Copyright © 1998 Jack Kettler
Biblically speaking, holding philosophical beliefs that contain internally self-refuting contradictions is an expression of irrationalism. It can also be a case of inexcusable ignorance. Ultimately, all non-Christian philosophy starts with bold rationalistic assertions about reality and ends up in irrationalism. The philosophy of logical positivism is one example. The positivist philosophy can be described as empiricism (all knowledge comes through sensations) with a vengeance. This positivist philosophy is a vengeance against all metaphysical statements. A popular contemporary form of empiricism that derives from John Locke is known as the theory that the mind at birth is a blank tablet (tabula rasa) and then assimilates knowledge through sensations. This theory could be called the "blank mind theory" of knowledge.
The Positivist School boldly asserted as it's starting principle that they will only accept what can be verified empirically. The positivists would accept a statement like "some cars are red," because this could be verified empirically. A color-blind person would have to take this statement by faith. A statement like "God exists" would be rejected since God cannot be brought into a science laboratory and inspected. Once upon a time, someone asked, "How does the positivist school verify its own starting principle empirically?" With that question, the empirical, positivist school collapsed. There are still those who promote elements of this philosophically discredited theory, not realizing that in doing so they have become an irrationalist, or guilty of inexcusable ignorance. Positivism collapsed because, as in all non-Christian philosophy, it contains its own internally self-refuting contradiction. This positivist contradiction is in the same category as with those who assert "there is no truth." Supposedly, this assertion is true.
Many non-Christians hold to a materialistic atheistic world-view. Adherents of this pagan world-view proclaim their belief in the laws of science, morality, and logic. It should be noted that adherents of this world-view have never shown how the laws of science, morality, and logic can ever arise in a materialistic universe. Non-Christians who hold this world-view continue to proclaim their belief in such things without showing how their system can account for them. This is philosophically called "begging the question." In the area of morality for example, the non-Christian is unable to define the difference between right and wrong in terms of his world-view or belief system. Today, many see this ignorance as a virtue. If Biblical absolutes are rejected, it is meaningless to even talk about right and wrong.
In a materialistic atheistic world-view, laws against evil, such as murder, are merely arbitrary social formalities. For example, in pagan democracies the laws change when a mere fifty-one percent of the population is swayed in a different direction. When it comes to knowing the difference between right and wrong many non-Christians act as though they have a blank mind. Pagan attempts to define right from wrong are arbitrary, or they borrow definitions from the Christian world-view in order to escape the utter bankruptcy of their own world-view.
Matter is silent; it does not speak. It does not say what is right or what is wrong. The definition between good and evil is found in the Bible. God is not silent. For example, the definition of murder is found in the case laws of the Old Testament. The Bible even defines precisely the difference between pre-meditated murder and manslaughter. Only the Christian world-view can account for the laws of science, morality, and logic. This is because God is the creator of the world, and we understand all things as defined and interpreted by Him in Holy Scripture. Nothing exists apart from His definition. Since God governs the universe, we can under normal providential conditions use scientific procedures to help us systematically understand how elements of the world function. God speaks to us in scripture with human language utilizing logically structured sentences in which He tells us the difference between right and wrong. Because God has spoken, the Christian has a Biblical basis for the laws of science, morality, and logic. Only in Christ Jesus can one find answers to the questions of life. In Christ Jesus alone can one find the basis for truth and absolutes. All pagan philosophy suppresses the truth in unrighteousness and ends in internally self-refuting irrationalistic contradictions. CM
Nothing in the above article should be understood as being original with me. I am indebted Biblically and philosophically for the above comments to Francis A. Schaeffer, Gordon H. Clark, Cornelius Van Til, and Greg Bahnsen.
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