by S. Alan Corlew
The Use Of Aristotle’s Law Of Non-Contradiction To Defend Christianity
The ways in which the Law of Non-Contradiction might be used to defend the Christian
faith, are numerous. If one were to take an approach like that used by Francis
Schaeffer in exposing the inadequacy of the presuppositions generally held by
most non-Christians, the concept of non-contradiction could be applied to show the problems
inherent in their beliefs compared with the beliefs of Christianity.
A typical attack on Christianity?s claims by non-Christians is the claim that
Jesus was simply a good moral teacher. This view flies in the face of the Law
of Non-Contradiction. In order to be taken seriously, a good moral teacher would,
by definition, have to be of exemplarily character, otherwise, how could they
be considered good? People would perhaps view them as being an effective communicator,
but ultimately they would be seen as a hypocrite, and their teachings largely
discredited. One would not expect a good moral teacher to make claims for themselves
that they knew were not true, yet accepting the claim that Jesus was simply
a good moral teacher necessitates the holding of such a view. Jesus claimed
to be the only way to God (John 14:6), to be God (John 8:58), to be able to forgive
sin (Matthew 9:6), and numerous other claims that would be inconsistent with
being a good moral teacher, since, if he were only a good moral teacher, such
claims would, of course, be lies. The skeptic would have us believe that Jesus
was a good moral teacher [A] while being both honest [B] and dishonest [non-B].
The same line of defense could be taken against those who continually deny the
existence of a personal God, and yet rail against him for his failure to interven
e when disasters arise. One sees this both historically (as when the French
Enlightenment infidel, Voltaire cried out against God for failing to save thousands
from death in a massive earthquake in Spain), and contemporarily (when everyone
from news anchors, to newspaper headlines, to the average person in the street
cried out after the Columbine tragedy, "where was God?"). They want God [A]
to both exist [B] and not exist [non-B].
Christ claimed an exclusive corner on both truth, and access to God (John 14:6).
As his followers, Christians claim to exclusively know the truth about access
to God. The non-Christian often claims that Christianity is just one of many
ways to God, suggesting that any one of several other religions has just as much validity
as a way to God as Christianity. Both of these views cannot be right at the
same time, for that would require a suspension of the Law of Non-Contradiction.
This is because; both are truth claims about access to God [A]. The non-Christian
claims that Christianity is but one of many paths [B] (while seemingly not challenging
its validity) rejecting the exclusivity which Christianity clearly claims for
One final suggestion of the application of the Law of Non-Contradiction would
be in the area of absolutes. The average non-Christian (and, unfortunately,
it seems an increasing number of Christians) believes that absolutes don?t exist.
When a Christian makes an appeal to a moral absolute (e.g., that euthanasia is
wrong), the skeptic accuses him of trying to force his morality, or truth on
others. The accuser fails to realize that he himself has also made a claim on
absolute truth, namely, that there are no absolutes. A violation of the Law
of Non-Contradiction has occurred since the skeptic has made a truth claim [A],
stating absolutely [B], that absolutes do not exist [non-B].
Unfortunately, in our postmodern world of inclusiveness and political correctness,
where the holding of conflicting views is no longer seen as a logical inconsistency,
it is becoming increasingly difficult to appeal to the Law of Non-Contradiction
to defend any philosophically defensible view, including Christianity. The irony
of this is that the person claiming that the holding of contradictory views
at the same time does not present a problem logically will reject the claims
of a person holding to the universality of the Law of Non-Contradiction. But
if holding contradictory views is not a problem, what possible objection could
the holder of contradictory views have against one whose views contradicted
his belief in the validity of contradictory views? The only appeal that the
person holding to the validity of contradictory views could possible raise would,
ironically, be the very law that he has already denied the existence of; namely,
the Law of Non-Contradiction.