The Doubter’s Dilemma

doubtDescartes [the French philosopher] sought to doubt every thought that came into his head (e.g., is he really eating an apple or only dreaming that it is so?) until he would come upon something which was indubitable. Systematic doubt would open the door to final certainty for him. Yet Descartes recognized that he could not ultimately doubt everything…

The modern-day apes of Descartes who claim they will doubt absolutely everything and accept nothing, except upon proof act or talk like arrogant fools. Nobody can doubt everything. Nobody. If a person were truly to doubt everything—his memory of past experiences, his present sensations, the “connections” between experiences, the meanings of his words, the principles by which he reasons—he would not be “thinking” at all (much less doubting), and there would be no “he” to think or not to think. A fundamental (logically basic) set of beliefs—a faith—is inescapable for anyone.

Men only succeed in deluding themselves when they say that they will not accept anything without proof or demonstration—that they allow no place for “faith” in their outlook or in the living of their lives. Accordingly, such unbelievers who criticize Christians for appealing to “faith” are intellectual hypocrites—men who cannot and do not live by their own declared standards for reasoning.

–Greg. L. Bahnsen,
Always Ready

An unworkable worldview

Greg BahnsenThe life of the unbeliever is riddled with such inconsistency. He will presuppose human dignity and attend a funeral to honor a dead friend or relative, even though he previously argued that man is, in principle, no different from any other product of evolution like a horse or dog. The unbeliever will insist that man is nothing more than a complex of bio-chemical factors controlled by the laws of physics—and then kiss his wife and children when he goes home, as though they share love with each other. He will argue than in sexual relations “anything goes” (there are no moral absolutes)—but then indignantly condemn child molesters or morally repudiate necrophilia. He will suggest that the things which happen in the universe happen randomly—by “chance”—but then turn around and look for regularities, law-like explanations of events, and uniformity or predictability in the things studied by natural science. The non-Christian does not have a workable worldview, and he exposes its weakness at every turn in his life.

–Greg L. Bahnsen
Always Ready

Breathing air that “doesn’t exist”

Imagine a person who . . . argues ‘no air exists’ but continues to breathe air while he argues. Now intellectually, atheists continue to breathe — they continue to use reason and draw scientific conclusions [which assumes an orderly universe], to make moral judgments [which assumes absolute values] — but the atheistic view of things would in theory make such ‘breathing’ impossible. They are breathing God’s air all the time they are arguing against him.

―Greg L. Bahnsen