Check(Mate?) On Presuppositional Morality: How Peter Gets to Murder His Kids And There is Nothing You Can Do About It.
This post is a continuation of the discussion between Peter, a pressupositonalist, Jason of Lousy Canuck, and myself. The sources from which I pull quotations from Peter are available at Lousy Canuck, and on Atheism Presupposes Theism, in posts and comments here and here. I will attempt to use his own words and the implied logic of them to reveal the absurdity of his argument. If any one disagrees with the logic of my argument, I will as always be prepared to answer questions. If you are a presuppositionalist, be aware that I reserve the right to have you clarify your premise and commit to it before I will respond to questions unrelated to the exact words of this post. I am reasonable, but I will not play games until you commit to the rules.
The Third Move Is Where You Break “The First Rule” Of Presuppositionalism
I have a good friend who is a chess phenom. He says you don’t win a game of chess, you lose a game of chess. He has even told me that you can lose in the first three moves. In presuppositional apologetics, the trick is to make two moves, claim that their opponent has already lost, and refuse to play the rest of the game. The trick works only if you believe that you can lose without playing it out, and only if the presuppositionalist never makes that third move. If he makes it, I can follow any combination of moves he will make from then on to a checkmate.
He can continue to tell those that will listen that I already lost in the first two moves, but he can’t prove it, because it requires that third move.
The third move is to commit to your own premise, the third move is the losing one for any moral presuppositionalist strategy.
If the first rule of Fight Club is “never talk about Fight Club” then the first rule of presuppositional moral apologetics should be:
Never commit to a moral position.
You took a position on a moral Peter. You broke the first rule.
Setting Peter’s Ground Rules
Each of these rules and logical extensions are derived directly from Peter’s arguments. If at any time I make a logical conclusion that is not a direct result of Peter’s logic, then I will be happy to defend it against criticism.
A worldview is defined as self-defeating and therefor not logically consistent if it is possible to deny it based on it’s own postulates.
This is derived from the statement:
Premise #1: Jason believes that what he is saying is factual.
Premise #2: Jason believes that people are not morally obligated to accept the facts.
Conclusion: Jason believes that people are not morally obligated to accept what he is saying.
If premise #1 is false, then we can disregard what Jason is saying. If premise #2 is true, then we can disregard what Jason is saying. Either way, we can disregard what you’re saying. That’s a self-defeating position.
Also note that from this postulate we must first prove that Jason is not lying, but may be mistaken,else the conclusion is a non-sequitor.
From Peter’s own interpretation, if someone is able to disregard a truth within the premise of their worldview, then that worldview is a self defeating one.
Is everyone following so far?
Killing is justified if there is a just reason for doing it. These reasons include self-defence, just war, and God’s authorization, which can be known by revelation through a reading of The Old and New Testament.
There is a distinction between killing at will and killing when you are justified in doing so. Perhaps what we need to clarify is when killing is justified.
Killing is wrong, but since we live in a fallen and sinful world, there are some exceptions to the rule (self-defense, just war, capital punishment in appropriate situations, etc.) Killing is only appropriate when God authorizes it, otherwise it’s murder.
So we are clear on that….
then he says:
Since the close of the canon of Scripture, God no longer speaks in a direct fashion as He did, for example, to the prophets of the Old Testament.
God reveals Himself in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. He also reveals Himself in creation. Now, you may not agree with that and you may not like that, but that is how God reveals Himself. It’s not magical and it’s not cryptic. If you want to know what God reveals and who He is, then go watch a sunrise, watch the frost form on a window, go see the northern lights, go and read the Bible.
From these statements we can say that God no longer speaks to man, but reveals himself through scripture. So a passage in scripture can be interpreted as a revelation of God. We also note that we live in a fallen and sinful world.
Peter Kills His Kids, But “That’s O.K.-I’m A Presuppositionalist”, says Peter.
We now live in a world of presuppositional moralists. Everyone accepts the rules I have just defined. To itemize them for everyone, they are:
- A worldview is defined as self-defeating and therefor not logically consistent if it is possible to deny it based on it’s own postulates.
- If someone is able to disregard a truth within the premise of their worldview, then that worldview is a self defeating one.
- Killing is justified if there is a just reason for doing it.
- These reasons include self-defence, just war, and God’s authorization, which can be known by revelation through a reading of The Old and New Testament.
- God no longer speaks to man, but reveals himself through scripture. So a passage in scripture can be interpreted as a revelation of God.
- We live in a fallen and sinful world.
A detective arrives at the scene of the crime, Peter is standing over the dead body of his child. The officer questions him:
Detective: What happened here?
Peter: My child spoke back to me, so I killed him
Detective: Alright then, case closed. We’ll remove the body for you, have a good night, sir! God bless.
Why did that just happen?
Peter killed his child for speaking back to him, an objective moral command as revealed by God in Leviticus 20:9.
He was, by his own definition, justified in doing so as it was revealed to him in the bible, as such authorized by God(From 4&5). The detective has no right to question his assertion, because it is a truth, and denying it would make a presuppositionalist worldview self-defeating(From 1). Ah, but what if Peter was lying? Surely the detective has no right to assume the truth of his testimony? Sure he does. If Peter’s testimony were a lie, by definition he would have to know the truth and rejected it. That would make presuppositionalism self defeating, because if you are faced with a truth, you are unable to deny it, or else your worldview is self-defeating(Again, from 1). Since we are presuppositionalists, we know that the Christian worldview is correct, therefor he cannot lie. But wait. We live in a sinful and fallen world(6). He must be able to lie. Well, no. If man were able to sin, they could ignore their Objective Moral requirement to not believe a truth, and that would make their whole worldview self defeating(1). So either way, the presuppositionalist must retract the first premise of this argument, or claim that sin is impossible, or admit that there is no grounds for even contemplating Peter’s culpability in a presuppositionalist world. Christianity therefor not only comports with child killing, it outright requires it. Then it requires that everyone shrug it off as a moral obligation.