Destroying the Presuppositional Argument
I hope this blog gets out to as many people as possible.
As I type this RIGHT NOW, 10 minutes ago I had a heated talk with christian ministry Way of the Master ex-employee Tony Miano and his young student buddy Steve. Tony was holding a wooden cross, and both were standing in the middle of my campus near the Library. I decided to engage (this was less than an hour ago).
Sorry if this turns into a long read, but the best way for me to remember all the details is if I start from the beginning and move onwards, making sure all the details spill out of my head in order, so here it goes….
First I engaged Steve, asked him how his day was going, and we engaged in nice small talk. But I am sure we both knew we would inevitably talk about Christianity (otherwise why would we be here?), so I brought it up talking about prophesies being accurate. After a while, we got to how the gospel author knew about more earthquakes and famines coming in the end times…because to me that was basically nothing more than saying “DUH” — these are naturally occurring phenomenons that have happened countlessly in the past and will definitely happen in the future until the Earth is no more. Steve’s response was “god wrote it so it is a prophecy.”
So I asked my personal favorite theist-destroying question: how do you KNOW God wrote that prophecy????
Steve’s very first response was “it says so in the Bible.” To which I followed with, “if there is a being pretending to be God, doesn’t it seem the first thing it would do is make sure the beloved sacred book SAYS his name is God?”
Steve went blank, to which he followed with “I know God is the real God because his spirit testified to my spirit.” Oh come on man!!! I asked him how does he KNOW that thing is “god’s spirit” and not “The Great Unga Bunga’s spirit?” He did not really answer that question, he rehearsed his evangelical training and said “I know it is God, because he wrote His laws onto my heart, and everyone’s heart.” AGAIN DUDE… “how do you know that is not the work of a time-traveling cosmic pixie that transcended into your heart, reworked your biological systems to feel guilt in your heart whenever you lie or steal and whatever?”
He basically repeated the previous statement “his spirit testified to mine” … I asked how does he know that is ‘God’s spirit’? How does he know that? He repeated the same thing, it is revealed to him inside himself. And I asked how does he know that thing that revealed itself is actually what it claims to be? I gave an example of the Wizard of Oz, and how all the characters believed the big Head of Oz was real when it said “I AM Oz”…but it turned out to be a old man hiding behind the curtain pulling the strings and faking being Oz.
And this is how it ended: Steve gave up.
Steve literally told me this conversation has become “worthless,” gave me a gospel tract and walked away from me.
I began to walk away too. I was half-way to the Library… but no, I decided to turn around and engage him again. When I got to him, I said “how is this conversation worthless? A moment ago, you said you knew that god is real. All I asked was for proof and verification. What is so worthless with that?” That is a valid question. Besides, this is surrounding a debate that has been going on through the ages, how can you just dust it off as being worthless? It made absolutely no sense to me.
And we went in the exact same circle again as I just typed above…I asked him to verify how he knows that ‘god’ and not something else revealed itself to him. Steve pointed to the Word of God, and how he prayed to God and how God revealed himself to him. “Does God talk to you when you pray or try to communicate with him?” No, he reveals himself through his Word and through Creation “Again, how do you know that the Great Unga Bunga created everything, and then fooled a bunch of humans by claiming his name is Yahweh and made these humans right a fictional biography and lifestyle manual?”
And then Steve blew me off yet again and walked away. I was hoping he would not do that a second time, but I knew it would be pointless to go for round 3 because Steve threw in the towel twice already. So I headed off…but once I was half-way to the Library I circled around and walked towards him, but I did not engage him. I walked to Tony, who just finished a conversation himself.
So I told Tony what Steve just did, and he asked me “in your worldview, why is it that he did wrong?”
And ladies and gentlemen, I knew exactly where Tony was going to take this conversation and I knew how to counter this. But to be fair, I was going to answer his question if he agreed to answer mine. He agreed. So I gave my OWN personal explanation why cutting off a intellectual or spiritual conversation is rude; I went on how we are social animals (biologically, that is what we are) and this works best through cooperation. Steve’s actions seems the opposite of cooperation and demonstrates close mindedness, which flies in the face of being a social member of humanity.
Tony then tried to rehearse his WOTM material that in “my” godless worldview there is no right and wrong. He went on about how in an atheistic evolutionary worldview there is no right and wrong AND THAT YOU CANNOT KNOW ANYTHING. According to the Presuppositional Argument, only revelation can bring true knowledge. Man can be mistaken or ignorant, but revelation from an omniscient being is absolute knowledge. So, the Christian argues that only “the Christian” can know things for sure.
I could not know right or wrong…I could not know anything with certainty….Dear reader, I had no intention to counter any of this. In fact, I was going to let that be the case for the time being.
Okay, so I can’t know anything with certainty. So I asked Tony can he? He said yes, with God – who can provide him with certain knowledge. There we go, I had him right were I wanted him. I asked him a simple question (the exactly what I asked Steve): how do you KNOW that God is the real God and not something else?
(((Bear in mind, this is coming from the guy, Tony, who claims that HE CAN KNOW certain things. FYI, my worldview on this matter at hand is “I don’t know”… so I am not selling anything here, but Tony here claims he DOES know, so I asked him how does he know? He say’s he can, let him demonstrate it.)))
After I asked the question, he repeated Steve’s phrase “God’s spirit testified to my spirit.” I asked him, how does he know that is God’s spirit and not something else?
After several rounds of asking him how does he know that, can he provide any objectivity to know that what he is describing as god or his spirit is really his and not, let’s say, The Great Unga Bunga?
After a few more circling, Tony knew right away his Presuppositional Argument was broken, so he kept dodging the questions and started saying “you know God is real, you are just rejecting him.”
I pointed out that him going on and on that God had testified to him through his spirit, to which I countered with the same line of reasoning Tony just provided, some other guy can use those exact words and reasoning to say that Allah is real or aliens, or even the Great Unga Bunga.
“I already told you how I know. God revealed himself to me and through his Word.”
After that I said,
“So how can you know that thing revealed to you is the real God? Can I take your spirit out of you and ask it myself? Can I ask your spirit who did it talk to and how, and where did the other guy come from? How does your spirit know that the other guy is even who it identifies itself to be?”
I asked him how does he know my name is really my name. Tony said he doesn’t know. Then I asked him, how does he know that something else out there is only using God as an alias and a double background?
And this is where the story gets interesting ladies and gentlemen. Tony said the following,
“I am not going to put God into your blasphemous court.”
“What!? This court I am in is just called reality. All I am asking you is to provide objective proof that your god is the real god.”
“I don’t have to prove anything to you.”
“THERE YOU GO. A moment ago, you said that you “knew” God is real, and that only in your worldview you can know things for sure. But you wont share or validate that your source of knowledge is even legitimate. If you cannot even know who you are getting your ‘revelations’ from to receive absolute knowledge, how do you know you are not just fooling yourself.”
“See, you are just rejecting God because you love your sin and you want to live in your blasphemous lifestyle.”
“I am only rejecting that which cannot be proven or shown to be real. That’s what any rational person would do.”
“God is real and you know he is real.”
“Once again, how do you know that God is really God or not something else?”
After Tony said a few more words, he walked two feet away from me, saying he “wanted to talk to people who wanted to hear the gospel.” Typical
In the last moments before I thanked him for the talk and shook his hand and walk away, the last bits of the conversation was:
“You are just rejecting God with your blasphemous questions.” *he walking away*
I called back at him as he walked away: “What! I am like William Shatner just asking for proof. When he met God face to face and asked ‘what does God need with a starship’ and BOOM we all learned instantly that God he was talking to was actually a faker. This is exactly the problem I have been trying to address here!”
Silence from Tony, he just stared at me for 5-10 seconds with a small smile on his face. Then he ignored me completely and tried to get the attention of students passing by.
There you go everyone. THIS is basically the Achilles Heel of the Presuppositional Argument. The Presuppositional Argument is a IMO a pathetic apologetic word game to make them seem like they are the only ones who can know anything and all non-theists can’t know jack. The Argument is designed to attack worldviews and the beauty of it is that it does not need evidence.
If you (reader) ever encounter any theist saying that only they can know things for certain, just question them how do you they know that. DO NOT worry about answering their points trying to shoot at your worldview to make you look like you cannot know anything and can’t trust your reason. Even if that they are right that you cannot know anything, the theist cannot know anything either. They may pretend they do, like Steve and Tony, but as these two demonstrated…they are merely pretending to know, giving themselves a invisible made-up justification to gain a monopoly on the truth.
Theists like Tony and Steve only PRETEND to know that their favorite God is the real God. When asked how do they know that their god is the real god and not a trickster or something else, they dodge and run away because they are forbidden to ask themselves those kinds of questions that endanger their fragile faith.
After this encounter, I can say that Tony and Steve are immature cowards incapable of a intellectual discussion. I am not the one running away. I am not the one afraid to ask questions. I am not the one pretending to myself that I know things that I cannot know or demonstrate.
They have no imagination. They live their lives thinking that their magical friend is the only explanation to explain away all their questions (where does everything come from, what is right or wrong, where do these feelings come from, why do these things happen, and so on and so on). A single answer “God did it” is the most simple and easiest answer to hold on to for dear life. But for crying out loud, get an imagination!!! Once you realize that you can come up with MILLIONS of alternative explanations to answer your questions, you realize that the one (Yahweh) you choose out of million is ultimately just you are pretending you’re right and therefore fooling yourself.
A theist who says they “know” god is real and they “know” the true God revealed itself to them is blinded by a absolute conviction of a belief they cannot know. They do not know if the “spirit” or whatever they feel is a alien quantum beam, a cosmic space-transcending leprechaun, or a pixie pouring invisible dust over their heads. If they did know they were reached out to by the real Creator, they would be able to DEMONSTRATE it…but they can’t. Which means it is all in their heads. So such backlashes like “you know God is real” is a big fat desparate lie.