Transcendental Argument for God's Existence

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WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
I'm wondering if I have this concept down, in its most basic form. Anyone with knowledge please help me out ...

The Atheist worldview does not allow for universal truths or conditions. The laws of math, logic, etc. do not apply to the Atheistic worldview, as they are transcendental in nature, and always universal and unchangeable. Therefore, to use logic, math, or science in order to prove anything is to borrow from the Christian Theist's worldview and betray the Atheistic worldview. Without God, and His transcendental nature, as clearly revealed in math, logic, and science, nothing could be proven.

:candle:
 

Solo Christo

Puritan Board Freshman
Pretty much.

The Transcendental Argument proves the existence of the God of the Bible by the impossibility of the contrary. Without God, the athiest cannot even account for the components that he uses to attack his Maker, such as order, logic, reason, intelligence, rationality, morality, etc. Only with the God of the Bible can anything be explained, accounted for, or truly understood.

Van Til and Bahnsen were the masters of this. At the bottom of this link is audio from a convention in which Bahnsen lectured on TA, entitled "Challenge to Unbelief". The audio quality isn't great, but the substance is. Great place to start!
 

smallbeans

Puritan Board Freshman
Gabriel - that's a rough outline of the argument, but it is the kind of argument that you're probably never going to be able to make a. sufficiently, and b. once-for-all.

You're always going to run into someone who knows more than you do about the history of philosophy, etc., who can give you trouble if you try to apply the argument with the kind of confidence that Bahnsen did. Bahnsen's approach was to try and show the "impossibility of the contrary" to various kinds of worldviews, and he does this as best he can (having a Ph.D. in philosophy) but for the rest of us, it is a very difficult argument to make. Rather, it should serve as a general approach - talking with people one-on-one will allow you to get a feel for their worldview and can help you show them how Christianity makes better sense of reality than their own approach, but this is probably not the argument to pull out in a philosophy class as an undergraduate and think you'll be able to sustain it for any length of time with your professors.

I would recommend taking a look at the final example of an apologetic encounter in John Frame's "Apologetics to the Glory of God" where he zooms in on the issue of morality and argues from that particular point of view with a nonbeliever. It is a pretty helpful example, I think.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
I am taking a course in Elementary Logic and a course in Medieval Philosophy this Fall at IU. I've taken an Intro to Philsophy class and an upper-level Ethics class at a secular University already, and an Intro to Philosophy class at a Christian college as well. I plan on taking a few more Philosophy classes at IU, and then hope to work on a M.A. in Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh when I'm attending RPTS for my M.Div. I'd really like to be able to get my "head" around the TAG and Presuppositionalism, but in a careful way, being aware of the counter-attacks I can expect from atheists and other theists alike.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
I am taking a course in Elementary Logic and a course in Medieval Philosophy this Fall at IU. I've taken an Intro to Philsophy class and an upper-level Ethics class at a secular University already, and an Intro to Philosophy class at a Christian college as well. I plan on taking a few more Philosophy classes at IU, and then hope to work on a M.A. in Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh when I'm attending RPTS for my M.Div. I'd really like to be able to get my "head" around the TAG and Presuppositionalism, but in a careful way, being aware of the counter-attacks I can expect from atheists and other theists alike.

Most hot-shot antitheists know a lot about a philosopher but little about philosphy. They always pretend they are the next Nietzche or whatever. Given the classes you are taking, you have a hand up on most of them.
 

smallbeans

Puritan Board Freshman
Keep in mind that there is a lot of literature on transcendental arguments that you can find in the philosophical journals and monographs. Just do a Philosopher's Index search on transcendental arguments. Also, one of my old friends just did his Ph.D. thesis at UGA Athens on transcendental arguments - his name is Bryan Baird - maybe his dissertation is available now, I don't know for sure. But he would probably have a literature overview in there. You might just write about transcendental arguments for a class paper sometime and it would give you a chance to get into the literature. One name I remember from my philosophy days is Hintikka.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
It also isn't clear what you mean by logic, math, etc., "not applying* to the atheist worldview? They sure do apply and that's why we beat them.

What I mean by that is, are they not foreign to their worldview; that is, to appeal to logic, math, etc. as an atheist is to borrow from a Christian-Theistic worldview.
 
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