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The Fallacy of Ad Hominem in Criticizing Christianity

Discuss about the Global Rise of Religious Violence System.

Christianity has faced many criticisms and many philosophical arguments as to what they believe or even into their actions. Among them is the statement claim that Christianity is false because most Christians are hypocrites, violent and intolerant. However, this statement may be analyzed from the different lens by understanding the rational part of the report, the logical understanding as well as the biblical account or the Christian apologetic lens.

According to the philosophical lens this statement may be considered to be a fallacious statement or an ad hominem. It presents an argument where the discussion of the topic of concern is usually avoided but instead attacks the character or even the motive and attributes of the person making the case or associated with the argument management.  It is therefore essential to have a distinction of the subject under discussion in any state with the character of the person making the case. Most critics of Christianity and even philosophers such as Karl Marx used this fallacy to criticize Christianity and specifically religion by saying that “religion is the opium of the people.”

Therefore it is of no essential proving to hold a statement that Christianity is false because Christians are hypocrites. This may be considered as an ad hominem fallacy statement as well as a generalization statement[2]. Logically hypocrisy can be understood as having a behavior that is contrary or does not agree with what someone claims or believes in or even feels. This implies that Christians have something’s they think in and its logically for anyone to refer to them as hypocrites if according to them they behave in a manner that speaks different of them or their actions do not reflect of what they believe[3]. However, this does not account for the generalization fallacy that Christianity false based on an individual’s behavior which does not provide sufficient evidence.

For instance, John 8:11 speak of Christian believers being urged to go and sin no more. From this biblical account, it is the Christian faith that they should uphold a holy life and stay away from sin. However, the scripture does not stop there but continues to give them a quick reassurance of having a God who understands their weaknesses for it is not possible to them to live a life free of sin. Hypocrisy can only result in this verse when a group of Christians behaves like they are better than the non-Christians[4]. But again other than attacking the issue of hypocrisy most critics will go about criticizing Christianity on account of the behavior of one person or a character of an individual without necessarily understanding the scriptures say. Therefore the statement is more of battle cry man used by non-believers to poke holes in Christianity.

Hypocrisy and Generalization Fallacy

The lack of understanding of the Bible has brought about these criticisms, and somehow Christians have allowed the criticisms come their way in their way of living. Most Christians believe that yes Christ did everything for them which are right according to the scriptures in 1st Peter 2:21-22. However, it is hypocritical for them to say that they have nothing to do as Christ did everything (4). The Bible in James 2:17 give an account of Faith which Christians should have, and it’s said to be dead if it does not have any actions. It implies to the fact that Christians have a responsibility to play; having faith alone is not enough to justify their actions. Also 1st Peter 1:14 provide an account of Christian living which requires them to be holy in all their conduct. Therefore there is more to the understanding of the scriptures and what they say that listening to preachers and what they have to say[5]. This also translates to the fact that it is inappropriate to conclude a statement that Christianity is false just because some Christians have a hypocritical behavior. Philosophers would love to generalize the accounts but do not hold any truth centrally to what is written in the scriptures.

It is also important to dispose of the stamen that Christianity is false because some Christians are violent management. Violence is a character of a human being. Anyone can be violent whereas on the other hand violence can result as a result of different factors. However, most philosophers have provided some research ideas claiming that Christianity plays a more significant role in enhancing violence in society[6].  This is popularly advanced in a research writing entitled the violent legacy of monotheism. The main argument in this contest is the claim that Christianity believes in monotheism despite having other religions such as Hindu, Islam as well as Judaism is a dividing factor in society. Further argues that Christianity through the birth of the new creation has divided people into “us” and refers to the other non-believers to “them” and terms this as the source of conflict and violence in the society[7]. However, this is not a justification of the claim states that Christianity is false. It only depicts ignorance fallacy and significant lack of understanding.  Believe in monotheism by Christians is a command to them and everyone is given a free will to choose to believe or not. Just like any other religion like Islam believes in the account of Mohammed and does not account or recognize the Birth of Christ Jesus. Christian faith is therefore misused when it is used to underwrite violence but does not give a justification of Christianity being false.

Understanding Hypocrisy through Biblical Account

Christianity cannot be false based on the statement claim that most Christians are intolerable. The basis for this claim is usually due to their strict belief in the scripture that no one comes to me except through the father as found in John 14.6 in the account of Jesus words[8]. The main criticisms, in this case, are not even believed to be religious but have been found to be ethical. When Christians firmly believe in monotheism and against the worship of other gods they are criticized for being intolerant haters. The basis for this criticism is based on their faith and therefore does not justify the claim that Christianity is false. How would one find or establish the foundation of finding a doctrine to be false, I believe if it does not ascribe to think in that doctrine[9]. Therefore logical reasoning of the word intolerance is the acceptance of belief in an action of something in which one does not agree.  Christian faith is self-will, and neither do Christians force each other to believe in things they do not consider. This statement is, therefore, a fallacy of ignorance and doesn’t form any basis not an even philosophical basis to claim that Christianity is false because Christians are intolerable[10]. Yes, indeed they are unacceptable into what they believe in and forms part of Christian faith but don’t justify any reason to claim that Christianity is false.

The basis of Christian apologetic lens was as a result of the many criticisms of Christianity faith. And therefore many have used it as a basis for protecting their religion and reaffirming their beliefs. However, the doctrine of apologetics is centered on understanding the truth, and that truth is the word of God. Just as Christians view the reality that is how Christianity should be seen through the lens of truth[11]. No one can run from the truth, and therefore the criticism of Christianity has been used by Christians to grow their faith with the belief that only the fact can be criticized as no one would bother criticizing something which is false to them since they don’t believe in it[12]. The claim states that Christianity is wrong based on the accounts of some Christians being hypocrites; intolerable or even violent is an ad hominem aimed at avoiding the critical issues of discussion and focusing on attacking the character of Christianity faith or poking holes to believers by most non-believers.

Eaton, John. The Honey-Combe of Free Justification by Christ Alone. Lulu. com, 2016.

Nokes, David. Jonathan Swift: a hypocrite reversed. Faber & Faber, 2014.

Yancey, G. (2015). Hostile environment: Understanding and responding to anti-Christian bias. InterVarsity Press.

Praet, Danny. "Violence against Christians and violence by Christians in the first three centuries: direct violence, cultural violence and the debate about Christian exclusiveness." In Violence in ancient Christianity: victims and perpetrators, vol. 125, pp. 31-55. Brill, 2014.

Juergensmeyer, Mark. Terror in the mind of God: The global rise of religious violence. Vol. 13. Univ of California Press, 2017.

Syed, Jawad, Edwina Pio, Tahir Kamran, and Abbas Zaidi, eds. Faith-based violence and Deobandi militancy in Pakistan. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Griffith, Sidney H. "Disputes with Muslims in Syriac Christian texts: from patriarch John (d. 648) to Bar Hebraeus (d. 1286)." In Doctrine and Debate in the East Christian World, 300–1500, pp. 173-196. Routledge, 2017.

Frame, John M. Apologetics: A Justification of Christian Belief. P & R Publishing, 2015.

Moser, Paul K. "New Testament Apologetics, Arguments, and the End of Christian Apologetics as We Know It.”." Philosophia Christi 17, no. 2 (2015).

Craig, William Lane. "How Can Christ Be the Only Way to God?." Reasonable Faith (2016).

Hitchcock, David. "Is There an Argumentum ad Hominem Fallacy?." In On Reasoning and Argument, pp. 409-419. Springer, Cham, 2017.

Hitchcock, David. "The practice of argumentative discussion." In On Reasoning and Argument, pp. 323-334. Springer, Cham, 2017.

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