Thursday, January 15, 2009
I0115-Institutes - Defeater Arguments
Josh sent the following:
I have also observed along with the others that Calvin is relevant to our time as well. Lately I have been kind of keeping my eye open for general and especially defeater arguments against Christianity treated by Christian authors. It would be very useful to compile a list of defeater assertions and their refutation by several of the best Christian authors.
I noticed Calvin's treatment of a common defeater taught in sociology in the beginning of 1.3.2
"It is most absurd, therefore, to maintain, as some do, that religion was devised by the cunning and craft of a few individuals, as a means of keeping the body of the people in due subjection..."
"A sense of deity is inscribed on every heart" 1.3.1
The idolatry of the wicked, even the fear of God the self-proclaimed god Caligula experienced later in his life are proof of the point. The fact that men use religion to their advantage does not disprove it. The truth is that men in their depravity have gone astray from the true God, as Paul points out in Romans one. Men the world over have fashioned idols to satisfy that faint, suppressed knowledge that God is, and that he probably is not pleased with all the things their consciences condemn them of.
Finding defeaters treated by Calvin is like icing on the cake. Of course my main priority in reading the institutes is summed up by the words of Calvin in his 1545 epistle to the reader (5th paragraph)
"read it, and diligently imprint on their memory, if they would in the first place have a summary of Christian doctrine, and, in the second place, an introduction to the profitable reading both of the Old and New Testament."