The Suppression of God

Romans 1:18-25 are extremely important versus to remember when witnessing to unbelievers.

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

According to scripture, all people know God.  However, they suppress this truth for their sin.  However, they can’t keep the truth they know suppressed at all times.  It comes out time and time again.  It’s like the beach ball you push under the water.  Eventually it pops back up again and you have to keep pushing it back down.  The unbeliever has to keep suppressing the truth about God in order to stop the guilt they feel because of their sinful behavior and false idols.

This video is one of the most dramatic examples of suppression I’ve seen.  The Word is like a mirror to show us our sin and help us to realize that we need grace.  Notice in this video how Mr. McKellen smashes the mirror by ripping out the pages of the Bible that show him his sin.  He then tries to justify it by saying the Bible verse is “pornographic.”  You can see how impactful the Word is to Mr. McKellen and the lengths he will go to continue his suppression of the Truth.

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Does God lie? (Part 1)

When talking to unbelievers, have you ever been told that God is a liar? Unbelievers will sometimes bring out some Bible versus and try to show a contradiction about God by claiming the Bible shows that God actually lies. One easy way to help clear up the confusion is to think think about the context of the verse. There are 3 key points to remember when looking at a Bible verse, context, context, context.

Unbelivers commonly bring up 6 different verses as their ammunition. These 6 versus can be found on the website The Skeptics Anointed Bible. We’ll look at one of the verses here.

1 Kings 22:23
Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

So let’s look at the background to this passage.  King Ahab continued to do evil and also worshiped Baal.  He also refused to listen to Elija and accused Elija for bringing a drought on the land.  Elija told King Ahab that the drought was due to HIS sins.  Then we get to the classic story where King Ahab held a contest with Elija representing God against 400 prophets of Baal.  Elija came out the winner as the true prophet.  King Ahad should have repented of his sin and followed God, but he continued to rebel agains God and continued to sin.

Later, Jehoshaphat came to Ahab for help in a battle for Ramoth-Gilead.  Ahab wanted to consult the Gods and summoned 400 false prophets who told him that God would have Ahab win the battle.  Jehoshaphat knew the prophets were lying and asked for a true prophet which Ahab didn’t want to do since Micaiah, the true prophet, never told Ahab wanted to hear (because Ahab was a sinner).  But they summoned Micaiah who told them that they would lose the battle and Ahab would die. 

This is where Micaiah has the vision (1Kings 22:19).  Micaiah saw God on His throne.  God asked “who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth-Gilead and going to his death there?” (1Kings 22:20)  God had already given Ahab a death sentence and time to repent.  One spirit in the vision volunteered for the job.  God asked how the spirit will do it.  The spirits answered that he will be a deceiver in the mouths of his prophets and entice Ahab.  Remember that the false prophets had already said Ahab will succeed.  God told the truth to Ahab through Micaiah, but Ahab refused to listen.  So the spirit told Ahab what he wanted hear.  He simply gave Ahab what he wanted when Ahab refused to listen to the truth.  Again, was a vision and highly symbolic, but you get the picture.

Second point.  The Hebrew language often uses commands when the action is merely giving permission.  For example, when God hardened Pharoh’s heart (Exodus 7:3).  Pharaoh’s heart was already hardening.  God simply didn’t stop this from happening.  Some New Testatment examples are in Matthew 8:32 when Jesus allows the demons to go into the pigs.  They asked to go there and Jesus let that happen, but it’s written that Jesus said, “Go!”  Another example was with Judas in John 13:27, when Jesus said, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”  He didn’t really tell him to go, Judas had already made that decision. God didn’t do the action, but allowed the actions to happen so that His plans were completed.

When a nonbeliever gives a Bible verse that seems to contradict what you know about God and His character, remember to look at the context. This simple step can often clear up any confusion. Remember, when it comes to studying the Bible, it’s all about context, context, context.

A Response to KnownNoMore’s Video: Sye Ten Bruggencate’s Presuppositional Apologetics Refuted – Part 3: Logic without God

This is the third part of refutation of a video posted by KnownNoMore in response to the transcendental argument for God.  In this section, we will examine KnownNoMore’s response to the argument that the laws of logic cannot be justified in the atheist’s worldview.  You can view the full video from KnowNoMore here:

The argument starts with listing the properties of the laws of logic.  The laws of logic are immaterial, invariant and universal.  God is  immaterial, invariant, and universal, so the properties of the laws of logic make sense in the Christian worldview.  However, in the atheist worldview, how can anything that is immaterial exist in a world made of only molecules in motion.  How can things be eternal in a finite universe?  How can the atheist justify something that is universal, that exists all places at all times?

KnownNoMore gets around this difficulty by disagreeing on what the laws of logic are.  KnownNoMore states that the laws of logics are statements.  For example, the law of identity is just a sentence in the english language and can change.  He says the law of identity is not a necessary fact, but a description of a necessary fact.  Because of this KnownNoMore claims the transcendental argument commits the fallacy of reification.  He claims that the argument is treating the law as if it is an actual thing.  He states that logic is not a entity, but a concept.  This is a similar technique used in an article sent to me via Twitter by an atheist on Katholon.com, titled A Critique of Sye Ten Bruggencate’s proofthatGodexists.org., The article claims that the laws of logic are merely concepts.

So the question then becomes, what are the laws of logic?  An article by James N. Anderson and Greg Welty propose that the Laws of Logic are something different altogether.   The full article can be found here: http://www.proginosko.com/docs/The_Lord_of_Non-Contradiction.pdf

Anderson and Welty argue the following points.  They contend that the laws of logic are truths.  They are things that are true.  They exhibit the quality of being true.  I don’t see any argument that the laws of logic are truths.

But what is a truth?  Typically, we use the term proposition as primary bearers of truth.  So we can, for labeling purposes call the laws of logic propositions.  Also, propositions are language independent.  They are only language dependent in the weak sense that language is required in order to articulate and communicate propositions.

We have demonstrated that the laws of logic are truths, but what is the subject matter of these laws?  Take the law of non-contradiciton.  It is a truth about truths.  It is the truth that no truth whatsoever can be a falsehood.  The law of non-contradiction is a truth about propositions and propositions are primary bearers of truth-value.They are propositions about propositions, truths about truths.

Furthermore, the laws of logic are necessary.  They are necessary truths, not contingent truths and their necessity is self-evident.

The laws of logic really do exist.  We speak about them as though they really exist, we take it as truth that only things that actually exist can impact our world, and we have determined that the laws of logic have truth properties.  Thus, something can only bear a property if it actually exists. Also, if they do exist, and are also necessary, then they necessarily exist.  They are true in all possible worlds as well as ours.

The laws of logic are immaterial, they don’t exist physically.  Since physical entities are contingent entities, and the laws are logic are necessary entities, they cannot be physical entities.

So the laws of logic are real entities, but are not physical.  So what category do they fall under?  To answer this question, we’d argue that the laws of logic exhibit intentionality.  Since the laws of logic are propositions about propositions, truths about truths, they exhibit directness and intentionality.  We’d also propose they exhibit aspectual shape.  The two statements, The water is in the glass and The H2O is in the glass, both are directed to the same thing, water, but exhibit different aspectual shapes.  They also convey the truth about what is in the glass.

This leads us to the next point.  Since they exhibit both directness and aspectual shape, they are intrinsically intentional.  What other thing exhibits intrinsic intentionality?  Thoughts.

But whose thoughts are they? Are they our thoughts?  No.  We are contingent beings and the laws of logic exist necessarily.  If the laws of logic are necessarily existent thoughts, then they must come from a necessarily existent mind, a mind from a necessity existent person.  This person would have to be God.  Thus, we argue that the laws of logic are actually the thoughts of God.

This argument provides proof of God’s existence from logic.  It is an alternative to the claims of KnownNoMore and those provided on Kathalon.com.  Interestingly, I was in a recent discussion with an atheist in a Google Plus community who posed the challenge: “Prove that God cannot exist without God.”  I used this argument to show that without God, logic could not exist.  This argument also avoids the criticism of committing the fallacy of reification.  While the claim that the transcendental argument commits this fallacy is not a strong claim, this argument can be used to move the conversation forward with the atheist if needed.

KnownNoMore has a few more videos about the transcendental argument.  However, we’ve been able to show the holes in his arguments thus far.  I’m going to switch gears and cover some more popular topics that brought up on the Google Plus communities for a greater variety of topics.

 

A Response to KnownNoMore’s Video: Sye Ten Bruggencate’s Presuppositional Apologetics Refuted, Part 2: Wrong about EVERYTHING???

This is the second discussion on Part 2 of a video posted by KnownNoMore.  If you didn’t see the first video, please check out Part 1 of my blog.  KnowNoMore has split up his rebuttal to Sye Ten Bruggencate’s presuppositional apologetic technique.  I’m ordering my responses to match each of his separate videos.

A little background:

I’ve recently been visiting Google+ communities to discuss the existence of God.  There are several communities that post and debate on atheist and theist materials.  I think is a great way to build your apologetic skills and be ready to address any questions you might get while sharing the Gospel.  There are many more atheists in the communities than there are Christians which is disappointing.  Also, it can get a bit overwhelming when you have 3, 4, or 5 atheists challenging you at the same time.  These communities are an excellent place to see Proverbs 17:12 in action! (Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly)  We certainly need more Christian voices on the web so please consider joining in the share the Gospel and glorify the Lord by addressing atheists on the internet.

I was recently using a presuppositional apologetic when an atheist stated that presuppositional apologetics was refuted and posted a link to these youtube videos.  There are actually several videos from a you-tuber knows as KnownNoMore.  These videos focus on Sye Ten Bruggencate and his presuppositional approach.  Sye has become very popular on youtube and has debated many popular atheists.  To learn more about Sye and his ministry, please visit ProofThatGodExists.org.  Also, check out his video produced by Crown Rights Media called How to Answer the Fool.  The video is an excellent resource for learning the presuppositional approach to apologetics.

I’ve been responding to these videos with the goal of creating a resource to direct atheists to when this video is brought up again to keep the focus on the absurdity of the unbelievers world view.  I also hope that other apologists can use the blog as a resource too.

Here is the video we will be looking at:

A common question that is asked when using presuppositional apologetics is “What do you know for certain?”  The idea is to discuss how the unbeliever can justify knowledge without revelation from God.  We’re not saying that the unbeliever doesn’t know things for certain, but that they can’t justify knowing something for certain with their worldview.  The unbeliever wants to make themselves the final authority for truth and knowledge and then they want to decide whether God exists or not.  This is the same sin that we saw in the garden when Eve began thinking that she could have certain knowledge apart from God’s revelation.

KnownNoMore states he can know two things for certain.

1.”That I, as a thinking entity exist”

2.”The laws of logic”

When asked how he knows these things for certain, he answers, “Same way that you think you know your God exists, from the impossibility of the contrary.”  I’d like to clarify this point because it’s often missed by the unbelievers.  The possibility of the contrary does provide evidence that God exists.  However, we have certain knowledge that God exists because he has revealed himself to all of us (Romans 1:19).

KnownNoMore then provides a syllogism to demonstrate how he knows he exists.  He states:

1.In order for thinking to be going on, there must exist a thinking entity

2. There is thinking going on

3. A thinking entity exists

And this thinking entity is referred to as “I”

However, the syllogism only proves that a thinking entity exists.  It doesn’t lead to any proof that KnowNoMore exists.  He makes a jump from the conclusion that a thinker exists to I exist, but doesn’t demonstrate how he gets there.  There is no way to get from a thinking entity exists to I exist.  This was also pointed out by atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell in his work The History of Western Philosophy, p. 567.

In Part two, KnownNoMore introduces a proof to show how he can justify certain knowledge apart from God.  However, he attempts to make a leap from the conclusion of his proof, a thinker exists, to that thinker is I.  His proof fails to show how he can know that he exists for certain.  This isn’t a new problem, and was also discussed by Russell back in 1945.

In Part 3, KnownNoMore will be looking at the Laws of logic for justification of certain knowledge apart from God.  We’ll examine his argument and discuss any flaws we find.

 

 

 

 

A Response to KnownNoMore’s Video: Sye Ten Bruggencate’s Presuppositional Apologetics Refuted, Part 1

I’ve recently been visiting Google+ communities to discuss the existence of God.  There are several communities that post and debate on atheist and theist materials.  I think is a great way to build your apologetic skills and be ready to address any questions you might get while sharing the Gospel.  There are many more atheists in the communities than there are Christians which is disappointing.  Also, it can get a bit overwhelming when you have 3, 4, or 5 atheists challenging you at the same time.  These communities are an excellent place to see Proverbs 17:12 in action! (Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly)  We certainly need more Christian voices on the web so please consider joining in the share the Gospel and glorify the Lord by addressing atheists on the internet.

I was recently using a presuppositional apologetic when an atheist stated that presuppositional apologetics was refuted and posted a link to a youtube video.  There are actually several videos from a you-tuber knows as KnownNoMore.  These videos focus on Sye Ten Bruggencate and his presuppositional approach.  Sye has become very popular on youtube and has debated many popular atheists.  To learn more about Sye and his ministry, please visit ProofThatGodExists.org.  Also, check out his video produced by Crown Rights Media called How to Answer the Fool.  The video is an excellent resource for learning the presuppositional approach to apologetics.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be going through KnownNoMore’s videos and exploring the content.  I wasn’t able to respond to the atheist in the Google community since I hadn’t had any exposure to these videos before.  He was able to use the video to deflect the conversation and my questions.

My goal is to create a resource to direct atheists to when this video is brought up again to keep the focus on the absurdity of the unbelievers world view.  I also hope that other apologists can use the blog as a resource too.

Let’s start with part 1 and we’ll work through each of his videos.  I do have to admit, I like the background music that he has in his videos.  He goes at a nice pace, has a good online presence and voice which adds credibility to his videos.  Also, he attempts to deal with Sye’s arguments at an intellectual level, and I haven’t seen any ad hominem attacks yet.

Here is the link to part 1

KnownNoMore (KNM) states that Sye presupposes God exists and revealed things in such a way that we can be absolutely certain about.  Without doing that, absolute global skepticism applies, and you can’t know or account for anything at all.

He doesn’t have it quite right here.  It’s not that global skepticism applies, and you can’t know or account for anything at all.  What we are saying is that the unbeliever does know things.  The unbeliever is made in the image of God (Gen 1:16-27), and God reveals things to him just like Christians (Ps 19:1-4).  Moreover, he is able to be absolutely certain about things including God’s existence (Rom 1:19).  The unbeliever does this the same way a Christian does.  God reveals things to us so that we can know them for certain.  Even in this early part of the video, we can see how KNM thinks of himself as the starting point of knowledge.  The unbeliever knows things for certain, but cannot justify how by using a world view where they are the starting point of knowledge and suppress the authority of God (Rom 1:21).  The difference is that the Christian accepts that God is the starting point for knowledge and therefore, can justify how certain knowledge exists. (Proverbs 9:10)

KNM then addresses the question “Is it impossible for God to exist?”  I’ve heard this question used to start conversations with unbelievers.  100% of the time, the unbeliever will say “Yes”, which is a reasonable answer.  However, KNM attempts to provide an argument to answer “No” to this question.  I suggest that if KNM does indeed feel that it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to exist, he should show some support for his position instead of saying he isn’t able to understand the question since he can’t understand the attributes of God.  KNM is simply being intellectually dishonest when he says that it is impossible for God to exist.

To summarize, part 1 was a very basic video that outlined general points of the presuppositional apologetic approach.  I thought it was interesting how this video shows that KNM makes himself the starting point for knowledge.  It’s clear that he doesn’t quite grasp the Christian starting point and that without starting with God, you can’t account for knowledge.  He attempts to refute the apologetic through the very unusual tactic of refusing to admit the possibility of God’s existence.  However, he eventually concedes that it is possible that God exists so that he can examine more of Sye’s presuppositional apologetic approach.  I’ll be reviewing the other videos by KnownNoMore in the next few weeks.

The Blind Men and the Elephant

I’m currently reading a book by Tim Keller called The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. I’ll be adding my thoughts on various topics he covers to share his perspective and add my own. I hope this highlights topics you can use in conversations with skeptics.

In the first chapter, Tim discusses the story of the blind men and the elephant.  It’s a story I’ve heard skeptics use to try and show that all religions are the same, that all lead to God. The story goes like this:

One day, several blind men were walking through the forest.  They came upon an elephant. Not knowing what it was, each man reached out their hands and touched the elephant. The first man touched the elephant’s side and said “this is a huge wall.”  The second blind man touched the elephant’s leg and said, “no, it’s a large tree trunk.”  The third blind man reached out and touched its tusk and said, “You are all wrong, it’s a spear.” Other blind men touch other parts of the elephant and think the elephant is something it’s not. You get the idea. They begin to argue until a wise man of some kind comes along to explain that it’s actually an elephant. They each had a part of the truth, but the whole truth could only be seen when all their truths were combined.

The skeptic will argue that this shows that all religions are leading to the actual truth. They argue that we are the blind men, blinded by our cultural biases and presuppositions. Only when we can see the whole elephant can we know the actual truth.

if you are presented with this story, the best question to ask is “tell me who you are in the story.” They will say either a blind man or the wise man. If they are a blind man, ask them how then they are able to see the whole elephant. If they are the wise man, ask them how is it that they are able to see the truth and no one else can. What makes them different?

the storyteller will simply refute themselves. If they are subject to the same biases and presuppositions as the rest of us, they cannot possibly know the full truth. If they say they do know the truth, how is it that they are able to do away with their cultural bias and presuppositions?

One final thought about this story. The story assumes the elephant can’t help the blind man by talking to them. God has spoken to us through His revelation. We don’t go grabbing at God randomly. He tells us exactly who He is through the Bible.