Sunday, May 19, 2013

How to Answer the Fool: A Presuppositional Defense Of The Faith

Sye wanted a review that made criticisms of the DVD so here is my feeble attempt to do just that.

Everyone can use a reminder of something important. And everyone can be taught more than he/she knows. Sye Ten Bruggencate has done a synthesis of both reminding Christians Christ is the ultimate source and treasure of knowledge plus wisdom; and it is this teaching that must be central in apologetics.

I do not want to rehearse the material in the DVD here, but I strongly recommend every church and Christian get a copy. It effectively answers both the "why" and "how" presuppositional apologetics should be done in a down to earth level. Buy it HERE  

Constructive Criticism 

1. Sye's questions that he asks unbelievers could be developed to interact with contemporary religious epistemology (RE). Sye portrays justification of beliefs as though they always lead to an infinite regress. This may not be the case if we acknowledge one can aquire a properly basic belief by a reliable belief forming process or mechanism which may be unknown to the person that acquired the belief. Sye seems to make justification of beliefs internal to the believer in such a way he/she must be able to identify the reasons that justify his belief, whereas one could argue the believer gains a properly basic belief by a reliable belief forming process or mechanism which may be unknown in some way to the believer. For example, percisely how does God regenerate a person? He changes him, right? But by what process? Honestly we have to say its a mystery. What's the point? The unbeliever can take up a form of RE that may not be so easy to defeat.

2. Rene Decartes pointed out that if a person deceives us once it leaves us in doubt of if the person can be trusted. The same goes with our 5 senses. If they have deceived us once, how can we trust them to give us truth? Sye argues Christians possess certain knowledge from God. This entails Christians have infallible knowledge. But how can Christians have infallible knowledge from God by fallible means via the 5 senses? Sye overcomes this problem, though I don't think successfully, by arguing God can use fallible means to bring about infallible results. But logically how can this be? In my judgment, the concept of infallible cannot be mixed with the fallible. Why? What do these concepts state? Infallible means "always without error" or consistently 'error-free.' Fallible means always with error or consistently 'error-prone.'  So what follows logically then is one cannot get infallible knowledge from a fallible means. Unless of course God makes one's 5 senses infallible. But this seems logically incredible. That would be like saying God created a person with a beginning but then chose to create the person with no beginning. God created humans with the capacity to error but then overcame that capacity and made them from beginning to end without the capacity to error. This would have to be the case because infallibility requires from beginning to end no room for error. Thus mere reliablism will not do the job.

I think a more consistent position would be like Vincent Cheungs' as advocated in his essay entitled, "The Fatal Maneuver."[1] However, I disagree with this position for reasons as AquaScum articulates. 

3. Presuppositionalism is inductive and not deductive, therefore it cannot provide a transcendental proof that yields a certain and necessary conclusion. [2] It goes from the concrete to the conceptual  on the basis of the concrete without establishing either as logically certain or necessary. This is why I am more inclined to argue for presuppositionalism from the heart as John Frame, and James Anderson

I think these criticisms can be answered. Sye has said some things that help answer criticism (2) and (3) HERE

[1] Vincent Cheung. Captive to Reason. p.38
[2] Brian Bosse.
Steve Hays.

No comments: