Proof #2: The Opposite of True is False

Posted by Scott Palmer on 3 June 2015 | Comments

Proof # 2: The Opposite of True is False

The most fundamental law of all thought is the Law of Non-Contradiction.  It states that something cannot both be true and false at the same time in the same sense.  Norman Geisler points out that we cannot deny the Law of Non-Contradiction without using the Law of Non-Contradiction.  If we affirm that “something can be both true and false at the same time and in the same sense,” this sentence makes no sense unless we assume that it is a non-contradictory statement (and the opposite of it cannot be true).  It is saying that “opposites can both be true,” but the opposite of this statement cannot also be true.

The Medieval philosopher Avicenna had a brutally practical way of getting this point across effectively.  He insisted that anyone who denied the Law of Non-Contradiction should be beaten and burned until he admitted that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten  and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned!

The consequences of the Law of Non-Contradiction are self-evident but forceful: opposites cannot both be true.  For example, “If it is true that God exists, then it is false that God does not exist.  If theism is true, then atheism is false (and vice versa).  This logic goes for anything else in the world.  For instance, if Christianity is true, then anything contrary to Christianity is false. If Islam is true, then any view contrary to Islam is false.  The point is very simple but seemingly hard for our culture to understand.  All views cannot be true. 

Opposite views cannot both be true.  Since different religions hold different views about God, creation, human beings, Christ and salvation, it follows that the opposing views of various religions cannot both be true.  Most theists believe in life after death and most atheists do not believe in life after death.  Both cannot be true. One must be false.  Some religions believe in reincarnation and others do not but both cannot be true.  Some believe in one God and some believe in more than one god but both cannot be true. 

Here is the practical point for the culture in which we live.  The law of Non-Contradiction destroys the common belief in religious pluralism.  Religious pluralism is the idea that most if not all religions can all be true in their central beliefs.  The truth is most religions hold opposite views on very important beliefs and opposites cannot both be true. 

Several years ago on the Oprah there was a Christian minister, a Jewish rabbi and an Islamic Imam.  The show was very good in that is described the different faiths and their views of God.  But the end of the show made no sense.  Basically, the conclusion was that all roads lead to heaven and it doesn’t matter what you believe,   because they are all true.  That just simply cannot be true.  It violates the law of Non-Contradiction.  It violates common sense.  It is possible they are all wrong about God.  It is possible that one of them is right about God.  But it is not possible that they are all right about God because they contradict each other. 

For instance, Christians, Jews and Muslims are all theists.  They all believe in submission to God.  They affirm the Ten Commandments.  But they have major differences when it comes to how they view salvation and the nature of Christ.  For instance: three Key Christian beliefs: 1. Jesus is God.  2. Jesus has always been God He did not at some point in time become God.  3. Only Jesus is God, people are not God.  Do you realize that every other system of belief contradicts those claims.  Hindus say Jesus was one of many men who became god, worthy Mormons believe they become gods.  Muslims say Jesus was a prophet but not God.  Buddishst’s  say He’s a remarkable teacher. Judaism does not believe that Jesus is God.  So someone is right and someone is wrong.  Therefore, if Christianity is true- these other views are false. 

Now to say that Christianity is true does not mean that other religions can be true on various things.  Geisler in his book Twelve Points That Show Christianity Is True points out, “Many religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Confucianism) believe in some form of the golden rule.  They could all be right on this, even though they cannot all be right on whether there is only one person in God (Islam) or three persons (Christianity).  Clearly, someone is right and the other is wrong on this matter…All the Law of Non-Contradiction demands is that if one religion is the true religion (namely, is right on all basic doctrines), then all doctrines opposed to this from other religions are false.  But it does not follow that there is no truth in other religions.” 

We are increasingly living in a culture that has an aversion to truth.  Truth is deemed as narrow or close minded.   But even if one were to say “I believe that there is no truth” that is a narrow and close minded statement because it rejects any idea opposed to it.  So truth by definition is narrow because it implies that any opposing view is false.  The truth to remember is that truth does exist and the Christian faith should be examined because it is a truth claim.

It claims that there is only one way to be saved.  When Peter and John were before the Jewish leaders of his day, this is what Peter said about Jesus, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12

Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” John 14 6

The Christian faith is built on the truth about Jesus.  Jesus invites all to come to Him—no one is excluded but only those who place there trust in Jesus and His finished work through His vicarious death on cross and resurrection from the dead experience the truth of eternal life in Christ Jesus. (John 3:16)

Next time we will learn that it is true that a theistic God exists.

Pastor Scott

Frank Turek and Norman Geisler.  I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist.  Crossways Books 2004.
Norman Geisler. Twelve Points That Show Christianity Is True.
Norman Geisler and Patty Tunnicliffe.  Reasons For Belief.  Bethany House 2013.
Norman Geisler and Joseph Holden.  Living Loud Defending Your Faith. B&H Publishing Group 2003