Why holy books aren’t proof


Last Updated on 2023-07-13 by Joop Beris

Many people of faith see their holy book as proof, as a text that shows their faith is true. After all, their holy text is the word of God. Unfortunately, most if not all faiths claim that their holy book is the word of God. Logically they can’t all be correct (though they could all be wrong). However, using their holy book as proof of their faith is not a valid approach. Let’s have a look at why holy books aren’t proof that a faith is true.

Circular reasoning

Example of circular logic
This kind of circular logic will not work…

The claim usually follows the steps as outlined in the illustration. Even though this illustration mentions the Bible, it is just as valid for most other holy books out there. It doesn’t matter where you begin the discussion, you always end up where you started. The holy book is true because it is the word of God. The holy book says it is the word of God. The holy book is always right, because it is the word of God. It should be obvious to anyone that you can not prove anything like this because it is circular reasoning.

The book is the claim

There is another important reason holy books aren’t proof of someone’s religion being true. The holy book doesn’t prove the claim, it is the claim. People of faith believe that what their holy book says is true. The content of their beliefs are in their holy book. This means that what they believe to be true and what they cite as proof of their belief being true are one and the same thing. A holy book used in this way is not proof of anything, it’s just a rephrasing of the claim. For a holy book to actually serve as proof of truth, it would have to be verified independently. So far, that is not something any religion has managed.

There you have it: logic destroys yet another argument from the faithful.

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