Tag Archives: Cumulative Case Apologetics

I’m glad I got off the merry-go-round

Again, I think that all apologetics is useless.

But, if I had to have one, I might look at Cumulative Case Apologetics.

Advocates

  1. Paul Feinberg
  2. C.S. Lewis
  3. C. Stephen Evans
  4. Basil Mitchell
  5. Richard Swinburne

Advocates of the “cumulative case” method say the nature of the case for Christianity is not in any strict sense a formal argument from probability. In the words of Basil Mitchell, the cumulative case method does “not conform to the ordinary pattern of deductive or inductive reasoning.” The case is more like the brief that a lawyer makes in a court of law or that a literary critic makes for a particular interpretation of a book. To see some examples ofthe cumulative case method, see the list of articles below. The cumulative case method is an informal argument that pieces together several lines or types of data into a sort of hypothesis or theory that comprehensively explains that data and does so better that any alternative hypothesis. Paul Feinberg says that “Christian theists are urging that [Christianity] makes better sense of all the evidence available than does any other alternative worldview, whether that alternative is some other theistic view or atheism.” The data that the cumulative case seeks to explain include the existence and nature of the cosmos, the reality of religious experience, the objectivity of morality, and other certain historical facts, such as the resurrection of Jesus.

A Word From Experience

The theist is not opposed to providing evidential support for their beliefs. However, before an individual evaluates the evidence, it must be acknowledged that a person’s response to an argument will always be influenced by his/her past and present personal history. Hence, it is folly to divorce the objective and subjective nature of evaluating arguments and evidence for God’s existence. Therefore, arguments for God’s existence will always have both a logical and psychological element. Also, there is a relationship between BELIEF THAT and BELIEF IN. For example, in James 2:19, it says the demons believe THAT God exists. Apologetics (giving reasons for the truthfulness of the Christian faith) may serve as a valuable medium through which God can operate, but faith is never the product of historical facts or evidence alone. Everyone takes their past and present history into examining the existence of God. Sin and a hardened heart can dampen a person’s receptivity to God’s invitation to them. (here)

For more, see here and here.

Now, Jason has entered the argument. Now, I don’t expect Jason to be a dishonest person, and while he calls me dishonest – which is out of his character – let me show you exactly what is going on here:

Finally, Joel states ,

When we feel we must infer something upon Scripture, then we are denying the authority of Scripture.

This is definitely an issue of dishonesty. Joel has stated that he does not believe in the authority of Scripture, but he now claims that presuppositionalists are denying the authority of Scripture. One cannot eat his cake and have it, too.

Um, here’s the problem. This is what I said…

Inerrancy and scriptural authority is the straw man, Jason. So to is the doctrine of perspicuity. These things are circular logic

Now, in what world is that me saying that I do not believe in the authority of Scripture? As a matter of fact, I have in countless times affirmed it. The issue is, is that Jason doesn’t have the same view of the ‘authority of Scripture’ as I am most Christians do. Again, I refer him to Karl Barth. The fact is, is that Jason uses the mythical ‘authority of Scripture’ as a way to put down those who do not agree with him. Further, presuppositional apologetics, obviously which Jason is a fan, is exactly what Barth said it was and does what he said it does. It takes away from the actual authority of Scripture because it makes the final source of truth the person first suggesting the presupposition.

Further, Jason comments,

Furthermore, the statement of Joel’s  is simply nonsense. It is meaningless, because to infer is to arrive at something through reasoning. You do not infer something UPON Scripture: you infer FROM Scripture. And that is what presuppositionalists do.

The problem is, beyond the ad homs, is the presuppositionalists are inferring upon Scripture several things. First, that it is in ‘infallible’. Second, that it is some sort of ‘special revelation.’ Now, considering that Scripture doesn’t claim for itself neither of those two things, is to infer upon Scripture a status that it does not claim for itself. Now, as discovered through the apologetists, presupposition upon which all hang, or rather, since they all hang upon one another, then Scripture must be inferred to be infallible or their apology falls apart, and if their apology falls apart, where does it leave their God?

Now, Jason can continue to call me intellectually dishonest, but he must challenge others – actual apologists, and even those who hold to the same view as he, which claim and show that presuppositional apologetics is nothing by circular reasoning which is a logical fallacy. From a comment here:

As Frame says, “But are we not still forced to say, ‘God exists (presupposition), therefore God exists (conclusion),’ and isn’t that argument clearly circular? Yes, in a way. But that is unavoidable for any system, any worldview. One cannot argue for an ultimate standard by appealing to a different standard. That would be inconsistent.” (Five Views on Apologetics, p217)

William Lane Craig says, “Presuppositionalism commits the informal fallacy of begging the question, for it advocates presupposing the truth of Christian theism in order to prove Christian theism. It is difficult to imagine how anyone could with a straight face think to show theism to be true by reasoning, ‘God exists, therefore God exists.’ A Christian theist himself will deny that question-begging arguments prove anything.” (p233)

In the same book, Habermas shows that Frame commits the logical fallacy of a false analogy.

I’m glad I got off the merry-go-round.