Presuppositional Apologetics – The Myth Of Neutrality

The Myth of Neutrality

Nonbelievers frequently attempt to coerce their Christian opponents to adopt a mentality in which both the parties are looking objectively at the facts. We call this compromise position neutrality. It is widely thought in the Christian world that through reasoning in a neutral way, in which all biases are left out of the picture, the believer can, through argument, beat the nonbeliever at his own game. In other words, the Christian can objectively, using only the facts, make a case that the Word of God is authoritative. What this approach fails to realize is that both the nonbeliever and the believer rely on their respective ultimate faith commitments in order to interpret the facts. Thus there is no such thing as neutrality, and to assume neutrality essentially means that the Christian is exchanging his ultimate authority, the truth of God, for a lie, the fundamental principles of the world.

  • Neutrality is Philosophically Impossible

  • Facts Need a Reference Point

  • All facts are interpreted in light of one’s worldview. Creation itself demands a reference point in order to be understood correctly. If man is the reference point everything is seen as it relates to man, if God, then everything is seen as it relates to Him. For a particular to be interpreted in such a way that all can comprehend, it must have an eternal, invariable, and absolute reference point.

  • Epistemology demands a starting point that is self-authenticating. Different worldviews start at different points and thus contain either unproven or all sufficient assumptions by which all other facts and predication are made sense of.

  • If Epistomology is the Same for Everyone, What’s the Disagreement?

  • If there is a neutral way of looking at facts, and if everyone starts from the same premises, then what’s the disagreement? How come there is such a wide divergence of theological and philosophical systems? If individuals are merely being inconsistent with their starting points, disagreements should be infrequent and simple. However, what we find when we look at the world are worldviews that are completely antithetical.

  • When a believer accepts a nonbeliever’s starting point he is thus implicitly accepting their entire worldview, assuming that the nonbeliever is reasoning in a way consistent with his starting point. The only recourse a believer thus has, in this circumstance, is to point out where the nonbeliever is being inconsistent with his stated presupposition. Unfortunately however, this does nothing to prove the believer’s worldview which has been compromised in order to disprove the nonbeliever.

  • Neutrality is Wrong Biblically

  • God Commands us Not to be Neutral

  • Ephesians 4:17-18 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;

  • Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

  • Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

  • It Is Sinful

  • Romans 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (We are commanded to both honor God and give thanks)

  • Luke 11:23 He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.

  • James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

  • Man is Sinful, and Thus Darkened in His Understanding Making His Worldview Unredeemable

  • 2 Corinthians 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,

  • Colossians 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled

  • To Accept Neutrality Requires Compromise with Satan Himself

  • 1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

  • It is All Common Ground, But None of it is Neutral Ground.

  • Genesis 1:27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

  • Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

  • Psalm 19:1 For the choir director. A Psalm of David. The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

  • Romans 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

  • Acts 17:23 For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, I proclaim to you.

  • Though there IS NOT such a thing as neutral ground there IS such a thing as common ground. We know that the nonbeliever relies on our worldview in order to make sense of reality. This is why a nonbeliever can be a proficient scientist or artist or member of any profession imaginable and still be a nonbeliever. They are on borrowed capital so to speak. They are self-deceived reasoning in such a way that while they deny God they actually know Him. We can exploit this common ground by showing the nonbeliever that they really do believe in the God of Christianity, though they suppress that truth. What we must never do is join them in their error and somehow attempt to persuade them through their own futile system of thought.