The thoughts within our heads move in certain trained ways which make it easy for us to jump to conclusions or make assumptions. For instance I assume that when I use the word “God” that everyone understands that I mean the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of the Old and New Testaments, the one true God, Maker of heaven and earth; but the question arises again and again whether God actually exist. It is a worthless pursuit to speak of Christian things if one does not believe that the Christian God even exists. If an individual assumes or presupposes that there is no God then any effort to convince otherwise would be futile, regardless of how compelling the evidence.
I have written in the past about “truth” and about how, primarily, our belief system is an inherited trait. Generally speaking, most people acquire their beliefs through contact, like a cold or flu. Most people like to think of themselves as freethinkers, and accept or reject things based on conscious thought processes, but this is not true, or at least rarely true. Everything we learn, either by experience or schooling, are true or false, good or bad, depending on our attitude toward them, or how they affect us personally. We assume truth based on a whole long list of acquired inducements and justifications, not necessarily on facts, or even on reality.
When we are born our databases are empty. Over time, through many associations and experiences of family, friends, acquaintances, and environment, and based on our individual emotional makeup, we begin to input data and build an elaborate grid arrangement through which all data must pass and be sifted and screened. The results of the screening govern how we comprehend and understand all matters pertaining to life. This filtered data makes up what is called our presuppositions or worldview. The product of your worldview determines personal tastes, desires, and ambitions. Your final conclusions about life are based on a very complex database of accumulated information, very little of which has its bases in truth; it is more likely that your final result is the rolled up effects of bad data, i.e. misinformation, propaganda, and marketing, by way of TV/radio/newspaper, parents, friends, books, politicians and preachers, or peers. As the old saying goes, “junk-in, junk-out.” We look at others and wonder how they can believe what they do, it is so illogical, but to that person, it may be the hinge on which the world turns. Religion and politics are just two examples of how complex and diverse each person’s grid system differs. Remember, we are not in Eden anymore.
To come against a person’s presuppositions or worldview is dangerous. The thing that we presume to be factual, even though baseless as far as truth goes, are the idols we set-up in our hearts and minds, that override reason and common sense. If we would sit down and catalog the things we do and ask the question, “Why do I do these things?” we might find that we go to a particular religious building (that we call a church) because of some surrounding influence, or we work in a particular trade because of a compelling family tradition, or we pledge allegiance to a flag due to strong national pride, and not because we have set down and studied the matters thoroughly and researched all sides of an issue to discover the rightness or wrongness of it. Our worldview has caused us to have certain vested interests that cause us to perceive things in dull light. This is the very point that afflicted Jesus and earned Him a verdict of death from the world at large and the religious establishment in particular. He dared to see through peoples false assumptions and to question their motives; and this is the test of an authentic Christian witness. Do we dare to challenge another’s presuppositions? Do we dare knock over their idols? Will we risk shining a light onto those living in darkness, and exposing a falsehood that may well be the foundation that supports years of intense building and the squandering of many resources?
We have all heard of those people who see the world “through rose colored glasses;” and we understand this comment to mean that this person has effectively filtered out truth, and has a false view of reality. The Bible calls this “deception,” and declares, from Genesis to Revelations, that all of mankind is deceived; all of them. With everyone having their own “truth,” i.e. presupposition or worldview, you can begin to see why nearly all of our statements of truth are tainted and untrustworthy.
Coming to the knowledge of truth is no small matter. Many have sacrificed their lives for this thing called truth. To be a seeker of truth is not a job for the faint hearted, but it is the highest aspiration that anyone can pursue. Finding the truth, on the other hand, is a discovery that demands a strong will, and is sure to throw your whole life out of whack. Truth will test every motive, and every thought, and if allowed to flourish it will demolish your shrine, with all its idols, and even clear the foundation for a new beginning. Where once there was bigness, there will be smallness. Where once there was life, there will be death. Where once there was pride, there will be humiliation and shame. Truth is the clearing house and the examination room, where everything is exposed and brought under the microscope; and then the tough question comes, “Do I amputate, or do I die.” There are no half measures when dealing with the disease inherited from our great grandparents; only a radical procedure will do. To simply go to a religious building, wear a cross shaped amulet, or give up TV for Lent, does not constitute being a follower of Jesus.
Given that all of mankind is born under the same set of circumstances we should not be surprised to find so many, and diverse, belief systems, each having created and configured their own presuppositional worldview, using a multitude of differing data. To follow Christ is to come away from the whole gamut of contorted and distorted religious proclamations and plead for the healing of our hallucinations and debilitating blindness. We get so carried away with our own version of reality, viewed through our personal filter, which we cannot, or will not, recognize the diabolical madness of what is happening in ourselves and all around us.
Once we begin to acknowledge that something is wrong, and adjust our filter, and our will, to allow for truth to enter, in any degree, the dominos will begin to tumble. It will be by our own efforts that they remain upright, by continuing to live according to faulty data, which is a roadblock to complete freedom.
The mass majority of people are modeling their lives on what they consider to be truth. We allow our filtering system to permit or approve certain things, not because they are the truth, but because we are prejudiced, and biased, and our own “truth” convenient.
Of course there are atheists, and of course there are ten thousand religions, and there are just as many variations within each sect and denomination, and of course each one makes a declaration of truth, so of course there is confusion and division. To be a pioneer of truth is to enter a vast wilderness, and to attempt such a thing without a map or compass is ludicrous. That is exactly what we do when we look for truth based on religion, presuppositions, or worldview. We need to find truth first, and then allow it to shape our worldview. We need to come to Christ and leave all our presuppositions at the door; our presumptions about truth or Jesus will only lead us off the narrow path. Most Christians have no desire for “truth;” they find themselves a “church,” or “religion,” or “denomination,” because of their supposed need of a place to raise the kids, or good programs, or smooth and comforting speeches, or location, or beautiful architecture, or size, or because they are looking for “purpose,” or “Focus on the Family.”
To be a pioneer of truth today is to genuinely be a person who will open up and explore new territory, a new territory in the sense that true truth has been hidden from sight for a long time, covered by years of thorny undergrowth. It is to beat back the temptation to accept the status quo, convenience, or expedience. It is to risk everything in this life to gain eternity in the next.
If there is a “God” then He promises to reward those who will start all over, not on the bases of our presuppositions, but on the bases of Truth; Jesus says “I am the way” (the path that leads to safety), “the Truth” (His ways are not the ways we would choose, but they are the Truth), “and the Life” (Jesus’ life is the standard by which our life should be compared.
All of God’s promises are based on belief, trust, and faith. He makes no promises to shower us with miracles proving His existence. If we were God we would be more than glad to prove ourselves, but it simply is not God’s way. God’s ways are not man’s ways, and Jesus says,
If any man will do his will, (then) he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. John 7:17
God has given us the capacity to believe; Satan has given us presumptions and presuppositions; the choice is yours.