I’m sure you heard the phrase “to assume makes an ass of you and me”; and often this is true, but the most dangerous implication of assumptions can counter the very essence of truth. There is a form of statement, one we rarely stop to consider, one that can challenge our beliefs without of recognizing the danger. It is the use of assumptive language.
Assumptive language may very well be the greatest form of deceit known to man. If there is a conversation about playing poker and one person interjects “I believe poker is won by convincing your opponent that you have them beat, even if he does have the best hand” and everyone nods their head in agreement, they have fallen prey to assumptive language. Their basic understanding of the game of poker has been challenged by this statement, regardless its validity, and they accepted it without a thought because it sounded right.
Consider this statement: “The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.” What does this make you think of? The great mystery of life? The vastness of the universe? Or the absence of God? Carl Sagan, who made this statement, intends for the audience to accept choice C. It is much easier to influence people to nullify God’s existence by making it irrelevant. This was the basis of Deism, for a God who does not interact with his creation has no true purpose.
However the deceptions do not stop there. Everyday we make assumptive statements, either to justify the depth of our beliefs or to convince others of their error. We do so without truly realizing the great sin we have committed. Now having been enlightened to the nature of assumptive language, I can call myself the greatest of deceiver, save Satan- the Father of Lies, for I am prone to use this speech to cover the gaping holes in my limited knowledge.
If I have lead you astray with my words, seek the truth. If you find the truth, spread it. If you spread it, you shall find freedom. That is what I can believe, without assumption, without deception, without lies.