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The Logic of Christianity: A Syllogistic Chain

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by Stan A. Lindsay

A generation or two ago, in America, it was commonplace for individuals to argue that a given proposition was true simply because the Bible stated it was true.  In this generation, such an argument is no longer generally acceptable—a chief exception being in evangelical (Bible-believing) contexts.  In evangelical churches and cultures, such arguments are still given credence.  Evangelical preachers and teachers engage in sermonizing and argumentation on the assumption that the audience accepts the premise that the Bible is truth, the inspired Word of God.  ArguMentor argues that there is logic (or, for Aristotle, LOGOS) even in what is termed ETHOS (accepting the truth of a statement simply because one trusts the individual making the statement).  Yet, reliance upon the authority of someone’s statement (in this case, the author of the Biblical text quoted—with the implicit belief that the author was inspired by God) would be closer to an argument from ETHOS than an argument from LOGOS.  And, LOGOS, or logic, is what this book seeks to advance.  

A paradigm shift that took hold at the end of the 19th Century in academia effectively “shifted” the perception of the Bible from “the inspired word of God” to “the verbal creations of various humans.”  Logically, based upon this shift in perception and the resultant presumption of “human error” (with which this book does not agree), a logical progression is followed, as successive chapters are written—so that readers of this book will be prepared to meet the skeptical audience on its own turf.  Aristotle called this logical progression approach a “syllogistic chain” or a “chain of syllogisms.”  The 20th Century rhetorical giant, Kenneth Burke, called such a syllogistic chain: “syllogistic progressive form.”  What both geniuses are suggesting with these terminologies is that one must build arguments one upon another.  This approach has certainly been used by philosophers, throughout the centuries and millennia. Such an approach was even used by the father of Modernism, Rene DesCartes.