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Casuistry is most commonly interpreted as the use of clever but unsound reasoning, especially in relation to moral questions. More neutrally it is the primary characteristic of any carefully reasoned argument which can be either licit or illicit, proper or improper, sincere or insincere, depending on the motive of the one presenting the argument. Casuisty is most often used by members of school debating societies or clubs, by lawyers, politicians and lawmakers, promoters, salesmen and advertising agencies.

The Greek philosopher Plato, in his Dialogues, warned against the casuistry of the Sophists.

In the New Testament, the Jews are often seen as using casuistical arguments against Jesus as a means of accusing him of violating the Torah of Moses, and of bringing him before the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate to be condemned to death as a fomenter of rebellion against Rome.

In the arguments generated by heresies throughout the history of Christianity, by the Great Schism of 1054 which divided Rome and Constantinople, the East and the West, and in particular those arguments raised in the 16th century by the controversy of the Protestant Reformation, both Catholic and Orthodox and Protestant apologists in their debates accused each other of using casuistry prompted by the Devil.

The disciples of Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche and Immanuel Kant use casuistry in their arguments against theism and reason.

The casuistry of Relativism which infects and pervades the majority of Public education and of secular culture is responsible for the hostile rejection and ridicule of the fundamental principle of objective morality, and in particular the Ten Commandments.

Christians (Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic) on college and university campuses whose lives witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ are frequently confronted by the aggressively intolerant casuistry of non-believers (students and faculty) who disparage the Gospel and the Bible, either because of their ignorance or because of their hatred of Truth. See John 3:19-21.

See also

Specious reasoning
Philosophical naturalism
Natural Law
Fallacy of invincible ignorance
Cafeteria Christianity