The Dangerous Implications of Ad Populum Arguments
Argumentum Ad Populum, also known as an Argument by Consensus or the Bandwagon Fallacy, is a logical fallacy that asserts that one’s position is true because their point is accepted by many. These arguments use the popularity of said position to validate the position. They make appeals to the masses of people that accept their claims to show that their claims are superior. It is a clearly flawed way of reasoning, but more than that it has many dangerous implications.
Firstly, if the truth of a statement is determined by its popularity, then that means truth is subjective and relative. If you are aware of these implications and agree with them, then you must admit to the self-refuting worldview that, “It is absolutely true that there is no absolute truth.” If you are unaware of these implications, then you are unwittingly an advocate for an ideology you don’t agree with (Definitionally, a “Useful Idiot”). Whether intentionally or not, all Ad Populum arguments contribute to and advocate for Post-Modern Relativism, which is directly opposed to the modern Church.
Secondly, if the popularity of an argument makes it true, then we must reject Genesis 1. The majority of people reject the Genesis account in favor of Evolution. Furthermore, since Catholicism is the largest “Christian” denomination, any argument Ad Populum indirectly lends credibility to their claims of being the one true Church. This is true with many popular heresies – the Prosperity Gospel, Inclusivism, Salvation by works, etc. If you claim your superiority by boasting in numbers, you must concede to anyone who has higher numbers than you. The logical conclusion to condemning your condemnation because their numbers are smaller is conceding to any cult, heresy, or false religion that has more adherents than your position.
Finally, making an Argument by Consensus ignores what Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV), “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” It isn’t the many that are correct, but rather the few. In the same way you would have to concede that Roman Catholicism is pure Christianity, a consistent use of Ad Populum arguments would force you to agree Satan is correct and that we should be on the wide way that leads to destruction. There are more people attending Satan’s Churches, going to Satan’s conferences, and worshipping demons than there are people who agree with you on whatever issue you wish to use Ad Populum arguments for.
Before you cite a bandwagon, think through the implications that appealing to the masses will bring. The only thing that the majority can decide is majority opinion, not actual fact. To say otherwise is to unwittingly give in to all sorts of ridiculous beliefs and heresies. Not only should you avoid such a fallacy because it is logically invalid and lacks intellectual integrity, but also because the consistent conclusions would be bending the knee to anyone who has more popular claims or beliefs – including Satan, who leads the wide way leading to destruction.