Writings on Christianity

Six Fundamental Truths of Theistic Philosophy (Tsouloufis)

My friend Dan Tsouloufis is passionate about teaching and helping Christians thinking critically about their faith.  He gave me permission to share something he wrote to help Christians defend and consider a biblical worldview.  Here it is:

The Six Fundamental Truths of Theistic Philosophy

                (From a Judeo-Christian Worldview)  by DanTsouloufis

I feel compelled to write about and defend the Christian worldview, since much of the culture is very secular and often anti-Christian. Thus, I like to write about and discuss not only the faith aspect of Christianity, but also the intellectual aspect, to demonstrate that faith is grounded in and supported by rational principles and arguments. I don’t believe that faith and reason are incompatible with each other, since God gave us our minds and we are created in His image.

Listed below are six fundamental truth claims which are foundational to maintaining a coherent and logically consistent worldview.

Number one: Matter and energy did not come from nothing. Something must have caused them to be. Every event that comes to be must have a cause, since there cannot be an infinite regression of causes. The ultimate first cause of the physical universe must have come from outside of and transcend the physical universe. Thus the first cause of the universe must have originated from an uncaused, self-existent immaterial or spiritual being, which of course we believe is God.

Number two: Knowledge is only possible when there is a coherent foundation to reality. This acknowledgement of a coherent, rational order of the universe is a necessary presupposition for acquiring knowledge, discerning truth, and doing science. Whether one accepts or denies this presupposition, it would be impossible to practice science (or mathematics or physics) in a random, disorderly universe. Thus, we accept the presupposition that God is the ultimate foundation of reality, order, and rationality.

Number three: Truth is that which corresponds to reality. For instance: 2 + 2 = 4. This is always absolute, and does not depend on our sense perception (or our emotions) for its veracity. It is not merely a personal judgment or an opinion. Therefore, it is proof of absolute truth. Moreover, it is also proof of an inherent order in nature, guided by an intelligent principle or being, which of course we believe is God.

Number four: One can never assert that there are no absolutes, because that is a logical contradiction. My reply would be simple: “Are you absolutely sure there are no absolutes?” And of course you would not be able to say “yes” without contradicting yourself, thus rendering your claim false to begin with.

Number five: Truth can never be relative. That would be another logical contradiction. Note: I’m referring to truth here in its highest sense, of that which corresponds to reality. For example, you might contend that Statement A is a true statement, even if I believe it to be categorically false. In this case either one of us is right or both of us are wrong. We cannot both be right at the same time in the same instance. However, if you believe that truth is relative, then you would say that Statement A is true (for you) and my Statement is true (for me). My reply again would be simple: “I believe Statement A is completely false, is my Statement true?”
You would be forced to say “yes”, thus rendering the relativity of truth an illusion.

Number six: Ethics must be objective, not subjective, for the well-being of society. Moral judgments are only meaningful, and rational, if they transcend the subjective self. Unless there is a basis upon which they are firmly rooted and grounded, any moral judgments or claims are, in reality, unjustifiable, and therefore insufficient. If moral judgments are based solely on one’s own standard (i.e. the subjective self) then one cannot lay just claim against another regarding the propriety of that person’s standard, which is his own. Ethics and morals, then, are thus relegated to one’s personal whims and feelings, however fickle and unreasonable those may be. This of course is absurd (and potentially dangerous) because some actions and behaviors are inherently right and some are inherently wrong. The well-being of a civilized society depends on that basic premise. But if we deny the objective moral reference point from which the justification of that premise derives (i.e. the transcendent God) then ethics and morals are ultimately meaningless and arbitrary.

By Tom Schmidt

Christian, husband of Rach, Church Planter,musician,

3 replies on “Six Fundamental Truths of Theistic Philosophy (Tsouloufis)”

Good thoughts here, but what about the fact that underlying all of these assertions is the fact that nothing can even be asserted without the presupposition of God at its core? It seems that presuppositions are left unstated, and therefore assumed here. Non-Christian philosophers will have their own presuppositions and see this completely differently.

For instance, Tsouloufis asserts that “matter and energy did not come from nothing.” Behind this assertion is the unstated presupposition that all things have an originating cause; e.g., if I kick a ball, it will travel in the direction I kick it, according to the force with which I kicked it, and be slowed by any resistance it might encounter. But wherever it ends, it ended there beCAUSE of an outside force placing it there. This is a very simple representation of the argument for the current state of the universe.

However, if we may return to the unstated presupposition, let’s try to think like an atheist. Do all things require an originating cause? This is a trap. If the Christian Theist answers, “No,” the argument becomes nullified. If the Christian Theist answers, “Yes,” then the follow-up question needs only be, “Then does God require an originating cause?” Obviously, God does not require this, but if we are assuming that “all things have an originating cause,” this includes God and we have contradicted our beliefs.

I share the six philosophical commitments listed above, but I think they are only really helpful apologetically and polemically once we’ve rightly understood and stated our presuppositional commitments as Christian Theists. The real issue is not, in my opinion, the results of these presuppositions (#1-6 above), but the presuppositions themselves. Because man is depraved, he will not, apart from grace, accept these presuppositions, and will continue to use whichever presuppositions he has come up with on his own, and reaching whichever philosophical stances seem right in his own eyes.

Hi Clint,

Thanks for your feedback. There’s one piece of info I sent to Tom via email but didn’t include in my short apologetics piece, which is critical to the subject matter at hand.

You see, my short piece was my attempt at articulating a case for the Western, Judeo-Christian worldview from a “Theistic” perspective in a pluralistic world.

Thus, it’s a case of evidential apologetics, which of course can only lead us to Theism. But that was my only intention here, and I tried to narrow down my worldview argument to six points (or truth claims). So I hope that clears up some confusion.

However, I don’t think I left “unstated” my overall presupposition of God. In the first truth claim I stated, “Thus the first cause of the universe must have originated from an uncaused, self-existent immaterial or spiritual being, which of course we believe is God.” In the second truth claim I stated, “Thus, we accept the presupposition that God is the ultimate foundation of reality, order, and rationality.”

I hope my additional feedback was helpful.

I wanted to add some additional thoughts on my view of apologetics.

I’m a big proponent of presuppositional apologetics. I think the classic work on the subject is “The Defense of the Faith” by Cornelius Van Til. I believe that evidential apologetics is great, but is limited, since it can really only lead us to Theism; whereas it can’t lead us to believe in doctrines like the Trinity, or the dual nature of Christ, or the inspiration and authority of Scripture, etc. For these doctrines, we need the Holy Spirit to illuminate the truth to us, since they are wholly beyond anything we can reason or deduce on our own.

This is because, ultimately, reason and experience alone (i.e. natural revelation) come up short. Therefore, we need Scripture (i.e. special revelation) combined with the Holy Spirit in order to truly grasp the God of the Bible. While natural revelation (or natural theology) can certainly point us to a divine Creator, it proves inadequate for grasping the nature and character of God as revealed in Scripture (e.g. His triune nature, His sovereignty, holiness, love, etc.). In other words, we may deduce that God exists by our reason and by our senses, but we cannot know Him personally except by divine revelation. We receive this revelation only through the work of divine grace and faith.

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