Troubleshooting and Cumulative Arguments (The Reasonableness of Christianity)

For the past 10 years I have worked in IT. One thing I have met again and again is finding the solution to a difficult problem is an issue that no one would suspect. For instance, one time we were trying to hunt down why ta connection was down at my office. After going through the path again and again it was clear to me that there was a single place where the loss of communication was happening. The issue was that one of my coworkers who knew this piece of gear well was sure that it wouldn’t have this kind of issue. However, the evidence pointed nowhere else so eventually we looked deeper and took some steps to reset the gear and voila! The issue was repaired and connection restored!

This situation brought to mind a way of reasoning that is effective but not the most loved in our culture. We love scientific proofs, show me specifically how this is true, and I will believe it. However, as in IT troubleshooting life’s answers don’t always give us the how first. Often, in my experience we go with the best available answer and then some of the how questions will be revealed.

It’s about determining where to look, where the problem and solution really are…

This is one reason I find a cumulative argument for Christianity more convincing than expecting some knock down fact or scientific evidence. What we need in order to show that Christianity is the most plausible from the available options is simply enough evidence to show that the other options cannot explain reality well enough and that Christianity can.


CUMULATIVE (The Argument).—An argument gaining in force by increase of evidence and of reasons as it advances, each new point having additional testimony for the conclusion. Its strength does not lie in the connection of the points with each other, but simply in their sum.


In other words it is not one paticular argument that makes the case strong but multiple seeming unconnected truths form an overall strong case.


Is naturalism, the belief that only physical things exist, able to explain the facts that we experience? How about the belief that the universe is a mystical force guiding or something like that?

Below I’ve listed a survey of arguments that (mostly) have been formulated by better minds than mine. Each works to point out a particular truth that together as a culminative case point to Christianity being the only live option. The arguments work like this: The first few lines (usually 1-2 here) are premises, they are the reasons why the final conclusion (usually 3 here) is true. An argument is a good one if the premises are true and the conclusion follows. To test some of these try to think of each premise one at a time and ask “is this statement true” “are there any counter examples that contradict it?”, if the premises are true then ask if the conclusion follows if it does then the argument is a strong one.


For a view to succeed we should ask, does it make sense given the human condition: our ability to reason, our commitment to moral truths and virtues. Does it make sense given the scientific evidence available, the beginning of the universe, evolution etc.? Then does it make sense given the strength of specific evidences for ___ faith?

This is not a comprehensive list… just arguments that came to mind over the past couple of days, but I think it demonstrates the idea well. I hope to explain some of these arguments in more detail in the future and maybe to add in some of the columns.


Comp Arguements

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