One of the favorite ploys of ungodly scoffers is to accuse Christians of circular reasoning. Is it valid for the scoffer to accuse Christians of circular reasoning?
Never allow Satan to turn a discussion into a debate. Debates are contests with winners and losers. All debates to is to increase resistance to truth.
This attack is, in itself, and exhibition of poor logic in the form of a hasty generalization. How would the scoffer know whether every Christian uses circular reasoning? They could not possibly know whether or not every Christian uses circular reasoning, so they should modify their statement to something a little more honest. Perhaps they could say, “I have talked to six Christians, and every one of them used circular reasoning.”
On the other hand, many and perhaps most Christians are not very skilled at expressing why they believe what they believe. Many Christians do use circular reasoning. Some even take the attitude that they know that their reasoning is circular, but they also know that the reasoning of the unbelieving scoffer is circular. While it is true that that the reasoning of the unbelieving scoffer is circular, it is not very satisfying to say, but my circular reasoning is better. On the same basis, the unbelieving scoffer can claim that his or her circular reasoning is better. As one Atheist said, “The Christians make the wrong assumptions and we make the correct assumptions.” Part of the reason for Christians getting swept up into circular reasoning is that they have grown up in a society where most Christians are Naturalists. Most Christians do not believe in miracles. Most do not believe that God speaks to them. They put all the power of God back into what they term “the apostolic age.” They are naturalists. Naturalism is a self-refuting religious dogma. Naturalism does not mix with the leading of the Holy Spirit. Yet, few Christians are willing to admit that they believe because God led them to Himself and spoke to them. They are afraid of persecution, so they won’t say how God made Himself real to them. Of course, scoffers would make fun of that as well, but that is the truth and it is what should be told. For a scoffer to ridicule this is also irrational [insane].
No one really has a handle on how they think their thoughts. The human mind is evil, deceitful, and desperately wicked. People don’t like to think about how they think their thoughts because they are afraid that they may find out that they are thinking in insane ways. And this fear is not unfounded. As we will show, everyone either has a basis for their deeply held convictions, whether secular, cultic, or Christian, either in circular reasoning or else in revelation of some sort.
Here is some circular reasoning:
- Is there a God? Yes.
- How do you know? Because the Bible says so.
- How do you know the Bible is correct? Because it was inspired by God.
This is NOT circular reasoning:
- Is there a God? Yes.
- How do you know? Because I have met with the Almighty Creator God and He leads me moment by moment. He has revealed to me that the Bible is His Word without error, and He speaks to me through His written Word.
This is NOT circular reasoning:
- How do you know the Bible is correct? Because the Almighty, Creator, God has personally told me this.
- How did God show you? He revealed it to me using the Bible.
For the second two answers, which are the correct answers, the scoffer will now become irrational.
The scoffer will wave a wand and claim that these revelations are just imagination. For a scoffer to discern such a thing would require the spiritual gift of discernment of spirits. The scoffer is arguing against revelation while claiming to possess knowledge that could only be gained by revelation. This is what is known as a self-refuting argument. If the scoffer wins the argument, they have lost the argument.
The scoffer will wave a wand and say “personal testimonies, changed lives, and miracles, well they exist in all religions.” Wait a minute. We are speaking of eye-witness accounts. Eye witness accounts also exists in courts of law, science labs, news reports, and many other places. The scoffer is being irrational by trying to imply that because these things exist in more than one place, they are not valid. Now, if God had assigned to Christians the task of converting others to follow Christ, then it might be a problem to us when a scoffer rejects our testimony. The fact is that the testimony of Jesus Christ is the Spirit of Prophecy. In other words, when you tell what happened to you, it is the flow of the Anointing of the Holy Spirit Who is speaking through you, and it is not your fleshly nature speaking. When they reject you, they are rejecting Christ, and when they reject Christ, they are rejecting God. Their condemnation is just. However, there will be some who receive your testimony. They are not accepting you. They are accepting Christ and the Father.
The scoffer does not realize how reality works. There is a spiritual side of life. The scoffer is blind to this. The scoffer has been ignoring God’s voice so long that the scoffer cannot hear the voice of God as the Holy Spirit flows through you an attempts to minister to the scoffer. The scoffer doesn’t realize that God has done His part, but the scoffer has failed to respond. This is the sin against the Holy Spirit. It is failure to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. The reason this sin is unforgivable is because it makes it impossible for the Holy Spirit to help the scoffer.
When telling about your authority, it is very important that you are honest. No one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws them. No one can sincerely say that Jesus Christ is Lord unless the Holy Spirit is actually the One Who is speaking. You have it on the authority of God. You see dimly, but you see. The scoffer is blind. You are like a person who has a microscope talking to someone who doesn’t know about microscopes and who believes that whatever they have not seen does not exist. You ask them to look through your microscope, but they are too stubborn. Now, a person would probably look through a microscope, but the scoffer is a scoffer because his or her deeds are evil. Doing anything when God did not tell you to do it is sin. And not doing anything that God told you to do is sin. The scoffer wants to do his or her own will. That is why they are rebellious against God. Every scoffer knows that God exists, and they know quite a bit about God.
You must not depend on material evidence as the scoffer would love to have you do. If you do, your reasoning will be circular.
Another thing that you could do is to point out that the scoffer also uses circular reasoning, but that is not the best answer. You ought not to use circular reasoning. If you say, well, I’m no worse than you, Satan will be well satisfied. Besides, teaching a scoffer enough logic to understand that the scoffer uses circular reasoning is a terrible task. Scoffers, by nature, scoff at truth. How will you convince them that they are doing something that doesn’t make sense. You may just be there to give the witness so that on judgement day when they tell Jesus that they didn’t know, Jesus will be able to play back their conversation with you.
Why do unbelievers all use circular reasoning?
Every person has presuppositions. Sometimes, they call them axioms because it sounds more real. They are just made up things.
Here is how the problem breaks down. A claim is made. “Evolution is a fact.” That claim can be challenged. “What makes you think that Evolution is a fact.” “The fossil record shows it!” “How does the fossil record show it?” “There are similarities between the skeletons.” “Why do you think that this indicates ancestral relationship rather than the same designer?” And so on infinitely.
This is known as an infinite regress of reasons. In theory, it goes on forever. However that is not what happens in reality. In reality, everyone gets down to their most basic assumption, their most basic unsupported presupposition. In this case, the basic presupposition is probably, “Because there is not God, and I know that I know that I know that there is no God because, because, because!!!!
When someone tries to use material evidence to argue either for or against the Bible as being authoritative or for or against God creating the universe, they will always get to this point. However, they will not admit it.
There is only one way to get away from circular reasoning. That is to appeal to revelation.
Revelation is not such an amazing subject. It just means that some outside source supplied the information.
“This is what all the text books in college said, so we know that it’s true.” (revealed by a human mind–they are just making it up)
“I went to my guru [or fortuneteller, spirit guide, etc.] and he said that this is true.” (could be from a human mind or from an evil spirit)
“I looked away to Jesus, and He revealed this to me.” “The prophecy was given in the church service, and it was confirmed by the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the apostle’s doctrine.” “I was reading my Bible and suddenly, the Spirit spoke to me through the word.” (revealed by God)
Now we are at the point where we are all on the same basis, revelation, but which will you believe? Will you believe a human being, an evil spirit, or God?