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The Problem of Paradigms and Presuppositions


Paradigms and Presuppositions

Ungodly people usually think that they are being perfectly logical. Most of them are unaware of the problem of paradigms.

A paradigm is a worldview or fake-reality. Paradigms are not reality, but they seem more real that reality itself. Everyone has one. They are based partly on observation but more on assumptions that have become presuppositions. And they act to filter out any truth that conflicts with the paradigm. The human mind is deceptive and desperately wicked to the point that we can't know our own minds.

The human mind makes assumptions without effort. When trying to understand ourselves and our environment, we make assumptions, often without being aware that we are making them. When we read something or listen to something or watch a presentation, movie, show, etc., we are receiving many assumptions, though we don't consciously process them. Presuppositions are hidden assumptions that are merely accepted without question because we are overloaded with information and can't possibly question everything, or our minds are just drifting and taking in random messages without any regard to their real basis.

Please forgive a personal account. God showed me a vision of a huge mansion built on a mountain made of rock. But the house extended over the cliff. There were hundreds of supports to hold it up. I followed the supports, one resting on the next and that one resting on another below it, until I got to the bottom. There was nothing under the last supports. God said, "That's how you think." I didn't understand at the time, but now I do understand that everything not built on Christ is resting on nothing. Most logic fails here.

Dogmatic religiously zealous Atheists serve a real function in forcing Christ-followers to question the basis of their belief. Those who are actually following Christ will survive this process just fine. Those who are following some construct of belief in their own minds rather than following the Living Lord, Jesus, The Christ, will have trouble surviving.

You can verify this problem for yourself.  Just keep asking yourself how you know what you think you know and you will come either to an axiom that you believe simply because you believe it or a supernatural revelation.  There are two other ways that this can go: infinite regression or circular reasoning.  Circular reasoning works because circular reasoning works because circular reasoning works because . . . On the other hand, if a person were able to keep snatching reasons for belief from the air for an infinite amount of time, that person would never come to any basis. Are there an infinite number of lies? Perhaps. So the dilemma is that all thought must have a foundation, and the foundation only has one of two possibilities: Jesus Christ or made-up stuff. This dilemma is real regardless of whether you are an evolutionist, a creationist, or a theologian.

Test it out.  It's how logic works.  There must be one of these: a root premise, infinite regression, or circular reasoning.  For this discussion, we will put infinite regression and circular reasoning into the realm of made-up stuff. The root premise can either be made-up stuff (usually in the form of a presupposition that just seems to you as if it were reality itself) or revelation (the Person of Jesus Christ and His interaction with us). 

An axiom that you believe simply because you believe it or because someone else told you to believe it--this is a lie--something that you or someone else just made up.

Someone did ask, "What about empirical observation?"

Empirical means "by experience." The most sure way of knowing anything is by experience. Revelational apologetics rests on experience with Jesus Christ.

There is not just one root premise. There are many. They reside in worldviews, also known as paradigms. A worldview is the real basis/foundation for thought, unless revelation is. Worldviews even affect empirical observation. Worldviews are founded on presuppositions. Presuppositions, as the term is used here, are assumptions that we no longer recognize as assumptions. They appear to us as reality, though they are mere arbitrary assumptions. So, worldviews are not reality but a representation of a fake reality within our minds. The assumptions become part of a worldview, a paradigm, a false reality. Call it the world in our minds if you will.

Everyone has a false reality. No one is exempt. This worldview tends to have all kinds of conflicts in it--things that are mutually exclusive. Most Bible-believing Christians, for instance, have some measure of a naturalistic worldview mixed with a belief in the Almighty God Who answers prayer, leads us in our daily lives, and enforces all the laws of nature (the opposite of naturalism). This conflict results in unbelief and can be the cause of unanswered prayer. A lot of our stress proceeds from these kinds of conflicts. Atheists actually do know that God exists, since it's plain in the creation, but they develop complex rationalizations to try to keep their worldview atheistic. No one has a totally consistent worldview. However, we live our lives based on our worldviews/pseudo-realities . . . or else we live our lives based on the leading and revelation that comes from the throne of God.

The problem with false realities is that they seem more real to us than real realities. They filter our thoughts in many ways. A lot of good science has been done on this. They have found that scientists filter out facts that don't conform to what they thought they would see. When we run into something that violates our own personal fake realities, we filter that information out by whatever means we can. So, the senses are not really as predictable as we think that they are.

Scientific method is supposed to get around this by being very open-minded and bringing in many observers to observe the same thing. The problem is that a worldview that is universally held in a group becomes even more binding because of the action of confirmation bias. In scientific method, no opinion is to be left out. However, society doesn't work that way. When Galileo thought that the Earth went around the Sun, the scientists got angry and got the state (The Holy Roman Empire at the time) to shut him up. A similar thing is going on now with evolutionism. The evolutionists hold the political power and are doing everything in their power (which is considerable) to disallow any other message. You cannot get published in most scientific journals if you mention God or creation. "When evolution is seen as a storytelling game rather than a serious attempt at scientific explanation, it suddenly makes sense."

Suppose that three people observe the same fossil in the same rock layer. One person has a worldview built on a foundation of presuppositions regarding millions of years, naturalism, big bang, evolution, materialism, and uniformitarianism and automatically sees the fossil as further evidence of all these foundational premises. Confirmation bias. This is further confirmed by colleagues with the same worldview. Forcibly keeping dissenting views (creation and the catastrophic worldwide flood) out of the establishment furthers confirmation bias. A second person has a worldview built on a foundation of biblical creation, about 6,000 years, a great, catastrophic, worldwide flood, and a God Who created everything and Who is currently enforcing every law of nature at every level throughout the Universe and automatically sees the fossil as further evidence of these foundational premises. For this second person, this foundation was once living revelation, but it is no longer an interaction between the person and the Holy Spirit--these have become the presuppositions, the foundation, of the worldview. A third person has the same worldview as the second person but has come to realize the weakness of the human mind and has made a habit of staying in the Presence of God even when working. As this person looks at the fossil, the Holy Spirit brings the great flood to mind, and the creation to mind, and the creator to mind, passages of Scripture, and whatever else the Holy Spirit is teaching that day. For this person, Jesus Christ, the Person, is the Foundation. This person may even say, "Well, consistent with what I know by revelation, it could have happened this way or that way," but the third person will not be dogmatic about what might have happened when it is something that has not been made plain and obvious by the Holy Spirit. This person will check revelation with others who are also led by the Holy Spirit, knowing the weakness of the human mind.

Jesus said that He is the Truth. He said that whoever is on the side of Truth listens to Him. Truth is reality. Revelation is always a revelation of reality as it really is. Revelation is progressive. God pulls back the veil of our worldviews so that we can see reality more clearly. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit will destroy the veil.

So, even empirical observation is affected by the starting place of our thinking. However, the problems in logic come up throughout the thought process. When any idea is presented that is incompatible with our own fake reality, we are surprised. We may judge the other person as being crazy, not realizing that we are looking at life through a very limiting filter of our own fake reality. This is why there are divisions within the church, denominations. It has been said that we ought to hold our theology loosely enough that God is able to correct us when He wants to bring us to a higher level in Him.

What we observe is prior to any logic. But how do we know the meaning of what we observe. Without revelation, you can't even know for certain that you or the world around you actually exists. However, God reveals that you and the world around you actually exists and that He created it for His pleasure. We can make no deductions about anything that we observe without either revelation or some combination of made-up stories, arbitrary assumptions, irrational thoughts, or outright lies. But these thoughts are generally buried in presuppositions within our worldviews, and we are not conscious of them most of the time.

Here is one other component of this dilemma.  Supernatural revelation can come from one of three sources: Divine, demonic, or human.  Because of the fall into sin that puts all human beings into bondage to Satan, human supernatural revelation actually comes from demonic forces originally, so those two could actually be one and the same.  You may prefer to call them earth spirits or gods or some such, but they are demonic forces, principalities, powers--basically, they are beings created by God who have stumbled and fallen away from Him.

Last updated: Nov, 2013
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