Notes from Greg Bahnsen’s lecture, Seminary Apologetics: A Checklist for Reasoning With Unbelievers — Part II.
The procedure of presuppositional apologetics is one of comparing whole worldviews. We are not comparing particular aspects of our worldviews, but we can only talk about aspects of our worldviews one at a time. I can only about one issue at a time and I can only talk about one version of autonomy at a time. What we are doing is setting two worldviews- the Christian and non-Christian- at a time. The non-Christian worldview is marked by autonomy which says “I don’t need God at the outset. My mind self-sufficient and I can make perfect sense of this world.” We first do an internal critique of the unbeliever’s worldview by looking for 1) prejudicial conjecture, 2) un-argued philosophical bias, 3) internal tension between presuppositions 4) preconditions of intelligibility.
Types of Worldviews
A. Materialistic Monism
C. World Religions
1. Transcendent Mysticism: they place emphasis on something that goes beyond man’s experience. They deny rationality so there is no room for rational argumentation.
2. Immanent Moralism: Their emphasis on what is close and nearby like Buddhism. Their gods or religious forces are close at hand, and some of them even are atheistic. They stress a moralistic and ethical code that must be lived out.
3. Biblical Counterfeits: These religions have been influenced by the Bible, but have perverted the true revelation of God.
Polytheistic: They have a biblical like view of God, but they think there are many gods. (Mormonism)
Unitarians: Follow the Bible, but deny the Trinity. There is only in person that is God. (Islam; Jehovah’s Witness)
Pseudo Messianic: False saviors. (Sun Myung Moon followers “moonies”)
What we are doing is arguing any worldview must simultaneously explain and integrate the following kinds of things: logic, science, human personality, morality etc. We don’t believe in the block-house method. We don’t build up our worldview block by block until we have built a worldview. We are taking the worldview as a whole against the Christian worldview as a whole and ask which worldview simultaneously explains and integrates the features of human experience.
We must challenge the unbeliever
1. How do you know what it is that you are claiming?
2. How do you account for the laws of logic?
3. How do you account for the demand to be rational?
4. How do you account for the uniformity of nature?
5. How do you account for abstract concepts and principles?
6. How do you account for prescriptions or moral absolutes?
7. How do you account for mental freedom?
8. How do you account for free-will?
9. How do you account for human dignity?
10. How do you account for human uniqueness from animals?
11. How do you account for individuality among human beings?
12. How do you account for the origin of life?
13. How do you account for the particularity and diversity in our experience?
14. How do you account for our falling short/moral and physical limitations?
15. How do you account for recovering from these short falls/limitations?
The second step in our presuppositional approach is to set forth the Christian worldview as the context for: 1) answering objections 2) the intelligibility of human experience 3) conflict and redemption.
Firstly, when an unbeliever objects about miracles, evil or something else, it doesn’t have any force to it. The reason why is if the unbeliever steps into my worldview he will see that God is sovereign over evil and he was a morally good reason for it. There are answers within the Christian worldview for their objections.
Secondly, we must set the Christian worldview as the precondition for the intelligibility of human experience. Given the Christian worldview we can account for the laws of logic, morality, induction etc.
Thirdly, we set forth the Christian worldview as the context for conflict with the unbeliever and redemption. The unbelieving worldview must account for the depravity of man and how to receive redemption from the corruption.