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Circular Reasoning is a logical fallacy that states “X is true because Y is true and Y is true because X is true.”
Any atheist can tell you just how often we run into this argument and every single time it is just as frustrating. For example:
Theist: I believe the Bible is the word of god.
Atheist: Why do you believe that?
Theist: God says it is!
Atheist: And where does god say that?
Theist: In the Bible!
Atheist: Okay, and?
Theist: The Bible is the word of God!
The reason Circular Reasoning is a fallacy is that it ends up in an infinite loop of illogical poop. What is most frustrating about this type of reasoning is that it is nearly impossible for the theist to see the illogical nature of the argument. I’m speaking from experience here.
When I was still a minister it wouldn’t have been all that uncommon for you to hear me say something along the lines of the following quote.
“I know that I know that I know that I know, for the Bible told me so.”
I had absolutely no problem with this because I felt like my faith was supported by the Bible and the proof of the bible was supported through my faith. Why else would I believe so earnestly that it was true if it wasn’t in fact true? Why would I separate myself from the rest of the world, commit myself to the work of the lord and spread his word if it wasn’t true? At that time my favorite verse in the bible was Hebrews 11:1.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1
I thought that this was a beautiful passage that explained everything there is to know about the faith. I cannot tell you the amount of sermons that I gave entirely on this passage alone. Today I look at that passage and realize it’s just a bunch of word salad. Faith is completely without evidence and yet it’s claimed to be a substance, a substance of what? Things unseen. Things unseen that have no evidence of their existence require faith which cannot possible act as evidence for why people have faith.
I feel dumb having just written that last paragraph but this is the key to circular arguments, they make no sense and they just make you look stupid.
Mark Twain put it in a better fashion.
This is the problem with using circular reasoning arguments, they show the fragility of your claim. Yet, even though it shows the weakness of ones argument it remains one of the only ways that most theists can promote their faith without going into the outer limits of the bullshit realm. Yet if your faith can be proven by your religious text then why is it not the same for every other faith on Earth?
Islam has a book that says it is the direct word of Allah.
Hindus have much older books that claim they are the words of Krishna.
New Agers have works that they claim came directly from the Akashic Records.
If your circular argument is to honestly be taken seriously then we must take all of the other faiths claims in the same vein with the exact same seriousness and yet I don’t think many Christians would stand with a Muslim and say that their scriptures and faith are equally true.
So what is the alternative?
Providing actual evidence for one not personal experience, religious scriptures, or supposed miracles that happened to your aunt’s, cousin’s, mother’s, brother. If one single shred of verifiable evidence existed for theism then atheism would be dead and yet times and again any supposed evidence promoted has been proven as certifiably false. It’s honestly laughable just how much lying believers will do if they believe it will make their faith more believable.
As Martin Luther is quoted as saying:
This is the mindset that many Christians and theists live in their entire lies. As long as I must lie I will lie for the lord! Who cares if, “Thou shalt not lie or bear false witness” are a huge part of the 10 commandments. Sinning for the sake of salvation seem fairly humorous if you ask me.
So the reason that the theist will use a circular argument is because they must, there is really no other way around it. Their faith has no verifiable evidence that will stand up to scrutiny and so the evidence of their faith will be the scriptures that say faith is the evidence of all the things they cannot prove.
I’ll leave you with one last quote from Aron Ra, Author of “The Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism,” available here.