Home > Apologetics, Christianity, Epistemology, Philosophy, Quotations, Theology > John Warwick Montgomery on Presuppositionalism as Epistemology

John Warwick Montgomery on Presuppositionalism as Epistemology


2.18: All arguments begin with presuppositions; thus, we are told by influential orthodox Protestant theologians, Christians have every right to start from the presupposition that God has revealed himself in Holy Scripture.
2.1801: Advocates of “orthodox presuppositionalism” go on to affirm that any attempt to justify the Christian world-view makes the presuppositions of one’s epistemology more fundamental than one Christian’s beliefs, thus idolatrously demeaning God.
2.181: Kant’s demonstrations that all arguments begin with presuppositions is eminently sound; but from this it does not follow that I can sensibly begin to construct a world-view from any presupposition whatever.
2.1811: If the latter were the case, then, as readily as one man took to his bosom an unjustified Christian presupposition, I could take to mine the aprioristic belief in a cheese0impregnated Deity with whom communion is possible through the medium of the toasted-cheese sandwich.
2.182: Religious presuppositions must be tested for truth-value from without; otherwise one claim has as much right to acceptance as a claim mutually incompatible with it.
2.1821: But as soon as one begins to test religious “presuppositions” for truth-value, these religious tenets lose absolute presuppositional value.
2.18211: It is nonetheless legitimate to speak of “the presuppositions of one’s systematic theology” (meaning the starting-points for one’s doctrinal system) as long as one recognizes that these “presuppositions” still require justification over against other possible starting-points for theologizing.
2.183: The truth-testing of religious first-principles does not lower their value or depreciate the Deity on whom they center.
2.1831: To use a road map to ensure that one reaches the king’s palace instead of a garbage dump does not give the king a status below the road map.
2.1832: What would doubtless offend the monarch is an attitude of indifference in the quest: a lack of concern to distinguish his palace from the garbage dump.
2.1833: It is a simple “category mistake” (in Ryle’s sense) to make invidious comparisons of value between substantive beliefs and the epistemological means by which those beliefs are verified; truth-tests and religious tenets have different functions; and the use of the former, instead of diminishing the value of the latter, actually enhances them.
2.1834: Care must be taken, therefore, not to confuse one’s starting-point for systematic theology (e.g., the God who reveals himself in Scripture) with one’s epistemological means of verifying that starting-point (e.g., Carnell’s employment of Brightman’s systematic consistency motif).


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