Tag Archives: Socrates

Logical Gal and the power of the right question

2 May


The Apostle Paul talks about the concept of election in Romans 8

For those God  foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters (verse 29)

A point of controversy  hinges on the way you define ‘foreknow‘ .  Tuesday, during the weekly call-in show called Stand to Reason , I heard the host Greg Koukl ask the question – What or Whom does God foreknow?   This turned out to be THE correct question which led me to some new knowledge.

Thank you Socrates!

Socratic questions


There are at least 2 ways of  thinking about this foreknowledge:

One group of Christians holds to the view that God gives a measure of grace to every one.  Some then build on that grace by yielding or accepting Jesus as their Savior and Lord.  God knows ahead of time who is going to ‘choose’ because He can look down the corridors of time at all points of events future. Knowing who will yield to Him are those people considered ‘elect’.

The other group of Christians maintains that God ‘chooses’ ahead of time who will be the recipients of His gift of mercy and grace.  They can’t possibly ‘choose’ Him because by nature they would reject God.  So His work of grace has to be 100 percent.

It turns out that limiting oneself to the common definition of  foreknowledge as ‘information held before an event’ is both misleading AND insufficient. God doesn’t exercise foreknowledge of information (wrong term) God foreknows PEOPLE (He chooses people).  On the other hand knowing all information ahead of time or anytime  is called omniscience.

That one question of ‘ What does God have foreknowledge of – people or choices/courses of action?’ amplifies the discussion in a significant way that adds depth to our understanding of God!

Right Question

Take-away: What follow-up questions will yield more relevant information to a topic important to you?

Logical Gal says “Not even good enough to be a False Analogy”

7 Oct

This government shutdown has everyone mad, on both sides of the political spectrum.

But that is no excuse for lazy or poor thinking!  Actually, the only good excuse for faulty thinking, is that you haven’t been internalizing  these blog posts!

Last night, my husband read me a letter written to the editor of our local paper.  In it, the author compared the Republican Congress to a child who condemns his parent for not negotiating with him.  In the imagined scenario,  the youngster wants to stay up late and Dad says “No!”  The child then actually threatens to smash things in the house if he doesn’t get his way.  The letter writer asks rhetorically, ” What should the parent do?”

I’m sure he felt clever for creating this analogy.  But it fails.  It’s not even a PROPER false analogy.  Why not? The relationship between threatening child and firm parent is NOT at all similar to the relationship between the Republican-majority Congress and the President.  A twelve-year old who has had some civics could probably recall that our Founding Fathers created a system of checks and balances.  One of the attributes of the federal system of organizing government is that there are three branches:  Legislative (Congress), Executive (the President) and the Judicial (Supreme Court).  They are equal in stature.

The relationship of defiant child to firm father is not similar.  My dad would have accused the letter writer of  ‘comparing apples with oranges’.  Sure they are both fruits, but that is all you can say!

Back to our non-functioning  government.  All three branches are ON the same level. Therefore, the Executive branch AND the Legislative branch should strive to work together.  That is responsible government.  Isn’t that the expectation of ‘We the People’  who elect both the President and our Representatives?

So what is a False Analogy? – it’s a kind of faulty thinking that assumes that because two items have one characteristic  in common, they share others as well.  I think the letter writer painted a scenario that shows no similarity to our present crisis.

At best his example might be able to be worded like this:

Some kids defy their parents and parents should not give in.

Congress is defying the President 

Therefore, he should not give in

This is not even a GOOD false analogy!  The President and Congress are supposed to work together!!

(Thank you, Michael, for pointing out this example of poor thinking! I’m blessed to be married to a man whose first words in my presence were from Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living!”)