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Re: Fristianity

The following is reproduced from a message first sent to the
list in July of 1999:


At 04:12 AM 7/15/99 , David Eades wrote:

 >For those of us who are relatively new to this list, can
 >someone briefly recap 'Fristian' so we can make sense of
 >this latest string ? Please . Thanks.

I introduced the terminology "Fristian Theism" to refer to a
special kind of counterexample to TAG.  The idea behind the
counterexample was in the air back in the mid 1980s and seems
to have occurred independently to several of us who took an
interest in such matters and who were trying to evaluate how
well the supposed transcendental argument for the existence
of God, as then theorized and practiced, lived up to the
rhetoric that had been advanced on its behalf.

The first written version of the problem that I read, other
than the related but different argument in Montgomery's essay
"Once Upon an A Priori", was a two-pager in which Doug Jones
referred to the counterexample as the "Overargument Objection"
(in view of the apparent discrepancy between the thesis and
its support).

I first used the expression "Fristian Theism" in the message now
archived at


The counterexample explained there calls into question whether
TAG, as usually characterized, can successfully exclude all
alternative worldviews in principle merely by offering a
negative transcendental critique of a few particular ones that
happen to be thematized (usually on the lips of a nearby
antichristian) in a particular apologetic encounter.

In that message, I wondered

    ...what to make of the Fristian Theist, who appeals to
    authoritative revelation (in which the apparent
    inconsistencies are masked by an appeal to mystery) to
    provide a philosophical account that is similar to
    Christian Theism in many respects, but different in some
    key ones--say, it propounds a dual godhead rather than a
    triune one, and allows for human sacrifice and has no
    sabbath.  Simply asking where such a religion comes from
    is inadequate, since the person propounding it can always
    claim to be its prophetic conduit from the transcendent

The Fristianity counterexample strikes at the frequently cited
but inadequately defended notion in Van Tilian apologetics that
"all antichristian worldviews are at bottom one" not by doubting
that claim, but by asking whether the Christian apologist has
an *apologetically useful* (and not merely biblically warranted)
basis for making it.

The issue arose in a conversation with Joseph Dunn.  The thread
continued in the following messages that include remarks by
James Anderson:


Later, in response to some issues Alan Waisanen had raised, I
introduced the related concept of a "Boise Bible," a hypothetical
alternative to the Christian canon:


The message in which I used that concept contains clarification of
the Fristianity problem.  In response to Waisanen's reply to it, I
reviewed Bahnsen's various proposed solutions to Fristianity-type


Many others participated in these and related threads, and some of
the issues were explored in depth.  However, the messages listed
above should provide newcomers to the list with enough information
to make sense of the current discussion.  Mike Warren and I have
discussed various aspects and implications of these issues off and
on for more than a year; soon I'll post a message containing links
to that dialogue in case anyone would like to catch up, follow it,
and join in the fun.

[For a review of Montgomery's argument and its relationship
to Fristianity issues, see



David Byron

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