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44 Philosophical Blunders

This page gives my answers to 44 of my favorite bad ideas in philosophy, along with my own condensed answers. It functions as an outline of much of my philosophical project, especially focusing on epistemology. Many future posts will elaborate on the points found here.

As you read the blunders, try quizzing yourself. If you know it’s wrong, can you explain the issue? Enjoy!

Why Believe the Bible? Evidentialism.

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In response to a previous post, a friend of mine asked, “How can you know that the Bible is true, that it is inspired by God, or that it is inerrant, without appealing to the Bible as the source for these claims?”

My friend was pointing out that Christians tend to make a circular claim: We know the Bible is true because it is God’s word–We know it is God’s word because it says it is–God wouldn’t lie.

Of course, this answer fails to address the unbeliever’s question: “What if someone else wrote the Bible and only claimed it was from God?”

What Does Faith in Jesus Rest On?

Always have a ready defense for the hope within you, says 1 Peter 3:15. What is that defense?

Some Christians will tell you they believe God’s Word, and he is God, and that settles it. But this kind of argument is no defense. It isn’t even logical. It presupposes the very thing it sets out to defend.

Growing up in a variety of churches, I had the chance to hear diverse perspectives. What is faith? Why should we have faith? Some people told me it was wrong to ask too many questions or to have doubts. Others said questions and doubts were part of the process of taking an idea seriously. It’s not bad to doubt, if you work through that doubt and find the truth.

How to Surrender No Premise

When disputing or discussing, it’s common to grant an opponent’s premise for the sake of argument. But we don’t always need to, and it’s not always desirable.

Take this example:

One who supports “Planned Parenthood” and the harvesting of infant body parts argues as follows:

“I thought that according to Christianity all babies go to heaven anyway. So why do you care?”

See what the person is doing? He’s not advocating for his own position, but seeking merely to reduce the Christian view to absurdity.

Understanding and Then Faith

Imagine that the Apostle John approached you and said, “Believe in Jesus. Later I will tell you who he was and what he did.” What would be the content of your belief? Faith must be in something. A level of understanding precedes faith. Faith then opens the door for greater understanding.

A famous 20th Century theologian, Cornelius Van Til, argued the reverse. He argued that, unless God exists, no understanding can be possible to man.