The two latest episodes of the Apologetics Canada Podcast have been dealing with the lack of logical thinking in modern culture. It wasn’t too long ago I realized that all liberal theology per definition is completely illogical since it claims to be Christian while denying things that Christ taught and practiced. And liberal theology is just the Christian version of the trend that postmodern secularization has brought with it: a departure from logic.
As an example the ACP guys name the viral video where a man asks college students what they think about various identical attributes he applies to himself that contradicts his physical appearance. He starts with claiming to be a woman, which all of the students think is great. Then he goes on claiming to be Chinese, two meters tall and seven years old, asking permission to enroll for first grade. The logic that most students had self-implodes due to this reductio ad absurdium.
In fact, most people don’t study much logic in school. And many arguments used in popular debate are emotional rather than logical. While people often refer to science as an argument of authority and certainly think that they’re logical, I have noted myself in recent debates with both Christian nationalists on receiving refugees and with atheists on the existence of God, that their arguments don’t follow the rules of logic.
The narrative that I was fed in school was that for most of history people were irrational and superstitious, until the Enlightenment arrived when people started to think rationally and logically. What I now realize is that this story is inaccurate. With the marginalization of classical education and philosophy, logical thinking has decreased as well. Christian apologists always hold logic very dear while it is rejected by postmodernism, new age and big parts of modern culture.
Arguments for God’s existence such as the cosmological, teleological and miraculous arguments are all logically valid and, I would argue, sound. Logic has never been an enemy to Christianity, it is used in the Bible when arguing for Jesus being Messiah and risen from the dead, and it was of course used by early apologists such as Justin and Irenaeus when they evangelized to pagans.
As we try to spread the Gospel to people in the power of the Holy Spirit, we should embrace logical thinking. Help people connect the dots and think for themselves about why they have the worldview that they have and if it really makes any sense. Hopefully that can tear down one of the greatest mental strongholds (2 Cor 10:3-4) that keeps people from reconciling with their Creator.