After a discussion early this week where I pointed out the reliability of Scripture and the fact that Christians don’t need to feel obligated to “get beyond the Bible” when making arguments and formulating their worldview and philosophies, I got a response from that ended this way:
“Let me put it this way: it is anti-intelligent to say that you believe a certain way, ‘Because the Bible said so.’ You have to realize that millions of people don’t believe the Bible and so you have to be able to talk and argue without always hiding behind your book of fables.”
Besides the condescension, I find this line of reasoning very intriguing, and it actually helps illustrate exactly what my original point was. Christians have really failed to understand this critical point and the consequences have been severe: a Christian begins at the starting point of the authority of God and His Word. It is the starting point for our thinking. Therefore, asking Christians to abandon that starting point and begin with the presupposition that there is no God in order to formulate their reason and their discussion is surrendering in a way that non-Christians never would.
Think of it this way to understand what I’m saying. Imagine that I, as a Christian, get into an argument with an atheist about a particular issue. He starts spouting off why he believes the way he does, and I say, “Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. Stop using all these philosophers like Nietzsche and Marx and Mill to justify what you’re saying. Use the Bible to make your case.” What would the atheist say? They would say, “No way.” It wouldn’t make sense, right? They don’t trust the Bible, so asking them to argue from that as their basis puts them at an immediate disadvantage in proving whatever idea they were trying to prove. They arrived at their conclusion on the basis that there is no God or Moral Authority, and so asking them to argue from the presupposition that there is such Authority undermines them from the start because it’s not the foundation point for their thinking.
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It’s the exact same principle when an atheist or humanist demands that Christians abandon the Bible and formulate their arguments on issues based on the whims or teachings of non-biblical philosophy or theories. Our starting point is the authority of God’s Word. We reinterpret everything (or should anyway) from that basis. Their starting point is the authority of some man’s opinions and ideas, and they reinterpret everything from that basis. So no, there is nothing more sophisticated about abandoning the Bible and beginning from man’s flawed theories and intellect than abandoning man’s error and fallen philosophy and beginning from the inerrant and perfect revelation of God.
That’s why arguing philosophy can be such a mind-bending exercise if you don’t first evaluate your starting points. That question must be settled before other issues can even be broached with hope of a resolution. Because if you start on two separate tracks, the likelihood of ending at the same destination is remote. Our discussions should begin with whose tracks, whose starting point, is the most reliable. Has the Bible proven itself through time to be accurate, reliable, in line with Natural Law, and a good basis for thought and reason? Has it been authenticated and proven miraculous? And what of the endless procession of man’s ever-changing ideology-of-the-moment? What does it tell us that each new generation brings with it a dismissal of the previous generation’s theories and ideas? How reliable is man’s reason when it operates alone and isolated from anything concrete? Is that a strong basis – the changing whims of man – upon which to build the lives of individuals, families, communities and civilizations?
When we start asking these questions, it becomes quite clear that the anti-intellectuals are those who expect all men to abandon the Divine Revelation of Truth from our Almighty Creator in a vain and futile attempt to independently construct a wiser, more prudent and trustworthy foundation point for existence.