What is a dichotomy?

Here’s a standard definition; a dichotomy is a split into two parts which are considered to be either contradictory or mutually exclusive.

For example, the colors black and white represent a classic dichotomy: either something is black, or it is white, with no room for overlap or alternatives (neutrality). Dichotomies are used in a number of ways, and on this blog will discuss them in the biblical sense.

While researching for this topic I came across the following on the internet, it’s a typical view of the world:

“A well known example of a false dichotomy is the saying “you’re either with us or against us.” In this case, the dichotomy leaves out a third option, neutrality, setting up an “us vs. them” mentality which can be very dangerous. Such flaws in logic are often used in arguments, in the hopes of brow beating an opponent into conceding a point by setting up a false dichotomy and thereby forcing the issue.”

Wait, what? Leaves out the third option…neutrality…….What? Setting up a mentality which can be very dangerous????? Flaws in logic….. Brow beating….. So what that appears to means is there are no dichotomies in the Bible and or the Christian faith, just false dichotomies.

Let’s look at Luke 11:23 “He who that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.” Remember, Jesus spoke these words and there is no neutrality here. The Lord means what He is saying. I don’t see any mental dangers with this verse, just eternal dangers. It does come down to an “Us vs. Them” mentality, if someone chooses. I agree, this verse is not a classic dichotomy, it’s the ultimate dichotomy.

Which leaves us with this, what does Luke 11:23 mean? It’s simple: Heaven or hell. Oops! Another dichotomy….can’t get more contradictory than that! Mutually exclusive…..I would say Radically Exclusive.

So why doesn’t the world think dichotomies exist in the Bible? In a nutshell, the “illusion of control.” The world despises the Almighty, when they should recognize Him as worthy of our honor and obedience. Neutrality is easier than worshiping a God that is the Creator of all things, the Sustainer of all things and the Lord of all things. The thought of some “spiritual being” in control of the universe from beginning to end, frightens them. In the mind of the world, man knows best.

until He come,

JC Johnson

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2 Responses to What is a dichotomy?

  1. Jeremy says:

    Man in his corrupt nature is always inventing the 3rd option! This could describe life of a false convert as well.

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