Presuppositions – Why They Matter

Presuppositions – Why They Matter Ever had a conversation with someone, and all the while you had the nagging feeling that they didn’t WANT to be convinced by your point of view? Did it seem that they were merely trying to defend their current viewpoint, or even formulating their rebuttal to your argument, before they had even heard or understood your thesis? The fact is, you were probably right. That is almost certainly what was happening. I’ll explain why: Presuppositions. Before we embark on a study, enter a conversation, or begin an activity, we all have preconceived ideas and notions that inform how we engage such an endeavor. There are things that we suppose, or take for granted, without even consciously thinking about it. We all make a priori assumptions about matters, even before we have all of the basic facts (based on our prior experience). These biases or preconditioned notions are called Presuppositions. Presuppositions Shape Our Worldview Presuppositions help to shape our worldview (the lenses through which we see all of life and reality). The older people get, the more convinced they are that their view of the world is correct. When they hear something new, their first reaction, if it is unfamiliar territory for them, and especially if it runs counter to their preconceived notions, is to reject it immediately as being false. They presume that if this new information were actually true, they would have surely heard it before now. Especially if what you are telling them goes against what people they love and respect have taught them, you are almost certainly never going to turn them to your point of view immediately. Sometimes people have too much emotionally invested in their Presuppositions to consider the possibility that they might be wrong. Because of the deeply held emotional attachment that people hold to their ideas (a person’s beliefs are an extension of their personhood), in one sense, there is almost no way for them NOT to be defensive of their Presuppositions.  For many people to question, or attack, their beliefs, is to attack THEM. I hope realizing this will help you to understand these dynamics better, and to cause you not to have too high of an expectation regarding what you are capable of doing in persuading another person to believe something they are not previously inclined to want to believe. In the end, it takes time and patience and a sovereign act of God to see someone change his or her worldview. Israel Wayne is an Author and Conference Speaker and the...

Classical Education: Is it a Good Idea?

Classical Education: Is it a Good Idea? This is a guest post by David & Shirley Quine (founders of Cornerstone Curriculum) on Classical Education: The Three Pillars of Classical Education Some time ago Shirley and I were in a conversation regarding Classical Education with a small group of Christian educators. We were told that this was the growing trend among Christian home school educators and that we should consider embracing it as well. Although we mostly listened, we asked a few questions in the discussion — especially, regarding the notion of Truth. We were shocked to be introduced to the three pillars of “truth” being embraced by Classical educators: Christianity – the Spiritual Pillar Greece – the Philosophical Pillar Rome – the Governmental Pillar We were told that the union of Greek and Roman thought with Christian truth is the basis of Classical Education and that it actually yields a much broader and more comprehensive understanding of truth. However, this wasn’t the Protestant Reformation idea of Truth Shirley and I had been taught by Dr. Francis Schaeffer in his writings and lectures. Rather, this was exactly the opposite. Dr Schaeffer wrote extensively that Protestant Christianity provides good and sufficient answers in all three spheres: Spiritual, Philosophical, and Governmental. He warned us of the dangers of mixing Greek and Roman ideas with Christian Truth. A person must ask “where does this mixing lead?” I continue seeking greater understanding of the goals and objectives of Classical Education. Just recently I found a graphic from a Catholic web site showing the three pillars of Classical Education which we were encouraged to embrace years before. I was shocked to see the close connection between Classical Education and Catholic teaching. Protestant Reformation teaching does not mix Greco-Roman thinking with Christian Truth. Paul, writing to Christians living in the city of Colossae which would have been under the influence of Greek and Roman thinking, states: Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. Colossians 2:6-8 PS. Teaching involves both curriculum (content) and instruction (the delivery). My greatest concern is not over the Trivium per se (although I do not...

The Top Ten Utopian Myths

The Top Ten Utopian Myths Here are the Top Ten Utopian Myths, in no particular order: 1. Life would be better if everyone had the same income and/or resources. Truth: A totally classless society is impossible, and all attempts have resulted eventually in collective poverty. 2. If we could only communicate better, then we would understand each other, and we would all get along. Truth: If we truly understood what everyone else really believed, we might like each other less! 3. We can legislate our way to a perfect and peaceful society. Truth: All law is an imposition of an external standard on someone who doesn’t want to embrace it. The problem is not a lack of legislation, it is that many people desire to do things that are harmful to others, and they always will. In case we haven’t noticed, criminals do not obey the law. 4. If would could get rid of all guns and nukes, we would have world peace. Truth: There wasn’t world peace before the invention of guns and nukes. 5. Saving the environment will save our species. Truth: Environmental crises are only a reflection of people’s hearts. Cleaning the environment, as important as that may be, does not intrinsically address the problem of the greed and carelessness that causes ecological problems. 6. Everyone should have the right to do anything they want to do as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Truth: Self-destructive behaviors always hurt other people, even in indirect ways. 7. Giving people maximum freedom (or liberty) will result in maximum happiness. Truth: You need to have a moral framework to know how use freedom responsibly (Individual Self-Government) or else that “freedom” will simply result in anarchy. 8. Words are tools of oppression used by the stronger elites to subjugate and control the weaker masses. The deconstruction of language will lead to egalitarianism and equal opportunity. (Postmodern argument) Truth: Postmodernists are using words to convince of this supposed truth. Do you think they are hoping to control us? 9. We should embrace either all religions as equal and valid, or no religion at all. Any worldview or philosophy answers (or seeks to answer) some fundamentally religious questions? How did we get here? (Origins) Does God exist? (Theism) Who am I and what am I doing here? (Purpose) What happens when I die? Where is human history leading? (Destiny) All religions (including Atheism) answer these questions, but in fundamentally different and oppositional ways. The Law of...

Total Truth — by Nancy Pearcey (A Review)

Total Truth By Nancy Pearcey Copyright 1999 Crossway Books ISBN: 0-8423-1808-9 ISBN: 978-1-59644-336-5 (Audio Book) This book is the follow up to the bestselling book that Nancy wrote with Charles Colson entitled, “How Now Shall We Live?“. Total Truth is a kind of magnum opus for Nancy Pearcey who has spent many years writing essays on the topics of Science and Philosophy. Total Truth sets out to answer the following question, “Does Christianity have a legitimate role to play in the public realm of politics, business, law and education?” She delves into the notion of the Sacred/Secular Dichotomy, which relegates civic matters to the secular sphere and religious matters to the private sphere of personal experience. This split has created a whole generation of schizophrenic Christians who try to balance their personal religious “faith” which includes church on Sunday and prayers at meals, with the entire rest of their life (which is largely dominated by anti-Christian philosophies and practices). The goal of this book is integrity and cohesiveness in our worldview. Nancy provides a wonderful historical background to the ideas she discusses, giving strong evidence from reason, scripture and historical evidence that the Christian faith cannot be contained to merely a private, personal expression. It must work its way into every area of life. If you like Chuck Colson or Francis Schaeffer (she was a student at L’Abri in Switzerland as a teenager), you are going to really enjoy and benefit from this book. As a final note, Nancy proves beyond any doubt that women can be power-house intellectuals. Thanks Nancy for such a great book. On a scale of 1-5, I’d give this a 4.0 overall. 574...

The Authority of the Word of God — David Quine’s Personal Journey

Preface: I am very pleased to be able to share this essay with you because David Quine is a man who has had considerable impact on my own life and is part of my personal journey. In the late 1980s, David began writing a regular column for my mother’s magazine, the Home School Digest, and I began to read his articles. I met David and Shirley Quine for the first time at the HEAV Convention in Lynchburg, VA in, I believe 1989, when I was 13 or 14 years old. While my mother had recently begun reading Francis Schaeffer and had been impacted by his works, I saw them as dry, academic and unappealing. It was through David, listening to his enthusiasm for applying a Biblical worldview to the Arts and all of life, that I first became interested in Dr. Schaeffer’s writings (which have substantively shaped my own personal worldview profoundly since that time). David Quine also helped to shape my own philosophy of education, and homeschooling in particular. I have been so blessed to see his faithfulness over the many years and have been honored to go from being a teenager sitting in the audience listening to him speak, to eventually speaking at conferences together with him. David has invested in what really counts: passing on the faith from generation to generation. Because of that, even though he is a humble and unassuming man, his work will remain and endure for many, many generations. I am thankful to call David Quine my friend and to encourage you to plug into his work and learn from his wisdom. You will be thankful that you did. — Israel Wayne The Authority of the Word of God — My Personal Journey (by David Quine) Once again in history science and culture are challenging the authority of God’s Word. The focus of the issue is the first eleven chapters of Genesis and then the many verses that reference those chapters. The challenge: Do these passages of Scripture represent true space-time history or simply a Christian concept of truth? In other words, is it truth or allegory? This is not just some theoretical classroom discussion, but rather it reflects my own person journey of my understanding of the authority of the Word of God over the past 40 years of study. This is not a new challenge, but one that has been repeated throughout the history of Western Civilization. Think back with...

© Israel Wayne.