Author Topic: Orthodoxy and Presuppositional Apologetics  (Read 333 times)

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Offline sakura95

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Orthodoxy and Presuppositional Apologetics
« on: February 15, 2015, 11:36:25 PM »
I have been unaware of Presuppositional Apologetics for a very long time. Mostly, I assume that Christians in general would use the Philosophical style of Apologetics when defending the Faith against the claims of Atheists. But this assumption of mine turned upside down when a Reformed friend of mine introduced me to it by making me play the Devil's Advocate, as the Atheist in a hypothetical debate.

Generally the sequence of Presuppositional Apologetics goes something like this,

https://carm.org/presuppositional-apologetics *

*I'm not linking this as a legitimate source for Orthodoxy or an explanation of Orthodox doctrine and belief

Of course the discussion I got myself into didn't really work out in that manner though its rubric is similar. While I forgotten how the argument actually began, one of the main points in the hypothetical debate was that "Science is Circular Reasoning" and then proceeded to show that Sola Scriptura(the extreme form of it since Biblical Inerrency is included in his beliefs) while "circular" is legitimate given how Science works by the same way(How is X true? Through Evidence gathered by observation). From this the belief in Scripture boils down to a kind of blind faith. Basically how Scripture is true because it says so.

I was taken aback by this but I simply told him that any other religious text can make the same claim so which is true?(the mock debate ended here and my Reformed friend admitted that he couldn't answer to this argument)

There are other arguments presented in this mock debate which I couldn't answer since it's basically something foreign to me, particularly in showing how Science is not Circular Reasoning. This is something I never encountered so I couldn't exactly say anything about it since I hardly know anything about it in the first place. Of course from the flow of the debate, there's just something rather disturbing about it. It's basically sweeping key issues and arguments under the carpet as Matt Slick himself showed in his excerpt of how Presuppositional Apologetics works.

Atheistic counter arguments against Presuppositional Apologetics seem to involve the accusation of word play and semantics. I tend to agree with them though(on Presuppositional Apologetics not on religion).

Orthodox philosophers such as Richard Swimburne and David Bentley Hart don't use this form of apologetics. But it still remain to be answered, Is Presuppositional Apologetics something acceptable in Orthodoxy?
« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 11:38:46 PM by sakura95 »
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Orthodoxy and Presuppositional Apologetics
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2015, 11:47:00 PM »
I have been unaware of Presuppositional Apologetics for a very long time. Mostly, I assume that Christians in general would use the Philosophical style of Apologetics when defending the Faith against the claims of Atheists. But this assumption of mine turned upside down when a Reformed friend of mine introduced me to it by making me play the Devil's Advocate, as the Atheist in a hypothetical debate.

Generally the sequence of Presuppositional Apologetics goes something like this,

https://carm.org/presuppositional-apologetics *

*I'm not linking this as a legitimate source for Orthodoxy or an explanation of Orthodox doctrine and belief

Of course the discussion I got myself into didn't really work out in that manner though its rubric is similar. While I forgotten how the argument actually began, one of the main points in the hypothetical debate was that "Science is Circular Reasoning" and then proceeded to show that Sola Scriptura(the extreme form of it since Biblical Inerrency is included in his beliefs) while "circular" is legitimate given how Science works by the same way(How is X true? Through Evidence gathered by observation). From this the belief in Scripture boils down to a kind of blind faith. Basically how Scripture is true because it says so.

I was taken aback by this but I simply told him that any other religious text can make the same claim so which is true?(the mock debate ended here and my Reformed friend admitted that he couldn't answer to this argument)

There are other arguments presented in this mock debate which I couldn't answer since it's basically something foreign to me, particularly in showing how Science is not Circular Reasoning. This is something I never encountered so I couldn't exactly say anything about it since I hardly know anything about it in the first place. Of course from the flow of the debate, there's just something rather disturbing about it. It's basically sweeping key issues and arguments under the carpet as Matt Slick himself showed in his excerpt of how Presuppositional Apologetics works.

Atheistic counter arguments against Presuppositional Apologetics seem to involve the accusation of word play and semantics. I tend to agree with them though(on Presuppositional Apologetics not on religion).

Orthodox philosophers such as Richard Swimburne and David Bentley Hart don't use this form of apologetics. But it still remain to be answered, Is Presuppositional Apologetics something acceptable in Orthodoxy?
What would make it unacceptable? I'm not sure the Church has voiced any definitive opinion on the value of one form of apologetics over another.
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Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Orthodoxy and Presuppositional Apologetics
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2015, 11:58:23 PM »
At least historically, presuppositionalist apologists such as van Til have claimed that it is possible to show that any worldview other than Calvinism can be refuted by being shown to be inconsistent with its own presuppositions. Calvinism (according to them) is the only worldview that is not self-contradictory in that sense, so it is the truth. Since presuppositional apologetics in its original form is by definition Calvinist, it can't be compatible with Orthodoxy.

Presuppositional apologetics is not the same thing as fideism (which regards apologetics as ultimately being futile since you can't prove one religion or another is true, you just need to believe/have faith). Fideism was expressed by a number of other Calvinists, especially Abraham Kuyper.

Presuppositional apologetics can be thought of as being based on the coherence theory of truth. In addition to classical/philosophical apologetics, there are other methods of apologetics including existential apologetics.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 11:58:37 PM by Minnesotan »
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Online Justin Kissel

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Re: Orthodoxy and Presuppositional Apologetics
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2015, 12:28:07 AM »
Orthodox philosophers such as Richard Swimburne and David Bentley Hart don't use this form of apologetics. But it still remain to be answered, Is Presuppositional Apologetics something acceptable in Orthodoxy?

It's been a couple years since I went through them, but from what I remember just about every early Christian apologist (c. 95-325) was essentially a presuppositionalist (at least if I understand how people are using the term in these discussions).

Offline sakura95

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Re: Orthodoxy and Presuppositional Apologetics
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2015, 02:29:59 PM »
I have been unaware of Presuppositional Apologetics for a very long time. Mostly, I assume that Christians in general would use the Philosophical style of Apologetics when defending the Faith against the claims of Atheists. But this assumption of mine turned upside down when a Reformed friend of mine introduced me to it by making me play the Devil's Advocate, as the Atheist in a hypothetical debate.

Generally the sequence of Presuppositional Apologetics goes something like this,

https://carm.org/presuppositional-apologetics *

*I'm not linking this as a legitimate source for Orthodoxy or an explanation of Orthodox doctrine and belief

Of course the discussion I got myself into didn't really work out in that manner though its rubric is similar. While I forgotten how the argument actually began, one of the main points in the hypothetical debate was that "Science is Circular Reasoning" and then proceeded to show that Sola Scriptura(the extreme form of it since Biblical Inerrency is included in his beliefs) while "circular" is legitimate given how Science works by the same way(How is X true? Through Evidence gathered by observation). From this the belief in Scripture boils down to a kind of blind faith. Basically how Scripture is true because it says so.

I was taken aback by this but I simply told him that any other religious text can make the same claim so which is true?(the mock debate ended here and my Reformed friend admitted that he couldn't answer to this argument)

There are other arguments presented in this mock debate which I couldn't answer since it's basically something foreign to me, particularly in showing how Science is not Circular Reasoning. This is something I never encountered so I couldn't exactly say anything about it since I hardly know anything about it in the first place. Of course from the flow of the debate, there's just something rather disturbing about it. It's basically sweeping key issues and arguments under the carpet as Matt Slick himself showed in his excerpt of how Presuppositional Apologetics works.

Atheistic counter arguments against Presuppositional Apologetics seem to involve the accusation of word play and semantics. I tend to agree with them though(on Presuppositional Apologetics not on religion).

Orthodox philosophers such as Richard Swimburne and David Bentley Hart don't use this form of apologetics. But it still remain to be answered, Is Presuppositional Apologetics something acceptable in Orthodoxy?
What would make it unacceptable? I'm not sure the Church has voiced any definitive opinion on the value of one form of apologetics over another.

Technically, an Orthodox can use Presuppositional Apologetics but it would be IMO quite a dishonest way of debate and argument.
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Offline sakura95

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Re: Orthodoxy and Presuppositional Apologetics
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2015, 02:35:20 PM »
At least historically, presuppositionalist apologists such as van Til have claimed that it is possible to show that any worldview other than Calvinism can be refuted by being shown to be inconsistent with its own presuppositions. Calvinism (according to them) is the only worldview that is not self-contradictory in that sense, so it is the truth. Since presuppositional apologetics in its original form is by definition Calvinist, it can't be compatible with Orthodoxy.

Presuppositional apologetics is not the same thing as fideism (which regards apologetics as ultimately being futile since you can't prove one religion or another is true, you just need to believe/have faith). Fideism was expressed by a number of other Calvinists, especially Abraham Kuyper.

Presuppositional apologetics can be thought of as being based on the coherence theory of truth. In addition to classical/philosophical apologetics, there are other methods of apologetics including existential apologetics.

I rather take fidelism over Presuppositional Apologetics since it's more honest.

Just because a viewpoint is coherent as a whole doesn't make it true. If it's propositions can be shown to be flawed or false. If such is the case, fictional stories which are coherent as a whole can be classified as truth. Also, Calvinism is kinda self contradictory. For example, the belief that man is responsible for his actions eventhough those actions are solely the result of prior causes acting upon them which in turn is brought about ultimately from God, making God the ultimate originator of the actions instead. This is an example of Calvinism being incoherent and therefore illegitimate.
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Offline sakura95

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Re: Orthodoxy and Presuppositional Apologetics
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2015, 02:37:47 PM »
Orthodox philosophers such as Richard Swimburne and David Bentley Hart don't use this form of apologetics. But it still remain to be answered, Is Presuppositional Apologetics something acceptable in Orthodoxy?

It's been a couple years since I went through them, but from what I remember just about every early Christian apologist (c. 95-325) was essentially a presuppositionalist (at least if I understand how people are using the term in these discussions).

I don't think so. The Early Apologists didn't argue against heresy the way Van Til and Matt Slick did. Various philosophical positions were used to bolster up Christianity's coherence and plausibility over that of the heretics. Even the heretics themselves don't exactly use Presuppositional Apologetics since they argued in the same vein as the Orthodox.
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Online Justin Kissel

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Re: Orthodoxy and Presuppositional Apologetics
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2015, 04:59:54 PM »
erorr please resubmit
« Last Edit: February 16, 2015, 05:02:58 PM by Justin Kissel »

Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: Orthodoxy and Presuppositional Apologetics
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2015, 04:43:14 AM »
Some Roman Catholic clergy have spoken out against it because it contradicts some Catholic doctrines on the nature of the relationship between faith and reason and sounds too much like Fideism.  I would imagine potentially Eastern Orthodox would have similar objections.

Many people completely misunderstand science, including scientists themselves.  Science is not about certainty but about probability, since it is based on inductive logic.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 04:44:36 AM by Daedelus1138 »

Offline sakura95

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Re: Orthodoxy and Presuppositional Apologetics
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2015, 02:52:07 PM »
Some Roman Catholic clergy have spoken out against it because it contradicts some Catholic doctrines on the nature of the relationship between faith and reason and sounds too much like Fideism.  I would imagine potentially Eastern Orthodox would have similar objections.

Many people completely misunderstand science, including scientists themselves.  Science is not about certainty but about probability, since it is based on inductive logic.

Well guess the only thing I have to say is,

"are you absolutely certain about that?"  :P
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