The Master Argument For Christianity (MAC)
I developed what I call The Master Argument For Christianity (MAC) after reflecting on human nature, my experience talking to people about Christ and some of the evangelization tactics of Jesuit theologians.
The argument runs like this:
If Christianity is true then a lot of good things we all want are true
Christianity is true
Therefore, a lot of good things we all want are true
This argument is one big modus ponens and follows the “If p then q, p, therefore q” structure. Since modus ponens is a valid argument form, that means if the premises are true then the conclusion follows necessarily.
I call it a “Master” argument for two reasons:
- It is a “master” argument because it addresses the “whole person,” both the intellect and the will. We are not only trying to show that Christianity is true, we first show that Christianity is good and therefore desirable. That is the purpose of the major premise.
- It is a “master” argument because it combines all of the available evidence for the truth of Christianity into a cumulative case argument. That is the purpose of the second premise.
The MAC is a two-stage argument for Christian faith.
The first stage argues for premise one. The goal of premise one is to get someone into the mindset of thinking, “I wish Christianity were true” by showing that Christianity is something they want, that Christianity is good.
So we put the good before the true. This is because any good argument needs to take the will into account. If someone thinks they don’t want Christianity to be true, they will come up will all kinds of lame reasons not to believe it.
But if they want Christianity to be true, even if they don’t yet think it is, then it is a very different story and they offer much less resistance to the Christian evidences.
So, we mix the good with the true because we are talking to PEOPLE. It is naïve to think that the will does not play an important role in the formation of our beliefs.
Therefore, a good argument should take the will into account and that is the purpose of the first stage and premise one.
The second stage argues for premise two, that Christianity is true. Just because something has been shown to be good that doesn’t make it true. It would be good if there were a safe and universal cure for cancer, but that doesn’t mean there is one. So the second premise uses a series of arguments, ten in fact, to argue that Christianity is reasonable to believe.
So that is how the argument proceeds.
- We have good reasons for WANTING Christianity to be true (Step 1)
- We have good reasons for THINKING that it actually is true (Stage 2)
The conclusion then is a mix of both the good and the true.
Now one can confidently make an act of faith in Christ that is reasonable, responsible, and prudent.