Friday, February 8, 2013

Presuppositions and Reality Distortion

We take a lot for granted when we communicate.  We presuppose that our terms are accurate.  But when we use an inaccurate term (e.g. "the Church") that doesn't refer to anything (due to ambiguity) then we have a "presuppositional failure", a referent that fails to refer.  I supppose you might call it a false referent.  So then we say that a sentence laden with false referents will necessarily lack truth value.  In short, if your presupposition is false then your conclusion will probably be false. 

Our friend Vanhoff wrote a superb article (I love the Torah Resource Institute!!!) that reviewed statements made in Boaz Michael's recent book.  One such statement reads:

"...Judaism does not want or need Gentiles taking on Jewish identity or becoming Jewish..."

Can you spot the false presuppositions?

There are quite a few in that one sentence.  A glaring one is the false presupposition that Judaism is a singular, anthropomorphic entity.  Yet another would be that the writer of that sentence knows what the entity Judaism needs and wants.

So I say to my brothers and sisters in the Inclusionist Camp:  set a higher standard.  Eliminate ambiguous language.  Use precise referents.  Let Truth reign in every word that we communicate. 

Shabbat Shalom,



  1. You could start by setting a higher moral standard instead of continuing to participate in lashon hara at the drop of a hat. If you spent even half as much time serving God as Yeshua teaches as you do slandering other human beings, think of how much you could actually advance the work of the Kingdom instead of inhibiting it. Do other bloggers even mention you by name, let alone in the titles of their blogposts? Do other bloggers use their blogs as a platform to attack you personally or talk about you behind your back? Is this sort of misbehavior what Yeshua would have advocated?

    1. Would you care to debate me in public in front of a camera for all to see? Would you like to see if your accusation of lashon hara holds up according to Jewish Law?

      If you want to engage in a video-taped debate, please contact me via the contact tab at the top of the screen.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  2. "If you spent even half as much time serving God as Yeshua teaches as you do slandering other human beings..."

    And "anonymous of Feb 8th 4:27PM" you are setting the example for him to follow? How do you know how much time he spends serving God?
    - from a different Anonymous...

  3. "or talk about you behind your back..."
    This is an open blog - anyone can read and comment.
    To quote another blogger...

    "But criticizing the published ideas of writers and thinkers is a long tradition. We make ourselves fair game for criticism when we put our ideas out there."
    Derek Leman - Messianic Jewish Rabbi
    5 Dec 2012 on his blog...

  4. If you don't understand the moral implications of my original comment on your behavior, then I suspect you may have more difficulties than anyone you criticize.

  5. It is highly ironic to publicly accuse others of lashon hara.

  6. אַל־תַּעַן כְּסִיל כְּאִוַּלְתּוֹ פֶּן־תִּשְׁוֶה־לּוֹ גַם־אָתָּה׃
    עֲנֵה כְסִיל כְּאִוַּלְתּוֹ פֶּן־יִהְיֶה חָכָם בְּעֵינָיו׃

    Truth is...sometime a little foolishness is necessary...

  7. Notice, they don't come in here, because they cannot delete our comments....A bunch of cowards....

  8. Correct, Dan. And, to be clear, I only delete computer-generated (non-human) comments (i.e. spam).