Every time I watch one of the cable news channels featuring the various pundits and “talking heads” who try to defend their own positions on contentious topics against a political opponent, I can’t help but notice how they all just seem to talk past each other. It’s as though they were from separate planets. Rather than engaging in true debate, each speaker holds a presupposition or bias that simply won’t allow him or her to see or hear the position of the other speaker.
Presuppositions are the foundation and starting point upon which entire belief systems are built and play a vital role in apologetics, polemics, hermeneutics, and theology. In reality, people are by nature primarily inclined to defend their biases, rather than to seek truth. Therefore, exposing the false presuppositions that underlie our opponents’ views is vital to changing the pace and direction of a debate. Merely refuting certain positions at the surface level usually results in a one sided, losing battle. By asking leading questions that uncover the beliefs that fuel their false biases, we expose false presuppositions and open the door to a new course of discussion.
A common and fairly easy way of exposing underlying presuppositions and redirecting the dialogue is by using the consistency test. When it comes to refuting and challenging the theory of evolution, for instance, we can start by applying the consistency test. Empirical observations from recent developments in the Theory of Probability, Information Sciences, Computer Technology, Thermodynamics and the study of biological mutations reach conclusions that are inconsistent with evolution’s reliance upon randomness and blind chance. The net result of randomness and chance is a decrease and a destruction of order, which is the opposite of what is presupposed by evolutionists. By addressing this inconsistency, we can begin to change the tone and pace of the battle.
Additionally, when investigators set out to identify a counterfeit, they take two approaches. First, they spend time thoroughly studying the original, true model. Then they study samples of the most common counterfeits to identify what is lacking or different so that particular traits or patterns can be recognized quickly and easily. Likewise, the best ways of being armed to uncover false presuppositions is to know thoroughly what our true foundational beliefs are and to study the major pre-suppositions of the prominent groups that we will encounter.
What are the pre-suppositions that we must unashamedly defend?
- Sola Scriptura (Bible Alone)
- Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)
- Sola Fide (Faith Alone)
- Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
- Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone Be Glory)