|Welcome to The Apologetics Dictionary.
Apologetics (apologia) is a courtroom word
meaning to give a reasoned defense.
This will become a reference for explaining the vocabulary surrounding Bible Apologetics and Philosophy.
It will be written in more general and practical terms as there many flavors within every view.
Much of the vocabulary and definitions come from the book "Pushing The Antithesis" by Greg Bahnsen.
The number in parantheses (x) at the end of the defination is the page number in the book.
If you should find some error please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
Abstract - From a mental source. Apologetics - The vindication of the Christian philosophy of life against the various forms of the non-Christian philosophy of life. The word “apologetics” derives from the combination of two Greek words: apo (“back, from”) and logos (“word”), meaning “to give a word back, to respond,” i.e., in defense. (1).
Antithesis - Antithesis is based on two Greek words: anti (“against”) and tithenai (“to set or place”). “Antithesis” speaks of opposition or a counter point. As Christians we must recognize the fundamental disagreement between biblical thought and all forms of unbelief at the foundational level of our theory of knowing and knowledge. (13)
Atomism - A form of materialism which holds that the material Universe is composed of indestructible particles. In fact, the word “atom” is from the Greek a (“no”) and temnein (“cut”), which speaks of the smallest material particle that can be cut down no smaller. Atomism necessarily denies Monism in that it affirms infinite atomic differentiation in reality. (84)
Autonomy - Autonomy derives from two Greek words: auto (“self”) and nomos (“law”). It effectively means “self law,” or “self rule.” Human autonomy asserts that man’s reasoning is the ultimate criterion of knowledge. (133)
Begging the Question - Begging the question (technically known by the Latin phrase petitio principii) is a fallacious manner
of reasoning wherein your premise includes the claim that your conclusion is true, that is, your argument assumes the very point to be
Brute Fact - An uninterpreted fact that stands alone without reference to some other fact, principle of interpretation, and especially to God.Presuppositional Apologetics denies brute factuality in that all facts are created and controlled by God according to his plan and for his glory. (43)
Circular Reasoning - Circular reasoning (technically known by the Latin phrase circulus in probando) occurs when one
assumes something in order to prove that very thing. Circular reasoning is often very subtle and hard to detect. (123)
Deconstructionism - Deconstructionism is a principle of modern languageanalysis which asserts that language refers
only to itself rather than to an external reality. It challenges any claims to ultimate truth and obligation by attacking theories of
knowledge and ultimate values. This philosophy attempts to “deconstruct” texts to remove all biases and traditional assumptions.
Deconstructionists argue, therefore, that no written text communicates any set meaning or conveys any reliable
or coherent message. (9)
Deism - A natural religion view which was very prevalent in the 17th and 18th centuries. This belief about God is derived solely from natural revelation and reason and not special revelation. The God of deism created the world, but does not interfere with it by means of providence, miracle, incarnation, or any other Christian affirmation. (29)
Dialectic - Dialectic (from the Greek dialogo, “to discourse”) is the philosophical process (the “dialogue”) whereby truth is arrived at by the exchange of ideas between opposing viewpoints. (78)
Dialectical Materialism - The Marxian interpretation of reality that views matter as the sole subject of change and all change as the product of a constant conflict between opposites arising from the internal contradictions inherent in all events, ideas, and movements. (78)
Discursive Reasoning - Analytical reasoning that proceeds by moving from fact to fact, point by point, in a logical fashion, rather than by intuition. (81)
Dualism - Dualism holds that there are two ultimate realities, usually designated as mind and matter. The Greek philosopher Plato (428–348 B.C.) was a Dualist in dividing reality into the ideal world of eternal “Forms” and the perceptual world of temporal sense experience. In the eternal world beyond the spatio-temporal world exist ideal Forms in perfection as unchanging realities. The world of experience is populated with dim, imperfect particular copies of those ideal forms (which are known to us only through intuition). (83)
Economic Trinity - The Economic Trinity looks at the Trinity in terms
of the scheme of salvation, the plan of redemption: The Father elects
us and sends the Son, the Son becomes incarnate and dies for us, the
Spirit calls and sanctifies us. The notion of the economic Trinity focuses
on the roles of each member of the Trinity. Neither the Father nor the
Spirit died on the cross, only the Son. (83)
Egoism - This ethical system holds that self-interest is the proper motive for human conduct. This should not be confused with “egotism” which is conceit. (84)
Empiricism - Knowledge that is observational, relying on sense perception. It is guided by experience rather than theory. (154) Enlightenment: The European intellectual movement of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in which ideas concerning God, reason, nature, and man were blended into a worldview that inspired revolutionary developments in art, philosophy, and politics. Central to Enlightenment thought were the use and celebration of reason. For Enlightenment thinkers, received authority, whether in science or religion, was to be subject to the investigation of unfettered minds.” (7)
Epistemological Self-consciousness - One who is “epistemologically self-conscious” engages life in a way that fully comports with his theory of knowledge. That is, his behavior and reasoning are perfectly consistent with his basic commitments regarding the world and knowledge. (216)
Epistemology - Epistemology is based on two Greek words: episteme (“knowledge”) and logos (“word, discourse”). It is the study of the nature and limits of human knowledge; it addresses questions about truth, belief, justification, etc. It investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of knowledge, discovering what we know and how we come to know it. (61)
Ethics - The branch of philosophy known as moral philosophy. It studies right and wrong attitudes, judgments, and actions, as well as moral responsibility and obligation. (66)
Existentialism - A philosophy concerned above all else with freedom and self-expression. It exalts the experience of living over against knowing, willing over thinking, action over contemplation, love over law, personality over principle, the individual over society. (79)
Evolutionary Philosophy - The derived ideas that come from belief in evolution, such as Multiculturalism, "the Constitution is a living document" and precedent in the courts. Developed in the 1700s when many Enlightenment philosophers set out to find a way to explain everything without God.
General Revelation - General revelation is the doctrine that God reveals
himself in nature. This form of revelation is directed to all men (thus it
is called “general” revelation). Though God’s revelation in nature does
not show man the way of salvation, the Trinitarian nature of God, and
many other such divine truths, it does show that God exists, that he is
powerful, and that man is responsible to him. (62)
Generation X - Generation X consists of those whose teen years were touched by the 1980s, i.e. those born in the 1960s and 1970s. The term was popularized by Douglas Coupland’s novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. In Coupland’s usage, the X referred to the difficulty in defining a generation whose only unifying belief was the rejection of the beliefs of their Baby Boomer parents. Although not the first group of Americans to grow up with television, Gen Xers were the first group that never knew life without one. (12)
Immaterial - Not extended in space, non-physical Incarnation - Incarnation derives from the Latin incarnare, “to become flesh.” This is based on two Latin words: in (“in”) plus carn (“flesh”). It speaks of the coming of the invisible, spiritual God in bodily form in Jesus Christ. (65)
Infinite Regress - The result when a suggested explanation or purported standard is challenged, causing the argument to point back further to a more basic commitment that sustains the explanation, and when that commitment is challenged, it points to an even more basic commitment, on and on ad infinitum. (122)
Invariant - Does not change over time or place.
Materialism - The ultimate reality that says all that exists is physics and chemistry.
The world described by ideal, complete sciences, is causally closed (see Methodological Naturalism) and recognizes only undirected, passive causation.
Materialism does not recognize goals, purpose or intentionality
Marxism - Marxism is based on the philosophy developed by Karl Marx
(1818–1883), a Jewish philosopher and social critic who lived in Germany.
It is an inherently atheistic, socio-political scheme holding that the material
world is the ultimate reality and that religion is an illusion. (78)
Also called Social Darwinism in its early days from the idea that evolution will produce the ultimate Communist man that never takes more than he needs and is willing to share whatever he has. Government becomes unnecessary. But for now, man acts more like his animal ancestry, is selfish and greedy, and needs to be controled by evolutionary superiors through Socialism. The sinister form has murdered millions upon millions of nonconformists in the last hundred years. The more benevolent version is the modern welfare/nanny state enslaving millions with its womb-to-tomb government programs "for the good of the people".
Metaphysics - Metaphysics is derived from the Latin word metaphysica, which is based on the compound of two Greek words: meta (“after, beyond”) and physika (“physics, nature”). It literally means “beyond the physical,” that is, beyond the physical world of sense perception. It is the study of the ultimate nature of reality, the origin, structure, and nature of what is real. (56)
Methodological Naturalism - A philosophy of science that states only natural causes will be allowed or considered in scientific inventigations. The philosophy derives from the belief that the universe is "causally closed", i.e. any effect must have a natural cause. Supernatural causes are denied.
Monism - Monism is derived from the Greek word mono, “single.” Monism is a metaphysical system asserting only one ultimate substance or principle in the Universe. Monism denies the multiplicity of things, holding that those many things we deem real are simply phases of a one and/or are somehow illusions. (83) The two main ideas are spiritual (Hinduism) and material (Mateialism, Naturalism, Secularism) monism.
Millenial Generation - Those people born after the year 2000.
Multiculturalism - The belief that all claims to truth are equal. This is rooted in in evolutionary philosophy through the idea that all truth is relative. Therefore, to declare a particular truth superior to others (such as 'Jesus is the only way') is by definition anti-multicultural. Such persons, then, are intolerant and bigotted.
Myth Of Neutrality - The fallacious idea that a person can approach metaphysical, epistemological and moral questions in a 'neutral', 'openminded' or 'follow the facts where they lead' manner. Everyone starts somewhere. No one can or does start bias free.
Nihilism - Nihilism teaches that the world and man are wholly without
meaning or purpose. The world and man are so absolutely senseless and
useless that there is no comprehensible truth. The word “nihilism” is
derived from the Latin nihil, which means “nothing.” (9)
Noetic - Noetic is derived from the Greek word nous, which means "mind” (see: Luke 24:45; Rom. 7:23; Phil. 4:7). The “noetic effect of sin” is one aspect of the doctrine “total depravity,” which declares that the fall reaches deep down into a man’s very being, even to his mind, his reasoning processes. (28) MPH: Those that think sin has not affected the mind need to get out more!
Omnibenevolent - God is good...all the time. All the time...God is good
Omnipresence - Omnipresence speaks of God’s personal, simultaneous presence everywhere throughout the universe.
Omniscience - All knowing. Omniscience speaks of God’s comprehensive knowledge. God knows eveything about everything.
Omnipotence - All powerful. Omnipotence speaks of God’s infinite power
Ontology - Ontology is the branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of being. (63)(190)
Ontological Status -
Ontological Trinity - The Ontological Trinity is God’s triune being in itself, the one being of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (82) One being, 3 persons.
Polytheism - Polytheism is derived from the French, polythiesme, which
is based on the combination of two Greek words: polu (“many”) and theos
(“god”). Polytheism is the belief in many gods, wherein particular gods are
thought to govern specific aspects of the world and life. (50)
Pragmatism - The philosophical system which holds that the meaning of an idea or proposition lies in its observable practical consequences. Pragmatists argue that we must live to solve our problems, even though we do not need to theoretically account for explanations. We must be able to adapt to the environment, solve our problems and get ahead in life. Pragmatism shuns the traditional problems of philosophy: We do not need certainty, but utility. (85)
Predication - Predication is a logical concept borrowed from grammar. In logic predication is either the affirming or denying of something. It is the attributing or negating of something to the subject of a proposition. For instance, consider the following two statements of predication: “The sun is hot”; “The dark side of the moon is not hot.” The first affirms (predicates) hotness of the sun; the second denies hotness of the dark side of the moon. (38)
Presupposition - An elementary (or foundational) assumption in one’s reasoning or in the process by which opinions are formed. It is not just any assumption in an argument, but a personal commitment that is held at the most basic level of one’s network of beliefs. Presuppositions form a wideranging, foundational perspective (or starting point) in terms of which everything else is interpreted and evaluated. As such, presuppositions have the greatest authority in one’s thinking, being treated as one’s least negotiable beliefs and being granted the highest immunity to revision.” (44)
Proletariat - Proletariat derives from the Latin proles (“offspring”). In ancient Rome this signified the lower class poor in society. In Marxian theory it speaks of the working class which does not possess capital or the means of production. (78)
|Q||Question & Answers
Relativism - Relativism teaches that knowledge is relative due to the limited state of the mind and that there can be no absolutes to give a set meaning or value to any human thought or action. (9)
Skepticism - Skepticism says we do not know anything for certain at all.
All human knowledge is so deficient that at best it can only be probably
true. Because of this, knowledge is deemed to be simply opinion. These
last two worldview cores are generally quite familiar to us today, though
not always as formal schools of philosophical thought. (85)
Special Revelation - Special revelation is that disclosure that is given to God’s people (hence, it is “special”). It comes from God by means of direct, personal, verbal (or visual) communication, either through special, prophetically endowed messengers or through the written record of those messengers. (64)
Subliminal - “Subliminal” derives from two Latin words: sub (“below”) and limmen (“threshold”). It speaks of that which is below the threshold of consciousness, that which is just out of conscious perception. Advertisers have discovered that people unconsciously pick up on and are influenced by flashes of information just below the normal limits of perception. (11)
Teleological - The word “teleological” is derived from the Greek word
telos, meaning “end” or “purpose” and logos (“word” or “study of”). A teleological
argument argues for the existence of God based on evidence
of order, purpose, design and/or direction in the created order. (60)
Transcendental Reasoning - Transcendental reasoning seeks to discover what general conditions must be fulfilled for any particular instance of knowledge to be possible. It asks what view of man, mind, truth, language, and the world is necessarily presupposed by our conception of knowledge and our methods of pursuing it. (124)
Universal - In philosophy, any truth of a general or abstract nature—
whether it be a broad concept, law, principle, or categorical statement.
Such general truths are used to understand, organize, and interpret particular
truths encountered in concrete experience. (200) Applies in all places.
Utilitarianism - The ethical system which holds that men must seek the greatest happiness for the greatest number. (85)
Worldview - A worldview is a network of presuppositions (which are not
verified by the procedures of natural science) regarding reality (metaphysics),
knowing (epistemology), and conduct (ethics) in terms of which
every element of human experience is related and interpreted.
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