Re[2]: The Thomas Trap

Gladwin Joseph (
Fri, 20 Nov 1998 09:53:36 -0800

Dear George, Glenn and the others,

I have read with much interest your dialogue on approaches to
apologetics. It appears that the context of the community to which
one is called to witness may determine which approaches one takes. In
the East and to the Eastern mind though, I would posit that the kind
of apologetics that works is some type of existential apologetics -
The life lived individually and as a community - rather than evidence
be it `factual' or presuppositional. I think George alluded to that in
one of his earlier posts. I think that the church has gained ground
and still does primarily through a form of existential apologetics,
not negating the need for and the importance of the different
apologetical methods talked about here.

Finally is there room for contextual apologetics with no compromise on
the witness of our lives?

Thank you for your posts for they help clarify issues for me.

God bless


______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: The Thomas Trap
Author: George Murphy <> at Internet_Gateway
Date: 11/20/98 9:11 AM

Moorad Alexanian wrote:
> At 09:59 PM 11/19/98 -0500, George Murphy wrote:
> [deleted]
> > Well, if someone finds a skeleton unmitakeably identifiable as that of
> >of Nazareth there would be such a misfit.
> > But my approach to apologetics is more fundamental and more
> >Christian than the one for which you argue. It makes use of the fact that
> one must
> >begin with presuppositions, and then evaluate those presuppositions _a
> posteriori_
> >from their results. That is the way science works. Einstein didn't first
> "prove" that
> >c is the same for all observers. He _assumed_ it and then showed that a
> coherent theory
> [deleted]
> It is true that without presuppositions, humans cannot reason. There is
> something in the nature of man that makes it a thinking machine. Citing the
> way we do science is a good way of illustrating that machine but it goes
> beyond science. Humans are also "detectors" of the nonphysical--read
> spiritual. The spiritual realm is totally foreign to a truly mechanical,
> thinking machine. The spiritual realm can never be detected by scientific
> measuring devices. [All the data of science can be gathered by real,
> nonthinking machines.] Kant indicated that the notions of space and time
> are a priori in the human. I believe there are such spiritual notions which
> are inherent to man also.

An interesting analogy. Torrance has cited it to, but to the opposite
Kant thought that Euclidean geometry was an a priori notion & that we have to
see the
world as Euclidean. The development of non-Euclidean geometries & Einstein's
use of
them to gain greater understanding of the physical world showed that Kant was
wrong - &
not only about Euclid. We must try to understand the world in the way in which
actually is given to us, not in terms of presuppositions formed before we look
at the
& the point Torrance has made is that the same is true of God and God's
relationship with the world. A notion of God based on a supposed natural or
inherent knowledge of God is likely to be as misleading as an a priori
assumption of
Euclidean geometry. We must instead try to understand God in accord with the
way in
which God actually gives himself to us, in the historical revelation which
culminates in
Jesus Christ. Thus "natural theology" is not an independent preparation for
Christian theology, but should be seen explicitly as a _part_ of proper

George L. Murphy