greg bahnsen debates

One of the best examples of presuppositional apologetics in action. Now here’s the interesting counter to that: Why in an atheist worldview shouldn’t a person be irrational? In other words, the burden of proof in my mind clearly falls on the theist or the God-believer first to define what he’s talking about when he’s using the term “God,” and secondly, then, to provide arguments or proof of some kind that such a being exists. Coming up we’ll discuss atheism and the case against God with atheist George Smith and Christian apologist Greg Bahnsen. I confess that I do have some reservations about that format: it almost requires the opponents to try to tear one another to shreds, rather than speaking the truth in love. But my challenge to him as a philosopher and as a fellow human being would be that at a deeper level, he does know this God that I’m talking about. Maybe I’d say just in favor of the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament, which are often a stumbling point for reading. This is a transcript of the debate between Greg Bahnsen and Edward Tabash on the topic, “Does God Exist?” This debate took place at UC Davis in 1993.

He was the first born of two sons of Robert and Virginia Bahnsen in Auburn, Washington, and grew up in Pico Rivera, California. Dr. Bahnsen: That’s the question that I’m going to ask you. 0000005374 00000 n 0000000831 00000 n I’d like to see the argument for that!” Because I wasn’t just making an empty authority claim when I said you’re presupposing the Christian worldview. His next academic stop was the University of Southern California (USC), where he studied philosophy, specializing in the theory of knowledge. Dr. Bahnsen: Laws of logic.

[6][7] His debate with Stein was known as "The Great Debate (Does God Exist?)

Dr. Stein: Can you give me an example of anything other than god that’s immaterial?

Smith: But you say that it’s the nature of God all the time. It was in a large lecture hall at U. C. Irvine, and the place was packed. .

Moderator: God. Max: Of course not!

Some of it I like; some of it I don’t. .

Atheism is definitely the absence or lack of belief in a god, so after the question: Do you believe in a god? A good life is a goal in itself.

We must admit that it has been rare for a presuppositionalist to actually debate an unbeliever. Philosophically, I don’t think the first cause argument holds up. I mean, it puzzles me. Now, do you want me to address your . Moderator: Okay, Benny, I appreciate the call. I might just as well say, “I’m sure I could arrive at a theory to justify it that all Christians are really just atheists underneath and just don’t realize it, and once they put away their childish things they will realize they’re atheists,” and so forth. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. . Either he has to take a hard line—it’s wrong because God wills it to be wrong, in which case morality is reduced to a set of arbitrary decrees with no reason behind them—or he has to say that God himself forbids certain things because they are simply wrong. So, in that sense, I agree. You might say, well, because it’s destructive of human life!

1949) took place at Los Angeles radio station KKLA FM 99.5. George Smith, we welcome you to the program. My internal critique of Smith’s worldview, Atheism Analyzed: The Implosion of George Smith’s “Case against God” (2019) reflects the state of my understanding Bahnsen’s apologetic method in 1989, when I drafted it. There are atheist existentialists, atheist Marxists, atheist advocates of Ayn Rand’s objectivism. Bahnsen: I would argue that there isn’t any proper reasoning apart from the foundation of belief in God.

But when he says to your audience, “I reason, but I don’t have faith in God!” My response is, “No, you do have faith in God!” One of the problems is—and this is why God would be unhappy with your life, George—is because you don’t give Him the credit that He deserves, you don’t glorify Him, because your very ability to reason depends upon your knowledge of Him and submission to Him. I don’t want Christians to understand faith in that way, and I agree with you that irrationality is destructive of human life. A cat will not give birth to baby elephants.

Max: Sir, as to controlling things by natural laws, natural laws are nothing more than uniform occurrences that do happen with unvarying uniformity. Before Bahnsen entered the hospital for the last time, we exchanged emails, reaffirming our friendship and mutual respect.

That is, they’re working in terms of a Christian worldview all the while denying what they know about God in their heart of hearts. A donation of $1 can go a long way toward keeping us online. They can do their math very well. So, I don’t really know how to respond to that exactly. This idea that atheists are really somehow unconscious crypto-theists has been around a long time.

I asked for how abstractions make sense, are cogent, within a worldview where there is nothing but matter.

Let’s bring this back to our conversation. There is no reason to presuppose reason. But back to life.

I care because for me happiness is a goal in itself. Would that mean that all atheists are somehow unconscious theists? transcendental argument for the existence of God, New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists,, By This Standard: The Authority Of God's Law Today, No Other Standard: Theonomy and Its Critics, House Divided: The Breakup of Dispensational Theology, "The Chalcedon Foundation – Faith for All of Life", "Does Induction Presume the Existence of the Christian God? Smith: However, you think abstractions originate or where they come from or how we explain them, I think we can agree we do abstract and we do think conceptually.

And he fully understood that there is indeed a point of contact between believer and unbeliever: in the power of the Spirit, and in the knowledge of God the unbeliever has, but suppresses. I thought that Bahnsen thoroughly won this debate, and that Sproul didn't even seem to fully understand PA in relation to the nature of ultimate standards.

In terms of the atheist worldview, I would challenge George that he cannot give an account of the reasoning that he’s doing.

But this debate would go quite differently than most.

We must admit that it has been rare for a presuppositionalist to actually debate an unbeliever. But in a non-Christian worldview, there really isn’t a reason why we couldn’t deny the law of identity or come up with other kinds of what we might (I think you and I would agree) would be contradictory approaches to logic, but nevertheless are called logic in some worldviews. I mean that’s closer to what we’ve been calling agnosticism. Smith:  Yes, and that’s what the 327 pages are about.

To me that is totally absurd. I don’t get any answer that makes much sense to me. It does not by itself suggest or dictate any positive philosophy.

[3] He published numerous articles and has over 1700 audio tapes, videos, articles, and books to his name. The next question would be—.

Bahnsen: Well, I think her question was really a personal and biographical one for George, and I understand his answer. Greg Bahnsen had at least two well known debates against Gordon Stein and Edward Tabash which … There’s regularity in nature because things are existing, determinate things with specific characteristics. Bahnsen: Well, I would argue they’re being controlled by God, but that’s not the answer you want. Moderator: Okay, let’s hold it there, a lot on the table. Non-existence is non-physical as well, so how do we distinguish God from non-existence? Bahnsen: Well, I wanted to respond quickly to George’s good question: Was Aristotle a Christian at heart? Martin refused, because "he did not want SCCCS to profit from his participation", while SCCCS refused to let Bahnsen debate without the debate being taped. Was Aristotle somehow a Christian at heart even centuries before the time of Jesus? That’s why we get down to the law of identity. I’m going to give you evidence that you’re presupposing, and I’m going to show that you can’t make sense of your reasoning and morality apart from it. . Eschatology of Optimism.

Dr. Stein: They are conventions but they are conventions that are self-verifying.

So, the atheist is not alone in holding that the precepts of morality, and if you understand what I mean by natural law ethics that’s traditionally what it’s been called. On top of the philosophical problems we already have, we’re adding this whole theological scene now which also has to be explained. Because he tells us to care? We owe this transcription to a “Jonah” (screenname) who posted it online “for whoever wants it” on January 7, 2011; unfortunately, that link is now “dead.” I made some editorial decisions: stylistic changes, mostly in punctuation. Bahnsen: No, actually I’m not just saying it’s the nature of God.


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