Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Logical Thoughts

I've been thinking a bit about logic lately. 1) Because I'm concluding the first year of, what I hope will be, my teaching career, having done so as a 7th and 8th grade logic teacher, and 2) Because I've just committed another year of my life to the same subject. I have been wrestling with a good many ideas of what logic is or should be, all in anticipation of the question I know my students will ask me at least once more before they walk out of my classroom for the last time: "What's the point of Logic again?" I’m struggling with a good answer primarily because I am struggling with the nature of logic itself and how it should be taught. Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking about:

• Logic cannot be used to answer all questions.

• One of the goals of logic is to show that everyone has "common sense", and then to instruct on how to use it.

• Logic should not be approached mechanically—it should not, does not, operate on fact alone. There is no neat clean category in which all things can be placed simply because we do not live in a neat clean world—we live in a fallen world.

• As Christians we know that people matter. Yes they are messy because of sin, but that does not mean we are to discount their intentions or callings because of a difference of opinion or worldview.

• Some say that passion is all that matters. Some say that it is the intention of the heart. Some say it is what you do that counts. Are any one of those things enough? Yet can we do any more than any one of those things on our own?

• Christ gives us a three-fold witness (John 5) because He knows that there is more to a person than just the ability to reason. We must also take into account feelings and experiences. No one of these areas alone can support the weightiness of truth, but together provide the objectivity that truth demands.

• All of the fallacies my students will study in high school with Dr. Grant will just focus on one of the three characteristics of man. The really appealing and persuasive ones may focus on two. But no other religion, no other way of thinking genuinely addresses and acknowledges all three and attempts to give an answer for each.

• We are not all made the same. Because of that, a really affective argument (i.e. discourse or apologetic) must incorporate and apply the three-fold witness.

• It should be only natural…but it’s not. But it should be—especially if our goal in this poor fallen world is to build up and mend rather than tear down.