Posts Tagged ‘naturalism’

(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 6]:

Greetings Soldier,

You do not have to apologize for the feeling of disappointment you are feeling now. After all, a sense of frustration is only natural when good evidence is given to support your case, but then dismissed out of hand due to the hostile bias of the one examining the evidence. It is very important to understand what is going on here with your brother and it is time that you were granted insight into the nature of ‘presuppositions’ and the effect they have on one’s reasoning and conclusions about the world around them. You see, everyone has a worldview—a view of the world founded upon certain tightly held beliefs that are assumed to be true and through which they interpret all of their observations and experiences (including any and all evidence presented to them for consideration). Because of this, it is impossible to convince someone of something they do not wish to be convinced of since they will interpret any evidence via the lens of those tightly held, most foundational assumptions that are already present. Confused yet? Perhaps this illustration might help:

Once upon a time, a young man believed he was dead. For months, his friends and family tried desperately to convince him that this was not the case, but to no avail. Finally, at their wits end, they decided to take him to see the family doctor in hopes that he could offer some sort of medical counsel to help the young man come to his senses. After two unproductive hours of talking with the young man and reasoning with him using the latest medical journals, charts, and photos, the good doctor had an idea! “Son, do dead men bleed?” He asked. The young man thought for a moment and then responded, “well, if a person is dead, there is no heartbeat to pump the blood and, therefore, no blood pressure to force the blood out of the body, so, no, dead men do not bleed.” Upon hearing this, the doctor took a needle and pricked the young man’s index finger. As the blood began to ooze from the small wound, the young man grabbed his finger and cried with great excitement, “well, what do you know! Dead men DO bleed after all!

See the point (pardon the pun)? The young man in the story had a predetermined belief which he was unwilling to surrender, despite being shown ample proof that it was false. The overwhelming evidence given to him did not change his mind, but, rather, his mind changed the interpretation of the evidence to make it agree with what he already assumed to be true (his ‘presuppositional bias’). Perhaps this makes it easier now to understand how and why many of the people who actually witnessed Jesus’ most notable miracles were the same ones who demanded His crucifixion. Why do you suppose they were not convinced of His Divinity by the marvelous feats of the dead being raised and the blinded eyes receiving sight in their presence? It was simply because they did not WANT to be. In fact, this is nothing new, as many today would simply rather be their own god instead of bowing the knee to God and surrendering to His authority. It has been rightly stated that the atheist cannot find God for the same reason a criminal can’t find a policeman—-they simply aren’t looking. The unbeliever chooses to live in willful denial of what they know to be true about God’s existence in order to avoid accountability to Him. You will do well to keep this in mind in your evangelism endeavors. At your service,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’

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(A series of scripted correspondences from a ‘Heavenly helper’ to a Christian Soldier)

[Letter 9: Preconditions of Intelligibility]

Grettings Soldier,

To further elaborate on how the God of the Bible has made Himself known to all people, I’d like to point out to you another means by which He has done so–via the preconditions of intelligibility. Now, while that sounds like quite a mouthful, preconditions of intelligibility are simply those concepts that are necessarily required to make sense of everything else and which must be taken for granted in order to do so. This includes (but is not limited to) things like truth, knowledge, laws of logic, morality, and the reliability of one’s own senses and reasoning. Each of these must first be assumed in order for someone to begin to understand or reach any valid conclusion about the world around them. Take the laws of logic for instance; as the universal standard of correct thinking and reasoning, they must be assumed from the get go in order to begin to reason correctly about anything at all–including the laws of logic themselves–or to even formulate any logical proof. Also, consider the concept of knowledge; the possibility of knowing things to be true must be taken for granted at the outset before someone could ever know that it is possible for them to know things to be true (this would include knowing that the senses and reasoning they use to observe and form conclusions about the world around them are reliable and are providing them with valid feedback to begin with). These assumptions are inescapable and unavoidable when making any argument, conclusion, or observation whatsoever.

While everyone must assume these things, it has probably never occurred to you to think about the unbeliever’s justification for doing so in light of what they profess to believe about the non-existence of God and the unreliability of the Bible as His Divine Revelation. When you understand that the aforementioned preconditions of intelligibility being assumed by the unbeliever are by their very nature absolute, immaterial, universal concepts—or in simpler terminology, they are unchanging, not made of matter, and apply everywhere and at all times, then a devastating problem arises for the unbeliever’s position, as the question now becomes: how can an allegedly random chance, constantly changing, materialistic universe bring forth immaterial laws and concepts that are completely inconsistent with the very nature of that same universe?  The obvious answer is: IT CAN’T (and the very idea or assumption that it can is, itself, a glaring contradiction which is, therefore, both irrational and false by definition). Now, contrast that position with the Christian one which assumes the existence of an unchanging, immaterial, sovereign God who is omnipotent and omniscient, and it becomes immediately clear how absolute, immaterial, universal laws and truths can be made sense of and reconciled within the Christian worldview as a reflection of those aspects of God’s character and nature. I’ll let this sink in before moving forward. Feel free to ask any additional questions that you’d like about what we’ve covered so far. Here to serve,

Your Heavenly ‘Angent’