Apologetics: April 2004 Archives

Here's another oldie from before the blog that I'm finally getting around to transferring here. The original discussion was from February 3, 2003 (with some minor modifications a few days later), and the addendum is from August 27, 2003, just before I opened up the first location of Parablemania.

Some people say something like the following:

�You can't quote the Bible to prove the Bible because it's circular reasoning.�

There's something about what they're saying that's right. The following is a bad argument:

1. The Bible says it's the word of God.
2. I can trust what it says, since it's the word of God.
3. Therefore, I can trust it when it says it's the word of God, so I should believe that it's the word of God.

However, that�s not the only thing someone can mean when saying that the Bible can count as evidence for Christianity. I have in mind a very different kind of argument. What Christians call the Old Testament (and what scholars today call the Hebrew Bible) could have taken something like 1500 years to produce, perhaps shorter but certainly well over 1000 years even by liberal estimates (though how much of it one says is early depends on one�s presuppositions). Adding in the New Testament (or Greek Bible, if you prefer that name) brings it to 1500-2000 years. Think about what's happened in the last 2000 years.

Two related arguments come to mind. One has to do with prophecy. The other is from the unity of the Bible.

Donald Crankshaw at Back of the Envelope has a couple posts on the harmony of the four resurrection accounts in the four gospels. Good stuff.

There's a debate within those who believe in some sort of rational defense of Christianity about how it should be done. The main lines of the debate are between what I call the classical apologetics view and the presuppositional view. I've never understood the presuppositionalist position, and all the arguments I've ever seen in favor of it seem so bad to me that I have to think there's something to the view beyond what people seem to me to be saying, but I've still seen no evidence that anyone has a better statement of the view and its claims than the bad ones I've so far seen. I've finally gotten around to putting together my thoughts on why I think presuppositionalism is fundamentally mistaken.

I probably haven't done justice to explaining the view, so here are a few links to the top Google searches for presuppositional apologetics, all right from the horses' mouths.

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