Douglas Groothuis

Defending Christian Faith, September 21, 2004






Truth is what my colleagues will let me get away with—Richard Rorty


We…need to realize that it is now bad tactics

to major on the truth question

—Alister McGrath


No!—D.  Groothuis



I.          Components of Knowledge (Corduan, chapter 3)


A.        Need for an epistemology


B.         Self evidence and epistemology


1.         Analytic, necessary truths


2.         Basic beliefs, religious experience


3.         J.P.  Moreland on religious experience (Scaling, 231 – 240)


a.         Causal argument:  explaining a changed life


b.         Direct perception argument:  sensory perception and numinous experience:  seven common features


4.         Immediate sensory awareness


5.         Self-evidence is a necessary but not sufficient test for the truth of a world view; need more than self-evidence and religious experience


C.        Rationality and epistemology


1.         Logical deduction


2.         Rationalism:  Plato, Anselm, Descartes, Gordon Clark


3.         The ontological argument:  a priori argument extraordinaire.  See Stephen Davis’s chapter in God, Reason, and Theistic Proofs (Eerdmans, 1997).


4.         Rational deduction is a necessary, but not sufficient test for a true world view; need more than deduction


D.        Sensory information and epistemology


1.         Empiricism:  open and closed


2.         Teleological argument, naïve version (J.P. Moreland’s in Scaling is far better)


3.         Sensory information is a necessary, but not sufficient test for the truth of a world view:  need more than sensory information


E.         Workability and epistemology


1.         Pragmatism:  it’s true if it works


2.         Pragmatism and religious truth:  conflicts


3.         Evaluation of pragmatism; cannot be the meaning or definition of truth.  Is one element of testing truth claims.


4.         Workability a necessary, but not a sufficient test for the truth of a world view:  working doesn’t make a belief true


F.         A combination of criteria are needed to test the truth of a worldview