"The broad mass of a nation... will more easily fall
victim to a big lie than to a small one."
- Adolf Hitler
Common "Hidden" Theological Assumptions
So much of the
time, when people start thinking, doing, or talking theology, they do
not get in touch with their underlying or hidden assumptions. They
usually do not realize or acknowledge that they even have a slew of
these basic assumptions. For instance, very rarely does a
Protestant theologian acknowledge that the most fundamental assumption or
cornerstone that his Christian theology is built upon is the idea that the Bible is
the "Special Revelation" of God.
The entire tenor and thinking of Judeo-Christian theology
is built upon upon this foundational assumption:
The nature of
God is ineluctably transcendent and superior to being human, and God is
therefore trapped in his ultimate superiority to the point of NEVER being
able to have a peership relationship. Pull this one assumption down, and the
whole edifice collapses like the proverbial house of cards..
The entire structure of Protestant theology also
hinges upon the following three assumptions:
1) Disciples Understood: That enough of the disciples that followed J understood enough to
get the truth of the big picture given by Jesus, and that they let that educate and
inspire their theology, their agenda, and their writings.
2) Disciples Recorded: That together they recorded enough
actual information about Jesus and his message for us to get the truth through
their text. This is most obviously not true!
Regarding these two issues, one person wrote to me,
"It is very evident that all
current practitioners of "Christianity" in each of its
various flavors misses the mark. Why? Because the "mark" is
too difficult to understand? Because the mark is just too
good to believe? Because mankind is just too far gone to
make the grade? Because not enough "seed" fell on good
"As far as what the apostles
understood or failed to understand we have very little
information as only John left us any meaningful record. The
2 letters attributed to Peter say very little. In my
continued reading of the three synoptic Gospels there is one
thing that keeps disturbing me. They all focus on recording
the "super natural" events of Jesus' ministry with the
offhand comment that He went from village to village
"teaching in their synagogues" and proclaiming the "Gospel
of the Kingdom" yet almost NEVER record what He said in His
teaching and preaching except for the one comment that men
should repent of their sins.
"For me the bottom line is
whether or not there is enough pertinent information clearly
expressed for people in this day to 'get it right'....
"IF the apostles did indeed
understand, it is clear that it didn't take root in the
people who initially 'joined the "way'"....
Since almost by definition, the problem is on OUR END,
we must operate on the belief that there IS enough, and that our framing has
been wrong, or our focus has been wrong, or some foundational assumption has
been wrong. Or any and all of the above.
3) Committees directed by God: That the committees and processes that put together the New Testament
canon were directed by God or that the results of these were
CONTROLLED by God:
This means that the final output of
their criteria, processes and conclusions were therefore infallible, at
least on some meaningful level, and
that the usual social influences and politics were counteracted or
neutralized. Is this reasonable? When was
the last time you sat on an infallible committee?
Some of the other formidable "hidden" assumptions that I would challenge are that:
The Originator is in personal control of the universe.
God is a fiat law giver and requires obedience to his law.
God cannot be understood because "his ways are past understanding".
The J-person has a dual nature, and only while on earth operated from the
The Originator is non-sexual, and there will be no carnal sexual activity in heaven.
God is the designer/creator of the natural biological and botanical life forms pretty much as we see them, although this
"natural realm" is "fallen".
For Protestants, the Bible is the "Word of God" and the J-person has put his stamp of approval on this
For Catholics, the J-person put his stamp of approval upon the understandings
and dogmas promulgated by the disciples headed by Peter, and the Pope is
the latest in a long line of God-appointed authorities when he is
speaking ex cathedra.
Heaven is a place or
the kingdom of the heavens is a material territory, over which God has
God can "see" into the future indefinitely, and knows all the
possibilities of what will happen.
God has an agenda,
phenomenological or chronological which must be worked out on earth, and of which he is in significant
control; the ball is mostly in his court and only incidentally in ours.
“God the Father” is an individual.
God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.
That a "spirit" is a kind of incorporeal sentient being and not just an
attitude and/or mentality.
That Old Testament “history” and/or most of its major aspects can be taken
quite literally instead of allegorically.
With the exception of Judas, the disciples or
apostles all understood the message or good news of the J-person, and were
sealed in the truth.
The J-person ordained the major rites, sacraments and ceremonies with which Christianity
is so infused.
The "sacred" iconography, artwork and
statuary in which Christianity revels is helpful to the establishment of
Blithely assumes that when Jesus says, "It is written" that he is always
endorsing the concept or doctrine rather than just emphasizing a point or
portraying how the religious leaders were violating their own standards.
Jesus came in part to affirm the legitimacy of the Old Testament law and prophets.
Jesus put some kind of stamp of approval upon the religion of Israel by
choosing that nation for his apocalypse or unveiling of the true character
There are MORE assumptions that could be listed, but enough is enough!
I happen to think that every one of these assumptions above is wrong or misguided.
This is one more reason to do a major reevaluation and rethink.