is; please let me know if they hold together. Logic is a way of using language to talk about the way things are. Logicians put forward definitions of terms, make statements about them, and then use rules to manipulate these statements. The key is that these statements are made in a rigorous language which eliminates ambiguity. The rules are themselves definitions which are self-evident. For instance, the rule of 'And' goes something like this: For a statement of the form 'X is true AND Y is true' to be true, both X and Y have to be true. The 'And' rule is an axiom of logic. God's 'And' cannot be different to our 'And', because then it would not be 'And', it would be something else.
So within the realm of things that can be expressed in the language of logic, logic reigns supreme. The grey area is in formulating our definitions. Once we hit on definitions in the language of logic of terms that everyone agrees on, we can proceed to use the rules to manipulate statements using these definitions. The beautiful thing about logic, and the key to it's power, is that the rules are so simple and so self-evident; so much so, that if I can manipulate a (minimal) set of statements using the rules, and come to two contradictory conclusions, then the original (minimal) set of statements is not only wrong, but meaningless. For an example, see the next post.
In conclusion, the question about whether logic can be used to talk about spiritual things can be reduced to the question:
Can we formulate definitions that everyone agrees on?
This is the hard part, and where all the fun lies; theologians have been quibbling about definitions for thousands of years. Once we have done this, logic can be used to powerfully weed out any contradictions.
One last point about logic: The only way logic can decide the truth of a statement is if it is logically inconsistent. Upon statements which are not inconsistent, logic has no opinion. For example, logic can say things like 'If Pegasus exists, then it can fly'. The truth or falsity of the statement 'Pegasus exists' has to come from outside logic. Only if it is logically inconsistent for Pegasus to fly can logic prove Pegasus not to exist. And this is where this blog comes in. Christianity (or a subset of it's tenets) may or may not be true. But if it's logically inconsistent, then it can't be true.