Contradictions don’t exist, conflicts do. I can be both happy and sad. This is a conflict. I can’t be both happy and not happy at all.
This is a God-given principle. Lack of contradiction doesn't prove something is right. (We may not have all the information.) However, the presence of a contradiction proves something is not right. Man cannot make both halves of a contradiction right.
Actually everyone agrees that contradictions don’t exist. They prove it every time they argue. Every time you say someone else is wrong, you are saying the wrong person has a contradiction and contradictions don’t exist. We believe this without saying it.
(If you haven't seen it, we have a video that illustrates all four principles using a sudoku puzzle. If the link doesn't work for you, copy and paste this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyJbPeLIsr8#GU5U2spHI_4)
Non-contradiction is a God-given principle!
The Bible says, "A doubleminded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:8)
Man didn't create the principle of non-contradiction...God did. If man created this, then you could refuse to use it...but you prove you believe in this God-given principle EVERY TIME you argue.
Our brains were not made to embrace contradiction. Leaders who tell us that God meant for there to be contradiction are disrupting peoples' ability to think...and causing people to be unstable. Nowhere is this more obvious than Bible interpretation.
For example, there are several interpretations of the Bible. However, we know there is only one correct interpretation. How do we know which is true? It is the interpretation that doesn’t contradict the rest of the Bible. Currently, in order for people to feel their interpretation is correct, they have to ignore parts of the Bible.
We can’t just ignore parts of the Bible when they don’t make sense. Who is to say which part is the right part to ignore? Basically, every disagreement on the meaning of the Bible is simply an argument over which parts should be ignored. Clearly, we are in a situation where the only choice for correct interpretation of the Bible is the non-contradictory one.
This is also true when it comes to modeling God. For instance, God cannot be ALWAYS Just and ALWAYS Merciful. Otherwise, how would God handle a criminal? If He is ALWAYS Just He would have to punish him. If He is ALWAYS merciful, He would have to not punish him.
Someone could say, “There are times when God is merciful.” This is true. However, what principle determines when God is merciful? The principle that determines God’s mercy is actually a higher principle because it can be true all the time. The non-contradictory model for God must contain characteristics of God that are true all the time.
Conflicts are complex.
Complexity brings depth.
Complexity brings uniqueness.
Complexity is AWESOME.
I LOVE COMPLEXITY.
People try to get the EFFECT of complexity by embracing contradictions.
Contradictions lead to instability.
The CAUSE of complexity, depth, awesomeness is CONFLICT.
People should be embracing CONFLICT.
Reasoning is based on realizing things are knowable and not random because of causality, THEN intentionally looking for contradictions in your own beliefs by taking a contrastive perspective.
If others find your contradictions before you, you are not looking contrastive enough. If you create special cases to account for your contradictions, then you aren't looking Big Picture enough.
My favorite example of the "fundamental-ness" of these principles is Anthony Flew...a well known atheist.
He came to the conclusion that God MUST exist. Why? Causality! There had to be a first cause and that cause is God. However, he also came to the conclusion this God could not be the God represented by Christians and Muslims. Why? Contradiction!
The representation of God given by these religions is contradictory WITHIN their religion. There are no concepts that can un-do these two conclusions because these principles are fundamental...other beliefs and logic tools are built on these concepts.
Contradictions are the result of one or more untrue premises/beliefs. The key to removing contradictions is to get a Big Picture view and determine which premises are wrong. This is done by taking a contrastive perspective on the premises.
One last point before we move on to the next principle: We have to understand the importance of defining the meaning of words. When people fail to communicate well, they use “semantics” as a cop out to let themselves disagree.
Actually, there are two possible reasons for the failure in communication. First, both parties are using different definitions for the same word. Or secondly, both parties are using different words for the same definition. The solution to these conflicts is for both parties to define the words they are using.
In this blog, we are going to use the words in the Bible, but we are going to determine the definitions according to their ability to be non-contradictory. This blog is going to cause you to rethink the definition of several words you use on a regular basis. Take time to think through what you mean when you use these words. This shouldn’t be a problem unless you believe the Bible intended to contradict itself.
Traditionalists avoid contradictions by avoiding definitions. Post moderns revel in contradictions. Moderns remove contradictions because their appearance proves one or more of their assumptions must be wrong.
(This post is two years old. In the summer of 2008, I gave a perspective on this principle as it relates to what physiologically happens in the brain in this post.)