60 Comments

RazorsKiss

No, Trinity is not hotly debated in Christian circles. It’s definitional for being in the Christian circle to begin with.

Matt Oxley

It was for hundreds of years, the deity of Christ caused great strife amongst early Christians until the Chalcedonian Christology was accepted and adopted as a cardinal doctrine. You may not believe this, but not everyone has always believed and interpreted the Bible in the way that you do and that fact does nothing to invalidate your understanding or theirs.

RazorsKiss

No, the deity of Christ was challenged by the Arians – a heretical sect, and decidedly non-Christian. The issue with the Arians was not that they were saying something a significant minority had been saying all along – it was that they were a vocal *novelty*. Making unproven, unargued assertions does not demonstrate your claim. I’ve taught church history, and I’ve studied the primary sources – your claim is demonstrably incorrect. This is a common failing with many so-called skeptics. They simply don’t know what they’re talking about.

RazorsKiss

Certainty doesn’t “keep God alive”, either.

RazorsKiss

“I don’t believe in God, so why would I hate him?”

Rom. 1:28-30 – “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents”

Matt Oxley

Oh, the Bible says it’s true so it must be true.

Remember that circularity thing?

RazorsKiss

See, if someone had bothered to read the FAQ, and/or the secondary (like, you know, our dozens of posts on that precise topic), sources (or, even more amazingly, the primary sources!) some of these common misconceptions would have been answered. This is why I have so little respect for new atheists. They are, quite simply, terminally ignorant of that which they critique. When challenged, it almost inevitably comes down to them telling you they are experts in what you have been studying for years, despite the fact that they are not only new to the subject, but are not especially conversant in that little they have exposed themselves to.

Matt Oxley

I’m far from an expert in your particular brand of Christian theology, nor have I ever made that claim. I know a great deal about the theology that I come from and though it does not directly mirror your own it’s differences are not so great that they are entirely incompatible – at least in my mind. Then again you seem to have a very narrow view and that does seem to have a certain amount of biblical support – I remember when I knew everything too, it was nice.

I don’t think I made braggart claims during this debate, I think I simply stuck to my guns – those being that I’m not capable of building certainty outside of my chosen frame and that I wouldn’t even try. I’m even granting to you the benefit that I recognize that I’m accepting the circularity and faithfulness of trusting in my frame – but I’m trying to better that by giving reasons why i feel that it is more trustworthy than your own since it has built in redundancies, peer review, and the ability to restructure itself when something goes awry.

Matt Oxley

by the way, the moment you claim to be an expert in your particular field and come with the ego that you seem to have you lose my attention. As a student of life that finds himself continually learning about even the things that I’m most well versed in – I appreciate that Chris, though he has credentials beyond my own and then some, has the humility to deal kindly with people that he disagrees with.

RazorsKiss

See, this is one of the problems we’re facing. The assumption seems to be made that this is merely “a brand” of theology – like this is a supermarket of theology, and you only need buy the brand you prefer. I’d like to hope that Matt knows this is not the claim we make, and decidedly not the claim that any even putatively Christian group makes – but given his background, that’s nothing like assured. Whether he makes the claim to expertise or not, it’s his responsibility to accurately deal with what he’s attempting to critique. This requires a certain amount of study and preparation on his part. These are the building blocks of expertise. Dealing with a subject you do not possess the requisite expertise to address is, quite frankly, not especially advisable.

On the other hand, the system he is actually dealing with is heir to the doctrines of church history, of the Reformation, and the foundation of much of the society in which he dwells. As such, given the monumental scope of influence which Historic and Reformed theology wields, it seems to be even more problematic that he hasn’t put more of an effort into studying what it is we believe. Our readers know that this is perhaps the subject I’ve talked about in more detail than any other over the past several years – the responsibility of the unbeliever to accurately represent that which he is trying to critique. Mr. Oxley would have found this prominently featured on this site if he’d taken the time and spent the requisite effort to study what it is we’re actually saying. Instead, he has echoed practically every common objection and frequent misconception we’ve dealt with over the years. This is more than a small problem – this is a huge problem.

Now, while it’s all well and good to make claims about how arrogant and egocentric I am – notice where he’s saying these things, and in regard to what subject. This site is dedicated to _teaching_ presuppositional apologetics – and my personal bailiwick is teaching the importance of theological fundamentals in driving your apologetic forward. I’ve said nothing whatsoever to him that I haven’t said to many, MANY other young unbelievers who make the same objection, on the same grounds, for he same mistaken reasons. His problem is not that he actually does know what he’s talking about – it’s that he had every opportunity to avoid making those same mistakes, because we’ve gone to the effort of telling he and his fellow unbelievers about every single one of these common pitfalls they tend to fall into – it’s that he didn’t take sufficient time to look. The snark in “I remember when I knew everything” – from someone who’s only been at this a few years – to someone who has read his own blog practically since he “came out” as an atheist; is amazing, to say the least. I’ve watched as Oxley went from a blowhard teenager to a self-assured young man – assured about the wrong things, for the wrong reasons, certainly – but what he may not realize is that I’ve been reading what he has to write since he was a teenager. I do indeed remember what it was like to know everything – and that’s certainly not today. However, I do know what’s like to have a solid foundation, and years of study behind me in this very subject – and years spent explaining and teaching the very subject he’s come onto our site to lecture us about.

I would respectfully submit to Matt that if he wants to get more respect for his ideas concerning our system of theology – that it might behoove him to have an informed opinion about it, instead of getting upset when he’s called on the carpet for making ignorant comments. In my estimation, the self-proclaimed “shepherd of doubting souls” needs to have a little clearer picture of what it is those souls are in doubt about in order to do any sort of effective counseling. There’s a reason that there are so many “doubting souls” in general evangelicalism. It happens to be the same reason that Matt doesn’t even know what historic, orthodox Christianity is – because both they and his old church abandoned the principles of historic orthodoxy in a big way – and are now reaping the dubious “benefits” of that abandonment, just as Machen predicted.

He can call me egocentric all he likes – but he’s on a site specializing in teaching presup, and butchering the site’s specialty. It would seem to me that there’s a difference between a formal debate and baiting the bear in it’s den. If he didn’t like my assessment of his theological acumen – tough. I haven’t seen anything to change my mind. I haven’t seen a single argument to buttress the claim that Christianity is inherently theologically pluralistic, either – yet I’ve see both he and Silverman make the same claim. Naked assertion, really. Unfortunately for them, I’m not especially interested in their subjectivism on the topic. Whatever they happen to think in regards to what is, and is not Christian belief – there is a historical basis for the claims I’ve made on that subject – and unlike their comments on this site, I can make them here in the context of the wealth of apologetical, theological and church history posts I’ve made here that directly pertain. Let me emphasize it again – it’s one thing to have a discussion in a formal context – it’s another to make repeated claims of an incendiary nature that have been repeatedly addressed on the very site you repeat them on – and then to take offense when these things are pointed out to you. That is, quite simply, hubris and indolence.

Matt Oxley

RK,

I do consider your brand of Christianity to be just that, a brand of strict fundamentalism that belies in the edge of society – my labeling of your sect as such has no bearing on whether or not it contains or purports to the Truth, nor would I make the claim that my word has anything to do with how true your brand of Christianity is.

When I met the choosing hats crew for the first time it was in your chat room…maybe two years ago now, I freely and openly admitted to having an extremely limited understanding of both the Reformed position and the apologetic that you employed – I don’t believe I’ve changed that stance even now, although I’m slightly less ignorant of your stances. I admit to knowing very little of Reformed theology, my studies in the past didn’t require me to garner a depth of understanding in the way that yours have…is that a failing of mine? Sure. But because when I claimed Christianity I believed I held the Truth I felt very little need to examine reformed theology as if my own needed to be replaced.

I’m very much still learning, I didn’t challenge Mr. Bolt to this debate – he challenged me, and because I obviously could use the practice I decided to accept. I learned a lot and plan to continue learning about Reformed theology in the future. I have never laid claim to expertise about what you guys do here – honestly it confounds me as to why you do it as I can’t imagine that it’s successful in accomplishing anything other than generating back-slaps and reinforcing your own deeply held beliefs.

You seem to have a hard time recognizing that people like me don’t believe that there is such a thing as Christian Orthodoxy, much less that you or anyone else has the right to define it. Rather, someone like myself is likely to come to the conclusion that because of your own confirmation bias – you’ve been able to support your truth claims and reinforce them to the point that your position is immovable — somehow you think that your claim on Truth is unique, much like I did when I believed that Christ was God’s son. As an individual that rejects the notion of Christian Orthodoxy I’m far more likely to use generic language when I refer to anything within the Christian worldview, any Christian worldview, rather than adapt it to conform to a system that is as yet foreign to me.

Resequitur

“I do consider your brand of Christianity to be just that, a brand of strict fundamentalism that belies in the edge of society – my labeling of your sect as such has no bearing on whether or not it contains or purports to the Truth, nor would I make the claim that my word has anything to do with how true your brand of Christianity is.”

The problem is that you keep subjecting it to your judgement of what it looks like, when we are challenging you to consider it on it’s own terms. Something that you have been unable to do thus far. If you wish to continue to argue in such a fashion, that’s fine, but it demonstrates that you aren’t listening to the form of argumentation that we are providing, and that you are just throwing stones from glass houses.

“You seem to have a hard time recognizing that people like me don’t believe that there is such a thing as Christian Orthodoxy,”

No we see that, that isn’t the problem. The problem is that you haven’t dealt with the mass amount of evidence to the contrary, nor have you formed any cogent argument for what you believe to be the case. You say you are “slightly less ignorant” on the one hand, and on the other you continue to objectively assert that we are a sect and a small brand. Again on the one hand you say something, and then you step back and say “I don’t know if it has anything to do with how true that is”. I mean if you can’t even listen to your own judgement, why do you expect anyone else to?

“As an individual that rejects the notion of Christian Orthodoxy I’m far more likely to use generic language when I refer to anything within the Christian worldview, any Christian worldview, rather than adapt it to conform to a system that is as yet foreign to me.”

Yet an opinion doesn’t substitute for an argument. You are going to have to do a little better than that.

C.L. Bolt

The statement in question from the debate was:

“The evidence and arguments for the existence of God are abundant and plain, but my debate opponent will not accept them. Non-Christians have a deep hatred for the things of God, and they will strive to interpret any potential evidence for the existence of God through this spiritual, moral, and intellectual framework that is thoroughly ravaged by sin. It is by the grace of God alone that a person is saved from such a predicament.”

Now clearly this is an explanation *from within the context of the Christian worldview* as to why even though evidences are abundant and plain, non-Christians will not accept them. So yes, the statement derives its support from the Bible. I’m not sure why it would be a shock to anyone that I take the things that the Bible says to be true. Apparently I am not being clear. And no, it is not a “circular argument” to claim that something that the Bible says is true is in fact true. I think people like to throw around the charge of circularity without really knowing what it means.

D. L. Silverman

“And no, it is not a “circular argument” to claim that something that the Bible says is true is in fact true. ”

I don’t believe that anyone is intending to claim that claiming something in the Bible is true is circular reasoning. But, instead, that it is circular reasoning to claim something is true simply because it is in the Bible (because the claim that the Bible is true is based on the Bibles own claims). Many believers will use a statement like, “The Bible says it and that settles it.” But why does it “settle it”? Because, in their mind, the Bible is the Word of God. Why is it the Bible the Word of God? Because the Bible says it is. But that is circular reasoning. They will claim the Bible is true. Why? Because God is true. Why? Because the Bible says so (Romans 3:4). That, again, is circular reasoning.

C.L. Bolt

Yeah, you don’t have to explain circular reasoning to me. Not sure you were following the discussion or the debate. Neither RK nor I used circular reasoning, but it was implied that RK did above.

At some point everyone must accept a final reference point in terms of authority. The Christian takes that to be the revelation of God. That’s not circular. When a Christian is asked why he thinks that non-Christians hate the things of God and he answers from Scripture, that is not circular either. Hope this helps.

D. L. Silverman

When someone says something like RK did (i.e. that unbelievers hate god because it says so in Romans 1:28ff) then they are employing circular reasoning. Why? Because the discussion invariably will go like this:

Believer – You hate god!
Unbeliever – No, I don’t!
Believer – Yes, you do! It says so in Romans 1:28-30!
Unbeliever – But, I don’t hate god!
Believer – Yes, you do. The Bible says so.
Unbeliever – Oh. So the Bible says it is true, so it must be true.
Believer – Yes.
Unbeliever – Why is the Bible true?
Believer – Because it is the Word of God.
Unbeliever – How do you know it is the Word of God?
Believer – Because the Bible says so …

You see, your presumption that the Bible is telling you the truth in all things is based upon the concept that the Bible is the Word of God. The concept that the Bible is the Word of God is built upon things that are stated within the Bible itself. This, in and of itself, is circular reasoning right from the get go.

But even if I take the Bible’s supposed teaching that it is the Word of God, then how do I know this God is trustworthy? Again, because the Bible says that we can trust God. Again, circular reasoning.

So, when someone like RK states that Matt (or I) hate God and this is founded upon a verse in the Bible, then it enters into circular reasoning. The Bible says so, so it must be true, because the Bible is the Word of God (because the Bible says so) and God is true (because the Bible says so).

C.L. Bolt

Right, so like I figured, you are not really following the conversation above or the debate. You just wrote out a conversation that never actually happened in order to accuse RK of circular reasoning. Why not stick with what the conversation is actually about? When RK said what he did, he did so in light of the debate. I quoted the relevant portion in my comment above. You need to go back and read that again.

Now even the conversation you made up does not help your case out. Why not? Because like most other non-Christians I have run across in my eight plus years of doing this, you are not thinking in a self-critical manner.

Unbeliever – I don’t hate God!
Believer – Yes you do!
Unbeliever – No I don’t! I don’t even believe in him!
Believer – But, you do hate God.
Unbeliever – No I don’t. Because I say so.
Believer – Oh. So you say it is true, so it must be true.
Unbeliever – Yes.
Believer – Why is what you say true?
Unbeliever – I give you my word it is!
Believer – Why should I accept your word over God’s?
Unbeliever – Because I say so…

You see, your presumption that your mental faculties are telling you the truth in all things is based upon the concept that your mental faculties are reliable. The concept that your mental faculties are reliable is built upon things which your mental faculties tell you to think. This, in and of itself, is circular reasoning right from the get go.

You’re not only engaging in special pleading, but you’re doing so with respect to a tertiary matter that does not come close to addressing the substance of the argument(s) I offered in my Opening Statement. That, along with the limited amount of time I have right now and my usual ‘rule’ that I don’t debate about my past debates will prevent me from jumping into the conversation much, if any more.

But I did want to point out to you that you’re straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel here. I would recommend you spend some time on the site reading where all of the things you’re just beginning to see have already been addressed. I don’t mean that in a condescending way. I just mean that things are a bit more complex than what you may have made them out to be.

D. L. Silverman

I did indeed follow the debate and what was written in this thread. I was defending Matt’s statement that RK was engaging in circular reasoning, which he was. Matt may have preempted the conversation by jumping to the conclusion, but I believe it is a valid one. Secondly, I know I made up the conversation. It was to illustrate a point, not to say that RK would have said any of it. Even so, it is, to some degree, the basis behind the thinking. Most Christians refuse to admit their own circular reasoning despite it being aptly present. Again, your arguments for your system of belief come from (or are believed to be from) the Bible. Why is the Bible reliable for this? Because it is the Word of God. How do you know it is the Word of God? Because it says so. And so it goes.

You have also made some assumptions in your above statement. I do not assume that my mental faculties are telling me the truth about all things. I do not claim that my eyes, my ears, my senses are completely accurate in the least. I am keenly aware that there are light waves that I cannot see and sounds that I cannot hear. I also realize that my mind can play tricks on me. We all confabulate, for example. However, in order to move through this life, we have to assume some level of accuracy with our senses, our mental faculties. Else I could not drive a car for I would never be certain if what I am seeing is correct (is that really another car in front of me and did he really just come to a stop?). But on a day to day basis my eyes have given me a reasonable amount of certainty. So have my ears. Therefore I can function in life.

C.L. Bolt

If you followed the debate and the thread, then I will unfortunately just have to think you dishonest, as opposed to ill-informed. Why?

Because, for one, you continue to assert repeatedly that RK’s comment was in some form or fashion circular, which it was not, and this was already explained to you. Again, the statement in question from the debate was:

“The evidence and arguments for the existence of God are abundant and plain, but my debate opponent will not accept them. Non-Christians have a deep hatred for the things of God, and they will strive to interpret any potential evidence for the existence of God through this spiritual, moral, and intellectual framework that is thoroughly ravaged by sin. It is by the grace of God alone that a person is saved from such a predicament.”

Now clearly this is an explanation *from within the context of the Christian worldview* as to why even though evidences are abundant and plain, non-Christians will not accept them. So yes, the statement derives its support from the Bible. That’s not circular. It’s an *explanation* of what Christians believe and why. It is *not* an argument for the veracity of the Bible. So kindly stop misrepresenting the point.

You claim, “I was defending Matt’s statement that RK was engaging in circular reasoning, which he was.” Yet earlier in the thread you wrote, “I don’t believe that anyone is intending to claim that claiming something in the Bible is true is circular reasoning.” Which is it?

You claim, “I know I made up the conversation. It was to illustrate a point, not to say that RK would have said any of it.” Yet earlier in the thread you wrote, “When someone says something like RK did (i.e. that unbelievers hate god because it says so in Romans 1:28ff) then they are employing circular reasoning. Why? Because the discussion *invariably* will go like this,” and then offered your make-believe conversation, complete with the typical hypothetical intellectually superior atheist. Which is it?

“Again, your arguments for your system of belief come from (or are believed to be from) the Bible. Why is the Bible reliable for this? Because it is the Word of God. How do you know it is the Word of God? Because it says so. And so it goes.”

Again, since you claim to have followed the debate, I can only infer that you really are a dishonest person. An outright liar. That was not my argument. Nor was the Bible as the Word of God the topic of debate. So why lie about this? When you do not know how to respond to an argument, do you think it is okay to just make one up and put it in my mouth? Apparently you do.

“I do not assume that my mental faculties are telling me the truth about all things…However, in order to move through this life, we have to assume some level of accuracy with our senses, our mental faculties…But on a day to day basis my eyes have given me a reasonable amount of certainty. So have my ears.”

Right, so you assumed that your mental faculties are generally reliable in order to come to the conclusion that your mental faculties are generally reliable. That’s helpful. I can totally see how that is not circular. Yup.

D. L. Silverman

Wow. How typical. When having a discussion and someone disagrees with your Christian viewpoint, you start calling names. I never once called you a name. I never once claimed you were not being dishonest.

You should probably go back and listen to some of your earlier statements in the debate. For example, Matt asked you about proofs. You stated (and this is not a quote) that the Bible was not the only proof. Then when Matt pressured you for proof, you went back to the Bible, not these other proofs.

You may not like to admit it, but the Bible is indeed the ultimate proof for the believer. Not the creation (despite Psalm 19). Not the conscious of man. Etc. You can deny it all you want, but it is the Bible that the believer runs to in order to validate their experiences. The world is interpreted through the lens of the Scriptures for the believer.

Unbelievers hate god. The Bible says so. It does not matter how many times the unbeliever says he does not hate god, the believer will claim we lie since the Bible says the we hate god. All people are depraved sinners. The Bible says so. It does not matter how many unbelievers live good lives and do good things. Since they are not purposing to glorify god then their works are evil (see, I told you that unbelievers were sinfully depraved! See! The Bible is right … because it said it was!).

What this means is, despite what you see with your own eyes, what you take in through your own mental faculties, you will filter it all through the Bible as the ultimate litmus test. No matter the life a person lives, if they don’t ascribe to your own brand of Christianity, they are sinners in need of salvation. Why? Because the Bible says so (or, better yet, your doctrine/dogma says so). A hurricane comes about due to predictable, quantifiable, and understandable natural causes. But many believers will see the hand of god judging a nation for allowing gays to marry, for allowing “immoral” things to take place. Again, the event, no matter how natural, is filtered through the lens of the Bible.

C.L. Bolt

“Wow. How typical. When having a discussion and someone disagrees with your Christian viewpoint, you start calling names.”

Excuse me? I’ve had plenty of discussions with people who disagree with my Christian viewpoint without calling them names. I was having one with you. Then you indicated that you are being dishonest, and so I pointed that out.

“I never once called you a name. I never once claimed you were not being dishonest.”

I think you’re a bit overly sensitive and missing the point. I called you dishonest because you are being dishonest. It would not have been beneficial to anyone for you to do the same to me, because I’m not being dishonest.

“You should probably go back and listen to some of your earlier statements in the debate. For example, Matt asked you about proofs. You stated (and this is not a quote) that the Bible was not the only proof.”

Actually, Matt asked me about “evidences,” and I went through what might be meant by that term given his radical empiricist stance, and mentioned that the Bible is not evidence in that sense and that evidences in the Christian sense of the term are not limited to the Bible.

“Then when Matt pressured you for proof, you went back to the Bible, not these other proofs.”

Um. I offered my proof up front in the debate. In my Opening Statement. Before Matt ever began speaking. Again, I’d say that maybe you doze off during that part, but you said you followed the debate, so here you are lying again. Were you also under the impression that I have to offer the type of proof that you want during a debate? You must think very highly of yourself!

“You may not like to admit it, but the Bible is indeed the ultimate proof for the believer.”

I don’t even know what that means. In what sense is the Bible a “proof” at all?

“Not the creation (despite Psalm 19).”

I’ve cited/quoted Psalm 19 many times to the effect that the evidence for God is abundant and plain.

“You can deny it all you want, but it is the Bible that the believer runs to in order to validate their experiences. The world is interpreted through the lens of the Scriptures for the believer.”

Well yeah, duh. Not sure why you think I would deny that. In fact I’ve affirmed it. A lot. Again you might want to spend some time looking around the site. You’re oversimplifying things and not looking too swift in doing so.

“Unbelievers hate god. The Bible says so. It does not matter how many times the unbeliever says he does not hate god, the believer will claim we lie since the Bible says the we hate god.”

I never said that the unbeliever lies when he claims that he does not hate God. In fact I explicitly stated in the debate that self-deception is *not* the same thing as lying. I gave you the benefit of the doubt, and what do you do? Lie about what I would say? And let’s not forget that your sticking point here can be turned right back on you. No matter how many times the Bible says that the unbeliever does hate God, the unbeliever will claim that it lies because he does not hate God.

“All people are depraved sinners. The Bible says so. It does not matter how many unbelievers live good lives and do good things. Since they are not purposing to glorify god then their works are evil (see, I told you that unbelievers were sinfully depraved! See! The Bible is right … because it said it was!).”

You need to brush up on your Christian theology before coming around Christian sites trying to take shots at it. Christians do not deny that unbelievers can live good lives and do good things. That’s perfectly consistent with the claim that people are also depraved sinners. People are totally depraved, touched by sin in every area of their person, but they are not utterly depraved, because God’s grace restrains their evil. And yes the Bible says that. And no that is not “circular.” As I mentioned before, I’m not sure you know what “circular” even means. You keep conflating an *explanation* of the Christian worldview with an *argument for* the Christian worldview. They are not one and the same, even though they rely upon one another. You need to get that straight in your mind. When RK was offering his comment, he was doing so in an attempt to *illustrate* one place I was getting my claim about non-Christians hating the things of God. He was not offering an argument for the truth of that statement. He was not offering an argument for the truth of the Christian worldview. He was merely explaining my basis for my claim *within the context of my worldview*.

“What this means is, despite what you see with your own eyes, what you take in through your own mental faculties, you will filter it all through the Bible as the ultimate litmus test.”

Yup. Is this supposed to shock me or something? It’s what I’ve been arguing people must do. In fact if you don’t do it, you end up in intellectual futility. And yes, I have arguments for that. I offered a number of them during the debate.

“No matter the life a person lives, if they don’t ascribe to your own brand of Christianity, they are sinners in need of salvation.”

Actually even those who *do* subscribe (not “ascribe”) to my “brand” of Christianity are sinners in need of salvation, as am I, and as are you.

“Why? Because the Bible says so”

Yup.

“…(or, better yet, your doctrine/dogma says so).”

Well texts are determinate, so if you want to try and argue that the Bible does not make that claim be my guest. You’ll be wrong, and I’ll demonstrate that you are wrong.

“A hurricane comes about due to predictable, quantifiable, and understandable natural causes. But many believers will see the hand of god judging a nation for allowing gays to marry, for allowing ‘immoral’ things to take place. Again, the event, no matter how natural, is filtered through the lens of the Bible.”

Again, if you understood Christian theology a bit better before trying to attack it, you would realize that God works through natural causes.

Forgive me for noticing, but you haven’t addressed your own “circularity” that I pointed out in my previous post, nor have you come clean about the fact that I actually did offer some arguments in my debate that you have totally ignored.

RazorsKiss

The only reason is his own psychological certainty? Did Oxley even listen to Chris?

RazorsKiss

Wow, someone had no idea what presup was coming into the debate.

Matt Oxley

No, I know what it is, I just refuse to adopt a frame based on the assumptions made out of a holy book that I can easily dismiss as true – I know what presupp is, and it’s an attempt to keep any burden off of the aff. I’m not playing that game which is why my framework argument got so much air time.

RazorsKiss

Then why, throughout the debate, did you constantly misrepresent Christian belief, and what presup actually says? Again and again you 1) Made the point that there are two different “frames” (next time, it might be more helpful to use a term that is in use in the current discussion) then 2) Insisted that everyone frame the question in terms of your “frame” 3) Claim victory, on the basis of your frame. Further, the constant assertion that your “brand” of Christianity was, somehow, identical to ours, for those of us who have followed you for some time, is quite ludicrous. You were never a confessionalist, never Reformed, and had little to nothing to do with any of us – in fact, when you encountered Reformed believers, you had to ask what it was we believed . From how you characterized what we believe, and what we argue, it was quite evident that you are not, in fact, very familiar with the method, or the theology behind it.

RazorsKiss

How many well-poisoning, unargued assertions is he going to make in a single statement?

RazorsKiss

Again, the Trinity is not “hotly debated” in the Christian church. The Trinity is definitional to Christian belief.

RazorsKiss

Circular? Says the guy who says he “just assumes” empiricism, and any “justification” of empiricism can only occur within the framework of empiricism.

RazorsKiss

“Just show me evidence” is useless when admittedly, there are two different frameworks of the *meaning of* evidence being examined. That’s why we go to the worldview level, Matt.

RazorsKiss

Matt, buddy – the reason you’re a naturalistic empiricist is because you’re a sinner. God isn’t going to approve your problematic self-justifications by telling us to put our argument into your terms. Your particular persuasion as to the merits of the argument is not the basis as to whether it’s a good argument.

C.L. Bolt

One correction:

At 35:45 I say that, “If the Quran is false then the Bible is false.”

That was an error on my part. I intended to say, “If the Bible is true the Quran is false.”

Sorry for all of the confusion that might cause.

D. L. Silverman

Then notice what you’ve said. At one point you said that if the Qu’ran is true, then the Bible is true. Now you say that if the Bible is true, then the Qu’ran is false. It can’t work like that. Because, if the Qu’ran were true, thus making the Bible true, then the Bible being true would then prove the Qu’ran false (according to what you’ve stated above).

C.L. Bolt

Yes, I know. The Bible is true, and the Quran is false. There is an inherent contradiction in the revelatory presupposition of the Islamic worldview. That was the point.

S. Holloway

Mr. Oxley’s attempts to paint Mr. Bolt into a corner by setting up a fallacy in claiming that the reliability of Scripture is based on circular reasoning. The empirical evidence that the Bible is reliable and the Koran is not is the prophecy they contain. Sure it is correct that there are many claims of divine revelation. We can judge the reliability of those claims by the truth of their prophecy. The Koran contains very little prophecy, and what it does contain is vague enough to be discounted as being fulfilled by a divine being. The Bible makes astounding prophetic claims. The prophecy of Christ is overwhelming of itself, but if you want to claim that we can’t prove the existence of Christ, then simply look to Israel. The fulfilled prophecy regarding the Jewish people and their nation’s history and current existence is insurmountable. Biblical prophecy is so precise and descriptive of supernatural and astronomically unlikely events that only the intervention of a divine being can explain them.

Matt Oxley

I would have loved it if someone would have tried to prevent some of that evidential prophecy. I’m fairly sure I asked for evidence that would appeal to my frame.

RazorsKiss

Which is one very major reason why I said you just don’t get presup.

Matt Oxley

Oh I get it.. Like I said, you don’t want to deal with evidence because you know that’s where you lose…Presup is an excuse to bring people into a debate of confusion and dismay and shift the burden of proof from the claimant to someone else. If you ever want to debate within the frame that myself and most of the rest of the world operate within you’ll find yourselves with broken legs and book full of errors. In your world all of those things are impossible so why bother bringing them up as the Neg?

RazorsKiss

No, I don’t want to deal with “the evidence” first because while you’re giving lip service to the idea that there are actually different worldviews, you then turn directly around and ignore it. The reason we don’t deal with evidence first is, quite simply, that there is a virtually universal lack of self-reflection in operation when it comes to the basis for *how you consider the facts in question.* Furthermore, what is often so confidently asserted to be “fact”, as can be clearly seen in the case of Silverman’s comments below, is nothing of the sort. They are old wives’ tales, or plain ol’ fabrications.

This is fascinating to me. The objection you made is explictly covered in our FAQ section – yet it doesn’t seem that you’ve bothered to read it, even after being encouraged to do so. We deal directly with what the reason is for not dealing with evidence, and we have multiple posts on the ridiculous “shifting the burden of proof” claim. There is also the fundamental misunderstanding of presup, and of your own talk about “frames” when the claim is made that we *should* be arguing *within* your “frame”. The whole point of bringing up the antithetical worldviews we have is that _we can’t argue within each other’s worldview_ – this is the crucial, underlying, and central point we’re trying to get across. Yet, instead of showing that you understand this, you say precisely the opposite – while trying to use terminology that gives the impression that you actually understand it.

You can’t say things like “debate within the frame that myself…” and claim to understand presup. The two are fundamentally incompatible. You can’t go on talking about how we have “different frames” as if this means something, then ignore what you just said and insist that we argue *within your worldview.* It’s stupefying. Do we have different worldviews, or do we not? If we do, then stop saying silly things like that we need to debate you within your frame – you know, the one that we say is both unintelligible, and renders everything unintelligible? That one? Again, it’s question begging, it’s quite amazingly dense, and it impresses nobody at all when you make statements that clearly show that you don’t understand what it is you’re critiquing. Using the exact same assertions we’ve addressed dozens of times, and trying to use our language but saying the opposite thing with it. All it does is make you look ignorant, and hurts your case more than I think you realize.

C.L. Bolt

S. Holloway,

The reason I did not mention prophecy is because I would consider it among that long list of evidences which the unbeliever will attempt to explain away in virtue of his or her own presuppositions.

If we assume Muslim presuppositions, then we can infer that the Bible is the Word of God, just as I was claiming during the debate (note that was not the debate topic). If the Quran is true, then the Bible is true. If, on the other hand, the Bible is true, then the Quran is false. Unfortunately I said this second part incorrectly during the debate.

Again, if we assume Muslim presuppositions, then we are stuck with a monistic view of the universe because of the Quran’s emphasis upon the ontological unity of Allah. Muslims reject the Trinity, which was posited and defended during the debate as the metaphysical precondition of intelligible human experience.

So apart from the Quran being irrelevant to the debate in terms of the debate resolution and opponent’s position, Islam has its own difficulties due to its lack of an authoritative presupposition like Christianity’s and the lack of its metaphysical preconditions in terms of the content of its sacred text.

All of this was pointed out during the debate. I’m not mentioning anything new. I’m not as confident that very many people understood, however. My fear is that my debate opponent, like many other self-professed atheists, has heard “the Bible is true because the Bible is true” example of logical circularity many times and mistakenly ascribed it to me when that was not my argument at all. In the meantime, he wants to say that empiricism is true because empiricism is true, when empiricism, as we saw in the debate, is full of difficulties.

Stay tuned for an interview I have coming up concerning Islam.

S. Holloway

Thank you, gentlemen for the replies. If I may go a bit further. Mr. Bolt, I certainly agree that Mr. Oxley was mistakenly ascribing the circular reasoning argument of Scripture’s reliability to you. That was really the initial point of my post. That’s what I meant by saying he was “setting up the fallacy”. As to bringing in the presuppositions of Islam, I’m speaking of divine revelation in world religions in general when I say that there is a wide-spread claim to it. Not just in Islam, but that all of any revelations’ reliability can be tested by whether or not their prophecy is supernatural and truly fulfilled. I’m using the Koran as the example because Mr. Oxley specifically brought that claim of divine revelation up. Why would we need to assume Muslim presuppositions to discount the prophetic content of the Koran? An example, Surah Al-Maida claims that Allah has placed enmity between those who call themselves Christians until the resurrection. I’ll link that at the end. That’s pretty much the most prolific (not quite the word I’m looking for) of the Koran’s prophecy. (I believe there are maybe 3 or 4 more prophetic passages, but none so specific.) That seems a pretty easy prophetic passage to discount. There’s no way to call that a general proverb, it is too specific.

Mr. Bolt: I may be misunderstanding your position. I will certainly chew on your reply some more. Would we need to assume Muslim presuppositions to discount this prophecy? And what would be wrong with assuming the Muslim presupposition if we can show that a conclusion that the Koran is reliable based on the presupposition is incorrect?

Mr. Oxley: I’m certainly interested in your response to the empirical evidence of biblical prophecy as well. Do you consider this empirical evidence? Is this evidence inside your frame or outside? and why?

Thank you!

C.L. Bolt

“…any revelations’ reliability can be tested by whether or not their prophecy is supernatural and truly fulfilled.”

But a person will determine whether or not a prophecy is supernatural and truly fulfilled in terms of their own presuppositions. The debate is always over entire worldviews, not particular evidences within those worldviews. Prophecies are particular evidences.

A presuppositional approach assumes, for the sake of argument, the position against which it is arguing, and shows that the position reduces to absurdity, arbitrariness, and the like. In the case of the Quran, we can argue that it is flawed because it both assumes that the Bible is true and yet contradicts the Bible, and that it does not provide the content necessary for the metaphysical preconditions of intelligibility.

Or, to argue the point the other way, I believe Scripture is the Word of God both because it says that it is (and it is the highest authority) and because if you deny that claim, then you end up with futility of thought. The Quran says that it is the word of Allah, but also claims that the Bible is, which leads to fatal problems. It also does not have the content necessary to intelligible human experience. For example, it explicitly denies the Trinity, which, as I argued in the debate, is a precondition for intelligible experience.

D. L. Silverman

“In the case of the Quran, we can argue that it is flawed because it both assumes that the Bible is true and yet contradicts the Bible, and that it does not provide the content necessary for the metaphysical preconditions of intelligibility.”

Where does the Qu’ran assume the Bible is true and then contradicts the Bible (an honest question here).

“Or, to argue the point the other way, I believe Scripture is the Word of God both because it says that it is (and it is the highest authority) and because if you deny that claim, then you end up with futility of thought. ”

Why does denying the claim that the Bible is the Word of God lead to futility of thought?

C.L. Bolt

Both great questions, and both answered during the course of the debate. I’ll give you the benefit of a doubt and assume you just forgot that they were there. I answer your first question in my Closing Statement, and the first question in the third section of my Opening Statement.

C.L. Bolt

and the second* question in the third section of my Opening Statement.

Resequitur

“Where does the Qu’ran assume the Bible is true and then contradicts the Bible (an honest question here).”

The whole Qur’an sees itself as a continuation of the bible, that much is certain, here are a few examples:

“It is He (God) who sent down to thee the Book in truth, attesting to what IS BETWEEN ITS (HIS) HANDS, and He sent down the Torah AND the Gospel BEFORE THIS as a guide to mankind.” S. 3:3

“And He will teach him (Jesus) THE BOOK AND the wisdom AND the Taurat AND the Gospel. And (make him) a messenger to the children of Israel: That I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that I determine for you out of dust like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird with Allah’s permission and I heal the blind and the leprous, and bring the dead to life with Allah’s permission and I inform you of what you should eat and what you should store in your houses; most surely there is a sign in this for you, if you are believers. And a verifier of that which IS BETWEEN MY HANDS of the Taurat and that I may allow you part of that which has been forbidden to you, and I have come to you with a sign from your Lord therefore be careful of (your duty to) Allah and obey me.” S. 3:48-50 (source)

As for where the qur’an contradicts the bible; it contradicts it simply by claiming itself to be a continuation, only to reject it’s teachings. For instance, on matters of the Trinity vs it’s Unitarian view, Jesus’ deity, It’s misunderstanding of mary, etc.

S. Holloway

Thank you, Mr. Bolt. I do see what you are saying about the contradictory nature of the Koran. I do believe that your argument sufficiently shows that any argument that the Koran is inspired by God necessarily fails entirely based on that contradiction. I do also think that you sufficiently and irrefutably established the reliability of Scripture, which it seems was indeed a necessary question giving the title of this debate.
It seems my error lies in my understanding of presuppositional apologetics. I was under the impression that Christian presuppositional apologetics assumes the divine inspiration of the Bible and uses that revelation to contest other views, not that it “assumes, for the sake of argument, the position against which it is arguing, and shows that the position reduces to absurdity, arbitrariness, and the like.” I would think that scenario would be a hypothetical syllogism. I see your point more clearly when I understand your approach. I have much to learn, and I think you for taking the time to answer my questions. For the record, my worthless opinion of the debates was that you presented a sound and successful argument and that Mr Oxley’s empirical atheism based on frames of assumptions is a gussied-up way of admitting agnosticism as opposed to atheism. I think his given definition of “atheism” served the purpose of disguising said gussying-up. I must admit that I came to this debate a Christian, so my opinion is bias. Thank you again. I leave you the last word.

C.L. Bolt

Well I definitely don’t think your opinions are worthless, and it sounds like a light bulb just came on with respect to at least one part of presup, so I’m happy with this exchange!

For more, see my introductory series under the “Post Series” tab at the top of the site.

D. L. Silverman

Contrary to what some have pointed out here, the concept of a triune god has indeed been much debated throughout Christian history. “Christians” may debate this by claiming the others (those that do not accept a triune god) are not Christian at all. But this does not change the fact that the concept is debated by those that accept the Bible as true. For example, even today, there is the Oneness Pentecostals, who deny the trinitarian aspect of god.

If one goes back to the very early church (within the first 100 years or even the first few decades), one would find that there were a wide variety of beliefs that were all over the map. These differences in belief often led to bloodshed between “Christian” groups. It wasn’t until the 4th century that a form of “orthodoxy” was forced upon people as being the one true faith (and even that did not stop the bickering and formation of differing beliefs).

But what is “orthodoxy”? It is simply one group, who happens to have grown more powerful than the others, using its power to defeat the other systems of belief. The only reason that the trinitarian view of the Christian deity is “orthodox” is because that group became more powerful than the others and forced their views on others … sometimes by the sword. Even the great Augustine was given an army to make converts by the sword. It worked and helped to further establish the “orthodoxy”.

RazorsKiss

See, this is what is always so interesting to me. People go to such great lengths to lump disparate groups together in order to deal with us “all at the same time” – the problem with that is the very fact that they are disparate. Using some set of arbitrary, subjectivistic, self-imposed categories to group “by similarities” leads to nonsense. Whatever the claim, it has to deal with what actually obtains – and that is that throughout the history of the church, there has been orthodoxy – and there has been all of the various denials of that orthodoxy. There’s also the not-so-subtle connotation that Romanist-style “suppression” is in play on these issues, but frankly, even the merest study of history should disabuse them of these notions. The real issue is that they haven’t actually made even the barest study of the history of the church.

There are reasons that unbelievers make the claims they tend to make about Nicea, Chalcedon, and the like – 1) because they are simply misinformed or 2) Because they think that Romanist-style claims are normative for the history of the church. Neither is the case. In fact, Romanism, whatever the grandiosity of their claims may be, lost their claim to being a Christian church centuries prior by their departure from the Scripture’s authority. What else always strikes me with interest is the double standard being displayed for authority; On the one hand, we are to accept their claims about history at face value – on the other hand, our claims are unacceptable at face value.

Interestingly, while the flag is being thrown at the “orthodox” claiming the “unorthodox” aren’t, well, orthodox… there is at the same time an external standard for what constitutes “orthodoxy” being applied – and it is demanded that we accept this standard. Note above, where our commenter tells us that orthodoxy is “simply” X. Are we given any argument to demonstrate this? Of course not. On the other hand, it seems reasonable, given his reaction to prior comments, for him to be offended that we don’t take his claims to be true on face value. How is this not a double standard?

Note the common claim that follows – that Nicea somehow “forced” a common orthodoxy on the people – when anyone who has studied the period knows that something quite different actually took place. It was the Arians who were in power for the better part of a century to follow, not the Trinitarians! Why on earth do they think (if they even know who Athanasius was) the phrase “Athanasius contra mundum” was coined? Further, any student of church history can tell you that it was hardly a matter of “state suppression” of the Arians later. The entire statement is uncategorically false! Plus, there’s the statement that Augustine was somehow given an army. This is patently ridiculous on a number of levels – especially since he publicly protested the treatment of the Donatists.

In any case, this is exactly what we’re talking about when we say that our opponents need to pay a whole lot more attention to what they are claiming to object to. In woefully frequent cases, they seem to be objecting to nothing more substantial than a strawman.

pat

I just noticed Matt Oxley put devil horns on his head when Chris said, “I would encourage Matt to turn from his sins today and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity. Thank you guys.”

Matt Oxley

Chris, Ben, and I had previously joked around about doing that during intro.

Nextor

“You have also made some assumptions in your above statement.”

So have you – like the above assertion which is a knowledge claim which is predicated on the assumption of the reliability of your mental faculties…

“I do not assume that my mental faculties are telling me the truth about all things.”

Does ‘all things’ include the knowledge claim that you “do not assume that my mental faculties are telling me the truth about all things” and your above knowledge claim?

If you say yes, then we have no reason to believe a word you are saying, if you say no, you will have to demonstrate why those statements are an exception to the knowledge claim of your second statement. If not you are special pleading and have just generated a contradiction with your first statement and your second statement. This is also known as refuting yourself…

This is so circular I could submit it to be used as the basis for calculating Pi to its end decimal place! =)

[BLOCKED BY STBV] Van Til, Trinity, One and Many | True Forms

[…] https://choosinghats.org/2012/11/does-the-triune-god-of-scripture-exist-listen-live-here/ […]

[WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP (72.232.7.37) doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP (76.74.254.123) and so is spam.


Leave a Comment