Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On the Validity of Self-Identification

I know that the Bible is the inspired word of God because it says so.

This is not circular reasoning. Circular reasoning requires two objects that alternatively serve as the necessary proof for the other ("I know 'X' because of 'Y'; I know 'Y' because of 'X'"). The statement "the Bible is God's word because it says so" cannot be circular because it has only one object, i.e., the Bible. It has nothing to "circulate" to. It stays with itself. It is its own referent; it does not refer to something that alternatively refers back to it for validity.

In addition, calling such a statement "circular reasoning" is fallacious because it reveals a lack of understanding about the nature of the Bible. The Bible is not a code book of maxims and creeds. It is a verbalized revelation from another person; in short, it is a message. A message implies de facto a sender, and it is certainly not uncommon (nor implicit of circulation) for a sender to identify themselves in their message (we would find it odd if they did not). Thus, the real question is not, "How do we know that it is God's word?" The real question is, "Why should we not accept it as God's word?" After all, the sender identifies themselves, just like my friends identify themselves when they send me a letter. Why then should I accept their self-identification but not God's?

-Jon Vowell

1 comment:

rthling said...

You never cease to amaze me with your logic.