A few weeks ago I was answering some of the problems an atheist had with the apologetic method that we adhere to. He was noticing it to be a new “fad”. I only posted a few comments in response to some of the comments there and moved on. Today I was reading through some of my unread comments and I noticed that Paul Baird responded to me responding to the blogger. I found some of the comments interesting so I decided to answer them from here. I will post the comments that Baird responded to me responding to Adam. It might get a bit confusing, but I only do this for context.
“Adam (the blog’s author) says..”
“Baird’s response to Resequitur”
And then me again responding to Baird responding to (etc.)
“I don’t understand what ‘self-authenticating means’, and how do you know that your are indeed getting your revelation from the same said God?”
“It means its authenticity comes by way of itself. God, as the ultimate authority, does not need anyone higher, because if He did, He would not be God. He is inscrutable. He is the ultimate rationality, and the creation reflects that rationality inasmuch as He has ordained it to on a created level.”
The problem is that stating that something is self-authenticating is only to start the process, not to end any critique.
I wonder what process Baird is making reference to?
I’m going to guess that he is referring to reason. If this is the case then Baird needs to consider what Christian Theism is teaching concerning matters of revelation and authority and how it has ramifications on how we are to reason. I’m sure he’s been told this a few dozen times but it won’t hurt to tell him again from here
1). God has revealed Himself. He has revealed Himself in simply creating the universe, the laws that govern it, and the creatures in it. All for the purpose of His Glory. For example “O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!” (Psa 8:1) and “The heavens are telling of the glory of God;And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge.” (Psa 19:1,2) and ” For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Rom 1:20) are just some examples. Others to look at would be (Romans 2:14-15, John 1:3, Heb 1:3, Col 1:16-17, Acts 17:28)
a. God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
If the Bible is indeed self authenticating then it should not contradict our observations of the natural world. Indeed our observations of the natural world should self evidently reinforce the authenticity of the Bible.
It may contradict certain interpretations of observations of the natural world. Given that man’s reasoning is never separate from God’s revelation (in the general sense), they always reinforce the authenticity of the Scripture. However, given the nature of the Scripture, futility follows from subjecting Scripture to be given authentication from some proximate authority. It doesn’t work that way, nor can it.
“This is not what happens. You might like to explain that.”
Given that this is a vague reference to some subjective observation, there is nothing to explain. If someone sees blurry splotches of black when he reads a book doesn’t mean that there are really blurry splotches there. It just means he needs to put on some glasses. The same applies with Scripture, they are to be used as spectacles in reasoning, and the observation on what gives natural occurrences their basis.
“Next you post”
“By virtue of revelation in general (the created order) and special revelation (God’s acts in the history of redemption, and the realization of His condescension in Jesus Christ as recorded in Scripture)”
This brings us back to the conflict between what we observe in the natural world and the Bible. If there is a god there his general revelation is ambiguous at best and incoherent at worst.
Still vague references to some conflict between Baird’s subjective observations and the Scripture.
The special revelation is even worse. Are you seriously advcating that we can see god revealed by his acts thoughout history ?
If you mean to say “can we repeat a miracle” then no, I’m not saying that. The signs were specifically to the people that saw them for the purposes of the fulfillment of prophecy. However, the signs and their interpretation were commanded to be recorded, and recounted by the generations that followed, and God expected the generations that followed to believe as well. (Ex. 24:4; 32:33; 34:27; Num 33:2)
“You want to defend specific acts ?”
Why would I need to do that? The acts are true because Christian Theism is true. The only thing in opposition to it is the denial of Christian Theism, which amounts to unintelligibility.
“Furthermore, the best that evidential apologetics can do is to argue that there is good evidence that the gospels could have happened.”
I wasn’t arguing evidentially, so why does this matter?
“If you want to make the case that the life of Jesus as revealed in the Bible is a certainty then please detail your lines of argument.”
It’s certain because it is revealed in the Scripture. The contrary position is impossible, given that there is no reasoning, or anything else for that matter unless it is upheld by the Word of The Son of God’s power.
You then post
“Well, one couldn’t know if one started with themselves as the final reference point, or the ultimate authority. This is your problem, not mine.”
“So, effectively if one has an ontological basis for the ability to engage in rational discourse (which need not be the Christian god) then one can critique the Christian faith. “
Yes it needs to be the Christian God, (everything else fails by virtue of being ~CT) as you’ve heard over and over again, and have yet to deal with. Also, if you are indeed agreeing with me on this point then you are basically admitting that atheism is unintelligible. When you can’t argue in terms of your own worldview, it’s a wonder you can build up the audacity to argue at all.
“Consider it done. The only difference between my ontology and yours is that my is not extended beyond the ontological requirement in the way that yours is. “
If your ontological position is not that of the Christian Theistic scheme, it is false. So pointing out differences doesn’t really help you here.
“I don’t have to defend the inconsistency of the Bible.”
Yet you have to beg the question to assert that.
Then you say
“He’s revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, and has given us His Word, externally, and validities Himself internally through the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit operating alongside the Word of God. It is not I who needs to account for it primarily. Rather, God accounts for Himself primarily through the means mentioned above, and we account for it contingently.”
“Sorry but that is just Christian theological *******. It is utter gibberish that tries to smuggle special pleading into the argument.”
Sometimes you can’t help but chuckle when an atheist resorts to derogatory comments such as “Christian Theological *******” and “utter gibberish that tries to smuggle special pleading into the argument”. Does he tell us why this is the case? No, he just asserts it, and just expects his audience to follow suit. Baird is the word, in the sense that he presents himself to be the final say in all “theological *******”
“The fact is, even if the ontological argument is accepted, all that it gets you to is a generic entity.”
Notice how Baird is the one who brought the ontological argument up. I agree with him. This is why I don’t argue that way. So I have no idea why on earth he brought it on to the table.
“The revelation that you then try to use to get you further is a mixture of an incoherent text, cherry-picking history, and theological ******* to a tune of special pleading “but it can only be the Christian god because it can only be the Christian god
Again, he doesn’t make any arguments. He just uses a bunch of derogatory language instead, with the charge of a fallacious argument that isn’t even present in what I’ve written.
Atheists are their own worst enemy. They refuse to deal with the arguments they are presented with, rather they waste their time coming up with argumentation that doesn’t even resemble the position of their opponent. When all the matches are struck, and the all the strawman are burned down, God still remains on His throne laughing at the insanity of man rebelling against his maker. (c.f. Psalm 2:4)