A few years ago I was selected for a jury during my jury duty. The case was a child abuse case. And although I wasn’t thrilled about being selected (It was four days and since I was serving tables the State was not obligated to have me paid by my employer.) No one enjoys free work. However, it was a fascinating process and I learned a lot. One thing that particularly struck me was the actual selection process. Everyone called for jury duty that day was gathered into a room and a large group was selected randomly. From there, we were interviewed by both the State and Defense attorneys. They asked many questions. Some that made sense and others that did not. Even the judge asked us questions. From there, the elimination process began. The defendant was a young man, a little older than me. Seeing that I was the only one left under 30 and was also one of the few who didn’t have children, I was essentially a lock for the chair.
The one thing that was very clear was that both attorneys and the judge were trying to eliminate as much bias as possible. Many people were dismissed for simply having children. Anyone who had witnessed any form of child abuse in the past were excused. We were asked if we knew the defendant, if we had heard of the case before, if we knew the address of the defendant, and many other things. Once we were selected we were told that any kind of contact with the defendant, such as a search history looking for his Facebook page or driving by his house could jeopardize the entire case and bring it to a mistrial. It was serious business. Bias was not good.
That idea makes sense. Imagine for a moment that you are falsely accused of doing something illegal that you didn’t do. Now imagine, after all of the questions are asked and the 12 jurors are selected to hear your case, your lawyer brings you into a private conference room and says this:
“Here is the deal. The jury has been selected. Now let me tell you something about the jury and the judge. They all hate you. They know you, but they really wish they didn’t. They are all a bunch of liars. They love injustice. They hate goodness and righteousness. They hate you. None of them wants anything to do with you.”
Now, after that assessment, do you feel good about your time in court? Of course not. No matter how talented, expensive, and experienced your lawyer is, you would not feel good about that case. That is a judge and jury that is simply not ready to hear the evidence. Is the evidence on your side even relevant at this point?
A good lawyer in fact would seek to expose the bias and call for mistrial. A good lawyer wouldn’t even attempt to present the evidence because a good lawyer knows that evidence must be interpreted and when the judge and jury hate his/her client they won’t interpret without that reality leading the way.
This is precisely the case we have before us in apologetics. Before this modern resurgence of biblical presuppositional apologetics reached my ear, I was engaged in bringing evidenced to a biased jury. When we put God on trial, what does the Bible say about that jury member/judge? Romans 1 tells us they know God exist already but they suppress that truth in their unrighteousness, they know God and God has made Himself clear but they do not honor Him and worship other things instead. Romans 3 tells us they are not righteous, they don’t understand or seek God, they have turned away, they love lies, they do not do anything good. They curse and are bitter. They love violence, they hate peace, and they don’t fear God. Romans 8 tells us they are literally unable to do anything good.
Now, is that a biased jury? Is that a judge that’s ready to hear a case? Is that a jury ready to evaluate evidence fairly? As a matter of fact, it’s a jury that has already rejected the evidence.
A good lawyer would not continue this case. And that essentially is what presuppositional apologetics is. We call out their bias, expose their inconsistencies, demonstrate the revelation they rely upon, and call for a mistrial. Classical apologetics continues with the case and presents the evidence.
There is one area where this analogy breaks down completely. It fails to address the absurdity of thinking God belongs on trial in the courtrooms of sinful men in the first place. Jesus is King. We are on trial. He has been on trial before. That was before the Chief Priests, Pilate, and Herod. And we immediately know all of those men to be in sin during that process. We know that Jesus went into those trials willfully (Matthew 26:52-54), He was not summoned by a whiny agnostic demanding evidence.