The Consistently Inconsistent Worldview Objection

Suppose someone posits that his or her worldview is consistently inconsistent. He or she admits that there are many inconsistencies within the worldview. In this case, inconsistency is not something to be shunned. Inconsistency is to be affirmed. Embraced. Granted approval. Are there such worldviews? Yes. There are worldviews that come close to rejecting the need for consistency. Buddhism and postmodernism are two examples. How might the covenantal apologist respond?

First, an inconsistency-affirming worldview is also consistency-affirming. There is nothing more inconsistent with inconsistency than consistency. To be consistent, an inconsistency-affirming worldview must also be a consistency-affirming worldview. Likewise, to be inconsistent, an inconsistency-affirming worldview must also be a consistency-affirming worldview. Many times I have sat across the table from people who suggest consistency is no big deal in their worldview. Immediately I respond, “Oh, so consistency is a big deal in your worldview?” People become frustrated rather quickly. They become frustrated because they are inconsistent. Yet they say that they do not care about being inconsistent. Inconsistency is just a part of their worldview. But then so is consistency.

Second, an inconsistency-affirming worldview does not lend itself to rational exchange. Note – and this is extremely important – that the transcendental argument as used by covenantal apologists is not merely a reductio ad absurdum. The internal critique offered by the apologist is not merely to point out some logical contradiction or absurdity. Rather, the internal critique establishes that in virtue of the presuppositions of the non-Christian worldview in question, predication is impossible. Knowledge is impossible. The very intelligibility of the exchange is rendered impossible once a non-Christian worldview is assumed. It does not take very much thinking to draw quick conclusions regarding how impossible communication really is once someone states that inconsistency is to be accepted, rather than rejected, in his or her worldview.

Third, an inconsistency-affirming worldview does not allow for critique of the Christian worldview. Objections to the Christian faith most often pertain to some alleged inconsistency within the worldview. But if inconsistency is allowed within a worldview, it is special pleading to deny such inconsistency to other positions. The objection to the aforementioned response will be to the effect that an internal critique on Christianity already assumes the criterion of consistency as a mark of the true worldview. But if someone gets so far as to point out an inconsistency in the Christian worldview and thus shows the Christian worldview to be false, there is nothing wrong with also proclaiming the Christian worldview to be true. So assuming that an inconsistency-affirming worldview is true, Christianity is beyond critique. The apologist has done his or her job.

Fourth, an inconsistency-affirming worldview is not an apologetic target. Beyond what has been stated here, and with the noted possibility that some other point was missed, an adherent to an inconsistency-affirming worldview is not a proper subject of an apologetic in the most popular sense. Apologetics are most often thought of as a reasoned defense of the faith. Once an individual wholeheartedly, without hesitation, affirms the value of inconsistency in a worldview, he or she is no longer, “playing the reason-giving game,” as Greg Bahnsen used to put it.

Fifth, the objection is not limited to covenantal apologetics alone. It strikes me as odd that covenantal apologists must hear the objection in question as though it belongs to presuppositionalists  alone. How would an evidentialist respond to the inconsistency-affirming worldview? Probably not much differently from what I have written here.

 



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