Monday, June 17, 2013

Skepticism

I have noticed atheists have now resorted to skepticism as a basis for a counter-argument against presuppositional apologetics.




This video makes a lot of claims that seem to follow the ideas from Michael Martin's article TANG. The latter article has been addressed by both Michael Butler and John Frame so I will not further discuss it here. I wish to only address those points that seem to be a counter-argument. First, then we go to epistemology. The video builds an argument on a false analogy between God and a king. This is obvious when one looks to perfect being theology. By definition God is the greatest conceivable being; He is the most perfect being (hence the name perfect being theology). If this is the case, then there is no substantial parallel between God and the king in the video. However if we grant the false analogy further problems arise. First, the analogy illustrates a misunderstanding of the Presuppositional argument. Since the unbeliever seeks to reverse the the argument back on the believer. As one's modus ponens is another person's modus tollens. Here the problem is made explicit. The believer affirms that God is the necessary starting point to make sense of human experience and thought. Sye Ten Bruggencate argues this affirmation by pressing the unbeliever to admit knowledge is impossible in terms of the non-christian worldview. The alleged counter-argument is that the christian too is left in the same kind of skepticism. Since the believer can not ground his belief that God is not deceiving him. What is the problem of this argument? First, it acknowledges Christianity as the necessary presupposition of thought and human experience in attempt to show it is self-refuting. But it does not demonstrate Christianity is in fact self-refuting. Vincent Cheung explains this problem well:

    
"They suggest that according to my view, I could be deceived in affirming my view. First, this is just outright stupid, since the Bible says that God can send evil spirits to convince people of error. So no matter how it happens, God is the one who decrees that someone would be deceived. Second, they demonstrate that they really have no idea how to perform this fatal maneuver, since it again backfires against them. If I am deceived in the way that the objection suggests (that is, by my own explanation of how one comes to believe falsehood), then it actually proves my position. If I am deceived in the way that I say one is deceived, then I am in fact not deceived. To illustrate, if God sends a demon to "deceive" someone into thinking that God does not send demons to deceive, then God does send demons to deceive. Likewise, if God causes me to believe the "falsehood" that it is God who causes one to believe falsehood, then God does cause one to believe falsehood, and I am in fact not deceived. In other words, my position cannot be demonstrated as self-refuting in the manner attempted by the objection."[1]
Secondly, the counter-argument assumes there is truth. Since one cannot have doubt, deception, or falsehood without a standard of certainty, honesty, and truth. And this standard must be justified by the unbeliever. However, if the unbeliever rightly understood the presuppositional argument, then he would  know even deception is impossible without starting first with the God of Scripture. Moreover, the video asserts starting with God does not justify knowledge, logic, and regularity as simply as naturalism. This assertion is plainly false since the video advocates fideism. This has been dealt with here and hereOne must presuppose the reliability of sensation and justify it by scripture which is circular reasoning (not a problem), but it results in two circles sensation is justified by scripture and scripture is justified by sensation. This demonstrates reason presupposes faith and that human experience and everything that is meaningful--sensation, induction, intuition, logic, free-will (free agency) morals,-- hinges on the truthfulness of the Christian worldview. Furthermore, contemporary religious epistemology is not even consulted for the premises of the unbeliever's arguments which leaves the arguments susceptible to refutation in light of this neglected data.   

The video asserts logic and the regularity of nature operates given the essences of their respective natures. Matter operates consistent with matter and this is how regularity can be justified. The problem with such a view is simply it begs the question. How does one know all matter operates the same? Have you tested every atom? If not, then the unbeliever is assuming without justification that from particulars one can get universals. It gets even more precise, if the unbeliever is an empiricist, then since he cannot observe the empirical connection between causes and effects, he is left in skepticism.    





[1] www.vincentcheung.com/2006/03/01/the-fatal-maneuver/    

23 comments:

James Jordan said...

"As one's modus ponens is another person's modus tollens. Here the problem is made explicit."

Speak English you Papist!

"The believer affirms that God is the necessary starting point to make sense of human experience and thought. Sye Ten Bruggencate argues this affirmation by pressing the unbeliever to admit knowledge is impossible in terms of the non-christian worldview."

What about a Jewish worldview? If a CHRISTIAN worldview is required to know anything at all then everyone who lived prior to Christianity must have known nothing. This proves that a Christian worldview IS NOT required to know anything; but a Jewish one is. So let me argue with you based on a Jewish presuppositionalism. I'm not sure what we will argue about, but whatever it is, you automatically lose the argument because unless you are operating from a Jewish worldview you can't know anything! Judaism is the necessary presupposition of thought and human experience!

Anyway, I only want to address one point. You said "By definition God is the greatest conceivable being; He is the most perfect being (hence the name perfect being theology)." This is Greek philosophy. God is not, in Old Testament thought, "the greatest conceivable being" because he is not a being who is merely "conceived" in the mind, as he is in Greek thought. He is real in the Old Testament. As such he is what he is, as he said to Moses at the burning bush "I am that I am" which in case you don't understand KJV English is equivalent to "I am WHAT I am." In other words, I will make no excuses for what I am, I am proud of what I am. The Greeks measure perfection by immovability, by laziness, by emotionlessness; so their philosophers argue that a Deity who never moves but always sits in the same spot, who never has any emotions, and so on is perfect. God, however, is presented to us in the Old Testament as getting angry, as repenting that he had made man on the earth, and so on. By the measuring rod of Greek philosophy, he is not perfect. Yet he makes no excuses for any of this but says "I am what I am." Perfection, then, in the Old Testament is almost the opposite of Greek perfection. Rather than perfection being a lazy emotionless God (like the god of the Greek philosophers and the Calvinists) the Old Testament presents God as a passionate God. In fact, the Jewish Publication Society translates the phrase "I am a jealous God" as something along the lines of "I am an empassioned God." You will deny all of this with nonsense about "anthropomorphism blah blah blah" but who is denying the Biblical presuppositions now????? Anyway, the point is the judge of both the Christian and atheist worldviews is the Jewish world view. Christianity is not the judge because its scripture did not come first. AMEN and AMEN, and all of God's people said AMEN!!!!!

R.C. Dozier said...

“Speak English you Papist!”

The Latin words I used are standard concepts in sentential or propositional logic that cannot be properly transliterated (it is by no means Catholic). Here is another Latin phrase that properly captures you calling me a papist—Argumentum ad Hominem. 



“What about a Jewish worldview? If a CHRISTIAN worldview is required to know anything at all then everyone who lived prior to Christianity must have known nothing.”

This argument does not logically follow since it is predicated on a premise that Christianity is not a fulfillment of Judaism. This premise is not obviously true. Therefore, you must defend this premise in order for you to have an argument. I think this would be a grand task to take though since your premises negation is more plausible than its affirmation (It is more plausible given the Old Testament teachings and Jesus’ teachings that they are from the same source; one fulfilling the other than they being separate sources).

I would argue from the presupposition that Christianity is the fulfillment of Biblical Judaism (that is not to say Talmudian Judaism). So Old Testament saints, like Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, could have knowledge only by the revelation of the triune God. But we would go further than this. We claim all mankind knows the Christian God exists but habitually suppresses this truth. This is why people (and you in particular) know things, but is stealing the foundation for knowledge from Him.

Judging by your post, I think you misunderstand the Christian presuppositional position. It simply states that if one denies the Triune God and claims to know things, then he or she must at the same time affirm His existence to know anything. Since without all knowledge (i.e. the unity of all facts), an item of knowledge (i.e. diversity of a given fact) one doesn’t know could contradict what one thinks he knows. In other words, in order to know anything, you must be omniscient or have revelation from someone who is, namely God. Notice, however, this argument is starting from the Christian Trinitarian conception of God in contrast to the Jewish Unitarian conception of God. Since our argument is predicated on the presupposition that the Christian worldview must be true in order to make sense of human thought and experience. If you wish to posit the Jewish conception of God, that’s fine, but this worldview must be demonstrated to be able to account for human thought and experience. I don’t see that it does.

“This proves that a Christian worldview IS NOT required to know anything; but a Jewish one is. So let me argue with you based on a Jewish presuppositionalism. I'm not sure what we will argue about, but whatever it is, you automatically lose the argument because unless you are operating from a Jewish worldview you can't know anything!”


Sye and I do not merely assert this. In order to think this one must completely look over or dismiss prejudically the arguments given by Cornelius Van Til, John Frame, Greg Bahnsen, Michael Butler, James Anderson, Dustin Segers, and Sye Ten Bruggencate.


“Judaism is the necessary presupposition of thought and human experience!”

I look forward to seeing your argument for this bold claim.

R.C. Dozier said...

"Anyway, I only want to address one point. You said "By definition God is the greatest conceivable being; He is the most perfect being (hence the name perfect being theology)." This is Greek philosophy. God is not, in Old Testament thought, "the greatest conceivable being" because he is not a being who is merely "conceived" in the mind, as he is in Greek thought. He is real in the Old Testament. As such he is what he is, as he said to Moses at the burning bush "I am that I am" which in case you don't understand KJV English is equivalent to "I am WHAT I am." In other words, I will make no excuses for what I am, I am proud of what I am. The Greeks measure perfection by immovability, by laziness, by emotionlessness; so their philosophers argue that a Deity who never moves but always sits in the same spot, who never has any emotions, and so on is perfect. God, however, is presented to us in the Old Testament as getting angry, as repenting that he had made man on the earth, and so on. By the measuring rod of Greek philosophy, he is not perfect. Yet he makes no excuses for any of this but says "I am what I am." Perfection, then, in the Old Testament is almost the opposite of Greek perfection. Rather than perfection being a lazy emotionless God (like the god of the Greek philosophers and the Calvinists) the Old Testament presents God as a passionate God. In fact, the Jewish Publication Society translates the phrase "I am a jealous God" as something along the lines of "I am an empassioned God." You will deny all of this with nonsense about "anthropomorphism blah blah blah" but who is denying the Biblical presuppositions now?????"

What you have said thus far maybe construed as committing the genetic fallacy. Although you may be surprised to hear, I am in agreement in part with what you have said. I do think we should go beyond the metaphysical to also the existential. I think some Christian Theologians, specifically Aquinas, gave too much weight to Aristotle. This in turn caused some in Christianity to reject God existing qua both being and becoming. That is to say God can be perfect, and yet still change in certain respects (as you noted emotions). Therefore, I believe God is the most perfect being. But the fact God moves and feels, as you have rightly said, does not diminish His perfection. Since neither (motion or emotion) is a change in any respect to God’s essential nature for the better or worse. So I think perfect being theology still applies and is a helpful tool in theology and apologetics.


"Christianity is not the judge because its scripture did not come first. AMEN and AMEN, and all of God's people said AMEN!!!!!"

This is a non-sequitor. If Christianity is true, then it’s authority of the New Testament should be given equal weight to that of the Old Testament regardless of its historical or temporal location. Please give an argument.

James Jordan said...

Talk about lacking a sense of humor. I would have thought you would have known "Speak English you Papist!" was a joke.

"This argument does not logically follow since it is predicated on a premise that Christianity is not a fulfillment of Judaism."

This is the problem with your Calvinist presuppositionalism--you make the END the presuppositions rather than the beginning. The presupposition should not be that Christianity is a fulfillment of Judaism--that should be what you are ultimately working up to from the presupposition that the Old Testament revelation is from God. You see at some point you have to move beyond presupposition to logical argument based on a set of accepted presuppositions. This is what Calvinist presuppositionlists don't understand. So being idiots with no logic at all they just presuppose ALL their beliefs--and that ultimately was my only point.

R.C. Dozier said...

"Talk about lacking a sense of humor. I would have thought you would have known "Speak English you Papist!" was a joke."

Yes this is true. My sense of humor is odder than Spock's from Star Trek :)


"This is the problem with your Calvinist presuppositionalism--you make the END the presuppositions rather than the beginning. The presupposition should not be that Christianity is a fulfillment of Judaism--that should be what you are ultimately working up to from the presupposition that the Old Testament revelation is from God. You see at some point you have to move beyond presupposition to logical argument based on a set of accepted presuppositions. This is what Calvinist presuppositionlists don't understand. So being idiots with no logic at all they just presuppose ALL their beliefs--and that ultimately was my only point."


First, you must demonstrate one cannot at any time non-fallaciously argue from the whole to its parts. The Calvinist presuppositionalist takes the Old and New Testament as God's, specific, coherent, whole revelation and argues from it to justify all the parts of human experience and thought (including how to rightly understand the Old Testament given progressive revelation from the New Testament). Secondly, it seems you are misunderstanding the presuppositional argument. it is not premises to a conclusion as traditional arguments, like the Kalam cosmological argument. Rather, the argument states that, unless you first start with the Christian God, you cannot make sense of anything, like knowledge. You really think the transcendental argument for God's existence is merely fideism? That is another bold claim.

I am waiting to hear your argument in favor of Judaism. With epistemology, given judaism, how does one make sense of knowledge about the unity and plurality of facts. Then granting Judaism once again, how does one metaphysically ground the unity and plurality we experience in nature? In other words, how does judaism make sense of the one and many problem in epistemology and metaphysics? As a Christian I make sense both in terms of God's triunity. I can understand the concepts of 'threeness' and 'oneness', and understand the differences between both, because God has put an innate knowledge of himself in me. God is the one that is both ultimate unity and diversity in the triunity of God's nature. And therefore, God gives meaning (epistemology) to all things (metaphysics) from his triune nature (unity and diversity). In the trinity is both the subject and object of knowledge. Both the I and the thou relationship. Hence, I believe only the Christian worldview can make sense of human experience and thought.

James Jordan said...

"The Calvinist presuppositionalist takes the Old and New Testament as God's, specific, coherent, whole revelation and argues from it to justify all the parts of human experience and thought (including how to rightly understand the Old Testament given progressive revelation from the New Testament)."

The obvious problem with this approach for anyone with sense is that it is clearly not the approach of the New Testament writers themselves. Let that soak in for a bit. Paragraph break.

What does Matthew do? Does he presuppose that the New Testament is true and therefore not offer the Jew any argument from the Old Testament? No. He argues on the basis of certain prophecies and claims that Jesus is the fulfillment of that prophecy. Now the reader--obviously, and only a Calvinist presuppositionalist would disagree with this--the reader obviously is intended to judge whether Matthew has proven his case or not from the Old Testament scripture. This is, Matthew's presupposition is that the Old Testament is the truth, and that he must prove Jesus to be the Messiah by using the Old Testament -- not just assert "Jesus is the Messiah" and the presuppose that assertion to be true.

"Secondly, it seems you are misunderstanding the presuppositional argument. it is not premises to a conclusion as traditional arguments, like the Kalam cosmological argument. Rather, the argument states that, unless you first start with the Christian God, you cannot make sense of anything"

No, because unless you first start with the Old Testament you can't even make sense of that claim. Because, again, what does Matthew do? Start with the Christian God? Does the opening of Matthew say "The Trinity! The Trinity!" No. Matthew starts with the Old Testament, and with attempting from the Old Testament prophecies to prove Jesus is the Messiah. Then later New Testament writers building on this foundation begin to introduce the Christian God.

"You really think the transcendental argument for God's existence is merely fideism? That is another bold claim."

I don't even know what you are talking about here. I'm not an atheist. I don't get your meaning.

"I am waiting to hear your argument in favor of Judaism."

By Judaism, of course, in the context of this discussion I don't mean modern Judaism. I don't mean Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist. I don't mean the Talmud. By Judaism here I just mean the Old Testament. Paragraph break.

James Jordan said...


"Then granting Judaism once again, how does one metaphysically ground the unity and plurality we experience in nature?"

What are you talking about with this psychobabel? The belief that there is one God, only one, and he created the world out of nothing, Genesis 1, this is the foundation of viewing the universe in any logical manner.

"In other words, how does judaism make sense of the one and many problem in epistemology and metaphysics?"

More psychobabel.

"As a Christian I make sense both in terms of God's triunity. I can understand the concepts of 'threeness' and 'oneness', and understand the differences between both, because God has put an innate knowledge of himself in me."

What does God putting an innate knowledge of his existence in you have to do with the Trinity? Of course we are all born with a sense of knowing that God exists. But that relates to the Trinity, how? Nobody is born believing in a Trinity--although they are born believing in one God.

"God is the one that is both ultimate unity and diversity in the triunity of God's nature. And therefore, God gives meaning (epistemology) to all things (metaphysics) from his triune nature (unity and diversity)."

More psychobabel.

"In the trinity is both the subject and object of knowledge. Both the I and the thou relationship. Hence, I believe only the Christian worldview can make sense of human experience and thought."

In the Trinity is no knowledge at all whether subjective or objective. The Trinity suffers from a huge problem. You say you have One God, but he is made up of Three Persons. Fine. But why Three? Why not Five? The number Three is arbitrary. I saw a rabbi once argue that since Exodus mentions that God will pass over those with the blood on their door, and then later it says the Destroyer will, its odd that Christians didn't make "the Destroyer" a fourth person in the Trinity. And that is odd. There is no reason to cap it at 3.

NOW, let's mention Anselem's definition of God. "God," he says, "is the greatest being that the human mind can conceive." I've seen Trinitarians arguing that the greatest we can conceive is the Trinity. Why so? Wouldn't a 10000-person God be greater? Sure. So then, wouldn't a 20000- person God be greater? Absolutely!

So then, wouldn't a 30000- person God be greater? Yep. So why stop at 3? Its pure nonsense. If we allow multiplicity of persons in God, then it never ends, not logically. It can only be ended arbitrarily. This is one reason the Trinity does not give us any ability to know the world around us, but rather demolishes it. This is why all the great Christian scientists, chief among them Isaac Newton himself, were Arians and Socinians -- they rejected the Trinity. Its a precondition for all logic. Because what does a Trinitarian do? Simply spout psychobabel and rape the natural world for proof of the most absurd doctrine Rome ever came up with.

James Jordan said...

I'll add one further argument, and this is a great one, yet a dangerous one to dare present.

All what I've said up to this point is much more important, but what I'm about to say is important in a secondary way.

Say your basic presupposition at the very bottom is that you presuppose the whole doctrinal system of Calvinism is true and is necessary to understanding anything. All your faith is based on Calvinism being true.

Now someone disproves Calvinism. What happens?

All your faith evaporates at once. The New Testament instantly falls. Jesus is instantly gone. The Old Testament is instantly gone. God is instantly gone. Instantly, you're an atheist.

Why? Because you didn't build up from the most basic set of presuppositions to further corollaries derivable from them, until finally you arrived at a concluding system. You made the truth of the final system your one and only presupposition, and when it fell, everything fell with it so far as you were concerned. This is why so many more Calvinists leave Christianity for atheism than Arminians or other types of Christians do. Others may end up in Deism or Judaism if they leave -- Calvinists almost invariably end up atheists when they leave: because their only presupposition was the final system.

Now, suppose instead your basic presupposition was Genesis 1. Calvinism can fall all day long and you will retain faith in God and in the Old Testament. Calvinism can also fall and you will not instantly lose faith in Jesus. Why? Because your faith is not a blind faith in the final system but was built up piece by piece from the beginning, and at the bottom is grounded on a firm and immovable presupposition, not a false fake and stupid presupposition.

So we begin with three basic presuppositions: God exist, God created the world from nothing, and God revealed himself and the 10 commandments to Moses at Sinai. Working our way up from that we build the whole system. If some part of the final building collapses for some reason, we don't fall all the way down to atheism. (The Calvinist presuppositionalist will fall all the way down to atheism.) But we fall from Calvinism to Arminianism, from Arminianism to the Old Testament. If we fall, if some part of our final system is disproven, we fall back on the basic presuppositions which cannot be disproven.

Calvinism can be disproven easily. The New Testament is susceptible to the argument that all those prophecies had to be taken out of context to make them look like they're about Jesus. But nobody can disprove the existence of God, creation from nothing, nor indeed the revelation of the 10 commandments at Sinai. So we presuppose what is unquestionably true and then build up to the questionable: we don't presuppose the questionable and let our faith rest on a bunch of hot air.

James Jordan said...

Now finally, you probably will ask the question: What do you mean by saying "nobody can disprove...the revelation of the 10 commandments at Sinai"?

Its very simple. The easiest method for disproving a "revelation" is to show it contradicts earlier scripture that it is claiming it is based on. Its very easy to take the Koran and show that Mohammed misinterpreted a whole bunch of stories from the Old Testament, and therefore the Koran is false. With the New Testament it is trivial to show that various prophecies used by Matthew were talking about the Babylonian captivity and other things not Jesus. Its easy to show that Paul has taken every passage he uses in Romans 3 and in Romans 9 out of context. That's easy.

But you can't show that the 10 commandments have misinterpreted any earlier scripture! Because there was not earlier scripture!

So how will somebody disprove the revelation of the 10 commandments at Sinai? The most obvious method for disproving a revelation will not work here.

So what will they do? They will simply assert "the Exodus never happened." Ah, but they can't prove that!

And what are we dealing with here? Are we dealing with a small group of Mohammed's friends seeing him fly to heaven on a winged horse? No. Are we dealing with a couple of women and 12 guys seeing Jesus alive a few days after his death? No. So what are we dealing with?

We are dealing with hundreds of thousands of people having heard the voice of God at Sinai. And we are dealing with a book that tells the second generation after the original audience "ask your fathers and they will tell you" -- we are dealing with a revelation that it is claimed was seen by such a massive group of people that its hard to even begin to figure out where you would even begin to try to disprove it.

So this is a solid starting point. This is a good solid presupposition.

1. God exists.
2. God created the world from nothing.
3. The national revelation of the 10 commandments to an entire nation of hundreds of thousands of people who all heard God Himself speak these words.

This is a solid basis for faith. This cannot be disproven. But secondary revelations which depend on this one for their validity can be disproven by it being demonstrated that they have misunderstood, misinterpreted, contradicted this revelation.

So presupposing those is a bad idea: presuppose the Koran and you are on shaky ground. Presuppose the New Testament and its still not solid. Presuppose the revelation at Sinai, and you are on unshakable ground. Then you can begin to build onto it the New Testament if you so choose, but you must begin on the more solid ground.

You don't build the roof first -- first you build the foundation. Duh. Presupposing Calvinism is like bulding the steeple and hanging it in the air when you haven't yet built the church or even laid the foundation stone it will be placed on.

R.C. Dozier said...

“The obvious problem with this approach for anyone with sense is that it is clearly not the approach of the New Testament writers themselves. Let that soak in for a bit. Paragraph break.”


It is not obvious to me. Please demonstrate your claim. I can think of a counter example like John the Baptist being the Elijah that was to come (Malachi 4:5; Matthew 11:11-15,17:10-13). The Old Testament is clearly being interpreted in light of the New Testament revelation. It is not being abrogated but illuminated by Jesus. In Christian circles, we believe the Old Testament teaches the concealed promise of the Christ, or as you would say Messiah; in the New Testament the promises of the Messiah’s coming is revealed, and fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus from Nazareth.


“What does Matthew do? Does he presuppose that the New Testament is true and therefore not offer the Jew any argument from the Old Testament?”


Matthew builds from the OT and corrects their understanding based on the new revelation in Jesus Christ and prompting of the Holy Spirit.

R.C. Dozier said...

“No. He argues on the basis of certain prophecies and claims that Jesus is the fulfillment of that prophecy. Now the reader--obviously, and only a Calvinist presuppositionalist would disagree with this--the reader obviously is intended to judge whether Matthew has proven his case or not from the Old Testament scripture. This is, Matthew's presupposition is that the Old Testament is the truth, and that he must prove Jesus to be the Messiah by using the Old Testament -- not just assert "Jesus is the Messiah" and the presuppose that assertion to be true.”

I do not disagree with you here. But to imply I merely “just assert "Jesus is the Messiah" and then presuppose that assertion to be true,” is to misrepresent the presuppositionalist position.


“No, because unless you first start with the Old Testament you can't even make sense of that claim. Because, again, what does Matthew do? Start with the Christian God? Does the opening of Matthew say "The Trinity! The Trinity!" No. Matthew starts with the Old Testament, and with attempting from the Old Testament prophecies to prove Jesus is the Messiah. Then later New Testament writers building on this foundation begin to introduce the Christian God.”


The Apostles always presupposed, proclaimed and proved the Christian faith. But the three were inseparable and inter-dependent. So yes, Matthew presupposed God is triune, proclaimed Jesus as Christ, and proved this by the fulfillment of OT prophecies. But the three mentioned were grounded in the new revelation given by Jesus. Matthew’s exposition of the Old Testament prophecy was based on the revelation of Christ as He being the fulfillment. The OT painted a dim picture of the coming Messiah in prophecy; and Jesus brought clarity (to the picture) as fulfillment of the prophecy.

R.C. Dozier said...

"By Judaism, of course, in the context of this discussion I don't mean modern Judaism. I don't mean Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist. I don't mean the Talmud. By Judaism here I just mean the Old Testament."

No, you must take a stance here. There is no such thing as generic Judaism; both the Orthodox and Reformed Jews would agree.

. “What are you talking about with this psychobabel?”

I thought you would understand or at least be able to use google; I guess I was wrong.



"You say you have One God, but he is made up of Three Persons. Fine. But why Three?"

Biblical hermeneutics and proper exegesis determines doctrine. The Old and New Testament together clearly teaches there is one Being, God, who exists in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Det 6:4-5, Isa 43:10, 44:6, Matt 3:13-17, John 1:1, Acts 5:4).

R.C. Dozier said...

"Say your basic presupposition at the very bottom is that you presuppose the whole doctrinal system of Calvinism is true and is necessary to understanding anything. All your faith is based on Calvinism being true. Now someone disproves Calvinism. What happens? 

All your faith evaporates at once. The New Testament instantly falls. Jesus is instantly gone. The Old Testament is instantly gone. God is instantly gone. Instantly, you're an atheist.

Why? Because you didn't build up from the most basic set of presuppositions to further corollaries derivable from them, until finally you arrived at a concluding system. You made the truth of the final system your one and only presupposition, and when it fell, everything fell with it so far as you were concerned. This is why so many more Calvinists leave Christianity for atheism than Arminians or other types of Christians do.

Others may end up in Deism or Judaism if they leave -- Calvinists almost invariably end up atheists when they leave: because their only presupposition was the final system.

Now, suppose instead your basic presupposition was Genesis 1. Calvinism can fall all day long and you will retain faith in God and in the Old Testament. Calvinism can also fall and you will not instantly lose faith in Jesus. Why? Because your faith is not a blind faith in the final system but was built up piece by piece from the beginning, and at the bottom is grounded on a firm and immovable presupposition, not a false fake and stupid presupposition.

So we begin with three basic presuppositions: God exist, God created the world from nothing, and God revealed himself and the 10 commandments to Moses at Sinai. Working our way up from that we build the whole system. If some part of the final building collapses for some reason, we don't fall all the way down to atheism. (The Calvinist presuppositionalist will fall all the way down to atheism.) But we fall from Calvinism to Arminianism, from Arminianism to the Old Testament. If we fall, if some part of our final system is disproven, we fall back on the basic presuppositions which cannot be disproven." 



It sounds like you are saying one should believe something not because it is true but because it is easier to defend? Obviously this is false. One can have a true belief and yet have no evidence for it. For example, one cannot provide evidence for the existence of the external world, but it clearly exists. Or one can have a true belief that is refuted by evidence simply because the person that has the belief is not epistemically responsible to defend his belief. One should have a belief because, he thinks, it is true not because it advances one in arguments.

“Calvinism can be disproven easily.”

You mean the straw man of Calvinism you make can be disproven easily. Based on your comments to my other posts, I do not think you accurately articulate Calvinism, which makes Calvinism immune to any of your criticisms.

R.C. Dozier said...



“The New Testament is susceptible to the argument that all those prophecies had to be taken out of context to make them look like they're about Jesus.”

What you have said is a common objection, but it is not an argument, it is an assertion.



"But nobody can disprove the existence of God, creation from nothing, nor indeed the revelation of the 10 commandments at Sinai."

As a Christian theist, I’d agree. But Biblical Judaism would disagree with you here. God revealed to Moses at least 613 laws, if not more, not merely 10. You should know this if you are a practicing Jew.


"So we presuppose what is unquestionably true and then build up to the questionable: we don't presuppose the questionable and let our faith rest on a bunch of hot air."

I reject the idea we must build up our knowledge based on indubitable truths. Simply because one cannot prove based on indubitable truths the proposition,“ one should always build knowledge on indubitable truths. ” Thus it is self-refuting. Instead, I follow the Apostle Paul, John Calvin, and Alvin Plantinga, which maintain some beliefs are properly basic (i.e. acquired without evidence but warranted based on reliable belief forming mechanisms; in my case, the Holy Spirit), like God’s existence, the external world, other minds etc. But I also take it that beliefs can also be presuppositions (unlike properly basic beliefs that have defeaters), these are criteria for beliefs. But what qualifies a belief as being a presupposition you ask? It is not arbitrary, it is based on the nature of the belief in question. I argued in a previous post, I guess unclearly, one cannot make sense of unity and plurality in the world without first presupposing Christian theism. If what I said is true, then you can see why such a worldview must be taken as a presupposition.


“With the New Testament it is trivial to show that various prophecies used by Matthew were talking about the Babylonian captivity and other things not Jesus. Its easy to show that Paul has taken every passage he uses in Romans 3 and in Romans 9 out of context. That's easy.”

Any specific verses you have in mind? But even if I grant some of the verses were out of context, so what? It is possible there is another appropriate context for the verses.

“Are we dealing with a couple of women and 12 guys seeing Jesus alive a few days after his death?”

The resurrection of Jesus cannot be disproven either. Who said it was 12 guys?


R.C. Dozier said...

“So what are we dealing with?

We are dealing with hundreds of thousands of people having heard the voice of God at Sinai. And we are dealing with a book that tells the second generation after the original audience "ask your fathers and they will tell you" -- we are dealing with a revelation that it is claimed was seen by such a massive group of people that its hard to even begin to figure out where you would even begin to try to disprove it.

So this is a solid starting point. This is a good solid presupposition.


1. God exists.

2. God created the world from nothing.

3. The national revelation of the 10 commandments to an entire nation of hundreds of thousands of people who all heard God Himself speak these words.

This is a solid basis for faith. This cannot be disproven. But secondary revelations which depend on this one for their validity can be disproven by it being demonstrated that they have misunderstood, misinterpreted, contradicted this revelation.”

You are assuming here God does not give further revelation in which has the same authority to judge even the former revelation. Please show me this is true based on the OT. Presupposition (3) for a solid faith is inaccurate. God gave the Israelites at least 613 laws to obey contained in those laws is the 10 commandments. Do you think only the 10 commandments should be obeyed? Why or why not? Are you keeping the 10 commandments? Have you always honored the Sabbath to keep it holy? If not, then shouldn’t you be stoned (Exodus 31:15)? By breaking any of the 10 commandments, like the Sabbath, your lifestyle cuts you off from the covenant (Det 28:15-, Joshua 23:16). How can you Biblically atone for your sins (Leviticus 16)?

As a Christian I appeal to the New Covenant (spoken of in Jeremiah 31:31-34). In Jesus Christ God’s law is written on the hearts of believers. All believers know God because He dwells in them by the Holy Spirit. Believers intimately know God’s love because He took great bounds to save them from sin by dieing for them. Our sins are forgiven because of the atonement made by the blood sacrifice of the Messiah.

James Jordan said...

You've given a flimsy response not worth responding to to everything I've said. But the one thing you haven't done is shown that the Trinity is a necessary presupposition for having knowledge of the world. I'm at a disadvantage in responding to your original argument because I have no idea what the hell you mean. You are at a disadvantage in responding to everything I said because you have no logic.

So let's start over from the beginning. List everything that a Jew cannot know because he presupposed the one true monopersonal God rather than the Paganized Trinitarian version of his God. That is your argument, right, that presupposing the Trinity is necessary to all knowledge? Honestly, your argument is such wishy-washy nonsense I'm not sure if that's your argument or not. I don't see how you think your argument--whatever it is--will convince anyone who hasn't already drunk Calvin's coolaid and bought the Al Mohler bobblehead.

wakawakwaka said...

no circular reasoning is never okay, to say otherwise is absurd,the fact that your professors teaches this in religous schools is distrubing

R.C. Dozier said...

Wakawakwaka,

Please justify the claim circular reasoning is always fallacious in a non-circular way. What is your response to the M√ľnchhausen trilemma?

wakawakwaka said...

logic is just a tautology,true by definition,

circular reasoning is a is b, b is a
a tautology is a =a

R.C. Dozier said...

Logic is true by definition? You are assuming alot here. Please demonstrate this claim in a non-circular way. But lets break your claim down. First, what is logic? Second, how do you justify logic? Third, what is truth? Finally, granting your claim, logic is "true" by definition, is then "truth" "true by definition" or is only logic? Is the concept of equality true by definition? Is "definition" true by "definition"? If not, then your claim is self-refuting. Since the very criterion of something being true by definition itself is not true by definition. I refer you to Quine's paper Two Dogmas of Empiricism for an extensive critique. But a summary of Quine's points can be found here:

https://files.nyu.edu/mjr318/public/language08/Language%203%20-%20Quine.pdf

R.C. Dozier said...

After thinking about your view further. To say a=a is to assume an identity and equality relationship that still must be justified. By asserting it is true by definition is arbitrary or question begging. On what basis can you assume there, in fact, is an identity and equality relationship? Simply to say that is what we mean by logic is once again arbitrary or question begging.

wakawakwaka said...

" On what basis can you assume there, in fact, is an identity and equality relationship? "
we have been through this its a tautology,sort of like analytic propositions: propositions that are true by construction due to the way words are defined

R.C. Dozier said...

Logic is true by definition? You are assuming alot here. Please demonstrate this claim in a non-circular way. But lets break your claim down. First, what is logic? Second, how do you justify logic? Third, what is truth? Finally, granting your claim, logic is "true" by definition, is then "truth" "true by definition" or is only logic? Is the concept of equality true by definition? Is "definition" true by "definition"? If not, then your claim is self-refuting. Since the very criterion of something being true by definition itself is not true by definition. I refer you to Quine's paper Two Dogmas of Empiricism for an extensive critique. But a summary of Quine's points can be found here:

https://files.nyu.edu/mjr318/public/language08/Language%203%20-%20Quine.pdf