C.S. Lewis...The Presuppositionalist?

Even though I strongly disagree with C.S. Lewis in many areas, I find myself strongly attracted to his ability to display the truth in powerful and beautiful words all at once. I have pulled some quotes from the works of C.S. Lewis that I most certainly agree with and could never dream of improving upon. Some of these thoughts are representative of the presuppositional method of apologetics, which I cannot imagine anyone ascribing to C.S. Lewis. If the claims of this method of apologetics are true though, we should expect to find it resting at the bottom of apologists' arguments.

I pray that you will read closely, slowly, and savor every word. Afterall, "100 per cent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased". These are serious matters, and no one could make certain that we understood this more than Lewis could.


"The notion that everyone would like Christianity to be true, and therefore all atheists are brave men who have accepted the defeat of all their deepest desires, is simply impudent nonsense."

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere—'Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,' as Herbert says, 'fine nets and stratagems.' God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous."

"Really, a young Atheist cannot guard his faith too carefully. Dangers lie in wait for him on every side."


"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

"My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. ... Of course, I could have given up my idea of justice by saying that it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too--for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist--in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless--I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality--namely my idea of justice--was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning."

"If naturalism were true then all thoughts whatever would be wholly the result of irrational causes...it cuts its own throat."

"When you are arguing against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all."

Evidence of God

"The universe rings true wherever you fairly test it."

"'Something of God...flows into us from the blue of the sky, the taste of honey, the delicious embrace of water whether cold or hot, and even from sleep itself.'"

"If the universe is so bad...how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator?"


"Whenever you find a man who says he doesn't believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later."

"This year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people."

"Human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and can't really get rid of it."


"We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin."

"Every uncorrected error and unrepented sin is, in its own right, a fountain of fresh error and fresh sin flowing on to the end of time."

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."

Implicit Contradictions

Well, I haven't made much progress with the "Militant Atheist" I spoke of the other day, but I have gotten him to contradict himself. It happened in another part of the same discussion thread, where he and I were basically trading insults (yes, I know - I shouldn't even bother). Here is how the conversation went (btw, I changed his handle to "MA" to protect his identity):

MA: "The only standard that needs to be considered is the scientific method. If you can't do it, then just admit it so I can quit wasting my time."

BK: "If this is a waste of time why do you continue to respond?"

MA: "Becuase I enjoy watching you avoid something we both know you can't do. It is funny"

BK: "Well which is it? Do you want me to "admit" something and stop wasting your time, or do you want me to keep it up so you can "enjoy" yourself?"

Pointing out this implicit contradiction (that he wanted me to stop what I was doing as it was a waste of time, yet he really wanted me to keep doing it as he enjoyed it) really changes nothing in the overall discussion between us. However, pointing out such slip-ups helps keep us both on our toes.

-- BK


It never ceases to amaze me how difficult it is to reason about our presuppositions.

The most natural approach to reasoning, I believe, is to rest upon our presuppositions blindly, without thinking about them at all. This is apparent to me time and time again in discussions I have with unbelievers. A rather enormous challenge in presuppositional apologetics, therefore, is getting your opponent to see that they have presuppositions, and that they must give an account for them. This is no easy task, believe me! The discussion I had two days ago was no exception.

There is this discussion board that I literally "lived" on for the past 7 years, that I have only now begun to wean myself from. It hasn't been all bad, actually - I learned a great deal about the beliefs of others, and about what I didn't know about my own beliefs by spending time on that board. My skin grew thick from the constant abuse I took there, and my skills as an apologist grew greatly from what they were when I started out.

Two days ago I ventured back to that board, and entered into a discussion about prayer. Never one to give even an inch to Christianity, this individual latched on to one of my comments and immediately challenged me to prove that "my god" answers prayer. Seeing an opportunity to challenge his presuppositions, I responded - and we were off!

After a few exchanges, where he challenged me to prove the truth of the Bible, I said to him "I'm not trying to prove the authority of scripture - I am relying upon it", realizing - hoping actually - that he would challenge me to account for what I was relying upon. Sure enough, he responded with "Well, before you can rely on it, you must prove it is valid". After some more back and forth, he set the bar with the following - "The ONLY way to demonstrate that the bible is true is by hard evidence and facts". This was the perfect lead-in to start to challenge him about his standard, which I proceeded to do.

I then asked him "what standard are you measuring [your standard] against" and "why should you use this standard, and not another?" His response? "The validity of my standard can be validated in every observation that that has ever been made that resulted in a hypothesis that was tested and validated (or not) since the beginning of history."

This was just what I was hoping for. I countered with "So your standard is validated by using the very thing your standard relies upon - evidence, reasoning, and the scientific method", hoping that he would see the circular nature of his argument. He didn't. It required another few rounds of back and forth before he finally realized he couldn't simply assume that his standard was valid, and responded with "Okay then, how would you suggest demonstrating the validity of the scientific method?".

I will likely return to the board in the next day or so to respond, at which point I have no idea how far I will get with him.

Regardless, this conversation got me thinking. There has to be a way to make presuppositionalism succinct. There has to be a way to get right to the heart of the matter, within just a few minutes, because there is so much time to spend after you reach that point. What is that "heart of the matter" of which I speak? Getting your opponent to realize that they are arguing from a standard - a worldview - that itself needs to be accounted for.

This is one of my goals to tackle - to figure out a "formula" (for lack of a better word) to accomplish this.


-- BK

Audio is Ready for "Always Ready" Study - Part 3

Well, the great people at eCamm came through and assisted me in repairing the corrupted audio from our last study recording. I have been able to mix and edit the audio, and now have it available for those who would like to listen.

Click here for audio.

-- BK

A Study of "Always Ready" - Part 3

So on Sunday the "Choosing Hats" study group met once again via Skype, and went through chapter 10 of "Always Ready". We also recorded the study - or so we thought.

At this point, I am waiting on a return email from technical support for the developer of the plugin I used to record from within Skype. All of the tests we did worked fine, but the 5.5GB!!!! file that represents our hour-long discussion now seems to be corrupt. Hopefully (God willing) they will be able to assist me in removing the source of the corruption in the file.

So for those of you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next installment ... don't slide off!

-- BK

More on the Free Will Defense

The article below on the Free Will Defense to the Problem of Evil has generated some interesting comments. Here is one that caught my attention:

Perhaps in heaven God's immediate presence naturally produces the desire to remain as such, which consistently trumps any potential desire to sin.

I don't think it is God's presence so much as it is the fact that we have been changed from the inside out.

Chapter 9 of the Westminster Confession of Faith states the following:

Chapter IX

Of Free Will

I. God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined good, or evil.

II. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom, and power to will and to do that which was good and well pleasing to God; but yet, mutably, so that he might fall from it.

III. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.

IV. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He frees him from his natural bondage under sin; and, by His grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so, as that by reason of his remaining corruption, he does not perfectly, or only, will that which is good, but does also will that which is evil.

V. The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to do good alone in the state of glory only.

Supporting scripture ...

[11] EPH 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. HEB 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. 1JO 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. JUD 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.


-- BK