The Square Root of Four is Two

Greg Koukl is a Christian apologist and author who frequently lectures on college campuses, attempting to engage students in thought-provoking dialog about how they perceive and comprehend the world, about matters of faith, and about questions of reality. During one such lecture at the University of California at Berkeley, he was conversing with a young man who was so inculcated with relativist nonsense, he could not admit that the square root of four was two. He could only repeat that that was what his culture had taught him to believe.

Hear me: whoever sees a helicopter leave the ground or a man-made probe successfully orbit the moon has witnessed the empirical confirmation that the square root of four is two. He has just beheld the proof that our mathematical abstractions are not cultural conventions, but are expressions of absolute truth. Logic, mathematics—these things are not conventional and local, but universal, immaterial, and absolute.

The young man at Berkeley, though, may have been thoughtful enough to see that an atheistic, naturalist worldview cannot account for such immaterial entities and abstract laws—thus he was forced to junk them, even when the plain reality is that they are absolute truths. In this, he may be more consistent than many other atheists. It is very difficult to account for the world with its intelligibility, our ability to think rationally and communicate with one another and exist in societies with at least some baseline of shared morals, without conceding the existence of one universal, immaterial, absolute lawgiver behind it all. What you see in many young people today is an inconsistent mixture of relativistic subjectivism and objective beliefs; the former because it is what they are taught they must think, and the latter because the image of God still seeps through from the inside and reality still impresses itself upon them from the outside. I pray that Christians would develop the knowledge and the vocabulary to discuss worldview issues so that people who are lost can be shown that there is a lens—the Christian faith—through which the world does make sense.

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