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Worldviews
Rev. Jonny L. Whisenant 
Tuesday, December 05 2023

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

As we seek to grow in our relationship with our Father in the culture we live in today, we must seek to become aware of Poisonous Presuppositions surrounding us and our children, and instead to seek to see things through our Father’s eyes. The story of Job in the Bible presents us with one such presupposition which he was basing his expectations and actions upon which God corrected him for. In short, Job thought “he knew” what “justice” was, and how God should administer it. God showed him that though he was basically correct in the limited things he knew about, the whole picture, and hence the administration of it, was far beyond his limited ability to grasp. The effect of this was to humble him, to dissuade him from his dependence merely upon his own human knowledge and cause him to better see the world from God’s perspective.

So, presuppositions are underlying beliefs that are assumed or taken for granted that become foundations for logical constructions such as research, arguments, or courses of action. They are taken by us like axioms in math, being understood as self-evident truths that we either have never thought to examine closely or that we assume to need no proof, being obvious or widely accepted.

A presupposition of application might be like your confidence in building your house on a plot of ground that you assumed was safe and healthy and that all the authorities assumed so and gave you clearance to build upon, but then discovering years later after many unexplainable illnesses, smells, and strange structural problems to the house, that it was built on a former county landfill. For years it exerted an invisible toxic influence on your family and house, with no logical explanation, until you discovered that your presupposition of the health and safety of your building location had been misplaced from the beginning.  And now everything made sense, but at a great loss.

And people can pose their presuppositions as being axiomatic (self-evident) in their teaching, logic, arguments, or as a basis for their actions in order to accomplish their own ends or prove their own argument. In our example above the landowner who sold you the land might claim that the county gave clearance through “their authority” and that that was the end of the argument. That there was no further obligation on his part to inform you of anything, all other considerations were not valid.

Or a presupposition of theory in our world around us is this: “There is no such thing as the super-natural, it is all wishful thinking, the only things that matter are what we can detect with our senses, this is “scientific fact”, therefore most of the Bible is myth and is to be disregarded.” I.E., “men suppress the truth in unrighteousness” Rom. 1:18. On what basis is the exclusion of the super-natural based? Simply a presupposition, assumption, or desire of the one who asserts such that it cannot be in order to lead to the “proof” of their argument. In our world today this is the dominant accepted philosophical presupposition of the materialist industrialized world. And it is exclusive, if you don’t believe it you are considered “uneducated” or a fool.

The unspoken imposition of one’s “axiomatic” presuppositions often frames the inclusion or exclusion of evidence, the pattern of logical construction, and ultimately the final outcome of all logical argument, research, or construction of actions. This “framing the argument” can be a way of ensuring the outcome of the argument, or research from the very beginning, and it may be used consciously and maliciously to take advantage of others, or in purely uncircumspect naivety. Evidence to the contrary of the “accepted frame” is either actively suppressed or simply ignored in favor of evidence that fits the presuppositional frame.

But more often it is commonly used by us to “comfort” ourselves. We use it to comfort and assure our minds that the world around us is as we have understood or as we desire it to be. As Simon and Garfunkel observed and noted in their Lyrics from the song “The Boxer” in 1967, “Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest”. The presuppositions we are willing to accept frequently lead to the desired outcomes for our desired needs. Yet, if there is anything that being a disciple of Jesus is about, it is about setting aside or coming out of our comfort zones in order to “SEEK” to know and live in the truth as our Father has revealed it. It requires of us Faith, Faith in the presuppositions of what our Father, transcendent above us, has revealed to us about the setting that we live in. That He is our Father, the Creator and Sustainer of our world, but that it is a fallen world due to our own sin with many dangers and traps to be avoided, and yet that “He is a Rewarder of those who “SEEK” Him”. So that “SEEKING” His viewpoint, His means and methods, His goals, becomes the standard mode of operation for His children, His disciples, as we navigate our world. Bringing all our thoughts “captive to the obedience of Christ”, “destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God” II Cor. 10:5. So that it is not merely for our perceived benefit that we consciously SEEK to examine our presuppositions when we become aware of them, but our DUTY according to Paul to actively, self-consciously root them out as we grow in our apprenticeship with our Lord, that like Job we may better see the world from our Fathers perspective and build upon His revealed, trustworthy “presuppositions”.

“In times of change, "learners" inherit the earth, while the "learned" find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” – Eric Hoffer.

Next:  Poisonous Presupposition No.1:  Hubris of the Human Mind, the mistaken sufficiency and worship of human knowledge.

May God Bless,

Jonny

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