Quote: “Do they object to getting a bag of Quaker oatmeal or Tide detergent or an AOL disc?” Paul Tolleson, official with the International Bible Society - Send the Light, in Time.
Figure of Speech: argumentum ad fortiori (for-tee-OR-ee), the argument from strength.
A Bible publisher wants to distribute New Testaments, specially printed to fit inside those annoying plastic bags that accompany newspapers. The idea has generated some criticism — much of it, to the group’s surprise, from Christians. Tolleson’s reply pleases Figaro mightily, for two reasons: it uses one of his favorite argument tactics, and it’s delightfully knuckleheaded.
The fortiori argument employs a comparison. If the weaker case succeeded, it stands to reason that the stronger case will. People don’t mind getting soap with their newspaper, so why should they object to the Bible?
Because, Christians answer, the Bible is not a brand (Word-o-God — Accept no substitutes!). Believers do not want their most sacred text tossed in the trash with supermarket fliers.
There’s a moral here, O faithful Figarists. Before you argue from strength, make sure you actually have an argument from strength.
Snappy Answer: “Does it come with sin redemption coupons?”