TRANSCENDENTAL ARGUMENT for GOD
The Trascendental Argument for God (TAG) was formulated by Cornelius Van Til and popularized by Greg Bahnsen, both Calvinists. It is therefore often assumed to be a Calvinist argument, and indeed it appears so when propounded by a verbose Calvinist. But there is nothing in the basic argument that necessarily presupposes Calvinism. Unfortunately there exists (as far as I know) no non-Calvinist exposition of it on the web.
If you ask a Christian TAG-buff what exactly it is (enough times), he will tell you that it is that God is the necessary and sufficient precondition for all intelligibility. If you ask him how it works (enough times), he will tell you that it establishes God as the necessary and sufficient precondition for all intelligibility. If you lock him in a closet, and refuse to let him out until he makes the damn argument, he will engage in long, confused, and tedious rambling, and refer you to some books which (he promises) will do a better job. If you try to summarize, his argument, he will tell you that you don't understand it properly. Nevertheless, here is a brief summary of TAG for those who are not so philosophically minded as to require justification for justification ad nauseam.
Minds exist. They include thoughts, many of which are correct, some of which are even known. How is any of this possible in a universe consisting of nothing but matter & energy? What can possibly connect even the simplest thought to matter, regardless of how coincidentally well organized that matter may be? Something outside the system is necessary, specifically a really big mind. How did that mind come into existence? Either it is eternal, or it was created by a higher mind. But somewhere up the line, an eternal mind must exist.
TAG is a sound argument as far as it goes. But unfortunately Christians try to milk it for more than it's worth. It proves the existence of an eternal personal Supreme Being, and that's all. It does not prove that this Being is omnipotent, omniscient, totally honest, or even good (as the term is commonly understood). It certainly does not, as some Christians claim, prove Christianity. So the atheists, in rightly rejecting illegitimate Christian claims, have managed to throw out a perfectly good refutation of atheism with the strawman in the bathwater. (a sad example of dogmatic world views in collision)
Christians try to use the popularity of TAG to expand it into a Trascendental Argument for Christian Theism (TACT). Here is my obviously simplistic summary of TACT.In order for humans to know anything, we must have been created by a Being who:
2. can't possibly lie about anything.
The Bible is the first evidence of propositional communication from such a Being, and therefore necessarily contains such communication from that Being. If the Bible contained any errors, we could not distinguish them from the true parts. Therefore if humans know anything, then everything in the Bible is necessarily true. Therefore the only question remaining is what kind of Christian you want to be.
Any Christian who disagrees with this summary is welcome to send me a rebuttal.