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Thread: Underlying Presuppositions

  1. #51
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Apologetics is a tool of evangelism. They're not two separate things. The word "apologia" comes from 1 Peter 3:15 where we are to give an apologian, a defense, for those who ask us about the hope within us. I have no idea what you mean about my tone disrespecting "the inherently divine and supernatural nature of Scripture, and the reality of the Holy Spirit". I simply recognize that reciting Bible verses to someone who not only doesn't believe in Jesus, but who doesn't even believe in God, isn't likely to be very convincing. Reciting scripture to an unbeliever isn't magic. We're not weaving spells when we invoke Bible verses. So many people have been turned off of Christianity for so long because they've thought it to be based on blind and unreasonable faith, and they got that idea from the church who could only answer them with pithy sayings like "God acts in mysterious ways". Christianity for so many people, and even so many Christians, just seems not to have any answers. And that's pathetic, because the church has had a long long history of thinkers, and philosophers, and theologians and apologists. I don't know about your faith, but my faith is rich in reason, logic, spirituality and practicality. It's multidimensional, and answers hard questions. I believe God gave me a brain to think and a heart to love. I don't believe that apologetics is a replacement for the work of the Holy Spirit, far from it, I believe the purpose of apologetics is to offer people compelling arguments and evidence to move people to a place where they are responsive to the calling of the Holy Spirit in their own lives. And it's from there that scripture can have its greatest impact.

    You know, finding out about apologetics relatively late in my Christian walk, and finding how powerful its impact on so many lives, it's so strange to me to come across so many Christians who seem so hostile to the very thought of it, or say the sort of things that you say...that it's overrated. I really don't get it. Overrated? Really? I wish it were overrated. Most Christians I know when they hear the word "apologetics" think that it means you ought to apologize for being a Christian. No, apologetics is not overrated. In the modern church they're highly underrated. We live in a church culture steeped in anti-intellectualism, and suspicion of talk about reason + faith, and we can't afford to be afraid to think in an age where information can be had in a blink of an eye.

    I'm curious though...why post on a theology forum where the two main things that take center stage in most discussions is politics and apologetics if you think apologetics is overrated?
    Well said.
    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

  2. Amen Adrift amen'd this post.
  3. #52
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    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.

    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.
    Right, like I said you get your a priori truths, but I don't get mine. Nice... But my assumption answers some very fundamental questions: Why there is something rather than nothing, why do we live in an intelligible universe where the laws of logic are immutable and universal, why is there life rather than no life, why is there consciousness, why a universal moral sense, why precise laws of physics, why we can generally trust our senses, etc... Your presuppositions do not answer any of the why questions.
    “The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” C.S. Lewis

  4. Amen Jedidiah amen'd this post.
  5. #53
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Apologetics is a tool of evangelism. They're not two separate things. The word "apologia" comes from 1 Peter 3:15 where we are to give an apologian, a defense, for those who ask us about the hope within us. I have no idea what you mean about my tone disrespecting "the inherently divine and supernatural nature of Scripture, and the reality of the Holy Spirit". I simply recognize that reciting Bible verses to someone who not only doesn't believe in Jesus, but who doesn't even believe in God, isn't likely to be very convincing...
    And what would Peter have told them about the hope that was within them? About the life and resurrection of Christ? I just don't see how any argument could be more convincing than Scripture as applied to a man's heart by the work of the Holy Ghost. Without the work of the Spirit no argument will bridge that gap, with the Spirit even the most mundane reciting of Scripture can be enough. I know you will not like this Adrift, but in my life I have used a number of Apologetic arguments, though imperfectly, and often on these boards, but the older I get the more I lean towards Fideism... Perhaps I'm just getting lazy...
    Last edited by seer; 02-09-2018 at 11:58 AM.
    “The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” C.S. Lewis

  6. #54
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    And what would Peter have told them about the hope that was within them? About the life and resurrection of Christ? I just don't see how any argument could be more convincing than Scripture as applied to a man's heart by the work of the Holy Ghost. Without the work of the Spirit no argument will bridge that gap, with the Spirit even the most mundane reciting of Scripture can be enough. I know you will not like this Adrift, but in my life I have used a number of Apologetic arguments, though imperfectly, and often on these boards, but the older I get the more I lean towards Fideism... Perhaps I'm just getting lazy...
    Well, seeing as 1st Peter's audience were Gentiles, he probably had to tell them something about his God, and why his God was preferable to and more powerful than their gods. That would be an apologia. He probably offered his testimony (and the testimony of others) of Jesus' miracles and his resurrection...again, an apologia. He might even explain to them how the prophets of his religion (including Jesus) spoke about things that were being revealed in relatively current events...that's an apologia. What he likely did not do was just open his Bible (there was no New Testament scripture at the time, or if there was, it was only just being circulated), and expect them to simply understand what it was talking about or how it was applicable to non-Jews. Now, Peter (or one of his disciples) may not have had to sit down with them and explain to them the moral argument, or Kalam's cosmological argument, or teleological arguments, or what have you (though, like Paul, he may have made reference and parallels to Greek writers and philosophical concepts they were familiar with), but that doesn't mean that apologetics wasn't being done. Not every argument is necessary or profitable in every circumstance.

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Well, seeing as 1st Peter's audience were Gentiles, he probably had to tell them something about his God, and why his God was preferable to and more powerful than their gods. That would be an apologia. He probably offered his testimony (and the testimony of others) of Jesus' miracles and his resurrection...again, an apologia. He might even explain to them how the prophets of his religion (including Jesus) spoke about things that were being revealed in relatively current events...that's an apologia. What he likely did not do was just open his Bible (there was no New Testament scripture at the time, or if there was, it was only just being circulated), and expect them to simply understand what it was talking about or how it was applicable to non-Jews. Now, Peter (or one of his disciples) may not have had to sit down with them and explain to them the moral argument, or Kalam's cosmological argument, or teleological arguments, or what have you (though, like Paul, he may have made reference and parallels to Greek writers and philosophical concepts they were familiar with), but that doesn't mean that apologetics wasn't being done. Not every argument is necessary or profitable in every circumstance.
    And probably most of what he said was gleaned from Scripture, perhaps tweaked for a particular audience.
    “The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” C.S. Lewis

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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    And probably most of what he said was gleaned from Scripture, perhaps tweaked for a particular audience.
    I'm certain a lot of it was, but he still had to make that palatable to an audience completely alien and removed from it. What does the Old Testament (a series of books written specifically for Jews living in the Promised Land), and the God of the Jews have to do with Gentile pagans living in Asia Minor? That's quite the bridge to gap. Bridging that gap would have required quite the defense...an apologia. He didn't just read the Old Testament to them and expect them to grasp its importance. He would have had to provide all sorts of arguments, and evidence that helped them not only understand how a completely foreign religious text might be relevant to them, but that was also reasonable to them...that provided them a reason to trust and believe what was being preached to them. That's apologetics.

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    I'm certain a lot of it was, but he still had to make that palatable to an audience completely alien and removed from it. What does the Old Testament (a series of books written specifically for Jews living in the Promised Land), and the God of the Jews have to do with Gentile pagans living in Asia Minor? That's quite the bridge to gap. Bridging that gap would have required quite the defense...an apologia. He didn't just read the Old Testament to them and expect them to grasp its importance. He would have had to provide all sorts of arguments, and evidence that helped them not only understand how a completely foreign religious text might be relevant to them, but that was also reasonable to them...that provided them a reason to trust and believe what was being preached to them. That's apologetics.
    Adrift, what do you think Paul means by this: But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    “The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” C.S. Lewis

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    Professor Cerebrum123'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.

    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.
    Actually, I think there is one attack that could be used on Solipsism from a presuppositional angle. If you can't even live as if your views are true, then why should we expect them to actually be true? The fact that it is unlivable, and no one holds to it ought to be a defeater for it as is anyway.

  11. Amen Jedidiah amen'd this post.
  12. #59
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Right, like I said you get your a priori truths, but I don't get mine. Nice...
    Since that is manifestly NOT what I said, I have no further response.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    But my assumption answers some very fundamental questions: Why there is something rather than nothing, why do we live in an intelligible universe where the laws of logic are immutable and universal, why is there life rather than no life, why is there consciousness, why a universal moral sense, why precise laws of physics, why we can generally trust our senses, etc... Your presuppositions do not answer any of the why questions.
    As I have noted before, answering "why" and "how" are two of the primary drivers for religions from the dawn of humanity. Earliest man could not answer what made lightning, so we had gods of lightning. They could not answer what made things grow, so we had gods of the harvest/growing. They could not fathom what made the sun rise and set, so we had the sun god. Throughout time, gaps in human knowledge have been continually filled with "god did it." I do not see your list as any different from that history. Clearly, if you posit an omnicient/omnipotent mind, it essentially answers ALL of the questions for which we do not currently have answers.

    I do not feel a need to replace "I don't know" with "god did it." I am OK with, "we don't know the answer to that yet." Realizing that "I don't know" was an acceptable (and honest) position to take was a major step in my movement from theism to atheism. That does not mean that you are being "dishonest" by taking the "god did it" position. It simply means I eventually became disatisfied with restorting to "god did it" and "it's a mystery" and "who can know the mind of god?" or "who cannot possibly understand" as my go-to responses when I found myself trying to respond to something for which I actually had no response.
    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

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Much as I love C.S. Lewis, and the rest of his Inkling brethern, this would be my reply to C.S. Lewis, to what I beleive is his flaw in this quote:

    “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.”


    Dear Mr. Lewis:

    We can come to trust our own thinking to be true in a fairly simple way: that it can reliably be counted on to anticipate outcomes. If the mind were truly random, and disconnected from reality, then any decision I make would be entirely random, and the probability that I would chose X and die would be equal to the probability that I choose X and live. Few individuals would survive beyond a few moments in such a universe. The luckiest might survive a few hours, perhaps as much as a day. But this is not what we find. Indeed, we find that our ability to observe the universe around us, and to make choices that enhance our ability to survive, is fairly consistent. We can survive decades based on nothing more than our senses and our ability to reason.

    This can only happen as consistently as it does if a) our senses can be (mostly) trusted, and b) our ability to reason on that information can likewise be trusted. I do not need a god for that. Evolution is enough to weed out those who do not have senses/thought connected to reality.
    And since it is not random and can be relied upon, this is evidence that God exists.

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