Two Tactics to Rule Them All

by Alan Shlemon

I’ve noticed something. There are a lot of bad ideas out there. You’ve probably noticed it too. I’ve also noticed something else. Most of these bad ideas can be exposed with one of two tactics: Taking the Roof Off or the Suicide Tactic.

Taking the Roof Off is a tactic based on the idea of reductio ad absurdum.That literally means “reducing to the absurd.” The principle behind this tactic is that some ideas lead to absurd consequences. Your job is to ask yourself if the idea leads to an absurd consequence, and, if it does, then ask a question that graciously exposes the absurdity of the idea. That’s just a quick summary, but you can learn more about it here.

The Suicide Tactic demonstrates that some ideas or statements contradict themselves. “There is no truth,” for example, suggests there is no truth, but the statement itself claims to be true. That’s a contradiction. Your job is to ask yourself if the idea contradicts itself, and, if it does, then ask a question that graciously exposes that contradiction. You can learn more about it here.

As those of you who follow Stand to Reason know, Greg [Koukl] has written and spoken on Tactics for many years now (as have I). His book includes over eight different tactics you can employ in conversation. You don’t have to learn them all, however, even though that’s a worthwhile goal.

What I’ve noticed is that many of the bad ideas that come my way can be exploited by knowing just those two tactics. Often one or the other (or sometimes both) will help you see what’s wrong with the idea…

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