Friday, June 10, 2016

Today's Logical Fallacy is...Appeal to Heaven!

(Deus Vult, Gott mit Uns, Manifest Destiny, the Special Covenant)

An extremely dangerous fallacy, this occurs when someone argues a position because it is the “will of God,” thus claiming that God has ordered, supports, or approves of a particular position or action and that it cannot be wrong or questioned. This fallacy seems more absurd when the God or religion being invoked is not one in which the listener believes, but it is exceptionally persuasive dangerous in groups of like-minded people with similar beliefs and intents.


Many people fall victim to this fallacy as religious beliefs are powerful motivators. This tactic is especially common during elections. If you share the same religion as the person who is running for office, and they claim that they are running because God has called them to run, then they are using your religious beliefs to convince you to vote for them. After all, you wouldn’t want to go against the will of God, would you? No fewer than eight recent candidates have claimed that they have run for President/VP/Congress because “God told them to” (Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, George W. Bush).

Many devout individuals are swayed by what they think God would have them do, even in the face of established doctrine or belief. Religious individuals must always be mindful of falling victim to this fallacy as most religions believe in a “great deceiver” that can lead away the hearts of men. Therefore, even religion dictates a careful and logical approach when discerning what “God’s will” is.

It is important to note that when the will of God aligns with a logical conclusion, it is not a fallacy. In fact, some religious individuals believe that God is a God of order who wants us to use our minds and thus argue that the will of God must, then, also be logical (with the caveat that we may not have all of the information that God has).

Examples:

“God ordered me to kill my children.”

“We need to take away your land, since God [or Destiny, or Fate, or Heaven] has given it to us.”

Judge: So why did you chop those people into little pieces and put the pieces in a blender?

Crazy Larry: Because God told me to do it.

Judge: Good enough for me. Next case!

“The Bible condemns homosexuals, so I will fight to keep homosexuals from marrying.”

“The Bible says, ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child,’ so I’ll keep spanking my kids if they step out of line.”

“The Jews killed Jesus, so there is no way I would let a Jew work for me.” (The same logic behind the Holocaust.)

“God didn’t want the Jews to intermingle with other races, so I don’t believe in interracial marriages.”

“Jesus and Mary told me to kill my husband because he is Satan's spawn!”

“God told me to quit my job and move out into the country.”

“God wants me to be a doctor, and so that’s what I’m going to do.”

“God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq.” George W. Bush