Circular Reasoning Avoiding It
<quote from Real Faith & Reason>
“I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart, I will declare all your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 9:1 International Standard Version)
And as we declare His wonderful deeds, we might tell an ungodly person that Jesus Christ reveals Himself to everyone who seeks Him. Then we might go on to tell the ungodly person that he or she can test this truth. We may invite them to know Christ. However, that isn’t circular reasoning. Although, it’s an ambiguous statement since it doesn’t tell them what it means to seek Jesus Christ. Nor does it explain the limits. Even so, an ungodly person can experience Christ if the ungodly person gets more information about how to know Him. That’s not an unsupported claim since anyone can test this claim. Still, ungodly dogmatic thinkers may refuse to test it even when they know how to test it because of their stubborn dogmatism and open resistance to God.
To give this testimony rationally, we simply admit that we have a personal relationship with the real Jesus Christ, and we avoid the circular reasoning fallacy. And that’s the simplicity in Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3) It’s simple because it’s Christ Himself, and we simply acknowledge that He leads us and teaches us moment by moment. But without this leading and teaching, we can’t make rational claims. Of course, we must have a relationship with Christ in which He leads, teaches, and corrects us. We can’t fake it, but we can enter and develop this relationship. Not only that, but those who stay on the Road (Christ Jesus) don’t take any risk. (Isaiah 35:8) God provides a sure way.
Again, if we give our testimonies in this way, though we aren’t using circular reasoning, ungodly thinkers could yet refuse to look at this evidence, or they could question God’s authority. If they have hardened their hearts against God, ungodly thinkers won’t sincerely submit themselves to God and will abandon any pretense of sanity rather than acknowledging God. While ungodly thinkers may not want to submit to God, we don’t ask them to submit to us, so we don’t try to argue them into oblivion. Since the Holy Spirit is leading, warning, and correcting them through us, they’re dealing with Him. And He gives them a choice to listen or not.
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