Russell and Duenes

Epistemology: Every Person’s View of the World is a Faith Position

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“If a person says, ‘I want to base my whole worldview on reason,’ I would say, ‘Why do you do that?’ When he turns to give me a reason, what’s he doing? He’s flipping open his Bible.”  ~ Douglas Wilson, in the film Collision

The Bible states clearly that, “the fear of the LORD is beginning of knowledge.” The New Testament teaches that Jesus Christ is the God “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” This means that in order to truly know anything, our epistemology is dependent on God’s revelation in the Scriptures and in nature around us. Humans are not able to know anything apart from an epistemological foundation in God’s revelation. When a person rejects the Bible as the ultimate source of knowledge, and then attempts to render a judgment against the Scripture’s reliability and truth, that person must have some basis for rendering this judgment. He or she must have standards by which to judge the Scripture as something other than the inerrant, eternal, completely trustworthy truth from God.

But from where does she get these standards? If she claims to get them from “reason” or “rationality,” then she will have to provide some epistemological basis for demonstrating and justifying the position that, (a) she is the kind of being that possesses “reason” or “rationality,” and (b) her reasonings are reliable. She cannot simply pull “reason” out of thin air, take it as an unproven given or “hang it from invisible skyhooks” as Douglas Wilson would say. Truth is, apart from God, she will not be able to demonstrate that we are reasonable creatures. Godless, purely material/physical forces do not produce rationality. She will have to take it on faith, just like everything else. Every position is a faith position.

In real life, most people who reject the Bible simply borrow heavily from the biblical epistemology which is our cultural inheritance. That is, they borrow Christian capital, as it were. They use a biblical basis for their judgment of rejecting part or all of the Bible. They do not acknowledge that this is what they are doing, for that would be fatal to their unbelief. We want to live in the “thick” epistemological world that God created, but without being accountable or thankful to God for it. This is what St. Paul means when he says we “suppress the truth in our godlessness and wickedness.” We ought to understand the nature of this business we’re engaged in.



Written by Michael Duenes

December 26, 2014 at 12:33 pm

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