Saturday, September 19, 2009
Does God Exist: Bahnsen on Rationality
More from Greg Bahnsen's debate with atheist named Gordon Stein. (Audio here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) Bahnsen uses an argument I first saw in C.S. Lewis about the argument from reason that an atheistic universe is not a rational universe.
Greg Bahnsen's closing statement:
Dr. Stein has yet to explain to us even in the broadest simplest Sunday School child manner that I told you about laws of logic, laws of science and laws of morality. He hasn't even begun to scratch the surface to tell us how in his world view that there can be laws of any sort. And if there can't be laws, or standards in his world view, then he can't worry about my irrationality, my alleged irrationality.
The transcendental argument for the existence of God has not been answered by Dr.
Stein. It's been evaded and made fun of, but it hasn't been answered. That's what we're here for: rational interchange. The transcendental argument says the proof of the Christian God is that without God one cannot prove anything.
Notice the argument doesn't say that atheists don't prove things, or that they don't use logic, science or laws of morality. In fact they do. The argument is that their world view cannot account for what they are doing. Their world view is not consistent with what they are doing; in their world view there are no laws; there are no abstract entities, universals, or prescriptions. There's just a material universe, naturalistically explained (as) the way things are happen to be. That's not law-like or universal; and therefore, their world view doesn't account for logic,
science or morality.
But, atheists, of course, use science and morality. In this argument atheists give continual evidence to the fact that in their heart of hearts they are not atheists. In their heart of hearts they know the God I'm talking about. This God made them, reveals Himself continually to them through the natural order, through their conscience, and through their very use of reason.
They know this God, and they suppress the truth about him. One of the ways that we
know that they suppress the truth about him is because they do continue to use the laws of logic, science and morality though their world view doesn't account for them.
Dr. Stein has said that the laws of logic are merely conventional. If so, then on
convention he wins tonight's debate, and on convention I win tonight's debate. And if you're satisfied with that, you didn't need to come in the first place. You expected the laws of logic to be applied as universal standards of rationality. Rationality isn't possible in a universe that just consigns them to convention.
I've asked him repeatedly - it's very simple, I don't want a lot of details, just begin to scratch the surface, - how, in a material, naturalistic outlook on life and man his place in the world, can you account for the laws of logic, science, and morality?
The atheist world view cannot do it, and therefore I feel justified concluding as I did in my opening presentation this evening by saying that the proof of the Christian God is the impossibility of the contrary. Without the Christian world view this debate wouldn't make sense.