I call upon You, Lord, God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob and Israel, You who are the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who, through the abundance of your mercy, was well-pleased towards us so that we may know You, who made heaven and earth, who rules over all, You who are the one and the true God, above whom there is no other God; You who, by our Lord Jesus Christ gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, give to every one who reads this writing to know You, that You alone are God, to be strengthened in You, and to avoid every heretical and godless and impious teaching.

St Irenaeus of Lyons, Against the Heresies 3:6:4

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apologetic Application of Two Classics

Over the last couple of days I’ve posted two of my favorite’s from classic literature: The Emperor’s New Clothes by the Dane, Hans Christian Anderson (A.D. 1805—1875) and “The Eagle and the Arrow”, attributed to the Samian slave “Aesop” (c. mid-6th century B.C.). I do this because they are relevant to our recent discussion of apologetics.

Both the fable and the allegory are pregnant with applications for our apologetic practice; here I’ll mention only the obvious.

I. Concerning The Emperor’s New Clothes:

1. Over the last two centuries, our culture has been visited by two rogue Weavers: Metaphysical Naturalism in the fields of science and philosophy, and her ugly twin sister, Secular Humanism in the areas of education and polity.

2. Western society (sadly much of the visible Church also) has been duped by these two swindlers. Both have claimed that those who won’t see the truth of their systems are either “unfit for the office they hold," or are "incorrigibly stupid.”

3. The Intelligentsia of the Academy (e.g., secular universities) have spun a weave around every discipline of the field of education. If one wants to retain their tenure, they must pretend to see the truth and value of evolutionary antitheism in every domain. Any idea that Darwinism may not be absolute, apodicticly certain fact will render one’s aptitude to teach as “unfit,” thus loosing their position. Moreover, any student that will not bow to the dogamtics of Darwinism is academically flayed as being “incorrigibly stupid.”

4. Secular Humanism is, say the Weavers, the only “neutral ground” between religious factions, each of whom would have their own brand of morality running the socio-political show. But, the delusion follows. Secular Humanism is a world and life view in its own right. It is an overarching theory of everything that enjoys governmental protection and immediate legislative power, which is then imposed upon the whole of society. It is not “morally/religiously neutral” but a moral and religious dogma. (For a succinct examination and critique of Secular Humanism, see Steve Galt’s series of posts, beginning here.)

5. It is the solemn duty of every Christian (2 Cor 10:3—5) to destroy these two strongholds that bulwark our depraved society against the gospel of Christ. When everyone you meet is saying, “How incomparable are the Emperor’s new clothes! What a train he has to his mantle! How it fits him!” As J.C. Ryle has said, “We [Christians] have the truth and we needn’t be ashamed to say it!” We should, then, be like the innocent little lad in Anderson’s story, being the one’s who have the honesty to say, “But these worldviews have nothing on!” (Rom 3:4).

II. Concerning The Eagle and the Arrow:

1. Since only the Christian worldview can provide the necessary preconditions of intelligibility (e.g., the laws of logic, human dignity and freedom, causality, normative ethics, et cetera), it’s perfectly unacceptable to allow the non-Christian opponent to assume these while waging an attack on the faith. We should be faithful Christian skeptics.

2. Most approaches to apologetics will grant that, e.g., logical laws and reliable patterns of reason (which make sense in terms of the Christian worldview alone) can provide an agreed, authoritative, neutral point of contact, by which the two contrary positions may be evaluated.

3. But to grant the non-Christian opponent say, logic, is the fletch the very arrow with which he intends to shoot down our holy faith. Moreover, this subjects Christ's Self-attesting authority to another authority, which is nonsensical.

4. Non-Christian systems simply cannot provide the necessary grounding to make sense of the laws of logic, and therefore, must assume the truth of the Christian worldview in order to argue for its falsehood.

5. If we wish to see the Lordship of Christ fly over all, to the ends of the earth, it must begin with us and our approach to contrary systems and philosophies. We cannot give to Christ’s opponents the very weapons (e.g., logic, science, morality) with which to wages their attack.

Any further thoughts?

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