chongjasmine

Do you believe in God?

155 posts in this topic

50 minutes ago, Orlion Blight said:

The issue I find with such statements is that it's fairly close to a "no true Scotsman fallacy."

Which is there because of another fallacy: the idea that being Christian means you are morally good. 

And that is simply not the case. In observation or theologically.  I feel, in fact, there is plenty of Christian theological arguments that would argue that humanity is, baseline, an immoral, fallen race of damned souls that are only elevated from their decrepit state by the actions, choice and grace of Christ.

Which, granted, was an unnecessary (but fun! ) tangent to say: No one can say someone is not a Christian because they find that person abhorrent or does abhorrent things. Being a Christian means you believe in some sort of Christ, and you can't really tell someone, "I believe in Christ!" that you somehow know that they do not. 

The 'no true Scotsman fallacy' only applies when someone is unquestionably a Scotsman. The definition of 'Scotsman' is basically anyone who was born in Scotland. In my opinion, the definition of Christian should not be 'anyone who believes in some version of Christ'. If I had to give a definition of Christian, it would be anyone who believes the Bible is God's word and has repented of their sins, coming to faith in Christ. If you drop the requirement of believing the Bible, then there's no way to tell if your 'Christ' is the same Christ as everyone else's.

Edited by Nameless
To make it less potentially offensive
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Atheist. It never sat well with me the sense that religion is an end to questions. That built into many is the implicit and in some cases explicit belief to just take things as they are and do what you are told. I have also found it rather ironic that across just about every religion's mythology, that there is a trickster god or figure that is portrayed by the other dieties as negative simply for helping and giving knowledge to humanity. Here are but a few examples:

 

Native American: Coyote

Native American: Raven

Greek: Prometheus

JewishCatholic/Christian: Serpent 

African: Anansi

African: Hare

Chinese: Monkey King

Celtic: Lugh

 

 

There is a possessive sense regarding knowledge and keeping "mortals" ignorant. For myself, those traits i simply cannot abide by.

Edited by Pathfinder
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30 minutes ago, Nameless said:

The 'no true Scotsman fallacy' only applies when someone is unquestionably a Scotsman. The definition of 'Scotsman' is basically anyone who was born in Scotland. In my opinion, the definition of Christian should not be 'anyone who believes in some version of Christ'. If I had to give a definition of Christian, it would be anyone who believes the Bible is God's word and has repented of their sins, coming to faith in Christ. If you drop the requirement of believing the Bible, then there's no way to tell if your 'Christ' is the same Christ as everyone else's.

Of course, if you include the "belief in the Bible", you'll end up excluding a whole lot of people that were undoubtedly Christian, such as those who were killed by Nero for being Christian before biblical content was codified a couple centuries later, let alone circulated in any meaningful sense. It would also exclude apostles like Peter and Paul, which seems kinda absurd.

Now, that's just Christian as a general label. There are certainly categories of Christian where belief in the Bible is necessary. So someone could be Christian without believing in the Bible, but they wouldn't be Protestant Christian. 

As far as "same Christ", the concept of Christ is also not consistent across the categories of Christianity across its entire history. You have a Trinitarian Christ (which you subscribe to) and a non-Trinitarian Christ (which I guarentee a bunch of posters in this forum believe in) as a general idea. But there's also the fully human Christ, the fully divine Christ (Nestorians and some Eastern Christians), the Catholic/Orthodox Christ (fully human and fully divine, "without confusing the two natures, without transmuting one nature into the other; without dividing them into two separate categories; without contrasting them according to area or function. The union does not nullify the distinctiveness of each nature. Instead, the properties of each nature are conserved and both natures concur in one person."), a Transcendent human Christ, a...well, you should be getting the picture now. 

You might be able to say someone is a different category of Christian from, say, yourself, but you can not say if someone is not a Christian however wild or unorthodox their particular Christ beliefs are. 

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40 minutes ago, Orlion Blight said:

Of course, if you include the "belief in the Bible", you'll end up excluding a whole lot of people that were undoubtedly Christian, such as those who were killed by Nero for being Christian before biblical content was codified a couple centuries later, let alone circulated in any meaningful sense. It would also exclude apostles like Peter and Paul, which seems kinda absurd.

Now, that's just Christian as a general label. There are certainly categories of Christian where belief in the Bible is necessary. So someone could be Christian without believing in the Bible, but they wouldn't be Protestant Christian. 

As far as "same Christ", the concept of Christ is also not consistent across the categories of Christianity across its entire history. You have a Trinitarian Christ (which you subscribe to) and a non-Trinitarian Christ (which I guarentee a bunch of posters in this forum believe in) as a general idea. But there's also the fully human Christ, the fully divine Christ (Nestorians and some Eastern Christians), the Catholic/Orthodox Christ (fully human and fully divine, "without confusing the two natures, without transmuting one nature into the other; without dividing them into two separate categories; without contrasting them according to area or function. The union does not nullify the distinctiveness of each nature. Instead, the properties of each nature are conserved and both natures concur in one person."), a Transcendent human Christ, a...well, you should be getting the picture now. 

You might be able to say someone is a different category of Christian from, say, yourself, but you can not say if someone is not a Christian however wild or unorthodox their particular Christ beliefs are. 

When it gets down to it, I agree with what AonDoor said earlier: a Christian is a follower of Christ's teachings. Now, I don't believe that anyone besides Jesus has ever followed Jesus' teachings perfectly, but a Christian, in my mind, is someone who puts their faith in Christ and tries to do as He wants them to. Because of this, I put belief in the Bible as a requirement for my definition, because the Bible tells you what Jesus' teachings are, and who Jesus is. If you don't believe in the Bible, then you are a completely different religion from what, in the past, has been known as Christianity. Now, do I expect other people to have the same definition of Christianity that I do? No. That's why, when I described my beliefs, I didn't just say "I'm a Christian" and be done. Because that's an inaccurate description, as people have wildly variable definitions on what it means to be Christian. However, my definition of Christian is a follower of Christ's teachings, as described in the Bible. Whether or not I personally categorize someone as a Christian will depend on whether or not I see them as falling under that definition.

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To be clear, this is not meant to offer commentary on any religion. Just to clarify the purpose of the "no true scotsman fallacy". 

 

The point of such a fallacy is exclude malfactors or negative association from a group by saying someone who does a certain practice is not a "true" member of the group. The reason this is a fallacy is because the individuals taking the negative action can certainly believe themselves to be "true" members of the group as well as others can view them as "true" members of the group thus disagreeing with the assertion that they are not "true" members of the group. Further this dissociation can result in the "true" label being a moving goal post that is moved so often as to lose all meaning. 

 

The fallacy thereby is to show that the idea of "true" membership is an effort of deflection in order to absolve oneself of responsibility for the actions of individuals that are members of one's group that they claim membership of. 

 

Once again, not stating this applies to any religion, nor any post. Just explaining the mechanism of the fallacy.

 

Edit: just in case so to show I am only explaining how it works and not offering commentary on any group or individual, I have linked the wiki definition of the fallacy below that says the same thing

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman#:~:text=No true Scotsman%2C or appeal,by excluding the counterexample improperly.

 

Quote from wiki article:

"An appeal to purity is commonly associated with protecting a preferred group. Scottish national pride may be at stake if someone regularly considered to be Scottish commits a heinous crime. To protect people of Scottish heritage from a possible accusation of guilt by association, one may use this fallacy to deny that the group is associated with this undesirable member or action. "No true Scotsman would do something so undesirable"; i.e., the people who would do such a thing are tautologically (definitionally) excluded from being part of our group such that they cannot serve as a counterexample to the group's good nature."

Edited by Pathfinder
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41 minutes ago, Pathfinder said:

To be clear, this is not meant to offer commentary on any religion. Just to clarify the purpose of the "no true scotsman fallacy". 

 

The point of such a fallacy is exclude malfactors or negative association from a group by saying someone who does a certain practice is not a "true" member of the group. The reason this is a fallacy is because the individuals taking the negative action can certainly believe themselves to be "true" members of the group as well as others can view them as "true" members of the group thus disagreeing with the assertion that they are not "true" members of the group. Further this dissociation can result in the "true" label being a moving goal post that is moved so often as to lose all meaning. 

 

The fallacy thereby is to show that the idea of "true" membership is an effort of deflection in order to absolve oneself of responsibility for the actions of individuals that are members of one's group that they claim membership of. 

 

Once again, not stating this applies to any religion, nor any post. Just explaining the mechanism of the fallacy.

 

Edit: just in case so to show I am only explaining how it works and not offering commentary on any group or individual, I have linked the wiki definition of the fallacy below that says the same thing

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman#:~:text=No true Scotsman%2C or appeal,by excluding the counterexample improperly.

 

Quote from wiki article:

"An appeal to purity is commonly associated with protecting a preferred group. Scottish national pride may be at stake if someone regularly considered to be Scottish commits a heinous crime. To protect people of Scottish heritage from a possible accusation of guilt by association, one may use this fallacy to deny that the group is associated with this undesirable member or action. "No true Scotsman would do something so undesirable"; i.e., the people who would do such a thing are tautologically (definitionally) excluded from being part of our group such that they cannot serve as a counterexample to the group's good nature."

I'll flat out say this is the sense that I meant it in my post. 

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18 hours ago, Nameless said:

I agree with what AonDoor said earlier: a Christian is a follower of Christ's teachings.

Some ideas occur to me.

I find that I make a fairly explicit distinction in real life between a person's beliefs and their actions.  Bottom line, I can't know your mind or heart - what you believe (your faith or whatnot) is irrelevant to me.  That's between you and your higher power.  I'm only interested in your behavior, i.e., how you treat me and your other fellow creatures.  So what exactly do we mean when we say "a follower" of x?  Someone who claims to believe in x, or someone whose actions demonstrate adherence to x?  They are emphatically not the same thing.

I'm not a Christian, but I can read and understand the Bible.  If the Bible says "The foreigners residing among you must be treated as native-born," and I see Christians supporting anti-immigrant policies, I see a problem.  If Jesus says "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God," and I see TV preachers buying Cadillacs and private jets while asking for more money, I see a problem.

The No True Scotsman fallacy applies very well here, I think.

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54 minutes ago, AquaRegia said:

Some ideas occur to me.

I find that I make a fairly explicit distinction in real life between a person's beliefs and their actions.  Bottom line, I can't know your mind or heart - what you believe (your faith or whatnot) is irrelevant to me.  That's between you and your higher power.  I'm only interested in your behavior, i.e., how you treat me and your other fellow creatures.  So what exactly do we mean when we say "a follower" of x?  Someone who claims to believe in x, or someone whose actions demonstrate adherence to x?  They are emphatically not the same thing.

I'm not a Christian, but I can read and understand the Bible.  If the Bible says "The foreigners residing among you must be treated as native-born," and I see Christians supporting anti-immigrant policies, I see a problem.  If Jesus says "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God," and I see TV preachers buying Cadillacs and private jets while asking for more money, I see a problem.

The No True Scotsman fallacy applies very well here, I think.

I would say that belief and actions should go hand in hand. That's not to say that no Christian does acts that are against the Bible, but that a Christian should do acts that are consistent with the Bible. To take one of your examples, if a TV preacher proclaims themselves as Christian, but their every action shows that the primary focus of their life is gaining as many material possessions as they can, then I would say that they are almost certainly not a Christian.

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1 hour ago, Nameless said:

I would say that belief and actions should go hand in hand. That's not to say that no Christian does acts that are against the Bible, but that a Christian should do acts that are consistent with the Bible. To take one of your examples, if a TV preacher proclaims themselves as Christian, but their every action shows that the primary focus of their life is gaining as many material possessions as they can, then I would say that they are almost certainly not a Christian.

So again, just in case, only trying to explain the fallacy and how it works.

 

I don't think you understand what is meant by the fallacy. What you just wrote is essentially repeating it.

 

Basically you can define being a Christian however you wish. It doesn't change that (using the example provided), that there is an individual (rich preacher), going around saying he is a Christian, to other Christians, that believe he is a Christian, and is using the group that is known as Christian to profit off of being seen as a member of Christianity. Further said individual takes actions using Christianity to back up said actions. 

 

Saying "well then he's not a true christian" doesn't change anything except claiming deniability. It doesn't stop the individual. It does not change the action. It does not end the association. It does nothing to refute the claim nor the actions.

 

Which is why it is called a fallacy. The logic does not pan out. It proves nothing.

 

Now again, just in case, I am not saying or offering commentary on any religion. Just trying to bring understanding regarding a rhetorical device.

 

Edit: a just in case on top of a just in case, the fallacy uses the example of a "true scotsman". That by some guy robbing and killing people, there is a concern that the public will view people of Scottish decent negatively. To which it is said well the perpetrator is not Scottish. Then the individual who is found is Seamus O'Toole and in his wallet is his ID claiming citizenship to Scotland. To whit, the response is "well a TRUE scotsman wouldn't rob and kill". The perpetrator still robbed and killed and still did so under the label of being Scottish. Nothing was refuted or disproven. A Scottish man committed those crimes. 

Edited by Pathfinder
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49 minutes ago, Pathfinder said:

So again, just in case, only trying to explain the fallacy and how it works.

 

I don't think you understand what is meant by the fallacy. What you just wrote is essentially repeating it.

 

Basically you can define being a Christian however you wish. It doesn't change that (using the example provided), that there is an individual (rich preacher), going around saying he is a Christian, to other Christians, that believe he is a Christian, and is using the group that is known as Christian to profit off of being seen as a member of Christianity. Further said individual takes actions using Christianity to back up said actions. 

 

Saying "well then he's not a true christian" doesn't change anything except claiming deniability. It doesn't stop the individual. It does not change the action. It does not end the association. It does nothing to refute the claim nor the actions.

 

Which is why it is called a fallacy. The logic does not pan out. It proves nothing.

 

Now again, just in case, I am not saying or offering commentary on any religion. Just trying to bring understanding regarding a rhetorical device.

 

Edit: a just in case on top of a just in case, the fallacy uses the example of a "true scotsman". That by some guy robbing and killing people, there is a concern that the public will view people of Scottish decent negatively. To which it is said well the perpetrator is not Scottish. Then the individual who is found is Seamus O'Toole and in his wallet is his ID claiming citizenship to Scotland. To whit, the response is "well a TRUE scotsman wouldn't rob and kill". The perpetrator still robbed and killed and still did so under the label of being Scottish. Nothing was refuted or disproven. A Scottish man committed those crimes. 

The 'no true Scotsman' fallacy is, according to wikipedia:

"No true Scotsman, or appeal to purity, is an informal fallacy in which one attempts to protect their universal generalization from a falsifying counterexample by excluding the counterexample improperly.[1][2][3] Rather than abandoning the falsified universal generalization or providing evidence that would disqualify the falsifying counterexample, a slightly modified generalization is constructed ad-hoc to definitionally exclude the undesirable specific case and counterexamples like it by appeal to rhetoric.[4] This rhetoric takes the form of emotionally charged but nonsubstantive purity platitudes such as "true", "pure", "genuine", "authentic", "real", etc.[2][5]"

And in order for it to be committed the following three conditions must be met:

not publicly retreating from the initial, falsified assertion
offering a modified assertion that definitionally excludes a targeted unwanted counterexample
using rhetoric to hide the modification

I didn't make an initial universal generalization. I put forth the definition that I personally assign to the term 'Christian'. I didn't modify my definition to specifically target an unwanted counterexample, and I didn't use rhetoric to hide any modifications.

Now, I do understand your point, I think. You're saying that me stating my definition of Christian does nothing to stop the people that I believe shouldn't be associated with Christianity from being associated with Christianity. And I agree. The modern definition of Christian is quite far off from my definition. To put it bluntly, I was just trying to give some insight as to what group of people I personally believe are going to heaven.

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So for informational purposes only and not meaning to be critical in anyway:

 

 

18 hours ago, Nameless said:

if a TV preacher proclaims themselves as Christian,

1. Not publicly retreating from the initial, falsified assertion 

You did not offer a counter example. You did not dispute the example. You did not condemn the example. 

18 hours ago, Nameless said:

their every action shows that the primary focus of their life is gaining as many material possessions as they can,

2. Offering a modified assertion that definitionally excludes a targeted unwanted example.

You provided an definition of what a Christian is, in a manner to exclude the example from the group

18 hours ago, Nameless said:

then I would say that they are almost certainly not a Christian.

3. Using rhetoric to hide the modification

The rhetoric that hides the modification and maintains the purity of the group being discussed.

 

Once again,  just in case, I am not attacking Christianity, or claiming it is negative. This line of discussion began because an individual expressed their distaste for this practice and its perceived association with Christianity. An individual responded to that expression to say that anyone who does the distasteful practice is not a true christian. Another individual pointed out from their perspective that such a statement could fall into the "not a true scotsman fallacy". You replied in such a way as to repeat the fallacy, so I felt you did not understand the concept based on the structure of your post. I was attempting to explain the fallacy so discussion could move forward.

 

At this point any explanation would only serve to digress this thread and I do not feel it would be beneficial. I also would certainly not want to come off as brow beating the individual who made the initial comment about "true christians". They can comment however they see fit and I fully respect if they, and you disagree with the fallacy. My only intention was to build understanding of it. I could certainly,  and maybe should have, used any other example. Such as cookies. What could be inflammatory about cookies right? But regardless, what is done is done. I wish you all the best.

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I agree.  Further discussion is unlikely to change anyone's minds.  No point in alienating fellow Sanderson nerds.  Peace!

One point: 

17 hours ago, Pathfinder said:

.. the individual who is found is Seamus O'Toole...

Seamus O'Toole is NOT a Scotsman; THAT guy's definitely Irish.  The fellow you want is Angus MacTavish. ;-)

 

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42 minutes ago, Pathfinder said:

At this point any explanation would only serve to digress this thread and I do not feel it would be beneficial. I also would certainly not want to come off as brow beating the individual who made the initial comment about "true christians". They can comment however they see fit and I fully respect if they, and you disagree with the fallacy. My only intention was to build understanding of it. I could certainly,  and maybe should have, used any other example. Such as cookies. What could be inflammatory about cookies right? But regardless, what is done is done. I wish you all the best.

I feel that I did not modify my initial assertion, but if you don't want to argue, neither do I. As for cookies, you are talking about chocolate chip butterscotch cookies, right? Because any other cookies aren't real cookies.

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@Nameless, @Pathfinder, @AquaRegia, and @Orlion Blight if I may weigh in on this briefly, I think there are a few things that haven't been brought up that need to be considered:

  • A key belief in Christianity is that Yeshua, Jesus, is the one who decides who is and who isn't a Christian - so if you are a Christian the fact that not everyone who calls themselves a Christian is a Christian is a matter both Yeshua and several of the epistles written by the Apostles addressed at length;
  • The "No True Scotsman fallacy" is very often used in a flawed manner, and ostensibly prevents anyone who claims to be a part of a group to be disqualified from that group. 

 

Lets look at the Scotsman example first. Lets suppose there was someone who claimed to be a pacifist. If this pacifist was someone who occasionally hit other people, or didn't physically harm others but instead psychologically abused them, they certainly wouldn't fit the definition of a pacifist - an emotionally abusive husband who claims to abhor causing harm to others is most certainly not a pacifist, even if they object to war. Yet what would happen if you said they weren't a pacifist? Obviously you would be correct, but if they objected, or if others from a society they were a part of objected to you claiming they weren't pacifists - and they would prove it by passing the fist to you! Or someone claims to be a rationalist and is in a society of rationalists, but engaged in non-rational behaviour that the group nevertheless claimed was rational. What about a vegan who knowingly eats meat on certain occasions and claims those occasions don't count - are they a vegan? We can clearly see that self identification is not enough, as they are violating the spirit of the idea they claim to represent. A Scotsman is someone who comes from Scotland, and that can't be changed by their actions. But someone who claims to be a part of a group that identifies with certain traits and tries to live up to them, you must consider their actions, even if they are part of a subset of that group that doesn't see anything wrong with their actions. A vegan isn't someone who calls themselves a vegan, a vegan is someone who doesn't eat animal products. A rationalist isn't someone who calls themselves a rationalist but rather is someone who adheres to the principles of rationalism. A pacifist isn't someone  who calls themselves a pacifist, they are someone who seeks not to cause harm to anyone. A Christian isn't someone who claims to be Christian, a Christian is someone who follows Yeshua. Self identification with a group based on an ideology isn't enough, you must match the standards.

 

Now, in Christianity it is important to remember several things - Yeshua taught that, on the last day, when everyone comes before Him in judgement, He will send several of them away, telling them to depart as He never knew them. And they will object, saying "But we did so many things in Your Name!" And He will say they didn't know Him, they didn't feed Him when He was starving, cloth Him when He was cold, comfort Him when He was in prison. And they will ask when He was starving, when He was cold, when He was in prison, and He will point out to them that when they denied these things to those who needed them, they denied them to Him. Now, are those self-proclaimed Christians this account, who Yeshua Himself claimed knew nothing of Him, would you say they are Christians? Doesn't Yeshua get to decide who does and doesn't follow Him?

The epistles likewise cover this topic, talking about false teachers and Brothers and Sisters who stray from the path and are in danger - thus this topic is covered over and over again in the Bible.

 

Now, you may say this doesn't count if Christianity isn't true, that if Christianity isn't true then Yeshua doesn't decide this. However, then you must consider then two things - the first being that the examples given above about pacifists, rationalists, and vegans must also then allow for people who like to harm people either physically or emotionally while decrying violence are pacifists, that people who engage in irrational behaviour can be rationalists, and people who choose to occasionally eat meat are vegans. And secondly, that Christianity has, as a core belief whether Christianity is right or wrong, the belief that not everyone who claims to be Christian is a Christian - that those who say "follow Yeshua" must also believe that Yeshua said some will claim to follow Him but actually aren't. Christianity is the belief that Yeshua decides who is and isn't a Christian, not others who may or may not be Christians (remember also when Yeshua was told by His disciples that there were those casting out demons in Yeshua's name but weren't among His disciples, and He told the disciples to leave them alone and not try to stop them). And if Christianity isn't true, then the ones who are Christian are still correct in that Yeshua still gave the standards He would use to judge who are and aren't His followers.

 

[Edit] Also, consider this: Muslims believe that Yeshua and the disciples were all devout Muslims, while in Christianity Yeshua is the Word of God and the disciples were the first Christians - those two claims are in contradiction. So, under three models, which were the disciples? Bearing in mind that millions of Christians and Muslims claim the disciples followed their faith - so does millions of people all claiming the same thing change anything?

  • If neither Christianity nor Islam is true, what were the disciples?
  • If Islam is true, what happens to the Christian claim, despite millions of Christians claiming them?
  • If Christianity is true, what happens to the Muslim claim, despite millions of Muslims claiming them?

 

Arguments from a group, despite their size, are not enough to change the objective nature of reality. If every vegan claimed beef was actually vegan that wouldn't change beef to being plant matter.

Edited by Ixthos
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3 hours ago, Ixthos said:

@Nameless, @Pathfinder, @AquaRegia, and @Orlion Blight if I may weigh in on this briefly, I think there are a few things that haven't been brought up that need to be considered:

  • A key belief in Christianity is that Yeshua, Jesus, is the one who decides who is and who isn't a Christian - so if you are a Christian the fact that not everyone who calls themselves a Christian is a Christian is a matter both Yeshua and several of the epistles written by the Apostles addressed at length;
  • The "No True Scotsman fallacy" is very often used in a flawed manner, and ostensibly prevents anyone who claims to be a part of a group to be disqualified from that group. 

 

Lets look at the Scotsman example first. Lets suppose there was someone who claimed to be a pacifist. If this pacifist was someone who occasionally hit other people, or didn't physically harm others but instead psychologically abused them, they certainly wouldn't fit the definition of a pacifist - an emotionally abusive husband who claims to abhor causing harm to others is most certainly not a pacifist, even if they object to war. Yet what would happen if you said they weren't a pacifist? Obviously you would be correct, but if they objected, or if others from a society they were a part of objected to you claiming they weren't pacifists - and they would prove it by passing the fist to you! Or someone claims to be a rationalist and is in a society of rationalists, but engaged in non-rational behaviour that the group nevertheless claimed was rational. What about a vegan who knowingly eats meat on certain occasions and claims those occasions don't count - are they a vegan? We can clearly see that self identification is not enough, as they are violating the spirit of the idea they claim to represent. A Scotsman is someone who comes from Scotland, and that can't be changed by their actions. But someone who claims to be a part of a group that identifies with certain traits and tries to live up to them, you must consider their actions, even if they are part of a subset of that group that doesn't see anything wrong with their actions. A vegan isn't someone who calls themselves a vegan, a vegan is someone who doesn't eat animal products. A rationalist isn't someone who calls themselves a rationalist but rather is someone who adheres to the principles of rationalism. A pacifist isn't someone  who calls themselves a pacifist, they are someone who seeks not to cause harm to anyone. A Christian isn't someone who claims to be Christian, a Christian is someone who follows Yeshua. Self identification with a group based on an ideology isn't enough, you must match the standards.

 

Now, in Christianity it is important to remember several things - Yeshua taught that, on the last day, when everyone comes before Him in judgement, He will send several of them away, telling them to depart as He never knew them. And they will object, saying "But we did so many things in Your Name!" And He will say they didn't know Him, they didn't feed Him when He was starving, cloth Him when He was cold, comfort Him when He was in prison. And they will ask when He was starving, when He was cold, when He was in prison, and He will point out to them that when they denied these things to those who needed them, they denied them to Him. Now, are those self-proclaimed Christians this account, who Yeshua Himself claimed knew nothing of Him, would you say they are Christians? Doesn't Yeshua get to decide who does and doesn't follow Him?

The epistles likewise cover this topic, talking about false teachers and Brothers and Sisters who stray from the path and are in danger - thus this topic is covered over and over again in the Bible.

 

Now, you may say this doesn't count if Christianity isn't true, that if Christianity isn't true then Yeshua doesn't decide this. However, then you must consider then two things - the first being that the examples given above about pacifists, rationalists, and vegans must also then allow for people who like to harm people either physically or emotionally while decrying violence are pacifists, that people who engage in irrational behaviour can be rationalists, and people who choose to occasionally eat meat are vegans. And secondly, that Christianity has, as a core belief whether Christianity is right or wrong, the belief that not everyone who claims to be Christian is a Christian - that those who say "follow Yeshua" must also believe that Yeshua said some will claim to follow Him but actually aren't. Christianity is the belief that Yeshua decides who is and isn't a Christian, not others who may or may not be Christians (remember also when Yeshua was told by His disciples that there were those casting out demons in Yeshua's name but weren't among His disciples, and He told the disciples to leave them alone and not try to stop them). And if Christianity isn't true, then the ones who are Christian are still correct in that Yeshua still gave the standards He would use to judge who are and aren't His followers.

 

[Edit] Also, consider this: Muslims believe that Yeshua and the disciples were all devout Muslims, while in Christianity Yeshua is the Word of God and the disciples were the first Christians - those two claims are in contradiction. So, under three models, which were the disciples? Bearing in mind that millions of Christians and Muslims claim the disciples followed their faith - so does millions of people all claiming the same thing change anything?

  • If neither Christianity nor Islam is true, what were the disciples?
  • If Islam is true, what happens to the Christian claim, despite millions of Christians claiming them?
  • If Christianity is true, what happens to the Muslim claim, despite millions of Muslims claiming them?

 

Arguments from a group, despite their size, are not enough to change the objective nature of reality. If every vegan claimed beef was actually vegan that wouldn't change beef to being plant matter.

I feel like, from my perspective, you are missing the point of the fallacy. As I said in the prior post, at this point I fear it has reached a point of digression from the original point of the thread and given the subject matter, risks becoming problematic with each subsequent post. As PMing has come up on multiple occasions on this post, if you would like to hear my response using cookies as I mentioned, feel free to PM me. 

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1 hour ago, Pathfinder said:

I feel like, from my perspective, you are missing the point of the fallacy. As I said in the prior post, at this point I fear it has reached a point of digression from the original point of the thread and given the subject matter, risks becoming problematic with each subsequent post. As PMing has come up on multiple occasions on this post, if you would like to hear my response using cookies as I mentioned, feel free to PM me. 

I'm more than happy to continue this in PMs if you wish, but just as you are worried I missed the point of the fallacy I am worried you have missed the point of my post. I know about this fallacy, and many others as you no doubt do too, but I am concerned with the frequent tendency of people to misuse fallacies, to say something is an example of a given fallacy when it isn't an example of that fallacy, and being unable to explain why it is without resorting to some form of handwave. I gave examples of things I believe you would agree aren't examples of the No True Scotsman fallacy, and I appreciate you may not have the time or energy to discuss this here now, but your objection wasn't so much to address my points but rather to say "I think you missed the point," which I feel is itself not recognising the point of my post. I'm more than happy to continue this in PM, but I will briefly list my opening to our PM here in brief:

 

Example of the No True Scotsman fallacy - moving the goal posts for a category which has nothing to do with the category:

  • No true Scotsman eats his porridge with sugar - the only criteria for being a Scotsman is to be a native born of Scotland, porridge has no play in it. They may not be fitting the ideal one may have of how Scotsmen SHOULD live, but that doesn't dismiss them from that category

Example of a thing which aren't the No True Scotsman fallacy - rejecting something from a category because 

  • No true pacifist delights in causing harm to someone - pacifists by definition don't want to cause harm to someone, so if someone does then no matter what they themselves claim - or any number of people they know who likewise call themselves pacifists even if they enjoy arming people - they aren't pacifists

 

Which do you think Christianity fits in? If you claim Christianity is in the first category, what term then would you use for someone who DOES follow the teachings and walk the path of Yeshua? Should there be a term to distinguish those who Yeshua would approve of and those who He would not, as after all those would by definition be entirely determined by a single criterion that can be known?

 

Anyhow, I will PM you now, but I felt this issue needed to be addressed as far to often fallacies are misused and those who don't know anything about them other then seeing how they are used in online debates begin to miss the entire point of why those fallacies are addressed, and may themselves then fall into the fallacy fallacy in further discussions.

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6 minutes ago, Ixthos said:

I'm more than happy to continue this in PMs if you wish, but just as you are worried I missed the point of the fallacy I am worried you have missed the point of my post. I know about this fallacy, and many others as you no doubt do too, but I am concerned with the frequent tendency of people to misuse fallacies, to say something is an example of a given fallacy when it isn't an example of that fallacy, and being unable to explain why it is without resorting to some form of handwave. I gave examples of things I believe you would agree aren't examples of the No True Scotsman fallacy, and I appreciate you may not have the time or energy to discuss this here now, but your objection wasn't so much to address my points but rather to say "I think you missed the point," which I feel is itself not recognising the point of my post. I'm more than happy to continue this in PM, but I will briefly list my opening to our PM here in brief:

 

Example of the No True Scotsman fallacy - moving the goal posts for a category which has nothing to do with the category:

  • No true Scotsman eats his porridge with sugar - the only criteria for being a Scotsman is to be a native born of Scotland, porridge has no play in it. They may not be fitting the ideal one may have of how Scotsmen SHOULD live, but that doesn't dismiss them from that category

Example of a thing which aren't the No True Scotsman fallacy - rejecting something from a category because 

  • No true pacifist delights in causing harm to someone - pacifists by definition don't want to cause harm to someone, so if someone does then no matter what they themselves claim - or any number of people they know who likewise call themselves pacifists even if they enjoy arming people - they aren't pacifists

 

Which do you think Christianity fits in? If you claim Christianity is in the first category, what term then would you use for someone who DOES follow the teachings and walk the path of Yeshua? Should there be a term to distinguish those who Yeshua would approve of and those who He would not, as after all those would by definition be entirely determined by a single criterion that can be known?

 

Anyhow, I will PM you now, but I felt this issue needed to be addressed as far to often fallacies are misused and those who don't know anything about them other then seeing how they are used in online debates begin to miss the entire point of why those fallacies are addressed, and may themselves then fall into the fallacy fallacy in further discussions.

I feel I recognize what you are saying, which is why I replied that I feel you missed the point and would like to discuss via PM. I am fully available and capable of discussing and explaining, but I feel it would serve no one and only do harm to continue the subject matter here. 

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Just now, Pathfinder said:

I feel I recognize what you are saying, which is why I replied that I feel you missed the point and would like to discuss via PM. I am fully available and capable of discussing and explaining, but I feel it would serve no one and only do harm to continue the subject matter here. 

Well about five seconds before you posted that I sent the PM, so lets continue from there - I appreciate you don't want to derail the topic here - that is the title of the PM after a fashion - but lets not get buried in the weeds here. I just felt I needed to clarify my position likewise.

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I, too, would like to clarify that I don't want to derail the thread but will do so anyway to say I am not, nor will be, part of a DM conversation on the matter :P

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While I agree with @Ixthos that the True Scotsman fallacy is a little trickier to apply to a group like "Christians", it is not invalid.  One can make that same nebulous "membership" arguments about Scots: is a Scot living in London still a True Scotsman™?  How about if one parent was English?  How about someone who moved to Scotland as a wee baby, or someone born to Scottish parents in America?  The concept of group membership is ALWAYS fuzzy.  If someone says "I'm a Christian", and they attend a Christian church, well, that's enough for me to operate under the premise that they are, in fact, Christian.  If I observe them violating the precepts of Christianity, I don't say "oh, they're not REALLY a Christian," I say "oh, they're one of THOSE kinds of Christians."

10 hours ago, Ixthos said:

Doesn't Yeshua get to decide who does and doesn't follow Him?

This, to me, invokes a different logical fallacy - the appeal to authority.  Not only that, it's an authority that some of us don't recognize.  Similar to "How do you know that the Bible is the Word of God?"  "It says so in the Bible." 

These kinds of spiritual or theological questions are simply beyond logic, and we are each left with the challenge to do the best we can with our imperfect knowledge.

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29 minutes ago, AquaRegia said:

While I agree with @Ixthos that the True Scotsman fallacy is a little trickier to apply to a group like "Christians", it is not invalid.  One can make that same nebulous "membership" arguments about Scots: is a Scot living in London still a True Scotsman™?  How about if one parent was English?  How about someone who moved to Scotland as a wee baby, or someone born to Scottish parents in America?  The concept of group membership is ALWAYS fuzzy.  If someone says "I'm a Christian", and they attend a Christian church, well, that's enough for me to operate under the premise that they are, in fact, Christian.  If I observe them violating the precepts of Christianity, I don't say "oh, they're not REALLY a Christian," I say "oh, they're one of THOSE kinds of Christians."

This, to me, invokes a different logical fallacy - the appeal to authority.  Not only that, it's an authority that some of us don't recognize.  Similar to "How do you know that the Bible is the Word of God?"  "It says so in the Bible." 

These kinds of spiritual or theological questions are simply beyond logic, and we are each left with the challenge to do the best we can with our imperfect knowledge.

Thank you - and an excellent focusing in on a potential issue with my statement. If you're interested in discussing it further feel from to PM me :)

Also, I agree that it is potentially the fallacy of the Appeal to Authority, but only if Christianity isn't true. Now I obviously believe it is true (and to address the second paragraph's end, I believe Christianity is a rational and verifiable religion, but that, while closer to the thread's topic, is a massive topic that itself could completely derail this thread, I'll leave that point for now), though if Christianity isn't true it certainly would likely qualify for an Appeal to Authority - though if Christianity is true then it isn't an Appeal to Authority (or a fallacious appeal to authority), for the same reason that if there was a group founded by Joe called Joe's Team, which recognised Joe as their leader and absolute authority, that membership requires accepting whatever Joe said, then if Joe said someone wasn't in the group and they don't know them (assuming Joe is also completely trustworthy) then it wouldn't be an appeal to authority to say the person rejected isn't part of that group.

I disagree with that conclusion on that last paragraph, but I can appreciate and respect it :)

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I think we're all off topic here. The question is if we believe in a god, and if so, what god. The question is not 'what is the definition of christianity'

Personally, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I believe in a God who is the father of my spirit, gave me a chance to grow, and gave me rules to help me stay safe as I grow. (somewhat like "[Tani], don't stick that in the electrical socket" and "[Tani], don't do that, you'll regret it.") I believe that I need to try to fix it and change when I make mistakes and break the rules, by accident or on purpose. I believe that he loves me, and wants me to live now in a way that will help me be willing to live near Him after I die. I know there is a God who loves me and is really there. I believe that because Jesus died for my sins and lives again, I can repent and improve and live again.

Belief and action are different things, and I'm a normal mortal human who makes mistakes. Because of what I believe and know, I'm trying to follow His commandments and live the way I know I should. Because I've made mistakes and sinned in the past, I know that I'll be happier living inside my skin if I try to follow His commandments.

Edited by Tani
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I agree with Tani.

For some people, God means different things.

For some, it's a concept. For others, it's a real being.

For some, it's a benevolent being who cares about all of us. For others, it's the being that is just... there. Somewhere. Probably.

My beliefs are the same as Tani's. God created this world, He created us, He gave us agency.

Agency is what allows us to be able to have different ideas and opinions of God, and what God is.

In short, I believe that God exists, and that he cares about us, and wants us all to come back to him. But we're all allowed to believe what we want, and I won't discriminate based on your beliefs.

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I concur with Doomslug and Tani. I also reference the 11th article of faith.

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We claim the privilege of worshipping the almighty God, according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men, the same privilege, let the worship how, where or what they may.

Also, We believe in God the eternal father, and in his son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

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