Accused of a fallacy? Suspect a fallacy? Ask Dr. Bo and the community!

Quickly register to comment, ask and respond to questions, and get FREE access to our passive online course on cognitive biases!

one moment please...

Appeal to Faith

Description: This is an abandonment of reason in an argument and a call to faith, usually when reason clearly leads to disproving the conclusion of an argument.  It is the assertion that one must have (the right kind of) faith in order to understand the argument. 

Even arguments that heavily rely on reason that ultimately require faith, abandon reason.

Logical Form:

X is true.

If you have faith, you will see that.

Example #1:

Jimmie: Joseph Smith, the all American prophet, was the blond-haired, blue-eyed voice of God.

Hollie: What is your evidence for that?

Jimmie: I don't need evidence—I only need faith.

Explanation: There are some things, some believe, that are beyond reason and logic.  Fair enough, but the moment we accept this, absent of any objective method of telling what is beyond reason and why anything goes, anything can be explained away without having to explain anything.

Example #2:

Tom: Did you know that souls ("Thetans") reincarnate and have lived on other planets before living on Earth, and Xenu was the tyrant ruler of the Galactic Confederacy?

Mike: No, I did not know that.  How do you know that?

Tom: I know this through my faith.  Do you think everything can be known by science alone?  Your faith is weak, my friend.

Explanation: It should be obvious that reason and logic are not being used, but rather “faith”.  While Tom might be right, there is still no valid reason offered.  The problem also arises in the vagueness of the appeal to faith.  Tom’s answer can be used to answer virtually any question imaginable, yet the answer is really a deflection.

St. Bingo: You need to massage my feet.

Tina: Why?

St. Bingo: My child, you will only see that answer clearly through the eyes of faith.

Exception: No exceptions -- the appeal to faith is always a fallacy when used to justify a conclusion in the absence of reason.


This a logical fallacy frequently used on the Internet. No academic sources could be found.

Registered User Comments

Richard Tufts
Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 08:21:28 PM
Would citing religious sources for a religious debate or a debate on the moral grounds of something be considered an Appeal to Faith, or is it only an Appeal to Faith when it's something completely unrelated? (like in your youtube video, where you use a Bible verse, bereft of context in order to push us to buy your book?)

Thanks, Professor. :)

login to reply
1 reply
0 votes
Reply To Comment

Bo Bennett, PhD
Friday, July 21, 2017 - 06:21:54 AM
Hi Richard, this is a good question because it raises the question, what if both parties accept the same premise on faith? So if two Christians are arguing about the morality of an act, and both accept (on faith) that a) God exists, b) God is the authority of morality, and c) the Bible is the word of God, they citing the Bible in the argument would not be fallacious (one could argue that their acceptance of the premises is, however). But often in argumentation, premises are accepted either hypothetically or provisionally for the sake of the argument.

Having said that, what if a theist is arguing with an atheist? If the theist cites the Bible, the atheist cannot assume an appeal to faith, because one has yet to be established. The atheist should question, "how do you know that this god exists?" If the theist can demonstrate his or her reason for belief without appealing to faith, then the atheist can proceed to ask, "how do you know that everything this god commands is good?" Again, if the theist can demonstrate his or her reason for belief without appealing to faith, then the atheist can proceed to ask, "how do you know that everything is that is written in the Bible is what God actually said?" The atheist might have more questions, but the point is, if the theist does not at any time say, "I take it on faith" or something similar, then there is no appeal to faith.

Hope that helps!

login to reply
1 votes
Reply To Comment

Joe Walker
Saturday, January 21, 2017 - 01:21:37 PM
Would this be similar to a scientific fallacy whereas a scientist, on a molecular level sees that design is the most plausible explanation but because of possible funding cuts and/or ridicule of their peers they can not say what they think albeit if it one of the top molecular scientist from a university in Texas.

login to reply
1 reply
0 votes
Reply To Comment

Bo Bennett, PhD
Saturday, January 21, 2017 - 02:40:32 PM
No, because intelligent design is not a scientific conclusion. Science uses, by definition, methodological naturalism. A scientist is welcome to believe that Zeus designed people from clay, but if he or she attempted to offer that as a scientific theory, he or she would rightfully be ridiculed.

login to reply
0 votes
Reply To Comment

Become a Logical Fallacy Master. Choose Your Poison.

Logically Fallacious is one of the most comprehensive collections of logical fallacies with all original examples and easy to understand descriptions; perfect for educators, debaters, or anyone who wants to improve his or her reasoning skills.

Get the book, Logically Fallacious by Bo Bennett, PhD by selecting one of the following options:

Not Much of a Reader? No Problem!

Enroll in the Mastering Logical Fallacies Online Course. Over 10 hours of video and interactive learning. Go beyond the book!

Enroll in the Fallacy-A-Day Passive Course. Sit back and learn fallacies the easy way—in just a few minutes per day, via e-mail delivery.

Have a podcast or know someone who does? Putting on a conference? Dr. Bennett is available for interviews and public speaking events. Contact him directly here.

About Archieboy Holdings, LLC. Privacy Policy Other Books Written by Bo
 Website Design and Software Copyright 2018, Archieboy Holdings, LLC.