from Roger Olson:
A Crucial but Much Ignored (or Misunderstood) Distinction for Theology: "Mystery" versus "Contradiction"
I have been teaching Christian theology to all kinds of people-- mostly students but also church members-- for thirty-five years now. One issue I constantly face is well-intentioned but misguided Christians thinking that Christian belief requires embrace of logical contradictions. They almost always call these "mysteries" and think it is spiritual to believe what is illogical. Many Christians, and others, confuse what is impossible for us to do and to comprehend with what is illogical.
Here are some examples: "The resurrection of Jesus is illogical, but we must believe it," "The Trinity is a contradiction-- that God is 'one in three and three in one,' but we must believe it." You get the idea.
These well-meaning Christians do not realize they are undermining Christianity's credibility and opening the door to all kinds of absurdities. They will argue on the one hand that belief in the resurrection and the Trinity is illogical, requiring sacrifice of the intellect, then turn around and criticize a non-Christian worldview, religion or belief system for being illogical.
Emil Brunner, a leading 20 the century Swiss theologian, greatly influenced by Søren Kierkegaard, rightly said in Dogmatics I: The Christian Doctrine of God that Christian belief is intelligible belief, not nonsense. He rejected Christian appeals to illogic or "special logic." Logic is logic, he said quite rightly.
Roger's entire post can be read here.
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