A CONSERVATIVE CHOICE FOR THE MINORITY'S VOICE

Whose Common Sense?


By Gary DeMar

For some time now I have been receiving emails from a belligerent atheist. Some of his emails are so vile that to describe them in general terms would be enough to offend you. Atheists are like a tube of toothpaste. The harder you squeeze them to be consistent with their operating assumptions, the more they spill what is really contained deep in their God-hating soul. Jesus described it this way: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matt. 15:19). For all their claims that atheists can be moral without God, this particular emailer proves that the more consistent an atheist becomes with his worldview assumptions, the more ethically unhinged and irrational he becomes. He spews despicable invectives, makes intimidating legal threats, and even threatens me physically. All in a day’s work at American Vision.

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Atheists cannot construct a moral worldview given the consistent application of atheistic assumptions. We need to squeeze atheists until they admit that morality is a banal superstition that was manufactured by religion. If atheists want to rid the world of religion, then morality, which is based on religion, must be swept away with it. We make a mistake when we agree that there is rational and moral common ground with atheists. No such common ground exists except within the circle of a Christian worldview. Never give in on this point. Never say, “We can agree that murder and rape are immoral.” An atheist must borrow from the Christian worldview in order to make this claim. Don’t let him do it. Force him or her to operate from the foundation of a consistent materialistic worldview.

Michael Horton makes the mistake of moral and rational commonality when he argues as follows:

What we are in desperate need of again in our day is a recovery of this “Common Sense Realism” that requires skeptics and Christians to argue their cases on the same basis of intellectual inquiry, instead of the common caricature (made too real by Christians themselves) that “secular” truth (viz., the history of the Battle of Waterloo) can be known by commonsense attention to reports and details, whereas “spiritual” truth (viz., the Resurrection) can be known by a leap of presumption that we have come to call “faith.”1

This misses the point. Skeptics begin with the premise that miracles are impossible. The facts, no matter how well they line up with standard methods of historical inquiry (e.g., Luke 1:1–4), are dismissed presuppositionally. The facts must be wrong because given science’s assumptions about dead bodies, dead bodies don’t come back to life. The challenge must be made to the underlying assumptions of a person’s worldview. Horton points this out when he writes that “whenever a scientist, philosopher, or historian argues that the Resurrection could not have happened because resurrections don’t happen, he is using a circular argument.”2 Absolutely true and on the money. He goes on to point out that “David Hume, the pivotal Enlightenment philosopher who denied the miraculous, at least realized that he was making an a priori, presuppositional commitment to the impossibility of the miraculous, but many scientists and thinkers today naively believe that their rejection of the supernatural, theistic worldview is based on facts, although it is only based on dogmatic, blind faith in naturalism.”3 Knowing this, Horton spoils his argument by stating the following: “All that the Christian requires, arguing on the grounds of Common Sense Realism, is that both parties be willing to work inductively, from particular facts to general conclusions.”4 But this is what the skeptic will not do. The skeptic’s understanding of what constitutes a “fact” is not the same for a Christian, even though it should be. For a Christian, it’s common sense that if God can create the world then He can reanimate a dead man. What’s true in the greater case is certainly true in the lesser case. Paul applied this simple bit of logic in his discussion with Agrippa: “Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?” (Acts 26:8). Within the context of a Christian worldview a resurrection is Common Sense Realism because with God all things are possible. To be continued. . .  


1 Michael Horton, Where in the World is the Church? A Christian View of Culture and Your Role in It (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, [1995] 2002), 131.

2 Horton, Where in the World is the Church?, 131.

3 Horton, Where in the World is the Church?, 131.

4 Horton, Where in the World is the Church?, 132.

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