“Submissive wives are either weak-minded or being bullied into it by their husbands.”
… so the argument goes
Which is it? Are submissive wives weak-minded or are they being bullied into submission by their husbands? Or is there another reason for their submission?
If there is, then the argument that submissive wives are either weak-minded or being bullied into it by their husbands is a false dilemma. A false dilemma is a type of logical fallacy.
Fallacy, logic: “any of various types of erroneous reasoning that render arguments logically unsound.”
False dilemma (Either/or, False Dichotomy): Stating that there are only two options when there are one or more other options.
There are many different types of logical fallacies, and it would be helpful for lots of reasons to be able to identify them. One reason is this: if you hear arguments like the one above, you’ll recognize them for what they are.
When you read the title of this post, you may have gotten the impression that it was going to be about submission. Well, it isn’t; but you can visit that topic in my blog if you would like to read posts relating to submission. This post is actually an invitation to learn a bit about logic by working through a Logic Primer here on chapter3min.org. (I could have named this post “A Logic Primer”, but that would not have been as much fun as naming it as I did.)
The logic primer consists of three articles. Links to the articles are below. They can be also be found by visiting Apologetics from the main menu.
In the primer, you will find a list of various logical fallacies with examples. If you have already had some instruction in this area, it could be a good refresher. You will also find suggestions for how to spot fallacies. Learning what logical fallacies are and the various forms they can take is a good beginning, but we need to be able to identify them when they come up. This way we can respond appropriately.
“Logical fallacies are committed all too often. They can come up in personal conversations, in conversations at work, in news reports, and online in political or cultural discussions. We need to be able to spot these errors in logic. This can help protect us from accepting falsehoods as truths. This is most important in discussions about our faith. When we communicate with others about God and the Bible, we need to be able to recognize faulty reasoning; and conversely, we need to make sure we are not guilty of it.” (How to Spot Logical Fallacies Chapter 3 Ministries)
Studying logical fallacies has been a big help to me in the work of apologetics. I sometimes run into them when hearing arguments for beliefs that run contrary to the Bible. Being able to spot fallacies helps me to reply to whatever faulty belief is present. Presenting and promoting sound reason are important parts of ministering to those with false beliefs and defending our hope in Christ.
It would be beneficial for all Christians to study logic. Maybe it could even be taught by ministries in the local church. It wouldn’t even have to get past the basics to be time well spent. Can you image how helpful it would be if Women’s Ministries offered classes in this? How about a “quadfecta” of solid theology classes, apologetics classes, discernment classes, and logic classes? Wow! That would be sweet!
In case anyone would like to take steps towards that, I’ve packaged all three articles in the Logic Primer as a PDF. Permission is granted to use them in any way you deem helpful for yourself or your church’s Women’s Ministry. You can download the PDF with the button below or use the link in the Apologetics Sidebar Menu. A class like that would have to be more useful for our Christian wellbeing than a class in tying scarfs or scrapbooking. Yes, fellowship is important; but we can fellowship around becoming better equipped in every way possible to make a defense for our hope in Christ. (1 Peter 3:15)