The Christian reconstructionist group, American Vision, is promoting the work of apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate in How to Answer the Fool: A Presuppositional Defense of the Faith on DVD. The "fool" refers to atheists, based on Psalms 14:1, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good."
The film features Canadian evangelist Sye Ten Bruggencate engaging in "on the street" arguments with atheists and purports to make non-believers look silly and relying on circular logic.
American Vision announced back in mid-June that it had produced the feature-length film in association with Crown Rights Productions and Absolute Apologetics, along with a "companion study guide." The product was available exclusively on American Vision's website but according to the press announcement, starting August 6, it will be in stores nationwide, with distribution by Elevate Entertainment.
Bruggencate's basic premise is that without God, you couldn’t know anything and therefore, that is proof that God exists. He says that universal logic and the God of scripture share three characteristics: they are both universal, immaterial and unchanging.
The Canadian apologist takes this message of presuppositionalism out on the streets and on YouTube, frustrating his opponents with constant, "but how do you know that" word games. The non-believer eventually says that he does not know what reality is but can only perceive reality through his consciousness, to which Bruggencate argues that he — Bruggencate — knows that reality exists because God revealed it to him. According to Bruggencate, the unbeliever does know things because God revealed this knowledge, but the unbeliever is suppressing the truth of God’s existence and being dishonest about where his knowledge came from. That's apparently because the Christian Bible states in Romans 1:
1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; that they are without excuse:
American Vision writes,
Not since the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen debated Dr. Gordon Stein in "The Great Debate: Does God Exist?" have we really seen presuppositional apologetics in action. And few have taken it into culture to show that there are only two positions, Christ or absurdity.
In “How to Answer the Fool,” apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate takes this apologetic to the streets and universities exposing the logical inconsistencies of the unbeliever (and dare we say some 'Christians') by showing that we don't need evidence to prove that God exists.
Gary DeMar, the president of American Vision, writes on the film's sales page, "Within a minute or two you’ll see highly intelligent college students stunned at their inability to answer questions about knowledge and ethics. This six-part video series is a game-changer, not only for the unbelieving world but also for Christian apologists who compromise the gospel by arguing for the possibility that God exists and not the certainty of God’s existence."
A blogger at "True Forms" also finds Bruggencate's presuppositionalism compelling, writing, "The reason why unbelievers cannot give an account for how they know anything is because they are not saved. Jesus Christ did not die just to save souls for eternity, he died to save reasoning now. When you demonstrate to the unbeliever that without God he cannot know anything, you are pointing out their sin for denying the God they know exists. The only answer for their predicament is salvation in Jesus Christ."
Here's a promotional video from American Vision about How to Answer a Fool:
Bruggencate makes his argument on a website called "Proof That God Exists," lauded by evangelist Andrew Louis of Sinner Ministries according to Philosopher Stephen Law, editor of the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal. Law thinks this presuppositionalist logic is full of holes, writing:
Clearly, the author really thinks he's got a "proof". But it is shot full of holes.
First, where's the argument that objective laws of logic, etc. require the existence of God? There isn't one. Just the assertion that they do. Yet, amazingly, this is offered as the "proof".
The author's chutzpah is kind of breath-taking. Only a religious zealot would dare offer this as a "proof" with a straight face.
Note that, even if the laws of logic DID require the existence of some sort of deity to underpin them, we could still ask, why this particular God – the Judeo-Christian God? Particularly as there's overwhelming evidence that there is no such being (see my "God of Eth").
The Bible itself, which Bruggencate says reveals the character of God and is true (see video above), does not prove the validity of presuppositionalism, as demonstrated in a logic argument presented by R. L. Baty and in a look at the reliability of Biblical interpretations written by former apologist Jay Demeanor.
Others argue that both the presuppositionalist and the skeptic are solipsists — subscribing to the theory that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified. Because apologists are unable to provide evidence that their assertion that they "know" things because God revealed knowledge to them, they are "guilty" of the same solipsism that the apologists allege the non-believers engage in. Watch:
According to Bruggencate and Christian apologist Eric Hovind, atheists attempt to use logic but "logic can only be accounted for through the Bible" (see video embedded below). Hovind claims that when non-believers approach him to provide evidence of the statements made in the Bible, they are attempting to use logic. "Evidence assumes logic," he says to Bruggencate on a "Magic Sandwich Show" video, "and logic is only consistent with the God of the Bible. Proof assumes logic, and logic is only consistent with the God of the Bible."
Bruggencate says that non-believers' reasoning that is based on the uniformity of nature, such as water boiling at a certain temperature, "assumes the proof in the proof" and involves circular reasoning. Christians, he says, do not engage in circular logic because they have a reasonable expectation of the uniformity of nature because of what God reveals in the Bible.
The "Magic Sandwich Show" video promoting Bruggencate and Hovind's presuppositionalism concludes with James Randi refusing to engage in presuppositionalist arguments. "This is very juvenile, and I don't get involved in juvenile arguments," Randi says. To that, the presuppositionalists say, "Fortunately, we do!" Watch: