The Summit Lecture Series: I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist, part 2 with Frank Turek

The Summit Lecture Series: I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist, part 2 with Frank Turek January 13, 2015

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All truth is absolute.  Something that is true is true for all persons at all times in all places.  There are no relative truths.

You may be thinking, “I can think of a relative truth: It’s a little warm in here right now. In fact, I feel warm. Meanwhile, there are people in Alaska who feel cold. That’s relative.”

In actuality, that’s not relative at all. The truth is that when we refer to you, and you feel warm, then it’s absolutely true that you feel warm. The same goes for those in Alaska, if they in fact feel cold.

Now, if you say that all truth is absolute truth, people will come back at you with some objections. For example, they may say that there is no truth.

To this, I reply with the most useful thought that I learned in seminary: If you learn how to defeat self-defeating statements, you are half-way home to being a “great apologist”, or somebody who defends the Faith.

So, why is “There is no truth” a self-defeating statement? Because, you can simply ask the person who said “there is no truth”, “Is that true?”.

Is it true that there is no truth? Because if it is true that there is no truth, then the claim that there is no truth can’t be true, but it claims to be true.

Similar to, “My brother is an only child”; or “All generalizations are false” – this is a self-defeating statement.

Now, the process of turning a claim on itself is what I call the “Roadrunner Tactic”. The bottom line is that by turning a self-defeating statement onto itself, you look like a “super genius” (see Wile E. Coyote).

Secondly, if someone were to say that “There is no such thing as absolute truth.” You could respond with “Are you absolutely sure?”

Thirdly, people often respond to truth by saying, “Well, it may be true for you, but not for me.” In other words, “Well, you know, Christianity may be true for you but Buddhism is true for me.” How do you respond to that? Well, this statement is also self-defeating, it’s just a little more subtle. You simply need to apply the claim to itself.

So, if someone says, “That may be true, but not for me.” You can reply, “Is that true for everybody?” Because if it applies to everybody, then it cannot be true. It doesn’t meet its own standard.

On a practical note, try the “It’s true for you, but nor for me” with your local bank teller. Imagine going into the bank and telling them that you need $100,000. They look at your account and state that you only have $47.12 in your account. You simply say to the teller, “Well, that may be true for you, but not for me. Give me my $100,000!”


If there is only $47.12 in your account, that’s true for all people, at all times, in all places, when we are referring to your account at that time. It’s just true.

Same principle applies to speed limits and speeding tickets. If you get pulled over for driving 90 mph in a 45 mph zone, then it’s not relative. If it’s true that you were driving 90, then it’s true across the board.

Now, I speak at a lot of churches, and I’ll hold up the Bible and ask people of the congregation, “Do you believe this book is true?” Resoundingly, they all reply, “Yes!”

But, when I ask them, “Why?”, the answer I most often receive is “Because I have faith.”

Is that a good answer?

I mean, does your faith change whether or not the Bible is true? Does your faith change whether or not God exists or Jesus rose from the dead?

No. Your faith doesn’t change a thing about those issues. Either God exists or He doesn’t, regardless of what you believe about the matter. Either Jesus rose from the dead or He didn’t rise from the dead, regardless of what you believe about it.

Then, why is the Bible always talking about faith?

Because there are at least two different kinds of faith: There is “Belief that…” and there is “Belief in…”

“Belief that…” is getting evidence that God exists, that Jesus rose from the dead. But all the evidence in the world won’t make you saved, according to Christian theology. You can have all the evidence that it’s true, but still not put your trust in Christ. You see, even James – the half-brother of Jesus who wrote the Book of James – said, “Even the demons believe that God exists, but they tremble.” (James 2:19)

In other words, one type of faith deals with the mind (belief that); and the second type of faith deals with the mind and the will (belief in).

When I first met my wife, I saw evidence that she would be a good wife. But all the evidence in the world didn’t make her my wife. I had to make a step of trust in her to ask her to be my wife. (and in a momentary lapse of judgment, she said yes).

That’s the difference between “belief that” and “belief in”.

Most of the time, the Bible is talking about belief in. The better word for today’s culture would be “trust” (as in “trust in”).

You should gather evidence that it’s true; and then once you know that it’s true, then trust in Christ.

This is the big controversy between faith and reason. But, actually, it shouldn’t be a controversy at all. Reason deals with the mind and faith deals with the heart.

Another rebuttal to truth is the claim that “There’s no truth in anything but science.” Richard Dawkins gets very close to claiming this. It’s called Scientism. We get all our truth from science.

But, is this a scientific truth?

It’s actually a philosophical claim. What so many people don’t understand is that you can’t do science without philosophy. In fact, you can’t understand the Bible without philosophy either. You can’t even understand the newspaper without philosophy.

You see, science doesn’t say anything, scientists do. And sometimes, scientists let their own biases overrule the evidence.

All data needs to be interpreted. In fact, the debate between Intelligent Design people and Darwinists isn’t about the data. They are all looking at the same evidence. It’s actually a debate over philosophy. It’s a debate over what causes could be possible before we even look at the evidence. The Intelligent Design people say, “We’re open to both natural and intelligent causes”. The Darwinists say, “Nope. Just natural causes.”

So, is it any wonder that they keep coming to the same conclusion: It’s got to be a natural cause? They’ve philosophically ruled out intelligent causes before they even look at the evidence.

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