Apologetics - I - RR103A1

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Apologetics - I
Course: Course - Apologetics
Subject: Subject:Christian Reconstruction
Lesson#: 1
Length: 0:57:07
TapeCode: RR103A1
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.

[Introduction] The first year of class, the class in Apologetics, and these men have just had a couple of hours of the introduction to Apologetics; and for their benefit—and most of these men have not been in a class with you thus far—let me introduce you again, using the same lines that I did the other day when in the other class, following the flyleaf of one of Dr. Rushdoony’s books: Dr. Rushdoony is presently a scholar and a lecturer. He’s president of Chalcedon, uh, what is it, society, association?

[Rushdoony] It’s a foundation.

[Introducer] Foundation, which supports people involved in this sort of Christian research and lecturing. He’s frequently on large university campuses. He tells me he even gets invitations to such places as Notre Dame to present the intellectual approach and presentation of the Gospel, and we certainly appreciate his being able to be with us here. Let me run down a list of some of the books that he has authored. He’s the author of numerous books, including Intellectual Schizophrenia, The Nature of American System, This Independent Republic, The Biblical Philosophy of History, By What Standard, Freud, The Myth of Overpopulation, Bread Upon the Waters, The Mythology of Science, Foundations of Social Order, Messianic Character of American Education, Politics of Guilt and Pity, Thy Kingdom Come, and this particular book, The One And The Many. And he says that he has others in the works right at this present time; and so we are certainly deeply appreciative of your taking time out, Dr. Rushdoony, to come to be with us and to lecture to us; and we look forward to rich spiritual blessing from it. [00:01:59]

[Rushdoony] Thank you...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Thank you. Our approach will be a question and answer approach, so that if you have any questions now in the area of apologetics that you’d like to raise, we can start there.

Yes. Do you have a question?

[Audience] Oh, yes. [general laughter] We were talking the other day in class about that a nonbeliever has no grounds for proof. They have no reason to think they have proof.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Audience] If I can get a nonbeliever to go so far as to admit that he has no reason to believe two and two is four, how can I tell him that I have the truth in my inspired Word, as opposed to other religious systems? [00:02:49]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes. Of course, getting him to admit that will be a proposition, because the natural man is unwilling to admit to his epistemological self-consciousness. Some of its philosophers are doing this, and this is precisely what we shall be dealing with in our Epistemology classes in the afternoon. But he cannot say that two and two equal four, because he has no ground for predicating truth in any area. To say that there is truth is to say that there is a world of absolute rationality. But if you deny that there is a world of absolute rationality around us, which means that there is an absolutely rational, a totally rational God behind it, then you have only a world of brute factuality.

Now the term ‘brute factuality’ is a very important one. What is a ‘brute fact‘? Well, if you are an unbeliever, you have only a universe, if you can use that term, and we’ll be dealing with this in our afternoon class. Are any of you in the afternoon class? Yes. Well, some of this then you’ll be getting over again but it won’t hurt, because it’s very important. If you do not believe in God, the universe is one of brute factuality, which means that they are uncreated facts, they are raw, uninterpreted facts, they are meaningless facts, they just happened, they’re a product of blind chance, so that they are totally impervious to reason, since they are not the product of the absolute reason of God. You have then, just – (well, no chalk, but, oh, here’s a little piece; here, I’ve got a little piece; there maybe some in here, too, that’s closer; alright) – you have here, let us say this is a ‘brute fact.’ It is totally irrational, totally meaningless, totally pointless; it operates in terms of no law, no meaning, so that it is impervious to any sense. It just is. It happened. [00:05:39]

Now how in a world such as that can you come up with...[edit]

Now how in a world such as that can you come up with any kind of meaning? How can you approach this? You have minds, so that, you see, for the unbeliever, no matter how much he tries to escape it (and I deal with this in part in my One And The Many), he has a dualistic worldview. He has a dualism between, on the one hand, mind or logic; and here, fact. And there is no relationship between the two, because there is not a common creator for both. So how is he going to make sense of this world?

Now the unbeliever says—and your philosophers of science declare—that there is no such thing as causality. Now this hit me like a ton of bricks when I was a student at the university a good many years ago at Berkeley, University of California, when I was told in class that the idea of causality is a myth; that it is the myth that religious man has conjured up, is a product of his logic, and he projects it onto a world of fact. And then the professor went on to deal with a concrete example: the sun; it rises every morning in the east. Is there any necessity, any law, any causality that makes the sun rise every morning in the east? Well, if you were to say there were some reason, some cause, that makes the sun rise every morning in the east, you’re immediately talking about mind, are you not? Because when you talk about cause and reason and law, whether it’s a law of nature or a law of man, you’re talking about a mind, a purpose. [00:08:00]

And so, it is important for the philosopher of science...[edit]

And so, it is important for the philosopher of science to deny that there is a causality to the sunrise and sunset. And so, instead, he talks about the probability concept. And he says, since it has so happened this way by accident until now, it is probable that by accident tomorrow morning the sun will also rise in the east and set in the west; but until we have all facts in from the beginning of the world to the end, we don’t know whether we can say it is so. And if it is so, it’s still by accident. In other words, he will not allow the possibility of law. But of course he’s never going to have to say, “Well it had happened because there is some kind of law,” because it is impossible for him to collect statistics on every sunrise and sunset from the first day of creation to the last. So he operates in terms of a probability concept.

I am writing now a book on the doctrine of salvation in which I deal with this probability concept and some of the new alternatives to it, because they still say you’re not getting away from mind here. They’re worried about that. You cannot posit mind here. So two and two equals four? Oh yes, it does in your mind. It doesn’t in the world out here. If it does, it’s just accidental. It’s not because of any necessity for it to do so.

So, the whole approach of the negative apologetics of Dr. Van Til is to tell the unbeliever “Do you see where you are? You cannot predicate anything with regard to the world of factuality. It is totally oblivious to reason. It’s a world of chaos. You cannot even call it a universe. And this is why Clark Kerr, who was a very intelligent man—he was the president of the University of California at Berkeley—insisted that we must no longer call Berkeley, or any other major school in the country, a university, but we must call it a multiversity. Why? Because the word universe points to God, you see. The whole idea of the universe, the university, is a Christian idea. [00:11:01]

There is a book just coming out now, and I saw an advance...[edit]

There is a book just coming out now, and I saw an advance chapter; it’s by Nesbitt, N E S B I T T, a former University of California sociologist, who gave up in disgust and is now in the University of Arizona. And Nesbitt is one of the few good sociologists in the country. And Nesbitt has said the university is the last medieval institution in our world today; and in a sense he is right. He says the university is on its death bed. And he’s right again. I wrote something along the same lines for another book, which is not yet published, before I ever saw what Nesbitt has written, and it’s not yet published, on the subject. But you see, the idea of the university presupposes one God, one world of law, and one entity of creation—the universe. You deny God, you have a multiverse. Every individual, every fact, is its own universe. And so as a part of that, logically, the University of California not too long ago gave a Master’s degree in magic. Why not? You see, in the modern world of knowledge, do your own thing! And if your own thing happens to be magic, why, take a degree in magic! You see, the one thing intolerable to a multiversity is God, a belief that there is a universe, and that there is one world of law, because there is one God. So, you see, your answer to the unbeliever is, you cannot say two and two equal four. It might in one of these multiversities; but in the next multiverse, it can be two and two equals five. Each little multiverse does its own thing.

But for me, because there is a God, two plus two equals four. And I tell you, that unless you’re living over here in the world of your imagination, you’re in trouble, because two plus two equals four is what put a man on the moon, not your imagination, you see. Does that help? [pause, then general laughter]

Yes. [00:13:42]

[Audience] Dr. Rushdoony, don’t we get in trouble when we say that there is no good in man at all? I mean, man, even depraved man, has produced better medical facilities, and he has advanced in science and {?} with his social welfare programs and medical advancements and stuff like that. So don’t we put ourselves on a spot when we say there is no good in … man has produced nothing good?

[Rushdoony] First, you put yourself on the spot and in trouble when you became a Christian. You’re at war with most of the world now, so it’s too late to worry about being in trouble.

Now, you’re very right, however, that the ungodly have produced many remarkable things. They have produced some remarkable inventions, some amazing discoveries in science and so on. They’ve done it because they are schizophrenic, you see. When they talk to you, and when they lecture in the classroom, they talk this way: and they say there’s a world of brute factuality out here. But when they get into the laboratory, what do they do?

They assume its God’s world, and it’s a world of law; and therefore they can depend upon it. [00:15:13]

Now, I’m going to be dealing a little later in the...[edit]

Now, I’m going to be dealing a little later in the afternoon class on epistemology, with Einstein and a quotation from Einstein, a very famous essay in a scientific periodical a good many years ago, in which he affirms this position. But then, when a fellow scientist asked him once, “how did you ever come up with your theory of relativity?” And he said just off the cuff, so it was an honest answer, “Oh, it’s because I believe in the absolute harmony and perfection of the whole universe.” So you see, Einstein on the one hand said there is no God and it’s all chance; but when he went to work at his desk, he presupposed the absolute Word of God.

It’s like in my By What Standard, I use the simile of somebody I knew in Nevada, who had a front of being a thoroughly respectable man, but he was a rustler! Now, if he had been true to the kind of profession he was making as a supposed rancher, he never would have been able to live. He would have starved to death, because he didn’t have the wherewithal or the facilities or anything, or the willingness to work to produce one head of cattle. But, because he was not true to his profession, and he was rustling, he was able to make a good living.

Well, your scientists are that way. If they were true to their profession of faith, which is in a mindless universe, or a multiverse, they could produce nothing. No science would be possible. I shall deal later this week with what Dr. Gunther Stent, a molecular biologist, has said. He’s an atheist, but he has seen this whole picture, and he is afraid it spells very soon the death of science; and he says it’s beginning to have that result now, on the graduate level.

[Audience] What do you mean by the intellectual schizophrenic? [00:17:37]

[Rushdoony] Well, it means being doubly-minded, to...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Well, it means being doubly-minded, to have a double mind; and a man who is double-minded, St. James said, is unstable in all his ways. And modern science, in the laboratory, believes that the world is created by God, because it acts on that faith. It acts on the faith that there is a law order in the universe, and they can really find out something dependable. But when it speaks openly, it says there is no God; there is no universe; it’s all chaos; it’s all a product of chance. Now if it’s all a product of chance, how can you find any order in that universe to come up with any discovery, or to make any invention, or to say that gasoline today will blow up if you throw a match on it, and tomorrow it’ll put a match out, you see. There is then no causality. There is no necessity in the world. There is no eternal decree of God behind it which keeps it on an absolute constancy at all times and makes it a totally dependable world. Does that clarify?

[Audience] No, I haven’t read your book. Maybe I should read your book {?}. It sort of give the interpretational mixture of doubt and faith there, speaking of the scientists –

[Rushdoony] Yes!

[Audience] – on one hand, like with Einstein. On one hand, he may be atheistic; on the other hand, he points to God –

[Rushdoony] Right!

[Audience] – in moments of doubt and faith ...

[Rushdoony] Well no, intellectually, he is totally doubt. But practically, if he applied his doubts in the laboratory, he couldn’t operate, you see. He cannot operate, because if you say everything is chance, how can you find any order in the universe? And everything Einstein did pointed to an order, so that it could be expressed mathematically. You cannot have a mathematical order in the universe, or order of any kind, unless there is an absolute law, an absolute mind, behind the universe. [00:20:10]

It was very interesting, I read something by a scientist...[edit]

It was very interesting, I read something by a scientist recently, in which he said, “Not too many years ago, when we approached the human body, we were sure it was a thoroughly chemical system; so that in medical school, if you raised the fact that worry could cause ulcers, the professor would single you out as a nut. Why? Because he would go to the blackboard and he would trace out the chemical processes which led to ulcers; and he would point out that the body is a complete chemical system, which it is. But,” he said, “we have since found that is it a thorough going electrical system, a thorough going biological system, a thorough going numerical system. Now,” he said, “how many other things is it? Have we just scratched the surface with regard to the body? It is a combination of interdependent orders; of amazing perfection and complexity.”

Well now, you see, what he has been pointing to here with his thinking. Here is a masterpiece of designing. But will he then say it is a work of design by a designer. No, he will not. So he has said so much that points to God, and a Creator; and then will not admit it.

In the Epistemology class I’m going to bring a quotation or two later on this week or next, in which scientists have come to conclude that there had to be a day of creation, granted their evolutionary premises. Still there had to be a dramatic beginning someplace, a day of creation; and they use that word. They will not say the dirty word, God. And that is the dirty word to them. Well, I submit that’s schizophrenic.

[Audience] How are they able to get {?} to say there has to be the day of creation, without saying something had to do the creating?

[Rushdoony] Because they’re talking to themselves, you see, in learned journals where nobody is going to say, “Uh oh, you made a boo boo there, you see.”


[Audience] This is kind of like my first question, I guess; but if you can get a person who … I think the young people today are realizing the ridiculousness of the universities, of multiversities; and they know they need a revelation; but how do we set forth the Christian revelation, as opposed to Buddhism or all the other junk that they’re dabbling in? [00:23:00]

[Rushdoony] Uh huh...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Uh huh. First of all, there is no other revelation, you see.

[Audience] Okay.

[Rushdoony] I’ll be touching on this in the Epistemology class, I think. I don’t recall. I’ve touched on it somewhere for something I prepared, but [general laughter] sometimes I get a little confused about what I’ve prepared for. There is no other religion that has any idea of revelation before Christ. They have books of wisdom, books of writing; but they are human documents. They never claim to be more. The only books of revelation we have are those that are post-Christian, that are imitative, like the Koran and the book of Mormon. So the idea of revelation is uniquely Christian, and we have to go further (and I’ll go into this in the afternoon classes) and say why no other system can have revelation; because the idea of revelation, of finished revelation, posits a totally omnipotent and sovereign God. The Mormons don’t have this. So, when you’re dealing with them, of course, you push them back. Negative apologetics is to show to them you have no ground whereon to stand; but thus saith the Lord; and then the Holy Spirit does the rest. You see, it’s wrong for us to worry about conversions. That’s not our problem. The witnesses are our responsibility; the results are God’s.


[Audience] Returning to the idea of probability, though, and especially in certain types of modern theology, you have people who say that there is a God; and they believe in God. Yet … and the idea particularly, too, of saying unless He’s dead that you cannot have faith absolutely; that Jesus Christ was who he was; that you can only have probability, higher probability, highest probability. Can you comment on how you would handle that particular problem? [00:25:19]

[Rushdoony] All right...[edit]

[Rushdoony] All right. First of all, ours is a theistic religion. We believe in the God of scripture. Now, most religions are not theistic; they are humanistic. Buddhism has no god. Hinduism has no god. Animism has no god. Shintoism has no god. Shintoism talks about, in translation, the word kami, K A M I, is translated as god, but it really means spirit. There are spirits for everything. For example, there’s the Benjo Kami, that you pay respect to when you go to the bathroom. He’s the god of the toilet [general laughter]. And there’s a kami for everything there’s a spirit. Now. Some religions have gods. Some religions have gods; but that’s different from having the God of scripture, because the religions that have gods … well, take the Greek and Roman religion: the gods themselves are a product of chaos, of chance, so that there is something more ultimate than the gods. It’s chaos. And whatever gods there may be in these religions, the god is not the sovereign, predestinating, creating God. He is not absolute. He is a superior being who has arisen out of chaos, evolved out of chaos, say maybe millions of ages before man did. So he’s a senior partner in the universe, and he’s working to try to make something out of this world of brute factuality just like the rest of us. Now since he’s a little stronger than we are, and he’s got a head start of a few million years and has somehow in the process conquered death, which Kenneth Heuer, a British astrophysicist, says man will do also, then it means that he’s able to exert a little more probability on events. But only the God of Scripture as the sovereign God absolutely predestinates all things, so that the Council of Jerusalem declared, “Known unto God are all his works from the foundation of the world.” So that our Lord said that the very hairs of our head are all numbered; not a sparrow falls which your Father in heaven knows it. Now, if that is not your God, you have probabilities; and you do not have the God of Scripture. You have a god whom you may give a Biblical name and description too, but he’s like the gods of Greece. He’s a product of chaos. And you may have tied him to Jesus Christ in some fashion, but it’s not the Christ of scripture, Who proclaims that sovereign God, and who said before Abraham was, I Am. So, it’s another gospel; it’s another faith. This is why you cannot say there is Calvinism and other forms of Christianity. No! There’s only one form of Christianity, and that’s the kind that scripture presents us; and which the Reformed faith tries to set forth. The others have another god; And sooner or later it becomes implicit and explicit. And this is why, whenever Arminianism begins to think intellectually, it very quickly goes into humanism, does it not? There have been any number of Arminian groups that have broken away and started a Bible college or a seminary; and in five or ten years … and I can name several of them in California. They’ve built multi-million campuses, beautiful places, not too many years ago; and already now, they’re talking humanism and unbelief, because their god is not sovereign. And if God is not sovereign, who is? Well, it’s like the old saying, predestination is the Devil casting a vote, and God casting a vote, and man casts the deciding vote. But who’s sovereign? Man is. That’s Arminianism. Man is sovereign. So their god reveals himself, ultimately, as man. It’s another gospel. [00:30:17]


[Audience] Uh, could you comment a little on Francis Schaeffer’s book {?} ; and then how he deals with one he wrote {?}

[Rushdoony] [break in audio between 30:47 and 30:51, resuming with an additional response by Rushdoony, as follows] Yes and no, because it was some time ago that I read it, and I don’t remember enough of it to comment on it. To a degree, Francis Schaeffer, whom I know personally and like, would agree with me. I would say his trouble is that he goes so far in presenting this, but he’s presenting it really, I’m afraid to say: see how terrible the world is. So he gives you a catalogue of horrors, which is to prepare you for the fact—well, there’s only one answer, it’s the second coming—because he is premillennial, unfortunately. I think he would [general laughter] increase his power tremendously if he were not. But, I feel that we are called, first, to make this analysis, to cut the ground out from under the enemy; and then to conquer in Christ’s name, because I believe that we are the destined heirs of creation. The meek—that is, the blessed tamed of God; those who have been harnessed by Him—shall inherit the earth, and delight themselves in the abundance of peace. And I believe that. I believe that. So when I look around when I travel back and forth across the country when I go to Notre Dame, or to the university of Illinois, or Indiana, or elsewhere, I think—I think as I go through there—it’s yours now, but it’s going to be ours one of these days [general laughter], and I believe that. I believe that.

Recently I took a breather for a few days, and with my wife, we got into the car and headed out for the desert country in California and Southern Nevada. We like the desert. My wife was a Pennsylvanian, used to the neatly manicured countryside of lovely Western Pennsylvania, was first horrified by the desert country when she first came out West, because, she said, “It’s not chummy country. You could die here and nobody would know it for a generation.” But now she loves it. But as we were going through there, the same thought occurred to both of us: in due time, the desert shall blossom like the rose, and under the people of God, it shall produce, and produce abundantly. I believe that. And I believe I’m called to work towards that end, by bringing every area of life and thought into captivity to Christ. [00:33:43] Well, so much for the little testimony.

You haven’t had a question , I believe, yet.

[Audience] Well, what was that line of bringing every area of life? I’ve read some things that would seem to flip that, let’s say, before bringing Christ to, let’s say, the unsaved; and I just wonder—I don’t have any view on it—but I just wonder about that. How can we bring every area of life under the control, unless, you know, to unbelievers, so to speak. Shouldn’t our first priority … or, or, how would you reconcile that if we forsake the gospel {?} ?

[Rushdoony] You do it all simultaneously. That’s why when I was ordained, I asked for and got ordination as an evangelist. I intended to be a writer ultimately, devoting my life to a ministry of writing. But I first worked among the Chinese in San Francisco, and then among the American Indians in the most isolated reservation in the West. But I wanted ordination as an evangelist, because that is basic to our conquest.


[Audience] {?} having an absolute law over us, and that{?} logically takes you back to an absolute monarchy. I’m not sure I see how {?}

[Rushdoony] Oh, well. You cannot have law without a god. If the universe is a product of chance, why, how can there be any law in it? If it’s a product of chance, tomorrow I could be twenty years younger, you see. There’s no rhyme or reason. Or tomorrow, I might take a step and fly. There’d be no law structure in the universe to give any order and consistency. But there is an absolute law in everything. And that law is the product of a mind. Law indicates sequence, planning, predestinating. In other words, law and predestination are two different ways of talking about the same thing. This is why the modern secular state is a predestinarian state. It denies that God is the predestinator, and its plan and its law is the council of predestination. They believe in predestination in Washington, and in London, Moscow, Peking, Paris and elsewhere; but their predestination is the predestination of man, not of God. They know what they’re doing. [00:36:44]


[Audience] What ways does the worldview of the thinkers in the intellectual camp of the universities affect the mass of unthinking people, whose only source might be the T.V. or newspapers or things like that?

[Rushdoony] A very good question. I am going to be dealing with that in the last hour of my Epistemology class, and I am touching on it all the way through. The whole crisis of our age, the pessimism, the cynicism, is a product of this belief that there is no meaning, no purpose, no mind to anything. And there is a studied mindlessness and a purposeless that comes through on the most superficial and popular program on television, or of a movie. This is why people are so down and pessimistic and hopeless. Man has never had the affluence or better conditions of living than he has today; and man has never been more despairing. And he is despairing precisely because life is meaningless. Or, to give it the technical term that philosophers give it, which has been picked up on campus circles—life is absurd. Why is it absurd? Because, on the one hand, you have mind and logic and man; and on the other hand, you have nothing but brute factuality; and it’s a hopeless situation. It’s absurd. It’s ridiculous.

I believe I cited in either the afternoon class yesterday, or the morning class, Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre, as an existentialist who believes that life is absurd, was once asked about the fact that so many of his pupils have committed suicide, and why didn’t he commit suicide, since he says the goal of man is nihilation. Man desire is to be god, but this is hopeless. Therefore, nihilation is the only way he can express his freedom—suicide. They said why haven’t you committed suicide? And his answer was, “I see no reason to live, but then I see no reason to die. So, why do anything?” That’s logical, at least. But you see this is the kind of thinking that has infected everyone. You have it on the popular level. Now, most of your popular publications are existentialist. Let me cite some of them. Time magazine and Fortune magazine: I’ve sat in New York at lunch with one of the top persons in the Luce(?) publications, existentialist to the core. And this is what comes through. Playboy, which is perhaps the most widely read or looked at publication in the United States is existentialist to the core, anarchistic existentialism. Then go down the line with all the campuses. The public schools: what is their philosophy? Dewey and progressivism. Well, progressivism, or pragmatism, is the American form of existentialism. So, is it any wonder that kids have, in a sense, forsaken life? The church fathers followed, because they were infected by Greek thinking, the Greek pessimism, and went out into the desert: life is hopeless; what’s the use of everything? They showed their neo-platonism, thereby. And I have a book coming out entitled (it’s a little paperback), Flight From Humanity: The Neo-Platonic Influence on Christianity. [00:40:49]

Now, your hippies have done the same thing...[edit]

Now, your hippies have done the same thing: life is hopeless; let’s forsake any cleanliness or decent dress; let’s treat sex as though it were nothing, because life is nothing. And that’s their philosophy. So, all of this, you see, has infected everyone in our country. And the public schools are the great vehicle of it. You want to produce the hippie: leave your child in the public schools. No Christian has a right to put a child in a public school. A Christian child belongs in a Christian school. Period.


[Audience] Dr. Rushdoony, do you think that there’s any place at all—I would guess you wouldn’t from what you said—for the word ”probability” for the Christian, whether in science, or what have you? I’m completely thinking about science, because I know some Presbyterian elders who taught me, and what they taught me; and, well, electron or ultrasound, they made everything a probability at that level, to them. It seems to me if they’re going to say it at that level, they’ve got to say it in another level, {?}. Is that just another example of a humanistic attitude? [00:42:08]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes. Right. You see, we believe in predestination. Now, if you’re going to have science, you’ve got to have predestination. You cannot have science logically without that. Well, with the eighteenth century, man did not want the God of scripture, the God of John Calvin. So, what did he do? He said, “Well, I don’t want this, but I’ve still got to have this element of the law in the universe to have science. So we will make, not God the source of determination, but nature. So the eighteenth century deified nature, and it talked about determinism—a naturalistic determinism—to retain this, you see. But then along came Darwin, and Darwin said nature is nothing. It’s just a product of chance. It’s senseless. It’s blind chance. Therefore, there can no longer be a naturalistic determinism. All we have which shows mind and determination is man. That’s all. So if there is any determinism in the world—any predestination—man, the planner, has to do it. So, the minute Darwin’s book came out, the happiest reader was Karl Marx. And he and Engels wrote to each other letters of congratulation. They said, “We have won. Now socialism is inevitable, because once you eliminate this world with Darwin, and say there is nothing but blind chance, you’ve got to have law in the universe; you’ve got to have the determinism of predestination. And who will be a source of predestination? It will be man, the planner, and that means socialism.” So, they felt that they had triumphed. But of course man, the planner, as he faces brute factuality and tries to impose his will on it—and I’ve cited Kenneth Heuer and his idea that we are going to conquer death; and we’re going to overcome the death of the sun. Kenneth Heuer said when the sun dies we will create another sun and put it up in the heavens—you see, this is the way they’ve been talking for some time. And in my book on The Mythology of Science, I deal with some of these things. [00:45:11]

But the average man is beginning to despair of the...[edit]

But the average man is beginning to despair of the whole thing. And his reaction is: so, a hundred years of Darwin. He doesn’t state it self-consciously, but he knows unconsciously, and the world is getting more and more brutal. We’ve had Hitler. We’ve had Stalin. We’re having more and more loss of liberty. We’re becoming the guinea pigs of the scientific planners. And they don’t buy it, so that even your new leftists students are rebelling against the whole idea of the establishment; the plan; predestination by man. And so it’s a bitter cynicism. Now, when you talk about any possibility of anything other than the absolute counsel of God, you’re either going to have to take this, or this, and say there’s a world of brute factuality, and man somehow is going to be the planner and force all of these ultimately to do exactly what he wants. And this, the far-out men of science are actually saying. So you’ve got to be consistent, you see. You can say, well, from our perspective we don’t see the absolute plan, but we know it is there. So instead of a world of probability, it is a world of predestination. God is absolute. The very hairs of our head are all numbered. Anything short of that is schizophrenic. It’s inconsistent. And whenever you’re schizophrenic, double-minded, unstable in all your ways, you’re like the man with two masters. And our Lord said, “No man can serve two masters. Ultimately, you will love the one, and hate the other.”

Let’s see, you haven’t asked questions.

[Audience] Every now and then you come up against somebody or some other Christian that’s totally against your apologetic system, and it’s usually on this basis: they say, “We can’t have an apologetic, because what’s the use of defending your faith, if the one you’re talking to can’t handle the facts anyway?”

[Rushdoony] Uh, could you say that again? I couldn’t quite hear.

[Audience] They say you can’t have an apologetic, if you’re a presuppositionalist; you can’t really have an apologetic, because the person you’re trying to defend the faith with—or you’re trying to defend the faith with him—can’t handle the facts; he can’t use facts; he can’t understand facts; so what’s the use of trying to use apologetics.

[Rushdoony] Oh, yes. This is the question of common ground. What common ground do you have with an unbeliever? In other words, you can’t talk to him, if you’re a presuppositionalist. I have a chapter on this in a forthcoming symposium [laughter], because this is a question that is raised so often. [00:48:12]

Now, the attitude of rationalistic apologetics, humanistic...[edit]

Now, the attitude of rationalistic apologetics, humanistic apologetics, is that we all have in common certain categories of logic and reason, as derived from Greek principles—the naturalistic premise. And our position is we do have a common ground, because we are all created by the same God, in His image. And no matter how fallen, the witness of God is in us, as St. Paul says in Romans 1:17, following, that all men have the truth of God; all the things visible and invisible are revealed unto them and known to them apart from scripture; that they hold the truth (and as you’ve been no doubt been taught in Greek, the context there means to suppress, to hold back) the truth in unrighteousness. So the problem of common ground is not that we have a common rationality from some naturalistic premise, but that we are alike, created by God; and the witness of God is inescapable in every man, and they suppress the truth in unrighteousness. [00:49:33]

You see, when you try to reason with people, you sometimes...[edit]

You see, when you try to reason with people, you sometimes find that you may beat them down rationally, but you’re not facing the fact unless you get to the noetic effect of sin. When I went to work on the Indian reservation, just off the reservation there was a very brilliant man with a university education. He knew more languages than I did. He was very fluent in Greek, and could read classical Greek, as well as Koine Greek, so he was very pleasant to talk to. He was working as a shoemaker in this little mining camp of about a hundred and forty-four people at the edge of the reservation. And, of course, after awhile I began to realize why a man of his brilliance was there. It was a good place to hide out from the law. There was no law for a hundred miles around, and he had good reason to hide from the law. So John told me he couldn’t believe the Bible, or he couldn’t swallow that bit about Jonah and the whale. So I went into the entire story. I pointed out there are archaeological evidences that such a thing happened; that we have found a tablet which shows someone being regurgitated by a whale on the shores of North Africa, and so on and so forth, and a great many other things. Well, I satisfied him that maybe there was some truth to that. So he went on to another thing. And I spent time after time, week after week, answering one thing after another. And I’d satisfy him, and then I’d find I was getting the same questions after awhile. So this one time, I woke up to what was going on; I was getting back to Jonah about the third time, so I said, “You know, John, it isn’t Jonah that’s bothering you. It’s the fact that you’re a sinner, and you don’t want to change; and this is the real intellectual objection you have. You would have to change. You’d have to be born again, to believe in God. And you would rather have your sin and raise a lot of objections about a hundred and one things in scripture that you know you don’t take that seriously.” Well, John shut up immediately, and he wouldn’t talk to me again, thereafter. You see, I’d gotten to the point. He knew. The natural man knows. That’s what Scripture says: that he suppresses the truth in unrighteousness.

Yes. [00:52:36]

[Audience] You said you’ve done a lot of talking to...[edit]

[Audience] You said you’ve done a lot of talking to student groups, and in light of the fact we’ve mentioned how many students are disillusioned now with the establishment and all, it seems like this would be the perfect opportunity for someone, particularly in your area, to satisfy them. Have you had much response from the students?

[Rushdoony] Oh, marvelous! In fact, sometimes, on some campuses, it’s almost like a revolution takes place when I speak. I think they’d like to pick up the chairs and throw it at me, their reaction is so violent, sometimes—pro and con. And, of course, if you talk about Christ and the absolute sovereignty of God in the intellectual atmosphere, you have committed the ultimate act of indecency and intellectual pornography [general laughter], and I mean that seriously! I, I know that’s the reaction when I talk to them. It’s just almost the unforgivable sin to—in an intellectual atmosphere, you know—to talk about Christ and to talk about the absolute sovereignty of God. And it makes it worse if you do it with intellectual ability, you see. [laughter] Well, that is very offensive. But I’ll tell you this: I get more results on these secular campuses where they’ve never heard the Gospel, really, than I do at Christian colleges. That’s where I really get the static, and I figure it’s a waste to go to most—not all—but most of these church colleges, because, uh, they’re so hardened. And it isn’t they’re hostile—they’re contemptuous; and there is a difference.


[Audience] When you go to these universities, what is your general procedure in beginning the discussion or the lecture. Do they generally invite you to come on a certain topic, and you use that as an introduction, or what’s your procedure?

[Rushdoony] Sometimes I’m assigned a topic in terms of one of my books; and other times, I am free to pick my own subject.

[Audience] When you’re free to pick, then how will you approach this issue?

[Rushdoony] Well, I just tell them what I think, no differently than I would here. For example, at one college I spoke to the philosophy classes. They were dealing, in one class, on Aristotle and his ethics. So that was just a perfect opportunity for me. Oh, I couldn’t have asked for more; and in another class, it was anthropology. I gave three lectures and the professor all but died. He hated me [general laughter]. He was a total relativist, and he had nothing to do with me being assigned to his class. And so for a whole week, I lectured his class and ripped everything. I had his outline sent to me by the administration [general laughter] on the total relativism of ethics. And the point I made was that when you talk about relativism, you’re talking about something being relative to something. So I said, “Christian ethics is relativistic, too. It’s relative to the absolute God.” And I said, “Humanistic ethics is relative to the absolute man.” And I said, “Take your pick!” I left one very angry professor, but some very, very happy students.

Well, our time is up.