Classical Response -- By: Richard G. Howe
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I am grateful for this opportunity to engage Dr. Jason Lisle on these important matters. I appreciate his undying commitment to the authority of the Bible. No one should doubt Lisle’s desire to help others see the authority of the Bible and to understand the truth of the Gospel message. In addition, it is encouraging to see Lisle’s commitment to utilizing the tools of sound reason in serving the Lord, recognizing as he does that sound reasoning comes from the Lord. Last, in light of the following criticisms of Lisle’s apologetic method, nothing I say should be taken as a criticism of his conclusions regarding the age of the earth in as much as I would consider myself a Young Earth Creationist.
Problems With Worldview Discussions
Similar to certain other apologists with whom I am familiar, Lisle discusses apologetics in terms of “worldviews.”1 He says, “An
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apologetic method that merely argues that the Christian worldview is likely to be true will not be as powerful as one that demonstrates the Christian worldview conclusively. . . . Knowledge is only possible in the Christian worldview.” (emphasis in original) In Lisle’s view, the truth of the Christian worldview is demonstrated by showing that all non–Christian worldviews are absurd (meaning that they can be refuted on their own terms) and that they tacitly presuppose the Christian worldview. I have come to believe that there is a lurking problem with some worldview talk.
While a discussion of worldviews can sometimes be productive when doing apologetics, one must be careful with how he understands the relationship of thinking and worldviews. Some formulations I have heard of this relationship gets dangerously close to relativism. What I have in mind here is how some worldview discussions sound like Wittgenstein’s “forms of life” in the vein of some of his disciples such as Norman Malcolm.2 To be fair to Lisle, I realize that this is not what he is advocating. It is evident in his discussion of worldviews in Ultimate Proof that he is trying to avoid the relativism I am discussing here. It is precisely because I am confident that neither he nor certain others in this discussion are advocating a Wittgensteinian fideism that
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I raise my concerns about how they sometimes frame these issues. In other words, it only because I know that they are not advocating any sort of epistemological relativism that I am concerned about how the discussion proceeds.
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