Saturday, August 24, 2013

You can fool some of the people...

"test the spirits"
1 John 4:1


Argumentum ad absurdum

Also known as Reductio ad absurdum.

I love the Latin word absurdum.  Our English word "absurd" is already practically onomatopoeia.  Absurdum takes it that extra step.  The word itself looks ridiculous.  Which it should.

I like nauseum, too.  For the same reason. 

And while we're on the subject, have you ever noticed that the word "awkward" is awkward looking?  Seriously:  w-k-w??  Clumsy. 

And the word "weird" is spelled weird.  "I before E, except after C..." and all that.  But it doesn't conform, making it weird. 

But let's get back to the concepts of "syllogism" and "argumentum ad absurdum".

Syllogism is a form of reasoning in which a conclusion is drawn from two premises.  One example is ~ "All animals have four legs, and all cats are animals.  Therefore all cats have four legs." 

It's a form of deduction used in formal arguments, but the definition also says "a subtle, misleading or crafty argument."

Okay, now let's look at "argumentum ad absurdum".  This is a form of argument in which one takes a true statement, and uses it to demonstrate that accepting (or denying) that truth will lead to an absurd conclusion.   My favorite (which I think I've shared here before) is:  "God is love.  Love is blind.  Ray Charles is blind.  Therefore Ray Charles is God." 

Or maybe that was syllogism.  Either way, it cracks me up.

The lesson is about the danger of drawing conclusions.  Taking a fact, and then believing something that seems to make sense, in connection with that fact.  The serpent did this to Eve in Genesis 3.  Twisted the truth, but not so far as to make it seem illogical.  And she believed him.

And false teachers have been doing the exact same thing since the time of Jesus.  Acts 16 tells us the account of a demon-possessed woman who was following Paul around, repeatedly crying out, "These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation."

Now, what she was saying was true, but Paul rebuked her.  He commanded that the evil spirit come out of her.  And I've always been intrigued by this.  She was speaking truth; why stop her? 

The fact is, she was dangerous.  She was a messenger for satan, even though, at this point, she was speaking the truth.  satan is a counterfeiter, and he doesn't mind using Jesus' name to get attention.  he speaks the truth when it suits his purposes.  And then, without warning, he lies.  And if you don't know God's truth; if you don't have His Spirit giving you discernment, you are liable to believe the lies that seem to go along with the truth.

Read the Bible, people.  You've got to know the truth if you're going to recognize the lies.  After all, believing everything you hear would be, well, absurd.

~ "Beloved, do not believe every spirit,
but test the spirits,
whether they are of God;
because many false prophets
   have gone out into the world." ~
1 John 4:1


  1. Your very interesting post reminded me of something I read a couple of months back, and I "google searched" the internet until I found it. Talk about someone who embraces lies, Katherine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S., is somewhere near the top of the list -- you probably won't believe what you find in this link:

  2. Wow, I... I just have no idea how to respond to that. Except to remind myself that Jesus promised us there would be false teachers, so why am I so shocked?

  3. I think the shock (mine, too) comes from the fact that maybe we've encountered false teaching occasionally, but from the leader of a major Protestant denomination? This was no minor difference of opinion, either. It was a major departure from what every Christian group has believed for 2000 years.

    And yet the public reaction was generally "HO-HUM"....

  4. Seems like almost every day I see something on the news that causes me to wonder if the rest of my country (or my state) is asleep or drugged.