“this is where an argument would get difficult because don’t have the same assumptions.”He was right. We would keep on arguing and get nowhere because we have different assumptions. If we were in a coffee shop or worked in the same office I would love to continue the discussion, but on the internet it is too frustrating.
What he said was a profound point that we need to consider when we are trying to witness or advocate a point of theology. More and more, believers have different assumptions from people in the world. I am not de-Christianizing the guy I was exchanging thoughts with, the discussion was not on that level. I am thanking him for bringing up a point. In Idols for Destruction Hebert Schlossberg makes this point. When we are dealing with professors who reject the Christian point of view or a neighbor who thinks we are nuts, there is a good chance we won’t be able to do anything to change their minds.
“The evidence is often good and the arguments sound It is the assumptions we must question. These are statements that are presumed to be true but are not proven....Assumptions are beliefs; if they were proven they would not be assumptions. And they are beliefs so taken for granted that it is not deemed necessary to prove them.” (Emphasis in Original), p. 8In the book he is talking about people in science or history who are telling the world what to think.
“Soundly designed experiments, complete data, airtight controls, scrupulous honesty, and rigorous logic yield wrong conclusions when the original assumptions are wrong.” p. 8I would put it, “You can’t reach the East coast by taking the westbound train.”
One day in our history department meeting we ran out of official topics and were discussing our differences. I am an evangelical, one was a devout Catholic and the third teacher was a non-religious socialist from the Middle East. We have some great discussions on very real disagreements. What was amazing was that we finally got down to assumptions. The socialist admitted that one source of our conflict came down to our view of human nature. As Christians, the Catholic and I share the assumption of original sin that corrupts human nature. As a humanist the socialist believed that man was good and society was to blame. It was a great moment. No one changed their views but we reached some real understanding.
What are your assumptions? Is there a God? Is that God the God of the Bible? Does truth exist? Can we know that truth? Was Jesus God? Did He die on a cross and rise again? The answers to these questions determine the answers to all the rest.
Examine your assumptions. Are they more in line with a believing Christian or a traditional pagan. Start by being honest with yourself.
homo unius libri