Suppose for a moment that you are in a position in your life where your financial status enables you to build your dream house. When it comes to money, there are no boundaries. I know, I know very few people have this luxury, but dream with me for a moment, if you will.
Okay, you’ve picked the perfect location, you’ve hired the best engineers and architects to design this modern marvel you plan on living in for the rest of your life. The materials chosen are pristine and the workers who will be doing the construction are the best in the business. After a few months of construction, you see how things are going and you are dumbfounded and awestruck by what your eyes behold. Your dream house looks better in person than it ever did in your dreams. Just a couple more months to put the final touches on this home and it will be move-in ready. You try to squelch the zeal in your heart, but you can barely contain this overwhelming excitement bubbling up inside of you.
That was a year ago. You are now in your home and it is everything you hoped for. When you get home from a hard day’s work you feel like a King (or Queen) coming to your palace of splendor. And then one day that all changes. You come home and notice a small crack going through some of the stonework on the outside of the house. Realizing that homes settle overtime, you try to calm the uneasiness rising in your mind. You try to coax yourself that it’s probably nothing major, just something that the builders can quickly fix.
So, the next day you call the company that warranted the work on the house, and they promise to send someone out in the next few weeks to appraise the damage and get it fixed. However, every day you come home you notice more cracks in the stonework. One morning, as you are making your way through the den your eyes catch something horrible. You stare in utter disbelief. A crack has begun to form in the drywall! By the time the appraiser has made it out to assess the damage, things have gotten a lot worse.
Without stretching this scenario out any further the homeowner (you) has discovered that the builder did not take the necessary steps in forming a sure foundation on which to build your home. The water table in that area is a little higher and required a deeper hole to be dug and more stone to be put in to ensure a solid foundation on which to build. In just a short amount of time, that which you invested your livelihood—you dumped every dime you had in this build, sparing no expense—into will come down into one crumbling heap.
Now suppose for a moment that we are talking about your life. This scenario was told to illustrate one simple truth, what you build your life upon (represented in the analogy as your home) can have devastating effects. You see, the truth is you can have the best materials, the best workers, and the best designers in the world building your dream structure, but if the foundation is shoddy that building will fall. It will come tumbling down on the very ground on which it is built. This is the problem with the infamous Tower of Pisa.[i] The only reason that monumental tower is still standing is because it is artificially manipulated to stand. You may do that for a while, substituting what God has given you with something else, but in the end your life will suffer the same fate.
When last we met I tackled a subject that the average person probably does not give much thought to—the subject of worldviews. Some may wonder why I spent such a considerate amount of space/time in a blog post to discuss such a thing? If people are not regularly thinking about the topic, why write about it? The short answer is that is precisely why I wrote about it.
People are not thinking about it. People do not take the time to consider why they have the opinion they do about a given subject, let alone why they are so passionate about it. By nature—here I mean our created nature—we are driven to communicate with others. If we hope to communicate effectively we need to be aware of our own biases, assumptions and convictions. For, not only do those presuppositions act as an intellectual lens through which we view and interpret the world around us (i.e. worldviews), they also act as the foundation by which build our lives.
Now what is true of physical structures is likewise true of philosophical constructs, or in laymen’s terms our worldviews. Thus, the importance of knowing the foundation upon which we build our worldviews is very important.
Think about this for a moment. Everything you know, everything you believe to be true about reality—those things you see and do not see—is built upon a foundation. Something, we might call an ultimate authority. At the back of every human being’s worldview is something they depend upon as absolutely true.[ii] Something that stands as a foundation for which they “believe.” While it is true that worldviews differ between one individual to another about as much as there are differences in one strand of human DNA, the fact remains that all worldviews can be broken down to two ultimate foundations of knowledge—either Man’s Word or God’s Word.
That is to say all people build their lives—the way they think, the way that they act—on the knowledge of another. Either their view of the world, of reality is built upon the word of other people, or it is built upon the Word of God disclosed in the 66 books of the Bible. Bible-believing Christians are often berated for their stance on Scripture by non-believers.
I remember a conversation I once had with a fellow who made light of what the Holy Bible had to say about Jesus Christ. This person said he could not believe what the Bible said about Jesus, because the Bible was written by men. A little later in the conversation he admitted that he was going to vote for John McCain for President because he was a war hero, a decorated P.O.W. I asked him how he knew that Senator McCain was really a war hero that had served time in a P.O.W. camp? He responded because of the witnesses that testified to it. I then asked, using the same line of logic that he had just used, how that was any different than my stance on God’s Word? He had just confessed that he believed the testimony of some men, while denying the testimony of others.[iii] He could not offer a justification for his belief, but held to it nonetheless. When I showed him the inconsistency of his own thoughts he responded with laughter. He had been caught in a net of his own making and admitted to me that he really did not have an answer for his own arbitrariness.
Jesus explains this reality to his hearers during his earthly ministry, and those of us today are still faced with the implications of his words. He said that the wise man builds his house upon the rock (Matt 7.24), but the foolish one builds his house upon the sand (Matt 7.26). One home will stand when the storms of life prevail against it (Matt 7.25), the other will come crashing down (Matt 7.27). In his analogy the home is the life of the individual, the foundation that they choose to build their lives upon is either God’s Word or human opinion. Jesus declares that if any chose to build on any other foundation than His Word, that person has acted foolishly and their foolishness will be demonstrated when their lives experience destruction.
In the picture above you see my youngest daughter and I holding hands on the beach. What you do not see is that our feet, which are are being lapped by the waves. The reason I am holding her hand is because as the waves hit our feet they erode the sand beneath them. The foundation on which we are standing is shifting away and the two of us are becoming unstable. If I had not held her hand, she would have eventually fallen. God has provided you a means to stand firm in this life. He has offered you a foundation that will never erode, never crumble, and he promises that the man, woman or child who builds upon it will stand to the end. In short, through His Word He promises life to all who will listen to His Words and take heed.
What are you standing on? What is your life built upon? What are the presuppositions (assumptions, biases, and convictions) that govern your view of reality? Life is too precious a gift to not take the time and consider the foundation on which it stands.
[i] “Leaning Tower of Pisa,” En.wikepdia.org
[ii] The funny thing about deniers of absolute truth is that in order to deny absolute truth, they have to make the truth claim that there is “absolutely” no absolute truth. Even though such individuals rarely, if ever, admit this. Regardless, to make the claim that “there is no absolute truth” is still to make a universal truth claim and thereby a glaring contradiction.
[iii] People who say they believe something because science tells them it is true are faced with the same dilemma. Science does not actually say anything, nor does it lead people anywhere. To say otherwise would be to commit the logical fallacy of reification—to give life like qualities and abilities to an abstract idea. Science is a conceptual tool that enables us to learn or come to knowledge about the physical world. Scientists, however, are the ones that interpret the evidence based upon their own assumptions, biases, and convictions (Presuppositional-worldviews), and then relay their conclusions to the rest of us. However, their “findings” are often incorrect and open to reinterpretation as we see they are continually adjusting their theories and so-called facts of reality.
Categories: Worldview Analysis