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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@Jerod - sorry, but you're making stereotypical assumptions about atheists, and you're projecting your own beliefs and experiences onto atheists in general.

Don't do that.

I can promise you the following:

  • I do not "hate god". I simply do not believe any form of a deity exists. I don't hate the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, just as I don't hate any other mythical creature or being.
  • I am happy to say that I am not a, "spiteful, arrogant, know-it-all, selfish, lying, dishonorable fool". I am a very happy, humble person who is truly happy with my life. I give quite a bit of time and money to humanistic and altruistic charities. I've been happily married for 30 years (yes, to the same woman). I have five children, all of whom are happy, healthy, confident individuals.
  • I work very, very hard to he a moral, honorable person. I am truthful (sometimes to a fault - ask my wife ;) ). Hell, I don't even pirate software or songs! I believe doing so is stealing. Plus, I'm a software engineer / developer / geek, and I wouldn't want anyone pirating my products.
  • Of course there are times when I do screw up; however I am the first to admit my faults and my mistakes, and I work very hard to make amends when and where possible.
  • I accept that, while I may know a lot of stuff, it is less than a spec of dust when compared to all of the things I don't know. I not only know that there are so many things I don't know, I relish that because it provides infinite opportunity to learn and grow. I firmly believe, at my core, that the things I don't know are much, much more exciting and rewarding than the things I do know.
  • I accept people for who they are. I take no assumptions into a new relationship with others; I let their actions speak for themselves, and their character.

So, before assuming those who are godless are full of faults, take a moment to realize that there are actually many, many of us who definitely do not fit within the "angry, arrogant, militant atheist" mold that is assumed by so many xians.

@ Rocky Oliver > Thanks for handling this xtian in a manner that reflects the best of free thinking atheists and who we are.

I am new to this site and am so glad I took time to join.

I like your thinking and posts immensely and look forward to reading more as we move forward to demonstrate to those held captive by the bigotry, psychological manipulation and ignorance of religion.

Great work! 

Belle, I used to love my sin,

Kay... Good for you?

until I learned just how evil it really is.

Oh! I bet Jesus told you!

Once I stood down wind of myself,

How did you do that? You are some sort of sorcerer...

I realized how much and how unjustly I hated God.

Okay... That is your problem, man.. Saying that just because you happened to hate an imaginary character doesn't mean anything to anyone else. I hate King Joffrey, doesn't really have any impact on anyone's life though.. Or mine for that matter.

Of course I think for myself,

You sure about that? Because anyone who caps locks HOLY HOLY HOLY GOD GOD GOD POWER JESUS CRUCIFICTION as much as you do can't possibly be doing all the thinking.

but if I rely solely on my own thoughts,

You might learn something... But let's go on.

thoughts which are naturally inclined toward sin,

How so? Define sin without resorting to the bible and your particular god.

and I turn away from God's Word,

And how do you know that it is his word? 

I start to do very stupid things!

As opposed to what you have demonstrated here with the good glory of your god on your side?

I'm not blindly following,

Could have fooled me!

I'm killing my old self

So is that the same thing like god did when he killed Jesus/himself? Are you committing murder/suicide?

because I know that I was a spiteful, arrogant, know-it-all, selfish, lying, dishonorable fool!

Anyone who claims that a 2000 year old bronze/iron age stories that claim that a magic man is also his invisible sky wizard father who created the world, killed himself to please himself and came back to life as a lich, and ignores all evidence to the contrary IS an arrogant, know-it-all, lying, dishonorable fool, Jerod.

I never wanted to own up to my mistakes,

So you decided to believe that Jesus owned up for your mistakes for you. Problem solved. Gotta love that vicarious redemption!

I secretly harbored hatred for people, holding them to a standard that I couldn't keep myself,


I got unreasonably angry at the people around me

That means you have anger issues, Jerod. Professional help might be necessary.

because I did not want to accept that I was guilty!

Guilty of what! Sorry, I got caught up in the exclamation marks... Seriously, guilty of what?

I was a sloth, wanting only to sit back, waste the time

That's not a crime, dude.. That's just being a lazy fuck.. Unless you are actually a sloth... Then you are just being yourself.

that God had given me,

Did you get it in the mail or did you have to pick it up somewhere? I am still waiting on mine... Oh shit! Is that sloth?

and enjoy all that I was taking for granted as much as I could and at the expense of anyone who got in my way!

Still not a crime... Just being a dick so far.

BUT BY THE GRACE OF GOD I HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED

See, this is where Christianity gets freaky as fuck. The simple fact that you seem to find joy in the death of an individual is really fucked up... And if you were actually crucified, I doubt you would be very happy. 

with Christ,

and the life which I now live in the flesh

As opposed to?

I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me,

And another thing... For a religion which so happily condemns homosexuality, Christian men's relationship with Jesus sure sounds pretty gay. You know... Let Him come inside you, fill you with his love, etc.

and gave himself up for me;

And there is that Christian arrogance. The though that one man can abolish your responsibility for your own actions.

and I have been raised with him to walk in newness of life! 

This is such an eloquent statement! 

Jerod -  I don't expect a reply because this thread is a bit old, but I have to speak. 

"... 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, you seem to be saying that it's a sin to think for yourself.  "Sin leads to disbelief"  - again.  So - atheism is a sin.  I can see how your logic is laid out, but your thinking is lazy and sloppy and naïve.  I think you've never been fucked up the arse by religion.  Some people have.  

I'm sure you're OK and everything, but I think you have a totally screwy conception of sin, and this screwy conception of sin can cause many casualties in the real world. 

Jerod -  I know I don't have a religious background, but I have a friend who's *like* the most hardcore Christian ever, and she thinks I'm cool, even though I'm an atheist.  She's never told me I'm a sinner.  The most she's ever told me is to worship God because He created the universe, and that's a reasonable-sounding thing to say. 

I have another friend who's down on her luck and receives help from an elderly lady in the local church.  She's lovely but super-high on Jesus.  This lady met me and knew I wasn't a Christian (I just said I love Jesus) and she prayed her thanks for me as someone who has God in his heart or follows the path or something like that. 

So, Jerod, your belief that it's a sin not to believe in the Christian God is not shared by even the most fervent Christians that I know. 

I think you're very young and maybe you don't realise that it's a good heart that gets you into heaven. 

Oh God Jerod!  (figure of speech.)  I'm getting annoyed with you now. 

Romans 1:21  "...though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened."   -

where does it mention sin?  It mentions futile thinking, and a senseless, dark (ie. dim) mind.  It's talking about unknowing and futility.  In the atheist theology that I have worked out, this is a worthwhile thing to say, but I might not say it.   It's just talking about a pointless life away from the "stream of living water".  We could all agree about that.  Whoever told you it's about sinning was mistaken in my view. 

Here's the thing, bud.

The bible is not evidence. The bible is the claim. Just like the Origin of Species is not evidence of evolution, Darwin made the claim for evolution; the mountain of scientific papers that confirm his claim through observation, research and testing is the evidence.

 Although I personally agree with scripture,

Personally? As opposed to...

I don't think that this scripture speaks to say that everyone secretly accepts the existence of God.

I agree.

I think that this scripture speaks to say that the evidence is so intensely clear in the things that God has made,

That can, and have all been explained without the need for a god.

that everyone ought to believe in the existence of God,

But only the god that I worship! Not any of the other ones. They are obviously false, because I don't believe in them or anything their holy books claim!

but that those who don't believe have had their senseless minds darkened by their own sin.

Sin which was caused by god's incompetence, yeah, we went over this already. So, again, god is responsible for sin existing, and he refuses to fix his mistake, so he decides to let his own children suffer and die because he is too proud to admit he fucked up? Isn't pride a sin? And jealousy? And god is a jealous god, right?

Sin leads to disbelief,

"Sin is the path to the dark side. Sin leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."
-Yodahweh

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.

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