Myth of objectivity

Peter Wise (
Wed, 14 Aug 1996 12:03:07 -0700

In his posts on "Assumptions" Andrew has raised a very valid point. The
title of my post is just another way of restating his proposition (i.e.,
that *everyone* approaches Scripture, and ultimately, all knowledge, with

As an evangelical Christian I am aware of my presuppositions, I have
thought them through, and I am unashamed of my convictions and
unembarrassed of the awareness of my assumptions. The fact of the matter
is that we live in an assumptive world. *Everyone* comes to the table of
learning with unproven (i.e., faith driven) assumptions.

1. Even if we assert that we can have ultimate trust in our senses,
resulting in the apperception of "facts," the truth of the matter is that
as soon as we begin to correlate and interpret the 'objective truth', it
loses its ultimate objectivity. "Objective truth" ceases to be "objective"
as soon as we begin to formulate interpretations and draw conclusions about

2. I have seen evangelicals blasted by 'religious scholars' as well as
secular pundits for 'lacking objectivity'-all the while the supposedly
'unbiased scholars and commentators' exhibit lamentable hypocrisy by
refusing to read or even consider evangelical positions, and base their
conclusions on very biased (one sided) sources. They are so objective
that they immediately refuse-without a fair hearing-any interpretation that
upholds the veracity of Scripture.

3. Many (perhaps most) liberal schools refuse to encourage or assign
evangelical books, while most evangelical schools include liberal works as
part of their curriculum. It seems so ironic to me that many of those who
most assert their own personal objectivity are in reality the least
objective people (according to their own standards!). The same people who
decry censorship seek to ban or restrict Christian views or books.

4. Ultimately, all reasoning is circular. We use our assumptions to form
a methodology for acquiring knowledge that we, in turn, use to reinforce
our original assumptions. The question is, are we accepting the circle
that God drew?

5. A person who upholds the innerancy of Scripture is no more or less
biased than a person who denies it. We all come to Scripture with
theological "baggage." As we pour ourselves into a study of the text of
Scripture with humility, reverence, a teachable spirit, and a willingness
to apply its teachings to our lives, we posture ourselves best to reflect
the light of Scripture and acquire, in ever increasing degree, "God's

Peter Wise
Adjunct Professor
The Master's Seminary
Santa Clarita, CA

Reality is often overlooked by those who are most assured of their own