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Thread: Underlying Presuppositions

  1. #31
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Yes and in Acts Paul just declares who this God is, he does not use apologetics to demonstrate God, and yes in Romans he makes the case that all men intuitively already know God, but that they suppress that knowledge. But I will ask you Adrift - what can be more powerful than the word of God for converting the soul?
    The Holy Spirit.

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  3. #32
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    The Holy Spirit.
    Right, applying the Word of God...
    "We can understand hell in its aspect of privation. All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.” C.S. Lewis

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Right, applying the Word of God...
    He IS God.

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  6. #34
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Yes and in Acts Paul just declares who this God is, he does not apologetics to demonstrate God,
    Yes he does. He bridges a gap between their unknown god and the God of the Bible. That's classic apologetics. That's not something they just innately knew. He had to find an approach that would make reasonable and logical sense to his audience.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    and yes in Romans he makes the case that all men intuitively already know God, but that they suppress that knowledge.
    Eh, I don't think that's a completely correct interpretation of Romans 1. Ben Witherington argues that the Greek word gnōston in verse 19 is not the same thing as being intuitively revealed, but of something that is made evident only after examination. That said, in either case, if the truth is suppressed then it is up to the evangelist to help find ways of unsuppressing it, and apologetics is a great starting point.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Bit I will ask you Adrift - what can be more powerful than the word of God for converting the soul?
    Lots of things. The word of God isn't magic. If you start reading a Bible over a baby, the baby doesn't magically become a Christian. If someone doesn't believe in God, you can read them the Bible till you're blue in your face...you're unlikely to make headway until you get them to at least agree with you that the existence of a god is even feasible. That will take apologetics. And that's only the start. And apologetics isn't just getting people to believe in God. For instance, Paul makes an apologetic case for the resurrection in 1 Corinthians where he discusses the witnesses of the resurrection, and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

  7. #35
    Theologyweb's Official Grandfather Jedidiah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    I didn't say that these things were not learned, or based on experience. . . . snip . . .
    Then how are they different from learning that God is truth? Because you did not come to this conclusion through your learning and experience does not remove them from the list of valid presuppositions.
    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Yes he does. He bridges a gap between their unknown god and the God of the Bible. That's classic apologetics. That's not something they just innately knew. He had to find an approach that would make reasonable and logical sense to his audience.
    Yes, he squares the circle, not be arguing but by declaring... It's not that I have a problem with classic Apologetics, I particularly like the moral argument (as you have probably noticed).



    Eh, I don't think that's a completely correct interpretation of Romans 1. Ben Witherington argues that the Greek word gnōston in verse 19 is not the same thing as being intuitively revealed, but of something that is made evident only after examination. That said, in either case, if the truth is suppressed then it is up to the evangelist to help find ways of unsuppressing it, and apologetics is a great starting point.
    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    Seems pretty straightforward to me...

    Lots of things. The word of God isn't magic. If you start reading a Bible over a baby, the baby doesn't magically become a Christian. If someone doesn't believe in God, you can read them the Bible till you're blue in your face...you're unlikely to make headway until you get them to at least agree with you that the existence of a god is even feasible. That will take apologetics. And that's only the start. And apologetics isn't just getting people to believe in God. For instance, Paul makes an apologetic case for the resurrection in 1 Corinthians where he discusses the witnesses of the resurrection, and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
    Yet he is making that case to Christians. Really Adrift, you will have to look far and wide to find Apologetics like we generally use in Scripture (you may call Paul's testimony in front of King Agrippa an Apologetic). And God's word will not come back void, until it accomplishes what He pleases...
    Last edited by seer; 02-08-2018 at 09:24 PM.
    "We can understand hell in its aspect of privation. All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.” C.S. Lewis

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Right and my belief that the Bible is the Word of God is a fundamental principle that I take as true - a priori...
    Then since this is a belief held without a need for evidence - it is "foundational truth" for you, then there is essentially no basis for discussion about it. It would be as if you asked me to prove to you that the law of identity is true. For me - the bible is a collection of books written by men, and someone would need to provide evidence that it is divinely inspired and to be trusted as a source of "truth." Because you believe this is true a priori - you cannot answer that question. A priori truths can only be asserted - not defended. Indeed, the question itself would make no sense to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Good, then you can understand my foundational belief (though you may not agree with it)... Unless you are suggesting that you get to have a priori beliefs but I don't.
    No, we all get a priori beliefs. But we disagree on what those ARE. I do not believe "the bible is the word of god" is an a priori truth. Indeed, there is nothing about that statement that seems a priori to me. You might as well say "the geometric theorem of congruent triangles is a priori true." That theorem is derived from other principles that are apriori - but it is not itself a priori. We might both agree that the fundamental principles of mathematics and logic are a priori truths, but we disagree that the bible being the word of god or the very existence of god are one of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    I think I made that clear in our last discussion, that was why I kept refusing to abandon my worldview and adopt yours.
    At no point in our discussion was it ever made clear (perhaps because you didn't say it, perhaps because I missed it) that you considered "god is" and "the bible is the word of god" a priori truths - foundational truths not dependent on evidence/proof. If that had been clear, we would have ended the discussion much earlier. From my perspective, you have added two a priori truths to the list that are not actually a priori true - so you have locked yourself into your worldview. Because they ARE a priori true to you, you will not see it that way.

    I do not see how meaningful conversation could proceed concerning the existence of god and the role of the bible.

    Note, however, that I do not beleive all Christians take this (somewhat extreme) view. Most Christians I have chatted with share a common set of a priori/foundational beliefs with me, but differ in how to reason from those to conclusions about god and the bible. We start from the same place, but accept different evidence in different ways, and end up with different conclusions about god and the bible. I have never actually encountered someone who declared that "god is" and "the bible is the word of god" were true a priori - without recourse to supporting evidence. So I never imagined you were taking that position in our discussions.
    Last edited by carpedm9587; 02-08-2018 at 10:05 PM.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King

  10. #38
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedidiah View Post
    Then how are they different from learning that God is truth? Because you did not come to this conclusion through your learning and experience does not remove them from the list of valid presuppositions.
    Again - I distinguish between "foundational" or "a priori" truths - truths that are self-evident once the mind has matured enough to grasp them, and derived conclusions, which depend on reasoning from foundational truths or other derived conclusions.

    COnsider it this way. In mathematics, we have a priori principles that are simply "evidently" true. The principle of identity (a = a) is an example. Then we have derived theorems (e.g., Pythagorean Theorem). We have to combine a priori mathematical principles and derive a proof to show that the Pythagorean Theorem is true. It doe snot make it less true - but it is not a priori true.

    I would take "my senses provide me with a reasonable grasp of reality" to be an a priori truth. I cannot prove it to you. It is true to me on the basis of my experience of reality. The same is true of laws of mathematics, logic, the universe being intelligible, etc. When someone says to me "the bible is the word of god is an a priori truth," I cannot agree. There is nothing about that statement that is "self-evident." It is a conclusion I may (or may not) reach by combining a collection of evidence and reasoning to the likely truth of the proposition. If it were truly a priori true, you would see a far more universal level of acceptance in the human population than we do.

    Am I making any sense at all?
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King

  11. #39
    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer
    Give me evidence that what goes on in your mind corresponds to reality...
    Again, not to rag on you seer, but I don't think that's a strong line of attack. You're not attacking his pressuppositions, you're asking him for something neither he nor anyone can give you. Solipsism, that is the complete denial of knowledge of the external reality (or complete despair of obtaining it), is every bit as self-consistent as theism. Its unliveable, and no one holds to it, but its perfectly self-consistent. Therefore presuppositional apologetics, the good parts, can't really interact with that. There's nothing to challenge such a person on.

    All Carped has to say to you is that he believes that there's an external reality, and he can experience it using his senses. No more need be said. He doesn't have to justify this belief, as its foundational to his worldview.

    And the challenges in presuppositional apologetics aren't merely of the form "what's your basis for X", its more like "given what you believe you should reject X". C.S Lewis did this when he questioned whether a materialist worldview, with its mechanistic and completely deterministic physics would result in us not being able to reliably know the truth. Plantinga's argument follows this line as well. In fact just about any presuppositional line of argument attacks exactly the ability to reason, and what needs to be true for this to be the case.

    Plantinga's argument is quite a powerful version. I highly recommend it, if you wanna pursue this line of argumentation.
    Last edited by Leonhard; 02-08-2018 at 10:47 PM.

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    Again, not to rag on you seer, but I don't think that's a strong line of attack. You're not attacking his pressuppositions, you're asking him for something neither he nor anyone can give you. Solipsism, that is the complete denial of knowledge of the external reality (or complete despair of obtaining it), is every bit as self-consistent as theism. Its unliveable, and no one holds to it, but its perfectly self-consistent. Therefore presuppositional apologetics, the good parts, can't really interact with that. There's nothing to challenge such a person on.
    That is not my point Leonhard, I don't hold to Solipsism - I'm just referring to the fact that we all begin with unprovable assumptions, at the most basic level. Most atheists attempt to take the logical high ground - they can't.

    All Carped has to say to you is that he believes that there's an external reality, and he can experience it using his senses. No more need be said. He doesn't have to justify this belief, as its foundational to his worldview.
    I agree, just as the Bible being the Word of God is foundational to my worldview, and I too need not justify it.

    And the challenges in presuppositional apologetics aren't merely of the form "what's your basis for X", its more like "given what you believe you should reject X". C.S Lewis did this when he questioned whether a materialist worldview, with its mechanistic and completely deterministic physics would result in us not being able to reliably know the truth. Plantinga's argument follows this line as well. In fact just about any presuppositional line of argument attacks exactly the ability to reason, and what needs to be true for this to be the case.
    Agreed... Here is quote by Lewis you may like:

    “Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It's like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can't trust my own thinking, of course I can't trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”
    Plantinga's argument is quite a powerful version. I highly recommend it, if you wanna pursue this line of argumentation.
    I have read his argument again naturalism a number of times.
    "We can understand hell in its aspect of privation. All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.” C.S. Lewis

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