I've been in a debate here against a number of people who say people claiming to be Christians are actually Christians even when they knowingly go against the clear and plain teachings of Jesus Christ on issues as large as deliberately killing others, lynching others, and so forth.
At one point in the debate, a person named Chris attempted to refute my position (that members of the KKK who were lynching others were not Christians except in name only, which means they were actually not Christians) by claiming that I had been illogical per the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.
Here's my reply:
I don't want to leave the no-true-Scotsman-fallacy fallacy hanging.
Betty is an atheist. If she were to post here that she's a Christian but add that she doesn't believe in God and further believes that the Gospels are entirely a myth (none of it ever happened) and that Jesus never even existed (a position held by many atheists) and you were asked to decide whether or not Betty had converted to Christianity, would you say she had? If you understand true logic, you'd say that of course she had not converted to Christianity. You'd do that because you know that there are logical premises for concluding that one is a Christian and that Betty certainly can be ruled out.
There are differing opinions on the totality of what constitutes Christianity, but an atheist Christian is not a true paradox. If you find this a stretch to make a point, let me tell you that I've run into an "atheist Christian."
So, the so-called no-true-Scotsman fallacy runs right into being itself a false premise.
When one is debating about Christianity, there are arguments made within the context of Christianity and there are arguments that appeal to that there is no God in the first place. Those can overlap or be completely separate matters depending upon the starting place of the debate.
Many people go to the trouble of spelling out things such as by saying, "Assuming that...." It might be said in this thread, "Assuming that Christianity is the belief in God and that Jesus is the son of God who died and was resurrected...."
So, I hope it is clear why Chris was being illogical by invoking the no-true-Scotsman fallacy fallaciously.
Of course, if history is any judge, Chris won't acknowledge such an error or leave off ever misusing the argument again. Which leads to the ad-hominem-fallacy fallacy. In case you're wondering, my point is that Chris isn't trustworthy concerning logic. Chris's premises must always be checked, and it is not a logical fallacy to raise suspicions on account of "the boy who cried wolf." You see, the moral of the story isn't that the adults should always logically be rushing about as if the boy might not be lying for once but rather shame on the boy. The boy wasn't lying simply because he had lied before. The boy was to be suspected of lying at the very least when the wolf had actually shown up, and there is absolutely nothing illogical in a debate by bringing up a history of lying so long as it is not being suggested that the liar is lying because the liar has lied before.
In courts of law, someone who is caught in perjury has his entire testimony stricken and is often cited for perjury, tried, and sentenced. That's how important it is to be wary of illogical people and known liars. The boy who cried wolf shows that its cumulative.
"Ad hominem" is not something to be thrown around lightly, just as "no true Scotsman" isn't.
The following should appear at the end of every post:
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Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)