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Transparent: How to See Through the Powerful Assumptions That Control You Review by Kathy Gelzer and Amanda Hopkins

David W. Richardson, Jr.
Clovercroft Publishing
307 Verde Meadow Dr.
Franklin, TN 37067

Those of us with older children are understandably concerned about how our teens will navigate the world after they leave home and go off to college or enter the workforce, especially as this often entails more exposure to secular influences.

Transparent is a book written to just such parents. The book’s purpose is to show the relevancy of faith in Christ to all of life and serves as a preventative measure to the concerning trend of young Christians leaving the faith after leaving home. Author David Richardson proposes a simple, effective worldview check system which can be applied to different religions, the media, books and movies, and any other philosophy or lens through which the world is viewed.

Assumptions—another way of saying religious philosophies—which the author insists we all have, need to be questioned, analyzed, and brought into alignment with the Truth. Three basic assumptions are explained: Type 1:  Only nature (one physical reality), Type 2:  Only mental/spiritual (one non-physical reality), and Type 3:  Creator and creation (two realities).

The heart of the book is the Critical Assumptions Test, which is a chart illustrating how each of the three types of assumptions would answer a series of eight questions.

The first four questions address “Big Picture” issues:

--What is really real?

--Where does everything come from?

--How does everything work?

--Where is everything going?

The next set of questions talks to how human beings fit in:

--What is a human being?

--Where does knowledge begin?

--What is good?

--What is humanity’s basic problem?

The second half of the book demonstrates how going through these questions can guide our thinking in the areas of science, social science, government, politicians and politics, law, public policy, business, and education.

The book includes an appendix, Why Islam is Type 2, which describes Islam as a non-physical reality based religion and takes the reader through that religion answering each of the eight questions on the Critical Assumptions Test.

The implementation of Transparent for students would of course begin with reading the book. High schoolers would be able to read the book on their own but would gain the most from reading it concurrently with a parent; I think middle schoolers would definitely do well to go through the book with a parent. The second (integrated) step would be practicing and applying the Critical Assumptions Test to every philosophy—or set of assumptions—one is encountering. The author recommends giving daily “CAT scans” to text books, movies, assigned reading, etc.

I liked the way David Richardson pulled in numerous examples of assumptions from a variety of materials—books, movies, even pop-culture and music. These were helpful in seeing how to apply the concepts.

This $15.99 book is long—309 pages, and it can be wordy at times. I think the text could have benefited from the inclusion of more visuals. Also, discussion questions at the end of the chapters would invite immediate involvement and encourage learning.

Transparency is not written to homeschoolers specifically; it is for everyone:  “student, parent, pastor, professor, elected official, executive, or any other leader.” This is an important book for Christians. It supplies an easy to use “grading rubric” for understanding and filtering the inundation of assumptions or religious philosophies prevalent in our world.

—Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December, 2016

Another Reviewer’s Perspective:

Transparent: How to See Through the Powerful Assumptions That Control You by David W. Richardson, Jr. is a book unlike any other that you have read. This book will help you see that assumptions are present everywhere in our lives, but they are highly misunderstood.

While most books in this category are written in textbook format, Transparent is written differently. This book is written like an adventure. Every time you learn something new about assumptions, this is compared to the adventures of Lewis and Clark. You feel as though you are traveling into the unknown while you look at every day and every situation in a whole new light.

Richardson takes us through the core assumptions that we all have. Whether we say we are religious or not, we all have these core assumptions. We also we a quick overview of the Critical Assumptions Test, which is the App that Richardson has made for us. This app, the CAT, is a great way for anyone who has any assumptions to see through them.

Once we have an idea of what is happening, we are taken into the Three Profile Types, Only Nature and Nature Only, Mental/Spiritual Is All There Is and God and Creation. Once we know these three types, we can look at the big myth and the big picture questions. This opens our eyes to the role assumptions play in our lives.

Throughout this book, Richardson challenges all the assumptions that we grew up thinking were right. He shows us the assumptions that we have been following, we follow because we are on autopilot with them. This makes us step back and rethink our assumptions, and opens our eyes to what we can do.

I enjoyed reading this book. I had to find time where I would not be interrupted, which is hard with four kids, but totally worth it! Richardson took me past my comfort zone and made me look at my assumptions in my life. With open eyes, I could start making changes and feeling better about what I was doing.

If you are searching for the truth, or even just looking for a way to live more biblically, this book is for you. This book will challenge you, it will challenge what you believe. You will find out what assumptions are, and how to use them to help you and the path you are traveling.

You will find a time to read this book if you have it in your hands. I was able to read it with four kids while homeschooling, you can too!

—Product review by Amanda Hopkins, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December, 2016