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Archive for the ‘Religious Neutrality’ Category

Internet Husband on Presuppositional apologetics

Here are the links gathered from the internet on Presuppositional apologetics.

Which ones blessed you?

1.) A Christian Philosopher’s Thoughts On “God’s Not Dead”

2.) BackPack Radio Interview with Chris Bolt: The Myth of Neutrality [04/06/2014]

3.) Van Til: Beams Under the Floor

4.) Christian Book Review: ‘How Jesus Became God’ by Bart Ehrman

5.) Which Comes First, Metaphysics or Epistemology?

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religious neutrality

Religious Neutrality Defined: The idea that man can be without any beliefs or views that is for or against God, the Bible, etc.

Objective: We must realize that in regards to ‘facts’ and everywhere and everything that man approaches, he/she can not approach it without presuppositions or with a neutrality towards God.

CHRARACTERISTICS OF RELIGIOUS NEUTRALITY

There are traits and attitudes that have come up in regards to defending religious neutrality that encompasses one or more of these points:

(A) People might ask, “Do you really have to bring up the Bible when we are dealing with Geography[1], Psychology[2], Mathematics[3], Economics[4] or man’s relationship to the Earth[5]?”

 (B) There are people who appear to be sincerely ‘neutral’ towards the surrounding issues concerning God. Doesn’t this show that one can be religiously neutral? (See Romans 1:18-22)

 (C) God is not relevant at all in the Sphere of X and/or Y. (See below on Creation)

 (D) I am not taking any sides for or against a religion.

  1. THE BIBLE DOES NOT ALLOW FOR IT
    1. CREATION
      1. Everything in this world belongs to God
      2. “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.” (Psalms 139:8)
      3. “The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
      4.        and his kingdom rules over all.” (Psalms 103:19)
      5. SEE ALSO Psalms 19:1-4 and 1 Chronicles 29:11
    2. GOD AND CHRIST THE SOURCE OF WISDOM & KNOWLEDGE
      1. Christ the source of Wisdom and Knowledge: “Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.” (Col. 2:3-4)
      2. God the Source of Wisdom: “5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
  2. THE EXCLUSIVENESS OF CHRISTIANITY
    1. “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
    2. “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” (Matthew 12:30)
  3. NEUTRALITY IS UNETHICAL IN A CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW
    1. MAN’S PURPOSE IS TO GLORIFY GOD IN EVERYTHING:
      1. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3:17)
      2. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Chorinthians 10:31)
    2. MAN MUST SUBMIT TO WHAT GOD SAYS
      1. If not, then he is in rebellion against God and not submitting to Him.  He is therefore not neutral.
  4. RELIGIOUS NEUTRALITY IS PHILOSOPHICALLY IMPOSSIBLE ITSELF
    1. MAN CAN NOT BE PRESUPPOSITION FREE
      1. Those Premises and Propositions acknowledge Christianity or not.
      2. Sometimes it can be beliefs that we are not always conscious of.
    2. NEUTRALITY IS ANTI-THEISTIC
      1. When someone say He is neutral towards God’s existence or Christianity, he himself has anti-theistic or non-Christian assumption. It is not neutral.
      2. ANALOGY: When someone says they are neutral towards the Holocaust and when some Runaway Jews beg you for cover, your ‘neutrality’ position towards the Holocaust and non-action is still a position and action against the runaway Jews.
    3. NEUTRALITY ITSELF IS NOT NEUTRAL
      1. To argue for neutrality, is to argue for a position, and the more evidence and arguments you marshal, the more it is evident that Neutrality itself is a position.
      2. Yet, the very point of neutrality is no longer neutral.  It is something that is now debated and to assume it would be begging the question.

[1] See the article “Impossible Neutrality: An Analogy from Humanistic Geography” in Reformed Perspective Magazine at http://thirdmill.org/articles/jim_li/jim_li.impossibleneutrality.html.

[2] I recommend any book on this topic by Jay Adams.

[3] Poythress, Vern. “A Biblical View of Mathematics” in Foundation of Christian Scholarship: Essays in the Van Til Perspective. California: Ross House Books, 1979: Pages 159-188.

[4] North, Gary and DeMar, Gary.  Christian Reconstruction: What It is, What It Isn’t  Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991

[5] Schaeffer, Francis A. Pollution and the Death of Man: The Christian View of Ecology. Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 1970

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In the past on Veritas Domain, I have talked about the small and steady stream of Dispensationalists who are Presuppositional.  Paul Martin Henebury, the president of Veritas Seminary (no relations to this blog), also known as Dr. Reluctant on his blog, has a three part series introducing Presuppositional Apologetics back two years ago:

Presuppositional Apologetics: An Introduction Part I

Presuppositional Apologetics: An Introduction Part II

Presuppositional Apologetics: An Introduction Part III

 

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I once read that if your writing is not clear, most likely your thinking is not clear. After some initial confusion on attempting to explain why Scripture rather than logic was my presupposition, I have finally cleared my thoughts and hopefully will give some clear up the confusion.

Presuppositions Defined

Presuppositions are a person’s most basic non-negotiable truth, ultimate authority, and/or ultimate committment in a person’s worldview. Said differently, presuppositions are the guiding truth and standard used to gauge all other truth claims. All other truths will be evaluated through these basic presuppositions.

Thus, if a person (from now on used interchangably with a male pronoun) appeals to another authority and not his claimed “presupposition” then he shows that his “presupposition” was not his most basic, guiding truth. In other words, his presupposition was no longer his presupposition; his ultimate authority had another authority; and his ultimate commitment was no longer ultimate. 

Simply put, the person would be inconsistent.

Take my example of claiming Scripture is my presupposition, if I had conceded that logic is used to verify the truthfulness of Scripture, then I would’ve betrayed my presupposition. By saying yes, logic verifies the truthfulness of Scripture, I would have been inconsistent. If I really believed Scripture is my presupposition, then I wouldn’t be testing Scripture with another authority (logic).

My refusal to acknowledge logic as a standard to test Scripture reveals two things. The first is that my presupposition is still my presupposition— not just my claimed “presupposition”. Put another way, I remained consistent, demonstrating a coherent worldview by continuing to use my presupposition to evaluate all other claims. The second is that the source of my disagreement didn’t come from a clear understanding of logic (at the time; more on logic later) but rather a clear understanding of my presuppositions— Scripture.

My Confusion

During my discussion I kept agreeing that Scripture must be logical. My error was assuming that saying Scripture is logical was the same as admitting Scripture must be tested with logic (Footnote 1).

By agreeing that Scripture is logical, the objection might be raised,  “Doesn’t that mean logic is the ultimate authority?” The  answer is no.

Interpreting Scripture is not the same as testing Scripture.

When a person checks to see whether or not a proposition from the bible is logical, he’s not testing the logic of Scripture, he’s testing his own logic!  The key was consistently applying the inerrancy of Scripture to my incorrect assumption. Because Scripture is truthful, Scripture is inherently logical. By assuming the truthfulness of Scripture beforehand, I no longer was conflicted.

My Presuppositions

The source of my confusion was assuming that testing my interpretation of Scripture is the same as testing the logic of Scripture. God doesn’t automatically give a pat on the back with an invisible hand when you understand Scripture correctly. Instead, he gives us minds to think and logical tests to verify we are interpreting Scripture correctly.

Thus, Scripture’s logic is not in question. Man’s understanding of Scripture is in question. If anything Scripture seems illogical, it is safe to conclude that in reality the person, not Scripture, was illogical. Man can only think logically and truthfully if he aligns his thinking to God’s thinking and follows his thoughts from God’s thoughts (Footnote 2).

By assuming the doctrine of inerrancy, I know beforehand that Scripture is automatically truthful and therefore logical.

In the form of a logical argument, my reasoning might be clearer:

If Scripture is truthful, Scripture is logical.
Scripture is truthful                                    
Therefore Scripture is logical.

My Conclusion

Don’t despair if you are confused and frustrated but especially don’t give in. Be God-fearing and admit you don’t have an answer instead of man-fearing and setting aside your faith and source of all truth.

Putting aside your source of all truth, Christ, even temporarily will make you inconsistent but more importantly hostile to the knowledge of God. Remember, “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction (Prov 1:7).” It’s ok to be confused; it’s not ok to be neutral.


Footnote 1: If you make the mistake of denying Scripture as logical, you validate fideism, a belief that religion is irrational. Don’t fall into this mistake! Christians can admit that Scripture is logical without automatically implying Scripture is not an ultimate authority. So the next time someone asks if Scripture is logical, say yes.

Footnote 2: For a more elaboration see Section 4.5.2 “Man Knows God Analogously to God’s Knowing” Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings and Analysis by Greg L. Bahnsen pg 257.

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“Impossible Neutrality: An Analogy From Humanistic Geography”, by Jimmy Li

http://www.teamtruth.com/articles/art_impossibleneutrality.htm

Insight concerning the impossibility of religious neutrality from a discussion about Humanistic Geography

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Olkahoma Atheists and Religious Neutrality by Jimmy Li

http://www.teamtruth.com/articles/art_oaneutrality.htm

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In discussion with Christians about why they ought to adopt Presuppositional Apologetics, the subject of religious neutrality MUST BE ADDRESSED  

Here is  a link to “A Brief Outline Against Religious Neutrality”

http://www.teamtruth.com/articles/art_neutralityoutline.htm

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