Unfortunately, there are very little examples of high profile presuppositionalism debates with atheists. I’m the first to admit that lacking a belief doesn’t explain anything. I think it’s the best book that has ever been written on atheism. Greg Bahnsen’s debate with Gordon Stein has become something of a legend in our circles. As Christians, we do not give up our intellect when we believe in God or follow the Scriptures, and so since the issue is epistemology, this may not be what your hearers would like to get into perhaps, but we need to talk about what amounts to proof and what amounts to knowledge and how these things are possible. . Dr. Greg Bahnsen versus Dr. Gordon Stein At the University of California, Irvine, 1985 SEGMENT ONE I. It may strike you as being as easy as a Sunday school child’s understanding, but if I’ve got a Heavenly Father who created the entire universe and controls every detail, even to the hairs on my head, and I say of this creative personality who has this sovereign might and plan that he sees to it that gravity holds on planet Earth day by day by day—that does in fact explain it, but it may not be the explanation that you want. I don’t mean by that, of course, anything like what the early Christians struggled with, whether Aristotle or Plato had learned about Moses and through Moses and so forth. . Stein: I would say no. But that would also be the premise that I would approach an atheist or unbeliever with. Have you ever tasted one, smelled one—. The old conundrum from the days of Plato has supposedly been, well if God does this simply on the basis of his sheer volition, he just wills murder to be wrong, then of course tomorrow he could will murder to be right. If he says that the statement is true by logic or reason, then he is engaging in circular reasoning; and he's begging the question which he [supposedly] forbids. (Both links open in a new window). Max: Come on! One of the original pillars of Christian Reconstruction, Bahnsen was a leading proponent of theonomy, postmillennialism, and presuppositional apologetics. There’s nothing implicitly theistic about me saying A is A. . After the completion of the operation, serious complications developed within twenty-four hours. Smith: Well, see, you’re going from the unknown to the known. Bahnsen: Well, that certainly is natural, but that’s not at all what you mean by reason, I assure you, when you talk about the use of the laws of logic, because your brain cells are not being controlled by anything like the laws of logic. I didn’t ask for an explanation of an abstraction, as though you’ve go to give me some sort of causal story of where the abstraction came from. You can now listen to the remastered versions right here, brought you by the Reformed Wiki. Dr. Bahnsen: Are they material in nature? A search of his name on this site will yield the record of the progress I hope I’ve made. I was being general when [I] talked about the atheist worldview. Why does it bother you to be destructive of human life? Then what you’re talking about is electrochemical processes in the brain. But it seems to me what the caller might be getting at is the philosophical problem of the origin of life. I was devoutly religious. Moderator: . Dr. Stein: I’m asking for an answer to a question and I didn’t get one. Smith: But we can agree at least to begin with that even though I do not disagree. I can talk about the table being in front of me, now if you want to say I have faith that the table is there, without getting into that sort of argument, I think that’s absurd. Moderator: Well, let’s do this—let’s take a break. I had many what I call religious experiences. Is that arbitrary? He is also considered a contributor to the field of Christian apologetics, as he popularized the presuppositional method of Cornelius Van Til. So, now I would continue the discussion. Bahnsen: I would argue that there isn’t any proper reasoning apart from the foundation of belief in God. What I’m saying is in each and every single case, those who reject the worldview that I’m describing as Biblical Christianity are not able to make sense out of proof and science and ethics and so forth. I’m going from the known to the known. . He first began reading the apologetics of Cornelius Van Til when in high school. Stay with us. I know that Christians often have the reputation for not being critically minded, and I think that’s probably a failing on our part when we’re like that. If George believes that this is a reversible claim, then, of course, we need to engage in some rational combat here and talk about that. Bahnsen: Well, let me suggest first of all that you’re right that there is no one atheist worldview in the sense that all atheists agree with each other about epistemology, and ethics, and metaphysics. Now, of course, George doesn’t outwardly worship God; he doesn’t go to a Christian church; he doesn’t profess faith in Christ; he doesn’t believe the Bible and all sorts of things; and I take him very seriously about that. So, he argued that even with original sin it was still possible for human beings through the use of reason to discern certain natural laws. I’m very familiar with the precepts of reasoning and rules of logic, etc. Smith: Yeah, and I’ve been asked before the question what it would take to convince me. Bahnsen: That’s the question I’m going to ask you. 1.1 The … . Are you talking about the preponderance of evidence? I would say to you Greg, “You know, Greg, you really couldn’t reason if it weren’t for the existence of a Blark! Bahnsen: Well, now. Hierdie is die derde artikel in ons hoe/hoekom reeks. Let’s go to Tina, first time caller from Covina. Reason exists naturally. They argued, kind of, that some of the Greek philosophers had gotten their wisdom from Moses, and they went around in circles trying to justify how anyone who obviously were not Christians—because it was before the time of Christianity—could’ve received true knowledge. The Christian Libertarian Institute’s Doug Stuart interviewed me about Christ, Capital & Liberty. Greg Bahnsen’s debate with Gordon Stein has become something of a legend in our circles. And that’s the problem I have, and in many cases when I ask what do you mean by God? The name of his book is . I think the question of first cause arguments has not been adequately dealt with if you only talk about the overly general approach to the cosmological argument that says everything has to have a cause, and then the question naturally is: Does God have to have a cause? We must admit that it has been rare for a presuppositionalist to actually debate an unbeliever. In 1970 Bahnsen graduated magna cum laude from Westmont College, receiving his B.A. But there seems to be no other structure capable of drawing such clear contrasts between two positions, before a live audience. As far as this idea of faith and trust in another, you know, there’s nothing wrong with that use of faith. . Stein Cross-Examines Bahnsen Immaterial Things . It was the debate of the century: Does God Exist? Benny you’re on KKLA. Hierdie is die vierde artikel in ons Hoe/Hoekom reeks. Smith: Well, I’ve already given it, but Greg raised a point, which is a very common misconception that somehow defining atheism as the absence of belief as opposed to what’s called the positive definition, the outright denial, etc., the idiosyncratic definition. [3] He published numerous articles and has over 1700 audio tapes, videos, articles, and books to his name. 1949) took place at Los Angeles radio station KKLA FM 99.5. It’s accounting for abstractions, which you can’t do.

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