We are sitting at the table, books piled high beside us, around us, even on the floor. There are so many things to do each day, so many subjects that we study and so many more that I want to bring to this table, but don’t yet have time to do. Finding time to fit it all in has become increasingly difficult, like juggling too many balls while trying to balance on a tightrope and talk on the phone, all at the same time. Some days I feel like a circus act, with these stacks of books and the dishes piled in the sink, the writing and photography jobs waiting at my desk. Patience comes easier some days than others.
Considering this, it may seem an odd choice that I’ve chosen to have the children study Logic this year. Logic, of all things. It’s not a topic typically taught in schools nowadays, it won’t be found on any standardized tests. At first it seems like something that a person could easily skip. But the more I reviewed the topic the more certain I became that Logic is a valuable subject to study, worthy of a spot in our busy schedule. So I pulled out the books, pulled up a chair, and we dove in.
My children’s first reaction was whimsical…Mom, Eldest quipped, I think you’ll almost certainly live to regret teaching us this class! He was joking, of course, but I could see his point. We’ve been dealing with enough petty bickering and argument between siblings lately, why would I choose to teach them a class that outlines principles of sound argument? Coming from Mom, the ardent professor of “You-will-stop-that-arguing-right-now-or-there-will-be-dire-consequences,” this class must have looked like an odd choice to them. At first it seemed ridiculously easy…outlining different kind of statements, teaching rules that seemed self-explanatory: A statement is either true, or it is false. Well, sure! We knew that.
But things quickly got difficult as we began to pick apart the nature of various statements, as we begin to learn the laws of thought and examined how sometimes logical-sounding statements, when studied with careful consideration, are not actually logical at all. The study of Logic, which seems in many ways to be an extraneous or overly academic pursuit, has a power and a value that Christians, in particular, can benefit from. In our society, we have mixed up the idea of “Logic” with our idea of “Science”. For something to be Logical, we’ve started to assume that it must be imperially proven through modern ideas of scientific method, a “Logical” thought must be somehow provable in a laboratory, recorded by someone wearing a white coat, proven to be statistically significant and published in a scientific journal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of science…it was always one of my favorite subjects in school. But we do science a disservice by assuming that all science is practiced by logical means and in the correct way, and is therefore sound. We do ourselves a disservice by assuming that what we now think of as “logical” is, in fact, truth, just because it is backed up by statistics and written up in magazines. Anyone who has taken a class in statistics knows, those numbers are dependant on so many factors– if you don’t have all the facts you can be very easily misled.
But I’m getting off my original point.
Why study Logic? Because as Christians we need to have a solid framework to argue for Truth. The foundation of this framework, of course, must always be the Word. If you do nothing else, you must be sound in that. But we live in a world that believes that a statement is logical just because it excludes any possibility of faith in what is unseen, and we as a whole have lost the ability to hear flawed logic. If something is true, then it will stand up to logic. We can’t be afraid to study our faith and learn to discuss it using the principles of logic, and in the society we live in it can be very valuable to be able to discuss Truth and yes, even to debate it, using the tools found in the study of Logic.
Please know my heart here…I am not believing for a second that people can come to a saving belief in Christ because of any one set of arguments–logical or otherwise–that a Christian can contrive. I am still very much (and always will be) a Mama of the “Stop-that-arguing-right-now” ilk. But we should be prepared to discuss our faith in a precise and logical manner. We should be prepared to present the historical evidence, the logical conclusions, the concrete facts of our faith. In doing so, there is a chance we could inspire someone to think of things in a different light, to look closer at their beliefs. I believe firmly that it is Christ and Christ alone that saves, and that the strongest thing that draws others toward Truth is to see it shining strong in others…to see the difference Christ makes in our lives, to see the love, to let the nature of the One we believe in shine true. But it is not an ideal, or an image, or a thought that we worship. We worship God who is very real, very apparent, very constant and very real. It’s faith in the unseen, to be sure…but then, nobody has trouble having faith in gravity–and that’s unseen, too. What is true, will stand up to logic. And in studying that, we shore up our own faith…we learn to look at our own view of logic and learn to examine our own thoughts, be strong in what we believe.
So we are studying Logic. We are backing it up with a few other books, books that lend insight to the historical evidence for Christ and build a solid case for faith. And we’re continuing, above all and always, to study the Word…to read it, discuss it, examine it, and memorize it. Without that, there is no point to studying the rest.
If you are interested, here are some of the books we have been working with: