I’m not what you would call an “intellectual elite.” I did graduate High School in the top fifty of my class, but there were only sixty two of us. I have not yet finished seminary, but I do have a Bachelors of Arts in Outdoor Recreation: a degree that really should be a prerequisite for living in Buena Vista. I tell you all of that so you won’t think me a high brow, smarty pants when I use the word “Presupposition.”
You are probably smarter than me, so you already know that presupposition pretty much means ‘what you think before you think.’ There are presuppositions that almost everyone holds, like: all parents love their children and the Broncos should always win the Super Bowl. Presuppositions lie quietly in the background of our thought life. But they are as important as the operating system on your computer.
Some presuppositions are more important than others. What I would consider the most important presupposition would be our presupposition about a creator God. Either there is or there isn’t. Every single cognitive-thinking adult holds one of these presuppositions.
I would contend that each and every person, to be intellectually responsible, must discover their presupposition on this matter and follow it logically to it’s end.
So, lets go down the road of my presupposition. I bring into every thought, every conversation, every relationship, the assumption that there is an all-knowing all-powerful God. He is the reason there is something rather than nothing. To me every human life has eternal value because it was created. To violate another human is to violate the Creator. To me there is an all knowing and all powerful God and I am not Him. Which means, first and foremost, I am not at the center of the universe, but it also means I cannot determine what is right and what is wrong to suit my feeling or desires. There is something higher and smarter than I. And the being probably has strict guidelines for how I should treat His creation, including how I should treat myself, since I am one of His creation. Since I assume there is a great and powerful being, I search out and try to find Him and make a big deal about Him, since He saw fit to create me. My life is not about me but about the Creator. It gives my life purpose.
Now, lets go down the path of a person who holds the presupposition that there is no God. The universe came about in an illogical, unprovable way: one moment there was nothing then the next there was everything, including all matter, time and space. This all happened randomly and without purpose. Thus my very existence is random, without purpose and my value is only what I make it. Which is usually a little more valuable than everyone I meet. There is no all-knowing God, so my actions have no consequences. There is no truth, no right and wrong, so what is right for me is right. Even if it infringes on other’s rights, because that person is here just as randomly as I am. When I do good, I do it for me. I do it to make myself feel better about me or I do it so others will think better of me. Even the good I do is worthless, since the world is destined to vanish in the death of our star called the Sun. There is no God, there is no afterlife, so I am living for me right here and right now. It truly is the survival of the fittest. If there is no God, I am God. I determine what is right and wrong. I determine what constitutes human life. And if you disagree with me, you disagree with God: me.
“But Craig, I know people with the presupposition that there is no God and they are good, moral, and even humble people.” I’m glad you brought that up, you make a great point. The point is this: they are wrong! The fact that there is a God is the reason they are good, and moral, and humble. If they were right that there is no God, they would have no other choice but to be cruel, evil, and arrogant. Because there is a Creator, all creation is still connected to Him. The Apostle Paul explains this in a conversation with the intellectual elite of his time. Read it all in Acts 17:16-34. What he says is we are God’s offspring. Not gods ourselves, but from God. Those who have no contact, no relationship or even don’t believe in his existence are like Sea Turtle eggs. They break free from their shells cold and alone, but simply because they are offspring of their parents they instinctively know that going toward the ocean is right and going inland is wrong.
Everyone makes a presupposition about the existence of God. It’s important that you examine and discover yours. It’s important to go, logically, down the paths that those presuppositions take. But more important than both those examinations is to have made the correct presupposition when it comes to God.