Presuppositions will kill the life of God in us.
Rationalism is the idea of intelligence at work, efficiency and quality. Getting the most for the least, high production, less work, more money, more of what is calculable. A dependance in self, in humanity and ultimately in what is within and not without. Humans are not individuals but numbers in a system that must produce and must produce efficiently. We live in societies not communities, we value technology and whatever makes life productive and efficient at the expense of community and relationship. The young and strong are prized, and the old and weak are a nuisance. It seems impossible not to think rationally, in fact to not think rationally is social suicide, it places one within the bounds of fanaticism and emotionalism, and eventually in a place of seclusion. It seems ironic that the only way one can exeperience community is through rationalism, yet its by this rationalism that leads us away from true community. We have rationalized our need for community in pseudo-communities that take place on a private level, lacking relational intimacy and truth. They take the form of what we call “social networks” – accomplishing nothing more than proving the fact of our inward longing for relationship. I recently read a tweet (ironically) saying that “people go on facebook so much because they feel liek their doing something important” – I would say people go on facebook so often because they feel like they’re part of something important. Needless to say, no man can live on facebook alone, so we move on to more “networks” – rationally thinking “the more the merrier.”
Is rationalism the evil that has caused this present impersonal age? Welll… lets not be irrational. Even God is rational… or is he? God’s thinking is not like ours, I don’t think I need Scripture to prove that (but do check Isaiah 55). So do we throw rationalism out the window? A way of living that has transcended our thinking more than we know, it seems impossible not to rationalize. In fact I’m rationalizing rationalism this moment, mind boggling.
The age of reason popularized as men came together to discuss their ideas, to discuss life and how it would be better if… (fill in the blank). Interestingly the rationalists I’m referring to were all originally mathematicians. They liked calculations and liked the idea of making calculable ideologies; valued based on their numerical conclusion. It seems strange to us but before the age of reason, the norm was set and no one was to question it. These men questioned the norm, they pointed their fingers in blame for the state of humanity and encouraged new ideas. I’m very grateful for them, so in a way I’m greatful for rationalism. Here were the seeds of modernism, the beginning of “reconstructionism” and much of it was in regards to God; their view of who God was and how he related to the world was being reconstructed.
Its unfortunate that with rationalism came a sense of pride that took God out of the equation. A type of thinking came about called deism, God is far away, he’s the creator who has left us to rationally run the world (since we of course are smart enough). The hopes and dreams for mankind were torn apart with the Great Wars of the 20th century. Would God really just leave humanity alone when this is how we treat one another? “Christian” nations at war with other “Christian” nations. The effects of the wars were tantamount, drastically causing many to question their previous worldview of a progressing humanity that didn’t need God. about a thousand years ago, it was agreed that all “rationalism” in the human mind is made possible by God himself (see Anselm on this, c 1000 ad). Anselm, during the 11th century meditated on Psalm 14: “Fools say in their hearts, ‘there is no God.’ ” His conclusion was that the fool was the one who was irrational, and that rationalism and logic, at its best, points to God. Times have changed.
Here’s the point. We have opinions that have come from our ability to reason, whether we know it or not. Opinions create positions, which create suppositions, which create pre-suppositions. Opinions are good to have, we have been given a mind, and we should use it. But pre-suppositions are destructive. What I mean by presupposition is opinion combined with arrogance; it’s confidently and unteachably asserting a position (sometimes unconsciously). We don’t realize it but we do this all the time. We do it with God. Do the words “in your own image” ring a bell? That’s what we do, we create an image of God that fits our “positions.” We assign him a specific morality (or ethic), we ascribe to a certain language (often called Christianese), we wear our suits and put on our “preacher voice” (ever wondered why so many preachers sound exactly the same? JUST BE YOURSELF!) ETC… we essentially place God in mathematical equations: A + B = C … and anathematize people who may not agree with your equation. Don’t be mistaken, just because they don’t agree with your equation (denomination, doctrine, ministry method, blablabla) it doesn’t mean that they are rejecting the person of Christ!
How could it be that one day, Jesus is being praised as he enters into Jerusalem, people shouting “Hosanna!” Yet just a few days later, they cried out “crucify Him!”? When Jesus didn’t fit their presuppositions, they killed him. When Jesus doesn’t fit your presuppositions and your equations, you will kill the life of God in you. He was to be a King, not of this world.
So this Easter, lets remember that Christ laid down his life for us. Your (our) silly pre-suppositions about Him will kill his life in you. You haven’t figured life out, thats okay, depend on Jesus. You don’t have all the answers, that’s okay, depend on Jesus. May we never, ever, under no circumstance, think we’ve figured it out, creating ideologies that place God in a box, and condemn those who don’t agree. But rather lets look to Christ and trust Him:
“as he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.” (Luke 19:41)