Friday, March 21, 2014

Can Atheists Trust Their Thoughts and Senses?

The above video by the professed atheist and YouTube user 'Venaloid' was recently brought to my attention, and I thought it was worth sharing and responding to. Venaloid admits that atheists cannot know that their thoughts and senses are trustworthy, however, he says it's a "double-edged sword" because Christians can't know that God isn't deceiving them, therefore he argues Christians can't trust their thoughts and senses either.

Venaloid's argument raises the same basic issues that I've already dealt with in my other post 'The Deceptive God Argument Refuted.' (Please read that article if you haven't already as I thoroughly refute the idea that God could be deceiving us.)

I've also dealt with this whole issue here in my FAQ section - How do you know YOUR reasoning is valid? And just below it in the same FAQ section: How do you know YOU aren't in the Matrix?.

Venaloid asks a few specific questions:

//Would God come down and tell you that your thoughts and senses are being deceived?//

He wouldn't need to because he's already revealed himself to us through the Bible and he's promised us that he cannot lie or deceive us.

//Why do we have delusional people?//

This is a separate issue. You know that you aren't in a mental hospital right now the same way I do - by revelation from God. The only difference is I profess to know this revelation from God and you suppress it. We have delusional people because we live in a fallen world where people get sick. This all goes back to Adam and Eve's rebellion against God.


So at the core of your worldview, you can't know if your reasoning is valid and able to bring you to proper conclusions about anything. You can't justify the reasoning of anyone - even the most sane person - from within your worldview.

In contrast, at the core of the Christian worldview, we know that we can trust our reasoning by revelation from God. This is because God made us in his image, and so our minds are basically reliable.


  1. Well, I tried to type this up and it got gobbled up by the interweb demons.

    Basically, what you and your presuppositionalist brethren are actually arguing for is called 'epistemic skepticism' - the idea that we cannot know anything at all. You pretend you are not or you simply haven't really studied your worldview all that thoroughly.

    Here are the facts: To get out of epistemic skepticism the presuppositionalist foolishly appeals to two things:

    1. God revealed Scripture. I honestly cannot wrap my head around how a presuppositionalist will first claim that we cannot reason autonomously because of the magical effects of sin yet paradoxically claim that he can trust his own reasoning abilities to determine what scripture is telling him. Really? If we can't trust our own reasoning abilities, then how can we trust our interpretation of scripture, what scripture is telling us, and what counts as scripture?

    If we are honest, we can't. If I can't trust that I understand what I'm reading then I can't trust scripture.

    So scripture is out.

    2. Personal Revelation. Ah ha! Says the presuppositionalist - but God has given me some nebulous personal revelation that I cannot describe to you at all! This is the escape route that Sye has attempted to use in the past. The problem with this is that people have cognitive defects, people have hallucinations, people misinterpret what is happening, and if you believe the Bible's claims, there are demons and devils that could present you with a false revelation. But God could reveal himself to me in such a way that I can be absolutely certain! Well, maybe - I don't actually know. So is this what you are saying he's done? If so, then please tell us how he did so. Cue the blustering of assertions of certainty. "I just know", "God did it". Uh-huh. That's what that lady who cut her children's arms off thought too.

    Both attempts to get out of epistemic skepticism fail miserably. Will you admit this?

    No, you will not. Cue the contrived attempted rebuttals.

  2. Here's my response to the theistic presuppositional apologetics. You are pretending to know things through divine revelation when you are really using your transmygdala.