The Ominous Parallels Between Presuppositionalism and Drug Addiction
It is true that proving one position wrong does not necessarily establish the truth of a rival position. As Butler acknowledges, both may be false. But Butler insists that the Christian worldview is true, and declares that he can “demonstrate that it and it alone can account for human experience,” and this would supposedly serve to prove that Christianity is true. And although the claim to be able to “account for human experience” is rather ambiguous, presuppositionalists are in the habit of making it with gusto, apparently putting a lot of stock in this professed ability of theirs. Demonstrating this alleged ability of Christianity to “account for human experience” constitutes “the second step” of the presuppositionalist program. How does the presuppositionalist do this? Butler describes the procedure as follows:
Refuting a non-Christian worldview does not establish the Christian worldview, though. It may be that both his worldview and ours is false. So to prove the Christian worldview, we demonstrate that it and it alone can account for human experience. This leads to the second step. In this step we do not answer the fool according to his folly. Rather we invite the unbeliever to come inside our worldview in order to show him that Christianity makes sense of our experience. It provides the necessary preconditions for knowledge.
Readers of this can be forgiven for having the impression we're being invited to take on what sounds like a drug addiction. To outsiders, taking the drug is foolish and self-destructive; but to the addicts themselves, the drug is a doorway to a wondrous, mind-altering experience, as precious if not more so than food and water. And this drug is available for "free"; it is not illegal, and it won't cost you a penny to get a hold of some on the street. And its power to alter the mind is tremendous. Many addicts love the drug so much that they will kill for it, and most addicts confess that they are willing to die for it. And while they are under the influence of the drug, everything seems to "make sense" finally and once and for all, as it offers a completely different way of looking at the world and at oneself.
we invite the unbeliever to come inside our worldview in order to show him that Christianity makes perfect sense of our experience. It provides the necessary preconditions for knowledge.
Surely, if one becomes a drug addict, he will see the world through the eyes of a drug addict, and drug addicts are well known for their ability to rationalize their self-destructive habit. They may even claim that only while they are on the drug will their experience “make sense,” for certainly their addiction can “account for” their altered experience.
However, it would not follow from this drug-induced delusion that the drug and/or their addiction to it “provides the necessary preconditions for knowledge.” It is still a drug, and this drug has potentially lethal side effects. Thus we would be wise to politely decline Butler’s invitation to sip from the trough of mystical Kool-Aid that he so eagerly wants to serve.
by Dawson Bethrick