Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Van Til's transcendental argument

Introduction

Jamin Hubner, a blog contributor at aomin.org, has posted a brief summary of Van Til’s transcendental argument. In the post, he distinguishes between four types of arguments: abductive, inductive, deductive, and transcendental (or, perhaps, presuppositional). While his remarks on the first three types of arguments are worth consideration - I would especially be curious to know whether or not he believes there is such a thing as an inductive argument which is not "poor" - what he has to say about Van Til’s transcendental argument merits a closer look.


Transcendental arguments

Mr. Hubner explains the criteria of a transcendental argument:

A presupposes B if and only if:

1. if A is true, then B is true.

2. if ~A is true, then B is true.

In other words, "A is said to presuppose B if B is true irrespective of the truth-value of A." Now it seems to me that a transcendental argument is a subspecies of deductive argumentation. The conclusions of a transcendental argument purport to follow from the premise(s); the transcendental argument is logically valid. Specifically, a transcendental argument is an apagogic argument, or an argument which purports that “in the case of A or ~A, B must be true; if B were false, neither A nor ~A could be true, which contradicts the law of excluded middle.”


Van Til’s transcendental argument

In Van Til’s words, the transcendental argument according to which Christianity must be presupposed is as follows:

“The only “proof” of the Christian position is that unless its truth is presupposed there is no possibility of proving anything at all.” (Jerusalem and Athens, 21)

Christianity, it is argued, must be true, for if it were not, one would not be able to prove anything. In order to show that a statement is true, one must presuppose Christianity.


Clarification

Before evaluating this argument, it is necessary to know what the Christian position is. Mr. Hubner seems to understand it to be the position which believes in the Scriptures of the Triune God. If the conclusion of Van Til’s transcendental argument is sound, it would be a powerful proof of the logical necessity of Christianity.

The advocate of Van Til’s transcendental argument claims that he is able to prove that the Christian world-view alone can function as a sound epistemological presupposition. Given that there are an infinite number of alternative world-views, such must be shown to be the case. It is not enough to shift the burden of proof to the non-Christian, for to do so would be a defense of Christianity rather than a proof of it. It would be inductive reasoning – which is fallacious – to conclude that, given that a finite number of non-Christian world-views are evinced to be unsound, all other non-Christian world-views are likewise unsound. The burden of proof, then, is on the advocate of Van Til’s transcendental argument to show that no world-view other than the Christian world-view is able to justify knowledge claims.

In mathematics, a set which contains infinitely many numbers may be contained in another set which also has infinitely many numbers. For instance, the set of natural numbers {1, 2, 3, …} is a subset of the set of integers {…, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, …} even though there are an infinite number of natural numbers. Why is this relevant? It is indeed possible to conceive of reduction ad absurdum arguments which refute a set of world views infinite in number (cf. link) but do not refute all other possible non-Christian world-views; for instance, while an immutably omniscient being must be epistemologically presupposed - and so the infinite number of possible world-views which do not presuppose an immutably omniscient being are refuted (e.g. the set of natural numbers) - there is more than one possible world-view which purports an immutably omniscient being (e.g. the set of integers which are not natural numbers). Thus, while transcendental arguments in general can be sound as well as valid, the soundness of one transcendental argument does not mean that all alternative world-views to Christianity are or can be evinced to be unsound. The point is that the advocate of Van Til’s transcendental argument must show why it is the case that all the characteristics unique to the Christian world-view must be epistemologically presupposed.


Evaluation

It seems to me that this is the point at which Van Til’s transcendental argument fails to deliver the goods. In my admittedly limited experience, the following represent what I have seen from the advocates of Van Til’s transcendental argument:

1. The advocate of Van Til’s transcendental argument reverts to repeatedly asserting that logic presupposes Christianity instead of showing why it must presuppose Christianity, as seems to be the case in Mr. Hubner’s article. I recognize the article was only meant to be an introduction to Van Til’s transcendental argument, but an explanation as to why it is that the characteristics unique to Christianity must be presupposed is obviously necessary to the soundness of the argument. There is a distinct difference between asserting that Christianity must be presupposed and showing that Christianity must be presupposed. The aforementioned quote by Van Til, for example, is just an assertion. It is not a demonstration or proof.

2. The advocate of Van Til’s transcendental argument forgets the apagogic nature of the argument and instead grounds the proof on the claims of Christian doctrine. For instance, to argue that rationalism, empiricism, et. al. cannot be true solely on the grounds that they are not compatible with Christianity would not satisfy the conditions of Van Til’s transcendental argument. Such is tantamount to an attempt to disprove one (or more) epistemological axiom by means of another, which is question-begging.

3. The advocate of Van Til’s transcendental argument provides a[n alleged] proof whose conclusion is closer to those of classical apologists than to presuppositionalists, insofar as the proof in question does not aim to show that the characteristics particularly unique to the Christian position must be epistemologically presupposed. For instance, as has already been mentioned, the transcendental argument which shows the necessity of an immutably omniscient being does not meet the conditions which must be met in order for Van Til's transcendental argument to be found to be sound [I understand that Mr. Hubner does not think this]. It cannot be too emphasized that for Van Til's transcendental argument to be sound, it must be demonstrated that the characteristics unique to Christianity must be epistemologically presupposed.

Now, it is entirely possible that someone has provided such a demonstration and I have simply missed it. If that is the case, hopefully someone will point me toward the source. It should be kept in mind, however, that the proof for Van Til’s transcendental argument must be compatible with other sound transcendental arguments. So, for instance, if it is the case that the conclusion of Van Til’s transcendental argument cannot be deduced from divine revelation, the knowledge claim would suspect to the transcendental argument mentioned above (here is the link again).


Conclusion

It would be interesting to find that Scripturalism can be synthesized with Van Til’s transcendental argument. Should one presuppose Scripture for no other reason than that it is the self-authenticating word of God the Holy Spirit uses to regenerate an elect individual unto belief by which he understands that God is the source of truth, or should he presuppose Scripture as divine revelation from the Triune God for another – or perhaps a further – reason, viz. that it is demonstrably the only world-view which is able to justify knowledge claims?

The Scripturalist’s belief in God’s word is constantly affirmed by the testimony of the Holy Spirit, the logical coherence of Scripture, and the failure of all other world-views. Transcendental arguments can be used, but the function of such arguments is to refute non-Christian world-views rather than to demonstrate the necessity of Christianity in particular. Advocates of Van Til’s transcendental argument perhaps agree with the Scripturalist to a certain extent – although there is diversity even within Van Tillianism – but they also insist that all alternative world-views are able to be critiqued in such a way such that they are all evinced to be unsustainable.

Either way, Christian presuppositionalists all should agree that Scripture is God’s word and ought not to be treated as something profane. Hopefully, both sides keep this in perspective when making hypothetical arguments and whatnot. Both Scripturalists and those who advocate Van Til’s transcendental argument should trust what Scripture states: Christianity is the only world-view able to justify knowledge claims. What is in question is the method by which Christians ought to go about demonstrating this in the realm of apologetics so as to remain faithful to the biblical mandate to defend the faith.

31 comments:

Joshua Butcher said...

Ryan,

The fault in your thinking is in supposing that their are an infinite number of worldviews. There are only two: the one that trusts in the One True God of the Bible and the one that does not. Here is a helpful post along the same lines as yours--namely, that inductive proofs are inadequate defenses of the Transcendental Argument:

http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2006/03/impropriety-of-trying-to-prove.html

Here is another article that might also be helpful:

http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2007/01/sound-proof-for-gods-existence.html

Ryan said...

"There are only two: the one that trusts in the One True God of the Bible and the one that does not."

There are multiple world-views which deny the Christian position, and amongst those world-views it is rather easy to find two that are mutually exclusive. But perhaps you intend to contrast the unique characteristics of the Christian world-view with all others in order to show why the unique characteristics of the Christian world-view must be presupposed.

Reading through the first link, I agree with Ron that the inductive approach is unsatisfactory, as you might expect. However, when it comes to actually justifying “step 2,” he writes:

//In summary, the Christian need not evaluate an infinite number of worldviews in order to know (and justify) that there are only two worldviews. In the like manner, the Christian need not witness an infinite amount of deaths to know that all men are mortal. We have an appeal for such premises, the truth of God’s word, which tells us that there are only two worldviews; one is that revelation is the necessary precondition for the justification of intelligible experience and the other is a denial of the Christian worldview.//

Where has Ron shown that the Christian Scriptures must be that revelation? Or, if he is appealing to God's word itself, he isn't constructing a transcendental argument, because he is assuming – like any good Scripturalist would! – that the Christian Scriptures are true. They would constitute his epistemological axiom. But in that case Ron's position would be precisely the position I criticize in point 2 of my above evaluation of Van Til's transcendental argument.

My transcendental argument too is supported by God's word, as it must be, but you'll notice that the argument itself is, unlike Ron’s, not solely predicated on that fact. Let me show what I mean:

//For a being to claim to know a proposition is true presupposes that he knows it's truth is not contingent or, if it is, said being knows that upon which the veracity of the proposition is contingent.//

If the truth-value of proposition A is contingent or even possibly contingent on the truth-value of a proposition of which we are not aware, then it is question-begging to assert one knows the truth-value of A. That's a deductive, reductio ad absurdem argument which can be used against world-views which do not admit an eternal, immutably omniscient being. Essentially, the difference between my critique of such a position and Ron's critique of the non-Christian position is that I am critiquing the opposite position on its own terms rather than from within my own epistemic system. The latter critique is not an internal critique at all. As a matter of fact, it's an implicit rejection of foundationalistic epistemology. It’s nothing more than an appeal to the Christian axiom, Scripture, to refute any non-Christian axiom. Divine revelation may be necessary to justify knowledge claims, but to claim that the Christian Scriptures entails that divine revelation is, if likewise intended to be a conclusion to an argument, an assertion in search of an argument.

Ryan said...

In the second link, Ron writes:

“Moreover, the Christian is to demonstrate that God's special revelation offers the only justification for these things.”

That is precisely what the advocate of Van Til’s transcendental argument must do. Yet in the very next paragraph, Ron writes:

“Again, the unbeliever denies step-2 of the proof. Accordingly, all the apologist is left to do is show over an (sic) over again that logic, reality and ethics presuppose that which only the Christian worldview can afford”

But that is either inductive argumentation or bare assertion. He hasn’t “shown” or demonstrated step 2, at least not in the post. He hasn’t internally critiqued the non-Christian world-view, but rather uses his axiom to disprove another’s axiom. What precisely does the Christian world-view afford which logic, reality, and ethics presuppose, and why must whatever unique characteristics Ron would mention be presupposed?

It is true that God has revealed Himself, and it is true that such proves God exists from within the Scripturalist's world-view, but we know these things are true for the reasons I mention in the conclusion of my post, not because of a transcendental argument.

Joshua Butcher said...

Ryan,

My claim regarding worldviews is a claim grounded in Scripture, which asserts only two worldviews (God-believing, God-denying). The uniqueness of the Christian worldview is also a claim based upon God's Revelation in His Word. It is, in my view, impossible to avoid Scripturalism in a philosophical advancement of the Christian worldview.

I don't think that Ron would argue that the Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God (TAG) would be possible apart from presupposing the truth of God's Word as its axiom (Scripturalism). If such were possible, the TAG would undercut the TAG's own endeavor, which is to prove that God's knowledge is presupposed for all things true! To prove that without God as the precondition for knowledge no knowledge can be possessed is to prove God's self-Revelation as the source of all knowledge (the only difference being what one defines as Revelation).

In other words, TAG must rest upon the presupposition that God's Word is God's revelation of knowledge to man upon which all other claims must find their justification. That is my understanding of Ron's position, and what I would call my own position.

TAG isn't a refutation so much as it is a challenge to the unbeliever--to demonstrate how he can rely upon universal, abstract truths apart from presupposing the One True God as the source of those truths. The philosophical requirement to conduct a critique of a view's own stated grounds of justification is not the same as conducting a critique of a view upon the grounds of justification it must possess regardless of what it ostensibly claims.

Just because unbelievers deny step-2 of the proof does not invalidate the proof, it only means that the psychological conviction of the opponent has not been impacted. There is a difference between proof/demonstration and persuasion, and the one is quite simply in many cases, whereas the other requires a conviction of the Holy Spirit.

If you read much of Ron, you'll see that his position is more of a hybrid of Clark and Van Til--taking the Scripturalism of Clark while retaining the value of the TAG challenge that Van Til's position poses to the unbelieving philosophy.

Personally, I find Clark's approach more easily applicable in apologetics, because convincing someone of how their view is wrong seems psychologically easier than convincing someone of how their view requires my view in order to be justified. But that's just speculation on my part.

Ryan said...

"In other words, TAG must rest upon the presupposition that God's Word is God's revelation of knowledge to man upon which all other claims must find their justification. That is my understanding of Ron's position, and what I would call my own position...

If you read much of Ron, you'll see that his position is more of a hybrid of Clark and Van Til--taking the Scripturalism of Clark while retaining the value of the TAG challenge that Van Til's position poses to the unbelieving philosophy."

I know, and I accounted for this in my reply.

"TAG isn't a refutation so much as it is a challenge to the unbeliever"

From my post:

//It is not enough to shift the burden of proof to the non-Christian, for to do so would be a defense of Christianity rather than a proof of it.//

TAG - at least, Van Til's TAG - is meant to be a proof of Christianity, not a defense. This isn't to say that it is illegitimate to require unbelievers to give an account of their world-view; on the contrary, everyone must give an epistemic account for knowledge claims. That's not in question. Rather, as I said in my post:

//What is in question is the method by which Christians ought to go about demonstrating [Christianity is the only world-view able to justify knowledge claims] in the realm of apologetics so as to remain faithful to the biblical mandate to defend the faith.//

Ron's arguments are proofs from within the Scripturalist framework. I know and agree with him insofar as he does not try to argue that such is a transcendental argument as Mr. Hubner has defined the term, because so-defined, transcendental arguments are apagogic: they require one to show the impossibility to the contrary. Such requires an internal critique of non-Christian epistemic systems. My transcendental argument is such a critique, Ron's is not. Both of our argument follow from Scripture, and so both are true within the Scripturalist's framework (which we know is true), but only mine can be used in such a way that it is not necessary to question-beggingly assert "your axiom is wrong because mine is true" in order to disprove the opposing world-view.

"The philosophical requirement to conduct a critique of a view's own stated grounds of justification is not the same as conducting a critique of a view upon the grounds of justification it must possess regardless of what it ostensibly claims."

Quite true. But as I already noted, I have yet to read a transcendental argument which explicates what is unique to the Christian position that must be epistemologically presupposed and avoids the 3 pit-falls I mention in the evaluation section of the OP.

"Just because unbelievers deny step-2 of the proof does not invalidate the proof"

Again, true, but that doesn't change the fact Ron's proof is contingent on the axiom of Scripturalism. I think you need to reread my replies to his posts.

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

I don’t agree with Hubner’s construct as stated, which is why I don’t agree with Collet’s argument found in the Westminster Theological Journal as it seems to be stated there. For instance, Causality presupposes God. But that does not mean that non-causality presupposes God, for what is non-causality but chaos? Chaos does not presuppose God as a metaphysical reality because chaos defies creation and providence. What presupposes God is predicating about chaos.

In this post:

http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2010/04/bahnsen-misunderstood-servant-of-lord.html

I say this about that:

C presupposes G if and only if both 1 & 2:
1. If C then God exists
2. If ~C then God exists
Whether we predicate: If Causality, then God (or) If ~Causality, then God the same conclusion, God, obtains. In other words, God is the necessary precondition for all predication. Or to put it in Bahnsen’s terms, whether we affirm or deny the original belief, the transcendental analysis nevertheless reaches the very same conclusion given both premises. {NOTE WELL: We are not negating the metaphysicality of causality but rather the truth value of the predication of the metaphysicality of causality! In other words: ~causality (which is chaos) does not presuppose God, but indeed the belief or assertion of ~causality does!


I hope Collet and this other man would agree with what I state above but from their writings I can't be sure. Moving on...

You wrote, Ryan:Or, if he is appealing to God's word itself, he isn't constructing a transcendental argument, because he is assuming – like any good Scripturalist would! – that the Christian Scriptures are true.

First off, I have no problem with the term axiom of revelation IF we can agree that the axiom of revelation is known to be authoritative and without error, unlike axioms in geometry which we presuppose merely because they work and seem rational. Clark, being Reformed, knew Scripture was God's word so Clark was not using the term axiom as one would in discussing axioms in geometry. Some think he was taking Scripture to be his axiom in an arbitrary fashion, which couldn't be further from the truth.

The transcendental argument in which Joshua linked you to is indeed sound, but that doesn’t mean that the defense of the premises within the argument must be argued for transcendentally. To miss that is to miss the point. I can defend “step 2” based upon a deductive argument: What God teaches is true - God teaches two worldviews etc. NOTE: TAG is merely a deductive argument that concludes God's existence yet does so by putting forth a challenge with transcendental implications. TAG is not an argument that aims to prove all its premises transcendentally.

Again, true, but that doesn't change the fact Ron's proof is contingent on the axiom of Scripturalism. I think you need to reread my replies to his posts.

Ryan, again, I think what we must distinguish is the tanscendental argument for God's existence from an argument for God being the necessary precondition for intelligible experience, a premise in the argument. That God is the precondition for intelligible experience must and can only be defended from Scripture alone, but that does not mean that the conclusion - God exists - is not derived from a sound argument that is trancendental in nature. Finally, TAG is not garden variety deduction because we are not merely beginning with some truths (or inferences) and reasoning to others - but rather that to which we reason is presupposed as a necessary precondition for the intelligible experience of the original fact of experience. In short, the argument for God's existence is transcendental but the particular premises that make up the argument must be argued from Scripture. I know no other way to argue for absolute truth than from Scripture.

Ron

Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

Hi, Ron.

"I hope Collet and this other man would agree with what I state above but from their writings I can't be sure."

After reading your post, I think the way I interpreted Mr. Hubner's phrasing of the argument is the same as yours. When I wrote the above post, I thought of A, ~A, B, and ~B strictly as propositions. The point of the argument would be that for the proposition to have [demonstrable] truth-value at all would presuppose that the Christian position is true. Let me know if that is how you interpret Van Til's TAG.

"First off, I have no problem with the term axiom of revelation IF we can agree that the axiom of revelation is known to be authoritative and without error..."

Sure. That follows from Scripture. I think the last paragraph of my post expresses with what I am concerned: our apologetic methodology by which we defend the faith given that the Christian world-view is not the only world-view.

"TAG is not an argument that aims to prove all its premises transcendentally."

If I understand you correctly, your transcendental argument would presuppose Scripturalism rather than function as an internal critique of non-Christian world-views. Right? If so, I think that is different from Van Til's transcendental argument.

"In short, the argument for God's existence is transcendental but the particular premises that make up the argument must be argued from Scripture."

I agree completely, but I don't think that is the issue. See the final three paragraphs to my first reply to Joshua in which I explain a transcendental argument I have used and how I think it differs from your use.

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

After reading your post, I think the way I interpreted Mr. Hubner's phrasing of the argument is the same as yours. When I wrote the above post, I thought of A, ~A, B, and ~B strictly as propositions.

Ryan,

Excellent! I can probably ease up on my concerns on what they might have meant.

The point of the argument would be that for the proposition to have [demonstrable] truth-value at all would presuppose that the Christian position is true. Let me know if that is how you interpret Van Til's TAG.

I agree but unfortunately Van Til to my knowledge never described what the Christian worldview actually is. He said a lot about the ontological Trinity and how God reflects unity and diversity (Himself) in the created order, but what I think is the precondition for intelligible experience is revelation and the justification for that intelligible experience is I believe Scripture’s interpretation of God, men and things.

I wrote: "First off, I have no problem with the term axiom of revelation IF we can agree that the axiom of revelation is known to be authoritative and without error..."

You said: Sure. That follows from Scripture.

Ryan, please know that I didn’t doubt you on that point, not that you think I did; I was simply asserting my position for further amplification.

I'm running over my limit on characters so I'll break the post up here and place the meat on the next post... cont.

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

If I understand you correctly, your transcendental argument would presuppose Scripturalism rather than function as an internal critique of non-Christian world-views. Right?

I’m no different than Bahnsen in this regard; yet I don’t know that he’d own the term Scripturalist. Bahnsen is very clear that our apologetic is to be done in two steps. We are to answer a fool according to his folly and in another sense we are not to address a fool according to his follow. I’m not sure I can rest in his exegesis of the proverb I just paraphrased but the biblical principle I certainly embrace. We are to answer the fool according to his folly in that we are to assume his position for argument sake and then we show how it opposes itself, which is the reductio aspect of our apologetic. That technique is not peculiar to any apologetic school. Then, after we reduce the opposing worldview to absurdity, we should set forth the argument that the proof of God’s existence is that without Him one couldn’t argue or prove anything, even that there is no God. That argument can be put in deductive form with premises that any Christian should embrace. Obviously the unbeliever, being an unbeliever, will not embrace the premises or the justification of them but my job is not to persuade the unbeliever; that’s God’s job. Our job is to rip his mask away and then declare the truth in a cogent manner. I think the most effective and powerful way to do the latter is to argue that God’s revelation of himself, creation and providence is the precondition for intelligible experience. Note well that I’d prefer to do apologetics with a fidiest than an evidentialist or one who was Thomistic. The latter two abandon the only true authority there is - God’s word, whereas the former has the right authority but does not appreciate that our faith is rational.

If so, I think that is different from Van Til's transcendental argument.

I believe that is what you think but I am persuaded that my apologetic is identical to Bahnsen’s and Mike Butler’s and, also, Van Til’s.

I said: "In short, the argument for God's existence is transcendental but the particular premises that make up the argument must be argued from Scripture."

You replied with: I agree completely, but I don't think that is the issue. See the final three paragraphs to my first reply to Joshua in which I explain a transcendental argument I have used and how I think it differs from your use.

Ryan, to reduce a position to absurdity is not to argue for the Christian worldview and it is something that I do in apologetics. My Blog posts are concerned with the unique aspect of apologetics, the transcendental argument, and not so concerned with the other leg our apologetic stands on, the internal critique of the opposing worldview, which in all its various forms operate apart from a revelational epistemology. Those that do have a revelational epistemology are simply aping Christianity.

Blessings,

Ron

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Hi Ryan,

Real quick, as I look at your original post from September, which you reference and link us to in your first response to Josh, I find that your apologetic is not transcendental in the least. You do argue for a transcendent God, but that is not to argue that he is transcendentally necessary. Secondly, your argument because it does not begin with Scripture can only at best argue for the conceptual necessity of God's omniscience but conceptually necessity doesn't imply the ontological necessity of God's attribute of omniscience.

Best wishes,

Ron

Ryan said...

"Van Til to my knowledge never described what the Christian worldview actually is."

I agree, and that is why I simply referenced Mr. Hubner's understanding in the original post.

"Ryan, to reduce a position to absurdity is not to argue for the Christian worldview..."

That is precisely my point. I know of know other way in which Van Til's TAG, represented in the OP and as I understand it, can be demonstrated.

"...after we reduce the opposing worldview to absurdity, we should set forth the argument that the proof of God’s existence is that without Him one couldn’t argue or prove anything, even that there is no God."

I believe we have had this disagreement before. Your "proof" would consist in censuring all other epistemological axioms on the basis of your own, which I find to be an implicit rejection of foundationalism and, hence, a fallacy. Your proof is, in fact, a conclusion you draw solely from Christian doctrine. To say the non-Christian doesn't follow from your axiom isn't an internal critique, and I don't see how you can assert the Christian world-view alone must be epistemologically presupposed unless you internally critique the opposition.

The Christian world-view doesn't follow from the axiom of Islam or empiricism, but even if those world-views were sound, such would not be valid refutation of Christianity. After all, it may be the case that the Christian position is epistemologically coherent, and that itself would refute the axiom of, say, Islam. Similarly, if it is the case - and it is not, but one cannot simply assume these things in apologetic dialogue - that Islam is epistemologically coherent, the Christian world-view (and axiom) would be falsified. The point is that it is fallacious to use one axiom to refute another.

"I find that your apologetic is not transcendental in the least."

I argue that an eternally, immutably omniscient being must exist for one to be able to justify his knowledge claims. I don't mention God at all. As I said upfront, the argument is a reductio ad absurdem, not a proof of the Christian world-view. It is an internal critique of an opposing world-view. If "~B," no proposition A nor ~A can possibly be demonstrated or justified. A or ~A are true only when B is true, which fits the criteria of a transcendental argument. Moreover, to show that such follows from Scripture is relatively easy (John 3:27, 1 Corinthians 4:7). So I don't see how the argument fails to be transcendental, fails to be an internal critique, or fails to be consistent with Scripture.

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Ryan,

You say I have argued fallaciously but you don't point to the actual fallacy in my argument, which is telling. I have put forth a deductive argument on my Blog. If you reject any of the premises, then you deny Christian beliefs. If you reject the form of the argument, then you reject logic. You choose, young man, which you would like to reject. Furthermore, you suggest that Islam can be "possible" but you don't show us how. If you show us how, then maybe I'll put forth an internal critique of that position - which shouldn't be too hard since you yourself think that all non-Christian positions can be refuted. Moreover, I have it on good authority, God's word, that any false belief is foolish. Accordingly, I think I can refute Islam or any other variation of the unbelieving worldview. Finally, you have not interacted with anything I have written. Quoting me selectively and then launching into assertions that you like to repeat that have nothing to do with what you quoted is hardly compelling, let alone Christian.

So long young man.

Ron

Ronald W. Di Giacomo said...

Your proof is, in fact, a conclusion you draw solely from Christian doctrine. To say the non-Christian doesn't follow from your axiom isn't an internal critique, and I don't see how you can assert the Christian world-view alone must be epistemologically presupposed unless you internally critique the opposition.

Ryan in unfamiliar with what this discussion is all about. He didn't read or he didn't internalize my distinction in an earlier post that there is a difference between internal critiques and a transcendental argument. Ryan fails to grasp that to argue for God's existence requires that one stand on God's revelation of himself, but that is hardly fallacious. After all, should we abandon logic in order to argue for logic?! Ryan doesn't understand what he thinks he disagrees with. Ryan needs to think about these things a bit more.

RWD

Anonymous said...

"I don't see how you can assert the Christian world-view alone must be epistemologically presupposed unless you internally critique the opposition."

Another misunderstanding of Ryan's is that he fails to grasp that an argument can be sound without it interacting with all beliefs that oppose the argument. Moreover, Ryan fails to grasp that Van Tillian apologetics embraces internal critiques, as has been stated above.

Ryan said...

I can always tell a person is frustrated when he feels he has to refer to me in the third person - on my own blog, no less. I will not tolerate thinly veiled demagoguery, gentlemen. Not here.

Ron,

I haven't quoted you "selectively." You can hardly expect me to quote your whole post. You didn't reply to every single point of my blog post, and yet you don't see me posting condescending remarks to you. Moreover, I have responded to each of your points in your comments, whereas you have not dealt with the point that you are fallaciously using one axiom to disprove another and have now declined to substantiate your accusation my argument I link to in the OP is not transcendental.

"Furthermore, you suggest that Islam can be "possible" but you don't show us how."

Islamists have world-views which cannot be dismissed on the grounds it is not your world-view. That's all I meant. More on this is a moment.

"Ryan fails to grasp that to argue for God's existence requires that one stand on God's revelation of himself..."

Except that is precisely what my transcendental argument - which I showed to be a transcendental argument contrary to your claims - states. So, you're wrong, try again.

The point is that we as Christians must recognize that we are not the only world-view which claims to possess such revelation. We have to deal with this fact. Using our axiom to disprove another's is question-begging, plain and simple. It leads to epistemological anarchy; if we can do it, so can they.

Anonymous:

"Another misunderstanding of Ryan's is..."

No, not really. That's a straw man.

"Moreover, Ryan fails to grasp that Van Tillian apologetics embraces internal critiques, as has been stated above."

That's another straw man. Reread point 3 under the evaluation section of the OP, which you obviously didn't read. You missed the point: such critiques are, so far as I have discerned, inductive.

Joshua Butcher said...

Ryan,

Epistemology and apologetic critiques are not neutral, that is, it is not a requirement to abandon one's own presuppositions in critiquing another's. The very fact that all unbelieving worldviews must presuppose the God of Scripture implies that my own presupposition is identical to my opponent on the level of truth, though not on the level of acknowledgment.

God does not prove false gods false by abandoning the truth that He is God, but rather upon the truth that He is God He shows the folly of unbelief. Your view entails the abandonment of the Scriptural axiom in doing an internal critique, but this would be to take the position of the unbeliever rather than to demonstrate its inadequacy.

You misunderstand Ron's position fundamentally, and have tried to strong arm him into interacting with you in a way that you think is required, but is in fact self-destructive. I echo Ron's suggestion that you humbly reconsider his deductive argument and his distinctions.

God be gracious unto you,
~Joshua

Ryan said...

Joshua,

"The very fact that all unbelieving worldviews must presuppose the God of Scripture..."

But that is what is in question. I haven't seen a demonstration of that.

Now, I grant that this follows from Scripturalism and that we are not to be epistemologically neutral, but what I do not see is how you move from that to "Scripture must be presupposed."

Taking the position of the unbeliever and reducing it to absurdity is precisely what Ron states that he does, following Bahnsen. Moreover, if you followed my transcendental argument, you would know I don't "abandon" Scripturalism nor require that you abandon Scripturalism is your critique of an opponent's world-view. Scripture is the source of all knowledge.

But again, in the apologetic realm, it is fallacious to pit one axiom against another. But I've said enough about this and have had the point ignored enough times that I won't restate the whole point.

Either way, I hope that there isn't any bad blood between any of us. Like I said in the post, these discussions are necessary, and at the end of the day, we only disagree on apologetic methodology. There should be no reason for us to be at each other's throats. Thanks for your prayer, Joshua, and know that it is returned.

Joshua Butcher said...

One cannot provide a deductive proof of the claim "God's knowledge is the precondition of man's knowledge" apart from Scripture. Van Til would have accepted this, Ron accepts this, and you and I accept this as well. That being said, no unbeliever is willing to grant such Scriptural premises--precisely because their denial defines their unbelief; if they accepted such premises, then they would be believers in God, and not deniers of God.

Thus, in order to prepare the way for God to illuminate the unbeliever to the truth, one is not responsible to demonstrate that one's axiom is true (as if such a thing could be done), but is rather to demonstrate that the unbeliever's stated axiom cannot support what he wishes to build upon it. Once this clutter has been removed, then the TAG argument presents the challenge to the unbeliever to consider the truth that Scripture declares, namely, that even unbelieving viewpoints must rely upon God in order to launch their unbelief. As Ron said to me in a previous conversation, Van Til once said that the unbeliever is like a little girl who sits in the lap of her father in order to slap him in the face--in order to launch her attack she relies upon the father's support.

So to ask for a demonstration of the point is really to ask for what you say you already accept--that Scripture is required as the foundation for the truth of claims about God and anything else.

A further point of clarification. I don't move from Scripturalism to "Scripture must be presupposed." I move from Scripturalism to "God must be presupposed." Even if God had not revealed Himself to man in Scripture, it would be true that any knowledge we possess would require grounding and justification in God's knowledge.

I don't understand why you think it is inappropriate to pit axioms against each other in apologetics. It seems to me that this is precisely what must happen in apologetics. Granted it cannot be the first and only step taken, but what else is the destruction of strongholds of unbelief if not the ultimate toppling of their foundation, which is their axiom? Again, when God defends Himself against false gods, does He abandon the truth that He is God in order to prove that false gods are not Him? This would be absurd. You know this, but you seem to overlook the fact that trying to avoid the clash of axioms requires one to abandon one's axiom. Rather, one needs only show that any axiom offered in opposition to the Christian axiom is self-defeating. We don't have to prove every axiom self-defeating in order to have established the proof of our own axiom--axiom aren't proven, but only disproven.

I don't have any bad blood toward you, but I would ask you to be more cautious in replying to Ron. I've had the excruciating pleasure of having my hat handed to me by him when I thought I had an irrefutable claim. It is easy to mistake a firm word of guidance for internet arrogance--I assure you that Ron is not playing games of one-upmanship. When he posts anything it is for the benefit of those addressed (even if the comments sting), and not an attempt to assert superiority. These issues are subtle, and making hasty inferences is easy. Although not all of the following posts may be relevant, I think it may be helpful to meditate on a few of them more carefully as you think through your concerns with TAG further:

http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/search?q=bahnsen

On a lighter note, Merry Christmas to you and yours as we meditate upon the Incarnation of God!

~Joshua

Ryan said...

Thanks for the good discussion. Allow me to quote everything in your comment with which I agree:

"One cannot provide a deductive proof of the claim "God's knowledge is the precondition of man's knowledge" apart from Scripture. Van Til would have accepted this, Ron accepts this, and you and I accept this as well. That being said, no unbeliever is willing to grant such Scriptural premises--precisely because their denial defines their unbelief; if they accepted such premises, then they would be believers in God, and not deniers of God.

Thus, in order to prepare the way for God to illuminate the unbeliever to the truth, one is not responsible to demonstrate that one's axiom is true (as if such a thing could be done), but is rather to demonstrate that the unbeliever's stated axiom cannot support what he wishes to build upon it."

"...axiom aren't proven, but only disproven."

I agree. With that in mind, I move on to some of your points:

"So to ask for a demonstration of the point is really to ask for what you say you already accept--that Scripture is required as the foundation for the truth of claims about God and anything else...

I don't move from Scripturalism to "Scripture must be presupposed." I move from Scripturalism to "God must be presupposed.""

That is a useful clarification, since Mr. Hubner's statement could be taken either or both ways. However, while your conclusion follows from Scripture/Scripturalism, Van Til's TAG purports to show that the concept that propositions have truth-value presupposes the Christian position, not that Scripturalism presupposes God's existence. You both think your argument is the same as Van Til's, but that's not what I'm seeing.

"Even if God had not revealed Himself to man in Scripture, it would be true that any knowledge we possess would require grounding and justification in God's knowledge."

How would you know? You wouldn't be able to justify that because you would have no divine revelation to which to appeal, right? That would then be suspect to my aforementioned transcendental argument.

"I don't understand why you think it is inappropriate to pit axioms against each other in apologetics."

Because my impression was that you guys are attempting to use your axiom, Scripture, to disprove other axioms, which is question-begging. If my axiom is A and yours is B, and I say "A doesn't follow from B, so B is disproved," I'm implicitly rejecting foundationalism and will therefore be subject to the infinite regress argument. I will show why that is my impression in just a second.

Ryan said...

Now, perhaps I am mistaken, because in the first paragraph and a half of your response it seems your apologetic methodology is to first refute the non-Christian world-view on its own grounds, then move on to demonstrate the coherence of your own. That's exactly what I do, but to move from a critique of one alternative world-view to "therefore, my axiom, which is internally consistent, is true," is inductive reasoning, because it is perhaps the case one non-Christian world-view is false does not mean they all are. And all it would take is one coherent non-Christian world-view to disprove yours. Just because you refute one non-Christian world-view wouldn't mean yours is true.

Now, such a conclusion (non-Christian world-views are false) follows from Scripture, so please only take the above to mean that I would criticize you if you use inductive reasoning to prop up your TAG. On the other hand, it seems to me that you would agree with me that one should not do this in your very first response to me.

But if so, then it seems to me your statement that "God must be presupposed" is *only* predicated on your axiom, which differs from my TAG because my TAG internally critiques the opposing position as well as follows from my axiom (cf. the last 3 paragraphs from my first response to you). The issue I have with your TAG is that I don't see that you internally critique the non-Christian world-view. I see that you critique one particular non-Christian world-view, but not the whole lot. That leads me to believe that you are using what follows from your axiom to disprove another axiom, which is essentially a subjugation of the non-Christian's axiom to yours, which is question-begging, as it rejects to foundationalism.

That's why I'm getting the impression you guys are using your axiom to disprove all others. It is not enough that a TAG be self-attesting (though it is a necessary condition, since divine revelation grounds all knowledge) - it must further attack the non-Christian world-view on its own grounds.

"...when God defends Himself against false gods, does He abandon the truth that He is God in order to prove that false gods are not Him?"

No, but that's disanalogous because God is omniscient and is therefore able to refute all alternative world-views on their own grounds. His would be a complete induction.

Joshua Butcher said...

Ryan,

I think there are two main misunderstandings on your part that are keeping you from agreement.

First, you say: "Van Til's TAG purports to show that the concept that propositions have truth-value presupposes the Christian position, not that Scripturalism presupposes God's existence. You both think your argument is the same as Van Til's, but that's not what I'm seeing."

Van Til's TAG doesn't purport to demonstrate what you say it purports to demonstrate, which was Ron's initial point, and one he has attempted to clarify further in his latest blog post. TAG is an argument for the existence of God, which uses as a premise the claim that all knowledge presupposes God's prior knowledge. By containing the claim as a premise it is impossible that it also serves to demonstrate the premise. Rather, the premise serves as a link in the proof of God's existence.

What Ron and I have both maintained is that the claim that all knowledge presupposes God's knowledge is a claim only demonstrable from Scripture, which is also Van Til's position. If you think Van Til argues otherwise, it would be time to draw it directly from his writings, or by implication from his writing.

As for the "even if" statement I made, I wouldn't know it in the scenario unless God revealed as much to me, though He needn't inscripturate that revelation in order for me to be given it. How did Abraham know that it was God's voice rather than Satan's ordering him to sacrifice Isaac? Clearly God is able to make known that which He wishes to make known, whether by spoken word, written word, dreams, or direct imposition on the mind (to name a few). The point isn't that God can reveal, or even that He does reveal, but that whether or not He reveals, all knowledge is found first in Him, and is therefore dependent upon him. I simply made the "if" claim on the basis of what is in fact the case, that the present Revelation tells me that all knowledge depends upon God's prior knowledge. This would be no less true (even if I was incapable of knowing its truth) if God kept it hidden. In fact, God does keep it hidden (in a sense) from every individual reprobate. . .

Joshua Butcher said...

Next, you said: "Because my impression was that you guys are attempting to use your axiom, Scripture, to disprove other axioms, which is question-begging. If my axiom is A and yours is B, and I say "A doesn't follow from B, so B is disproved," I'm implicitly rejecting foundationalism and will therefore be subject to the infinite regress argument."

Circular reasoning, is the ultimate end of any axiom, for it is in assuming an axiom that one is able to prove all else that follows, ultimately ending back at the axiom itself. Question-begging is asserting the axiom without proving elaboration of its implications for evaluation, and simply using the axiom as a bare claim against all others. I don't think this is what either Ron or I am doing or implying. In fact, I think that what we are doing is precisely what you are doing, though you don't seem to realize it.

In an earlier post you said something to the effect that the plenitude of unbelieving worldviews, several can be shown mutually exclusive, and therefore there must be more than two worldviews (Christian and non-Christian). However, you have not shown that all unbelieving worldviews are mutually exclusive, and rather, insofar as you agree that all truth claims ultimately require God as their necessary precondition, then you cannot hold that ANY unbelieving worldviews are entirely exclusive--for they all share the same premise, namely, that the Christian God is NOT the precondition for intelligibility, and on your own axiom they also share in the reality that all of their true premises are derived and stolen from the Christian position. Far from being mutually exclusive, all unbelieving worldviews partake of the same precondition for knowledge (though they deny it), and they all share in the rejection of acknowledging God as the precondition of knowledge.

It seems to me that in your attempts to perform an internal critique of an opposing philosophy you mistakenly assume that you must actually rather than hypothetically grant to that philosophy its axiom in order to demonstrate its deficiency. In other words, you seem to think it is not only possible, but necessary to abandon the Christian axiom in order to avoid a fallacious refutation of opposing views.

This is a mistake.

Unbelieving philosophy demands of Christian philosophy that it argue as if their premises were not true in order to demonstrate that their own premises are false. But if it is true that all truth follows necessarily from the Christian God, then it is an impossible task to refute any position apart from assuming the Christian axiom! We could not abandon logic in order to refute a philosophy that purported that logic was false. Neither can we abandon our axiom in disproving opposing viewpoints. Unbelievers, however charitable they may wish to be, don't abandon their axiom in evaluating Christianity anymore than the Christian does in evaluating unbelief. These are matters of the heart, matters so fundamental that a change in them constitutes a transformation of one's being--when I grant the Christian axiom, I am become a Christian. To do so hypothetically is not to do so at all. The converse is also true--if I were to grant the unbelieving view its axiom, then I must deny all that the Christian view entails, which would be to become an unbeliever.

To say that God could refute all other alternative views "on their own grounds" would be to deny that He is Himself the ground upon which all alternative views must presuppose in order to be true--in other words, your scenario would have God deny Himself in order to prove that He is Himself true!

Ryan said...

my"Van Til's TAG doesn't purport to demonstrate what you say it purports to demonstrate..."

Well, Mr. Hubner's citation of Van Til in the OP and his format of a transcendental argument tell me otherwise, so if anyone needs to validate his opinion on Van Til's TAG, it's you. Perhaps Ron has a post on this too?

"I simply made the "if" claim on the basis of what is in fact the case..."

Ah, a counter-factual claim. Ok then ;)

"they all share the same premise, namely, that the Christian God is NOT the precondition for intelligibility"

Right. Notice that I mention this in my OP when I refer to the "unique characteristics" of the Christian position and that demonstrating why such "unique characteristics" must be presupposed is how your TAG would be proven. I don't misunderstand that.

"In other words, you seem to think it is not only possible, but necessary to abandon the Christian axiom in order to avoid a fallacious refutation of opposing views."

Any such refutation is for the sake of argument only, because we both know that it follows from God's word that such alternative axioms are doomed to fail. But as I've mentioned several times now, this whole discussion has to do with apologetic methodology. We can't say "our axiom is true; therefore, yours is false." I have no problem with self-attestation and internal consistency, obviously, but to say that it follows from my axiom that the non-Christian's axiom is false and to use that as an argument against the non-Christian's axiom are two separate things. I am not sure if you understand the distinction, which is rather central to my case that because your TAG is not an internal critique (as well as self-attested), it implicitly rejects foundationalism.

"...if it is true that all truth follows necessarily from the Christian God, then it is an impossible task to refute any position apart from assuming the Christian axiom!"

I agree, and that is why throughout this discussion I have affirmed (and you'll find this as well in my TAG) that all knowledge claims must be self-attested, but I'm sorry, it still appears that your TAG doesn't critique the non-Christian position in toto on it's own grounds. It appears that you revert to asserting that the Christian position is a necessary precondition for intelligibility et. al., which is either a bare assertion (cf. point 1 under the OP's evaluation section) or a claim that is made on the basis of Scripture alone and does not interact with the non-Christian position on its own grounds (cf. point 2 and contrast such with my TAG). Both are fallacious. What I find really interesting is that it seems the way in which you both actually go about apologetics follows point 3, which is the way I go about apologetics, minus the claim that such apologetics follows Van Til's (or your) TAG.

"in other words, your scenario would have God deny Himself in order to prove that He is Himself true!"

When God asks Job all the questions about how things were created - knowing Job would not be able to answer - is that what you think? That God denied himself? That doesn't really make sense.

Joshua Butcher said...

I'm going to avoid several things that have cropped on and try to focus in upon the things I see as essential. Consider everything else either granted to you, or immaterial.

First, I recognize your distinction between stating the Christian view and using the Christian view as an argument. However, while you consider the latter incompatible for apologetic methodology, I consider it unavoidable. Your claim of "for the sake of argument" creates a counter-factual situation: to argue as if an opponent's view were true. I recognize that we sometimes use this sort of language, but it isn't really a good description of what is happening. What is really happening is that you are showing that an opponent's view is incompatible with its STATED premises, while also believing that it fails to ignore NECESSARY premises that it denies (i.e. the precondition of intelligibility)--how else could we prove a axiomatic inconsistency, unless we knew what was consistent at the level of an axiom?

Second, an incomplete or inductive refutation is all that is possible in arguing against unbelieving worldviews. I've said that there are only two worldviews, and this is true, but the human beings I encounter neither recognize this, nor do they each exhibit the same consistency in what they do recognize. Therefore, I am burdened to perform the inductive criticisms of their views, not by abandoning my own (even for the sake of argument), but from the knowledge of my own position being made capable of demonstrating how their view is false. How could one prove something false unless one held to what was true? The "for the sake of argument" doesn't imply the abandonment of one's own presuppositions, but rather the treatment of an opponent's view without reference to one's own premises that the opponent rejects. Without reference doesn't mean without maintaining those rejected premises. We aren't called to abandon our view to address another, but we are called to speak to people where they are, even if where they are is utterly fallacious (recall my example of a view that would deny the truth of logic).

Neither Ron nor I believe that apologetics is as simple as SAYING "my view is true, therefore yours is false," but at the same time why would anyone argue against another view unless they thought it to be incompatible in such a way that "my view is true, therefore yours is false," is in fact a true claim? What you are calling a fallacy in argument I am calling a curtesy--it is not a fallacy to use your own premises when others reject them, but it is a courtesy to avoid asserting them when others are incapable of agreeing to them.

Ryan said...

"What is really happening is that you are showing that an opponent's view is incompatible with its STATED premises, while also believing that it fails to ignore NECESSARY premises that it denies (i.e. the precondition of intelligibility)--how else could we prove a axiomatic inconsistency, unless we knew what was consistent at the level of an axiom?"

Could you expound? If I'm not mistaken, you are referring to the fact that whether or not an axiom alludes to, say, internal consistency as a criterion of a sound axiom, the axiom must be internally consistent. Yes, no?

"The "for the sake of argument" doesn't imply the abandonment of one's own presuppositions, but rather the treatment of an opponent's view without reference to one's own premises that the opponent rejects."

Absolutely.

"...why would anyone argue against another view unless they thought it to be incompatible in such a way that "my view is true, therefore yours is false," is in fact a true claim?"

I understand, but this is why I have said it is a necessary condition that one's critique's of others' axioms also follow from one's own axiom. My issue is that such is an insufficient condition to validly critique another's axiom; an internal critique is necessary.

Joshua Butcher said...

To your first question, there are a variety of possibilities, but I was mainly thinking of the necessary premises from one's own position that an opponent's position is lacking. The laws of logic are the easiest example. Like it or not, everyone uses the laws of logic to even have a view, and whether they deny the laws of logic outright, or whether they seek to establish them upon something other than the Christian God, the Christian never abandons the laws of logic in his critique. I think it was Clark who once said, or alluded to the fact that even points of argument that are shared by Christians and non-Christians are not really shared at all, since their basic presuppositions are incompatible--they are speaking two different things. Thus, even as we perform an "internal critique," we are actually performing a critique from within our own position, for there is no other way to argue. We all agree to this point. You are the only one who seems to think it is a fallacy to do so in saying, "my axiom is true, therefore yours is false." There is nothing fallacious about this argument for the Christian, it just isn't very helpful in bringing an unbeliever to his knees before God.

As to your last paragraph, I don't think Ron, I, or Van Til are arguing that an internal critique is superfluous, though I think at the same time we would all argue that it is not necessary in some sort of logical way. A skeptic can be converted by hearing the Scriptures taught and defended without any reference to the fallacies of what he thought he believed beforehand. In fact, it might be the case that many people aren't looking to be refuted so much as they are looking for better answers than what they presently have. Of course skeptics won't fit into this category, but why must we consider the criteria required for a response to skeptics to be necessary as opposed to merely recommendable?

I'm also sensing that our discussion is straying a bit from where it began. If you find that you are still in disagreement, perhaps it would be good to reread Ron's latest post on his blog and tell me what you find problematic with it.

Ryan said...

I would be interested if you could find the place of that Clark reference.

"There is nothing fallacious about this argument for the Christian, it just isn't very helpful in bringing an unbeliever to his knees before God."

Well, I don't really know of a clearer way to put the point.

"A skeptic can be converted by hearing the Scriptures taught and defended without any reference to the fallacies of what he thought he believed beforehand."

Agreed.

I think I am going to move on from this conversation, Joshua. Thanks for the feedback.

Joshua Butcher said...

I'll see if I can find the Clark reference--it may be from his lectures on Theology, which are available through sermonaudio if you haven't gotten them yet.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts:

1. The transcendental argument against materialism (or the TA proper) seeks to prove materialism to be false from the impossibility of the contrary [see the portions of the Bahnsen vs. Stein debate where logical absolutes are discussed]. The TA proper can be formulated as a valid deductive argument with necessarily true premises. However, this does not prove the existence of the Christian God. It only disproves materialism.
2. The TA proper (defined in point #1) is not original to Van Til. Plato used a version of this argument (or the approximate equivalent of it) to refute materialism before he went on to identify the "logical absolutes" that Bahnsen spoke of as an Idea or Form. Hence, one can agree that the transcendental argument proper disproves materialism but still not believe in the Christian God. A classical Platonist would fall into this category.
3. All other Van Tillian transcendental arguments are valid but use unproven and/or false premises. For example, Van Tillians often argue, “Induction is a reliable means of ascertaining truth, induction presupposes the truth of the Christian God, therefore the Christian God exists.” The problem with this argument is that the first premise is false (because induction by definition cannot establish certain truths) and the second premise is unproven. Thus, all other Van Tillian theistic evidences are flawed.
4. However, the second half of the book “New Proofs of the Existence of God” by Robert Spitzer does provide an original, rigorously deductive proof for the existence of an unlimited, all-knowing reality that continually creates all else that exists.

Ryan said...

Right. I am not opposed to TAGs per se. I used them myself, as I note in the post. I just haven't encountered one which demonstrates the necessity of Christianity in particular.

Thanks for the info on various other TAGs. The last one sounds especially interesting. I'll be sure to look them up.