Reasonable Doubts About Atheist Counter-Apologetics
You will probably cover this in the next podcast – but the things that occurred to me while listening:
I am no Bible scholar but I don’t recall any big discussion of logic principles in the sermon on the mount or anywhere for that matter. So how come the big logic scholars were Greek and worshipped a whole nother set of gods? Seems like the supposition we should arrive at is that things are comprehensible because of Zeus and the titans and not the Hebrew god.
And the point of the bible and the god there-in is the non-logical miracley parts, no? I am excited to hear how that all works in a presuppositional world. All your logics are belong to us – and the nonlogics and the revelations too.
And I love the polyatheism part…but I would have gone with the much funnier pronunciation of Lou – who ends up being Lou Grant in my mind’s eye.
The covenantal apologist does not have to posit that the principles of logic are explicitly stated in Scripture, but rather that the principles of logic only make sense within the worldview described in Scripture. That is, the Christian worldview provides the metaphysical preconditions of logic.
Greeks are no longer considered the “big logic scholars.” This atheist is outdated. The Greeks, and many others, use logic despite their false beliefs. They do in practice what they cannot justify in principle.
There is nothing illogical about miracles. They entail no logical contradiction.
Way too much time and effort has been spent countering these Presuppositionalist clowns.
The first thing to realize is they are trolls. They have no interest in actually having a conversation or a fair debate. Their goal is to confuse and thereby embarrass their opponent.
That said, presuppositionalism need not be all that confusing. They pick out some abstract concept (usually ‘the laws of logic’, ‘absolute morality’, ‘the uniformity of nature’, or induction) and then demand that the atheist ‘give an account’ of that abstract concept.
Giving an account of those concepts is difficult.
Then the presupper gives his account, which is “God did it”.
IMO opinion, trying to ‘give an account’ is the wrong strategy. Rather, it is enough to show that “God did it” is no explanation at all.
On the contrary, way too much time has been spent countering these atheist clowns. The first thing to realize is they are trolls. They have no interest in actually having a conversation or a fair debate. Their goal is to confuse and thereby embarrass their opponent.
You see, anyone can make empty, insulting assertions about someone else. There is no argumentative value in what this guy has written. And what a load of nonsense that I am not interested in conversation or fair debate. I’ve had plenty of them.
The charge that presuppositionalists are out to confuse their opponents says more about Rob than presuppositionalists. Rob is just confused, and I can see how that might be embarrassing. He admits that accounting for logic, morality, the uniformity of nature, and induction is difficult. In fact, he thinks it is a bad strategy to try and account for these fundamental features of intelligible experience. Spoken like a true atheist. There is no account for them in that view.
Accounting for the aforementioned concepts within the Christian worldview is a bit more involved than saying that, “God did it.” So Rob is ignorant of systematic theology and Christian epistemology. That is not surprising, but it does not hurt the case of the presuppositionalist.
Xian presuppers can’t use the “unvarying laws of the universe” or the “absolute morality” to make any case for their god simply because:
1) a god who performs “miracles” shoots down the idea of the “invariant laws of nature”
2) a god who orders things like the killing of pregnant women and kids shoots down the idea of “absolute morality”. If killing babies and pregnant women is wrong when people do it, it would always be wrong if “absolute morality” actually existed.
As for the laws of logic, there is nothing in the bible that details them. One can find verses where perhaps some laws of logic are used, but there is no hint that the bible writers knew of the laws in general.
Unlike the greeks who actually took the time to spell them out.
Reynold thinks that covenantal apologists are committed to some concept of “unvarying laws of the universe,” but this is not necessarily the case. Some do not even believe that there are any such things as “laws.” Perhaps laws are merely descriptions of the regularities we observe in nature. And the Christian knows that these regularities obtain through time and location because it is God who oversees them in that manner. But the atheist has no basis upon which to affirm this understanding of regularities as one of their own, David Hume, famously pointed out.
The question here is not about instances where nature does not behave in a regular fashion. Anomalies presuppose regularities. The Christian can account for the regularities in virtue of God controlling and ordering His creation. The atheist cannot.
Perhaps there are laws of nature, and they do not vary. In that case, God could intervene such that some law is not broken, but neither is it in play in that instance. So there is no successful objection here, and the atheist is still left having dodged, rather than answered, the problems raised for his own view by his own camp.
Absolute morality, whatever that is, would apply to human beings in one sense, and not necessarily to God in that same sense. There are relevant differences between God and His creatures even in the realm of morality. This is nothing new. It has been a part of Christian theology for thousands of years. So, for example, it is perfectly right for God the Creator to take the life of one of His creatures – He owns that life – but it is completely wrong for a human being to take the life of another without God’s permission. So there is no good objection here either.
The examples in question are geared more toward the emotions than they are toward rational thought. And the atheist still has not provided his own understanding of morality, or why murder is wrong. I dare say most atheists are fine with abortion, which is the murder of an unborn baby. Atheists are wicked people, so they are forced to play fast and loose with questions about their moral standards.
No one need claim that the laws of logic are spelled out in the Bible. I have already addressed this strange complaint above in my response to kantalope. Some of the writers of the Bible were familiar with the Greeks, but the Greeks were not the logical giants that this atheist, like another above, makes them out to be.
The podcast brought back a flood of memories of the TULIP teachings of my youth. You can’t even think, argue or question without the sovereignty of God pressing down irresistibly on every thought or breath. The doctrine of the utter unworthiness of any human enterprise was used to good and suffocating effect by the elders. God loves you so much he will shame and humiliate until you agree. I’d forgotten the technique until the podcast and realized what a luxury we’ve enjoyed in dealing with lightweight American style fundamentalism.
A few thoughts on the presuppers. In a lot of ways their arguments are not different from the fundamentalist ones.
The demand to justify our theories of knowledge, morality and logic is a variant on the god-of-the-gaps. The assertion that “what your theory can’t explain” [the gap] is proof that our god is the answer — is not better in the presupps hands than it is in the creationist’s. Just more sophisticated in its appeal to western philosophy. I think the presuppers get their traction from that fact that more people today know their biology than know their ‘history of western thought.” Would that as many know Hume as Darwin.
In fact our worldview begins with existence and perception. We don’t worry that much over where the “absolutes” like the speed of light, inverse square law of gravity, behavior of particles, come from — they simply are and we deal with them. Ditto the laws of logic. At the heart of presupp demand for your rationale is the hoary old ‘prime mover’ argument with a whiff of the ontological argument thrown in for flavoring. The same counter apologetics should apply.
The other observation from my unmisspent calvinist youth is that the scholastic god demonstrated by their ‘proof’ is such a far cry from the biblical revelation they claim to cherish. The god there is neither logical nor moral. The presupp god might be transcendentally ‘necessary’ but it sure isn’t worthy of any decent person’s worship or thinking persons assent.
Clearly Michael struggles with shame and humiliation, though he gives no indication as to what it is in particular that makes him experience these emotions. At the very least he has an insufficient understanding of the Gospel, the most basic element of the Christian worldview. He is in no position to try to go beyond that and critique Christianity or presuppositional apologetics.
God-of-the-gaps argues that since there are gaps in our scientific understanding God must exist. But that is a terrible type of argument, and is unrelated to transcendental arguments. Transcendental arguments move from some given general principle or operative feature of intelligible experience and conclude that some set of preconditions is necessary for said principle or feature to obtain. This is accomplished by denying the alleged metaphysical preconditions and generating some inconsistency.
God-of-the-gaps pertain to science. Transcendental arguments pertain to epistemology. God-of-the-gaps start with a gap in knowledge. Transcendental arguments start with knowledge. God-of-the-gaps arbitrarily posit some entity to explain an unknown. Transcendental arguments posit the only entity that can explain an unknown. God-of-the-gaps do not result in irrationally holding to some general principle or operative feature if they are rejected. Transcendental arguments result in irrationally holding to some general principle or operative feather if they are rejected.
Claiming of laws of nature and logic that “they simply are and we deal with them” is not accounting for them at all. It’s just hand waving in an attempt to save face in light of well-known philosophical concerns that you cannot answer. Transcendental arguments are not traditional cosmological or ontological arguments. That is a category error.
Since the God in view in the covenantal apologist’s arguments is the God of Christian Scripture He is not “scholastic” or far from biblical revelation. Just asserting that God is neither logical nor moral is rather humorous. Atheists often aim for nothing and hit it every time. This atheist in particular grants that God may be transcendentally necessary but then whines that according to his own misguided subjective opinion God is not worthy of worship or even intellectual assent. And again that says much more about the atheist than it does about either God or presuppositionalism.