John 7

“Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked.

“Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him?

This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!”

The Pharisees are using three classic examples of false logic to try to gain advantage.

The first logical fallacy is the ad hominem attack.

This means attacking the person rather than their position. Using sarcasm and ridicule to attack the motive and character of the person, rather than showing the weakness of their argument. If your position has strong enough evidence and support, it shouldn’t be necessary for you to use sarcasm and ridicule. When you resort to cleverness to try to gain power over another’s thinking, it is generally a sign that your position is weak, or at least that’s what you think.

The second logical fallacy is called an appeal to the masses.

If the majority of people think the position is correct, then it is valid. The Pharisees are saying since so all of us are opposed to Jesus and his teaching, he must not be legitimate.

This is wrong on two levels. First, as the Pharisees will soon find out, many Jewish leaders do believe in Jesus. But, second, even if no one believes in Jesus, he might still be telling the truth.

The third logical fallacy is appeal to authority or expertise.

The Pharisees are saying they have the academic credentials and so their opinion is more valid that those who aren’t educated in the proper schools.

No, it doesn’t matter how much education you have or what schools you went to, your position must support itself. And someone who doesn’t have as much education as you may be more knowledgable.


What are ways Christians experience ad hominem attack?

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