Recalling my own experience at ETSU (graduate and undergraduate), I was intrigued to read Robert Carver’s column of Sept. 7 (College challenges people to question sacred beliefs).
Therein he bore heartfelt witness to his perceived intellectual salvation from Christianity.
Such testimony is not rare, especially in Northeast Tennessee where many churches commonly emphasize the emotions to the exclusion of the intellect. Children raised in these churches often fall prey to the seductive eloquence of their favorite professors.
The young students have been intellectually starved so long that they eagerly devour anything that vaguely resembles food in the mind.
Even if they don’t experience atheistic conversion like Mr. Carver, the students graduate with the notion that there is no rational basis for Christianity.
And such a one was I. I clung to a faith I could not defend against vain philosophers and worldly wise men.
Then, much as Mr. Carver met Plato and company, I met the great philosopher/theologian Cornelius Van Til.
Dr. Van Til told me that all people approach life with presuppositions which compose their world view. He also pointed out that all reasoning is circular because every person believes the facts support his or her presuppositions.
Dr. Van Til, however, did not stop at this point. He explained that Christianity was not one among many possible world views, but the only world view that provides a consistent framework for rational thought.
True, many non-Christians can think rationally, but they do so in spite of their respective world views. They must borrow from the Christian world view in order to enjoy the benefits of rationality.
Ironically, some would even use these borrowed tools to attack the God of the Bible. In so doing they are like the little child who must crawl into her father’s lap to slap him in the face.
Honesty and consistency demand that one either bow in humble submission before the sovereign Creator or admit that the laws of logic are but an illusion, rationality is but a dream, and argumentation is useless apart from any pleasure it might offer the participants.
I challenge every reader to meet this demand.
J. Michael Ramey