June 17, 2015

Apologetic Method

Atheism, Apologetic Method, debunking atheists, Greg Bahnsen, Always ready, religion

Summary On Apologetic Method

Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen

from the book
Always Ready
Directions For Defending The Faith


The Nature of the Apologetic Situation:
1. The controversy between the believer and "unbeliever" [*I would think a more accurate term would be "idolatrous denier"] is in principle an antithesis between two complete systems of thought involving ultimate commitments and assumptions.
Col 2:3, 8
2. Even laws of thought and method, along with factual evidence, will be accepted and evaluated in light of one's governing presup­positions. Lk 16:31
3. All chains of argumentation, especially over matters of ultimate per­sonal importance, trace back to and depend upon starting points which are taken to be self-evidencing; thus circularity in debate will be unavoidable. However, not all circles are intelligible or valid.
4.  Thus appeals to logic, fact, and personality may be necessary, but they are not apologetically adequate; what is needed is not piece­meal replies, probabilities, or isolated evidences but rather an at­tack upon the underlying presuppositions of the "unbeliever's" sys­tem of thought.
1 Cor 1:20
5. The "unbeliever's" way of thinking is characterized as follows:
a.   By nature the "unbeliever" is the image of God
Gen 1:26 and, therefore, inescapably religious; his heart testifies continually, as does also the clear revelation of God around him, to God's existence and character. Rom 1:19, 20, 32
b.  But the "unbeliever" exchanges the truth for a lie Rom 1:25. He is a fool who refuses to begin his thinking with reverence for the Lord Pr 1:7 ; he will not build upon Christ's self-evidencing words Mt 7:26, 27 and sup­presses the unavoidable revelation of God in nature.
c. Because he delights not in understanding but chooses to serve the creature rather than the Creator
Rom 1:25, the "unbeliever" is self-confidently committed to his own ways of thought Pr 12:15; being con­vinced that he could not be fundamentally wrong, he flaunts perverse thinking and challenges the self-attesting word of God. Pr 13:16; 1 Cor 2:14
d. Consequently, the "unbeliever's" thinking results in ignorance; in his darkened futile mind Eph 4:17, 18 he actually hates knowledge Pr 1:22 and can gain only a "knowledge" falsely so-called. 1 Tim 6:20
e. To the extent that he actually knows anything, it is due to his unacknowledged dependence upon the suppressed truth about God within him. This renders the "unbeliever" intellectually schizophrenic: by his espoused way of thinking he actually "op­poses himself" and shows a need for a radical "change of mind" (repentance) unto a genuine knowledge of the truth. 2 Tim 2:25
f.   The "unbeliever's" ignorance is culpable because he is without excuse for his rebellion against God's revelation; hence he is "without an apologetic" for his thoughts.
g. His "unbelief" does not stem from a lack of factual evidence but from his refusal to submit to the authoritative word of God from the beginning of his thinking.
Lk 16:31
 
The Requirements of the Apologist:

1.  The apologist must have the proper attitude; he must not be arro­gant or quarrelsome
, but with humility and respect he must argue in a gentle and peaceable manner. James 3:13
2. The apologist must have the proper starting point
Jn 14:6 ; he must take God's word as his self-evidencing presupposition, Mt 7:29
thinking God's thoughts after Him Ps 36:9 (rather than attempting to be neutral), and view­ing God's word as more sure than even his personal experience of the facts. 2 Pet 1:16-19
3.   The apologist must have the proper method; working on the "unbeliever's" unacknowledged presuppositions and being firmly grounded in his own Col 2:3,6,7 , the apologist must aim to cast down every high imagination exalted against the knowledge of God by aiming to bring every thought (his own, as well as his opponent's) captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor 10:4,5
4. The apologist must have the proper goal: securing the "unbeliever's" unconditional surrender 2 Cor 10:5 without compromising one's own fidel­ity.
a. The word of the cross must be used to expose the utter pseudo-wisdom of the world as destructive foolishness,
1 Cor 1:18-20
b.  Christ must be set apart as Lord in one's heart, thus acknowl­edging no higher authority than God's word and refusing to suspend intellectual commitment to its truth. 1 Pet 3:15

The Procedure for Defending the Faith:

1. Realizing that the "unbeliever" is holding back the truth in unrighteous­ness
Rom 1:18 , the apologist should reject the foolish presuppositions im­plicit in critical questions and attempt to educate his opponent. 2 Tim 2:23-25
2. This involves presenting the facts within the context of the Biblical philosophy of fact:
a. God is the sovereign determiner of possibility and impossibility.
Acts 26:8
b. A proper reception and understanding of the facts requires sub­mission to the Lordship of Christ. Acts 26:9-15
c. Thus the facts will be significant to the "unbeliever" only if he has a presuppositional change of mind from darkness to light. Acts 26:19-20
d. Scripture has authority to declare what has happened in history and to interpret it correctly. Acts 26:22-23, 27
3. The "unbeliever's" espoused presuppositions should be forcefully at­tacked, asking whether knowledge is possible, given them: 
a. In order to show that God has made foolish the wisdom of the world the believer can place himself on the "unbeliever's" posi­tion and answer him according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceits; that is, demonstrate the outcome of "unbelieving" thought with its assumptions. Pr 26:5
b.  The "unbeliever's" claims should be reduced to impotence and impossibility by an internal critique of his system; that is, dem­onstrate the ignorance of "unbelief" by arguing from the impos­sibility of anything contrary to Christianity. 1 Cor 1:20; Pr 26:5; Mt 7:26-27
4.  The apologist should appeal to the "unbeliever" as the image of God Gen 1:26 who has God's clear and inescapable revelation, thus giving him an ineradicable knowledge of God Rom 1:18-21
; this knowledge can be exposed by indicating unwitting expressions or by pointing to the "bor­rowed capital" (un-admitted presuppositions) which can be found in the "unbeliever's" position.
5.   The apologist should declare the self-evidencing and authoritative truth of God
Jn 5:37, 39; Is 8:20; Jn 17:17 as the precondition of intelligibility and man's only way of salvation (from all the effects of sin, including ignorance and intellectual vanity) Jn 14:6 :
a.   Lest the apologist become like the "unbeliever", he should not answer him according to his folly but according to God's word,
Pr 26:4
b. The "unbeliever" can be invited to put himself on the Christian position in order to see that it provides the necessary grounds for intelligible experience and factual knowledge—thereby con­cluding that it alone is reasonable to hold and the very founda­tion for proving anything whatsoever. Col 2:3
c.  The apologist can also explain that Scripture accounts for the "unbeliever's" state of mind (hostility) Col 1:21 and the failure of men to acknowledge the necessary truth of God's revelation Rom 1:18; Ps 14:1; moreover, Scripture provides the only escape from the effects of this hos­tility and failure (futility and damnation). Eph 4:17-24; 1 Cor 3:18-20; Mt 7:24-29


bit.ly/Apologetic

69 comments:

  1. Hi Dan,
    How have you been? All is well, I hope.
    Anyway quick question.

    Does the creator character in the novel called The Holy Bible, have "Free Will"?

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    1. Hopping this not a gotcha question, I will ask cautiously to define your terms. What do you mean by "free will"? If you mean can God do something outside of His absolute, unchanging, character and nature? Then no, He cannot. If you mean free choices to decide to do something within His character and nature, then sure.

      Nice to hear from you again. Life is a struggle for all of us, I am sure, but I feel blessed. Hope you are well. Do you feel blessed by Jesus Christ yet?

      Did you ever take my advice to beg God for repentance? :)

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  2. Just wondering how the whole "absolutist" fits in with 'freewill' and an 'omnipotent and omniscient' being that is bound by it's own 'laws of logic'. So I guess a question is, can an 'omnipotent and omniscient' being have 'freewill' to be 'unreasonable'?


    All is well here, not much of a struggle. I still would be lying if I said/thought I require to assert a superstition to explain things I didn't know.

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    1. Well, "reasonable" is a standard that is the reflection of God's absolute, unchanging, character and nature. So, God cannot be unreasonable. Like God cannot be "bad" because good is what comports with God's absolute, unchanging, character and nature. God is that standard we compare to. Man's fallibility and subjectivity cannot give him such a standard.

      TLDR: "Unreasonable" is that which doesn't comport with God's.absolute, unchanging, character and nature.

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  3. So because an 'omnipotent and omniscient' being is 'omnipotent and omniscient' and can't act 'unreasonable' does that mean their 'future' actions are predetermined and therefore already known by the 'omnipotent and omniscient' being. Can the 'omnipotent and omniscient' being ignore the 'laws of absolute logic', breaking the predetermined future actions ie 'Free Will'.


    PS, excellent answers BTW... just chewing the fat now, not trying to 'point score'...
    :)

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    1. In eternity, things like "predetermined" makes things murky. God created time also, as you know, so anything in space/time is predetermined. Anything outside is eternal. Reality is what is revealed to us by God.

      Laws of logic are a reflection of the way God thinks, and since God's absolute, unchanging, character and nature has always existed, the absolute laws of logic has too.

      God is my favorite subject, so we're here for you, but it's for selfish reasons. :)

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  4. An 'omnipotent and omniscient' being, must have a boring (IMO) existence, having the burden of already knowing what it will do for eternity. Leads me to question if a 'omnipotent and omniscient' being can experience 'surprise'?


    "God" (the character from the novel The Holy Bible) is of little interest to me, just enjoy the philosophical entertainment of such discussions....

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    1. Again, you're not getting it. "Boring" is a term used to compare to a standard in your mind. God IS the standard. Parents like to watch our kids have surprises, to live through their eyes. Maybe God feels that looking at us, IMO. But I hate surprises for myself. I want things steady, and predictable. With it, I'm content. Caught off guard, is unsettling in my old age. Especially these recent "surprises". Yikes! Bad "surprises" are the worst. :)

      And stop calling God, whom I adore, a character in a novel. You know full well that He exists. Romans 1:18-23

      Hell's gates will be locked from the inside, as CS Lewis pointed out. You go to Hell for sinning against the God you absolutely do know.

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    2. *As parents, we like to watch...

      I was 'surprised' by my own bad English. :)

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  5. Hey Dan. Good to hear that you are still up and about. How's the family?

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    1. We're doing well. Kids growing up fast. Feeling blessed. You on God's side yet? I remain hopeful you'll be one of us, the saved, soon.

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    2. I'm on Good's side. That's enough for me. If God exists, then He (or She, or It, or X) will do the right thing, I'm sure.

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    3. Yes, and yes, He certainly will. You're one of the those I'm prayerful that God will deliver to Him, as His own, for years now. I cannot wait for that glorious day. #optimism

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  6. The Character you adore does exist within the plot and theme of the Novel called The Holy Bible, this is fact.

    Having said that, for example, in the storyline of the novel called The Holy Bible, there was a plot where one of the first created humans ate an apple which caused 'the fall'.
    Did the creator character YHWH know the character know as Eve would do this?

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    1. God instructs me to rebuke your blasphemous behavior. Have a nice day

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    2. How did God instruct you..a voice in your head or did you get the command from the bible...if you got the command from the bible how do you know the command came from God. .if the bible says the command came from God can you trust the validity of the man who wrote down the words which we now call the bible...how do you know said person was inspired by God? How would you verify that? If the man or woman receives his instructions the way you suggest you receive instructions from God why aren't you writing scripture? You would apparently have the same access to the same holy Spirit?

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    3. Keep in mind that God reveals Himself to all mankind, including you, through general, natural, and special revelations. I hope you're not claiming that is "impossible". To avoid any confusion on your part:

      General revelation (Earth and planets and their locations, grass, oceans, the universe, math, laws, etc. ) Natural revelation ( direct revelation to a fallible mind, conscience, intuitive revelation) and Special revelations (Jesus, His resurrection, Scriptures, miracles, prophecies, etc.)

      You would have to be certifiably insane to any rational individual to deny all of these, all at once. Yet, Atheists do all the time, everyday.

      Do you even concede that an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being could reveal things to us, such that we can be certain of them, Daniel?

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    4. Certainty as I know how memory interacts with the present state of the five senses - no, not by the what I could call objective reality...in theory yes a being as that could but only if it's done in objective sense so that whether you're a believer or unbeliever there's no mistaking of the interaction taking place...subjective knowledge or experience is highly suspect...if I saw a being materialize out of thin air claimed to be jesus then restored a missing limb I might say there was some objectivity to it..but to say god reveals knowledge only to those who subjectively believe warrants the skepticism of those who do not..I will say from my perspective subjectively or objectively such a god Thor Zeus psoeidon jesus yahweh has never revealed anything to me...that's not to say that I have not received the indoctrination of Christians who purport the idea of revealed knowledge...but as I have learned that knowledge is not revealed it's learned by logic and comparison...for instance..only because I have done this myself..when I was a christian I wanted to know if (God) via the Holy Spirit could reveal knowledge that my brain didn't already know...so I asked said god to reveal the nature of physics and calculus...God never responded to that prayer..now you might jump to answer me right away all the theological issues of why God wouldn't answer such a prayer...but if you or I are really dealing with the cosmic creator of the universe who should know every angle of quantam physics or math you would think it would be a simple request..I would challenge you as a christian for your own sake to seek out god in a way that would be uncomfortable to your preframed theogical beliefs..your own bible says test the spirits but rather would say test what you believe to be god imagined or real in your own head mind and heart...when I did I was mildly disappointed but very much relieved

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    5. The one thing I'm concerned about in the authors method is he claims that an unbeliever is incapable of knowing truth or facts or knowledge...that set ups a condition in which the Christian is never wrong or vice versa the unbeliever is never right...that sets a dangerous precedence in the ability of being objective...especially if christian claims are not true..for instance if I some how proved moses never existed that wouldn't change maybe the truth about jesus but would seriously undermine the inerrancy of the bible and the claims that God authored the bible..by which we could derive who decides what is and isn't gods word...

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  7. Dan

    The whole basis of this argument precludes the notion that the Bible is true; that God exists; that God's word was recorded accurately....if any of these suppositions are proved to be false or cannot be proven at all then the whole basis of this line of thinking is not only irrelevant but illogical...I would surmise no one can prove/disprove the existence of God therefore irrelevant to the natural world; no one can prove the bible is God's word therefore irrelevant to the natural world; the bible can be judged to its historicity and judged against the rules of logic, and whether or not the bible contains errors by which the fact it does therefore is suspect and must stand against criticism; if it does not then should be largely ignored as a basis of purporting truth

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    1. >>I would surmise no one can prove/disprove the existence of God therefore irrelevant

      HOW are you certain of that?

      >>the bible can be judged to its historicity and judged against the rules of logic

      First, to judge you would have to demonstrate how do you reconcile the validity of your senses, memory, and reasoning with your fallibility?

      Second, I would not use any evidence to convince anyone of something which Scripture says they already know. Evidence is presented to the judge and jury, and I will not elevate the unbeliever to that status and put God on trial.

      >>and whether or not the bible contains errors by which the fact it does therefore is suspect and must stand against criticism

      Hardly. Barely asserting it does, does not make it so. Again, how do you know for certain that is the case? Besides that tired argument has already been put to rest years ago. You can read all the counters here: bit.ly/textuallypure

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    2. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/08/19/an-incredible-interactive-chart-of-biblical-contradictions/

      Just for reference on contradictions in the bible

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  8. If you can't put god on trial then you have basically stated that you are mindless and devoted sheep incapable of reasoning with a sound mind...elevating scripture above evidence logic and reason does you a massive diservice when arguing with those who don't agree with you...you will be dismissed as someone who doesn't think critically or rationally..maybe my arguments have not been at the level that other athiests or agnostics or other ex christians have employed but using a belief in god the bible and apologetics as your main source of argument doesn't disprove our arguments at all and only furthers why people are abandoning the church and it's beliefs...my senses alone are not a good judge but if tested repeatedly against many others senses we build consensus we establish probability of certainty of observable known qualities and quantities...in all the arguments you've argued with me you've dealt in nothing that deals with reality only your beliefs based on the bible and what the Bible says which is not confirmed by reality evidence facts logic history science psychology

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    1. >>...you will be dismissed as someone who doesn't think critically or rationally..

      You would lose the preconditions for the intelligibility you require to posit your hypothetical about critical and rational reasoning, by denying the truth of Scripture, namely God's existence. It's your atheistic worldview that has ALL the problems, not ours at all.

      >>my senses alone are not a good judge but if tested repeatedly against many others senses we build consensus we establish probability of certainty of observable known qualities and quantities...

      So, you have an appeal to popularity, a fallacy, for your knowledge? This is why Knowledge is revealed by God, otherwise it is opinion and BELIEFS.

      >>in all the arguments you've argued with me you've dealt in nothing that deals with reality only your beliefs based on the bible and what the Bible says which is not confirmed by reality evidence facts logic history science psychology.

      How can you say that? You mean you deny everything presented? That does not mean I haven't. Also, which reality are you talking about? What is "reality"? Define it, without begging the very question.

      God revealed through general, natural, and special revelations that everyone knows He exists, He created the world. He revealed that His existence is necessary for knowledge, ethics, aesthetics, facts, knowledge, science, etc.

      You would have to be certifiably insane to any rational individual to deny all of these, all at once. Yet, Atheists do all the time, everyday.

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    2. This is again more fidelism (blind faith) from dan. You can never prove God is the precondition for all those things and you never will

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    3. Faith is a strong belief in a supernatural power that control human destiny, complete confidence in a plan, a loyalty or allegiance to a cause.

      Webster says:

      1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
      2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
      3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs.

      Faith, in a sense, is synonymous with loyalty and TRUST. In fact the synonyms are: confidence, trust, reliance, conviction, belief, assurance, devotion, loyalty, faithfulness, commitment, fidelity, constancy, fealty, dedication, allegiance.

      "There are basically four questions that are raised in life. The question of origin, meaning, morality and destiny. When you look at those particular questions, and try to answer them in terms of the laws of logic. You can basically look at it from three points of view; logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance."

      Worldviews bring these three tests with it. Based on study of who Christ claims to be and all of what he said, when he answers these four questions of life of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny. "The logical consistency of his answers, the empirical adequacy by which we measure the answers, and the experiential relevance has convinced me that He is indeed the way, the truth, and the life.

      It is not a leap in a vacuum, as it were, but a commitment born out of study." ~Ravi Zacharia

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  9. Reality is state of all things that exist in the natural world from the quantam physical world to the macro spatial universe that can be observed and interacted with the five senses in direct relationship to a being which is both conscious and has the mental capacity to observe and experience such...building consensus through statistical trial and error in the scientific method is not appeal to popularity...I may have misspoken what I was intending by that phrase...I meant that through rigorous observation and testing...you say that knowledge is revealed by God....I would like you to explain that from your point of view meaning how and what has said god revealed to you..then I would ask how you can objectively verify that it was indeed god who spoke? I disagree with the claim that God has revealed himself to everyone based on the historical fact that human populations have believed in many gods religions prior to the existence of the abrahamic faiths or semi montheistic faiths..I also challenge the claim that a god is needed for logic, facts, existence of a universe because there is no objective need for a god/creator nor is there objective proof of his/her said existence...I establish that claim because based on current history there is no claim that any god has interacted with the human species in known history apart from myths...which I know you'll disagree with but I will ask you to provide evidence

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    1. >>Reality is state of all things that exist in the natural world from the quantam physical world to the macro spatial universe that can be observed and interacted with the five senses in direct relationship to a being which is both conscious and has the mental capacity to observe and experience such

      So if the senses don't experience it, it's not real? Is love "real"? You still have not told us how you can know anything WITHOUT vicious circularity. Show us where you have justified your senses, memory and reasoning, WITHOUT using them.

      >>building consensus through statistical trial and error in the scientific method is not appeal to popularity.

      We understand you're making knowledge claims here, but you're not referencing your source of knowledge. It's just barely asserted as such. Keep in mind that Science ITSELF cannot be justified by the scientific method. Its permeated with unprovable assumptions.

      >>I meant that through rigorous observation and testing...you say that knowledge is revealed by God....I would like you to explain that from your point of view meaning how and what has said god revealed to you..t

      Where have you observed that "A" cannot be both "A" and "not A" at the same time and in the same way? All you could hope to claim from past observations (if you could validate your senses, memory, and reasoning - which you can't) is that "A" has not been both "A" and "not A" at the same time and in the same way.

      Things may have been perfectly rational, but to assume that it is perfectly rational is to beg the question. I reason inductively, but I have a basis for expecting uniformity in nature, you do not. We both trust our senses and reasoning, but of the two of us, I can justify doing so in a non-viciously circular fashion, you cannot.

      >>I would like you to explain that from your point of view meaning how and what has said [God] revealed to you..then I would ask how you can objectively verify that it was indeed [God] who spoke?

      God, through general, natural, and special revelations has revealed things to us, yes, including you. So I know God exists the same way you do. Do you even concede that an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being could reveal things to us, such that we can be certain of them?

      [To be cont'd]

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    2. [Cont'd]

      >> I disagree with the claim that God has revealed himself to everyone based on the historical fact that human populations have believed in many gods religions prior to the existence of the abrahamic faiths or semi montheistic faiths

      This is an absurdity. It's like saying barbers don't exist because there are people with long hair. If the people don't go to the barber, does that mean barbers don't exist? Your logic is so flawed here. Do you, at the very least, admit that in order for a barber to cut your hair, you must go to him?

      >>I also challenge the claim that [God] is needed for logic, facts, existence of a universe because there is no objective need for [God/Creator] nor is there objective proof of [His] said existence.

      There is a great deal of knowledge claims here. How are you certain there is NO objective proof of God?

      >>I establish that claim because based on current history there is no claim that any god has interacted with the human species in known history apart from myths...

      Besides being absolutely wrong, this fallacy is called an appeal to ignorance with a dash of Non sequitur. Should we accept fallacious arguments?

      Anyway, demonstrate how do you reconcile the validity of your senses, memory, and reasoning with your fallibility?

      >>which I know you'll disagree with but I will ask you to provide evidence.

      The Bible is evidence of God, also all evidence is evidence of God, even one's very ability to reason about evidence.

      "In fact, that cannot be evidence for God if he is a naturalist, or an atheist. Because according to him its not possible to have evidence for God. If he is in fact an atheist in terms of his views on reality, then all of these things must be reinterpreted so they are regimented, or will conform to, will comport with that man's naturalism, or atheism." bit.ly/stillevidence

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  10. Is gravity a belief or an opinion? Or is the fact that water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom a belief or an opinion?

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    1. You're misunderstanding the point. We both trust our senses, memory, and reasoning, but of the two of us, I can justify doing so in a non-viciously circular fashion, you cannot. Care to try?

      God has revealed to me that I can trust my senses, memory, and reasoning, then I can make determinations about things. You deny Him, so how do you reconcile the validity of your senses, memory, and reasoning with your fallibility?

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    2. Unfortunately you'll get into a circular argument as well...because if an infinitely complex universe needs a designer than something as complex as an omnipotent god would need a designer as well...

      I think if there is a common understanding that someone doesn't have a mental degenerative disease then we can test the validity of our senses very easily...when you go get your driver's license you do an eye exam or you go get your hearing checked...now as to memory it depends on length of time to the event and specific details...if you were to ask me what I had for breakfast 3 years ago some random Monday morning I would have no clue but if you ask me to remember the first time I kissed my girlfriend I could highlight a few details...why because the way the hippocampus in my brain processes different events...

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    3. Never said it wasn’t circular, just that it is not viciously circular, as your view is. Intellectual honesty would force you to admit that God could reveal some things to us such that we can know them for certain. You, on the other hand, have no avenue to certainty.

      Greg Bahnsen writes: ”In the Christian worldview, however, the Christian is not engaged in viciously circular argument, a circular argument on the same plane. We appeal above and beyond the temporal realm. God’s self-revelation in nature and in Scripture informs us of the two-level universe. God is not a fact like other facts in the world. He is the Creator and Establisher of all else. His existence alone makes the universe, and reason, and human experience possible… … The “circularity” of a transcendental argument is not at all the same as the fallacious ‘circularity’ of an argument in which the conclusion is a restatement (in one form or another) of one of its premises.” ~ (Pushing the Antithesis pg.) 124.

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    4. The only avenue that your atheistic worldview allows is that you reason that your reasoning is valid. THAT is viciously circular. It's also one of many reasons why we call your worldview absurd.

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    5. The problem I see with trying to claim a supernatural dimension with out an observable effect on this universe makes testing the claim such a universe exists apart from believers imagination makes it nearly impossible for non believers to accept the claims that Christians or muslims or Hindus purport

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    6. The reasoning can be valued and accepted if it can be tested...

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    7. >>The reasoning can be valued and accepted if it can be tested...

      Do you use your reasoning when evaluating and testing your reasoning? That is the definition of viciously circular. You still have not told us how you can know anything, WITHOUT vicious circularity. You see Daniel, I am completely open to be proven wrong, and challenge you to show us where you have justified your senses, memory and reasoning, WITHOUT using them.

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    8. My reasoning doesn't exist in a vacuum neither does yours...we both compare it to others claims and evidences to see if we have valid reasoning...I think the main difference is that religions accept the idea of self attesting claims where non theists do not...

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    9. I believe the correct claim is I can validate my senses BY using them but in order too evaluate the information that my senses transmit to my brain I have to use comparative logic and identify logical rules in which to judge the information that my brain accumulates...in doing so it doesn't matter if I'm a christian or athiest...we are both using the same logical functionality of our brains...we are interpreting the data differently by what weight we associate claims derived from various sources...I will make an assumption that as a christian you give weight to the idea that God speaks to you through his word and transmits what you believe to be revelation...now if I could describe that process from an outside viewpoint assume I could see into the spiritual world and could see what was going on in your brain...if the christian view is correct I would see you reading the bible and as yoyr brain is identifying th words presumably the holy Spirit is giving meaning to those words and associations giving you what we call revelation now if the non theist world view is correct and there is no God. ..t
      You are reading the bible and your brain is doing all the work of giving the bible meaning and association which you interpret to be revelation your brain would I fact be drawing on your beliefs the culture in which you grew up and the psychological makeup that makes you;you.

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    10. Could you be wrong about the things you claim to know?

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    11. Yes and no...can I be wrong about origin of the universe yes...not enough data to make a fully accurate knowledge claim...can I be wrong about the fact I'm currently sitting in my chair processing a requisition form for procurement...no...pretty sure I'm sitting here doing it...there are things we can speculate about; the universe? Do other planets exist...what is the possibility of life beyond our earth...can we speculate about the existence of a deity...sure....but until we observe certain things we will call it speculation...can I claim that christianity has had an impact on the world...with a large certainty yes...now if I were to claim that the christianities impact was all favorable/unfavorable the claim becomes speculation with the need to support the claim with evidence...here's where theists and non theists largely divide...as a former christian I used to accept that the Bible was infallible that God speaks to us and he interacts with the world...I believed for many years the holy Spirit spoke to me...it changed when began to ask if my experiences could be interpreted another way...was my experience and knowledge the result of interacting with an all powerful benevolent god or was my experience the result of growing up within a culture and belief system that is very self reinforcing...once I began to ask a lot of questions about my faith the origin of the bible and the origin of Christianity along with learning how beliefs are formed and their impact on how the brain works the glass mirror cracked..could I be wrong about God. ..possibly...but I would argue that the god you know as personal lord and savior to me became largely the product of belief and a human construvtion...the voice that I originally thought was god in my head turned out to be a character I invented reinforced by the culture of the christian church

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    12. >>...pretty sure I'm sitting here doing it..

      But, you could be strapped to a bed hallucinating about the conversation you're having on the internet. If not, why not?

      So you could be wrong about the things you claim to know then?

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    13. Yes could be a hallucination. ..hell, we could be in the matrix...but the reality that is right in front of me is the reality I'm experiencing..now I have worked with bipolar schizophrenics who have seen the equivalent of little surfs running around...so yes I get the fact that it is possible...however given the continuity of experience ie I would say a testable experience I will say with a high probability the world I live in is real other you are the product of my imagination and I'm really having a conversation with myself

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    14. But you could be wrong.

      If you could be wrong about what you claim to know, then you know nothing. That is the point of pointing out the absurdity of your worldview. You cannot even state that you're not strapped to a bed. God revealed things, such we are certain about them. You deny the only avenue to knowledge there is. It's more sad than pathetic.

      If I said "The speed limit on my street is 30mph, but I could be wrong"

      Do I KNOW what the speed is? Of course not! You are confusing a feeling of certainty with actual certainty. One cannot BE certain of something which is not true. Since you give up certainty, you admit you could be wrong, then you have given up knowledge for your worldview. BUT you do know things. It is why Scripture says it's foolish and why it is an absurd worldview to hang onto it.

      Some definitions for you:

      knowledge (n)--the fact or state of knowing; the perception of fact or truth; clear and certain mental apprehension.

      know (v)--1. To perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty. 2. To be cognizant or aware of.

      I'm sure that if an "atheist" wanted to, they could surrender to God, confess and repent of their sins, put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and receive a full pardon by God. They just don't want to. Takes us right back to Proverbs 14:2, doesn't it.

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    15. I'm gping to point out a logical problem if I cannot be certain that I'm sitting in a chair then you cannot be certain god has spoken to you..they are logically equivalent...if I doubt the reality in which I exist then you have the same problem...you can be no more certain of gods existence the only difference is if I were to have you sit in my office with me I could logically prove I was sitting in my chair...if I asked you to show me god...I have a basic intitution you would be unable to demonstrate or show me god...if christians and non theists cannot agree on what constitutes a basic level of knowledge and evidence neither side has an upper hand on convincing the other of their worldview...you could be just as wrong..you could be certain of gods existence which may not be true...like I said previously we both give weight to certain sources by a comparison mode of logic by which we judge reality...

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    16. And to your analogy about the speed limit all both of us would have to do is go out aND look at the sign to verify that...if we both read English and know the sign has 30 mph then we would agree that's the speed limit...we can do that with objective reality meaning things we can both look at touch and evaluate...we can't do that with the god of the bible...all we can test is the life of Christians and the claims of the bible...one person may surmise thst god exists demonstrated through the life of christians..and another may reject the ideas as support for the existence of god

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    17. In your analogy there is a testable item...to determine the difference of the feeling of certainty and what the objective truth is....we can test it...how is an unbeliever able to test god...presumably by reading gods word and evaluating the claims within...especially if God never physically materializes to the believer/unbeliever

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    18. >>I'm gping to point out a logical problem if I cannot be certain that I'm sitting in a chair then you cannot be certain god has spoken to you..they are logically equivalent...

      Are you absolutely certain of that? Because you're completely wrong. Do you even concede that an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being could reveal things to us, such that we can be certain of them?

      >>if I doubt the reality in which I exist then you have the same problem...

      Not so, at all. God has even revealed to me that I can trust my senses, memory and reasoning such that I can make the determination about things. A Christian justifies their senses and reasoning by the truth of God and His Word. The use of one's senses and reasoning is categorically distinct from justifying their use.

      Now, is it viciously circular to employ your senses and reasoning to validate your senses and reasoning? Of Course! So, how do you reconcile the validity of your senses, memory, and reasoning with your fallibility? Just show us where you have justified your senses, memory and reasoning, WITHOUT using them.

      >>I have a basic intitution you would be unable to demonstrate or show me [God]...

      Oh the irony! The revelation is not something you can escape. Even if you deny a special revelation, like the Bible you are still in the world of natural revelation. Bahnsen said.

      "Man was created as the image of God (Gen. 1:16-27) and thus cannot escape the face of God. There is no environment where man can flee to escape the revelational presence of God (Ps. 139:8). God’s natural revelation goes out to the end of the world (Ps. 19:1-4) and all people see His glory (Ps. 97:6). Therefore, even when living in open (idolatrous) rebellion, men are in the condition of “knowing God” (Rom. 1:21)—the living and true God, not merely “a god.” Christ enlightens every man (John 1:9), and so Calvin declares: For we know that men have this unique quality above the other animals, that they are endowed with reason and intelligence and that they bear the distinction between right and wrong engraved in their conscience. Thus there is no man to whom some awareness of the eternal light does not penetrate...the common light of nature, a far lowlier thing than faith (Calvin’s Commentaries, tr. T.H.L. Parker; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1959)." ~Bahnsen, Greg; Booth, Robert (2011-03-03). Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith

      All evidence is evidence of God, even you, even one's very ability to reason about evidence. You know He exists and by crying "where is the evidence" is denying your own existence, and ability to reason. It's absurd to reason with someone that is actually denying their own existence, all the while, demanding evidence for God.

      >>how is an unbeliever able to test god

      Test God? THERE is your problem. Your denial is dishonest. I would not use any evidence to convince anyone of something which Scripture says they already know. Evidence is presented to the judge and jury, and I will not elevate the unbeliever to that status and put God on trial.

      Again, you cannot reason out of Christianity if Jesus Christ is Lord of your reasoning. Hell's gates will be locked from the inside, as CS Lewis pointed out.

      Because you have railed against God, and not have God's will be done, i.e. repent and placing your entire trust in Jesus Christ for your Salvation with your heart, mind, and soul, then God, being as good as He is, will have your will be done and that is separation from Him. We call it despair.

      As Bahnsen wrote about ad nauseam that a Christian reduced to a question: What evidence would convince you of the God, who says you already have all the evidence?

      It's pointless to talk about anything to deniers and Idolators, like yourself. John 3:12, Jeremiah 33:3, 2 Corinthians 3:15-16. Repentance comes before knowledge of truth, not after: 2 Timothy 2:24-26

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    19. On physiological level no you cannot be certain that an omniscient god revealed them to you anymore than I can be certain of my reality..I did not say it was impossible for an omniscient being to reveal himself I said it's impossible for you as a human to a have a margin of certainty more or less than any other human..secondly you are making unsubstantiated claims that I already know God exists and you're making an unsubstantiated claim that the existence of logic is direct evidence of god...if you or the bible makes such a claim it must be supported by evidence...in order to convince me the evidence must be overwhelming to any possible alternative..so far you have not demonstrated any...I gave you two evidential supports that two claims in the bible were false or misleading

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    20. Claiming all evidence is evidence of god is a claim but you have not given any support to that claim...

      Same with the concept of natural revelation...I told you previously that knowledge is learned by experience observation...it is not revealed as if someone was pulling back a curtain...mathematics is not innate to humans it's taught...

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    21. You say a christian justifies his knowledge by God and his word..this is a circular reasoning...why...because if the bible claims that it speaks the truth..and it's the word of God. ..it's a claim not evidential support of the claim...calving commentaries claims from the bible christ enlightens man but that is a claim...do you see the difference of how you and I are approaching the issue...I look and evaluate claims with supporting evidence...you believe your experience aND the bible are sufficient evidence to explain your reality....the claims of the bible I don't give any weight too because the research I've done leads me to the conclusion it is the product of men

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    22. You said you won't elevate an unbeliever above god...I can can understand the proposition but here's the problem god is no more real than leprechauns or unicorns...asserting that said god exists does not make it so...making the claim all humans have knowledge of the judo christian god does not make it so...just because you believe said god exists does not make it so...I would like you to answer a few questions..have you seen said god in person...have you been to heaven physically..
      Have you seen hell with your own
      Eyes...have you personally witnessed any event recorded in the bible?

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    23. >>On physiological level no you cannot be certain that an omniscient god revealed them to you anymore than I can be certain of my reality.

      It would take intellectual dishonesty to claim that God, as powerful as He is, could not reveal some things to us such that we could know them for certain. You, on the other hand, have no such rescuing device for your circularity.

      Are you certain that God cannot reveal some things to us such that we can know them for certain, if so, how are you certain of this?

      >>I did not say it was impossible for an omniscient being to reveal himself I said it's impossible for you as a human to a have a margin of certainty more or less than any other human.

      But that power to reveal is with God, not fallible man. OK, I'll reword the question:

      Are you certain that God cannot reveal some things to fallible minds like ours, such that we can know them for certain, if so, how are you certain of this?

      I am hopeful you see the absurdity in your worldview position after this question, but it deserves to be answered to continue.

      >>..secondly you are making unsubstantiated claims that I already know God exists

      Romans 1:18-23 alone is direct evidence that God revealed Himself to you, and all of us, so we are without excuse. Now, if we need to, we can address natural revelation after that evidence. You have nowhere to go to escape Him.

      >>and you're making an unsubstantiated claim that the existence of logic is direct evidence of [God]...

      Logic is a reflection of the way God thinks, and since God is absolute, so the absolute laws of logic have always existed and is evidence of God.

      Maybe you can give evidence for logic in your atheistic worldview. What observation has led you to believe that “A” CANNOT BE both “A” and “not A” at the same time and in the same way? You see, just the definition of that law implies prescriptiveness – (CANNOT BE, not ISN’T)

      Your logic is, once again, absurd.

      >>if you or the bible makes such a claim it must be supported by evidence...

      God makes the claim, and reveals evidenced it through general, natural, and special revelations. You deny it all, and everything? bit.ly/stillevidence

      [to be cont'd]

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    24. [cont'd]

      >>..in order to convince me the evidence must be overwhelming to any possible alternative..

      God certainly has, but again you're misunderstanding my position. My argument is not intended to be convincing, I am merely commanded to speak the truth, defend it, and expose falsehoods. 'Convincing' is out of my hands.

      >>I gave you two evidential supports that two claims in the bible were false or misleading

      Hardly. Are you absolutely certain you have? If so, again, how do you know anything for certain in an atheistic worldview?

      >>Claiming all evidence is evidence of [God] is a claim but you have not given any support to that claim...

      Even if that were true, God certainly has. Even your ability to reason about the evidence, is evidence of God. God revealed that evidence in natural and special revelations.

      >>.I told you previously that knowledge is learned by experience observation...it is not revealed as if someone was pulling back a curtain...

      Did you reason that your reasoning is valid to determine that? But, as you admitted, you could be wrong. (as you are)

      >>You say a christian justifies his knowledge by God and his word..this is a circular reasoning...why...because if the bible claims that it speaks the truth..and it's the word of God.

      Wrong AGAIN. I said God reveals Himself through general, natural, AND special revelations (like the Bible) and you would have to be insane to deny all of it. But, by all means, keep twisting what others say to fit your dogmatic religious atheistic position. In poker, we call this "a tell". :)

      >>.the claims of the bible I don't give any weight too because the research I've done leads me to the conclusion it is the product of men

      But, again as you admitted, you could be wrong. Because you are.

      >>You said you won't elevate an unbeliever above [God]...

      Won't, it's impossible.

      >>[God] is no more real than leprechauns or unicorns...

      But you could be wrong, because you are. Ironically, the absurdity is that you're demanding EVIDENCE for others position all the while making barely asserted claims. Takes us right back to Proverbs 14:2, doesn't it.

      "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his opinion."~ Proverbs 18:2

      >>I would like you to answer a few questions..

      You see, we do have things in common. :)

      If you do not answer "yes" to any of your questions above, then you're appealing to a fallacy called an appeal to ignorance to stand on your position and argument. Again, absurdity and illogical, to be ignored.


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    25. The reason I asked you to answer those specific questions...if the answer is not yes then it can be logical grounds for me to say your beliefs and your experience is a imaginitive construction not a physical reality...there's no logical reason for me to believe in a supernatural world for which I have no physical evidence..I gave you two claims...I could if I wasn't typing on my phone give hundreds of claims with evidence either supporting my position or possibly refuting a biblical claim..

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    26. By the way admitting the possibility of being wrong is not equivalent to being wrong...it means that I'm honest enough to acknowledge a mistake if one is discovered...if its proven that your god is the equivalent of being an imaginary friend and the bible is the work of man would you change your belief? I would say if jesus showed up in the clouds as your scriptures say that would give me reason to believe...based on the current knowledge of the world I see no reason too

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    27. On the issue of knowledge can you demonstrate the concept of revelation opposed to method I described?

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    28. And of the two claims I gave you earlier do you have any factual evidence apart from the bible to contradict what I said...do you have a copy of the census that Joseph responded too...or could you give a rational explanation of what God would have had to do physically in order to create the earth in the manner described in Genesis 1

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    30. Another response. ..you say god reveals himself through special revelation like the bible...then am i too accept the book of Mormon, the koran, Hindu literature, the shepherd of hermes (once a part of the early church bible) the gnostic gospels or am I to assume the council of nicea made up of politically and religiously motivated men got it perfectly right...should I accept the later addition to the end of mark which was not written by the original author or should I accept the story of jesus and the adulteress forgiven also not part of Johns original text?

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  11. His "unbelief" does not stem from a lack of factual evidence but from his refusal to submit to the authoritative word of God from the beginning of his thinking....just a random side note...this is the authors claim...you would have to establish the connection between god and the men who wrote the scriptures...since this is impossible to do scientifically you have to take it on faith that the Bible is not the product of men which makes a lot of un testable claims or claims that have been refuted by science and history...if you only listen to christian sources you would think the bible is accurate but I can start to list sources that show the bible is very inaccurate which leads me to the conclusion that an omnipotent being is not responsible for the creation of the bible therefore it is not an authority on human life and morality and definitely not to be trusted when it describes god and his supposed relationship to man

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    1. I'll give one or two since I'm thinking about it...there is no record of a census claimed in Matthew until 6 ad...if jesus was born between 4 bc and 0 ad as many scholars think he would have been between 6-10 years old when his mother was supposed to be pregnant with him going to Bethlehem. ...second issue more science related...Genesis chapter 1 if the sun and stars was created on 3rd day there would have been no gravity yet on the earth..even though it mentions land plants and water in place...not too mention the sun is needed for photosynthesis in order for plants to be alive and grow...and if you accept how science demonstrates the age of the earth plants did not arrive on the scene till after the earliest lifeforms began

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    2. I believe you're misunderstanding my position, I don't discuss Scripture with those that don't hold it as authoritative.

      "Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you." ~Matthew 7:6

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    3. I can understand that position and that mental framework but some thing both christians and athiests can do is evaluate the claims the bible makes..that puts us on equal logical footing in terms of being able to determine what evidence either supports or refutes a particular claim

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  12. On the issue of why I don't believe logic and universe are evidence of god...if I come up to two lakes...both surrounded by trees both have fish and rocks...now the lakes have been existence before I was born...one of them is man made and the other was produced by nature...if I had no historical knowledge of the lakes how would I determine their origin...now let's say my grandpa comes along and says the both lakes were man made 500 years ago...his great great grandfather helped build both lakes...a little while later a scientist/geologist comes along who has studied lakes most of his professional career...he identifies the man made lake has only been in existence for 200 years and the natural lake was formed 1000 years ago...now naturally I would assume my grandfather is not a liar nor would I assume the geologist is a liar...me being neither a geologist nor present when the lakes are made or formed has to make judgements based on reliable testable information...neither you nor I were present when the universe began...now I could trust that my dad being a christian is not a liar and I should be able to trust scientists who are experts in their field...the only way I make a good determination is too examine both the claims of my dad and the scientist to see who makes a more plausible case...in my research christian claims have not proven true or consistent

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    1. Just for kicks assume my grandfather says he has a relationship with his great grandfather who is ghost who appears to him lol...whom when I ask to meey the ghost never appears ;)

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  13. The problem is again you Daniel you refuse to call out dan for his special pleading

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    1. Again, barely asserting things I am doing is not a good argument. We are to ignore illogical reasoning. Have any evidence or substance to your claims? Or just keep ignoring, as instructed to?

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