Campbell’s Law for Christian Debates on the Internet

Naming a law after yourself is probably right up there with giving yourself a nickname ie not cool and it never really sticks… but I’ve been thinking about the conversations I’ve been having with different people from various points in the Christian spectrum on a couple of issues lately and I’d like to propose what I think is the Christian equivalent of Godwin’s Law.

Godwin’s Law states:

“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1 (100%).”

Campbell’s law states:

“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving the Pharisees or legalism approaches 1 (100%).”

Thus, as with Godwin, so with Campbell, such transgressions lead to an automatic loss in any argument.

Lets face it, the law doesn’t need to be named after me, but there’s something similar going on here… “you’re like the guys who killed the king of the Jews” should carry about as much argumentative weight as “you’re like Hitler.” Though, as with Godwin, so with Campbell, there are times when such comparisons are appropriate (with Godwin I’d say these are limited to genocide, with the Pharisees I’d say it can be legitimate when people are acting like pharisees).

That is all (except to say that I’ve already coined a law before).

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the pastor of City South Presbyterian Church, a church in Brisbane, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus. If you'd like to support his writing financially you can do that by giving to his church.

2 thoughts on “Campbell’s Law for Christian Debates on the Internet”

  1. Fantastic post, much appreciated. Relevant to a huge number of the arguments we have as Christians.

  2. Another law? You’re such a Pharisee, Campbell. We don’t need this kind of legalism – Jesus just wants us to love one another.

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