Presuppositions and Worldviews

“Presuppositions are at the heart of worldviews. What exactly is a worldview? The English word for worldview comes from “the German weltanschaaung. It literally means a life perspective or way of seeing. It is simply the way we look at the world. You have a worldview. I have a worldview. Everyone does. It is our perspective. It is our frame of reference. It is the means by which we interpret the situations and circumstances around us. It is what enables us to integrate all the different aspects of our faith, and life, and experience… A worldview is simply a way of viewing the world.”9 Our worldview is our life view wherein we try to integrate the sum and substance of life together in a way that makes sense to us. It represents our personal metaphysical outlook on life.

Our most basic assumptions or presuppositions about reality collectively form the foundation of our worldview. Presuppositions are interconnected. They work together to form a web of basic beliefs. These presuppositions shape our worldview grid. This becomes the screen through which we interpret our whole universe.

The beliefs which people hold are always connected to other beliefs by relations pertaining to linguistic meaning, logical order, evidential dependence, causal explanation, indexical and self conceptions, etc. To assert “ I see a ladybug on the rose” is to affirm and assume a number of things simultaneously-some rather obvious (e.g., about the usage of English words, one’s personal identity, a perceptual event, categories of bugs and flowers, physical relations), others more subtle (e.g., about one’s linguistic, entomological, and botanical competence, the normalcy of one’s eyes and brain-stem, theories of light refraction, shared grammar and semantics, the reality of the external world, laws of logic, etc.).

Since presuppositions, such as the uniformity of nature, are simply taken for granted our worldview is ultimately a faith-view. Every view of life, expressly religious or supposedly non-religious, is a belief system that begins with assumptions held by faith. Even worldviews that are not officially based upon a canon of scripture, a declared creed, or some other formal religious system are filled with faith nonetheless.

The essence of every worldview is rooted in its transcendent, metaphysical, governing assumptions about the nature of reality. It is never really a question of which of us exercises faith and which one doesn’t. Faith is something within all of us. “All men presuppose, whatever the name they use for it, a synoptic view of reality as a whole. We continue to call it metaphysics.”11

Many people seek to construct their own worldview themselves. They try to come up with answers about ultimate reality on their own when they do this. They are essentially saying, “I think that reality consists of such and such…etc.” But those who adhere to a biblical worldview do not rely upon their own arbitrary assumptions as a tool to construct their own explanations for what exists. They begin by assuming what the Bible reveals about reality is true.

Christians and non-Christians begin thinking about every subject from their own worldview perspective. They have different worldviews. Worldviews play a central role in discussions about God, man and the cosmos. They touch the very core of what we believe about reality. It should not be surprising then that worldview clashes occur. Every one of us will disagree with worldviews that are different from our own.

Christians regard the Bible as ultimate authority within their worldview because it is assumed to be the true Word of God. Those who wish to adhere to a biblical worldview consciously attempt to think about every area of life from a biblical perspective. Every biblical truth is taken as a Christian presupposition that will be held in faith as part of their whole biblical outlook on life. Bible-believing Christians assume that God has spoken with authority and also presuppose, in accordance with scripture, that what God has revealed in the Bible is true.

The bottom line is that everyone reasons through a view of reality that is rooted in faith-based assumptions about the reality they perceive to be true. Everyone has a faith-based worldview which means there are no neutral areas of life. Every aspect of being and activity is interpreted through our worldview grid.”

(Farinaccio, Faith with Reason)

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