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11. PRESUPPOSITIONAL APOLOGETICS
How to Uncover Basic Flaws and Hidden Lies in Attacks against the Christian Faith
PART 4 - PRESUPPOSOTIONAL APOLOGETICS IN ACTION
25. Worldview apologetics
Definition: A worldview is a set of presuppositions, by which everything else in interpreted and interrelated.
As believers and unbelievers engage in discussion, sooner or later they will discover they have different worldviews. This means that every contribution each of them makes to the discussion will be interpreted differently and they will both relate differently to other things.
As the Bible clearly states, Christ is the only way to God (John 14:6). We know there is no other way out there - anywhere. The task of exposing any other proposed way as false, falls to the apologist. Does that mean we have to study the thousands of religions and worldviews out there and become an expert in all of them? Not at all! Although it would no doubt be helpful and time saving, we just need to focus on the basic questions which all belief systems (including Christianity) must answer:
a) Where do we come from?
b) What is the problem of the human condition?
c) How do we solve this problem?
d) How does everything end?
Or to put it theological terms: every belief system has to answer questions about Creation, the Fall, Redemption, Restoration.
These questions must be answered:
a) in a rationally consistent way: If we are inconsistent we can never reach any truth, because inconsistency allows for anything and its opposite to both be equally valid; as a Christian, we are called to consistency, because inconsistency is a form of lying and thus contrary to the nature of God, to His commands and to our worldview.
b) non-arbitrarily: Because if we are allowed to be arbitrary, then anyone can say anything with no evidence or reason, and there will be neither truth nor falsity to anything we say. Whatever one person says will be cancelled out by what someone else says.
c) coherently: A worldview that has presuppositions, which do not agree with each other, is an arbitrary and irrational one. For example a moral relativist who believes there is no such thing as right or wrong can’t turn around and condemn any moral position no matter how bad it is. Or take the comment made by the atheist and evolutionist Richard Dawkins on BBC radio, claiming that “[r]eligion is a source of evil.” The same atheist also said “[i]n a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect, if there is at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.” (Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, p. 133) We would have to press the Dawkinses of this world to address how, if “there is no evil and no good,” can they turn around and call anything (in this case religion) evil?
d) in a morally consistent manner: Christ said “You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). It’s one thing for an adherent of a worldview to claim a certain position and it’s quite another to live by the claim. Take for example the Muslims we mentioned earlier. It’s very easy for them to make this claim; “Indeed, those whom the angels take [in death] while wronging themselves - [the angels] will say, ‛In what [condition] were you?’ They will say, ‛We were oppressed in the land.’ The angels will say, ‛Was not the earth of Allah spacious [enough] for you to emigrate therein?’ For those, their refuge is Hell - and evil it is as a destination” (Qur’an 4:98). However, would the person who makes such a claim accept the consequences? Such a claim means Muslims are not allowed according to the Quran to live in any non-Islamic country, and if they do live in a country, where they feel oppressed, they will end up in hell. What if we were to answer a Muslim who is complaining about any aspect of life in a non-Islamic country by telling them they had to leave and go to an Islamic country? A Muslim might say that is the wrong thing to do. Well it might be wrong, but if they want to be consistent Muslims, they should do what the Quran says. -- Or take Dawkins’s declaration that there is “no evil and no good”, and contrast it with his indignation about the morality of the Old Testament; he said "[w]hat makes my jaw drop is that people today should base their lives on such an appalling role model as Yahweh - and even worse, that they should bossily try to force the same evil monster (whether fact or fiction) on the rest of us.” Here is a professed belief that goes in complete dichotomy with Dawkins’s moral indignation, those two don’t go together; that is simply intellectual schizophrenia.
It is also important to note that every worldview must account for its own “building blocks.” For example, a worldview that doesn’t believe in the existence of anything that is not material in nature can’t turn around and argue in defense of “laws of logic”, because there are no such things as “material laws.” According to such a worldview, “laws of logic” can’t exist.
The reason we might concentrate on these questions should be obvious. The fact that we are having a discussion with an unbeliever means that we both believe we are here, and that we have opposing worldviews. So the questions “how we got here” and “what problem are we facing” are very relevant to the discussion.
As an apologist you will be opposed by many different worldviews, some of which are religious in nature and others humanistic. It will be helpful to look at some examples. By no means are those extensive examples or even detailed in every case, but that is the point of presuppositional apologetics. We don’t need to refute every claim unbelievers make nor do we need to answer every accusation they bring; when we do worldview apologetics we restrict our attention to the foundation (presuppositions) of the worldview itself.