Chapter Christian Apologetics

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preface

Three part Apologetic
servey various “test of truth”
applies the test for truth to various world views (concludes that Theism is right).
Works within the context of a theistic world view to verify the unique claims of historical Christianity as to the deity of Christ and the Authority of the Bible.

Part One

Agnostism
Rationalism
Fideism
Experientialism
Evidentialism
Pragmatism
Combinationalism
Formulating Adequate Test for Truth

Agnosticism

Christian Apologetics Chapter 1: Agnosticism

There are two basic kinds of agnostics: those who claim that the existence and nature of God are not known, and those who hold God to be unknowable.

The term agnosticism was coined by T. H. Huxley. It means literally no-knowledge, the opposite of a gnostic.1 However, over a hundred years before Huxley the writings of David Hume and Immanuel Kant laid down the philosophical basis of agnosticism.1
1 1 See T. H. Huxley, “Agnosticism and Christianity” (1889), in his Collected Essays (London: 1894), vol. V. 1 Norman L. Geisler, Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1976), 13.
The Basic arguments of Agnosticism
Christian Apologetics The Basic Arguments of Agnosticism

Once one event is observed to happen after another repeatedly, we begin to form the idea that one event happens because of the other. In brief, the idea of causality is based on custom.

Christian Apologetics The Basic Arguments of Agnosticism

One can never know causal connections. And without a knowledge of the Cause of this world, for example, one is left in agnosticism about such a supposed God.

Christian Apologetics The Basic Arguments of Agnosticism

Knowledge of God by Analogy Is Highly Problematic. Even if one were to grant that every event has a cause, nevertheless he cannot build any knowledge of God upon this fact because the analogy is weak at best. In his famous Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion4 Hume contends that the cause of the universe may be (1) different from human intelligence since human inventions differ from those of nature; (2) finite, since the effect is finite and one only need infer a cause adequate for the effect; (3) imperfect, since there are imperfections in nature; (4) multiple, for the creation of the world looks more like a long-range trial and error product of many cooperating deities; (5) male and female, since this is how humans generate; and (6) anthropomorphic, with hands, nose, eyes, and so forth, such as his creatures have. Since no theist will admit that analogy leads to these anthropomorphic deities, it leaves us in skepticism about the nature of any supposed Cause of the world.

THE AGNOSTICISM OF IMMANUEL KANT
Christian Apologetics The Basic Arguments of Agnosticism

It was the pen of Kant that put an abrupt end to most of this thinking in the philosophical world.

(that there were proofs for the existence of God)
“You Kant know”
Christian Apologetics The Basic Arguments of Agnosticism

However, the unhappy result of this synthesis is agnosticism, for if one cannot know anything until after it is structured by the a priori forms of sensation (time and space) and the categories of understanding (such as unity and causality), then there is no way to get outside one’s own being and know what it really was before he so formed it. That is, one can know what something is to-him but never what it is in-itself. Only appearance can be known, but not reality. In Kant’s words, we know the phenomena but not the noumena. There is a great impassable gulf between the real world and our knowledge of it; we must remain agnostic about reality. We know only that it is there but can never know what it is.5

Christian Apologetics The Basic Arguments of Agnosticism

It makes little difference to the Christian or theist whether he cannot know God (as in Kant) or whether he cannot speak of God (as in Ayer). Both traditional agnosticism and contemporary acognosticism leave us in the same dilemma philosophically: there are no bases for making true statements about God.

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