Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 1
Presupposition and Classification In Apologetics
Presuppositions Of Christian Apologetics
Similar to the foundations upon which buildings are built, presuppositions are the starting truths upon which different fields of knowledge and investigations are built.
In any field, whether science or theology, presuppositions are the basic and starting assumptions upon which the rest of the subject is built. At times presuppositions are axiomatic (self proven) in nature. No proof is needed for establishing axiomatic presuppositions. For example, if two rods A and B are equal in length to rod C, then A and B would be equal to each other also. However, in most cases these assumptions or presuppositions are so elementary and so basic that more elementary or more basic truths cannot be found for proving or disproving the suppositions. Therefore, arguments at this level should be addressed with great caution.
Opposing presuppositions must be analyzed, tested, or shown to be false to prove or disprove their veracity. Some presuppositions do not readily lend themselves to proof while other presuppositions, while other presuppositions may be easily analyzed when more information becomes available. In such cases analysis will yield fruitful results. For example, in the early stages of computer programming people thought that pure mathematical computation could produce “artificial intelligence”. After about half a century of working with computers every computer expert today knows that this presupposition was totally wrong.
Many presuppositions will have to be tested in an indirect way through the “Consistency Test”. Consistency tests are possible only after the subject is developed to a reasonable degree. Once a subject has been developed, presuppositions and the observed facts can be tested for congruency. Since the observed facts are established truths, any presuppositions conflicting with these facts are rejected. This is a powerful method for discrediting false philosophies that underlie many branches of science.
One good example of the Consistency Test can be used to test the Theory Of Evolution. Among the many presuppositions that are foundational to evolution, the role played by chance phenomena is the most important assumption. A “chance event” is an action that is completely random or unplanned. According to the chance-presupposition of Evolution, randomness and blind chance must produce a net INCREASE in the order and complexity seen in the Universe (when matter and energy interact with each other).
At the time when the Theory Of Evolution gained initial popularity, theoretical or experimental data to evaluate the chance-presupposition was nonexistent. Consequently the Theory of Evolution continued under the false belief that the assumption was scientifically true. “Chance” became so important for Evolution that even creative powers were attributed to randomness and blind chance. However, the study of chance phenomena has grown rapidly in the last century, and has now provided reliable data with which to evaluate the “chance” assumption. In the light of irrefutable evidence, today the presupposition about blind chance and evolution can be shown to be a gross error.
Developments in the Theory Of Probability, Information Sciences, Computer Technology, Thermodynamics, and the study of biological mutations have shown conclusively that the net result of randomness and blind chance is DECREASE and DESTRUCTION of order and NOT the other way round. This is a serious blow to the false theory of evolution. Analysis of presuppositions in the light of empirical observations furnishes a powerful tool to the Christian Apologist. One can powerfully refute false presuppositions using the “Consistency Test”.
The analysis of presuppositions can help the apologist in another way. By using a set of accepted or established presuppositions the apologist can show why the opposing school of thought is in error. Just by establishing the fact that opposing positions are based upon a different set of presuppositions is sufficient in many cases to refute opposing positions.
Radical Christian scholars portraying themselves as Bible believing people can be refuted effectively by using accepted or established presuppositions. Non conservative Christians come in many shades of thought — from neo evangelicals to complete radicals. All differ from conservatives (fundamentalists) in interpretation of miracles, creation, and canonicity. Non conservative Christians try to impress upon Bible believing Christians that miracles in the Bible were not real, the Genesis creation account is only a non literal story, and that there is nothing unique with the canon of the Bible.
Since radical Christians use the same vocabulary as conservative Christians, many Bible believing believers do not recognize that conclusions reached by radical Christians are NOT based on research, but arise out of false presuppositions of randomness and blind chance. Radical Christians are mentally preconditioned by the presuppositions they hold and speak AGAINST the Bible when the presuppositions are not supported. They cannot be convinced against their will. They are not seekers of truth but proponents of bias. To refute arguments at a surface level is a losing battle. When false presuppositions are uncovered, the battle changes pace.
As long as one does not expose the radical presuppositions held by non-fundamentalists, the battle remains one sided. Opposition to the Bible is claimed on the basis of scientific investigations. When shown that the arguments brought against the Bible stem not from research but from “starting assumptions”, the situation changes. For example, when a radical Christian denies the inspiration and infallibility of the scriptures, when he advocates evolution in place of creation, and when he tries to “demytholyze” supernatural events recorded in the scriptures, he claims research and science as reason for this attack. This is clear deception.
As long as the apologist focuses on conclusions, exposing the fallacy of their claims will be difficult. However, if false presuppositions are exposed, the situation changes. For example, it can easily be demonstrated that the radicals base arguments with at least the following assumptions:
1. The existence of a personal God is doubtful.
2. The Bible is an ordinary book, no different from any other ancient book.
3. All historical phenomena must be explained naturalistically, and therefore miracles and supernatural events are not possible.
Criticisms voiced by radicals are obviously based on the above presuppositions and are NOT a result of scholarly research. When a radical scholar starts with the above assumptions the scriptures are immediately questioned. Once this aspect is exposed, their conclusions can no longer be perceived as scholarly and the task of refuting radical arguments becomes easy. Radical bias can often be exposed by asking leading questions; e.g., “do you believe that miracles are possible”, “do you believe that salvation is obtainable only by faith in Christ”? Through presupposition analysis the Christian apologist can learn to ask appropriate leading questions, and thus can diffuse the brashness and boldness with which many of radicals speak against the Bible and Christianity.
Other Lessons In Course 02 Lessons
- Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 1
- Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 2
- Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 3
- Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 4
- Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 5
- Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 6
- Christian Apologetics Free Course 02, Lesson 7