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How To Answer A Fool

How To Answer A Fool

by Dr. Greg Bahnsen

This audio presentation is very highly recommended and available ($1.50 download) at:


Does God Exist?

Dr. Greg Bahnsen debates Edward Tabash at UC (Davis)

These short clips are from Dr. Bahnsen's opening/closing statements. The full debate is also available at Covenant Media Foundation

A Few Key Points From The Debate

The unbeliever thinks of himself as God. As if he can say to God, “If you meet my criteria, let me play God, then I’ll let you be God after I'm satisfied."

If the doctrine of hell is not true, then God is not true to his character. Because those who want to be with God must be like Him. If God lets people reject Him and still lets them into heaven, then what God is basically saying, is that his character meaningless, he is not true to his revealed word.

Philosophically speaking, how is saying that you don’t like the Christian conception of God, relevant at all? It would only be relevant if the assumption “if I don’t like something, then it doesn’t exist” is true. This would be intellectually childish. It is like a child who gets angry at his father, and pulls the covers over his head and declares “You don’t exist, because I don’t like you”.  Do really really assume that because we don’t like something about God, then He can’t be God? Of course atheists don’t like God and doesn’t think He is fair. Criminals never think that the police are fair, or that the judge was fair to them.

If the God of the bible does not exist, then we have lost all principles for moral complaint about what Hitler did. In a Godless universe what one animal does to another animal is ethically irreverent. Moral attributes do not comport with an atheistic understanding of the universe.

In order to use the problem of evil, you must be able to show that the existence of evil is meaningful. But an atheistic worldview can not account for ascribing meaning to evil. Why not think evil is good? Logically speaking, how do you take evil seriously, not as something just unhappy or unpleasant or contrary to your desires? A Moral Standard for all mankind can not be based on relative human reasoning or ever changing social preferences. 

The Atheist must secretly rely on the Christian worldview in order to make sense of his worldview. Anti-theism presupposes theism in order to even make it’s case. The problem of evil in a logical problem for the unbeliever not for the believer. The unbeliever cannot even make sense of it.

The inductive principle needs a rational foundation. And we use the inductive principle when we reason, when we engage in discourse, when we do anything to make our human experience intelligible. Everything the atheist says assumes the inductive principle, that there is a uniformity of nature, which is not the teleological argument. Anyone who even argues against or for the teleological argument assume the inductive principle. And everyone who argues for or against God assumes the inductive principle and the uniformity of nature. And atheism cannot provide a foundation for the inductive principle and the uniformity of nature because it is contrary and antithetical to the atheist worldview. As Hume and Russell pointed out, you can’t appeal to human experience to prove the uniformity to Nature. Why? because human experience already presupposes the uniformity of nature.

An atheistic universe is self contradictory and thus irrational. Atheist will presuppose human dignity and attend a funeral of a friend, but then turn around and argue that man has no dignity and is no different from any other product of evolution, like a snail, a dog, or a horse. The Atheist will maintain that man is nothing more than a complex biological chemical factor controlled by the laws of physics, and yet he kisses his wife and children when he goes home as if there is something called love. The atheist will argue that in sexual relations that anything goes, that there are no moral absolutes, but will condemn rapists and child molesters. Thus the atheist doesn’t have a workable worldview in which he can reason in the first place.

In fact, why should an atheist be considered reasonable? The atheist doesn’t have an ontological grounding for reason itself, because his worldview doesn’t allow for one. The atheist denies the very values it wants to affirm.


It was once said that: if someone doesn't know the facts, argument is of no avail; and if someone does know the facts, argument is unnecessary.                       

A fact is something that truly exists, has really occurred, is actually the case, something that has being/existence, a true piece of information that is verifiable and can be demonstrated to correspond to reality. Endless repetition and reverberation of the statement "Evolution is a fact!" over, and over, and over again in the mass media does not qualify as a demonstrated verification that macroevolution (descent with modification) is true, that it has ever occurred on Earth.

Strange as it may sound, there is no scientific sanction for macroevolution. It is mathematically impossible. It has been refuted by the fossil record. It has been refuted by information theory. It exists in conjecture and wild speculation alone by all those who cannot and will not allow a divine foot in the door.

Furthermore, the actual evidence for the Existence of God far and away outweighs the speculative atheist arguments against the Existence of God.

Nothing is more valuable than TRUTH.

Nothing is more valuable than truth. Truth is absolutely indispensable/irreplaceable. Truth exists apart from human assertion. Yet, today the relevant issue is not whether truth exists, but rather how to rescue it from a culture that desperately wants to deny it, suppress it, ignore it, pretend it doesn't exist, and if that doesn't work, then dreadfully misrepresent it in the mass media to discredit it beyond recognition

Proclaiming truth to distracted people suffering from information overload, who don't care, who resist all forms of authority and bristle at the very thought of strong moral convictions is tough.

It is all but impossible these days to get people to pay any attention to the things that really matter.  AW Tozer

Unfortunately, where all that leaves us today in our brave and daring post-modern/post Christian world is that without truth, we cannot reliably establish fact. Without facts, we cannot navigate this restless sea of unbelief to our home port of reality. So, I'll leave that daunting navigational task to much more capable men, some of my heroes of the faith: John MacArthur, Ravi Zacharias and Al Mohler. With dazzling clarity and insight, exercising brilliant precision they deftly cut through the intellectual/theological smokescreens of our day to champion unwavering biblical conviction. That's why they're in our  Nifty Training Tools along with Got which we highly recommend.

Therefore, I am more than willing to leave our approach to apologetics open to criticism that it is naive, juvenile, unsophisticated—that it may be simply factual.

Next time someone is waxing eloquent on how relative everything is today watch when they pull out into traffic, they'll look both ways. They know it's either the bus or them. They know it's not relative but absolute. Ergo, their worldview does not comport with reality. They're a living contradiction. That will be the first hallmark of those you talk to about Jesus. Their worldview will be full of internal contradictions and inconsistencies, and they will be able to arrogantly and confidently affirm positions and propositions that are logically antithetical to each other. In other words—dead wrong.

In contrast, a sound biblical worldview is perfectly coherent, internally consistent, valid and complete. It can handle any argument or any inference with grace.

We actually have Truth. Not just something true, but Truth itself. The standard of all rational thought. The standard that defines reality as well as rationality.

Make no mistake, the biblical worldview we are presenting on this website is infinitely more rational, more consistent with the laws of logic, the laws of valid inference than those of the counter perspective. The logical consequence (entailment) between our statements carry a higher level of certitude than those of the counter perspective because our conclusions are following from (are consequences of) valid premises, not from pseudo-scientific hypotheses and theorizing. 

Want an example:

"Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and the institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."  Richard Lewontin

Billions and Billions of Demons: Richard Lewontin, January 9, 1997, New York Review of Books

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Carl Sagan, 457 pages, $25.95 published by Random House

Hopefully, you'll find our position more down to earth than the technobabble employed by so many skeptics and Darwinian televangelists today to confuse the uninitiated with their obscurantist diatribes against the painfully obvious. And, hopefully, you'll be able to use that difference to your advantage. Our desire is that you would be challenged and thoroughly equipped, and then driven to God in fervent prayer to see how he may choose to use some of this material for his glory.

The ideas that shaped our culture were great and worthy. The principal goal was to reconcile liberty with law. But in the last century our culture has undergone incredible changes and challenged the ideas that once shaped and guided us. The result has been the collapse of law, the eradication of the spirit, and the unleashing of evil.

The response of the Christian calling for a return to morality is a scream in the dark, because morality has no self-sustaining light. It is a vacuous term left at the mercy of our passions.
Only in the defense and authority of the Word can morality be anchored, evil understood, and the soul restored.  Ravi Zacharias   

Men love darkness rather than light!

I don't want you to ever be surprised or caught off guard by the inevitable reaction of some. Or worse, feel you have failed. Men love darkness rather than light.

They don't love the truth. They refuse to love the truth by which they may be saved, because the mystery of lawlessness and deception is already at work in them.

Within your first year sharing Christ, you will inevitably come to the heartbreaking realization that truth doesn't seem to even matter to anyone without Christ.

Their thin veneer of civility will quickly grow cold and congeal into two monotonous talking points as Douglas Wilson quips: There are two tenets of atheism.

One, there is no God. Two, I hate him.  As humorous as this may be, its true. You'll see this contradiction displayed over and over. No God... then why so angry?

Nevertheless, our responsibility is to tell every person we can the truth about the great love and forgiveness that are in Jesus Christ our Lord, and leave it at that.

The Holy Spirit will take it from there to harden their heart for the day of judgment, or soften their heart unto salvation at God's appointed time and place. 

A second hallmark of those you'll be talking to is dishonesty. You're living among some very disingenuous, deceitful people. Case in point, read Al Mohler's article on The Briefing page The Bible - So Misrepresented It's A Sin. The arguments Kurt Eichenwald brings are not new. They have been flung into the face of biblical inerrancy for millennia. You might be surprised to know that the answers have been around even longer, are very well known and available to anyone.

Albert Mohler

"The opening two paragraphs of Kurt Eichenwald's article sets the stage for what follows:

They wave their Bibles at passersby, screaming their condemnations of homosexuals. They fall on their knees, worshiping at the base of granite monuments to the Ten Commandments while demanding prayer in school. They appeal to God to save America from their political opponents, mostly Democrats. They gather in football stadiums by the thousands to pray for the country’s salvation.

They are God’s frauds, cafeteria Christians who pick and choose which Bible verses they heed with less care than they exercise in selecting side orders for lunch. They are joined by religious rationalizers—fundamentalists who, unable to find Scripture supporting their biases and beliefs, twist phrases and modify translations to prove they are honoring the Bible’s words."

What is going on here? Did some fundamentalist preacher run over young Kurt Eichenwald’s pet hamster when the reporter was just a boy? He opens with the most crude caricature of evangelical Christians — one unrecognizable in the vast majority of evangelical churches, and even to credible journalists."

In 8,487 words Mr. Eichenwald seeks to assure us that his article in Newsweek is not an attack on the Bible or Christianity. Rather, his sincere desire is to rescue the message of Jesus. That is a classic example of the term disingenuous. I offer every word of his mordant 8000 word diatribe as sufficient evidence.  

Some simple questions for Kurt:

  • Kurt, exactly what does the preface of your Bible say about the textual basis, principles, and the resources used in the translation?
  • Kurt, why are you so upset that Christians would gather together to pray for the salvation of our country? Why would you even care? 
  • Kurt, would you like our country to be Godly, truly Christlike according to a grammatically/historically accurate translation of the Bible?
  • Kurt, who do you say Jesus was (knowing good men don't claim to be God)? Who is he? Who are we really talking about here?

    We live in a time when our faith is considered by some "immoral"—our God and Savior "a myth"—God's Word "hate speech"—public prayer "illegal"—the love of God demonstrated in Christ on the cross for our sin "child abuse." For a complete list of invectives see Richard Dawkins' opening salvo in The God Delusion.

    Now, the question is, will we risk the consequences of defending the truth delivered to us in the scriptures by divine revelation? Will we risk tearing down and demolishing every politically correct pretension, philosophy, worldview and foolish system of thought that sets itself up against the knowledge of God?

    • If the answer is No, I'd rather not... I can live my christian life just fine without that kind of commitment... Please, I beg of you, at least pray about it.
    • If the answer is Yes, by God's grace and power! Then you're in for some grave challenges. Satan is going to do all he can to buffet you inside and out to discourage and hinder you. The phone will ring more often when you're trying to pray or study. Nevertheless, it's all worth it! You will begin to sense the Love of God, the Grace of God, the Fellowship of God, the Power of God, and the Peace and Assurance of God as never before. You will know and be sure that you are his child, his personal work of love and kindness. And when you stand before the Trinity in that day you won't regret defending Christ.

    "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled."  2 Corinthians 10:4-6
    Covenantal apologetics seeks to take the truth of Scripture as the proper diagnosis of the unbelieving condition and challenge the unbeliever to make sense of the world he has made, given that such a world is based on a fundamentally irrational construct ... Given any fact or experience, it asks the question as to the presuppositions behind that fact which make it possible.  Scott Oliphint
    I have found asking questions keeps others involved in the conversation, promotes active listening and protects others from me dominating the conversation. Simple questions also help me to stay on track and are great for tactfully bringing others back to the issue at hand, namely, their relationship with Jesus Christ.

    Remember how the Lord dealt with Job? Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said... What did he say? How many questions did he ask Job?

    A simple question is often the best form of rebuttal. It has an edge to it. It positions you on the high ground as knowledgeable. And, it leaves you with more options. In large measure it frees you from having to support/defend a statement from counter-rebuttal such as:

    • What do you mean by that?
    • Where did you get your information?
    • How do you know that's true?
    • What if you're wrong?

    Noah and the Ark? You don't honestly

           believe that myth do you?

    eing able to defend the truthfulness of scripture which is the foundation of our faith in Jesus Christ is a command every Christian is expected to obey. It's not a gift, it's not a calling, it is a command and the quality of our defense is the issue. Our ability to give a reasoned answer to skepticism is critical. Our ability to give a compelling rebuttal or counter-rebuttal when the gospel is under attack in public can be even more critical. It can be something as simple as asking a question:
    Richard, do you know how much water is on this planet?
    As you know, the Earth is a watery place... About 71 percent of the Earth's surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth's water... about 332,500,000 cubic miles of water. Enough water to cover Earth 8000 feet deep in water if the planet was equalized (the mountain ranges placed in the deep ocean trenches).  USGS
    The average depth of the ocean is about 14,000 feet. The deepest part of the ocean is called the Challenger Deep and is located beneath the Pacific Ocean in the southern end of the Mariana Trench, which runs several hundred kilometers southwest of the U.S. territorial island of Guam. The Challenger Deep is approximately 36,200 feet deep. It is named for the HMS Challenger, whose crew sounded the depths of the trench in 1875.  NOAA
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration believes in a global flood on Mars; even though they have yet to find one drop of water on Mars.

    Look at our first question to Kurt Eichenwald above. Could his misunderstanding have been resolved differently or more effectively using a statement?

    • Kurt, tell me what version of the Bible you have and I'll read the introductory preface material to you so you'll know how bibles are made.

    How do you think Kurt would respond to that statement after he gathered his wits about him? How would you or I respond?

    • I know how bibles are made, thank you. Do you know what Bart D. Ehrman, the American New Testament scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said about this issue of translation?

    I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to be in the position of having to defend my personal interpretation of a preface statement against a Bart Ehrman statement on some arcane point that I am not the least bit familiar with, given at some time in the past to some audience for whatever purpose I don't know.

    Again, the quality of our defense is the issue. By that we mean a reasoned response that can shut the mouth of an obstreperous loudmouth critic. One that is not only compelling and thought provoking, but rational, defensible, with a high degree of certitude if not absolute certainty. One that is a real block-buster, delivered in a polite and respectful manner that will dramatically contrast with the foolishness and irrational cynicism and sarcasm that is all too often seen in public toward the things of our God and His Christ. Disparagement and derision of Christ deserves an answer. A simple question can be the best answer.