Answering Even Stevphen and the Criticism that Christians are Ignorant Zealots who Aren’t thinking Clearly

Even Stepvhen (Stephen Colbert): “First off it’s not my logic Steve, it’s God’s logic as written in the Bible, every word of which is true and we know every word is true because the Bible says that the Bible is true and if you remember from earlier in this sentence, every word of the Bible is true. Now, are you following me here or are you some kind of mindless zealot?”

Bahnsen’s response (summarized from a debate with Sproul):

Why Presuppositionalsim is not circular.

Presuppositional apologetics, argued Dr. Bahnsen, does not give “the pagan an excuse . . . because it doesn’t say to him that ‘You have one circle there and another circle there. Well, you know, I guess different strokes for different folks. Take the one you want.’ That isn’t the presuppositionalist’s argument.”

“The argument is ‘You’re reasoning in a circle, and it’s a destructive circle. And I may be reasoning in a circle, but it’s one which encompasses your thought, and everything valid in your thought as well as all other things. It gives science a foundation.” (Bahnsen)

Bahnsen went on to present a hypothetical where a Christian is confronted with a person who is a complete empericist—a person who believes sense perception is the test of all truth. That empericist’s ultimate presupposition is that sense perception is the standard of truth, said Bahnsen. If a person presents an argument to the empericist that denies sense perception is the standard of truth, and the empericist buys that argument, then he has just rejected his ultimate presupposition. On the other hand, if someone presents an argument on the basis that sense perception is the standard of truth, and the empericist buys that argument, then he buys it because he is already committed to the idea that sense perception is the standard of truth.

“Now, no[ presuppositionalist] is talking about what has been referred to by R.C. as the elementary logical fallacy of circular reasoning. Nobody says, ‘A is true because A is true.’ We’re talking about transcendental thinking, and that’s a very important area of epistemology. . . . [I]t has its roots in the . . . tradition of Kant, of asking about the preconditions of all knowledge, be it logic, or sense perception, or whatever.“And what the presuppositionalist says is ‘You must recognize that an ultimate standard is just that—ultimate.’ And if you have an argument for that ultimate standard that is other than that ultimate standard, then that other argument is your ultimate standard. Do you understand that? You can’t establish your ultimate point by going behind it, because if you could go behind it to find some grounds for it there, [then] that would be your ultimate standard. ” (Bahnsen)

According to Dr. Bahnsen, the only way someone’s presuppositions can be established is transcendentally. “[Presuppositional apologetics] has nothing to do with the flat-line circularity of begging the question,” he said.

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About pjtibayan

I love Jesus Christ and live to share life and share Jesus together with First Southern Baptist Church of Bellflower primarily to Southeast Los Angeles County.
This entry was posted in Bibliology, Evangelicalism, questions pondered. Bookmark the permalink.

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