Aren't you the first ones to argue that we see things from within a set of presuppositions?
This is not about who's intelligent or smart. It's about different ways of seeing thigs, according to you, yourselves.
So why do you act and write as if this is a matter of intelligence, or my lack of it?
This just seems inconsistent of you.
But does anyone here deny that cultural conditions will likely (but not in every case) determine our beliefs? Mexicans will become Catholics, people in the heartland of China will become Buddhists, and people born into Jewish families in Israel will become Jewish in their theology?
This is the basis of my test. Do you deny this?
# posted by John W. Loftus : 2/17/2006 8:50 AM
1.To say that we always see things from within a particular set of presuppositions doesn’t mean that we can only see things from within that particular set of presuppositions.
A fundamental feature of Van Tilian apologetics is to compare and contrast differing worldviews. The test of a worldview is which set of presuppositions makes sense of the world when we look at the world through one presuppositional lens or another.
2.As to social conditioning, if this appeal were compelling, it would cut both ways. It would undercut atheism as well as theism.
So the appeal either proves too much or too little. Why is Europe so secular these days? You could attribute that to social conditioning as well.
3.If you want a “test-case” of groupthink central, just look at the voting patterns of college profs.
4.Social conditioning is not incompatible with Reformed theology. We believe that, as a matter of divine providence, God often places the elect in a situation favorable to Christian faith, while placing the reprobate in a situation unfavorable to Christian faith.
5.But a further problem with invoking social conditioning is that this sort of appeal will die the death of a thousand qualifications. For there are so many exceptions that it falls far short of a causal pattern or even a statistical trend.
There’s the guy who grows up in one faith and converts to another.
There’s the guy who grows up an unbeliever, and becomes a believer.
There’s the guy who grows up a believer, and becomes an unbeliever.
There’s the guy who grows up in the faith, backslides, and returns to the faith.
There’s the guy who comes to the faith, then commits apostasy.
The variations are almost endless.
6.You continue to confound belief with behavior.
The fact that many men and women act a certain way, especially in closed societies, tells us next nothing about what they actually believe. There is no direct correlation between the two.
And, indeed, when some of these societies crack open, allowing for freedom of dissent, there is often a mass defection from the status quo ante.
In fact, to take your own example, Evangelicals and especially Pentecostals are making deep inroads into Latin America.
Social conditioning is good a producing nominal belief or outward conformity.
7.In addition, Eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism are not terribly credal to begin with. They are far more into orthopraxy than orthodoxy. It’s about ritual—about doing the right thing, not about believing the right thing.
8.And in America, much of the media, not to mention academia, is controlled by the secular forces. Yet despite all that social conditioning, many Americans are Christians.