The “Affirmation by Persecution” Fallacy

It seems to be more and more popular in an argument to say, “Well, because you oppose what I’m saying I know I must be doing something right.” It’s common for people to take affirmation in their stance when people disagree with their stance.

For instance, if a Christian stands up in the street and yells, “All of you are going to Hell unless you accept Christ” and someone yells at him to shut up, the Christian could say, “I know I’m supporting the Lord because you’re against me!” But this doesn’t follow. It could be that the person is against how the preacher is getting the message across.

Just because people oppose us doesn’t mean we’re right. Sometimes we’re wrong in what we’re saying. Sometimes we’re correct in what we say, but wrong in how we say it. Other times we’re correct in both what we say and how we say it, but people just don’t like the message and therefore they persecute us. But just because sometimes persecution can be an affirmation of our beliefs doesn’t mean that it’s an affirmation every time.

If a child says that the earth is the center of the universe and everything rotates around earth, but the class laughs at him and calls him stupid, does such a reaction mean the child is right? Should the child be affirmed in what he believes? The answer is no. If the child says, “Well I know I must be doing something right because of how you’re treating me!” then the child is a fool. He’s doing nothing right, he’s wrong.

Likewise, just because we face opposition to our beliefs doesn’t mean we’re doing something right. It could be that we’re facing opposition to our beliefs because our beliefs are wrong.

Instead of taking comfort in opposition, when opposed we should evaluate our beliefs and see why they are hated. If we can see no logical or evidentiary reason to abandon our beliefs, then we should take solace in that fact and not in the fact that we’re being opposed. To take solace in opposition is to embrace arrogance and deny self-evaluation.