Finding Truth Study Guide: Chapter 1 Questions 16-19

Finishing up Chapter 1.

Principle #4: Test the Idol: Does It Contradict Itself?

  1. Define self-referential absurdity. Give an example of how the argument works.

Self-referential absurdity obtains when a proposition fails its own test. Examples are:

  • There are no truths.
  • I cannot speak a word of English.
  • There are no English sentences more than three words long.
  • Consciousness is an illusion.
  1. Explain why idol-based worldviews refute themselves. The text says that adherents of reductionist worldviews “have to borrow Christianity’s high view of reason in order to give reasons for their view.” Explain what that means.

Idol-based worldviews reduce humans to something less than rational beings, but claim to be rational in doing so; therefore they refute themselves. When those who hold these worldviews defend them, they have to assume a view of reason that is much more at home in the Christian worldview. As Frank Turek says, “they have to climb into God’s lap to slap his face.”

Principle #5: Replace the Idol: Make the Case for Christianity

  1. “What a powerful image of people caught in cognitive dissonance, reaching out to grab on to truths that their own worldviews deny—truths that only a Christian worldview logically supports.” Unpack this sentence. Explain how secular thinkers are trying to hold on to truths that are logically supported only by Christianity.

Coincidentally, just a few months before this book went to print, Frank Turek published a book called Stealing From God: Why Atheists Need God To Make Their Case. In it, Turek points out that atheists claim to hold to principles like causality, reason, information and intentionality, morality, evil, and science. None of these principles can work outside the Christian worldview. [1]

Liberated Minds

  1. Dialogue: When Finding Truth was in manuscript form, I taught a class using it as a text. One student, a father of pre-teens, said, “Your book is convicting me that I brush off my kids when they have questions about Christianity. I have made a commitment that from now on, I will listen to my children and treat their questions seriously.”

But another student, a young woman from El Salvador, rejected the very idea of apologetics. In her view, the use of reason to defend Christianity is a matter of “pride” and “the flesh.” “Christians should rely on the Holy Spirit,” she said, quoting Paul:

“Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” and “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 1:20; 2:2). Write a dialogue as if you are speaking with the young woman from El Salvador. How would you persuade this woman that it is valid for Christians to defend their convictions?

In this dialogue, I would note that this woman had just offered an argument for her view and even cited Scripture in support of it. I would ask her why she was not relying on the Holy Spirit, and why was her use of reason not a matter of pride and the flesh? It seems to me she recognized the value of apologetics even as she denied it.

[1] For a summary/review of Turek’s book, see https://apologeticsminion.com/2015/03/06/stealing-from-god/

Author: apologeticsminion

Daniel has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. He is married and has four grown children. Professionally, Daniel is a sign language interpreter.

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