I was thinking this morning about the presuppositionalist’s argument for God, and it occurred to me that in fact, presuppositionalism is really rather an effective disproof of theism in general and Christianity in particular. Consider this snippet from Pastor Stephen Feinstein’s third post in his debate with Russell Glasser.
I am not sure how familiar you are with Thomas Aquinas’ Cosmological Argument… Have you studied the 10-step argument as outlined in Summa Theologica I, Question 2, Article 3? Just for the purpose of classical education, I recommend it. Although I reject the semi-pelagian presuppositions of the classical argumentation for the existence of God, Aquinas actually gets somewhere good between the 5th and 6th step.
The Gospel tells us that God is a loving heavenly Father, more so than any earthly father. And yet, how many children do you know, who have loving earthly fathers actively and personally involved in their daily lives, who need to resort to an advanced study of medieval philosophy, ontology, and epistemology, just to find a line of reasoning abstruse and convoluted enough to persuade them that their father necessarily even exists?
The same could be said even of other religions whose gods are less chummy. Vulcanologists don’t need medieval philosophy to justify their conclusion that magma is real. Doctors don’t need it to believe that disease and suffering are real. In fact, even when the Bible itself makes claims about God being real, it does so without resorting to any kind of ontological rationalizations.
Believers resort to philosophy because it is a world of ideas, especially of abstract and complicated ideas where the unwary and inexperienced can easily be led astray. And the world of men’s ideas is the only place God actually shows up—He’s in their stories and their speculations and their superstitions and their rationalizations. But the other world, the world of actual material reality? No, we don’t ever see him there.
And that’s why elaborate and obfuscated superstitions like presuppositionalism become popular Christian apologetics. If there were a God who loved His children enough to interact with them in person, the way real fathers do, nobody but a few academics would be interested in any medieval 10-step argument as outlined in Summa Theologica I, Question 2, Article 3. Aquinas himself wouldn’t even have needed to bother inventing a cosmological argument for God’s existence, since who would bother to do so for a father who was already visibly, audibly, and tangibly present and involved in their life? The reason philosophy makes good apologetics is because God only exists in the ideas of men.