Cutting Both Ways

One big thing I like about presuppositionalism is that it gives me these special gloves—gauntlets, I guess—that I can use in one of two ways. I can throw them down, of course. But I can also catch swords when they’re swung at me. I catch the sword, pull it out of my assailant’s hands, and swing it back. (Now I mean this all metaphorically, and this all usually takes place inside my head. I do not believe we should “repay evil for evil, reviling for reviling.”)

One small example: people will occasionally criticize Christian higher education by saying, “Don’t you think you should let your kids out of the cocoon and let them be challenged and enriched by the alternative viewpoints they’ll find at secular universities?”

I execute my sword-grabbing move and swing back: “Are any secularist parents doing this? Are any of them sending their children to Christian universities?”

Image courtesy of bit.ly/1GIv9Mo
Image courtesy of bit.ly/1GIv9Mo

The secularist challenge to Christian Higher Ed implies something that’s partly true, namely that secular universities are a multicultural arena where students will encounter many viewpoints. It is the mark of secularism’s success that few people think that the arena itself has a viewpoint.

But it does. Secularism is a faith—a faith that man can live without faith, that he can get along just fine without any access or appeal to the transcendent order of things. No empirical studies have demonstrated such a thing—and even if they did (or could), we’d still have to believe that empirical studies are the best way to determine large-scale truth claims such as “Secularism provides the best underpinning for human society.” We can’t get by without believing in at least something we can’t see.

Why don’t secularist parents send their kids to Bob Jones University, where they’ll encounter a unified (though not identical everywhere), biblically based viewpoint? Because, among other things, secularist parents don’t want their kids to lose their faith.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

3 thoughts on “Cutting Both Ways”

  1. Well said, and logically argued. Now explain to me why so many Christians are so gullible? Why does the world intrinsically understand what Christians refuse to acknowledge? It’s true about higher education, it’s true about many other things that ought to be self-evident and altogether outside the realm of the debatable. Of course, I think we already know why this is. It’s an ever-present carnal fascination with the things of the world dressed up in spiritual garb to hide it’s true nature. We are ever adept at self-deception.

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