Apologetics to the Glory of God

An Informal Introduction to Covenantal Apologetics: Part 7 – Moral and intellectual objections of the unbeliever.

By C.L. Bolt

Objections to the evidence and traditional proofs for the existence of God or truth of Christianity or whatever other Christian tenet is in question are rejected or at any rate called into question by the unbeliever because of their fatalities and weaknesses in terms of the arguments themselves. Some are rejected simply due to persuasion; they are not persuasive to unbelievers. There is, after all, a difference between proof and persuasion. One can offer a perfectly sound proof and yet still have people who are not persuaded by it. The unbeliever has generally valid complaints with respect to the proof aspect of traditional arguments, and has generally valid objections to the way that evidence is presented most of the time. Additionally, many of the proofs or evidences are simply rejected because they fail to persuade the unbeliever.

We have seen, however, that both the effectiveness of the evidence or arguments and their persuasiveness rely upon having a proper understanding of them in terms of the Christian worldview. It is only through presupposing the Christian worldview or through offering such proofs and evidences within the context of the Christian worldview already rejected by the unbeliever that the proofs and evidences make sense and work. By work here I do not mean anything like “convert” or even “persuade,” but work argumentatively, although the former senses are certainly often tied the latter.

The unbeliever will not, however, presuppose the Christian worldview in order to accept it. The unbeliever’s point is to press home the fact that the Christian is stuck. Setting aside whether or not Christianity is either true or justified, or even assuming that it is true or justified, the unbeliever explains that she does not know how to get over to the Christian worldview. The route home is certainly not by way of the proofs or evidences offered, which proofs and evidences make sense and work only within the context of the Christian worldview, which worldview is the point of contention. The unbeliever may have some valid complaints and critiques here taken in terms of the arguments and evidences offered especially depending upon the objective manner in which they are offered.

A reason that the unbeliever ultimately refuses to accept these arguments and evidences is that she has a set of faulty presuppositions, presuppositions which skew the unbelieving understanding of the evidence as it truly is. These faulty presuppositions are both intellectual and moral in nature. In truth, the intellectual and the moral are never really separated one from the other. Everything intellectual is moral. Not only is the unbeliever really and truly opposed to Christianity in an intellectual sense, but in a moral sense as well. Rather than starting from where God would have someone to start, the unbeliever chooses to start from where he or she wants to start. The revelation of God is rejected as such and an alternative scheme is attempted through which the evidence and arguments discussed above will be interpreted. In this sense the unbeliever is stuck; enslaved to his or her faulty and immoral presuppositions. The unbeliever, in setting herself up as judge over God, has turned herself against God and will not receive anything as being of God. This plays a strong role in the discussion of the presuppositional nature of the disagreement over evidence. The unbeliever is willingly enslaved to sinful presuppositions. It is worth noting here that the believer sometimes behaves in a similar fashion. The believer who hears the Word and does not do it is self-deceived. Further, repentance and faith are necessary for the change in presuppositions and both are gifts granted by God. Thus the believer has no reason to look down upon the unbeliever in any meritorious sense by virtue of his posture.

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