I Need Assistance with Presup!!!

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JohnGill

Puritan Board Senior
This isn't the complete presuppositional argument. Just because a Muslim endorses the transcendental argument and uses it, does not mean he has a right to it. He has no self-authorizing authority upon which to rely. If he appeals to the Koran then he appeals to a book which claims to be an expression of Allah in human language. However the Koran also claims that nothing about Allah can be expressed in human language. The koran is its own worst enemy. And without such a self-authorizing authority he has no foundation upon which to begin a transcendental argument.
John Gill,
If it were that easy, there wouldn't be any Muslims. I'm inclined to agree with you, yet I am sure your objection to the Koran isn't impervious to rebuttal from the followers of Islam.

What is your understanding of the complete presuppositional argument?
Sure there would; self-deception does that to us. Just because you have demonstrated the absurdity of their position does not mean they will give it up. But as far as the apologetics side of the coin goes, you have done your job. You have reduced the fool to foolishness. (Prov 26:4,5) Now the task switches to sharing the gospel. Of course this can take years of constantly reminding the muslim/atheist/JW/mormon/etc. that you have already refuted his position and then sharing the gospel with him at each encounter.

Yes, there are rebuttals to the above argument. I think your referring to the writings of the muslims (forget the name they give to them) in which the contradictions have supposedly been worked out. There are other contradictions besides the one I mentioned. But offering a rebuttal does not disprove the self-contradiction of the koran. The best use of presuppositional apologetics in dealing with muslims was in a radio program Greg Bahnsen did with a muslim and a jewish Rabbi. He also deals with the objections in his series on Practical Apologetics.

As to your question, how detailed do you want it? I think I have a flowchart I put together for a church class.
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
They will crumble, but to do that does not mean that you have to explicitly prove every verse of the Bible.
Then how would you show that a worldview believing in an abstract triune deity that solves the problem of the one and many, and establishes universal laws, etc. crumbles?
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
Christian - Atheism can't support uniformity, because that requires a necessary cause for uniformity, some kind of being that transcends the universe and gives order to it. Christianity satisfies this, but not atheism.
Atheist - Okay, that's cool. I'll believe in a transcendental being that gives uniformity.
I've run into similar bricks utilizing the presuppositional method. It seems silly to use the transcendental argument against; Muslims, Jews, or anyone who has a "rational" basis for their beliefs. Once in a debate with a Muslim that endorses the transcendental argument and even uses it against atheists, it's superfluous to employ this type of reasoning against that Muslim.

It seems inevitable that you'll have to get into Christian Particulars (nature of prophecy, historical confirmations and veracity, etc.) vs. opposition particulars. We'll have to stop arguing with the "the only proof for God's existence is that without God, you cannot prove anything" reasoning, for that's already covered in whatever god they've endorsed.
Well...trying to give historical facts, while they can be persuasive in argumentation, are not objective proof that would rationally oblige someone to alter philosophical systems. As long as Muslims retain a Muslim philosophy of fact, they will interpret all facts, even a resurrection of Jesus, on such terms. That is rationally acceptable, as counterintuitive as it may sound.

The way to attack the Muslim God is to remember that not all gods are the same when it comes to transcendental proofs -- Allah is one essence and one person (as opposed to the Trinity), and therefore he cannot account for the one and many problem of philosophy. Also, he cannot account for love or any kind of interpersonal emotions/relationships. Seeing as we clearly have these on earth, Islam self-destructs.

The problem I am having is getting people not to stop at the necessity of triunity, theism, salvation, etc. While it may be extremely counterintuitive (as it was in the earlier example) to believe in some sort of depravity, salvation, and a theistic triune deity and not believe in Christianity, I want to make sure that Christianity is completely rationally compelling. I want objective proof to shut the blasphemous mouth of the unbeliever.
 

Grymir

Puritan Board Graduate
Hi Packabacka! A single objective proof will be hard, because of the Rom 1 statement about the lost suppressing the truth. A couple of thoughts. One thing I learned was the principle of self-steathification. Which is to say that if I shut up long enough (ha ha, that is sooo hard for me to do!), they would inevitably contradict themselves and show that their own arguments are invalid. Another thing would be to read some Ayn Rand. Getting a grasp of her objective philosophy has really helped me when talking to people that are talking about objective truths, because they really don't know what 'objective' is. They usually are using 'subjective' truths. ie, in your statements, you say " but he could just keep refining his presuppositions to accommodate my arguments without turning to Christ." A person who 'refines' his presuppositions isn't really talking about presuppositions, but what follow from them. Just dig deeper. Ask questions. Have fun - Grymir
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
Hi Packabacka! A single objective proof will be hard, because of the Rom 1 statement about the lost suppressing the truth. A couple of thoughts. One thing I learned was the principle of self-steathification. Which is to say that if I shut up long enough (ha ha, that is sooo hard for me to do!), they would inevitably contradict themselves and show that their own arguments are invalid. Another thing would be to read some Ayn Rand. Getting a grasp of her objective philosophy has really helped me when talking to people that are talking about objective truths, because they really don't know what 'objective' is. They usually are using 'subjective' truths. ie, in your statements, you say " but he could just keep refining his presuppositions to accommodate my arguments without turning to Christ." A person who 'refines' his presuppositions isn't really talking about presuppositions, but what follow from them. Just dig deeper. Ask questions. Have fun - Grymir
Well, Romans 1 would show that the unrighteous will resist the arguments. The arguments won't necessarily be persuasive even if they are proof. I'm going for the latter.

My problem isn't one that would be encountered too often, if at all, because as I said, if people believe in a sense of man's depravity and a triune theistic god, they're going to believe in Christianity. However, this is a case where the persuasion is not necessarily proof. Those holding to a more abstract belief in triune theism aren't rationally obliged to believe in Christianity (from what I know), and I want to give some kind of proof to negate this perceived shortcoming.

Also, speaking of Ayn Rand's objectivism, that would definitely be something for me to look into. I remember reading about this one dude's "Objectivist Atheology," and he seemed to specialize (or at least focus on) attacking presuppositional apologetics. Although, I have personally seen some of his arguments and he still fails as does all of atheism.

Thanks for the input.
 

Jaymin Allen

Puritan Board Freshman
Sure there would; self-deception does that to us. Just because you have demonstrated the absurdity of their position does not mean they will give it up. But as far as the apologetics side of the coin goes, you have done your job. You have reduced the fool to foolishness. (Prov 26:4,5) Now the task switches to sharing the gospel. Of course this can take years of constantly reminding the muslim/atheist/JW/mormon/etc. that you have already refuted his position and then sharing the gospel with him at each encounter.

Yes, there are rebuttals to the above argument. I think your referring to the writings of the muslims (forget the name they give to them) in which the contradictions have supposedly been worked out. There are other contradictions besides the one I mentioned. But offering a rebuttal does not disprove the self-contradiction of the koran. The best use of presuppositional apologetics in dealing with muslims was in a radio program Greg Bahnsen did with a muslim and a jewish Rabbi. He also deals with the objections in his series on Practical Apologetics.

As to your question, how detailed do you want it? I think I have a flowchart I put together for a church class.
I see your point. I was just skeptical to give antinomic argument much weight given their abuse against Christianity.

I'd like it as detailed as your conception of presuppositionalism extends ;) That flow chart, seems helpful. That Bahnsen debate spoken of would be amazing. I don't see how the presuppositional argument, my understanding of the argument at least, would be effectual on an individual that can account for transcendental arguments adduced by the Christian apologist...
 
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ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
They will crumble, but to do that does not mean that you have to explicitly prove every verse of the Bible.
Then how would you show that a worldview believing in an abstract triune deity that solves the problem of the one and many, and establishes universal laws, etc. crumbles?
You are going to have to show me your reasoning on how it is an either/or question.

Remember the central claim that one wants to justify is that belief in anything but the God proclaimed in the Bible is inexcusable. That means that people who die without ever seeing the Bible are without excuse, correct? This would imply that one would be able to show that non Christian worldviews are wrong without even appealing to the Bible, or the non Christian would seem to be able to have an excuse.

The claim is not that unbelievers have no excuse only when introduced to the Bible and come face to face with TAG. They had no excuse way before then.

CT
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
They will crumble, but to do that does not mean that you have to explicitly prove every verse of the Bible.
Then how would you show that a worldview believing in an abstract triune deity that solves the problem of the one and many, and establishes universal laws, etc. crumbles?
You are going to have to show me your reasoning on how it is an either/or question.

Remember the central claim that one wants to justify is that belief in anything but the God proclaimed in the Bible is inexcusable. That means that people who die without ever seeing the Bible are without excuse, correct? This would imply that one would be able to show that non Christian worldviews are wrong without even appealing to the Bible, or the non Christian would seem to be able to have an excuse.

The claim is not that unbelievers have no excuse only when introduced to the Bible and come face to face with TAG. They had no excuse way before then.

CT
The reason that all unbelievers are without excuse, even without some sort of debate, is because God's revelation, both natural and divine, is self-attesting. It essentially bears His signature, and any right-minded creation would immediately and non-inferentially recognize His Creator's work. Of course, since the Fall, they are ethically hostile to this and self-blinded, so they can only deceive themselves.

Even though everyone already knows this (as Van Til or Bahnsen would say, "in their heart of hearts"), they will still present a view contrary to Scripture so as to retain their autonomy. And it is the job of the apologist to shut them up.

So, I was mistaken earlier when I said that unbelievers would be without excuse if we couldn't demonstrate their futility. Basically, there is something wrong with their view (God would never create a possibility of a successful worldview contrary to Christianity), and I just want to find out what the problem is. It's not as if I can fall short and thus justify sinners. God would have to fall short, but that is absurd. You are correct about that.

With that in mind, can you think of the shortcomings of the contrary worldview I put forth earlier?
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
Also, I was just reading about the self-attesting revelation of God by Van Til, and the fact that unbelievers can be meaningful despite the complete lack of meaning in their philosophical systems goes to show that they have some innate knowledge which they are necessarily suppressing, proving the point of Romans 1.

Now, again, at this point it would be extremely intuitive to just accept the Bible as the supreme authority that it is, but would any unbeliever be allowed to accept (in addition to the belief in a triune, theistic deity) some inner sensus divinitatis and a sense of "fallenness" to account for their suppression of unrighteousness, and not be rationally obliged to accept Christianity?
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Then how would you show that a worldview believing in an abstract triune deity that solves the problem of the one and many, and establishes universal laws, etc. crumbles?
You are going to have to show me your reasoning on how it is an either/or question.

Remember the central claim that one wants to justify is that belief in anything but the God proclaimed in the Bible is inexcusable. That means that people who die without ever seeing the Bible are without excuse, correct? This would imply that one would be able to show that non Christian worldviews are wrong without even appealing to the Bible, or the non Christian would seem to be able to have an excuse.

The claim is not that unbelievers have no excuse only when introduced to the Bible and come face to face with TAG. They had no excuse way before then.

CT
The reason that all unbelievers are without excuse, even without some sort of debate, is because God's revelation, both natural and divine, is self-attesting. It essentially bears His signature, and any right-minded creation would immediately and non-inferentially recognize His Creator's work. Of course, since the Fall, they are ethically hostile to this and self-blinded, so they can only deceive themselves.
I have no problem with saying that the knowledge is inferential.

Even though everyone already knows this (as Van Til or Bahnsen would say, "in their heart of hearts"), they will still present a view contrary to Scripture so as to retain their autonomy. And it is the job of the apologist to shut them up.
I do not have a problem with a person's "autonomy". The issue is rational vs. irrational. Also there is somewhat of a debate about whether people actually know God or if they could possibly not know God but be morally culpably for not knowing such, because such is clear and one has to be irrational to not know such.

It is the job of the apologist to shut them up.

So, I was mistaken earlier when I said that unbelievers would be without excuse if we couldn't demonstrate their futility. Basically, there is something wrong with their view (God would never create a possibility of a successful worldview contrary to Christianity), and I just want to find out what the problem is. It's not as if I can fall short and thus justify sinners. God would have to fall short, but that is absurd. You are correct about that.

With that in mind, can you think of the shortcomings of the contrary worldview I put forth earlier?
Well I would first point out that non-theistic options are prima facia absurd and collapse quickly. Then the next step is to use natural revelation to point out the need for redemption from the wrath that is to come for sinners. Then you just ask a competitor to Christianity, what is their gospel. All competing Gospels are not consistent with general revelation.

You can add odds and ends to the end, but that is pretty much the core of a successful counter.

CT
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
Well I would first point out that non-theistic options are prima facia absurd and collapse quickly. Then the next step is to use natural revelation to point out the need for redemption from the wrath that is to come for sinners. Then you just ask a competitor to Christianity, what is their gospel. All competing Gospels are not consistent with general revelation.

You can add odds and ends to the end, but that is pretty much the core of a successful counter.

CT
I think we're getting somewhere!

Now, do you think it's acceptable for someone to accept some kind of belief system that is not in written form? If it's extremely similar to Christianity (belief in triune theism, a sensus divinitatis, a sense of fallenness and consequent need of redemption by grace, etc.), is there any possible outlet for the unbeliever, or is he simply professing belief in Christianity without using the word "Christianity"?

Is there some fatal flaw that applies to all abstract systems like these? Are they just masks for actual human autonomy?
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Well I would first point out that non-theistic options are prima facia absurd and collapse quickly. Then the next step is to use natural revelation to point out the need for redemption from the wrath that is to come for sinners. Then you just ask a competitor to Christianity, what is their gospel. All competing Gospels are not consistent with general revelation.

You can add odds and ends to the end, but that is pretty much the core of a successful counter.

CT
I think we're getting somewhere!

Now, do you think it's acceptable for someone to accept some kind of belief system that is not in written form?
If it is not in written form then they need to show it from general revelation. (Even if it is written, it still has to reconcile with general revelation)

If it's extremely similar to Christianity (belief in triune theism, a sensus divinitatis, a sense of fallenness and consequent need of redemption by grace, etc.), is there any possible outlet for the unbeliever, or is he simply professing belief in Christianity without using the word "Christianity"?
It might be helpful to think of the reasons for unbelief. It mainly comes down to saying that man is inherently good or at least good enough to satisfy any standard set before them. Once one gives up that, then the need for something other than Christianity goes out the window.

Is there some fatal flaw that applies to all abstract systems like these? Are they just masks for actual human autonomy?
Yes, the fatal flaw is the need to remove the need for redemption, that you cannot fulfill.

An interesting line of philosophical thought is the relationship between God and abstract objects/thoughts/possibilities.

CT
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
Yes, the fatal flaw is the need to remove the need for redemption, that you cannot fulfill.
Why is an unfulfilled need of redemption a fatal flaw?
It is like being required to make a square circle.

CT
So if someone's worldview is that all mankind is hopelessly fallen and doomed for eternal punishment, but the worldview doesn't give a means to overcome this (even if by grace), then the worldview logically contradicts itself?
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Why is an unfulfilled need of redemption a fatal flaw?
It is like being required to make a square circle.

CT
So if someone's worldview is that all mankind is hopelessly fallen and doomed for eternal punishment, but the worldview doesn't give a means to overcome this (even if by grace), then the worldview logically contradicts itself?
There are no theistic worldviews that don't attempt to give a way of redemption. My comment about fatal flaw was that they will give a way of redemption that somehow puts man in the center as if man could earn redemption, while man in fact could only possibly do what is required of him from here on out, instead of making up for the evil that they do/will do. It is inconsistent with God's revealed infinite justice.

One could state the fatal flaw as putting God's mercy over against his justice.

CT
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
It is like being required to make a square circle.

CT
So if someone's worldview is that all mankind is hopelessly fallen and doomed for eternal punishment, but the worldview doesn't give a means to overcome this (even if by grace), then the worldview logically contradicts itself?
There are no theistic worldviews that don't attempt to give a way of redemption. My comment about fatal flaw was that they will give a way of redemption that somehow puts man in the center as if man could earn redemption, while man in fact could only possibly do what is required of him from here on out, instead of making up for the evil that they do/will do. It is inconsistent with God's revealed infinite justice.

One could state the fatal flaw as putting God's mercy over against his justice.

CT
I'm not sure exactly what you're saying -- how do you demonstrate that a works-based salvation is inconsistent with God's revealed justice?
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
So if someone's worldview is that all mankind is hopelessly fallen and doomed for eternal punishment, but the worldview doesn't give a means to overcome this (even if by grace), then the worldview logically contradicts itself?
There are no theistic worldviews that don't attempt to give a way of redemption. My comment about fatal flaw was that they will give a way of redemption that somehow puts man in the center as if man could earn redemption, while man in fact could only possibly do what is required of him from here on out, instead of making up for the evil that they do/will do. It is inconsistent with God's revealed infinite justice.

One could state the fatal flaw as putting God's mercy over against his justice.

CT
I'm not sure exactly what you're saying -- how do you demonstrate that a works-based salvation is inconsistent with God's revealed justice?
Well given Creation ex nihilo theism, it is inconsistent to claim that God's justice can be meet with some mixture of Good and bad actions. You would have to challenge God's justice in order to make that argument. But then you would have to challenge general revelation.

CT
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
I'm not sure exactly what you're saying -- how do you demonstrate that a works-based salvation is inconsistent with God's revealed justice?
Well given Creation ex nihilo theism, it is inconsistent to claim that God's justice can be meet with some mixture of Good and bad actions. You would have to challenge God's justice in order to make that argument. But then you would have to challenge general revelation.

CT
Why does ex nihilo creation point to the necessity of only good actions? Why does that challenge God's justice? I'm sorry that I keep probing you; I just really want to understand how to go about explaining this concept. Thanks for your help.
 

Zenas

Snow Miser
That's my problem -- how do you get them to shut their mouths if they can offer a non-Christian worldview that accounts for everything?
They can't. That's the whole point is that they have to borrow some aspect of Christianity at some point in order to make their worldview make sense.
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
That's my problem -- how do you get them to shut their mouths if they can offer a non-Christian worldview that accounts for everything?
They can't. That's the whole point is that they have to borrow some aspect of Christianity at some point in order to make their worldview make sense.
I understand that. The problem I have is in demonstrating it for worldviews that are extremely close to Christianity. I think I'm getting somewhere, though. This stuff by Jonathan Edwards is quite helpful:

Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume Two | Christian Classics Ethereal Library
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
I'm not sure exactly what you're saying -- how do you demonstrate that a works-based salvation is inconsistent with God's revealed justice?
Well given Creation ex nihilo theism, it is inconsistent to claim that God's justice can be meet with some mixture of Good and bad actions. You would have to challenge God's justice in order to make that argument. But then you would have to challenge general revelation.

CT
Why does ex nihilo creation point to the necessity of only good actions? Why does that challenge God's justice? I'm sorry that I keep probing you; I just really want to understand how to go about explaining this concept. Thanks for your help.
God is completely/infinitely good and just, correct? All bad actions would be worthy of infinite punishment, right? So it would be inconsistent to say that works based righteousness could somehow make up for the bad that is done by doing good. You already owe God completely obedience and goodness.

CT
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
Well given Creation ex nihilo theism, it is inconsistent to claim that God's justice can be meet with some mixture of Good and bad actions. You would have to challenge God's justice in order to make that argument. But then you would have to challenge general revelation.

CT
Why does ex nihilo creation point to the necessity of only good actions? Why does that challenge God's justice? I'm sorry that I keep probing you; I just really want to understand how to go about explaining this concept. Thanks for your help.
God is completely/infinitely good and just, correct? All bad actions would be worthy of infinite punishment, right? So it would be inconsistent to say that works based righteousness could somehow make up for the bad that is done by doing good. You already owe God completely obedience and goodness.

CT
I understand the doctrine, but I don't understand how you could demonstrate this by just pointing to natural revelation.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Why does ex nihilo creation point to the necessity of only good actions? Why does that challenge God's justice? I'm sorry that I keep probing you; I just really want to understand how to go about explaining this concept. Thanks for your help.
God is completely/infinitely good and just, correct? All bad actions would be worthy of infinite punishment, right? So it would be inconsistent to say that works based righteousness could somehow make up for the bad that is done by doing good. You already owe God completely obedience and goodness.

CT
I understand the doctrine, but I don't understand how you could demonstrate this by just pointing to natural revelation.
What part are you having problems with understanding. What do you currently see natural revelation as saying/revealing?

CT
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
God is completely/infinitely good and just, correct? All bad actions would be worthy of infinite punishment, right? So it would be inconsistent to say that works based righteousness could somehow make up for the bad that is done by doing good. You already owe God completely obedience and goodness.

CT
I understand the doctrine, but I don't understand how you could demonstrate this by just pointing to natural revelation.
What part are you having problems with understanding. What do you currently see natural revelation as saying/revealing?

CT
Why does natural revelation naturally point to a belief in salvation by grace? Why, from just viewing nature, is it unnatural (no pun intended) to believe that a works-based salvation can suffice?
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
I understand the doctrine, but I don't understand how you could demonstrate this by just pointing to natural revelation.
What part are you having problems with understanding. What do you currently see natural revelation as saying/revealing?

CT
Why does natural revelation naturally point to a belief in salvation by grace? Why, from just viewing nature, is it unnatural (no pun intended) to believe that a works-based salvation can suffice?
Okay, now I am confused as to why my above argument is not sufficient? Are you asking why natural revelation does not reveal God to be partly just/partly unjust?

Again what do you think natural revelation is saying. If I know what you think it is saying, then I can at least know your starting point and then we could proceed from there.

CT
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
What part are you having problems with understanding. What do you currently see natural revelation as saying/revealing?

CT
Why does natural revelation naturally point to a belief in salvation by grace? Why, from just viewing nature, is it unnatural (no pun intended) to believe that a works-based salvation can suffice?
Okay, now I am confused as to why my above argument is not sufficient? Are you asking why natural revelation does not reveal God to be partly just/partly unjust?

Again what do you think natural revelation is saying. If I know what you think it is saying, then I can at least know your starting point and then we could proceed from there.

CT
I don't know how to demonstrate that natural revelation shows the infinite justice of the Creator, and why that justice must account for every sin (thus showing that all men are guilty of condemnation). So, two things that I would love for you to demonstrate, for my sake:

1. That natural revelation shows that the Creator must have justice as an attribute.
2. That the justice is one that disallows all sins -- In other words,, there must be no sin at all, not just less sin than good.

I believe that natural revelation is clear and that all men know this, but how can it be formulated in an argument or demonstration?
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
What do you currently see natural revelation as saying/revealing?

CT
I know from Romans 1 that it reveals the Christian God, but I don't know how to show anything that it reveals. That's why I'm asking you.
So what you are saying is that when you look around at the created order, you cannot make out anything concerning the existence of God, his power and people's obligations?

My question was not what you think you should be able to see, but what you actually see now. It is something similar to a person asking for math help concerning calculus. The next question what math do you currently know. Once we are clear what level of math one is comfortable, then one can work out a plan to get you to the level that you need to be.

CT
 
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