SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
A rather controversial author of the 19th century named Samuel Butler (1835-1902), who wrote several satirical works, is quoted as saying: “Logic is like the sword – those who appeal to it shall perish by it.”1 This seems odd since most everyone who sees something that goes wrong ends up exclaiming, “Why didn’t they use some logic?” or, “They weren’t being logical.” The dictionary defines logic as a proper way of thinking about something according to strict principles of validity.
But how many times have you seen something that does work out against all odds and you must exclaim, “That doesn’t make any sense.” Likewise, when a person does something that you know already is impossible, you will say, “They didn’t use logic.”
Samuel Butler goes on to say that faith is appealing to the living God, and a person may perish by that too, but somehow they would rather perish depending on faith than logic. After all, everyone must perish sooner of later. This seems to be another way of saying: The value of your life can be judged by that for which you are willing to die.
Most of us have shaken our heads when we see something that looked as though it was impossible to still work out for the good. We say, “That doesn’t make any sense.” Likewise, when someone is doing well and they end up losing everything, including their wealth, reputation, and status, we roll our eyes in disbelief and say, “How could they let that happen, they didn’t use common sense.” What novelist Butler seems to be saying is that if you continually go by the same rules and standards in every situation, if it turns out good, you can credit your logic, but if it ends up being bad, then you must blame the same logic.
Therefore, be wise when utilizing your logic. Don’t blindly commit yourself to one way of thinking or reasoning just because you’ve always done it that way. Your logic may not change much, but the circumstances around you do. That’s why, as Christians, since logic involves making decisions based on a fixed set of rules and standards, we must appeal to a higher formula than man’s ideas. Just as it is stated: “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them whom He called to carry out His purpose,”2 then we must become better acquainted with God’s will and rules for living if we want our logic to work best for His glory and honor. – Dr. Robert R Seyda
1The Note-Books of Samuel Butler, edited by Henry Festing Jones, E.P. Dutton & Co., New York, 1817, p.330