Saturday, May 26, 2018


{On May 29th 2018 this review was censored by Amazon, most likely because Frame (or one of his students) asked for it to be taken down. Because religion cannot refute it must censor. As George R. R. Martin said: "When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a lair, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say."}
I used to be a presuppositionalist. It was the method I used when defending Christianity on college campuses. I came from the same school of thinking as Frame. I have read all the major presuppositional texts, everything from Van Til to Gordon Clark (Bahnsen, Poythress, Oliphint and more). The literature claims to advance a strong polemic but never delivers on its promise. It presents impressive rhetoric, but after critical analysis, this amounts to nothing more than special pleading (presuppositionalism relies on idiosyncratic terminology; it uses assertion as a means of justification). Once you challenge presuppositionalism, on the basis of its own standards, you find that it quickly falls apart.

Frame’s argument for the existence of God is literally a quote from the Bible:  

“…according to Romans 1:19-20 God is clearly revealed in the created world. So everybody knows that God exists…” (p.35)
That is, because the Bible says that everybody knows that God exists, therefore God exists.

“If the Bible is God’s word, then what it teaches is true.
The Bible is God’s word.
The Bible teaches that God exists.
Therefore God exists.” Ibid.

“This is a perfectly valid and sound argument for the existence of God. The two premises are both true, and together they validly imply the conclusion, that God exists.” (p.36)

Frame’s claim is that the above argument is “sound” but remains ineffective without “persuasion,” (Frame believes the Holy Spirit must do the persuading):

"Indeed, the dirty secret of Christian apologetics is this: there is no human argument that is guaranteed to overcome unbelief. But people do sometimes turn from unbelief to belief in God. Essentially this is a supernatural event, an intervention by the Holy Spirit. (pg.35-36)

The problem with the argument, according to Frame, is not truth or validity [even though it is viciously circular] but non-belief. In Frame’s world belief in the irrational is a hallmark of intellectual virtue. A simple question both shatters and exposes Frame’s fallacious reasoning: how does he know the Bible is a word from God? Here Frame has no other recourse but to quote the Bible. If he tries to use the arguments of natural theology he will end up arguing for a different God (see chp.7). Frame knows this; hence, his solution is to assert that his argument is sound, but unpersuasive, because God must cause the non-believer to be persuaded by it. And although this might make Frame and his followers feel better about their position, it does nothing to correct the sorry state of Frame’s polemic. (Frame all but concedes that his position is irrational, this is why he says ascent to its premises requires supernatural intervention). In other words, God is in the business of persuading people to believe in irrational things! But how can Frame’s argument be faulted when the real problem is the non-believer’s inability to affirm the truth of the Bible’s assertions a priori?  

Fame’s position amounts to asserting the nature of reality tautologically, irrespective of evidence or sound reasoning.          

Before Frame can prove that mankind has a word from God he must prove that God exists. Frame tries to skip this step and simply assert that the Bible is a word from God because it claims to be a word from God. But Frame is exceedingly inconsistent, in another place he says: “…it is good to seek evidence when we are asked to change our beliefs in important ways.” (p.11) This criterion should not exclude Frame’s extraordinary claim that the Bible is the word of God. Frame would never accept this standard in the case of the Koran:

If the Koran is God’s word, then what it teaches is true.
The Koran is God’s word.
The Koran teaches that God exists.
Therefore God exists.

The Bible is not something that fell from the sky fully intact. It was pieced together using rational and empirical criticism from many different sources. Even so, the fact that it exists, the fact that some of its books claim to be from God, is not proof that it came from God. What’s more likely, asked the philosopher David Hume, that someone is “claiming” a book came from God, or that a book actually came from God? The idea that the Bible is from God, because certain books within its pages claim to be from God, does not prove that the Bible is a word from God. Frame would never accept this standard in the case of the Koran and we should not accept it in the case of the Bible. Like Frame said, we should “seek evidence” to test whether or not the claim is true. A historical investigation of the Bible teaches us that the books of the Bible were the result of cultural ideas. They did not come from God but from the culture mythologies in which they were steeped. Frame has much work to do if he wishes to establish the authority of his premises for the existence of God.

Over the course of reading Frame’s text it became clear to me why presuppositionalism cannot produce an apologetic that will ever be convincing to a critical mind: because the entire legitimacy of the enterprise hinges on the fantastic assumption that whatever the Bible says is incontestably true. In this sense presuppositionalism is exceedingly simplistic. When you ask the presuppositionalist 'how he knows what he claims to know' he simply offers a quote from the Bible. (This cannot be what it means to prove something). No Christian would ever accept a quote from the Koran as a priori evidence for the nature of reality. This means presuppositionalism amounts to a form of special pleading: this is one of its unspoken presuppositions (one of its necessary but fallacious epistemological commitments).

It is clear, after reading Frame, that not even the top presuppositional apologists are aware of their assumptions. This is quite a serious charge because presuppositionalism claims to be a form of thinking that begins at the most primitive level of thought. It claims that an analysis of our epistemological commitments will reveal that we have assumptions that "only make sense if we presuppose the truth of the Bible." This is false.

There is one question that manifests this more than any other: does the existence of the Bible presuppose something more primitive than itself? In other words, before one can have a Bible (specifically a Protestant Canon) many extra-biblical things must first take place, and these things do not have the luxury of using the Bible as a premise. This means such actions had to be carried out on the basis of "autonomy" (which in presuppositional terms, is considered the ultimate epistemological sin). The only way to bypass this fatal error is to fallaciously assert that God guided the process, but this solution is post hoc; it arrives too late in the chain of authority.

It was not biblical-presuppositions that guided the textual critics (such assumptions would be impossible as there was not yet a Bible, only errant manuscripts that had to be evaluated)...

So what methodology did these textual critics use? What methodology do they use today? Autonomous methods that defer, not to the authority of scripture, but to the authority of evidence! This might not seem damning, but that's only because one fails to comprehend how it stacks up against the claims of presuppositionalism. Van Til (the founder of presuppositionalism) claimed that if autonomy sits at the bottom level of our thinking then there is no way for the Christian to remove it later when he needs to assert the authority of the Bible. We either start with scripture (and accept its absolute authority in our lives) or we start with autonomy (which would presuppositionally and irreparably negate of the authority of the Bible). The following quotes, from presuppositionalism’s founder and top scholars, confirm what I have said:     

“If the natural man is given permission to draw the floor-plan for a house and is allowed to build the first story of the house in accordance with his own blueprint, the Christian cannot escape being controlled in a large measure by the same blueprint when he wants to take over the building of the second story of the house.” Van Til, Van Til's Apologetic, Greg L. Bahnsen, P&R Publishing 1998, Pg.563

“The traditional method had explicitly built into it the right and ability of the natural man, apart from the work of the Spirit of God, to be the judge of the claim of the authoritative Word of God. It is man who, by means of his self-established intellectual tools, puts his ‘stamp of approval’ on the Word of God... God’s Word must first pass man’s test of good and evil, truth and falsity. But once you tell a non-Christian this, why should he be worried by anything else that you say? You have already told him he is quite all right just the way he is!” Ibid. Van Til, pg.552

Bahnsen (who was Van Til’s student) affirms the same thing: "If the apologist treats the starting point of knowledge as something other than reverence for God, then unconditional submission to the unsurpassed greatness of God's wisdom at the end of his argumentation does not really make sense. There would always be something greater than God's wisdom - namely, the supposed wisdom of one's own chosen, intellectual starting point. The word of God would necessarily (logically, if not personally) remain subordinate to that autonomous, final standard. " Greg Bahnsen, Autonomy is No Ladder to Christ's Supreme Authority, 1990

“A person cannot have it both ways regarding his final standard or ultimate reference point. He presupposes and reasons either according to the authority of God or according to some other authority.” Greg Bahnsen, Van til’s Apologetic Readings & Analysis pg.92

Even Frame concedes the point: “…there is a radical opposition, an antithesis, between divine authority and intellectual autonomy. To believe in one you must forsake the other.” Christianity Considered (p.17)

Christians do not actually start with the presupposition of scripture (and neither can they) because the very existence of their Bible presupposes the authority of autonomous principles. The ontological reality of the Bible (that it did not just fall from the sky fully intact) means that the presuppositionalist will always be refuted by his own formula, precisely because the existence of the Bible assumes the authority of non-biblical principles which stand above it.    

No presuppositionalist has ever answered this argument; they have merely tried to evade it.

Are you a presuppositionalist? Do you fancy yourself an honest thinker? Then ask the question, did the Bible simply fall from the sky perfectly intact? What had to take place in order to determine what belonged in the Bible? How do textual critics know what to include/exclude? What presuppositions govern this procedure? How could they be biblical when they had to stand in judgment of the Bible itself? If the Bible had to be judged, according to evidence and human reason in order to bring it into existence out of a divergence of manuscripts, what does this say about the so-called presuppositional authority of the Bible? How can it stand as the Ultimate Authority when its very existence presupposes an even greater authority through which it had to pass in order to come into existence? If it had to be judged then it cannot exist as the Ultimate Judge!

Even Frame admits the authority of science in the process of establishing the content of scripture:

“Though we don’t have the actual autographs, we have access to the original text through the science of textual criticism, which compares various manuscript readings to determine the original.” Frame, Salvation Belongs to the Lord, P&R publishing 2006 pg.66

“People sometimes say it doesn’t make sense for God to inspire a book and then require us to determine its original content by textual criticism, by human means. When you think of transmission as a process carrying the word from God’s lips to our hearts, eventually there will have to be a role for human thought, reason, even science.” Ibid. pg.67

It’s not just that “eventually” there will have to be a “role for reason and science,” but that reason and science occupy the place of highest authority when it comes to matters of textual criticism. Frame knows there is no way around it. But surely this puts Frame in a difficult situation, as a consistent presuppositionalist he understands that, " adopt science as a supreme criterion of belief... is to reject the God of the Bible [from] the outset." pg.16            

Years ago I had an exchange with Frame (this exchange can still be found online). His approach to my argument was simply to assert that I was "ignorant" of the presuppositional position. In response I provided 79 citations spanning the literature. In Frame's mind rejection of presuppostionalism is synonymous with a failure to comprehend it. But I quoted from every major presuppositionalist! I wasn't the one who made the rules; I was simply manifesting the ramifications of presuppositionalism's own premises. The truth is that presuppositionalism cannot answer my argument because my argument uses presuppositionalism's own criteria... because the actual presuppositions, which stand behind the existence of the Bible, end up proving the existence of an authority which stands above the Bible. I know this is a hard pill for the presuppositionalist to swallow, but not liking it will never amount to a refutation.

Frame says, "... far more important than any argument in leading people to faith is the Spirit of God... the real force of the argument will be hidden unless God's Spirit plants faith in the heart of the hearer or reader." Christianity Considered, Preface 

Like Frame’s argument for God, it is assumed that such a Spirit exists simply because Frame reads about it in the Bible. But this is an exceedingly problematic criterion because this is no different from those who believe that Allah exists because they read about him in the Koran. How can this stand as a broad, intellectual criterion? (If this is a valid means of justification for the Christian, then why not for the Muslim)? How can the Christian logically deny the Muslim the right to this same maneuver of justification?

Frame says, "...the process by which one argument becomes more weighty in someone's mind is very mysterious. It has happened to me often. I believe that behind all the processes and causes is God's providence. But I can rarely identify those processes; they are hidden to me. But I know what it is like. It is like a feeling: a feeling of satisfaction or contentment. It is a feeling that says I can end my quest for now. I have a sufficient level of certainty. I have a conviction, and I feel that I can argue it with my readers... believing in God is a way of thinking that suddenly looks and feels right." Ibid. pg.28 

What's mysterious about disproving something or refuting something; what’s mysterious about validating or invalidating a claim with evidence? Frame says "God does it" because this is what he reads in the Bible. The Muslim says "Allah does it" because this is what he reads in the Koran. Psychology tells us that the solidification of belief has nothing to do with Holy Spirits. We can actually explain it empirically. If Frame was born into a Muslim family, into a Muslim country, chances are he would be Muslim. The Holy Spirit has nothing to do with it.  

Frame, in the aforementioned citation, defines Christian persuasion as “a feeling." [For Frame certainty is feeling; conviction is proof of truth.] Frame says he "feels" that he can argue his “convictions” with his readers, but this is likely to get him in trouble, because feeling that one has the ability, and actually having the ability, are two separate things.  

One can’t help but recall the warning of Nietzsche: “Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.”    

Frame's view of argument appears to be totally subjective. Imagine presenting this kind of reasoning in the court of law: "I'm sorry your honor but the real force of my argument is hidden because The Great Spirit has decided not to reveal it today."

The point Frame is making is essentially that Christian belief is irrational and totally subjective, indefensible by evidential and rational standards. (This is why one must commit to it a priori). In this sense (though presuppositionalists have long tried to deny the charge) their position amounts to nothing more than fideism. {Fideism holds that religious truths are inaccessible to human reason… cannot be established by reason or evidence, thus reducing religion to irrational faith, feeling, emotion.]    

Frame says, “…it is common for people today to believe that science is the most reliable test of truth. Science relies on the evidence of the senses… But it also uses sophisticated instruments, mathematical formulae, complicated hypothesis, and so on… [but] on that norm… the God of the Bible is excluded from consideration.” (p.16) 

This is false, no claim is “excluded from consideration” on rational or evidential grounds, but every claim is held to a higher standard than Frame’s subjectivity. The problem is not the criteria, but that Frame cannot substantiate his assertions if he has to play by the same rules as everyone else.   

Frame says, “Sense experience is one widely accepted criterion for belief… And we can see that such a norm, consistently applied, will affect every belief that we have… Such a norm will exclude the God of the Bible from the outset of the discussion, for he cannot be seen and heard…” (pg.15-16)

Notice that Frame’s reason for rejecting rational and evidential criteria is the incredible fact that they would invalidate his claim regarding the authority of the Bible. This is astounding! Evidential and rational methods should be rejected because they would end up excluding the existence of God? But these methods have already proven their authority (among other things) by bringing the Bible itself into existence!        

Frame wants the luxury of being able to say that his argument is powerful, yet it failed because it was not magically inculcated by the Holy Spirit. What's the point of arguments then? Wouldn't it be more consistent simply to quote from the Bible (hoping the Holy Spirit will persuade the listener to believe)? Isn't the ultimate conclusion of Frame's logic (regardless of what he asserts to the contrary) that arguments don't matter? Indeed, this is why he says that God often uses “very bad” arguments (p.36).

To note: I reject the claim that presuppositionalism offers any argumentative power; it merely offers empty assertions, which it falsely frames as arguments.

In the following quote Frame is exceedingly transparent about the futility of arguments for the existence of God: 

"…the dirty secret of Christian apologetics is this: there is no human argument that is guaranteed to overcome unbelief. But people do sometimes turn from unbelief to belief in God. Essentially this is a supernatural event, an intervention by the Holy Spirit. (pg.35-36)  

This is irrational but consistent Christianity in a nut-shell: you are either blessed by The Great Spirit with saving faith, or else you remain ignorant and damned because The Great Spirit has chosen to leave you in darkness. The “dirty secret of Christian apologetics” is that they don’t actually matter. The Holy Spirit is the one who chooses to bestow the gift of belief. 

This raises many questions. Does this Spirit have the power to give saving faith to everyone? Then why doesn't he do it? Isn't this the same as creating people for hell? I don't see how Frame can escape this conclusion when he has to admit that his God is not obligated to 1) create any being and 2) could plant faith in the heart of every person if he so chose. It's an inescapable conclusion of Frame's premises that his God (who has absolute foreknowledge), does in fact, create people for hell.

In the first chapter Frame speaks of the need for "a new mind" (whatever this means)... but important to note, is that this required thing (required for emotional indoctrination into Christianity) "is a gift, something [that must be] granted to us supernaturally." (p.2) As much as Frame seems to insinuate throughout his text, that the “new mind” is something we adopt or aspire to, this insinuation is contradicted by repeated statements which speaks of it as a “gift” that must be bestowed. Frame cannot have it both ways:

He tells us that, "The biblical God wants everybody to become a Christian." (p.93) But how can he square this premise with his claim that the Holy Spirit must be the one to make the Bible’s assertions persuasive? For Frame, "Saving faith is possible only to the new mind." (p.72), but according to Frame, this mind must be given by the Holy Spirit, as the following quotes testify:

"Only a supernatural act of God can correct this situation: that is what I have been calling the creation of a new mind.” (p.45)

"God will not be found this way [evidentially]; in fact, he resists being found this way. He is a personal being, and so he takes the initiative in revealing himself... he will not let people find him by methods that presuppose their own autonomy." (p.47)

"...the new mind results from a deep, inward change. It is not just a change of opinion or ideology. It is a work of God's own Holy Spirit." (p.80)

"Large-scale transformation of the earth and its culture will not take place without the work of the Holy Spirit to convert people's hearts..." (p.94)
"Ultimately, assurance that the Christian faith is true comes only through the work of the Holy Spirit, creating a new mind in the heart." (p.95)

If God wants everyone to be saved then why doesn't he bestow the gift of belief on every person? It seems Frame has a serious theological problem on his hands. (More consistent Calvinist theologians have simply declared that their God does create some people for hell). And indeed, given the affirmation that the Christian God has foreknowledge, it seems exceedingly hard to escape this conclusion. No Christian can claim that God was obligated to create a person that he knew in advance would make a choice for hell. God could have simply decided, freely chosen, not to make such people. One must either say that God “had” to create these people or that he “chose” to create these people, knowing in advance, that he would be creating them for hell.    

 It would seem that Frame contradicts his own theology from the outset: "If there were such a new mind available to us, how would we ever find it?" (p.2)

It's clear after the aforementioned citations that this is a confused question. Frame tells us repeatedly that the new mind is a "gift..." it is something that has to be given, it cannot be “found.” It would seem that Frame cannot remain consistent with his own Holy Spirit epistemology, in another place he speaks of belief as a kind of open-minded quest:

"...the quest will demand an unusual degree of openmindedness: a willingness to admit the possibility that at least some of our time worn ideas of what is true and right and possible and impossible may not be accurate... It calls us to engage in a self-criticism more profound than any other, one which humbles us to the roots of our existence. And the self-criticism must be comprehensive..." (p.2)

It would be one thing if Frame delivered on his promise, but tragically he is asking the reader to do what he is not capable of doing himself. Frame is absolutely not critical of his position (and neither does he know how to be)... in fact, his position could be characterized as being critical, only of those points which stand against his own special points of pleading. That is the real secret of presuppostionalism’s persuasion: invalidate and dismiss every objection that contradicts the assumption that the assertions of the Bible are absolutely true. Every time you engage with a presuppositionalist, all they’re doing in terms of discourse, is exempting their own premises from the criticisms they level at everyone else. They simply assert all the things they require everyone else to prove. {{{{{Presuppositionalism amounts to a stubborn denial of its own fallibility.}}}}}   

Frame asks the reader to be critical of everything that prevents him from affirming the absolute, infallible authority of the assertions of the Bible, but the Bible itself must be exempted from criticism [this is the great secret to presuppositionalism’s apologetic power: where others must explain and prove, the assertions of the Bible are given a free pass through axiomatic validation].

This is why, when Frame encounters a legitimate contradiction, he simply dismisses it a priori: “My testimony is that when I read the Bible for my own devotions, to edify myself, it is very rare that I feel the need of some explanation of a problem passage. How could there be light and darkness on the earth (Gen 1:3-5) before there were heavenly bodies to produce the I read with my new mind, I assume that somehow God provided light in the first passage by an unknown mechanism and then later provided the sun and moon to measure and maintain those phenomena.” (p.63)

Frame is advocating nothing less than blind obedience to the assertions of the Bible; he literally tells the reader to “abandon” trust in their critical mind “for trust in God’s revelation” (p.98). He tells the reader to “allow” the Bible to “supply the assumptions” that make up their worldview: “...if you limit your attention to what Scripture actually says, allowing Scripture to supply your assumptions and worldview, you will see that the doctrine of Jesus' return to judge the world is an inevitable climax to the biblical story.” (p.112) We should limit our attention to what the Bible says, uncritically affirming the truth of all that it asserts? But what happened to Frame’s sound advice: “…it is good to seek evidence when we are asked to change our beliefs in important ways.” (p.11)  By the end Frame is telling his readers that they should " Jesus as… [their] ultimate authority, whom [they should] obey without question." (p.114) This kind of thinking is properly known as authoritarianism.   

Though Frame would certainly deny the charge of fideism he is most certainly guilty of it: "...for the new mind, faith is the very criterion of certainty." (p.78)

The Danish Philosopher Kierkegaard spoke of faith as a kind of bold acceptance of the irrational. He tried to argue (unsuccessfully I might add) that this irrational leap was epistemologically virtuous. The problem with his idea (among other things) is that there is no way to falsify it. Once you apply this kind of thinking to any metaphysical claim there is no longer any way to overcome or discern the error of the claim. This is because one begins with the outlandish premise that they are going to affirm the truth (of what appears from every rational and evidential account to be irrational). In other words, Kierkegaard did not refute the challenges presented to Christianity; he affirmed that Christianity was irrational and that you must accept this fact about it when you become a Christian. It is no different in the case of Frame when he speaks of “the new mind.”

“In this book, I have argued that it is possible to think very differently from the way people are commonly taught to think... I've called this thinking with a new mind... It is the way God intended us to think...” (p.113)

Just because Frame calls this a way of “thinking” doesn't mean it amounts to thinking. What Frame is talking about is the exact opposite of thinking! His idea of a “new mind” amounts to uncritical and unfalsifiable, a priori-affirmation that all the premises of the Bible are incontestably true. Frame is literally trying to get his readers to stop thinking! Whenever the "new mind" encounters a legitimate problem or contradiction, associated with a theological claim, the student is expected to respond thus: "A new-mind reader may find the problem interesting, but he will not think it urgent to get an explanation. The new-mind thinks, "God understands it all, and it is not hard to imagine that he had a good purpose in this way of telling his story."" (p.63)

This is an astounding admission! He will "not think" it urgent to get an explanation? It seems the only thing the new-mind thinks is that “it doesn’t need to think.” According to Frame, the new-mind doesn’t think, it simply "imagines." Frame literally admits that his worldview is an exercise in imagination!

The "new mind" is to become a passive vessel, heedlessly accepting the authoritarian claims of the Bible. This is what Frame refers to as "thinking": blind acceptance of the Bible's assertions.

Frame tries very hard to use the rhetoric of “the new mind” to get the reader to invalidate legitimate criticism. He tries to get the reader to dispose of their critical self, what he refers to as "the old mind." However, every time Frame refers to the thinking of the "new mind," translate the object of that criticism to the premises of the Koran. In other words, pretend like you are no longer being critical of the Koran, that you now uncritically accept all that the Koran says about the nature of reality. There is no difference; this device would produce the same effect: mindless obedience to authoritarian assertions. This is not intellectually virtuous, and the fact that Frame cannot permit this maneuver in the case of the Koran, is proof that it amounts to special pleading. To employ this device in the case of the Koran would turn one into a Muslim, leaving no way to falsify the assertions of the Koran. And this is why Frame tries to use it in the case of Christianity. He's trying to indoctrinate, not educate, his readers!

Consider the following quotes from Frame, and then consider them articulated in favor of the authority of the Koran. (No Christian would accept this kind of reasoning for the Koran and neither should we accept it as a valid means of justification for Frame’s Christianity):   

FRAME: "Is it possible that there is a new mind that thinks God's thoughts after him, enthusiastically engaging in science, but regarding God's word, not science, as the supreme criterion of true belief?" (p.16)

Same Reasoning for the Koran: "Is it possible that there is a new mind that thinks Allah's thoughts after him, enthusiastically engaging in science, but regarding Allah's word, not science, as the supreme criterion of true belief?"

FRAME: "The point is not to make the intellect rule over the will and emotions, but to make ourselves (and therefore every part of us) follow God's word." (p.27)

Same Reasoning for the Koran: "The point is not to make the intellect rule over the will and emotions, but to make ourselves (and therefore every part of us) follow Allah's word."

FRAME: "...the new mind renounces any claim to autonomy. And the result is that the new mind finds God everywhere." (p.48)

Same Reasoning for the Koran: "...the new mind renounces any claim to autonomy. And the result is that the new mind finds Allah everywhere."

[That is, the new mind renounces the validity of any criticism a priori, even before it has probed the nature of that criticism. The result is that the new mind assumes the truth of everything it desires to believe. Of course one finds God when they begin with the assumption that all objections to his existence should be dismissed and outlawed before they have even been considered!]      

FRAME: " responses... do not concede to autonomous man the right to judge whether God is good and powerful." (p.51)

Same Reasoning for the Koran: " responses... do not concede to autonomous man the right to judge whether Allah is good and powerful." 

FRAME: "The new mind trusts that God alone has the final word about evil... the new mind trust that he, and only he, has the final answer." (p.52)

Same Reasoning for the Koran: "The new mind trusts that Allah alone has the final word about evil... the new mind trust that he, and only he, has the final answer."  

FRAME: "Some... speaking for modern man, mock the very idea of a holy book. But the mockery comes from the old mind. The new mind will perceive that if God is almighty, he has the right and the power to rule his people with a book." (p.59)

Same Reasoning for the Koran: "Some... speaking for modern man, mock the very idea of a holy book. But the mockery comes from the old mind. The new mind will perceive that if Allah is almighty, he has the right and the power to rule his people with a book." 

FRAME: "The new mind observes that if God wants to give us an important message, the most natural thing in the world is for him to distribute it as a text containing his own words." (p.62)

Same Reasoning for the Koran: "The new mind observes that if Allah wants to give us an important message, the most natural thing in the world is for him to distribute it as a text containing his own words."

Notice that Frame does not actually prove anything with these quotes. He's simply trying to indoctrinate his readers into accepting everything the Bible says without question. Indeed, the "new mind" is simply a technique to get one to affirm the assertions of the Bible a priori. Instead of evaluating the credibility of these assertions, one is taught to place these assertions beyond all criticism. But according to this method how would Frame know when the Bible was making a false claim? If I accepted the Koran this way, how would I ever be able to tell when the Koran was asserting something false, if I am in fact, committed to the unfalsifiable, a priori assumption of its truth? To uncritically assume the truth of assertions (simply because they claim to be true) is a very dangerous way for a thinker to proceed. Just because the Koran claims to be the word of God doesn't mean that it is, but if I start with this as my infallible premise (like Frame tries to get the reader to do with the Bible), no matter what reason or evidence stand to contradict it (and that is the crucial point) I will have indoctrinated myself, and thereby, remain in the absolute grip of error. This is exactly the case of Frame and all those who follow his method of self-indoctrination. {{{{{Presuppositional apologetics is a form of self-indoctrination to the assertions of the Bible.}}}}}        

Frame's so-called apologetic literally amounts to a rhetorical device that functions, not to refute or explore objections, but to dismiss them tautologically or a priori. Frame tries to get the reader to stop thinking, to actively dismiss valid objections on the ground that they call the authority of the Bible into question. Can you fathom this? They should be rejected because they would prevent one from affirming the absolute authority of the Bible! But criticism protects us from error and danger precisely in this way. The truth is that Frame cannot legitimately deal with rational or evidential objections (because the empirical reality of the Bible can’t weather the polemical storm) so he tries to get the reader to dogmatically reject reason and evidence. The New Testament authors did the same thing:

“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your home...” (2 John 1:10)

Notice how the writer of John never deals with the specific nature of the objections? He does not refute the contrary position, he simply tells his readers (like all skilled cult leaders) to reject those who reject a specific set of dogmatic assertions. In Frame we have the same kind of cult thinking.     

Frame's rhetorical device amounts to preying on ignorance as well as sabotaging the quality of thought.

Frame says, "I believe that when we consider the theory of knowledge as a serious, debatable issue, the case for Christianity emerges stronger than when the answer to that debate is taken for granted." (Preface XV)

But Frame is exactly trying to get his readers to take the premise of the Bible for “granted” (the premise that the Bible has absolute authority is not “debatable” to Frame). This is the entire secret of his apologetic. Just like Kierkegaard, once you take the leap you have severed your critical mind; you have been conditioned to affirm anything (and most importantly) you have severed any hope of escaping or detecting the error because you have given up criticism in favor of tautologies.  

Frame makes his overall objective exceedingly clear, he is not seeking truth:  "The point is not to make the intellect rule over the will and emotions, but to make ourselves (and therefore every part of us) follow God's word." (p.27)

The only thing he's trying to do is deceive people into uncritically submitting to a form of religious authoritarianism; to accept the truth of the Bible no matter what kind of criticisms stand against it. This is an irrational and juvenile enterprise, which if successful, would condemn our species to infallible stupidity.

It's a pretty good bet, that if you think Frame a quality thinker, then this is proof that you don't know how to think or that you have stopped thinking. Frame uses manipulative devices to snare the simple and unsuspecting. The ontology of his position condemns him to these kind of tactics, because the material reality of his Christianity cannot justify itself in any legitimate sense. He has no choice but to resort to sophistry and fallacy.

I have had exchanges with both Frame and Poythress, both men resorted to evasion. I'm an honest thinker and thought these men were honest, but learned very quickly that they don't care whether or not their position is true according to its own premises. Both men manifest emotional and psychological conviction [the same is true of suicide bombers but this hardly proves the truth of their belief] their polemic has nothing to do with seeking truth or being rational, it is altogether lacking awareness and integrity. I was disappointed that these men, who seem to present themselves as authorities on the presuppositional method, would so quickly and fallaciously evade the hard questions. How can any honest thinker do this? I want to know the truth. If Christianity is true, I want to know it, if Christianity is false, I want to know it. A thinker must always be willing to affirm the thing he hates and kill the thing he loves or else he cannot rightly call himself a thinker.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018


This is one of the most important things that can be said about presuppositionalism: it amounts to a form of sophistry which is geared toward dismissing and invalidating objections that challenge its authority. In this way it functions as an indoctrinating ideology, securing absolute allegiance to its premises by demanding that its subjects accept those premises axiomatically. The axiom of all presuppositionalism is that its premises exist beyond all criticism. They alone, in the vast world of propositions, have immunity from refutation. The challenge of the presuppositional apologist is to get the student to affirm the absolute authority of one premise: whatever the Bible says is absolutely true. Once the student affirms this premise, as the sole identity of truth, he will axiomatically reject every premise that challenges it. Noting that it contradicts his axiomatic premise, will be enough to prove to the student that it must be false, merely because it contradicts his axiom. But this rejection is not an exercise in thinking, it is an exercise in avoiding thought; it is a way of dismissing objections without actually considering their content. The effect is that the student is indoctrinated into a system which he cannot escape because the controlling premises have ingrained themselves in such a way that they cannot be challenged. If we likened these controlling premises to a person, this person would occupy such a place in our lives that criticism against him would constitute proof that the criticism was false. The objective of a cult leader is to establish himself in exactly this kind of position in the lives of his followers (infallibly). The point of presuppositional apologetics is to invalidate criticism of the Bible by getting the student to affirm its truth axiomatically. “I know what you say is wrong because it contradicts the Bible,” is a manifestation that the indoctrination process is complete. From now on the student will not think about objections he will merely respond dogmatically and tautologically, manifesting invincible psychological commitment. Such people are the unwitting victims of ideology; they are not free subjects. Any premises to which this technique can be successfully applied would produce the same psychological effects. It is not contingent on any specific ideology. There is nothing special about presuppositionalism in this sense; Islam uses the same axiomatic procedure to secure the devotion of its followers.


Saturday, May 5, 2018

FOR MARX ON HIS 200th BIRTHDAY - Jersey Flight

On the History of Marxist Movements: the absurd notion that a radical humanist such as Marx would have anything to do with the totalitarian history of so-called Marxist Societies is totally unfounded. The conservative distortion (that Marx is responsible for Stalin and the like) is without justification. Marx indeed saw a better world, but not without the social consciousness to realize it. Though evil men may have used the form of his ideas (fallaciously) to justify their greed for power, these distortions never rose above barbarism, even though they claimed to transcend it. The thought of Marx is essential to all forms of freedom, both social and individual. In short, the thought of Marx is really about the comprehension and realization of freedom.  


Thursday, May 3, 2018


Professor Taylor,

I don't mean any disrespect, but it seems to me that you should know better than to speak of God in any meaningful existential sense. If you refer to the word in terms of its cultural significance (that is one thing, a thing I might add, that already presumes the fictitious context of the thing in question). But if you mean to speak of God in terms of actualized existence, that there is, in fact, a real being behind the term, I can only marvel at the sheer arrogance of your presumption. As a learned man you ought to know better. The greatest threat our species faces is action motivated (and prohibited) by superstition, confused values that merely serve to waste and misdirect life. Surely the time has come to grow up? The idea of God cannot save us; it has always been the case that we must save ourselves. I have no doubt that you're a brilliant man, but fooling with the abstraction of God can only serve to detract your credibility as a thinker... amounts to a manifestation of your critical limitations. One can hardly find anything so vacuous as vague theism. 

Confidently yours,
Jersey Flight