Having been recently promoted to associate professor, I was invited to give a short lecture at our Fall convocation service last week. The audio of the lecture (“The Atheist’s Guide to Intellectual Suicide”) is now available on iTunes U.
On a closely related note, check out these good thoughts by my colleague Mike Kruger on the current state of public debate over moral issues.
By this rejection of God, agnosticism has embraced complete relativism. Yet this relativism must furnish a basis for the rejection of the absolute. Accordingly, the standard of self-contradiction taken for granted by antitheistic thought presupposes the absolute for its operation. Antitheism presupposes theism. One must stand upon the solid ground of theism to be an effective antitheist.
(Cornelius Van Til, A Survey of Christian Epistemology, p. xi)
“Antitheism presupposes theism” is one of Van Til’s best lines, because it captures in a nutshell the genius of presuppositional apologetics. It’s not merely that theism is true; it’s not merely that theism can be shown to be true; it’s that theism can be shown to be true by any attempt to prove it false. One can prove theism to be false only if, as a matter of fundamental metaphysical fact, theism is true — which is just to say that antitheism is self-defeating.
H. Richard Niebuhr famously skewered the liberal Protestantism of his day with this distillation of its message:
A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.
Seven decades later, some Dutch clergy are taking it to the next logical level: a God without existence brings men without beliefs into a kingdom without hope through the ministrations of a Christ without a life.
What would have functioned as a parody of liberalism a generation or two ago is now a tragic, pathetic reality. Abraham Kuyper must be spinning in his grave.
Thankfully there are still many thousands in the Netherlands who have not bowed the knee. Pray for them — and for revival in their homeland.
The words “Not recommended” in bold red font at the top of the review make it look as though I’m more down on Ward’s book than I am, but the review itself should make clear why, despite the cogency of its central argument, I couldn’t recommend the book for DR’s particular constituency.