Question for presuppositionalists

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by cih1355, Feb 13, 2004.

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  1. cih1355

    cih1355 Puritan Board Junior

    If the transcendental argument proves God's existence and that argument is not the final authority, then why can't the traditional proofs for God's existence prove God's existence without them being the final authority?
     
  2. Tertullian

    Tertullian Puritan Board Freshman

    [quote:7663416bc8][i:7663416bc8]Originally posted by cih1355[/i:7663416bc8]
    If the transcendental argument proves God's existence and that argument is not the final authority, then why can't the traditional proofs for God's existence prove God's existence without them being the final authority? [/quote:7663416bc8]

    Your question seems aqward because Presumps do not step off the Christian worldview when they articulate the transcendnetal arguement. In fact, just the reverse, they presuppose God's word and the worldview it teaches and then from that presumption argue that no other system of thought can either refute Christianity (becuase they have no basis to use logic or morals or whatever else) and that there in actuallity can be no other competing worldviews, for every false worldview must in some sense be a parasite off of the Christian worldview. In short, we argue the impossiblity of the contrary and transcendental necessity of Christanity.

    Therefore, we can use the Transcedental arguement because it alone does not assume neutrality but assumes God's word as our final authority... and so presump ends the myth of nuetrality that we Christians have inhereted from the enlightenment.



    To the Glory of Christ-Tertullian


    [Edited on 2-13-2004 by Tertullian]
     
  3. Roldan

    Roldan Puritan Board Junior

    Tertullian, that was a good response. Great point. :smilegrin:
     
  4. RickyReformed

    RickyReformed Puritan Board Freshman

    Can someone explain how all facts 'prove' God's existence? I've heard this assertion several times but haven't seen anyone try to demonstrate the truth of this statement. Wouldn't this universal statement require that all possible facts be examined to see whether they prove God exists? I've been trying to think of some facts to see whether they prove that God exists: "The sky is blue", "my beer is warm", "I've lost my remote", etc.
    Would it involve an argument like this: "The word 'sky' presumes we are not referring to 'non-sky', which presumes the law of contradiction, which presumes the laws of logic, which can only be accounted for in Christian worldview."?

    Roldan:
    Sabes donde encontrar libros Reformados en espanol? Gracias.
     
  5. Tertullian

    Tertullian Puritan Board Freshman

    [quote:1c05021910][i:1c05021910]Originally posted by RickyReformed[/i:1c05021910]
    Can someone explain how all facts 'prove' God's existence? I've heard this assertion several times but haven't seen anyone try to demonstrate the truth of this statement. Wouldn't this universal statement require that all possible facts be examined to see whether they prove God exists? I've been trying to think of some facts to see whether they prove that God exists: "The sky is blue", "my beer is warm", "I've lost my remote", etc.
    Would it involve an argument like this: "The word 'sky' presumes we are not referring to 'non-sky', which presumes the law of contradiction, which presumes the laws of logic, which can only be accounted for in Christian worldview."? [/quote:1c05021910]

    The facts prove Christainity because if the facts were anything other than what the Bible says the facts are they would be meaningless and unintepretable.

    If the facts are just the product of impersonal absolutes or random possiblities than we have no way to connect the facts and understand them... it is only if the Persoanl Absolute God (i.e. The Trinity) has placed all the facts into a rational plan (i.e. absolutely inteprets the facts) that the facts can be understood by us creatures who can (re-interpret what God has originally interpreted)

    You- see if the facts are just there (or created by random facts) than the facts have no meaning... and every meaning we place on them as humans would be artificial. But meaningless facts are no facts at all.

    Therefore, if someone admits there are facts, they have admited that the Truine God is Lord over all facts, hence every fact proves God. The facts don't prove God, God proves the facts.

    In order for an atheist to understand a fact, he would have to no the system in which to place the fact in, hence the atheist would have to know everything in order to no anything. It is all about context, I guess, you need to know the context to get the words.

    Christians do not have the problem of Atheist and other univocal reasonors because we think God's thoughts after God and therefore since God knows the context of every fact, we can truely know facts, without knowing every fact ourselves.

    (I know there might be more questions and that this contains a few gaps so just ask for clarification if you still have some questions- call this my "sunday school" answer)

    To the Glory of Christ-Tertullian
     
  6. Tertullian

    Tertullian Puritan Board Freshman

    [quote:5a1c75edbb][i:5a1c75edbb]Originally posted by Paul manata[/i:5a1c75edbb]
    Ricky,

    put any fact you want upon the thread and i will try to show how that fact is only intelligible on the Christian worldview. Maybe seeing a concrete example will help.....if tertullian's answer helped...good.

    -Paul [/quote:5a1c75edbb]

    Was there a part I wasn't clear on or you didn't agree... just wondering because I am still wanting to improve on this area of study...
     
  7. Tertullian

    Tertullian Puritan Board Freshman

    [quote:b58face67d][i:b58face67d]Originally posted by Paul manata [/i:b58face67d]

    no, it's just sometimes people learn better by concrete examples. what you said was fine, but i know that this area confuses alot of people and so if that was the case I thought we could go through a "fact" step by step. That's all;)

    -Paul [/quote:b58face67d]

    Thanks... you have a pastors heart, and it is good being on the same side of the question this time.

    [Edited on 2-18-2004 by Tertullian]
     
  8. RickyReformed

    RickyReformed Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you, Paul and Tertullian, for your responses.

    Since I've found my remote and thrown out my warm beer :D, let's use the fact "the sky is blue."

    There are some statements I would like further clarification on. For instance,

    Tertullian said,
    "If the facts are just the product of impersonal absolutes or random possiblities than we have no way to connect the facts and understand them..."

    "if the facts are just there (or created by random facts) then the facts have no meaning... "

    "In order for an atheist to understand a fact, he would have to know the system in which to place the fact in..."

    I guess I'm still having trouble seeing why these are so.

    [Edited on 2-18-2004 by RickyReformed]
     
  9. RickyReformed

    RickyReformed Puritan Board Freshman

    No rush, Paul; I need the extra time to have the info dissolve into my noggin. Thanks for your responses so far.
     
  10. Tertullian

    Tertullian Puritan Board Freshman

    [quote:f427810d6c][i:f427810d6c]Originally posted by RickyReformed[/i:f427810d6c]
    There are some statements I would like further clarification on. For instance,

    Tertullian said,
    "If the facts are just the product of impersonal absolutes or random possiblities than we have no way to connect the facts and understand them..."

    "if the facts are just there (or created by random facts) then the facts have no meaning... "

    "In order for an atheist to understand a fact, he would have to know the system in which to place the fact in..."

    I guess I'm still having trouble seeing why these are so.

    [Edited on 2-18-2004 by RickyReformed] [/quote:f427810d6c]

    Well we must understand that "facts" are seperate peices of reality that we have interpreted to say something about reality, but the question remains how if they are "seperate" can they together say something?

    How can an Atheist say that two facts are seperate... he has two choices, either they are seperated by "being" or "nothing", but nothing can not seperate anything because it does not exist, "Being" cannot seperate something because it is what everything has in common.

    Hence the athiest has the problem of the one and the many... how can things be seperate but work together?

    On a Christian view, reality reflects the Trinity and so reality is both one and many because God has made the seperation between facts, hence it is not nothing or many but God that seperates facts... and keeps them together some how so that we can use them to interpret reality.

    Van Til use to say that on a non-Christian view facts are like peices of beeds without holes in them to string together...

    Hopes this helps

    To the Glory of Chirst-Tertullian

    [Edited on 2-20-2004 by Tertullian]
     
  11. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Ricky:
    Are you asking why the sky is blue, even for the unbeliever?

    Or are you asking why the sky is not blue for the unbeliever?

    Or are you asking how the unbeliever knows that the sky is blue?

    Or are you asking why the fact that the sky is blue is a certainty for the believer, but not for the unbeliever?

    Or are you asking how you too can be certain that the sky is blue?

    Or are you trying to account for the blue sky by appealing to belief in God?

    These are all separate questions, asking for different things. Some have to do with fact, and some with knowledge, and some with how you know that knowledge.

    Or are you just trying to understand the Presuppositional framework for comprehending the truth that the sky is blue? This thread is about asking a Presuppositionalist, after all. I'm just trying to help you understand; if this only confuses you, then just forget it.

    I'm still trying to figure out why my PB screen is green, because I wanted it blue. Oh well.:biggrin:
     
  12. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Paul:
    Yes, I understand. Thank you.

    My line of questions was more geared to the asking of the question rather than the answers to them. I was just trying the help Ricky ask his question a little more pointedly. I'm not trying to make it harder for you, though you're probably up to it anyways; I'm just trying to make it easier for Ricky.
     
  13. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    [quote:e834628a51] You- see if the facts are just there (or created by random facts) than the facts have no meaning... and every meaning we place on them as humans would be artificial. But meaningless facts are no facts at all. [/quote:e834628a51]

    Why must all facts have meaning? My baby girl just puked on me (she did really!:barfy: ). Is there a meaning to that or is it just what a baby does? What do you mean by meaning and is it necessary to have a meaning for [i:e834628a51]every[/i:e834628a51] fact?
     
  14. Roldan

    Roldan Puritan Board Junior

    "Roldan:
    Sabes donde encontrar libros Reformados en espanol? Gracias."

    Ricky, I actually do. I will get the exact details for you and let you know soon.

    Que Dios te bendiga

    Siempre Reformando
     
  15. cih1355

    cih1355 Puritan Board Junior

    One thing I have noticed about the evidentialist critique of presuppositionalism is that evidentialists do not seem to understand that not all circular reasoning is fallacious. If you try to prove your ultimate authority, then circular reasoning is unavoidable. One must use their ultimate authority to prove their ultimate authority. God's word is the ultimate authority. If some other authority proves God's word, then God's word is not really the ultimate authority. How can a lesser authority authenticate a higher authority? The answer is that it can't. Moreover, there must be an ultimate authority or else there will be an infinite regress of justifying one's truth claims.
     
  16. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    [quote:9b07d40016][i:9b07d40016]Originally posted by cih1355[/i:9b07d40016]
    One thing I have noticed about the evidentialist critique of presuppositionalism is that evidentialists do not seem to understand that not all circular reasoning is fallacious. If you try to prove your ultimate authority, then circular reasoning is unavoidable. One must use their ultimate authority to prove their ultimate authority. God's word is the ultimate authority. If some other authority proves God's word, then God's word is not really the ultimate authority. How can a lesser authority authenticate a higher authority? The answer is that it can't. Moreover, there must be an ultimate authority or else there will be an infinite regress of justifying one's truth claims. [/quote:9b07d40016]
    Cih:
    I don't know if I am ready yet, but I was going to get into that discussion someday. The problem is that I have to read Bahnsen's book, and it is difficult. At least it is broken up by well-chosen readings from Van Til's works.

    I don't want to comment on why some Evidentialist say this or that. There is definitely an Evidentialist strain in my thinking, but I am very leery of identifying myself with them. For myself, I too believe that circular arguments are fallacious. I also believe that a thoughtful Presuppositionalist ought to see that in a proper sense this does no damage whatsoever to his assertions concerning final authority.

    I would suggest that there are defenders of both parties that misunderstand, so that there are careless assertions bantied back and forth that do either side no credit. This is my particular view of it. I just can't see how any methodology can claim exclusive rights to a truth that is the sole property of truth itself, and therefore common to all. What are we doing? Pitting truth against truth? To what end? Are we becoming defenders of methodologies instead of defenders of the faith? Are we more purturbed that one of our champions got slighted than we are if the character enjoined by Scripture for meekness and gentleness is tromped on? Or do we have them so tied together that defending the methodology equals the defense of Scripture? I would hope that we are all willing to subject our particular methodologies to our mutual benefit to make each other sronger in our knowledge, our wisdom, and our ministry to those we are sent.
     
  17. RickyReformed

    RickyReformed Puritan Board Freshman

    John V: Perhaps the question I was trying to ask was "How does a person - believer or unbeliever, as both would state that 'sky appears blue' - reach the conclusion that 'God is' from the premise 'the sky appears blue'?"

    Roldan: feel free to email me at [email protected] (minus the 'nospam_' of course)

    (Apologies for my prolonged absence; work and family have kept me busy.)
     
  18. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    [quote:358793cf5d][i:358793cf5d]Originally posted by RickyReformed[/i:358793cf5d]
    John V: Perhaps the question I was trying to ask was "How does a person - believer or unbeliever, as both would state that 'sky appears blue' - reach the conclusion that 'God is' from the premise 'the sky appears blue'?"
    ([/quote:358793cf5d]
    Ricky:
    I'm sorry if I sidetracked your question. I can give you my take on it. It is just my own personal leanings.

    Many years ago I wore a blue hat, with which I often introduced the concepts that I believed opened the doors to apologetic considerations. At that time the thing to defend was the truth of the first eleven chapters of the Bible, as well as the bearing of the Bible on the culture, instead of culture bearing on the Bible. "Why is the sky Blue? And How do you know that the blue I see is the same as the blue you see?" These were particular favourites if mine.

    If you take these questions and apply then equally to each of the methods, in an honest fashion, the results will astound you, I promise. But from the simple principles that are required to define both seeing of blue and to know it as blue, and to communicate it as blue (I am taking a short cut here) all presuppose a created norm for all these things to be discerned. One cannot call one of them into question without that impacting the entire system in which he claims to see a blue sky.

    One man, trying to defend personal subjective interpretation as the only possibilty for knowing the Bible, tried to tell me that there was no way I could prove that I was seeing the same colour a he was, though we both may agree to call it blue. From that premise I could form an argument to show that he could not affirm his position of the subjective nature of Scriptural revelation. He not only lost the certainty that we both saw the same colour, he also lost the certainty, in the end, that there was even a Bible in front of him, let alone the word in it that he interpreted subjectively. I did not try to "prove the sky was blue"; I tried to prove that his uncertainty undermined his own position, not mine.

    Please remember that by "subjectivity" I mean that if I wanted to I could teach T.H. Huxley out of the gospel of John, if that was what I was moved to believe. The concept of faithfulness to the Word came to include unfaithfulness as well, with equal standing and approval. He may not have wished to take it that extreme, and he didn't, but this gives you the idea of the logical conclusion to which this leads.

    This is markedly a Presuppositional approach, by today's standards. But a careful survey of any of the accepted methods shows that they do argue this line of reasoning within each of their spheres, with peculiarities belonging to each one. It is my belief that it is not so much the advent of Presuppositionalism that has brought on this line of reasoning, though through it it has progressed very well, but that the particular kinds of objections to the faith that have been raised, not just from outside ecclesiastical circles, but mostly from inside these circles, have precipitated this kind of answer and method. The methods belong to the questioner; the answerer can answer to any and all methods used to object to the Word with the confidence that the truth will stand.

    Presuppositionalism is not an apologetic approach that is faithful to the Word all by itself. I think that misunderstands the contributions of centuries of apologetic work from our forefathers. It is faithful in addressing apologetics to a particular kind of need, one that prevails to quite a degree in our day. In another day, with other epistemological cultural givens, another method would be called for.

    We must be ready to give an answer to those who ask us about the hope that is in us, with our focus on the truth and certainty that is our hope, having a good understanding of how to present it so that they understand what we are saying to them. The heart does not always accept the logic, though the mind may be forced to it. Reaching the mind is only a part of giving an answer.

    In our time even the clear blueness of the blue sky isn't certain anymore for those who want to crash the walls of assurance which the believer holds to. But it is they who are uncertain of the things they see, not the Christian. They end up destroying their own bulwarks, not ours. We may have to take them right to the edge at times before they realize what they are saying and believing, but we must always be ready to give them firm ground to stand on when they see their tenous footholds. We mean to give them solid ground, not push them over, serves them right, as if we ourselves do not deserve to be pushed over ourselves. It is not a question of whether or not we wish to save them, but whether God wishes to save them, and whether we are faithful to that to which God has called us. Methods will change, the task remains the same.

    I hope this helps.
     
  19. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    [quote:baa0ceb9d3][i:baa0ceb9d3]Originally posted by JohnV[/i:baa0ceb9d3]
    Presuppositionalism is not an apologetic approach that is faithful to the Word all by itself. I think that misunderstands the contributions of centuries of apologetic work from our forefathers. It is faithful in addressing apologetics to a particular kind of need, one that prevails to quite a degree in our day. In another day, with other epistemological cultural givens, another method would be called for. [/quote:baa0ceb9d3]
    This is a very interesting analysis John. Analytical wheels are turning... :eureka:
     
  20. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made".....otherwise life is just the way of nature to keepeth meat fresh. :spin:
     
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