78 terms

Christian Apologetics: Mid-Term Exam Study Guide

This is a set designed to match needed-to-know terms and their definitions for the Mid-Term exam of the "Christian Apologetics" course at LeTourneau University.
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Apologetics
The discipline that deals with a rational defense of Christian faith. It comes from the Greek word "apologia" which means to give a reason or defense.
Worldview
How one views or interprets reality. The "glasses" through which we view and understand EVERYTHING. Weltanschauung - "World and life view." Framework through which or by which one makes sense of the data of life. Particularly effects view of God, origins, evil, human nature, values and destiny.
Causality
The principle which holds that every finite, contingent, changing thing needs a cause for its existence.
Absolutism
The belief that there are universal truths and moral norms that are applicable to all times, places and cultures.
Anthropormorphism
Assigning human characteristics to nonhuman beings or things.
Existentialism
A movement that stresses existence is prior to essence; the concrete and individual is over or more important than the abstract and universal.
Infinite Regress
The idea that there is no first cause in the infinite line of causes extending into the past; causes are infinitely dependent on dependent causes.
Natural Law
In ethics, the belief that there are innate or natural moral laws discoverable and/or known by all human beings.
Necessary Being
An existent that cannot not exist; a being whose nonexistence is impossible; a being whose very essence is existence.
Pluralism
The belief that reality is many rather than one (as in absolute pantheism).
Pragmatism
The view which makes what works the test for truth and/or moral norms.
Relativism
The belief that there are no absolutes; truth and morals vary among times, places, and people.
Skepticism
The belief that one should doubt or suspend all judgment on reality.
Utilitarianism
In ethics, the view that a person should act to bring about the greatest measure of good for the greatest number of people.
Higher Criticism
Usually an antisupernatural presupposition.
Historical Apologetics
Stress historical evidence as the basis for demonstrating the truth of Christianity.
Lower Criticism
Attempts to determine what the original text said.
Source Criticism
Literary criticism. Discover and define literary sources. Uncover underlying literary sources, classify types of literature, and answer questions relating to authorship, unity, and date of OT and NT materials.
Form Criticism
Literary forms - essays, poems, myths. Documentary hypothesis (J-E-D-P theory) - a "pre-archeological" theory which does not fit the best and latest evidence (disproven by the Ras Shamra Texts).
Tradition Criticism
History of traditions before they were recorded in writing - oral traditions - very hard to prove.
Redaction Criticism
A redactor took the texts available and compiled them together according to his biases. Tries to figure out how sources were compiled, what was omitted, what was added and what biases were present.
Law of Identity
An object is identical to itself.
Law of Non-Contradiction
Two contradictory statements cannot be true in the same sense at the same time.
Law of the Excluded Middle
Just because two things have one thing in common does not mean they have everything in common.
Law of Rational Inference
Inferences can be made from what is known to what is unknown.
Law of Parsimony
One cannot reason to a cause which is greater than that which is adequate to explain an effect. The world is obviously finite, imperfect, flawed. You cannot (by reason alone) reason to a perfect infinite omnipotent God from an imperfect world.
Law of Predication
There is no meaning apart from a system. There is no meaning apart from God's system. There are no uninterpreted "brute facts."
Reductio ad absurdium
Is a form of argument in which a proposition is disproven by following its implications to a logical but absurd consequence. A particular kind, in its strictest sense, is proof by contradiction (also called indirect proof) where an assumption is proven false because it leads to a contradiction (for example a proposition of the form 'p and not-p'). Babies are not viable, therefore they can be aborted. RAA = we can kill all inviable humans.
Differentiation w/o Difference
Making a big deal out of a perceived difference which really is no significant difference at all.
Ad hominem
Attacking the individual instead of the argument.
A priori
Reasoning from cause to effect; looking forward to what will be, given certain circumstances; postulating forward to the effect; reasoning deductively; prior to experience.
Cosmological Argument
Every effect has a cause. There cannot be an infinite regress of causes. There must be an uncaused cause. A necessary being. This being is God. Given the beauty, perfection, complexity of the universe, it must have a creator (a first cause). He must be greater than His creation. If one were to find a watch in the middle of the road, one would immediately reason that there had to be a watch maker.
Teleological Argument
World reveals intelligence, order, harmony, design and purpose. Implies the existence of an intelligent and purposeful being. Very similar to the cosmological argument. Matter, force and motion do not suffice. Must also be direction, which is inconceivable apart from purposefulness. Fits the law of entropy = any system naturally moves from order to disorder. Would take an orderer > from disorder to order.
Argument from Universal Consent
Deduces the existence of God from the universality of religion. Universal idea of God in the mind of humankind was placed there by God. No tribes without some kind of religion. All societies in all ages have worshiped something. This idea had to originate somewhere. It came from the seed of God in all men. Calvin's seed of religion (1.3.1).
Argument from Religious Need
The desire for God exists from real existential need. This need, in itself, is an evidence for the existence of God. Human beings really need God. What humans really need, probably really exists. Therefore, God really exists.
Argument from Motion
There is motion (locomotion) in the universe. Something cannot move itself - an external agent is necessary. An infinite regress of forces is not possible. There must be a being who is the ultimate source of motion. There must be an unmoved mover. That mover is God.
Contingency Argument
Contingent means "IF" - Based on the dependant nature of all things. Nothing in this world is capable of explaining itself. Nothing is self-explanatory. You have to go to something prior to everything to explain it. The universe is the sum-total of the stuff in it. It is just a mass of items which cannot explain themselves (could not exist without something prior). Therefore, the universe is not self-explanatory. It in and of itself does not explain itself. Must go beyond the universe itself to that which makes it explainable. God makes the universe explainable.
Historical/Theological Argument
History demonstrates an upward trend in human culture and civilization. This upward trend points to the realization of an ultimate plan for humanity. A plan has to have a planner. History is not the product of fate or chance, but a mighty hand is leading it to a definite goal; "History" is "HIS" - "STORY."
Moral Argument
People possess a moral impulse or categorical imperative. (The impulse to do GOOD.) Morality is not always rewarded in this life. There must be some basis or reason for moral behavior that is beyond this life. This implies the existence of immortality, ultimate judgment, a God who establishes and supports morality by rewarding good and punishing evil. A moral world order is inconceivable apart from a personal God. We are good only because of the image of God in us. Therefore all humans can be good on this basis.
Ontological Argument
Major premise: Man has an idea of an infinite and perfect being. Minor premise: Existence is a necessary part of perfection. Conclusion: An infinite and perfect being exists, since the very concept of perfection requires existence.
Argument from Joy or Bliss
Every natural innate desire has a real object that can fulfill it. Human beings have a natural, innate desire for immortality. Therefore, there must be an immortal life after death.
Ad baculum
Appeal to force - Telling the hearer that something bad will happen to him if he does not accept the argument.
Ad misericordiam
Appeal to pity - Urging the hearer to accept the argument based upon an appeal to emotions, sympathy, etc.
Ad populum
Appeal to the popular - Urging the hearer to accept a position because a majority of people hold to it.
Appeal to Tradition
Trying to get someone to accept something because it has been done or believed for a long time.
Ad annis
Appeal to age.
Ad futuris
Appeal to future possibilities.
Ad ignorantiam
Appeal to one's lack of knowledge or proof concerning an issue.
Ad verecundiam
Appeal to inappropriate authority.
Amphibole
Appeal to ambiguous propositions that cloud the meaning of a truth statement due to awkward wording.
False Analogy
An attempt to use similarity that is irrelevant to the argument.
False Cause and Effect
Assuming that the effect is related to a cause because the events occur together.
Circular Argument/Begging the Question
Assuming the thing to be true that you are trying to prove. It is circular.
Division
Assuming that what is true of the whole is true for the parts.
Equivocation
Using the same term in an argument in different places but the word has different meanings.
False Dilemma
Giving only two choices when in actuality there could be more choices possible.
Genetic Fallacy
Attempting to endorse or disqualify a claim because of the origin or irrelevant history of the claim.
Guilt by Association
Rejecting an argument or claim because the person proposing it likes someone whom is disliked by another.
Non sequitur
Comments or information that do not logically follow from a premise or the conclusion.
Poisoning the Well
Presenting negative information about a person before he/she speaks so as to discredit the person's argument.
Red Herring
Introducing a topic not related to the subject at hand. Diverting the issue.
Special Pleading (double standard)
Applying a standard to another that is different from a standard applied to oneself.
Straw Man Argument
Producing an argument about a weaker representation of the truth and attacking it. Or, only attacking the easy parts of an argument without addressing the more difficult ones. Or, only addressing some of the key Scriptures in an argument without addressing others that are harder to explain away.
Category Mistake
Attributing a property to something that could not possibly have that property.
Dicto simpliciter
Attempting to apply a general rule to a specific case when differences exist that militate against its application.
Hasty Generalization
Reaching a conclusion after analyzing only unusual cases instead of reasoning from analysis of typical cases.
Slippery Slope
The claim that accepting a conclusion of an argument will lead to a series of undesirable consequences and justifications.
Argument of the Beard
(Argument from degrees) - "Reject this because it differs only in degree from what you already reject." The key word is degree. The name of the fallacy comes from the question, "When does a man have a beard?" The answer is hard because there is no clear line between not shaving for a few days and having a beard. It is a matter of degree. This fallacy offers a comparison between the view that we hold and a view that we rightly reject, but like a faulty analogy, it assumes that adding up small differences does not make a big difference. It tells us that if a line is hard to draw, then it is impossible to draw. Again, this ignores important distinctions that should be made.
A posteriori
Reasoning from effect to cause; looking backward from what is observable; reasoning inductively; experience based.
Mormon Exaltation
Lorenzo Snow, former president and prophet of the Latter Day Saints, words Brigham Young spoke at funeral of Joseph Smith: wrote this poem in 1919 - expresses the thought of the development of God and man perfectly. "As man now is, God once was; As God now is, Man may be. A son of God, like God to be; Would not be robbing deity" (Enroth 1983, 131).
Sinless Perfection
You cannot be forgiven, unless you live a perfectly sinless, obedient life.
Terrestrial Kingdom
Mormons who are not as faithful "less than valiant"; non-Mormon righteous people; Presence of the Son.
Tellestial Kingdom
The unrighteous; the carnal and sinful.
Celestial Kingdom
For those married in the temple and faithful to the Mormon religion; Presence of the Father; can attain to godhood.
Preexistence
"Things were first created spiritually; the Father actually begat the spirits, and they were brought forth and lived with him. Then he commenced the work of creating earthly tabernacles, precisely as he had been created in this flesh himself, by partaking of the coarse material that was organized and composed this earth, until his system was charged with it, consequently the tabernacles of his children were organized from the coarse materials of this earth (Young 1925, 77-78; 4:218; cf. also 4:216)."
Dark Skin in Historical Mormonism
2 Nephi 5:21 p. 66 - The curse of blackness. 2 Nephi 30:6 p. 112. 1963 edition (p. 102) says "white and delightsome people." Current - "pure and delightsome people." 3 Nephi 2:15 - p. 410 "and their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites." Blacks could not enter the Melchizedechian Priesthood. Missionaries denied permission to go into Nigeria. Church position reversed by a new "revelation" June 9, 1978.
Women in Mormonism
Women cannot be resurrected from the dead without a husband to call their temple name. During the temple marriage the husband stands behind a veil, representing his being in the kingdom. He pulls the wife through after asking a series of questions and making a series of secret signs which she must know the secret answers to.
Temple Work in Mormonism
Only worthy Mormons can enter the temple. Non-Mormons only can go into the tabernacle. The celestial marriage can only be performed in the temple. Only there can a man and woman be sealed "for time and all eternity" (Tucker p. 78). Special garments are to be warn during and after temple rituals. Most temple rituals involve baptism for the dead (House p. 73). Mormons often recount speaking in tongues at temple dedications. There are 126 temples world wide with 9 more in the planning stages. Only a bishop can grant a temple recommendation card for entrance into the temple.