“Some thoughts on Fristianity in response a question about what it is from apologetics e-mail group:
What is “Fristianity?” Nothing came up on a Wikipedia search.
Fristianity is a hypothetical worldview which posits a quadrinity in opposition to the Christian doctrine of the trinity. Try a Yahoo or Google search instead. See Michael Butler’s TAG at: http://butler-harris.org/tag/
I’ve been thinking a bit over the hypothetical “Fristianity” that
would challenge TAG,
I’ve never posted on here before and as a young brother in the Lord still working through these issues, I hope I can add something to this discussion and more importantly, for some feed back.
I think the first question to raise about this “Fristianity” that is
similiar to Christianity in many respect, is how does someone know about “Fristianity”? Is it through some sort of Fristianity Sutra, Scripture, one’s subjectivity and idolatry, conscious borrowing of Christianity, etc?
I think the quesion above is fundamental to the discussion. For
instance, this would determine how one would answer How does one know about that God is a “Quadity”?
Furthermore, would not TAG would be applicable to the Fristianity Scripture, just as in the Same Way Paul Manata wrote a Presuppositional Critique of Buddhism, or Rev. Smith on Zen Buddhism, etc? The intelligence of the intellegent God would fustrate, and if the Fristianity is a complete worldview, I trust the Scripture is indeed correct, and the foolishness of their worldview would eventually be pointed out. Thus, the Impossibility of Presuppositional Apologetics still stands.
I think the problem with Fristianity is that its too hypothetical and almost void of content…
How far does Fristianity parallel Christianity? Christianity is an
historical religion. For Fristianity, does it also have a historical
Messiah? Does it claim a Virgin Birth of this Messiah,his/her/it’s death, and resurrection?
If it does make historical claim like Christianity, I think it would soon get in trouble real quick. I believe that historical evidential apologetics has a place with Presuppositional Apologetics and this would be something Van Til and Bahnsen would even agree with (though the How and the Why might be in conflict with traditional Evidentialists and Classical approach to Apologetics). Christianity’s historical claim would defeat Fristianity copycat parallel historical claim.
We read from Van Til,
“Christianity is a historical religion. It is based upon such facts
as the death and resurrection of Christ. The question of miracles is at the heart of it. Kill miracle and you kill Christianity. But one cannot even define miracle except in relations to natural law.” (Pg.
37, ‘Van Til’s Apologetics’, by Bahnsen)
Note the above of how Van Til mentioned Christianity is a historical relgion. I think this pose a big problem for ‘Fristianity’ to live up to.
Before people think I’m slipping into Classical or Evidential
Apologetics, the context of the quote from above from Van Til is
After mentioning of how we define miracle in relations to natural law, Van Til realize that the next question would be about the nature and the extent of Natural law, which would touch upon the issue of God’s providence:
“Thus, we face the question of God’s providence. And providence, in turn, presupposes creation. We may say, then, that we seek to defend the fact of miracle, the fact of providence, the fact of creation, and therefore, the fact of God, in relation to modern non-Christian science.” (Ibid.)
Which led Van Til to state his conclusion that,
“But if the matter is put this way we may as well say that we are
seeking to defend Christian theism as a fact.” (Ibid, pg. 37-38)
If you haven’t noticed already, what’s at stake really isn’t bits and pieces of isolated facts, but entire worldview that provides the backdrop for the presentation and interpretation of these facts.
“In other words, facts and interpretation of facts cannot be
separated. It is impossible even to discuss any particular fact
except in relation to some principle of interpretation.” (Ibid,pg.
Moreover, I think this might perhaps serve as a good illustration of how to deal with historical evidence from a Presuppositional fashion. How does Fristianity account for the REsurrection of Christ, etc? Does it deny Jesus resurrection? If so, what is the philosophy of History that led it to deny the Resurrection? Whatever this philosophy of history is, it would be reduced to aburdity and problems would arise that provides the Christian Presuppositionalists an oppourtunity to offer an internal critique of Fristianity’s epistemology, or least in relations to knowing historical facts.
Let’s say Fristianity does acknowledge the Virgin Birth, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. How would Fristianity interpret these facts? If they accept that Jesus is the Messiah, and Christianity is the truth, then we run into the problem of Pluralism; Christianity’s and Jesus Christ’s claim is Mutually exclusive, do we not remember what John 14:6 states? If this version of Fristianity is true, then the laws of non-contradiction is meaningless, thereby we still see the Antithesis still being pressed against Fristianity.
If the Resurrection and death of Christ is interpreted in some other way, how does Fristianity knows this? How did it arrived at the position and alternative explanation? And again, what kind of philosophy of history would allow Fristianity to re-interpret these facts and moreover, would this philosophy of history undermine itself later on?
Much more could be stated, but I don’t want to engage in refuting something that isn’t there. In summary, the two main problem I see with the challenge of Fristianity is that 1.) Its too hypothetical to the point it is void of content and 2.) the Historical claim of Christianity can not be parallelled by Fristianity, which Christian historical arguments can be presented in a Presuppositional Challenge to Fristianity.
As Van Til himself states: “We do not seek to defen theism in
apologetics and Chrsitianity in evidences, but we seek to defend
Christian theism in both courses.” (Ibid, pg. 37)”