an atheist viewpoint

thoughts from a non-theist

Sometimes I Try to Do Nice Things!

Sye is an expert in the area of presuppositional apologetics and he offers powerful training to equip the average, everyday believer to defend their faith with anyone and everyone in our culture. Sye has been a guest on the Living Waters “On the Box” internet TV program, he has been featured in numerous debates with top “Atheists”, and he is also currently writing a book on this subject. In short…he knows his stuff!

So says the website for the Cross Current, who are offering an ‘Apologetics Training Opportunity’. My favourite part of the page is this –

Cost: We want to bless Sye with a generous love offering. $10.00 is the suggested “starting” donation for all attendees, but please feel free to give beyond as the Lord leads!

A ‘generous love offering’ sounds far more pornographic than I think they intended, but at least it made me laugh!

Anyway, showing that I can do a good deed once in a while, I’ve fired off the following email to the Cross Current –


I saw that you’re going to be hosting Sye TenBruggencate at an event soon, and that you’re hoping to be able to give him some money. I thought I’d maybe help out and save you a few quid by giving you the entirety of Sye’s argument FOR FREE!! I know! Incredible eh?

Ok, here it is.

1. The god of the Bible is needed for intelligibility to exist
2. Intelligibility exists
3. Therefore the god of the Bible exists

Wow! Is that all there is to it? YES!

Now, there is a *slight* problem with his line of reasoning, and that is it’s vicious circularity! In fact, it’s so circular that when I told my 13 year old son about it he said ‘But Dad, that’s just a word game! You could use that ‘logic’ to ‘prove’ anything!’. I’m sure you’ll be able to gain something from his flawed point of view though!

Glad I could help!


Aren’t I just the nicest?

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21 thoughts on “Sometimes I Try to Do Nice Things!

  1. Succinctly put!I came across the presuppositional argument when I started listening to the "Narrow Mind" podcast, hosted by Gene Cook Jr. It was a fascinating show (in the car crash sense). It was like the Atheist Experience in reverse, with Cook debating atheist callers. The argument went something like this:Cook: How do you account for the existence of logic?[WHATEVER the caller says]Cook: So you can't account for it! But I can: as soon as you presuppose God!Sometimes the callers gave good answers – (e.g. logic is a process derived from observations of the material world, and not a conceptual "thing" that required creation). On the whole though the answers were fairly rubbish.Presup can sound very convincing to begin with, and it's even an entertaining philosophical idea to play with, but ultimately comes down to little more than wordplay.

  2. My technique for dealing with those who insist on bringing up the TAG is to say that it's nothing but a circular logic word game, and then move on. I refuse to be drawn into discussing it, because there is (almost literally) nothing to discuss.I'm amazed at how many theists seem to think it's some kind of slam dunk though

  3. Presuppostional apologetics has two goals:1. It shows the atheist that they have no justification for their knowledge. In particular relating to your discussion it shows the atheist who idolizes rationalism that he cannot justify with logic…a. His disbelief in God.You choose to disbelieve in God by faith. Though you are a rational being…even IF that rational capacity was relatively trustworthy you could not possibly know all the facts much less reason through them in order to say that God does not exist. Your rational capacity is finite not infinite, you are not all omnipotent. Therefore if you were rationally consistant and were humbly operating within your own epistemological constraints you would at the most say that you are an agnostic. But the title of this blog makes clear that you are an atheist. Therefore while claiming to be rational you are really making an assertion that is irrational!b. His trust in logic as an epistemology in a world without a God, specifically the God of the Bible. Christian's believe that we can trust that our reason is generally accurate because of the authority of our Creator who reveals in his word that he created us as rational creatures, created and orderly world that can be understood, and gave us a task to rule over it.We justify the use of logic based on the authority of God.Now you may think it is a word game to wrestle with a justification for your logic, but it is not. The history of philosophy as wrestled with the justification of knowledge…epistemology. How can we know that we know what we know? How can we be sure that what we believe is reliable. Secular philosophy has gone back and forth between rationalism and empircism and is not largely completely skeptical that we have any justification to believe anything objectively…welcome to postmodernism boys, your a little late to the party!Why is skepticism reigning now in philosophy? Because of the insurmountable problem of justifying knowledge through rationalism (the use of logic alone) empircisim, or even a combination in a world apart from God.And so in order to use your rational faculties you assume without any justification that they are trustworthy. Again you claim to be rational but you cannot be consistant…your foundational assumptions are unprovable by your own rationality. Thus your whole system is not fundamentally based on solid rational logic but on irrationality…a blind faith.The great irony for the informed Christian when listening to you speak about logic and rationality is that they know that your house is built on sand. If you have no epistemological foundation for your absolute confidence in your own rationality then every single time you place your trust in it you are being irrational!!! What a joke all your talk about logic and reason is.

  4. Christians on the other hand as I said before do have a warrant and justification for the use of logic. We don't need to follow the postmodern philosphers into skepticism and dispair because of the lack of justification to trust our rationality and senses.We are the true rationalists because we are consistant…you are irrational and inconsistant. What's more you are in rebellion. Your commitment to irrationality is a suppression of the truth. God doesn't believe in atheists. He says in Romans 1 that all men know that he exists and yet suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Your determination to live lives apart from his authority, elevating your own logic to the place of authority despite the fact that it is irrational to do so is just one example of your rebellion. I would encourage you to humble yourselves before your Creator and seek his forgiveness through his Son the Lord Jesus Christ before you face your judgment. You will have no excuse. He will expose just as I have that your epistemological choice was not arrived at rationally but in a commitment to go your own way and to be your own God. That is rebellion is worthy of judgment but there is mercy for those who turn.

  5. or, to put it another way, 'anonymous' knows his beliefs are horse shit but has tried to make himself feel better by claiming that knowledge is ONLY possible via those horse shit beliefs.

  6. on top of that, 'anonymous' claims a non-christian worldview cannot account for knowledge whilst RELYING on the Primacy of Existence, the very basis of non-theistic knowledge, to make his claim! Even more damning, the presubullshitters position is entirely absent from the text of the Bible, a book that doesn't use the word 'logic' even ONCE in over 1000 pages! lastly, 'anonymous's position collapses completely when his 'argument' is backed up with threats of judgment and eternal torture!

  7. PSYou shouldnt' mistake a presuppositional apologetic to be like a logical proof that stands on its own. We deny that logic can stand on its own.God does not need to be proven…he is. The facts support that. One of those facts is the existence of a trustworthy rational faculty. Another fact that supports God's existence and truthfulness is the inconsistancy of rationalists with their dogmatic determinism to deny God on rational grounds they do not have and to live dependant on a rational epistemology they do not have…Romans 1 in action. But the fact that the facts as man can comprehend them support God's existence from a presuppostionalist point of view is never to stand over God. We do not make an idol of our finite rational capacities…indeed we know that we have no warrant to trust them apart from the Biblical Creator God.

  8. 1. No I don't believe my beliefs are crap nor are they. Rationality is not my God but nonetheless my beliefs are rational unlike yours. And that really pisses you off because rationality is the foundation of your whole system all the while you are irrational.2. You have no warrant to even trust your existance as you comprehend it. You could be part of a computer game for all you know.The fact that existence is the basis of non-theistic knowledge is the point. From there philosophers have tried to build some justification of knowledge through rationality (I think therefore I am) or empirical observation (o darn how do I know I can trust my senses). They've failed. My warrant for the justification of knowledge is not existence in itself, my rational capacities on their own, nor my senses on their own…It is God's authority. I'm not foolish enough to think that I can start anywhere as an autonomous agent and get anywhere. Apart from believing in God's authority I would be inconsistant like you…but unlike you I hope I would admit that I know nothing nor can I do so. The majority of secular philosphers today at least have enough integrity to dispair of themselves. But you want to be God and so you delude yourself as I once was deluded.I puffed up just like you and stomped my feet and cussed and made a big show of myself but a man fighting irrationally against God isn't very impressive ;)3. What a silly attempt to avoid God's word by implying it doesn't address unbelieving thinking because it doesn't use the word logic. Is that a joke? Psalm 14:1, "The fool says in his heart, there is no God." That is God's description of your thinking. In fact is the foundation of your thinking and so you have no hope to arrive at true knowledge. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." Now back to Romans 1:18-20. (By the way take note that it is making a logical argument without using the word loge…again how silly thast responde was) "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divne nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."In God's logic…A. You know he exists because he has made it clear to you. What's more you understand that revelation.B. You suppress that revelation in your sin neither glorifying God nor giving thanks to him (vs. 21).C. Therefore you deserve his judgment. You are without excuse.That's not my logic declaring what your unbelief deserves, it is Gods. That's the bad news but it goes on to set forth the good news that in mercy God sent his son to take the punishment your unbelief deserves so that whoever will turn in faith and receive God's mercy through Jesus will recieve it freely. That's what my unbelief deserved when I was still in it and that's what my sin deserves today…but I have hope in the Savior.By the way…on what authority do you assert that a warning of judgment nullifies an argument?? Was that in your logic textbook? Is it because you don't like it? What weight does that carry? It really is amazing how atheists think they can write the rules by their own authority and that God and others must abide by them. Oh the pride man is capable of…

  9. 1. prove that gods can exist. 2. prove that your version of your particular god is the 'right' one.3. read my latest post, it's aimed at you.

  10. By the way, I DON'T deny your god in 'unrighteousness', I deny it because it simply doesn't exist.

  11. Alex,Where is fancy bred in the heart or the head?

  12. H.A., care to try again WITHOUT typing nonsense?

  13. 2. You have no warrant to even trust your existance as you comprehend it. You could be part of a computer game for all you know.And what warrant do you have? Faith in an unknowable entity, who could be playing you in a computer game for all you know.Just because something claims to be omniscient, and the source of all knowledge and basis, doesn't mean that it is.This is how we know you're not trying to make a real argument here, but rather trying to find arguments to support your chosen beliefs. If you were trying to make a real argument, or a real inquiry, you'd start something like this:"What does rational thought need as a basis?"And then try and figure it out. I've never seen anyone come at it from that angle; it's always "I believe this, and it says that, so you must be wrong!"

  14. Oh, and thank you, Alex, for pointing me at the sport of batting about presuppositionalists. I've been doing a fair amount of it over at MIchael Robinson's blog. I think it will be interesting to see how many times I have the last word in the discussion, and yet my words keep being different. 😉

  15. You are more than welcome! 🙂

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. What do YOU think is better?

  18. ACtually — it's not fair to call it a "sport"; it's more serious than that. When someone quote-mines Quine, they need refutation because they're *distorting* (to be generous) other people's work. Just as an example.

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. Alex,I'm sure you are well aware of Hezekiah's antics, from your reading of comments over on Dawson's blog. Over there I call him "Trinity" because he has posted under, primarily, three different monikers: r_c321, Hezekiah Ahaz, and Nide. One time, I think he even used the signature "Richard," perhaps accidentally revealing a his true first name — who knows? Anyway, he has been on a mission, not to learn, but to disrupt; not to save the souls of any fence-sitters who may be looking on, but to try and bolster his brand of Christianity in his own mind. But all he's really done is live up to my description of him many months ago: "Trinity: The Three Person's of the Knucklehead."I also notice his behavior more polite and coherent when dealing with those whom he shares belief in the imaginary. This is what I wrote to him recently over on Dawson's blog:"Trinity, why are you so polite and grammatically correct (by just a smidge); more talkative and coherent (also by just a smidge) over on Michael Russell's blog, while over here we very rarely see that from you? Most of the time over here you do your best to act like the "Three Persons of the Knucklehead." Is it because you take pride in what you write over there but not over here? Or do you think that over there you are getting brownie points from your fellow apologists who may be looking on?"And now, it appears he's taken his side-show on the road.I just thought you'd like to know, in case you weren't aware of it already. Ydemoc

  21. Hey anonymous are you able to answer some simple questions?1. If you can know – in the full sense of knowledge – at least one thing without needing to presuppose a transcendental source of knowledge. Would that then mean that a transcendental source is not required for knowledge?

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