We Have a Choice

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Here’s the amazing thing. Some people believe that we must base all thinking on axioms. Worse, most schools teach this belief. Our journey will question this belief and provide other choices beyond axiomatic thinking fallacies as the basis for thought. However, ungodly thinkers base their thoughts on axioms, and our journey will fully expose that fact. And even though Christ-followers have another choice beyond ungodly thinking, those who are devoid of the Spirit have no other choice than to make up stuff and call the made-up stuff true. Made-up stuff is how they think. It’s a standard part of their lives. They don’t want to question it.

By the way, we include ourselves among the ungodly thinkers when our thinking lacks the active moving of God’s Spirit. We have a better option, but we drift.

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Axioms = Made-up Stuff

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Sandy Sandbuilder: I don’t base my thoughts on made-up stuff. I base my thoughts on axioms. Axioms are obvious facts that don’t require proof. They aren’t made-up stuff.

But axioms are made-up stuff.

On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. ~ Edward Mote

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Axiomatic Thinking Fallacy

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An axiom is an assumption. An assumption is a supposition. A supposition is an unproven claim. An unproven claim is made-up stuff. All of these are different forms of what’s known as the axiomatic thinking fallacy. Making up stuff and calling the made-up stuff “truth” is the axiomatic thinking fallacy, yet the word “axiom” almost sounds real. It deceives us since it sounds real, but axioms aren’t real. Rather, axioms are concepts that people make up and call true when they don’t know that the axioms are true or real.

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Results of Losing the Distinction

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As people lose the distinction between good and evil and between truth and error, we begin to see bizarre behavior. Marriages break up or become distorted since they no longer follow the pattern of Scripture. Churches aren’t following the Scriptural pattern either and are unable to bring back order and sanity. Society is in disarray, and that confusion causes pain and fear.

And yet, some do follow Christ, and the light of Christ shines out from them. Then those who hate the light turn against those who are walking in the way of the cross. We see disruptions such as mass murder, riots, wide-spread hatred, or terrorism. The politicians start pointing fingers, but the solutions they propose make things worse since the politicians have lost the distinction between good and evil. They don’t have the Truth and don’t want the Truth.

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Sanity Test

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We’ve already looked into the problem of judging between reality and made-up stuff, but we haven’t defined the fundamental difference. Reality is what exists. It’s what’s real. A concept is a story about what exists, and this story also contains made-up stuff or at least parts that we can’t prove to be real. And so we return to the question of sanity.

Here’s a one-question sanity test:

Is it sane to make up stuff and insist that the made-up stuff is true?

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Flesh Hates Truth

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The fleshly part of our beings resists certain elements of the truth because truth destroys the strongholds in our minds. God further defines this resistance to truth as “loving a lie,” “loving darkness,” and “hating light.” On the other hand, Christ in us desires truth, which is why we seek God’s face and seek the Holy Spirit’s leading, teaching, and correcting. However, even as we seek Him, we have strongholds in our minds that we protect from the light of the Holy Spirit. And sometimes, rather than seeking truth to demolish those strongholds, we avoid exposing ourselves to the truth. Instead, we seek to assure ourselves that our current beliefs are true.
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Notice the human will in the middle of the graphic with the Light on the right but the darkness on the left. We each have a will. We can will to do God’s will. We can desire truth and righteousness. Or we can drift. If we drift, we drift into the darkness because of the pull of the fleshly nature.
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Sane or Insane?

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We’re taking this excursion to guide us toward sane thinking, so, as we focus on that goal, we’re not trying to ridicule insane thinking. However, we’ll use the words “sane” and “insane” so that we don’t forget that this problem is serious. Though some people use these words as personal attacks or ad hominem fallacies, we don’t use these words as attacks. Rather, we use these words for clarity to describe several common human conditions. As we use these words, the word “insanity” refers to failing to tell the difference between reality and make-believe, which is a real and universal human problem. We’ll use the word “sanity” to refer to perceiving the difference between reality and make-believe.

In our journey, we could have used euphemisms that make poor thinking seem more acceptable. For instance, we could have chosen words like “logical” versus “illogical” or “sound reasoning” versus “unsound reasoning.” And while those words mean the same thing and make us feel better than “sane” or “insane,” we don’t want to lull ourselves to sleep by pretending that unsound reasoning is sane. We surely don’t want to make insanity feel better than it is since living in insanity is living in an illusion, and we receive no benefit from living in an illusion. And yet, we do live in an illusion in some areas of our lives. God exposes this illusion when we find out we’ve been wrong about some strongly-held belief. Even people who spend their entire lives living mostly in illusion are aware of this problem, though they don’t always apply this knowledge to themselves. It’s easier to see the insanity in others than in ourselves.

“People don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Interestingly, Friedrich Nietzsche so resisted the truth that he refused to acknowledge God and famously declared “God is dead.” However, Nietzsche didn’t include himself among the people who don’t want to hear the truth even though he had no rational method to say that anything was true. He had no basis for declaring, “God is dead” or anything else for that matter. He wasn’t only claiming that God is dead, but he was claiming that truth is dead, reality is dead, logic is dead, knowledge is dead, and sanity is dead. While that may seem like an overstatement, we’re just starting to explore reason, and we’ll explore whether we’ve overstated this problem.

The human nature in each of us tends to correct others without ever correcting ourselves. And so we each must diligently seek the mind of the Holy Spirit for constant, incremental leading, teaching, correcting, and purifying in every area of life. We allow Him to examine our strongholds, theologies, and worldviews. Allowing Him to correct us is the only way that we’ll develop discernment of the difference between reality and made-up stuff.

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Insanity

 

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On the first DVD of “The Truth Project” small group study, Del Tackett considers the subject of truth. He defines “truth” as conformity to fact or reality, and he defines “sanity” as being in touch with reality. But “insanity” is losing touch with reality. In that study, Del tells us we suffer from common insanity. For example, we’re insane when we believe that lies are real or when we think that reality is a lie. We don’t have to go to the mental ward, but we aren’t sane on that issue for as long as we confuse reality with make-believe.

</end quote>

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Apologetics

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Apologetics

Our journey isn’t about apologetics, and yet it does touch on apologetics so we’ll look at a few quotes from across the Christian spectrum of opinions. For those who want to study apologetics, they’ll find many books on the subject that take one stance or another.

“Apologetics may be simply defined as the defense of the Christian faith. The simplicity of this definition, however, masks the complexity of the problem of defining apologetics. It turns out that a diversity of approaches has been taken to defining the meaning, scope, and purpose of apologetics.” ~ Bible.org, What is Apologetics

Although our journey isn’t a journey to apologetics, we all ought to be thankful for the work of the apologists. And all of us who follow Christ should be able to give a rational response when someone asks us about Christ Who lives in us. So we’ll find that this journey is linked and related to apologetics in many ways. Our journey is about knowing with certainty that God is real, Christ is real, and the Bible is the word of God without error. It’s about knowing that what God has revealed is true. It’s about discerning truth from error. Apologetics defends all of that.

Every form of apologetics has value.

Classical apologetics attempts to use reason and logic (for example, the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, the moral argument, and the ontological argument.) to defend the Christian faith. Experiential apologetics gives testimonies of the ways that Christ has acted and worked through the experiences of those who follow Christ. Presuppositional apologetics points out that all worldviews base their positions on presuppositions, and then it seeks to show that Christianity is more consistent than other worldviews. Cumulative apologetics uses all the various forms of apologetics.

“Apologists point out that we do not have to put our minds out to pasture in order to be Christians. Indeed, some of the greatest thinkers and scientists throughout history have been Bible believers, and many have been biblical creationists. Wisdom begins with God (Prov. 1:7); all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ (Col. 2:3), not with man’s philosophies (1 Cor. 1:20). Proponents of evidential or classical apologetics (the differences are negligible for our purpose here) wish to present a wagon train-load of evidence with the hope that the unbeliever will come to repentance.” ~ Cowboy Bob Sorenson, Honoring God in your apologetics

Tim brings up a very real problem. Many apologists struggle with even the concept of a real Jesus Who communicates with His people in real time. Of course, living in a naturalistic, godless society, we all struggle with that. We struggle even when we experience His daily leading.

While every form of apologetics has value, not every apologist does the work of God in a way that’s pleasing to God and effective for bringing the unsaved to Christ. It’s easy for an apologist to lose touch with Christ in the process of trying to make a defense. We can never go wrong by focusing on the living Christ.

Thus, it is appropriate to argue against evolutionary theories by pointing out that they are based on presuppositions. However, we should not allow ourselves to be cornered into accepting that the case for the truth of the Bible is also based upon presuppositions. ~ Tim Newton, Must We Presuppose the Truth of the Bible

We don’t use presuppositions as proof that the Bible is true. We don’t use presuppositions as proof that Jesus Christ is real or as proof that God is real. We have a firm Foundation. No other Foundation can be laid than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

“The problem with the debate between presuppositionalists and evidentialists is that both sides tacitly admit there is no evidence for God. Presuppositionalists make the subjective argument that they can see the reasons for presupposing the existence of God, but unbelievers cannot. Evidentialists argue objectively from the evidence they think secularists will accept. However, neither side acknowledges the Bible as evidence.” ~ Tim Newton, Must We Presuppose the

Truth of the Bible

While we don’t want to enter into any debates about which of the many methods of apologetics is best, we do know that God wants every follower of Christ to testify of Jesus Christ. Our journey will go into considerable depth on that topic. And those who love apologetics will find great value on this journey as well.

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