You and other relativists like to make statements about how Christianity is right for me, but not right for others. That it CANNOT work for someone who happens to be born somewhere else, or that happens to be taught something differently previously. It's only true to me, it can't be true for all, because not all agree with it. Sound familiar?
Completely utilized by western logic, we have this beautiful thing called the "Law of Non-contradiction" that states: two opposite claims cannot both be true at same time, in the same sense. The opposite of true is false. God either exists, or he doesn't. This is called 'either-or' logic.
Now, eastern philosophy uses something called the 'both-and' logic. The following conversation between two individuals will provide an excellent example of what 'either-or' and 'both-and' logic mean, as well as undeniably demonstrate my point as to why Cliffy's type of logic is actually flawed and mine sound.
As a Christian apologist, author, and native of India, Ravi Zacharias travels the world giving evidence for the Christian faith. He has an incisive intellect and an engaging personality, which makes him a favorite on college and university campuses.
Following a recent presentation on an American campus regarding the uniqueness of Christ, Ravi was assailed by one of the university’s professors for not understanding Eastern logic. During the Q&A period the professor charged, “Dr. Zacharias, your presentation about Christ claiming and proving to be the only way to salvation is wrong for people in India because you’re using ‘either-or’ logic. In the East we don’t use ‘either-or’ logic—that’s Western. In the East we use 'both-and’ logic. So salvation is not either through Christ or nothing else, but both Christ and other ways.”
Ravi found this very ironic because, after all, he grew up in India. Yet here was a Western-born, American professor telling Ravi that he didn’t understand how things really worked in India! This was so intriguing that Ravi accepted the professor’s invitation to lunch in order to discuss it further.
One of the professor’s colleagues joined them for lunch, and as he and Ravi ate, the professor used every napkin and place mat on the table to make his point about the two types of logic—one Western and one Eastern.
“There are two types of logic,” the professor kept insisting.
“No, you don’t mean that,” Ravi kept replying.
“I absolutely do!” maintained the professor.
This went on for better than thirty minutes: the professor lecturing, writing, and diagramming. He became so engrossed in making his points that he forgot to eat his meal, which was slowly congealing on his plate.
Upon finishing his own meal, Ravi decided to unleash the Road Runner tactic(recognizing self-defeating statements) to rebut the confused but insistent professor. He interrupted, “Professor, I think we can resolve this debate very quickly with just one question.”
Looking up from his furious drawing, the professor paused and said, “Okay, go ahead.”
Ravi leaned forward, looked directly at the professor, and asked, “Are you saying that when I’m in India, I must use either the ‘both-and logic’ or nothing else?”
The professor looked blankly at Ravi, who then repeated his question with emphasis: “Are you saying that when I’m in India, I must use either ,” Ravi paused for effect, “the ‘both-and logic’ or ,” another pause, “nothing else?” Ravi later commented to us that the next words out of the professor’s mouth were worth the time listening to his incoherent ramblings.
After glancing sheepishly at his colleague, the professor looked down at his congealed meal and mumbled, “The either-or does seem to emerge, doesn’t it.” Ravi added, “Yes, even in India we look both ways before we cross the street because it is either me or the bus, not both of us!” Indeed, the either-or does seem to emerge. The professor was using the either-or logic to try and prove the both-and logic, which is the same problem everyone experiences who tries to argue against the first principles of logic. They wind up sawing off the very limb upon which they sit.
Imagine if the professor had said, “Ravi, your math calculations are wrong in India because you’re using Western math rather than Eastern math.” Or suppose he had declared, “Ravi, your physics calculations don’t apply to India because you’re using Western gravity rather than Eastern gravity.” We would immediately see the folly of the professor’s reasoning.
In fact, despite what the relativists believe, things work in the East just like they work everywhere else. In India, just like in the West, buses hurt when they hit you, 2+2=4, and the same gravity keeps everyone on the ground. Likewise, murder is wrong there just as it is here. Truth is truth no matter what country you come from. And truth is truth no matter what you believe about it. Just as the same gravity keeps all people on the ground whether they believe in it or not, the same logic applies to all people whether they believe it or not.
So what’s the point? The point is that there’s only one type of logic that helps us discover truth. It’s the one built into the nature of reality that we can’t avoid using. Despite this, people will try to tell you that logic doesn’t apply to reality, or logic doesn’t apply to God, or there are different types of logic, and so on. But as they say such things, they use the very logic they are denying. This is like using the laws of arithmetic to prove that arithmetic cannot be trusted.
It’s important to note that we are not simply engaging in word games here. The Road Runner tactic(recognizing self-defeating statements) uses the undeniable laws of logic to expose that much of what our common culture believes about truth, religion, and morality is undeniably false. That which is self-defeating cannot be true, but many people believe it anyway. We contradiction ourselves at our own peril.
Checkmate. Let us pray. Lord, please give all my friends at Canadian Content your wisdom and let them see that my heart is in the right place when I post these arguments. Amen.