Presuppositional Apologetics: TAH DAH! Let Me Pull God Out Of A Hat.
So a number of my replies to Peter, over at Atheism Presupposes Theism, have been deleted by him in an effort to try and pretend that he wasn’t just destroyed by the truth. That is not hubris on my part, take the time to read it for yourself, though you will have to go to lousy Canuck to see my replies, because Peter won’t publish them. If you can read the exchange between Peter, Jason, and I and still think I’m exaggerating, I invite you to tell me how. Presupposational apologetics is a farce. It is a joke. It cannot be taken seriously. If you think differently, then please enlighten me. I have decided that this year will be the year that I pull the curtain back from presupposational apologetics and reveal the diminutive little man pretending to be a wizard. I take this seriously, presuppositionalism is wrong, it is a bald faced lie. Why do I dislike it so much? It is a lie masquerading, not just as a truth, but the Truth. Those who practice it with any skill have to know it is a lie, a big lie for God.
If intelligent Christians can knowingly lie to bolster my faith, of what value is that faith at all? If every question must be addressed with an ultimate untruth, how can I claim that my belief is not based on a foundation of lies?
Presuppositionalism depends on a shell game; it is a magic trick. It relies on the premise that no one will follow the pea as it slips from shell to shell, up the sleeve, then back to the shell again. “Keep your eye on the pea, keep your eye on the pea” the magician tells you as you watch the trick. But you can’t “watch the pea”. It is under the shell, maybe. Maybe it is up his sleeve, maybe he dropped it off the table into his lap. ” Whatever you do”, he implies, “don’t watch my hands, and for heaven’s sake don’t ask any questions. Just trust me when I tell you it is magic.”
As soon as someone figures out the scam, he has a few choices. Pack up and bring the game to a new and unwitting audience, keep playing as if no-one is yelling “SHOW ME YOUR PALM”, or admit that he is fooling his audience. I can say with no trepidation that an apologist will never take the latter option.
If you are a presuppositionalist, I ask you this. Would you let the shell game be played if I put the pea under the shell, I moved the shells from one place to the other, if I turned them over? You wouldn’t, would you? Why? If it is reality, then we should be able to do it any which way and it will still be real, right? If morality is objective, then you should be able to answer a series of questions about the objective nature of reality, with no harm to your case. If you have a truth, then it will always stand the test of scruitiny, right, or do you know that “opening your palm” gives away the trick? You can only win by avoiding the consequences of your position and insisting on your interpretation of the opposing position without facts. You can’t even concede your own position, that’s how ridiculous it is. It’s a magic trick. It’s dishonest because you pass it off as reality, when you have to know it’s not.
When I was a kid, my Grandfather loved magic tricks. He used to hide a quarter between his fingers on the back of his hand, show me his palms, and then appear to pull a quarter out of my ear. I was amazed. He had a card trick called the “Four Jack Brothers”, where he seemingly moved the four of them to random positions in the deck, then have all four of them appear back on the top just by tapping the deck. I sat there for hours trying to figure it out. It seemed like my Grandfather really was magical.
On my ninth birthday, my parents bought me a book about how to do magic tricks, they very astutely noticed my sense of wonder. When I read the book, there was a card trick, called the “Four Queens”, which was <b>exactly</b> the trick my Grandfather did, and a page about pulling coins from a persons ear. Once I knew the trick, the magic was gone. All that was left was trickery.
That summer, I went to a birthday party. The magician there had better tricks, but I was wise to the game. It took me a while, but I figured out how each of his tricks worked. I performed the exact same routine for all but a few of them. My best friend was amazed. “How did you do that?”, he said. “Magic”, I said. He has asked me if I did it this way, or that way; and I always say no, but I never lie. To this day he still gets me to do the tricks at every party we go to; to this day, he really thinks I’m magic.
The difference between my Grandfather, Peter, and me is that my Grandfather never said that what he did was reality, in fact, he always called it a “magic <b>trick</b>”. So do I. I never asked my friend to suspend disbelief. My Grandfather never stopped me from sitting around with that deck of cards trying to figure it out; when I did figure it out, he didn’t refuse to speak with me, or burn my book so no-one else figured it out. Likewise, I don’t shun my friends questions, and I wouldn’t avoid a discussion about whether I put the card up my sleeve. I would prove to him that I didn’t, because I didn’t. Peter does none of these things. He claims that what he does is reality, refuses to let anyone see up his sleeves, and proceeds to continue the slight of hand show for anyone who is willing to not question it.
The worst thing about it is that I knew what I was doing was slight of hand. My Grandfather knew what he was doing was slight of hand. Peter has to know what he is doing. I showed him how he did the trick and he deleted my comments. I showed him how he did the other tricks and he deleted those comments too. Yet instead of patting me on the back and coming clean like my Grandfather, or showing me that I am mistaken about how it works like I do with my friend, he just continues on like nothing is happening, hoping the School for the Deaf in his audience doesn’t turn from the stage long enough to see me sitting beside them explaining the trick.
My big problem is that I know I’m not magic, so does my Grandfather. If he believes that presupposational apologetics is the best proof of God, what must that say about his faith?
I think I’m going to go show my friend how those tricks work now…..