Thursday, December 12, 2019

A Collection of Responses to Richard Dawkins' Latest Book, "Outgrowing God: A Beginner's Guide to Atheism"

It has been quite awhile since I have taken Richard Dawkins serious as a thinker.  Frankly, Dawkins is a sloppy thinker who only succeeds in dumbing down the question of God's existence.  As I have noted here, there are numerous reasons why his views on ethics, philosophy and theology are sophomoric at best, and morally deplorable at worst.  However, his influence among internet atheists cannot be denied.  Although I confess I don't understand why.  It seems to me that "Darwin's Pitbull," has become nothing more than a yapping Chihuahua.  But, for those who are still (for some unknown reason) influenced by this once great thinker, here are some responses  to his new book for your consideration.



Outgrowing Atheism: it's time for Richard Dawkins to grow up by David Robertson

If Richard Dawkins loves facts so much, why can’t he get them right? by Damian Thompson

More of Dawkins’ same old tired rhetoric by Matthew Cserhati

How Dawkins’ Outgrowing God Capitalizes on Our Culture’s Inability to Think Critically by Hillary Morgan Ferrer

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Christmas- Pagan or Not?

Does Christmas have pagan origins or not?  Today's post features 3 short and concise articles by apologist and speaker Lenny Esposito that consider this question historically and with up-to-date scholarship.

Esposito writes:

"The claim that the roots of Christmas are pagan is one I hear over and over again, especially in December. The idea isn't even new. The New England Puritans, who valued work more than celebration, taught such.  Puritan preacher Increase Mather preached that "the early Christians who first observed the Nativity on December 25 did not do so thinking that 'Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian.'

When one digs into the actual history however, a much different picture arises. There are two ways to approach the question: one is to see how December 25 became associated with the Nativity, which is how the early church would have referred to the day of Christ's birth. The other one is to look at the celebrations of Saturnalia and Sol Invictus. Either approach shows the dubious nature of the claim that Christmas has pagan roots."

The articles are as follows:

Pt. 1- No, Christmas Is Not Based on a Pagan Holiday

Pt. 2- The Date of Saturnalia Doesn't Line Up with Christmas

Pt. 3- Christmas, the Solstice, and December 25th

For more on the date of Christmas, see this article by Andrew McGowan, originally published in Bible Review, December 2002.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Monday, November 25, 2019

Apologetics in the New Testament

Christian scholar Robert Bowman has compiled a list of 15 of the 27 books of the New Testament that were written for apologetic purposes!  The list is as follows:

Matthew- Answer Jewish criticisms that Jesus abrogated the Torah

Mark- Explain why Jesus died if he was the mighty Son of God


Luke- Acts Show that Christianity was not an illegal or superstitious religion

Gospel of John- Persuade people that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God

Romans- Defend the gospel against the claim that it was contrary to Scripture

1 Corinthians- Refute claims that the gospel was not philosophically reasonable

Galatians- Refute the errors of those who said Gentiles needed to be circumcised

Colossians- Refute the belief that Christ was just one of many divine powers

Hebrews- Defend the gospel’s superiority to the Mosaic covenant

1 Peter- Preparing to live by the gospel and to defend it when challenged

2 Peter- Remembering what Christ and the apostles taught when unbelievers scoff

1 John- Refute those who taught that Jesus only seemed to be human

Jude- Urge Christians to defend the gospel against those distorting it

Revelation- Assure persecuted Christians that Christ will conquer evil and death

This is a great list to have on hand when someone claims that apologetics is not necessary!

A special thank you to Mr. Bowman for allowing me to publish this list!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Jesus for Skeptics

The radio program, Haven Today, recently aired a 5 part series with prize-winning journalist John S. Dickerson entitled Jesus for Skeptics.  You can listen here.

Below is a summary of each part-
Part 1: Did Jesus truly exist? And if so, was his impact on the world good or evil? There are many skeptics today, but thankfully there are ways to answer them.
Part 2: Jesus must either be a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord Almighty. Which one do you believe He is? And if you are skeptical, could you be wrong?
Part 3: What’s the difference between healthy or unhealthy skepticism? One way to tell is to see where your questions lead you―whether that’s to the Lord or to answers you already think you know.
Part 4: Whether or not you believe Jesus is the Son of God, you can’t deny His influence on the way you think and act. For the past 2,000 years, His teachings have led people to shape the world we live in.
Part 5: Does Christianity benefit society? Skeptics usually focus on the bad things done in Jesus’ name, but did you know that faith in Christ drove many of the greatest humanitarian achievements of all time?
God Bless,

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Video Debate: Mike Licona vs. Richard Howe- What Does It Mean to Say the Bible is Inerrant?


In this featured video, Mike Licona and Richard Howe discuss what it means to say the Bible is inerrant.

This dialogue/debate occurred at the National Conference on Christian Apologetics in Charlotte, NC on October 11, 2019.

The Christian Post reports on the debate here.

Mike Licona has written a book directed related to the topic called Why Are There Differences in the Gospels?: What We Can Learn from Ancient Biography.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, September 27, 2019

Relying on Faith


I (the Other Chad), while a long time Truthbomb member, have not been a regular blogger on our website.  At most, I have posted material on a bi-weekly basis.  For most of this summer, I have taken somewhat of a hiatus from blogging.  While summer tends to lead to family vacations, modified schedules, and a different pace of life, for me it arrived with the passing of my dad.
Dad passed away on June 21st, 2019, at the age of 67.  While his health wasn't the greatest and his heart only functioning at half of what it should be, it was still a shock when I learned that he had passed.  At age 42, I am now without both of my parents, as my mom already left this world over 15 years ago.

I must admit it is a very strange experience being without both parents.  The links to our previous generations of families feels somewhat broken.  All that is left are pictures, possessions, and memories of a previous life.  At times, there are feelings of wandering, almost like in a desert, unclear of what direction to take.

This life experience, while difficult, has also been an opportunity for me to rely on faith.  Specifically, faith in the existence of God and the hope found only in the good news delivered by His Son, Jesus Christ.

The reality of pain, suffering, and death has always been the one obstacle that has presented challenges to my faith.  The same goes for many others who have walked this earth and faced various traumatic events related to war, disease, human bondage, natural disasters, or any other type of event, leaving them to question whether there really is a God who would allow such things.

Over the summer, I learned of the struggles of those who at one point proclaimed to be Christians- Joshua Harris and Marty Sampson.  One sold millions of books while the other was an integral part of the popular group Hillsong.  I was saddened as I read about their struggles.  But at the same time, their reasoning for abandoning or losing their faith seem to be related to being overcome by emotional doubts and objections. William Lane Craig and Kevin Harris discussed their take on recent Reasonable Faith podcasts which can be found here.

What I have found in my own personal journey is that I can rely on the things that I have learned and experienced as a follower of Jesus Christ.  Also, moments like my dad's passing are actually opportunities to share the Christian Faith and how it actually provides hope when hope seems lost.
I was recently pointed to a devotional by John Piper entitled "Five Purposes for Suffering."  I found this very helpful and encouraging.  Piper uses five "R's" to help us remember the "macro" reasons for God's allowing us to experience suffering-

  • Repentance
  • Reliance
  • Righteousness
  • Reward
  • Reminder

I can certainly relate to these points and it has helped me to be "reminded" that while there is constant pain and suffering in the world in which we live, there is a greater hope that lies ahead and is attainable to all who choose to believe it and accept it.  It was an honor for me to share this message at my dad's service, where I am hopeful that it resonated with both believers and non-believers alike.
While the season I'm currently living through hasn't yet come to an end, I felt the need to write down my thoughts and experiences not only for personal healing, but to encourage others as well who may be in a similar season of life.

God Bless,

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Book Preview- So the Next Generation Will Know by Sean McDowell and J. Warner Wallace

About the Authors

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a best-selling author, co-author, or editor of more than 18 books including Is God Just a Human Invention? and Evidence that Demands a Verdict (with his father, Josh McDowell).  He is an associate professor of apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.  Sean speaks internationally on a variety of topics related to culture, students, and apologetics.

J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective, speaker, and author. He is a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, an adjunct professor of apologetics at Biola University, and a faculty member at Summit Ministries.  J. Warner and Susie Wallace also write popular apologetics books for kids and created the award-winning Case Makers Academy.

Book Description
As Gen Z leaves the church in record numbers, the adults in their lives feel at a loss to stop the trend. Yet there are research-based and proven strategies that help young people both own their faith and effectively engage the world around them.

Sean McDowell, Ph.D., and Detective J. Warner Wallace have written and taught extensively on the subjects of culture, worldview, and apologetics.  In So the Next Generation Will Know, McDowell and Wallace provide strategies and practical tactics from their own personal experiences to help parents, youth leaders, and Christian teachers train the next generation with the truth of the Christian worldview.

Each chapter of So the Next Generation Will Know features information that speaks directly to the various adults in a student’s life; interviews with pastors, apologists, teachers, and cultural experts; and examples of people and ministries who are effectively teaching truth to the next generation.  With the right training, the young people you work with don’t have to be another statistic.

You can download a sample of the book here.

Purchase your own copy here.

There is also a participants guide available for purchase here and a video series that goes with the book here.

Finally, to learn more about the book, go here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Related Posts

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Video: Why Should I Believe God Exists? Clemson University 2019 by Dr. William Lane Craig


This lecture was given by philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig in January of 2018.  Dr. Craig was asked to speak on some of the best arguments for the existence of God.  For those familiar with the Reasonable Faith animated videos, he uses many of them in his presentation.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Video: True for You but Not for Me by Paul Copan


Can something be true for you and not true for me?  In other words, is the truth relative or is the truth objective?  How you answer this question shapes the way you look at the world.

In this new video, from PragerU, theologian and philosophy professor Paul Copan provides an excellent road map through this tricky and vitally important issue.

Courage and Godspeed,

Friday, August 02, 2019

Answer Like Jesus by Alan Shlemon

Precise communication is an important part of being a follower of Christ.  After all, we are called to communicate a message.  If we cannot communicate clearly, we will be at a disadvantage when trying to share the gospel with others.

In this short featured article, Alan Shlemon of Stand to Reason challenges Christians to learn from Jesus regarding how to answer tough questions.  He writes:

"For someone with all the answers, Jesus didn’t always respond directly to challenging questions. Sometimes He answered a question with another question. Sometimes He answered a different question. On occasion, He didn’t give any answer.

Not much has changed since Jesus’ day. Challenges still abound. Today, His followers face a myriad of tough questions. Our views are not popular and, in fact, are often hated. If we answer a pointed question biblically, it often makes people upset. Perhaps we can take a cue from Jesus. Given that He’s the smartest person in history, why don’t we learn to answer tough questions like He did?"

Do you want to learn how to answer tough questions like Jesus?  Then check out Shlemon's brief article here.

To learn more about Alan Shlemon and his ministry, go here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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Sunday, July 21, 2019

How Does the Bible Relate to Judaism?

The article below was written by Larry R. Helyer.  It was taken from The Apologetics Study Bible, Digital Edition based on The Apologetics Study Bible Copyright © 2007 by Holman Bible Publishers. 

Judaism should not be confused with the biblical religion of ancient Israel. Early Judaism arose in the aftermath of the destruction of the first temple (586 b.c.). The term Judaism originally appeared in the first century b.c. (2 Macc 2: 21; 8: 1; 14: 38) to describe the beliefs, customs, and rituals of Jews during the Hellenistic (Greek-influenced) era. Judaism has developed considerably over the intervening centuries. For example, official Judaism has been a nonsacrificial religion since the destruction of the second temple (a.d. 70). Observance of the mitzvoth (the commandments) replaces sacrifice, atoning for sin (Tob 4: 6-7,9-11; 12: 9-10). Judaism's roots, however, are deep in the OT. The fundamental ideas of modern Judaism, in all its diversity, maintain continuity with the biblical revelation at Mount Sinai. These ideas include ethical monotheism (belief in one God), God's gift of Torah (" instruction") to Israel, and the choice of Israel as a light to the nations. A striving for peace, justice, and righteousness for all peoples derives from the Prophets, and a spirituality grounded in everyday life stems from the wisdom and hymnic literature of the OT. The Torah outlines a way of life for the people of Israel and is nearly synonymous with Judaism. Embedded in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) are 613 commandments. After the exile in the sixth century b.c., these 613 commandments were adapted, augmented, and hedged by other laws that became part of an ever-growing oral law (cp. Mk 7: 5; Gl 1: 14). In time the oral law was also attributed to Moses. Eventually (c. a.d. 500), the oral law was codified in the Mishnah (" repetition"). This in turn was commented on and augmented in the Gemara (" completion"). Finally, the Mishnah and Gemara were published in two massive works, the Palestinian Talmud (c. a.d. 400) and the Babylonian Talmud (c. a.d. 500). (Talmud means "learning" or "instruction.") For Orthodox Jews, the Babylonian Talmud, at some 2.5 million words, remains the authoritative guide for Judaism. The foundation of Talmud, however, remains the Torah of "Moses our Rabbi." Modern liberal Jews reject the belief that the Pentateuch was divinely inspired and written by Moses. While not treating it as an infallible guide for faith and practice, they nonetheless acknowledge its historical and symbolic role in providing Jewish self-identity. Modern Judaism maintains continuity with the OT in a number of significant ways. The annual festivals are primarily those prescribed in the Pentateuch. The essential ethical teachings of Judaism derive from the Mosaic Law, especially the Ten Commandments. Circumcision, dietary laws, and ritual immersion have their roots in the Pentateuch. The Prophets are appealed to for their emphasis upon social justice and mercy. Throughout the year, in synagogues, the Torah (Pentateuch) and haphtarah (selections from the Prophets) are read in a lectionary cycle. Most Orthodox Jews still anticipate a personal Messiah and a messianic age based upon the Prophets. For Israeli Jews, the Hebrew Bible (OT) is a national treasure avidly studied in both religious and secular schools. The modern Zionist movement appeals to the Bible as part of its cultural heritage. Archaeology and historical geography of the Bible are national pastimes in Israel. Increasingly, Jewish scholars are also studying the NT as a valuable source for understanding the development of early Judaism. A key issue distinguishing Christianity from Judaism (though both have the OT in common) has to do with fulfillment. Jesus taught His disciples to read the Scriptures christologically, or in terms of how they relate to Him, since the Scriptures speak of Him and His work (Mt 5: 17-18; Lk 24: 25-27,44-49; Jn 5: 39). Judaism denies that Jesus fulfills the messianic prophecies of the OT. For example, Jewish scholars interpret the so-called Servant Songs of Isaiah (42: 1-4; 49: 1-6; 50: 4-11; 52: 13–53: 12) as referring to the prophet himself, to an unknown prophet, or (most likely) to the people of Israel viewed collectively as the Servant of the Lord. Traditional Christianity, of course, sees these passages as prophecies of Jesus and His ministry (Ac 8: 26-35). Orthodox Jews, who still harbor hopes of a personal Messiah, await a Davidic descendant who will rule as king at the end times. Liberal Jews prefer to interpret these passages metaphorically as referring to an ideal age. Thus a major factor in the parting of ways between Judaism and Christianity centers on the meaning and mission of Jesus. For Judaism, there is no human failing, whether collective or individual, that requires special divine intervention and that cannot be remedied with the guidance of Torah. Salvation consists of faithful, though not perfect, adherence to the mitzvoth. God in His mercy forgives those whose intentions are upright. The NT, however, unambiguously proclaims the finality of Jesus Christ. He is God's last word to sinners (Heb 1: 1-3), the Word who became flesh, dwelt among us, and reveals the Father to sinners (Jn 1: 1-18). By His atoning death on the cross, He draws all people unto Himself (Jn 3: 16; 6: 35-40; 12: 32)."

God Bless,

Friday, July 19, 2019

Article: A Christian Perspective on Homosexuality by William Lane Craig

I believe that philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig is absolutely right when he writes:

One of the most volatile and important issues facing the Church today is the question of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. The Church cannot duck this question.

In this featured article, Craig defends the following argument:

(1) We are all obligated to do God’s will.

(2) God’s will is expressed in the Bible.

(3) The Bible forbids homosexual behavior.

(4) Therefore, homosexual behavior is against God’s will, or is wrong.

I encourage our readers to consider Dr. Craig's argument before denouncing it.  

You can find the entire article here.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Video Documentary- The Case for Christian Theism: The Reasonable Faith UK Tour


Text taken from here:

In 2011, Dr. William Lane Craig, the founder and president of Reasonable Faith, participated in a series of lectures and debates from London to Birmingham. This documentary contains never-before-seen interviews with attendees and participants who share their perspective on each event while also focusing on the arguments for the existence of God throughout the tour.

Enjoy!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Friday, June 28, 2019

Apologist Interview: Tyler Vela

Topic- Pre-Suppositional Apologetics
TB: How did you become a Christian?

Vela: Only by the sovereign grace of God and his providence in knowing me, dying in my place, calling me, and bringing me home. As the saying goes, I added nothing to my salvation except the sin that made it possible. However I’m sure you are looking for the testimonial aspect of it. In that regard, I was born in a non-Christian home with no religious upbringing at all. I grew up entirely unchurched and was an atheist for my teen years. It was actually in college during an undergraduate philosophy program that one of my professors, an atheist, was going through arguments for the existence of God in a metaphysics course. He was forthright enough to admit that some of them posed strong challenges to non-religious and naturalistic worldviews. Of particular interest to me was a version of the moral argument in which the responses from my own naturalistic worldview seem inadequate to the task of grounding any meaningful theory of moral values and duties. From that time on, a slow dismantling of my naturalistic worldview was underway and I became more open to theistic explanations for philosophical concepts such as morality, logic, intentionality, rights, personhood, mind, etc. Shortly after I began dating a girl who took me to church several times and I absolutely….hated it. I now have the categories in place that looking back I realize it was a rather waspy, evangelical, seeker focused, kind of subcultural expression of the church. It was not until I began going to a different college aged service that appeared to not apologize for the hard questions and was no so steeped in “Christianese” that I heard the gospel afresh for the first time under the preaching of Dan Kimball. I went home one night after what was probably my 3rd service, and woke up in the middle of the night undone. That is the best way I can describe it. I felt, unraveled, provoked, unclean. Sinful. For the first time I realized what all those preachers had meant about my need for God and his grace of the cross. I prayed for the first time in my life, with the words of someone unchurched without any of the right terms or concepts to do so, but it was a moment of repentance and submission to the God who is there. I have grown in my worldview, my theological and philosophical beliefs and convictions, and my devotion to my Savior over time, but it was at the moment when God brought me to new life.

TB: Can you tell us a bit about your ministry?

Vela: The Freed Thinker Podcast and blog was born out of my ongoing discussions with my friends after my conversion. I was a philosophy major and so what did I do when I converted? I debated and dialogued and discussed and read and worked out ideas and concepts and formed arguments and abandoned arguments and so forth. My faith from the very beginning, because of my background, has been one submerged in the task of apologetics. Many of my friends could not fathom anyone becoming religious after being trained in enlightenment philosophy and thought. I was instantly the outcast, the weird one moving from liberalism to conservativism, from freedom to bondage, from free thinking to institutionalism. Growing up in one of the deepest blue areas of one of the deepest blue states and one of the most liberal state schools in one of the departments dedicated to the philosophical defense of the fortress of secular reason, it was anathema to go to religion. I was viewed as abandoning science and reason and embracing backwards morality and the patriarchy. So the discussions were fast and furious and frequent. I started contributing to discussion forums to practice how to respond to objections and “think out loud” with people who weren’t sitting right in front of me expecting an immediate answer. This was before Facebook and Twitter rules of decorum and shorter comments were expected, and so often my discussions would involve walls of text. After a time, people watching and friends reading asked me to start saving my comments to send to them, or turn into articles and so the blog was born (though originally under the name Logical Theism). A few years later, after podcasting became a thing, demand for audio versions of my articles or of my Sunday school classes were being requested. I started scripting out podcasts and trying to put out as much content as my busy life could handle. Though the podcast and blog have become more of a public record of my personal intellectual interests- which vacillate from apologetics against atheism and naturalism, philosophy, Jesus mythicists, Biblical, exegetical, systematic and historical theology and studies, and even church history- the purpose has always been to build up the intellectual life of the Christians who listen, and to challenge the notion of a irrational or anti-intellectualist church held by those unbelievers who may listen in – to help those who have been freed in Christ to think freely, and to help free thinkers be freed indeed.

TB- You are a presuppositional apologist. Can you summarize the presuppositional approach and what led you to adopt that methodology?

Vela: Presuppositionalism is an angry tiger. It has several different ways people conceptualize and discuss it from different views (Van Tillian, Clarkian, and whatever you call Frame and Bruggencate), and people are passionate about their one view. You could ask 15 different Presuppositionalists to explain it, and because it is so vast, they will emphasize different focuses of it, different aspects, and different applications. And in fact, there are different methodologies associated with it so you may have a Van Tillian Presuppositionalist who is in favor of theistic proof while another will ridicule them in practice. I readily admit this is a downside of the subculture of Presuppositionalists.

However, what I think we all have in common is this – God is God. It sounds weird and almost trivially true but it is vital. God is God, the Creator and sustainer of all things. Nothing would exist if God did not exist. Like the moral argument above (which is a kind of transcendental argument), there is an argument for logic that could be phrased the following way:

1. If God did not exist, then the laws of logic and rationality would not exist.

2. But the laws of logic and rationality do exist.

3. Therefore, God exists.

The argument is valid and the defense of #1 involves tactics like the impossibility of the contrary and a challenge for the unbeliever to ground logic and rationality by their own worldview. I’m not going to defend the argument here, but imagine what it would mean for the atheist to try and overcome the argument by using the very logic that they cannot ground on their own worldview. They quite literally need to presuppose the truth of the Christian worldview, in order to help themselves to the logic and rationality that is only possible on that worldview, in order to say that the Christian worldview based on the existence of the God of the Bible is false. They quite literally need to sit on God’s lap in order to slap God in the face. It is utterly irrational.

Now most Christians could (and should be) convinced of this. However they do not identify as Presuppositionalists. Why is that? Well, Presuppositionalism says that the Bible shows all men are made in the image of God, and that because of the fall, sin has affected their entire constitution – their emotions, bodies, wills, and minds. As Romans 1 tells us, they know the truth but suppress it in unrighteousness. And so the Presuppostionalist believes, unlike the Evidentialist or the Classical apologist, that the unbeliever knows that God exists in virtue of being made in the image of God, and yet is actively (though unwittingly) suppressing that truth. It is not that they cannot reason (they can because they are made Imago Dei), but rather  when they reason, they are doing it in a sinful, broken, and unwarranted way that blasphemes God. They are, by their very attempt to use their literally God-given reason, committing an act of blasphemy every time they try to be rational. Therefore, when they are trying to dispute the existence of God or dishonor his word, the Presuppositionalist simply says that we will not take part, in their attempt to blaspheme God and exert their autonomy while trying to put God in the dock (as C.S. Lewis wrote). They are trying to make themselves the standard and the judge and jury of God, rather than simply admitting that they are the creature and God is the creator. So the Presuppositionalist is not opposed to classical arguments for God’s existence. In fact, I appreciate many of them. The issue is that in order for them to work, logic already must be presupposed; for logic to presupposed, God must be presupposed; and not only by the Christian but by the cultist, the heretic, the unbeliever, and the atheist. There is no other way. So we simply say, that before we will discuss the objections of the atheists, we must first get on the table that the only way we can have a reasonable discussion, is if, and only if, the Christian God revealed in Jesus Christ and displayed in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, necessarily exists.

TB: In the book Five Views on Apologetics, philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig argues:

”Presuppositionalism commits the informal fallacy of begging the question, for it advocates presupposing the truth of Christian theism in order to prove Christian theism. It is difficult to imagine how anyone could with a straight face think to show theism to be true by reasoning, ‘God exists, therefore God exists.’ A Christian theist himself will deny that question-begging arguments prove anything.” (William Lane Craig, Five Views on Apologetics, 233)

How would you respond to Craig’s criticisms?


Vela: I admire Craig and have enormous appreciation for his work in advancing the cause of Christ. I am not as ambivalent to his work as many Presuppositionalists are, despite my often pointed disagreements with his theological and philosophical commitments. However, Craig’s objection is a common one but makes one major flaw. In order for his objection to work, logic must exist to be employed so that he can attempt to rationally present his criticism. For that to happen, God must exist. And thus, for him to make the critique of the Presuppositionalist position, he must first help himself to the conclusions of Presuppositionalism. If you review the argument I listed above (a rather crass version of the Transcendental Argument), you can see quite clearly that it is not formally question begging – no premise of the argument contains the conclusion. If it were, then Craig would need to abandon his moral argument as well since it is quite literally the exact same conceptual and logical structure. However, the soundness of the argument does have one major entailment – that in order for the argument to be sound, we must already presuppose the conclusion to be true in practice in order to even have the tools at our disposal to state, defend, or object to the argument. If it is true, it is necessarily true that we could not even reason about reasoning, we could not be logical about logic, if we did not already presuppose that God exists. And conversely, if we want to deny that presupposition, then we also, necessarily, abandon the very tools of logic and rationality that would be needed to make the very demand that we must not, nor cannot, beg the question and be logical or rational.

So while Craig’s objection appears to some to be a valid objection, it is reflexively destructive for it needs the very truth of the thing it denies to be true in order for the objection to be valid. That is, for the objection to be true, it must be false. Logic, and therefore God, win out yet again.

TB: What works would you recommend to those readers who want to learn more about the presuppositional approach?

Vela:
There are several places that I would send people depending on their learning styles. Frames contribution to the Five Views of Apologetics put out by Zondervan is helpful but brief and many Presuppositionalists will take exceptions to some of the things said. Another book by Greg Bahnsen entitled Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended is another more academic work giving a basic outline of the theology and methodology that nearly all Presuppositionalists can agree on. One could look at the various books on Apologetics put out by K. Scott Oliphint such as Covenantal Apologetics. For audio, there is a four part lecture series by Bahnsen called “Van Tillian Apologetics 1-4” available via Westminster Seminary on iTunes. And if one would like to see Presuppositionalism in action during a debate, the Greg Bahnsen vs. Gordon Stein debate is the exemplar and gives a good impression of how a Presuppositionalist deals differently with the objections of atheism than someone like Craig would in his debates.

To learn more about Tyler Vela and his outstanding work, go here.

You can also see more of Tyler's work in his book Measuring McAfee or by viewing his recent debate with Aron Ra here.

I would like to publicly thank Tyler Vela for participating in this interview.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad


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