A lot of presuppositional appologists argue that the Abrahamic God is real because the Bible is self validating and that everyone "knows" God (except you have to presuppose sense perception and that everyone knows God). Then they turn back the argument and ask us what the Atheist's basis for reasoning is since most Atheists cannot account for reasoning apart from presupposing it is valid (which would be circular).

How is the problem resolved? Is there even a resolution at all? Are both arguments equally invalid?

  • On what grounds we have to agree that "the Bible is self validating" ? Aug 2, 2018 at 18:21
  • On what groundswe have to agree that "Atheists cannot account for reasoning apart from presupposing it is valid" ? Aug 2, 2018 at 18:21
  • Maybe logic and reasoning are "human tools" that means that there is no "ultimate" authority validating them, except human society/culute/language itself. Aug 2, 2018 at 18:22
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA I'm not saying there are any grounds until we can validate reasoning. Either ways are you saying that there is an account for reasoning ? "Maybe logic and reasoning are "human tools" that means that there is no "ultimate" authority validating them, except human society/culute/language itself" You used to logic / reasoning to come to that conclusion. Except it would be a circular to use logic to prove logic. Aug 2, 2018 at 19:00
  • Sorry, but what is the question ? My answer to : "Does logic and reasoning need to be validated by an ultimate authority ?" is : "There is no ultimate authority". Aug 2, 2018 at 19:02

4 Answers 4


The authors of forall x Calgary Remix claim there are two ways that an argument can go wrong (page 8):

  • One or more of the premises might be false.
  • The conclusion might not follow from the premises.

The second is the one that logicians study and it is how validity is defined (page 8):

As logicians, we want to be able to determine when the conclusion of an argument follows from the premises. One way to put this is as follows. We want to know whether, if all the premises were true, the conclusion would also have to be true. This motivates a definition:

An argument is valid if and only if it is impossible for all of the premises to be true and the conclusion false.

Consider the OP's questions: How is the problem resolved? Is there even a resolution at all? Are both arguments equally invalid?

One possibility to consider is that both arguments may be valid, or if invalid could be easily fixed. That is, in both positions the conclusions may follow from the respective premises.

Rather than looking at the validity of the arguments for problems, it may be in the premises where the problems lie. Some of the premises on one, or both sides, may be false and it may not be easy to tell which ones those are.


P. D. Magnus, Tim Button with additions by J. Robert Loftis remixed and revised by Aaron Thomas-Bolduc, Richard Zach, forallx Calgary Remix: An Introduction to Formal Logic, Winter 2018. http://forallx.openlogicproject.org/


Logic is a human emotion, and it is validated the same way all other human emotions are validated -- we feel it. The feeling of ease that you have when something makes sense is just as much of a physiological reaction as the feeling of unease you have when you find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings. Logic is fully self-validating in the worldview of any healthy human mind.

Experiences of numinous presence, transcendental purpose, or ultimate well-being are also human emotions. And we should believe that they mean something. But to link those feelings to God, especially a form of God as specific and complex as the Abrahamic one, requires a lot of formation and tutelage. Religion is not self-validating, it is an acquired belief, and can be judged by the same standards as other acquired beliefs.

We have found, after millennia of trying things out, that acquired beliefs turn out to be most reliable if they are statistically validated. Religions with any complex structure all fail most forms of statistical validation. We cannot address Gpd in a reasonable way and get the same kind of predictable responses we can get out of a mechanism, or an animal, or even out of other human beings.

So those feelings must mean something else...

  • "Logic is a human emotion" here I choked. However, reading further I got what you mean - I call it the feeling of self-rightness. Well, it is not exclusively human but that's irrelevant here.
    – rus9384
    Aug 2, 2018 at 21:28

Every argument can be choosed as self-validating: declaring something self-validating is like to establish an axiom, which power reside in its persuasiveness.

A self-validating argument can be used to justify everything, so an atheist can easily answer that her beliefs are validated by an "intuition" (or anything else) as the belief in God is validated by the Bible. It's an axiomatic choice.

  • This doesn't seem to answer the question. How does self-validating differ from a circular argument for validity? You might want to include references to strengthen the answer. This would also give reads a way to get more information in line with your perspective. Aug 2, 2018 at 20:19
  • 1
    Thank you for your comment. I meant that a self-validating argument can be used to justify everything, so an atheist can easily answer that her beliefs are validated by "intuition" (or anything else) as God by the Bible. It's an axiomatic choice. I hope this will help, I will think about for some references, both easy and uneasy to find since the question is a very broad one. Aug 2, 2018 at 20:24

Sorry, but you can't, and nobody can. Let me give you some examples:

  • You can do real arithmetics because you stand over axioms. IIRC you have 13 axioms for real numbers.
  • You can apply reason to a group of declarative sentences because you consider the status of your propositions as immutable/stationary (in terms of programming: with no side effects) and that truth matters. Then you define the concept of valid reasoning (this can be tranlated into saying that (p1 & p2 & ... & pn) -> q is true).
  • You can assert / reject a claim by the means of falsification/verification.

But each of those statements imply that you take some sort of agreement, perhaps, with an additional party while discussing.

If such party believes that the Bible is self-validating, then it is their choice to say it. Perhaps you could have a peek into Fides et Ratio, chapter 1:

By faith, men and women give their assent to this divine testimony. This means that they acknowledge fully and integrally the truth of what is revealed because it is God himself who is the guarantor of that truth.

This statement tells you the hard truth that everything is ultimately a choice: you can trust the senses (directly or indirectly via technology) or the Bible, or a strange mix.

So, no. The Bible is not self-validating. They are the ones who validate the Bible a priori. The Bible is just a bunch of pages. A book. Is as valid as LOTR saga: it depends on who wants to believe that. However, the same applies to science. Dario Sztajnszrajber (an argentinian philosophy teacher) in the debate for abortion said something similar:

la misma experiencia empírica, esto es, lo que vemos con nuestros ojos de modo inobjetable supone confiar (en la palabra “confianza” está la palabra “fe”) en la transparencia de los sentidos

Translated: the same empirical experience, that is, what we see with our eyes in an unobjectionable way implies trust (in the word "trust" is the word "faith") in the transparency of the senses.

After you reached that point, you are free. However, this is the type of free we talk about when you move out of your parent's house and say what the heck will I do now?

Now it is time to consider the choices made. Both choices involve knowledge management (you can make science out of anything, as long as you have criteria to define how to distinguish valid knowledge from invalid, and means to produce new knowledge) so the claims for science will lead you to nowhere (yes: theology is a science as well). Your discussion then quicky moves to the fields of ethics and then quickly again to a set of ad-hominem arguments.

Just remember something: religious arguments describe stuff, phenomena and entities they cannot reproduce. Just move out of the debate and challenge them to invoke their god in their aid or stop bothering you with their arbitrary claims from a book.

Then you will show them your experiments, books, and stuff and they will claim you are possessed by the Devil and you are incurring in scientism.

And remember: you can do nothing there.

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