How Do You Know Youre Not Wrong?: Responding to Objections That Leave Christians Speechless

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The following points offer a more plausible and believable alternative to skepticism, which often trips over its own skeptical methodology. Of course, the person who actually checks the dictionary or simply responds, Really?

It can also help clarify and properly nuance what we believe. Jesus himself was skeptical of the religious elite of his day and many of their theological assumptions. In the spirit of the Old Testament prophets, Jesus challenged the status quo—that is, by eating with prostitutes and other social outcasts and challenging the Jewish nationalism and religious elitism of his time.

Like the untamable Aslan of Narnia, we should be prepared for God to revise our faulty—and even idolatrous—theological perspectives and categories.

How Do You Know You're Not Wrong?: Responding to Objections That Leave Christians Speechless

And as we interact with our fellow human beings, we must be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves Matt. So a healthy skepticism is necessary. Second, the Bible takes for granted a critical realism —that a world exists independently of human minds realism ; however, intellectual and even moral discernment or sifting critical is often required in the knowledge process. Furthermore, the Bible assumes that sense perception is a means of arriving at knowledge perceptual realism or direct realism. Jesus tells us, in Matthew 6, to look at the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.

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In fact, Scripture assumes that miracles have certain observable effects a voice from heaven, a lame man walking, a leper being cleansed and that our senses are generally reliable. The Christian worldview assumes that God is truthful. This enables us to affirm the general reliability of our senses. And as Douglas Groothuis correctly observes, Jesus was a common sense realist. Our senses can give us direct access to the physical world around us.

Or I may be looking at the table in pitch darkness and then suddenly in bright light—which may distort my perception. The table has real properties, and the different perceptions individuals have of that table based on different conditions such as keenness of eyesight or available lighting only mean that one or more persons might not know the real properties of the table. A cherry-wood coffee table may not appear reddish at night we could call its apparent black coloring a transient property.

However, the table is dark red even at night we could call this a standing property. The standing color remains the same even if the transient color varies in perception from person to person based on various conditions. So the properties of the table color, size, shape, texture exist independently of our minds. Tables, chairs, trees, and stones and their properties must be distinguished from how we may perceive them. We know truly when the properties we perceive match up with the properties in the object under consideration.

Along these lines, we could also add that we can know God directly and immediately through Christ by his Spirit. As the late theologian Colin Gunton argued in his Act and Being , The gospel assures us that we can know God as he truly is. The gospel message inspires confidence that we can know God truly —even if not exhaustively.

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Third, our pursuit of knowledge involves both embracing as many true beliefs as possible and rejecting as many false ones as possible. On the other hand, what if we take the opposite approach—rejecting all beliefs and refusing to believe any claims or authorities on any topic?

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Fourth, a global or total skepticism is impossible since it rejects knowledge or the possibility of knowledge—which is itself a knowledge-claim and therefore makes the rejection of knowledge incoherent. Perhaps there are skeptics who simply want to suspend judgment altogether about whether we can know the Pyrrhonian or tentative kind. But why is this? Presumably, they know something that serves as the basis for their skepticism—that error exists, that people make mistakes, and so on.

In the spring of , I was speaking at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After I was done speaking, there was time for questions from the floor. Some of the students were out for blood!

Paul Copan

Despite his doubts about being able to know, he was very dogmatic about his position! Fifth, a chief motivation for skepticism is the fact that human beings make errors and get a lot of things wrong. But this very realization assumes that we already have some knowledge about the way things are so that we can discern error.

Philosopher Josiah Royce — observed that recognizing error assumes an awareness or knowledge of the way things really are. Skepticism claims to know that an error has been committed; it assumes that there has been a deviation from the truth. If we never realized the difference between truth and error, how could the issue ever emerge?

So we can even draw true and firm conclusions from our individual experiences of illusions and misperceptions. Clearly the skeptic draws the conclusion that skepticism is justified.

But how did he come to conclude this? He uses them all the time and places great confidence in them to do a decent job of reasoning. The skeptic also assumes his mind is working just fine and that his skeptical conclusions are trustworthy! So we should embrace a more modest kind of knowledge—that of a high degree of plausibility, greater likelihood, or a belief or set of beliefs that does the best job of explaining. In his quest for certainty, Descartes wrongly assumed that knowledge equals absolute certainty.

This action might not be possible to undo.

  1. Responding to Objections That Leave Christians Speechless;
  2. How Do You Know You're Not Wrong? | Baker Publishing Group.
  3. 33 The Story of Hope.
  5. Are you sure you want to continue? Upload Sign In Join. Save For Later. Create a List. Summary In today's postmodern world, believers more than ever before are faced with a host of objections to Christianity. Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. Box , Grand Rapids, MI www. Includes bibliographical references.

    ISBN pbk. Italics in Scripture quotations have been added by the author for emphasis. To my sister Lil, whose good humor, compassion, loyalty, and sacrifice continue to bless and encourage. Theism offers the best explanation to help us put the pieces together and connect the dots.

    Baker Apologetics Collection (30 vols.) | Logos Bible Software

    On Jesus. Wadsworth Philosophers Series. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Moreland, J. Colorado Springs: NavPress, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview. Newman, Randy. Grand Rapids: Kregel, Willard, Dallas. The Divine Conspiracy. I found this book very helpful in my teaching of apologetics; even though I strongly disagree with Paul's view that the fall introduced human death Rom. All in all, I highly recommend this book.

    Responding to Objections That Leave Christians Speechless

    It is very informative. Copan Creation Out of Nothing , a teacher of philosophy and ethics, addresses tough questions about faith and Christianity without sidestepping the reasoning of skeptics or issues of objectivity Paul Copan. In today's postmodern world, believers more than ever before are faced with a host of objections to Christianity.