I need help understanding something - Presuppositional Apologetics

I consider myself a pretty intelligent person. I'm a computer engineer, I've always been at the top of my class back when I was a student (in the stone age ;) ), and I love learning overall - to this day. I am a firm believer in skepticism and the scientific method, and I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge.

I mention all of this because, well, I'm embarrassed to say I just don't understand the (il)logic of Presuppositional Apologetics.

I just have a monstrous problem understanding how the entire basis of someone's approach and understanding of the world can be based on something that is inherently illogical? How can you form the foundation of your analysis and understanding of - well, of anything and everything - on something that is inherently baseless, illogical, and irrational? A foundation that is utterly void of any evidence that even hints at it's validity?

I know that many of you have a background in philosophy, religious history, etc. - and therefore probably have a better understanding of this than I do. Please help me understand how anyone at all can purport to offer this as a valid argument for basically anything at all, much less Christianity.

Thanks in advance.

Tags: Apologetics, Presuppositional Apologetics, Questions, Rationality

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I think that this scripture speaks to say that the evidence is so intensely clear in the things that God has made, that everyone ought to believe in the existence of God, but that those who don't believe have had their senseless minds darkened by their own sin.

Jerod, this is exactly the point about presuppositions. You are assuming that a creator God exists in the first place and then confirming that belief (that bias) with what you read. Where is there any evidence for the existence of God that is “so intensely clear”? Again Jerod you are claiming that what the Bible says is evidence. It is not. You can use scripture to argue your points but that is only hearsay. Again Jerod the Bible is only the claim and not the proof. Can you just stop a minute and think on that?

Religion is like playing a video game in a dark room. You learn the rules and then everything is logical and makes sense and you really get into it. The game is easier to understand than reality and brings people happiness. After a few hundred years the people playing the game forget it is just a game and when rational non players voice an opinion, the Presuppositional Apologetics appear to defend the game.

I checked my OED.

To presuppose is to assume the truth of the conclusion.

The presup merely asserts.

In college (decades ago), a Catholic told me that to say X is to know X.

I asked "If I say the moon is made of cheese then I know the moon is made of cheese?"

He said "Yes."

Amazed, I walked away.

Wow that's hard to believe! Just what kind of cheese is the moon made of?

You know it's made of Parmesan!

Grana Padano or Reggiano?


Bringing up Romans 1 is pointless because even if it stated something that were necessarily true (which it doesn't), Christianity does not demand that people believe in a creator deity; it demands that people believe in Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:14-17 admits clearly that no one can believe in Jesus without prior exposure to the idea.

I also have a tangential question for anyone - Jerod or any other xians - who are proponents of Presuppositional Apologetics:

From what I have gleaned from the (outstanding) responses here that were written to help me get a grasp of PA, the Bible is basically "self-evident" - it exists, it is the "word of god", therefore it proves god exists.

(BTW, did I get that right, fellow heathens?)

An extension of this seems to be the old chestnut, "A creation must have a Creator".

I know that I, along with many many others, would respond with "OK, then who created the Creator?" In the past I recall that most xian apologists respond to this with, "well, god is outside of space/time/reality, and therefore is not bound to the rules of this existence" (or something like that - and if I'm wrong, please someone correct me). Or a similar argument is made that "god is timeless, and has always existed", or something like that.

But to me, if this is the case then I would have to ask:

Why couldn't the matter comprising the universe have always existed? If you accept that something can have always existed, why can't that "something" be matter? Why does it have to be an omniscient, omnipotent, eternal sky-daddy?

Sorry, I just don't get it. To me it all seems like a bunch of mental calisthenics used to help maintain the Suspension of Disbelief.

What am I missing?

Sorry, I just don't get it. To me it all seems like a bunch of mental calisthenics used to help maintain the Suspension of Disbelief.

Because that's exactly what it is.

Something can't come from nothing, unless that something is god. And why is god exempt from that rue? Easy, because he is god. Therefore, god is god which means that god is god who is god and god is god. God. Therefore, proof god is real.

Checkmate, atheists!

@ Rocky, Yes, you are spot on in the essence of the xtian argument in support of the Bible.

  1. There is God (all knowing, omnipotent, eternal)
  2. he authored of the Bible
  3. Since he is all knowing and omniscient this document is perfect. Others may have helped to write it but did so under his strict editorial supervision.
  4. The Bible is a guide to all aspects of life that must be obeyed
  5. Those who really have studied it have expertise on how to explain it to you and tell you how to live your life.

What evidence is there to support any and/pr all these claims? Just go back to step 1. and regurgitate the other 4 steps. Repeat until the non-believer accepts the proof.

In the end no matter what the argument for God is it relies upon faith. Faith as the brilliant Sam Harris defined it, is where one goes when reason fails.

I have reached the point where it literally pains me to see us free-thinkers and sane people expending so much time and energy refuting things that have no basis in reality. It pains me to see people who have the capacity to understand ethics, morality and empathy subjugating themselves to ignorance, bigotry and superstition in the age that we live in.

Nope, Rocky you get it just fine. Apologist are nothing more than cons using the veneer of philosophy to give credence to woo-woo.   


Can I try something out?:

Arguments for creation start with "the universe had a beginning - therefore ...". What about the proposition that it is not (yet) proven that the universe had a beginning. Physicists can demonstrate/postulate "history" down to the tiniest fraction of a second after what is assumed to be the big bang. No one knows what was nor what happened before that. Since time is fairly meaningless in that realm, could this not be infinite - like an asymptote?


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