I’m sorry that this is so long, but over the last week you gave me a lot to account for, so in light of the short answers I gave you previously, this one’s a biggie! I’ll break this into three posts so it’s not too much to read at once.
|You can’t take me to task on the foundation of logic if you don’t have an answer for the foundation of your presupposition.
This whole interchange that we’ve been having has assumed a lot of things, such the tools of reason we’re both using, that our keyboards type letters on a screen that form intelligible sentences, that the chairs we’re sitting on will hold us up, etc. But all that we’ve been assuming (I’ve only listed a few, the list could go on), without even thinking about them, have their origins somewhere. To be able to make sense out of what we do, there has to be something “back of them” that makes each presupposition intelligible. For example, laws of logic, laws of physics, uniformity in nature, etc. This is all basic stuff, I’m not trying to test your intelligence by telling you this, I’m sure this is obvious to you.
This debate can only make sense if there are certain universal laws that govern it, such as the law of contradiction, excluded middle, induction, deduction, etc. ‘Man’ seems to think that the laws of logic, which he uses every day (I hope!), are mere conventions devised by men and women. If such is the case, laws of logic are subject to change. But if they are subject to change, and aren’t universal, using logic is pointless. How can we know if we’re actually saying anything that has meaning? They can’t be simply devised and agreed upon by the norms of a community, because it is quite plausible that a majority can reject fundamental principles of logic. If A can be non-A at the same time and same place, then nothing will ever make sense and we all might as well just go home and kill ourselves. Even then, killing ourselves wouldn’t make any sense.
But neither your worldview, nor mine, function that way. We both assume the laws of logic, and we live and act like they are uniform. You may have your reasons for it, which I would argue will lead you into contradiction, and I will have mine. Your reasons are located in your so-called autonomous human ability to think, independent of God; mine are located in the God of the Bible. The situation you find yourself in is much like the illustration that I gave a while ago of the little child sitting on her father’s lap, slapping him in the face. If it wasn’t for her father placing her on his lap, and holding her up so as to be able to reach his face, she wouldn’t be able to slap him. God allows you to use logic etc., even though you use it to slap Him in the face so-to-speak.
Ultimately speaking, I can give an account for why the very laws of logic that I use are uniform, and dependable, and have meaning. They are an extension of the thoughts of the Triune God whose very nature is logical and non-contradictory. On the other hand, by assuming yourself as the standard to determine reality, logic can only be explained as something internal to yourself, or arbitrarily chosen. Either way logic is demolished. Man is flawed, therefore logic needs to be something that exists outside of himself. (Note: I like using the term “man” in a gender-neuter sense, including both men and women. It gets to be too much to always be typing “men and women” I’m just assuming that I mean both).
This means that when you’re using logic, you by necessity have to use it the way the Christian defines it. As I mentioned, the Christian defines it according to the standards set forth in the Bible. Because it is impossible for logic not to exist the way it does, and because the Bible is the only source known to man that can account for logic, by inference we are certain that the Bible is true and any claim that contradicts the Bible is false.
Transcendentals are assumptions that occur a priori in our minds. I assume that God exists, you assume that He doesn’t. We bring these assumptions to any argument or evidence that is brought our way that contradicts our assumptions. That’s why I believe that the methodology used by Sproul et al., is deficient, because they assume that you and I will interpret “neutral” facts the same way.
But this isn’t so, as is evident, because your worldview and mine are at war. We have completely different theories of knowledge. On a surface level, you may say the same thing as me, such as “Hey, there’s a dog wagging its tail!” On the surface, we’re saying the same thing: there’s a dog wagging its tail. In that sense, we’re both correct. But in an ultimate sense, we’re saying things that are completely opposite, mutually exclusive and even antagonistic to one another.
Each of us comes to the statement with different presuppositions. So when you say dog (I do not know if you are evolutionary, I apologize for jumping to this conclusion if it is wrong), you may mean a species of canine that has evolved over so many million years, and is a product of random chance or natural selection. When I, on the other hand, say dog, I mean something that has its special creation by the Word of God and is a reflection of His glory in creation.
I can provide justification for my presupposition, but you can’t. It is irrational, based on your own assumptions, to believe that something comes from nothing, that order comes from disorder, that things are actually getting better etc. Evolution, from the outset is flawed and self-defeating. This is just an example, and whether you believe in evolution, or deism or whatever, the same principles can be applied.
No matter what evidence is brought before you, you will interpret according to the presuppositions that you already have. If I were an evidentialist and argued that by virtue of the resurrection the Bible is true, you would disagree based on the fact that your presuppositon doesn’t allow for miracles. You could say something to the effect, “Well, miracles don’t happen, so the resurrection of Jesus wasn’t a miracle, it was a case of a human coming back to life by natural means that might happen again, and will one day be explained by science.” You could totally buy into the resurrection, but explain it naturalistically. No matter what I put before you, your presupposition will drive your thinking (notice the circularity?). It will take the miracle of the Holy Spirit regenerating your nature to get you to ultimately change your presupposition.
That’s why this is an argument over worldviews. Your worldview falls flat on it’s face because you can’t stay consistent with it. Honestly, you don’t live as though reality is random and chance oriented. If you did, you’d probably get hit by a bus. What’s to say that this time that bus won’t kill you, maybe your body will turn to vapour the moment it strikes and return to it’s previous state after the bus happens? You live as though the universe has order, but your worldview is based on chance. This is totally inconsistent.
By providing me with that syntactical breakdown of religious language on the HAT forum you assumed order and intelligibility. (Note: you also failed to realise that the philosophers who developed those rules did so without the presupposition that God doesn’t exist, and therefore concluded their rules according to their presupposition). Because you did that, you handed the heavy-weight championship to Christianity without me having to even throw a punch. You assumed the existence of order, which assumes the existence of the Christian God.
What you need to do is repent before God and ask His forgiveness, based on the work of Christ, for your sins – including your intellectual rebellion. If you don’t, not only will you live inconsistently, but your rebellion, according the Bible, will be punished.
This is the honest to God reason why I’m telling you this. Not merely to walk away and say, “Haha, I won!” I want you to willfully bow before God and worship Him, so that one day you won’t be forced to against your will. The Bible says that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. You’ll have to do it one way or another, my hope is that you’ll do it now, instead of later when it’s too late.
More to come…