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Secularist Trilemma / Munchhausen Trilemma / Agrippa's Trilemma / Albert's Trilemma Destroys Secularist Thinking


Secularist Trilemma / Münchhausen Trilemma / Agrippa's Trilemma / Albert's Trilemma occurs when it is assumed that there is no revelation. This is a problem, mainly for secularists, but some Christians actually run into this problem if they deny Divine revelation. The Secularist Trilemma is sometimes called the Münchhausen trilemma, Agrippa's trilemma, or Albert's trilemma. When thought must rest on one of the three horns of the Secularist Trilemma, rational thought is impossible. The ultimate result of the Secularist Trilemma is that Secularists cannot know the difference between made-up stuff and reality. They have no concrete rule by which to tell the difference. God still reveals truth to them, but, by failing to acknowledge Him, they have no way to know. An assumption, to them, is no more or less real than an observation. In fact, their own worldviews appear to them to be more real than reality itself. You have probably heard someone say, "All things are relative." This is a statement that means that nothing can be known. For Secularists, this is indeed the case. Study the diagram and give it some thought, and you will realized why this is true regarding the Secularist worldview. It isn't true, but Secularists are mentally stuck because of the basic flaw of their inner fake-reality (worldview).Agrippa's Trilemma is a false trilemma. There are two other choices.

Secularist Trilemma / Münchhausen Trilemma / Agrippa's Trilemma / Albert's Trilemma has never been solved in 2,000 years, but it has been buried and ignored. No secularist, naturalist, materialist, or agnostic wants to think about the Secularist Trilemma, so they just refuse to think about it. This, is the logical fallacy of burying their heads in the sand.

For anyone who denies Divine revelation, there are only three possible foundations for thought: unsupported assertion, infinite regression, or circular reasoning. None of these foundations holds any water. This problem is known as the Secularist Trilemma / Münchhausen Trilemma / Agrippa’s Trilemma / Albert’s Trilemma. It is rare to hear Secularist Trilemma / Münchhausen Trilemma / Agrippa’s Trilemma / Albert’s Trilemma discussed, because it destroys the validity philosophy, science, and any other possible thought about reality when using a Naturalistic worldview. Naturalism assumes that there is no spiritual realm and leaves only these three possible foundations for thought.

It is interesting that all arguments against Divine revelation are based on either unsupported assertion, infinite regression, or circular reasoning. Secularist academia has mostly followed unsupported assertion as the bases of thought, although infinite regression and circular reasoning are both used a lot. Unsupported assertion is the same as assumption. Assumption is the same as axiomatic thinking, the establishment of axioms. The word, "axiom," is a fancy word for "assumption." Assumptions are things made up that are treated as facts. To make things up and treat those made up things as facts is to lie. In fact, unsupported assertion, infinite regression, or circular reasoning are just three ways of lying. The Secularist Trilemma simply points out the fact that, without Divine revelation, life becomes a constant lie.

Secularist Trilemma / Münchhausen Trilemma / Agrippa’s Trilemma / Albert’s Trilemma makes the assertion that only three options are available as a foundation for thought:

  1. Infinite regression consists of each proof requiring further proof infinitely. For any claim, we ask "How can I know that this is true?" Some proof is presented. Then, the same question must be answered regarding the proof. "How can I know that this is true?"  Any proof given after this proof must also answer the same question. Nothing is ever proved. People stop asking at some point.
  2. One way to solve infinite regression is by using circular reasoning. The proof and the conclusion become the same thing. The conclusion is assumed as part of the proof. This may seem to be obviously wrong, but it can be very deceiving.
  3. Another way to solve infinite regression is by creating a starting point with axioms. Axioms are merely assumptions that are claimed to be true. Sometimes, a group of experts will agree that these axioms are true, but that doesn't make them true.

If these were the only three options, no matter which of these three are chosen, nothing can be known. There are two other irrational solutions that are proposed: dissent between authorities (appeal to authority) and Protagorean Relativism (no reality). The Secularist Trilemma is a long-standing, well-known problem with thinking. Baron Münchhausen lived from 1720 to 1797 and borrowed the Trilemma from Agrippa the Skeptic, who probably live in the later part of the First Century A.D. Hans Albert, a German philosopher in the early 1900s wrote on this.

However, the Secularist Trilemma is self-refuting in that it is either based on unsupported assertion, infinite regression, or circular reasoning. Since none of these foundations of thought have any strength, and since a chain of thought is only as strong as its weakest link, the Secularist Trilemma has no strength. In other words, we cannot know that it is true by secular reasoning. However, we can know that there is no truth value in human reasoning. We can know this by Divine revelation.

The Secularist Trilemma is a false trilemma. In the same way that a false dilemma is a fallacy giving only two choices when at least one additional choice is possible, this false trilemma is a fallacy giving only three choices when additional choices are possible. It leaves out other options, Divine revelation and doctrines of demons. It only offers the three unsatisfactory options. It doesn’t even mention Divine revelation, the only option that actually is rational. It doesn’t even mention doctrines of demons.

There are 5 possible foundations for thought, but only Divine revelation is sound.

How scientism fails:

One of the mind tricks that some people play with science is to say that they don't deal with truth but only with probabilities. This mind game has its roots in the Secularist Trilemma. In the Secular Humanist worldview, there are only three possible foundations for thought. None of them are valid, so it impossible to know anything. Therefore, they are not looking for truth, just probability. The problem is that the same foundations for thought that keep them from knowing absolute truth also keep them from knowing that probabilities are true probabilities. They must inject arbitrary assumptions, infinite regression, or circular reasoning, so their probabilities are not known to be true probabilities. Yet, they are able to make progress by treating certain assumptions (which are hijacked from a Christian worldview) as if they are facts (which they are). In other words, they are assuming that selected Divine revelation is true while they are denying that there can be such a thing as Divine revelation. That Divine revelation that they have selected is necessary for science, so they can still do science despite the Secularist Trilemma.

Demonic Influence:

Demonic influence is not only dangerous, but it cannot lead to truth. There is movement of Atheists turning to New Age religions. New Age religions are not anything new. They are the old occult religions, but often using Christian or scientific terminology. There are many terms that are used for these demons including the following: earth spirits, nature spirits, spirit guides, animal guides, familiar spirits, familiars, gods, monsters, fallen angels, ghosts, phantoms, spooks, genii, sylphs, aliens, gnomes, imps, demons, devils, and evil spirits. These spirits are involved in Wicca, witchcraft, Satanism, the occult, paganism, Neopaganism, religions that have multiple gods, religions that follow impersonal gods, and New Age religions.

Aristotle's human mind revelation:

Aristotle had a firm belief that the human mind, from birth, contains absolutely true knowledge that are true premises for reasoning to support conclusions. This is formally the philosphy of rationalism. The word, "rationalism," can refer to the process of creating this supposed knowledge. "Rationalism" is also used to refer to the irrational process of trying to make irrational thought appear rational. Divine revelation supports the second definition of the word, "rational." In fact, Agrippa was right. The human mind is stuck with infinite regress, circular reasoning, axiomatic thinking (assertion without proof), or some combination of these three.

Divine revelation:

Divine revelation is experienced by every person, but it is not acknowledged by every person. God reveals that, if we acknowledge Him, He will direct our paths. Demonic influence is also experienced by every person. Secularism assumes no God and no demons based on some combination of unsupported assertion, infinite regression, or circular reasoning. In other words, it is impossible to argue rationally against the spiritual realm. For this reason, many Secularists now retreat into a corner where they insist that they are only saying that they don’t have enough information to believe in God. They do not deny the existence of God since that position cannot be held rationally. As a result, they tend to ignore or to eliminate Divine revelation as a basis for thought. This, too, is irrational.

Given that it is irrational to make declarations without any possible basis for knowing what is being declared, Secularism falls short as a way to disallow Divine revelation and demonic influence as sources for thought. Therefore, those who willingly acknowledge that they are tempted by demons but led by the Holy Spirit cannot rationally be refuted by Secularist presuppositions.

How does God reveal? How does His revelation come? God speaks. His word, that is, His utterance, has creative power. It has power to change things and create things. He speaks into our innermost minds.

It seems that the first thing that God reveals is that He exists and that whoever seeks Him will find Him—that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. To seek is to inquire of Him, to ask Him about Himself and His reality. He is glad when you ask Him and continue to wait for the answer. The reward is the most valuable gift that can possibly be given, Himself. He gives of Himself to Whoever seeks Him. God speaks truth into our fallen innermost minds to draw us back to Himself.

Other Divine revelations are to follow. One revelation is that we, as humans, fall short of His holiness and are in need of some way to have access to God. It is also revealed that only through Jesus Christ can this can happen. It is also revealed that the Bible is God’s Word and that the Bible is without error. That is not to say that there are no errors in translation, but God has preserved the original text to us. God is progressively revealing the interpretation of this text to those who reverence Him in humility, knowing that they know nothing as they ought to know. Further, God speaks to His people through Scripture. We can confuse the issue by adding to His words or by filtering His words through human interpretation, but His words are pure. They are the one way that we can know anything of truth. The Holy Spirit works to give discernment so that we can, over time, know the difference between human rationalization and Divine revelation.

Through Divine revelation, we see orders, spiritual gifts, ministries, and offices in the Bible. Through progressive Divine revelation, the human-inspired substitutes for the Scriptural orders, spiritual gifts, ministries, and offices all will fade away. We know that this will happen by Divine revelation.

The question will be asked, "How can the fallen human mind tell the difference between the natural human mind that everyone has and Divine revelation?" This is an excellent question and one that must be asked. Although, the question contains a presupposition, so the question is, in itself, a fallacy. Often, this question is asked so that it may then be asserted that a follower of Christ is no better off than a secularist. The question presupposes that Divine revelation and discernment is the responsibility of the human mind. To presuppose this is to presuppose materialism. Materialism is another word for Atheism. When an Atheist or Agnostic presupposes (assumes) Atheism/Agnosticism to prove Atheism/Agnosticism, this is and example of circular reasoning.

How Divine revelation works:

The fact is that Divine revelation is not in the domain of the natural mind. Divine revelation and the discernment of that revelation are provided by the Holy Spirit in an unfolding revelation. No person can understand what is written in the Bible without Divine revelation. Divine revelation is given to every person who is willing. Divine revelation is given progressively. What we know now is incomplete and impure. Some things, God makes very clear. However, we can all make many mistakes, and God forgives them.

The relationship with Christ is a progressive relationship. For those who have set their wills to follow Him, He speaks into our innermost being. We are learning to hear His Voice and to respond in submission. He speaks to us through Scripture and through every means that is mentioned in Scripture, yet He never contradicts Himself. He doesn't twist the language of Scripture, though He may apply the same words on several different levels. He never contradicts Scripture with any of the other methods of speaking that He uses. You can read more about this here.

Last updated: Dec, 2014

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