Monthly Archives: April 2013

Why Time Cannot Have a Before or After; Nor Can it be Eternal, It Is Only Theoretical

If you say that there is a “before and/or after” time, you concede that time is in fact a definition of both time and NO time.  That time only exists BECAUSE it once did not exist.  You concede that there was a “time” that time did not exist.  Thus, you have made time a function both of itself and NOT itself.  This is clearly contradictory to logic and reason.  This being the case, there is no way time can have a beginning or and end.  There is no way there can be an “end” of time.  For what is the end of time but NOT time?  And, again, how is it possible that time can be a direct function of  NO time; that the father of time is in fact no time at all?  Christians will never concede evolution, and yet they are willing to concede that the creator (be it God or be it something else) of space and time is utterly and totally mutually exclusive to space and time.

At the same time (no pun intended), we cannot logically declare that time is eternal; that is, it has NO beginning or end.  This is a problem for several reasons.  The first is that it makes time, again, a function of NO time.  The “time line” somehow leaves a part of itself “always” (in suspended animation?) in the past, and extends “always” in the future.  This means that the time line itself is not a function of time, that the time line is really, NO time at all because it just IS, by definition.  It goes on forever; an eternal timeline is a static time line, and “static time” is a contradiction in terms.

Further, “present” cannot be given a value, ever, because time itself, being eternal, can only ever have a value of infinity.  Infinity, by definition, cannot possibly have a value ascribed to it except for infinity, because there is no such thing as partial infinity…another impossible contradiction.  Therefore, and again, you cannot have a present moment that can ever be given a set value that does not in fact violate the definition of time; and this of course means that objects cannot exist as a function of time because, since they are limited, having set values for their dimensions in 3 dimensional space (or,having set dimension in non-3 dimensional space, even), they cannot be given an unlimited value of time to define their “present moment”.  You see, this is where time breaks down due to the “infinity paradox”, as I have termed it.  Infinity’s value must, since it can never be set, always and only, when applied to the real-world (non-theoretical) frame reference of a physical object, be given a real-world practical value of zero.  Thus, the value of time given to an object at any given present moment must always be zero.  This, of course, is precisely why physicists use a mathematical 4-dimensional coordinate system to describe “spacetime”.   They understand (though don’t mention it often because, of course, their science depends on measurements) that without this theoretical coordinate system, no actual value of spacetime can be given to the physical universe; that is, given to those things which are actually observed.

As we can see then, time itself is purely theoretical.  Any attempt to apply a value of time in any way to an actual observable object in our universe quickly falls into the trap of logical-contradiction.  The object becomes an impossible function of an impossible idea.  The only way then to view time is as a function of the theoretical framework of the coordinate system.  This being the case, one cannot rationally or logically speak of ideas like “predestination”, “election”, God’s “foreknowledge”, or “God having determined or elected or decided or created “before” time”, because not even God is capable of violating the logic and reason that are the root truths (that objects cannot possibly exist while contradicting their own existence) of a universe He designed.

In addition, the most obvious logical violation of an idea like “God, preordaining an event or a thing before time” is that not even God can preordain a thing or an event that by definition does NOT EXIST.  It isn’t THERE to PREDESTINE.  NON-existence cannot be a functional component of existence.  It is impossible. It violates the root truth of the entire universe, again:  a thing cannot both exist and not exist.

There can be no time that “God can see through” to preordain or predestine or elect or anything else.  I have said this before and it is axiomatic:  there can be no future that God can know.  If there is future that God knows then God has violated the logical truth which declares that it is impossible for something to both BE and NOT BE at the same time.   Therefore, if God knows the future, then to God, the future must be now…the future must be IS.  And if the future IS to God before it is to the person or the event that He has “seen”, then the only explanation for the event or person is that it or he or she is an extension of God.  If a thing is REAL before it is manifest in human reality then it must be a function of the thing which declared it WAS, before it became IS to us, in our frame of reference.  Therefore, if there is a future for God to know, the future can only and ever be HIMSELF.  And this is the contradiction of God.  He has contradicted Himself by declaring predestined Creation as something wholly separate from Himself.  He has contradicted Himself and made Himself a liar.  This of course is the giant, blasphemous metaphysical contradiction inherent in the current explanation of ANY idea that invokes God has doing, knowing, or calling as existing anything before time. Most prominently among them is the idea of preordained election of specific human beings to either salvation or damnation.  It is impossible in any rational arena.  It simply cannot be true in this universe.

If there is a before time then there is nothing around you which is real.  It is all God.  There is no you, nor me, nor judgment, nor Jesus…no thought, no understanding, no righteousness, and no sin.  Our faith is a lie.

We must stop this nonsensical appeal to the idea that man can both be a function of time and no time, choice and no choice.  It is irrational, it is illogical, and it says many dreadful things about our God.

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Why Determinism (and Other Concepts) is Self-Contradicting and Mutually Exclusive Outside of the Theoretical

Determinism (and its twin sisters “election” and “predestination”)  is concept which, in order to avoid being self-contradictory and a logical fallacy, must remain only theoretical.  There is no actual, physical thing (person, object, particle, or otherwise) which can be determined, or be a function of determinism.  And here’s why:

Determinism is a concept which can have no end; no corners, no stipulations.  Like “spacetime” and “inerrancy”, once you qualify it, outside of a theoretical/abstract construct it immediately becomes an impossible idea; untenable, and unable to fit within the physical realm’s frame of reference.  It is because of this it must not ever be qualified.  More simply put:  determinism is determinism is determinism, period.  Attempting to apply something ELSE to an idea that is the utter and complete source of itself; meaning, the whole and categorical definition of IT is IT…yes, attempting to apply this idea to a physical “thing”, which must be transient to the concept of “determinism”–meaning, it is NOT determinism but is itself– means you have added extrameaning to the concept; and therefore the concept is no longer the concept; it is destroyed.  Because determinism is determinism is determinism is something else also…is no longer determinism.

It’s that simple.

Or not.

By definition, in order for determinism to remain ITSELF, that is, a concept which can actually have a theoretical definition, it cannot be added to, because adding to it will only ever LIMIT it; and determinism, if limited, is by definition no longer determinism.  It is impossible that something is partially determined; it is impossible that something can be determined and then not be determined for a time.  The point is that if something is determined then it IS determinism, and is LITERALLY nothing more.

See the problem here?

An object cannot be a function of determinism.  If an object is said to have either a beginning or end, then one must concede that, logically, the object at some point was NOT determined.  But the problem is that a thing cannot be both determined AND not determined…or rather, it cannot be a function of determinism and NOT-determinism.  Determined and NOT determined are mutually exclusive ideas, obviously.  Just as black cannot also be white.  They are utterly incompatible concepts.  What we are irrationally saying is that the determined object, actually WAS (by virtue of it’s non-existence either prior to its “beginning” or after its “end”) in a place where it was not determined…and that is impossible.

Ah, you will say:  “But, Argo.  Non-existence is not a place. So it does not have to be determined.”

Nice try.  Attempting to get around your logical fallacy with another one.  That’s double the points, by the way!

To which I would reply:   “Precisely, which is why determinism is falsely applied.  A determined object by definition can never NOT have a place; it can never functionally NOT exist, because that which does not exist cannot be determined…again, by definition (my favorite phrase).  You cannot determine/predestine/or elect that which IS NOT.  You cannot determine nothing.”

And further, and again, a determined object cannot be NOT determined, even by non-existence (another qualifier to determinism because…why, class?  Because if you qualify a theoretical concept with ANYTHING you automatically make it self-contradictory, and destroy it), because then IT, in its “uncreated form” was not determined.  Impossible and illogical on many levels.

See, the idea of an object being determined  is really that the object, because it is determined, can at no time be in a place where it could  not be/have been.  If we concede it had a beginning, we contradict ourselves by declaring that there was a time where it actually existed so that it could be determined, but also at the same time, did NOT exist.  It was determined and not determined at that same moment.  This is rational nonsense.  So here we see TWO glaring logical contradictions.   They are stark, and they are real, and they make determinism an impossible idea, outside of a purely theoretical framework.

Well, okay.  We’ll just decide that the object is eternal, right.  We’ll say it has no beginning or end.  That way, it can be consistent with determinism.  Easy peasy, right?  It always existed.

You wish.  Remember the rule:  qualification = self-contradiction.

Eternally determined?

Hmmm….really?  How does that work, exactly?  I mean, never mind that this flies in the face of everything considered orthodox by pretty much every science and every religion in the world…that a physical thing is eternal.  But this is really besides the point.   If the object has no “where” or “when” to go, because it is eternally going…pursuing a “there” which which cannot exist because eternal is infinity and infinity can, by definition, have no set value, how on earth can it be determined?

That’s another two points for trying, though.

See, the very same problem arises if we say that the object is eternal…the object NEVER had a beginning nor an end.  An eternal object cannot be a determined object because the idea of determinism is dependent on time in order for it to be even theoretically possible.  But by definition any eternal thing cannot be a function of time, because eternal time means that time is infinite, and infinity can have NO set value.  To declare that an eternal object is a determined object, according to infinite time, begs the question:  just when will its “determined”  status be realized (and, as a short aside, think about this:  what you are really saying is that a determined instance of an object is existing prior to existing; and really the idea of determinism falls flat on its face with simply THIS one single obvious contradiction; a thing, or act, or movement, or thought, cannot exist before it exists; right there tells you that “time” itself is purely theoretical)?  If time is infinite then there can be no set time where an object’s determined status is realized, because you cannot have a set value of infinity; and this is because, functionally, any set value of infinity will only ever amount to zero.  (This is the paradox of infinity, as I call it…and it’s a real paradox, not a contradiction, like predestination as the reformed teach it).  Simply put, you can have no WHEN to a value of infinity.  The answer of “when” it will be realized can only be:  always; and always, as a value of time can only be zero, or NEVER.

This of course means that the sum of an object’s determined status is completely within the object itself…the object becomes its own “time”, and if that is true, then it cannot be determined because it cannot have a transcendent “future” apart from itself.  If the object is its own time, then time is eternal as a function of the object–meaning, it has an infinite value as a function of the object, and thus, cannot manifest or reveal a determined WHEN or WHERE outside of the object…the when and where of the object’s determined status is:  here and now, always, which of course is NOT determinism because there is no “future” for the object to be apart from where it is; because for an eternal object, its future is itself.  And add to that the logical contradiction which says that an object can determine itself.  As I have already proven, determinism and physical object are mutually exclusive ideas; one cannot exist as an actual function of the other.

I’d like to point out that the same logical fallacy applies, again, to “spacetime”, and I plan on elaborating on this idea (which follows the same logic as this post) later.  But, for now, suffice to say spacetime can have not beginning or end without contradicting itself, and it cannot be eternal without contradicting itself; space and time cannot be eternal because then they must be valued at infinity, equates to zero when attempting to make an object a function of space time.  Eternal spacetime means that spacetime is not actually a function of space or time; it must be without BOTH.  And if that is true, then space and time are really neither space nor time as they pertain to physical objects, because nothing applied to an object begets nothing; no value.  Qualifying space time as either “created spacetime” or “eternal spacetime” always contradicts the concept. Argo’s functional premise #7, by the way.

The point here is to remember that the anchor of our truth must only be the physical.  We can never, and I mean never attempt to categorize physical objects (and I mean people and bibles in this…yes, you heard me) as functions of purely theoretical constructs.  Once you do, you will destroy the life and/or being/essence of the object and the truth of the theory.

The theoretical can only exist as true in the theoretical world.  The physical can only exist as true in the physical world.  Attempting to couple the two is an exercise, always, in mutual exclusivity, and both worlds are destroyed.

A few relevant comments (of mine) from a thread at Wartburg examining the idea that TRUTH cannot practically or functionally exceed man’s frame of reference: his context; his universe; his ability to reason (to know/understand/apprehend/declare/believe)

The following is excerpted from a debate I had with a commenter who calls himself “LT”.  You can see his responses at Wartburgwatch.com, under the topic of “On YEC Interpretation of Scripture and Their Use of Technology”.  I only posted mine because disseminating my perspectives and beliefs on these issues is the point of this blog (notwithstanding comments by people who may disagree, and they are always welcome…with the exception of one, who is blustery, bullish and confuses rational debate with denigration, name-calling, and demanding we use his subjective opinions as the “truth” from which we are arguing.  A typical stiff-necked Calvinist in good standing with his local church, I’m sure.  Ew.).    Anyway, if you want to know why I haven’t posted in a while…well, here’s why.  🙂

I have corrected some grammatical mistakes (but likely not all…I suck at editing; or I’m lazy, or both…yeah, probably that), and have changed “abstract” to what should be (and now is) “theoretical”.  Also, I have added to or deleted portions of my comments, or edited them, in order to better reflect my point; which sometimes gets obscured when in the heat of argument and when at the distinct disadvantage of using the crappy Apple I-phone virtual key pad to type responses to your opponent in a heady philosophical debate (note:  don’t do this; it is a rank pain in the ass).

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Your logic is based on an assumption which I do not concede. I believe time is merely a HUMAN way to quantify movement. Time is purely theoretical, then. There is no such thing as 24 hours prior to man determining a quantification known as time. Thus, there could be no 24 hours for God to create in, because man was not there and time is purely a function mans ability to measure.

My primary problem is with the term “day”; another human definition. None of the concepts used to explain Genesis existed before man did. Thus, Genesis must be metaphorical, or allegorical (or whatever the hell the difference is…I always get confused), or illustrative (which might be the same as metaphor and allegory; really who the hell knows?), or figurative, or theoretical, etc. etc.

With respect, we need to stop confusing assumptions with reason.

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Human reason is the only way real truth can be acknowledged, and objective logic is a merely a component of that reason. Any idea beyond that is moral relativism. Human ABILITY to reason is not the same thing as reason. LT you are confused about the two.

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Death knell to my reason? Hmm…that is outstanding hyperbole. The “bind” is merely the same “bind” I have been in since I removed myself from false reformation teaching. It is the bind which declares that if I do not accept your interpretive assumptions on anything, I must be wrong. And this is precisely why your argument is tautological. I don’t agree with you so I’m wrong; I’m wrong because I don’t agree with you. “Since I once thought I had reason, but didn’t, I can never have reason” is precisely the argument you made. How can you deny this? Your very argument says that because I was once wrong in what I thought was reasonable (e.g. Calvinism), objective reason cannot exist. That is irrational. Again, purely tautological: Because I was wrong, I can never be right…why can’t I be right, because I was once wrong. And THAT, LT, is moral relativism. By this argument of yours, there is NO such thing as right or wrong in your “philosophy”. Right and wrong are meaningless…subjective, irrelevant. I can’t be right, because I was once wrong means that the only real truth that I can grasp will ALWAYS be wrong because the whole of my ability to reason is merely the ability to be wrong.

Try as you might your entire argument is rooted in the idea that reason is ultimately subjective because it is rooted in MAN’S ability to reason (which is NOT the same thing as reason itself (is the ability to drive the same thing as driving? Of course not…you may be able to drive, but if it manifests itself into willfully driving into a ditch, then the outcome of that ABILITY is irrational; the ability to drive CAN lead to actual rational driving, but it doesn’t always, but that doesn’t change that their is a separation between the ABILITY to drive and actually driving). This is the functional idea of saying man can never know anything at all; a root premise of Calvinism. It is why Calvinism is destructive and irrational and gnostic; all truth is God’s truth. Since man is not God, then man can, by definition never have truth.

You want to see a bind: there it is.

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Yes. Subjective truth is an oxymoron. You got me there. Er…I guess?

You know what I meant. I use that term to illustrate the absurdity of Clavinism. They claim truth when by their own theology there can be no truth that man can know.

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Human ABILITY to reason is not the same thing as reason. LT you are confused about the two.

Yes, I said that, and I fully stand by it. You are confused about the two. You are attempting to declare there is such thing as human reason (what seems reasonable to humans) and reason in general. That is false. there is only human ability to know what he knows and believes, and there is reason; that is, what can be shown and verified as objectively true according to the existential realities of man. As a function of man’s ability to reason (to believe what he believes, or know what he knows), he may assume something is true when it is not.

There is NO such thing as human reason. There is man’s ability to think, chose, will, and decide, and this is rooted in his ability to process and organize his reality via the senses; and there is what is objectively true. The same ability to reason by which man can believe that which is false is the same ability by which he can believe and apprehend that which is TRUTH.

That is what I mean by all truth is a function of MAN’S frame of reference. If truth falls outside of man’s ability to apprehend it (his frame of reference; his ability to reason; or, to know and understand), as you seem to suggest, then it cannot BE truth to him at all, because it is irrelevant to his frame of reference and thus to him, and God is a hypocrite.

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According to Calvinism, man is at his root depraved; totally. Any vacillations in man’s behavior that any Calvinist would call a function of “truth” or “free will”, is a logical fallacy. There is no such thing as irrelevant truth. There is no such thing as irrelevant free will. If the objective outcome of YOU is always a function of NOT you (your “sin nature” or “God’s will/control/sovereign grace”), then there is no such thing as free will, there is no such thing as real understanding, no such thing as truth because there is no such thing as man. Man is always a function of something ELSE.

That is the contradiction which I once accepted, which I know understand, by the same ability, is false. It is NOT reasonable.

LT, you said “my reason is untrustworthy”. The logical extension of that, the implicit idea is that, because of this fact, I can never rely on my ability to reason (my human reason) to declare that I can know anything true. This IS the logical extension of your argument; whether you “said” it or not is irrelevant. Whether you agree or not is irrelevant. IF I cannot trust my reason because I concede I was wrong in the past, it is impossible to ever have truth. If ALL human ability to reason is suspect because humans can be wrong, the extension of your argument is that the categorical sum of man’s ability to reason is simply to perpetually assume that he is WRONG. In this case, man can never have truth since all of man’s knowledge is defined by being wrong. He can never trust anything he knows, because the root of his understanding purely his ability to be WRONG.

You need to go back and read what you wrote. This is precisely your point.

This is a root premise of Calvinism; I know it; I’ve lived it; and Calvinism is extremely relevant to this discussion because Calvinism is the most cohesive form of reformation philosophy, and at its root it is destructive and the greatest perpetrator of the abuse discussed on this blog.

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I will concede that  when I declared “human reason is the only reason”, that could have been confusing, given my argument. I apologize. When I say “human reason” in that sentence, I mean this: There is NO objective truth outside of man’s context, and thus there is no relevant objective truth (pertaining to his relationship with God, specifically here) that man cannot apprehend by the “ability to reason” God has given him to know and organize his world NOW. That is, there is no “reason”, or “truth”, or “rational doctrine” that can exist outside of man’s context; his universe, his environment. This is because EVERYTHING occurs, by definition, where man is (his universe). There is functionally NO frame of reference beyond that of man which can be anything but wholly irrelevant to him. It may very well be that there is “truth” (beyond which man can understand) “somewhere” else…but that truth is of no use to man, and never will be, since man is inexorably and wholly a function of his contextual reality; his universe. There may be something “before” the big bang, but as physicists rightly point out, it is irrelevant to OUR universe here. There is little use in “looking” for it because by definition it cannot be observed. It cannot be observed because it is not a part of THIS universe. If it cannot be observed because it is not a part of our universe then it cannot now, nor ever,be relevant. The same holds true for things we might “later” understand. If they are not a product of our frame of reference in THIS life, so that they can be apprehended NOW, then they will never become relevant or meaningful, even if and ESPECIALLY if they are a function of some OTHER frame of reference. This is my point.

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I think “observable” then, is merely stating what I think is pretty obvious: nothing (relevantly or rationally) exists except that which is a function of the universe. The implicit extension of this then would be: anything which has not yet been discovered but might be in the future is part of the observable universe, whether we actually observe it now or not.

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A general word of caution (from what I think you were saying at the end of your post…I apologize if I misinterpreted); I would not eschew the pursuit of truth because of a belief in a “transcendent” God. Logically, for man, the universe can be all there is. There can be no relevant reality outside of our universe. Declaring God transcendent and thus a mystery is fine; but we must understand that those transcendent properties and mysteries are for Him ALONE. They are for God, not for man. Thus, as far as man is concerned they are irrelevant “truths”. Practically speaking, they are not real…because they can never conform, by definition, to man’s frame of reference; man’s context, which is man’s universe. Anything at all falling outside of man’s universe can never apply to him…you cannot qualify that which cannot, by definition, actually be qualified because it does not functionally or efficaciously exist.

I would declare “existence” as a thing which cannot be qualified. Existence later in heaven, if you will, can only be an extension of existence NOW. Existence cannot both be existence and NON-existence at the same time. Meaning, there can be no gaps in existence. Strictly speaking, existence itself is a theoretical concept (as are spacetime, inerrancy, determinism, and so on) which, once qualified in ANY way (other than, in the case of spacetime, a mathematical grid/coordinate system so that a value other than infinity (which is 0) can be applied to objects in it), becomes a contradiction.

All that is to say that what is part of the observable, tangible universe is really the only reality there IS; anything else is theoretical. That being said, we must, I feel concede that there is real, actual TRUTH to be known, because all real truth must stem from what actually IS in the universe. Put simply, there are things that are true, and things that are false. They are knowable because they actually exist. It is only a matter of looking for them, not giving up, and not conceding that contradiction is actually the root of “truth”; which is, of course, impossible, both metaphysically and physically; scientifically and philosophically. Contradiction is nothing more than a fancy word for nonsense.

Incidentally, this is why I LIKE science as the ROOT of TRUE philosophy AND my faith in Christ; because science will tell you what cannot POSSIBLY be true in the real, knowable, observable universe (apart from metaphysical truth, rooted in logic, and based on the assumption that God is omnipotent). We are then obligated to extend that understanding to whatever THEORETICAL truths we have. I’m not saying we cannot hold that theories are in fact TRUE, but they can only be rooted in what actually IS; and what is, is the physical universe. Period.

Why Death, Sickness and Pain Are Particularly Cruel for the Human Consciousness (and a rant on atheists)

The thing about human consciousness is that, really, human consciousness transcends the human him or herself.  Human consciousness functions far differently from that of any other life form on Earth in that the operative ability of it is what psychologists and other clinicians/scientists term “self-awareness”.

The ironic thing about self-awareness is that it really functions as an awareness of “self” beyond the person…as I said, transcending the actual human being.  Self-awareness, to me, then, is really the idea of a self beyond the self, our self existing somewhere outside of the body; always in proximity to it, perhaps, but certainly not an inexorable part of it; there is always something metaphysical about human consciousness, whether you are a “spiritual” person or not.

I believe that it is from this primary ability of man’s consciousness we arrive at the concept of an immortal soul…and so easily can we separate ourselves from our bodies in how we functionally interpret almost all of our conscious reality, that even non-religious people will generally concede some sort of “mystic” plane upon which human consciousness exists apart from the fleshly, material realm.

However, speaking of the Christian faith, there is nowhere in the scriptures that I can find where it is claimed that there is existence for man apart from a body.  Meaning, there is really no such thing as life apart from the biological…from the fleshly “house” of the person, I could say, so that you function as some sort of nebulous, ethereal mist with neither form, nor space, nor time.  But that, as a human being you now and you always will, even in the afterlife, occupy a body…though that body made be made of different “flesh”.

So, it seems to me, not only as a person who only accepts that truth comes from empirical and consistent knowledge rooted in human reason (a nod here to my first cousin, the erudite philosopher, John Locke) and also as a Christian, that indeed the consciousness and particularly self-awareness–again, as the pervasive acknowledgement of your “self” outside of your person…meaning, you are able to functionally remove your consciousness from your body, including your brain–are truly functions of the biological (and I would be surprised if anyone other than a metaphysician or a religious person/leader would argue this point).  That is, the OBJECT, the physical body, drives the abstract function/ability we know as consciousness, and more importantly self-awareness, and that it was purposefully designed to be this very way by God, Himself.  Indeed, it would be utterly impossible to fulfill even the most basic of divine commands, entreaties, or bare suggestions without the ability to be self-aware, in order that we may make an abstract quantification of our surroundings, acknowledge “choice” and “future”, and to rule and subdue while giving deference in our lives to our Great Creator.

And this is why the Fall is so cruel and so abusive to the human being more so than any other creature on Earth.  Why it is so damaging to the human psyche. Now, do not take this to mean I am somehow impugning God in this abuse.  Those of you who know me understand that I rank man’s culpability for his actions–that is, his free volition and the utter end of himself to be his ability to reason APART from ANY divine control, possession, or irresistible mystic, irrational, ludicrous and rationally retarded whozeewhatzits whatsoever–as a part of his basic ability to have been created at all.  So, that being said, the “Fall”, that is, the exchanging of absolute moral purity as a physical creature of God for the abstract and metaphysically abusive dualism of the moral “law” of good and evil, is indeed utterly upon man’s head.  Man was told NOT to go there by God, whom man acknowledged as God and, thus, acknowledged all that that meant.  Man went there anyway…man reaps what he sews.  It is part of actually BEING, and so you can dispense with all the nonsensical talk of the “problem of evil”.  There was no problem until man freely choose to go and do what was made clear he should not do.  God did not equivocate.

The problem of evil then is merely the idea that IF Creation exists, it must be free to do whatever it can do according to its ability.  That is, it is NOT controlled by God.  Therefore, when creation does something, the result of  the natural reality of cause and effect relationships manifests itself.  And when man does something stupid, like drive drunk, or not wear a motorcycle helmet, or believe in Calvinistic despotic “authority”, or preach ideas that say that people’s greatest sin is their existence at all, OR eat a fruit salad at the behest of Satan, then…well, the fecal excrement WILL, as a function of rank, rational existential course, hit the wind motivator.  And so there’s your “problem”.  You ask for an explanation of the “problem of evil”; I give you:  free will. 

Why did God send the tornado, and all those people died?

He didn’t send the tornado.  He couldn’t haved stopped the tornado.  The tornado, in order to actually BE the tornado, has to do what a tornado does…and that is, occasionally and unfortunately, to level this or that and to kill him or her; adult, child, dog, cat, boy or girl. It is a byproduct of living in a world that is NOT God.  IF God is real, then this world has to be REAL.  And if this world is real, then humans were given their own separate will, volition, and reason to deal with it.  If God is in control of the world, then your will is irrelevant. It is fighting against God.  And you will always lose…and by that, I mean, you will not rule nor subdue anything at all.  The world will rule you.  And if that is true, then you are merely an extension of the world, which IS God.  And moreover, if that is the case, your will is indeed not free, but is also controlled by God.  And if God controls the world and controls you then God is the world AND God is you…and you are not here and neither is the world.  It’s all God.  You can’t even think.  There is no such thing as your consciousness…your self awareness.  There is no such thing as YOU.

Get it?  Good.

Deal with it.

Why did the twenty year old die in that tragic motorcycle accident?  Why didn’t God stop it?

Well, I submit that God is asking his own why-question:  Since he gave that young man a normal brain with a self-aware consciousness and all that, why was said young man going a hundred miles an hour without a helmet?

So it seems that, in many cases, the problem of evil is merely people being stupid, or incompetent, or, in the case of mass murder, criminal violence, despotic regimes like North Korea and Marxist Russia, the problem of evil is the problem of people being rank assholes.

In the case of natural disasters?  The problem of evil is:  shit happens.

Sorry to be blunt, but there is no other explanation needed.  We Christians have got to start using the brains God gave us, and stand up for the rationality of what we believe because we DO have the monopoly on rational TRUTH.  When an atheist glares at you and demands that you renounce your God because it is “impossible” to explain the “problem of evil”, you glare right back and say, “Guess what? People are either stupid; incompetent; assholes like you, or shit happens.”

You want to get an atheist’s respect?  Stop conceding their premises and ANSWER THEM!  Debate them!  And I don’t mean proof text your bible.  That will was NOTHING with an atheist.  Debate them according to REASON.  WHY God MUST be who God is; and why YOU then ARE what you are.  A Christian faith rooted in REASONABLE acknowledgement of the physical world as the operative force behind all abstract constructs AND consistent, RATIONAL metaphysical truth will destroy their atheist schtick.  Every.  Damn. Time.

And one more thing.  Stop being so nice to people like that.  Atheists love to make fools of you.  They live for it.  They hate you; they think you are a bumbling, drooling, cross-eyed moron who believes in the tooth fairy, and their goal in any argument is to back you into a logical corner where you essentially have to concede just that, and then they promptly snicker into their ape-like hands (oh, they looove evolution, you know; they wave it around like a cheerleader pom-pom…I mean, I believe in evolution too, but, honestly do  you really think that showing people that the Bible just might be metaphorical in some places (sarcastic gasp here) is, like, the smoking gun for faith in God? Idiots.)  And then they’ll post the incident on their stupid blog sites and tell the world how smart they are and what a dumbass you are.  Don’t let them.  And don’t be afraid of the four letter words.  Really.   Whether you like cuss words or not, they are poignant, and do a great job of getting the emotional point across.  Believe me, a four letter word here and there will shut them up, too.  Do the unexpected.  Get them off their game.  You’ll throw their own hypocritical beliefs back in their faces, starting by turning their own assumptions about YOU as a Christian on their heads.  You won’t cause them to “stumble”.  They are atheists.  They are as low philosophically and emotionally as they can get already.  And you certainly won’t affect how they see you.  The nicer you are, the more they hate your Christian guts.  The bigger a dumbass they think you are.

How do you explain the problem of evil, you will ask them.  How do YOU know what is GOOD?  What do you have to offer in the way of philosophical truth to defend the poor, the sick, the helpless, and other people in general from violation, tyranny, bloodshed, exploitation, and pain?  Their answer is, believe me, jack squat.  The ONLY moral truth an atheist can have is themselves, alone.  The world must live and die for them, it is the only definition of good to an atheist.  Atheism is self-worship.  It is not good and right individualism…it is individual self-worship.  It is the sinister and satanic response to the true individual human freedom and love that Jesus came to declare; the love and reverence for ALL human beings AS individuals.

Thus, atheism will only ever conclude with the annihilation of the human race.  You think Islam or Calvinism are scary?  Look around at the communists .  Are they any better?  No…they are every bit as bad.  And that is why atheists are hypocrites.  Like the pharisees and every other mystic tyrant, worshiping self is no better than worshiping a false religious paradigm.  20 million dead in Stalin’s Russia are nodding right now.  Oh wait…they can’t nod.  Atheistic Mother Russia chopped all their heads off.

But back to my original point.

We humans live our lives, essentially, as an out of body experience.  We understand our world by pulling ourselves out of it…out of our own bodies.  This is how we do anything.  Almost every thought of every day and every moment is a thought of the future…a function of yourself, but nowhere physically near yourself, because the abstract is wholly removed from the physical.  And the same for thoughts of past.  Thoughts of present?  Same thing.  We see and acknowledge things in terms of abstract quantification, qualifications…everything is an abstract concept to us because we qualify and quantify everything with language.  Language is how we do and know anything from the moment we can comprehend it…even expression, outside of “language” proper is linguistic in this regard:  it is abstract.  It places ALL experience, even experience directly related to the body, in the abstract place of the self-aware; an abstraction of wholly out-of-body existence.

And this is why death, and pain, and sickness is so horribly cruel; why Christ came to heal, and to save from death.  Because when we realize how cruel a thing physical death is for a self-aware consciousness, we can truly understand the gravity of the Fall; why God is so compassionate to save.  Because He understands the psychological torture and abuse of physical pain and death for a man or woman who lives in a consciousness which is wholly removed from the physical.  Because He NEVER intended this contradictory thing to be so…physical death combined with a consciousness that is designed to function APART from the physical in practical application.  You see, without a self-aware consciousness, man cannot be man.  He can never experience the GOOD that was intended for him.  His mortal body was intended to function as a compliment, and adjunct to his out-of-body awareness; pleasure through the body, manifested by a free-will cognitive relationship with God, the Father, in love.

But the problem now with death and pain is that it psychologically enslaves this conscious mind of man to the fear of the pain and torment and death of the body, because the mind understands the inevitability of it.  The mind understands that though it, the mind, is out of the body, it is not really thus.  The mind IS the body, and that is the visceral truth.  And at no time is this more real than when death has come to overtake; when sickness bears down with the heavy and merciless blindness of a natural, unstoppable force of destruction…like a raging wind, it cannot be reasoned with because it does not think; and it does not SEE your consciousness, but only your body.

And when that time comes, when the meeting of the physical body and the self-aware consciousness occurs at the crossroads of death and pain, then the psychological horror is felt like devouring, crushing hoard.  You realize then–and you cannot get around it because your BODY refuses to let go; gripping you with white hot anguish that lets you know that your body IS you–yes, you realize that for the entirety of your life you have lived the lie.

It is the lie of a self beyond the self.  A mind without the body.

There is no such thing.

The Point of the Blog: REASON, as described in five of my philosophcial root premises

Argo’s functional premise #1: 

God will not Create an object in order to do a thing He can better do Himself.  By definition of perfect power, then, this includes anything and everything, because the divine definition of “better” is always and only GOD.  Thus, God will NEVER use Creation as a means to Himself, because this makes Creation an extension of God, which makes IT GOD, and this constitutes a redundant and metaphysically impossible divine contradiction.   Therefore, if “God is in control” of Creation, Creation IS possessed by God, and thus IS God.  And God has violated His own perfection.  This is impossible; therefore, it can only logically follow that if God has indeed created Creation, then He CANNOT be in control of it in any direct measure except as a function of, not possession or control of it, but via his ability to create, in order that He may not be a hypocrite; and in addition, this can only be done in a way that does not constitute divine contradiction if and only if a free consciousness is given to observe it, in order to make a free willed and rational application of it within its own context. 

Argo’s functional premise #2 (proceeding from #1): 

Therefore, Creation exists as a function of its own ability to do whatever it does and whatever it can do. 

Argo’s functional premise #3: 

God cannot create or ACT (excluding God’s “being”, which is of course an act…but by act, I mean anything BESIDES being God) in a free-consciousness vacuum.  There is no rational point for God to act outside of Himself (create a thing NOT Him) unless a free-willed mind can observe it and apprehend it RATIONALLY according to ITS own ability.  Any act of creation without an observer other than God, is redundant, because it is unnecessary, and contradictory to God’s perfection which is utterly within Himself. 

Argo’s functional premise #4: 

All of Creation is FOR man.  Thus, all belief systems, including (and especially) Christianity must conform to his ability to reason; to objectively quantify and know his environment. 

Argo’s functional premise #5: 

Any belief system that operates outside of functional premise #4–that is, does not exist wholly within a non-contradictory, reasonable, and rational human INDIVIDUAL understanding (that is, conforming to INDIVIDUAL human contexts)–will be tyrannical; and will have, as its singular root assumption, that individual man’s reality operates primarily OUTSIDE of himself.  In other words, man is not really man, but is ultimately governed by a compelling force which is perpetually beyond him, and further, perpetually beyond his willThis can only lead to destruction.

(CH. 2, PART 1)-The Boy Stranger: A free novel (can you spot the allegory…er, metaphor…er, both?)

Bullet One

As the Credence family began their new life in South Dakota, the boy tried hard to believe everything his family told him.  He believed Lucy’s flashing answers.  He believed mother’s somber mutterings.

He believed father when he told the boy that they had been in South Dakota for two months and he had not sold one hat.

Of all the things he heard and believed, he liked Lucy’s words the best.  The answers to his questions were always less bright and less hopeful coming from father or mother than from Lucy.

            It was mid-December now, and the boy began to notice that the fires mother built to keep the house warm were becoming smaller and more infrequent.  She would stoke the coals more often and try to keep them burning longer.  There weren’t many trees around the ranch house, and they had to buy most of their firewood in town, which was not cheap.

            Each day father would go out to his shop in Shadow and put more hats in the window, rotating styles and sizes often.  But no one came.  So he put more and more items in the window, along with the hats: gloves, scarves, time-pieces, anything he could think of to order from back east to sell in South Dakota.  The shop and the window became fuller with more and more things that father put out to try and catch the eye of South Dakota.  The shop grew fuller with products to sell, and the ranch house grew emptier of things on which to live.

            The boy was forced to find a job in town to help with the money.  In Shadow he acquired a position known as a “telegraph” because it was the only job he could manage to find.  He couldn’t work at father’s shop because he simply wasn’t any good at selling, and father did not want him around, anyway.  This did not bother the boy.  He tried working at father’s shop once in Richmond, but after that, father never ask him to work at the shop again, and the boy never offered.  It was understood that he would have no part in the business.

            So, at his mother and father’s behest, he decided to look for some work.  He wandered into Shadow and walked around to a few places of business.  The proprietors just looked at him and shook their heads.  They saw what he looked like:  poor, with an honest face.  This was a good face to have for most any kind of job, and they knew this.  But they had no jobs to offer him.  Shadow wasn’t a poor town, and it was not particularly depressed, but it was hard for a young new face to find a job.  The boy did not understand why because the reason was hard to see, and mostly came out at night, or in was disguise.

The reason:  An organization known as Dakota Inc.

The shop owners in town were forbidden from doing anything that they did not first discuss with Dakota Inc., and most of the time it just wasn’t worth the trouble.  For the trouble was always huge and expensive, and occasionally, life threatening.

            The boy met another boy in town named Timothy, who was a year or two his younger. He had wild red hair and the smile of a mad man, which was the kind of smile that never went away, no matter what.

            Timothy told Jason to go see Van Carlo.  He said to find the small casino, the only casino in town, and look near the corner in the dark room.  The gambler, Van Carlo, would be the one sitting closest to the curtains.  He explained that Van Carlo needed a new telegraph, and the boy did not know what this meant, but he thanked Timothy anyway and went to find the gambler.  Work was work, he decided.  He’d figure out the vocabulary later.

When Van Carlo first saw him, he liked the boy instantly and hired him on the spot.

            “Telegraph” was a name that gamblers in Shadow gave to the boys who ran errands for them, and did chores so the gamblers could play cards uninterrupted. The gamblers in the casino were known as the “tappers”, and Van Carlo was the most successful of all of them. He gambled continuously, all day and all night.

            The casino was a dim place, with heavy, velvet red curtains which smelled of tobacco and whiskey and completely covered the windows.  Also inside were dark, thick cherry wood chairs and tables.  Van Carlo had many telegraphs working for him, but after a few weeks decided that the boy from Richmond was his favorite.  The boy worked hard and stayed late; all night, sometimes.  And he could always be counted on to fill in for the other telegraphs if necessary.  Van Carlo grew to trust the boy so much that he even allowed him to go and stand in for him as a proxy during some of his most important personal meetings and appointments.

            The telegraphs made their wages by skimming from the money their tappers gave them for shopping and other errands, or by skimming a portion of the commodities they bought for the tappers. Skimming was well known to the tappers who employed telegraphs, and was an accepted practice, almost like tipping, except it was the sole way the telegraphs were paid.  The trick was for the telegraph to know just how much he was allowed by his tapper to skim.  Each tapper was different, and each had a limit to what he allowed his telegraphs to take.  And sometimes certain telegraphs employed by a tapper were allowed by that same tapper to take more than another telegraph who worked for him.  But if a telegraph was wrong and took too much, he could be fired, or worse. Some had been brutally beaten.  More than one had even disappeared completely.  But Jason Credence, the boy from Richmond, was not greedy at all, and Van Carlo never had any trouble with him taking too much.

When the boy first took the job as a telegraph at the casino, he worked for several gamblers, not only Van Carlo.  But this soon changed when Van Carlo made it known that the boy was his favorite.  The other gamblers fired him, and he went to work for Van Carlo exclusively.  There was something about him that Van Carlo liked very much.  The old gambler could tell that the boy was a fool and a dullard, but this didn’t annoy him nearly as much as it did with the other fools he had met in his day.  Van Carlo wasn’t sure why.  Perhaps it was because, though the boy was a fool, he was a quiet fool.  He never talked much, and Van Carlo felt that though the boy was a fool, his ability to keep silent at all the right times seemed to show that he was at least not a complete fool.

Van Carlo noticed that the boy’s face was very smooth, like the plains of South Dakota, and the outlines of his eyes and mouth were very fine.  In the dim of the casino when the boy sometimes put his lips together and close his eyes, his face would almost blend perfectly into the background.  This made the boy pleasantly unobtrusive, and Van Carlo allowed him to stand right behind him, near the curtains by the table, when he wasn’t having the boy run errands.

The boy’s face blended into the background so well that it was very hard to read, which meant that Van Carlo never had to worry about him giving anything away by any kind of facial expression, or any kind of look or flash of the eyes.  This wasn’t true for all the telegraphs.  Most of the time the gamblers had their telegraphs wait outside, even during the extreme frigid cold of winter, out of the fear that their faces would give something away. Van Carlo sent his other boys outside, but Jason he kept behind him near the curtains.

Van Carlo enjoyed having a telegraph that could keep him company.  The poker table was usually a very lonely place, and Van Carlo found the boy’s presence soothing.  He enjoyed the gentle sound of the small movements the boy would occasionally make with his hands and arms, and his soft, clear breathing.  It was a welcome change from the raspy breathing of the other gamblers, and the ghostly, howling South Dakota wind outside.

Van Carlo also liked that the boy wasn’t from South Dakota.  He had such a refreshingly different aura.  Many of the other boys were nice enough, but they were from South Dakota.  They always had something of the cold and wild about them, even when they were just standing around.  There was always something mercilessly expectant about them; something noisy and intrusive about their simply waiting around.  It was not this way with the new boy from Richmond.

***

One of the first things the boy noticed about Van Carlo was that there was no emotion in the gambler’s face; only a few deep lines and creases that didn’t spell out much of anything in particular.  But the boy sensed that the gambler liked him because he nodded at him a few times when he first explained the job to him, and used his name a lot.

Van Carlo asked the boy if Timothy sent him.  The boy said he did.  Van Carlo then explained that Timothy did not smile all the time; Timothy was just born with upturned lips and very amber eyes that reflected a lot of light.  Timothy was a happy, pleasant boy, but Van Carlo warned the boy not to assume that Timothy was happy all the time just because his lips were upturned.  Timothy was from South Dakota.  Faces meant nothing in this place, Van Carlo said.

“Was your mother or your father ever a gambler?” Van Carlo asked.

The boy said no, he did not think so.  Then Van Carlo shook his head and told the boy that it was a shame that he didn’t even understand his own family.  Then he told him to stand behind him and to watch the table.  He told the boy to look at the cards.  Not at him, and not at the other men.

***

One evening the boy was walking into town to the casino. He was thankful the wind wasn’t blowing too hard.  On many days, it swept down from the mountains in a rush, but today it was in no hurry. Still, it was cold outside, and the air smelled like frozen metal.  It was painful on the boy’s naked hands, and it reminded him of the snapping fish with the dead eyes he used to pull out of the ponds outside of Richmond in the winter.

The boy had been working for the old gambler for several weeks now. He was very thankful for the job, and thankful to have learned so much from watching the poker tables.  He told himself that if the work ran out, he could always gamble.  He hoped it did not come to that, of course.  He hoped he never had to gamble for a living.  He liked Van Carlo, but he did not envy him.  The boy vowed to always find work before he’d gamble.

Surely there would always be something.  He thought about the boys back in Richmond, who made money on the streets of the city by giving directions to the wandering blue soldiers.  Some considered these boys traitors, but they were just trying to avoid having to live outside on the same streets where they worked.  The boy would do that, he told himself.  He had no love for the blue soldiers, of course, but once they were there they were there, and he didn’t see the sense in harboring any bitterness over it.   He’d rather work than gamble, and if that meant working with the blue soldiers, then that’s what it meant.

As the boy turned onto the street where the casino was located, he saw the brilliance of the dusky sky.  There were flat clouds over Shadow that ended towards the West in a very straight line on the horizon.  The edge of the clouds was lit up in yellow and in pink by the sun, and the scene reminded him of a sheet of paper that was burning at one end.  The boy hoped the sun would eventually burn the clouds up all the way so that Shadow could see the sky again.  It had been a long time, and a long winter, with a lot more winter to go.  But the sky in the distance was beautiful to the boy, very beautiful.  And though he may not have understood fancy, like he did not understand his father’s fancy hats, he understood beauty.

Van Carlo was sitting at the table in his usual spot.  He did not look at the boy as he approached.  He did not look up from the cards, but the boy knew that he never did this; he never looked up.  He never was distracted from the game. He could not afford to.  He could not afford to change his face for even a moment.  He would tell the boy that when the face changed, that’s when the money went.  So the gambler’s face was still and somber.  It might as well have been made of wood.  His body might as well have been a tree.  Swing from it, or fall out of it, or be hung from a noose on it.  Van Carlo would not have noticed.

The boy took his place behind Van Carlo near the heavy velvet curtain over the amber window.  The curtain was pulled slightly open.  The boy was a dark silhouette against the rectangle of gray light that tumbled into the casino.  It made the boy impossible to see; just a black outline against the window.

The game was soon over, and the other men went to find their telegraphs or to relieve themselves, or to smoke or drink.  Van Carlo stayed at the table, which was his custom.  He rarely left the table.  That was why he hired a telegraph, he said.  So he didn’t have to move.  No, he’d say with a little smile, he was glued in place.  Best to stay put, otherwise he might drag the whole casino around South Dakota with him, wherever he went.

The boy noticed that for a man who stayed in one place all the time, Van Carlo knew a lot of things, especially about South Dakota. Van Carlo did not mind discussing the things he knew with the boy.  He liked that the boy was not anxious to run off and do this or that when he was not needed.  Though, the gambler did admit to himself that there were times when he felt the boy needed to get out more.   He would sometimes make up an errand just to get the boy to go out.

“Van Carlo,” the boy said.

“What?”

“I was thinking about war.”

“Of course you were,” Van Carlo said, nodding and looking down at his chips and sorting them.  “You are from Richmond.”

“And what about South Dakota?” the boy asked.

“What about it?  We are the West.”

“Have you ever seen a war?”

“Jason,” Van Carlo said.  “The West is a war itself.  It must be. It’s where the present crashes upon the past like waves on rocks.  It cannot be any other way on the frontier.  It is not like your war back in Richmond, though.”

“What’s it like, then?”

“Well, it’s not like your war, that’s for sure.  The roofs aren’t torn off houses and the walls aren’t smashed through or anything.”

The boy looked confused.

“It’s just different,” Van Carlo said.  “I guess I would say that we are men at war trying to pretend that we are not.  Hoping we are not, but knowing we are.”

The boy nodded.  “Yes, I can see that you all carry guns here.  Even you, Van Carlo, at the table, but you never really move.  All you do is play cards, and yet there it is, your gun clearly showing in your holster.”

“So what is strange about that, besides all of it?” Van Carlo said with a little grin.

“I guess that the men look so peaceful, all of them with their guns.  There were a lot of guns in Richmond, but that city was shaking with soldiers and horses.  Here, you’re just playing cards. And even Timothy carries a gun, and he’s simply running out to get powders and candy for Mr. Fields.”

“That’s just how it is here, Jason,” Van Carlo said.  “It’s a war, all of it.  Guns are just part of the outfit.  Just like a cufflink, or one of those hats your father sells.”

The boy nodded and then looked thoughtful for a moment.

“But as far as playing cards goes,” Van Carlo said. “Having a gun on your side makes it harder to read your face, if you can believe that.”

The boy shrugged. “I guess I can.”

“You can?”

The boy shrugged.

Van Carlo shook his head.  “The gun,” he said, “belies a man’s true intent.”  He tapped the butt of the gun in his holster. “What’s it there for?” He tapped his forehead. “What’s he thinking?  Why does a man who is selling me groceries carry a gun?  What’s a man haying my field got a pistol for?”

“So it’s a way to hide yourself?”

Van Carlo nodded.  “Best mask ever invented; great for a gambler. I’ll never take my gun off.  Never.  It’s more useful to me here at this table then it ever would be fighting your blue soldiers.”  He snorted.  “Or your gray ones, or the Indians, or the Mexicans for that matter.”

“The women don’t wear guns,” the boy said.  “At least none that I can see; and I’m glad.  I don’t want a gun to hide their faces.  I like their faces.  Pretty.” He smiled at Van Carlo and blushed. “Prettier than ours, that’s for sure.”

Van Carlo scoffed. “They don’t need guns to hide their faces.  They’re women.  We can’t read them.  And you, you’re just eighteen.  For you to describe the face of a woman is like describing a dark cabin from a hundred yards away in the middle of the night.  You couldn’t read the face of your own mother. I’m starting to think you’ve never truly seen a woman’s face.  If you had, you’d realize what a fool you sound like.”

Van Carlo then suddenly laughed and smacked the table with the palm of his hand, scattering his chips.  “Boy, I think you must have stayed too long at the breast!” he howled.

“Van Carlo,” the boy said when the gambler was finished laughing.  “Do you suppose the women don’t carry guns because they have their men with them most of the time.”

“What, you mean like for protection?  You mean they don’t need their own guns because they have men to protect them?”

“Yes…maybe,” the boy said.

“No,” Van Carlo said shaking his head. “That’s not the reason.  South Dakota has enough trouble.  That’s the reason.  And like I said their faces are hard enough to read without guns, anyway.”

The boy waited for a minute and thought about this.

“So, would you play poker with a woman?” the boy asked.

Van Carlo turned in his chair and leaned in towards the boy.

“I have a lot of respect for women,” he said.  “And don’t ever say that I don’t, because I do.  But I wouldn’t gamble with a woman in South Dakota even if my choices were that or settle with the house for two pennies on my eyelids and a box to lie down in.”

The boy smiled for a moment.  Then his smile faded and he looked down at his hands.

“Van Carlo?”

“Yes?”

“Do you know anything about fancy hats?”

Van Carlo’s face became serious.

“Do you test me, boy?” he said.

The boy said, “No, Van Carlo, of course not.  I mean only to ask because I don’t know myself.”

“Then let me ask you first,” Van Carlo said.  “Can you read my face?”

“No, Van Carlo.”

“No, you can’t.  You can’t understand much of anything around here.  Not the women, not the guns, not the hats your father sells, not a fancy hat or any other hat.  That’s just the way it is in South Dakota. But that’s no excuse for not skimming the proper amount from the money I give you, like the other telegraphs do, and like you should.”

Van Carlo shook his head and turned back to the table and started stacking his chips and shuffling his cards. “Don’t ever ask me to pass judgment on your father or his business again,” he said.

“Yes, Van Carlo.”

“Maybe someday someone will tell you about those fancy hats.  You think we don’t understand hats like that in South Dakota?  We understand.”

“Yes, Van Carlo.”

“And those hats don’t match these guns, and that’s the problem.”

“Yes, Van Carlo.”

“And they didn’t match all those guns in Richmond, either.  And that was the problem there, too, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, Van Carlo.”

Van Carlo turned to the boy again.  He looked up at him.  The sun had set, and he could see the boy’s smooth, sad face in the dim of the casino’s candlelight.

“It isn’t really that you don’t get those hats, is it?” Van Carlo said.

The boy stammered.

“It’s your father you don’t get.”

The boy looked at his hands again.  His face looked very uncomfortable.

Van Carlo sighed and turned back to the table. This boy was truly a dullard, and a fool, with an imagination like the underside of a boot.

“Go buy your father a gun,” he said.  “It’ll make more sense when he puts it on.”

“But you said that a gun…” he stopped.  He didn’t want to say anything else.  He felt like he didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

“Your father’s a stranger, son, is what I’m saying,” Van Carlo said, shaking his head.  “He doesn’t get those hats any more than you do.”

There was an awkward silence between them.  The other gamblers started to shuffle back through the casino towards the table.  It was almost time to play again.

“Boy?” Van Carlo said.

“Yes?”

“Your father is on the hard floor, isn’t he?”

“Yes,” the boy replied.  “Hard.  And dirty, he says.”

Van Carlo nodded.  “He’s on the hard floor.  And he’s hoping to find a coin that he might have dropped.”

The boy looked out the window.  “Yes,” he said, after a moment.

Van Carlo nodded again.  “Look, I have to be honest.  I don’t think your father’s shop has a chance here.  He’ll need to find something different, like you did.”

The boy looked very sad.  “Yes, Van Carlo,” he said.

“And there’s something else you need to understand.  There are a lot of things down on that hard floor.  There’s no coin, but there are men in this town who will tell him that they can help him.  But you must tell him not to believe them.  You think I hide my face behind my gun?  These men have long since forgotten that there’s any difference.  You must tell your father to stay away from them.  And you must tell him that you did not hear this from me.”

“Yes, Van Carlo.  I believe you.  I think you must be very wise.  You’re the only one around here who tells me the way things really are.”

“No,” Van Carlo said.  “I am a fool.” He lowered his hat over his eyes and sunk down a little in his chair.  The other gamblers were sitting down at the table.

“I think my family is doomed,” the boy said quietly.  “My father will not like your idea of finding something else to do after all his trouble. He won’t think it’s a good idea.”

“Maybe,” Van Carlo said.

“What can my father do?” the boy asked.

Van Carlo shook his head.  “Your father is like a horse with no rider and no wagon, running in circles.  You’ve seen them sometimes, on the plains here in South Dakota.  Like them, it is only a matter of time before someone puts a saddle on his back.”

Van Carlo began to shuffle his cards.  “He needs to do something.  I don’t know.  Anything. Tell him to try harder to sell his hats.  Maybe that will work, but I doubt it.  Tell him to drink.  Even that would be better.  It may be too late to go back to Richmond, but if it isn’t, then go.”

The boy said, “What men will come to him, Van Carlo?”

“The men you first saw when your train pulled in.  You know who I mean.”

The boy nodded.  “Yes, they looked like trains, puffing on great cigars in their dark suits, and the women gliding behind them.”

“Yes.  Dakota Inc.  That’s who they are.  You saw them, but I promise you, they saw you first.”

The boy nodded.  He certainly remembered the men.  They looked strong and ambitious.  “I will tell father tonight.”

“Good. Now, I can’t say anything more about it.  Words are currency in South Dakota, and I need everything I’ve got right now.”

The boy nodded again.  After a moment, he looked out the window. “Look, Van Carlo.  The moon is out tonight.  All the clouds must be gone.”

“I hate the moon.  Close the curtains,” Van Carlo said.  Then his face turned to wood again and the game began.

PART 3, CH. 1) – The Boy Strager: A free novel (Can you spot the allegory…er, the metaphor…er, both?)

         A few moments later mother came and stood next to the boy in the doorway of the room with the hole.  She pushed him back gently with her arm and told him that she wanted to close the door to the room.  She told him that since they didn’t have the money to fix the hole, closing the door to the room was the best they could do.  Soon, she said, father would sell enough hats that they could hire someone to repair the roof.  Maybe he’d even sell enough so that they could buy a new house.

            “Somewhere closer to town, perhaps,” she said.  “Away from the watching mountain.”  Mother sounded uncomfortably suspicious, and the boy didn’t understand.  The hundreds of marching and watching eyes in Richmond never seemed to bother her, when the lines of immaculate blue soldiers filed past their row house with their glistening, silver bayonets against their shoulders pointing threateningly towards the sky.  She would open the curtain in the bedroom and stare back at them until they rounded the corner.

The lines of soldiers were as big as any mountain, the boy thought, and yet mother would stare back at them with a calm, resigned look on her face.  But out by the ranch house in South Dakota there was nobody.  No hoards of blue soldiers marching past; just one lonely, cold mountain in the distance.  Yet she seemed troubled.

            “Can I have this room, mother,” the boy asked.  He remembered the moon in the window of his bedroom in Richmond, and didn’t mind being watched by the moon, or the mountain or the sky.  With the hole, he could stare back at the moon even longer at night than he used to.  And besides, didn’t Lucy tell him he should appreciate the thinness of the walls, and everything new in South Dakota?  He’d never had a room with a hole in the roof before.

            Lucy came up behind them as mother was closing the door, and before mother had a chance to answer the boy, Lucy spoke.  She was no longer crying.  Her eyes were not even red anymore.

            “Oh, what a marvelous idea, Jason!  It will be just like sleeping outside in our new place!  I think I must surely envy you a little bit.  How can you ever forget where you are when you wake up and see the sky of South Dakota above you?  I’m afraid I will wake up in the middle of the night and still think I’m in Richmond.  I wish I had chosen this room first, but I guess you’re the lucky one, Jason. You see?  Already your imagination is getting better!”

            “I think you will freeze, Jason,” mother said.  “And I think you’ll have to tread water when it rains.  And you will never get a break from South Dakota, not even in your bed at night.”

            “No, I like this room, mother.  I have many blankets, and I’ll move the bed to the side so that I’m not directly under the hole.  I like this room.  It gives me something to think about besides Richmond,” the boy said.

            “Rain from the ceiling!” Lucy said. “What a lovely thing! Waterfalls and stars!  Waterfalls and stars!  Why, it will be like you are part of the fields and hills and flowers of South Dakota!  And if it rains, you will wake up even taller than the night before!”

She giggled.

            Mother said, “But what about the candle you like to keep next to your bed?  I think you’ll have trouble keeping it burning in here.  This room seems dreadfully drafty.”

            “Well, the hole is a place for the moon, I suppose,” the boy said.  “There will be light.”

            Mother shrugged.

            “If you want to sleep in here then I have nothing against it,” she said.  “I don’t know what your father will think, but it’s best if we don’t bother him about this right now. When he settles in at the store and begins to sell enough to make him happy, then we can tell him.”

            “Of course, mother.”

            “You are seventeen and can do what you want.”

            “Yes, mother.”

            Mother sighed and pressed her hands against her pulled-back hair and smoothed it.  Then she straightened and smoothed her dress, and adjusted it slightly at the bust.

            Mother said, “Now I must go and help your father unpack.  He wants me to pick out the hats for the window of the new shop.  You two can come and help, or you can stay and unpack your own things; whatever you choose. Later you can bring in some wood, Jason, and we can light a fire in the fireplace.  Hole or no hole, this house seems very greedy for heat, even though it’s not yet the middle of October.”

***

            A few hours later the great trunks were unpacked and father had chosen the hats he wanted displayed in the shop window.  He was now in the kitchen having tea, and mother was putting the linens on the bed in the main bedroom.  Lucy and Jason were sitting in front of the fire place where a small flame shyly crackled.

            Jason asked his sister about father’s shop, and many other things, too.  He asked her if the moon was brighter in South Dakota than it was in Richmond, and how far away the mountain was and if it was further than it looked, and if it was dark and shadowy by nature or if the sky gave it that color and made it look that way.  He asked her what she thought of cows and horses, and where he should put his bed, and whether or not he did the right thing in picking the room with the hole.  He asked her if the war in Richmond was a good war or a bad one and if she thought it was right that Richmond fell the way it did.

            Then he sat back and listened to her answers, enjoying the warmth of the fire.  All of her answers were bright, coming at him more like flashes of light than like words.  Like the popping of muskets.

The Problem of Calvinism in a Nutshell (or, rather, a very small coffin); and How is the Bible like a Baseball Bat?: A couple of my key comments from Wartburg Watch

The whole of Calvinism’s despotism can be boiled down to this fact: every core assumption is designed to separate man (men and women) from himself. You are either ruled by your “sinful nature” or you are ruled by the inexorable “irresistible grace” of God. Holding all of this together is the false understanding of God’s sovereignty. Meaning God ultimately controls ALL things, which makes Him the functional author of all the good and evil you do. Which is certainly a tacit admission that God causes evil; but worse than that, and more to the actual truth of the matter, is that this leads the faith inevitably to a place of moral relativism. For two reasons. One: if God controls all things then even things that are ostensibly “evil” are God’s will. Two: if man is indeed wholly depraved, utterly wicked apart from God, then man’s morality ends with his PERSON. And this is important. IF the whole of man is evil then his “sin” is his very existence. Not only does this assumption lead to abuse for obvious reasons, but it equates fully man’s morality the same “perfection” as God’s. You end up with a disturbing gnostic dualism of sorts. God is ALL good, man is ALL evil leaves no arbiter between the two. There is no objective morality that IS the pure and perfect standard. In short, God’s good and man’s evil become mirror images of each other. This is hard to understand I know, but if we understand that man’s person (the human) is fundamentally GOOD, then the dualism is IN MAN (and this dualism is WHY we cannot help but sin; for sin is always there to give a frame of reference to any GOOD we do; it has nothing to do with “not being able to help but to DO sin, but it has to do with the fact that, outside of Christ, we are always defined by BOTH good and evil, and that was NEVER God’s intention for man) and the perfect standard of morality is God. Now, they will say they believe this, but they do not. Calvinism’s false doctrine will never suffer the idea that there is ANY good or worth in man. And this is precisely why they cannot truly love, and why the doctrine is inherently abusive.

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And by the way, once they fall back on “because it is in the Bible” you know you have won. “Because it is in the Bible” is the tautological rationale that is rooted in subjective interpretation. The Bible simply cannot be proof of its own truth. You don’t look at a baseball bat and declare it perfect. It’s perfection is only realized through practical application. Human application is the ONLY way truth can be realized. And since people are by design different, what will truth look like? It will look human.

We don’t love bibles. We love people. I don’t care how “biblical” your ideas are. If they do not result in the true freedom for people in THIS life, based on love as guided by the Spirit, they are not Christ’s ideas. And that means you cannot judge people based on “sound doctrine”. You can only judge truth by how it views human beings, and whether its application holds sacred their minds, body, and property.

Calvinism says humans are at their root depraved. There can be no truth EVER found there, then.

The Wave/Particle Duality of Light is Not a Good Anaology for Predestination vs. Free Will

In this particular example, a certain Christian attempts to liken the duality of light paradox to the idea of predestination/free will.  The duality of light paradox says that light particles behave effortlessly, both like particles AND like waves (mind you that light is not a wave, but is a particle, that BEHAVES like a wave…this is important to understand).  This phenomenon has been objectively proven in countless experiments.  For those of you unfamiliar with it, I suggest you read about it.  Truly, it is one of the most fascinating as-of-yet unexplained natural phenomenons.

At any rate, as interesting as the duality of light paradox is, it does not make for an effective or, frankly, sensible illustration for the free will/predestination “paradox”; which really is not a paradox at all, but is a metaphysical and logical contradiction.  Whereas the duality of light phenomenon is truly a paradox (two seemingly contradictory positions which upon further observation and quantification can be objectively reconciled), the free will/predestination question is not a paradox at all.  It cannot be objectively observed, measured, or utilized pragmatically to a given end.  It is purely a theoretical abstraction…a figment on man’s ability to label something “reconciled” which can never be reconciled; to claim a modicum of understanding to that which he can never understand; to attempt to employ practically something which can never be practically employed.  In short, it is a false comparison.  Physics and reformation philosophy are hardly the same thing at all.

Though scientists may not yet understand the duality of light phenomenon, I can assure you that the particles of light from which this phenomenon is birthed DO.  That is, in a sense, I am arguing that light does in fact “understand” perfectly this paradoxical phenomenon, and understands it perfectly.  This can be known simply by performing the simple wave/particle experiment seen a hundred times on YouTube.  And while it is paradoxical to man, the very fact that light can effectively ACT in such a way that both wave and particle behavior is compatible and consistent is proof that light surely “knows” fully and compatibly its own behavior.  This can never be true of man operating under the false dichotomy of predestination and free will.

In order for it to operate effectively, and to do what it is so easily able to consistently do, a light particles MUST function under the full auspices of its own capabilities.  For it, if it was confused about things, could never function rationally.  The problem with the predestination/free will contradiction is that it is better akin to this example; that is, the example of the confused light particle.  Because a particle attempting to provide illumination for the  Consumer Reports magazine you keep next to the latrine simply cannot do so if it concedes that it can never understand the very thing it needs to understand in order to “light up” the Consumer Reports magazine you keep next to the latrine.

Man is expected to function like light does:  naturally, effectively, rationally according to an idea that he cannot possibly understand; cannot possibly rationalize.  If light was wholly “ignorant” of the abilities it has, of the innate forces which make its actualization and application organized, consistent, and effective, according to the physical laws by which its effects can be objectively observed and measured, light could not exist.  It could not be realized.  It could not do.  It could not be.

The same is also true for man.  Man cannot ever effectively or consistently operate under a pretense (law, truth, idea, etc.) which he cannot possibly understand; cannot ever hope to reconcile with his reality; cannot ever hope to pragmatically organize towards a given purpose.  And why?  Because if he cannot possibly understand it then he must always be ignorant of how to apply it.

Biblical Inerrancy: Abstract, unqualified, and false (addendum)

“The Bible is not inerrant, but MAN applying it, guided by the Spirit,  IS.  MAN, with Christ, IS the infallible thing, NOT the Bible (this is the very ROOT of salvation and justification; why we are no longer judged by the law, because a man or woman in Christ IS infallible; he or she cannot be judged for sin, because sin no longer can mean anything for them).  Man is not totally depraved and worthless.  Man’s life is priceless; man is WORTH saving; man is worth the perfection he becomes through Christ.  Man, at his root, is GOOD.”

-Me

“Because it is in the Bible”, or “Because the Bible “says” it” cannot be verification of biblical truth. This is specious at best.  However, I submit that the rational larceny of this idea should be obvious to all people.

In other words, the Bible cannot rationally be proof of its own veracity.  Only God and God alone is TRUTH in and of Himself, without context, and without condition and without qualification.  The Bible, even supposing it were God’s very words transcribed absolutely and directly by the writers of it, it could not be declared inerrant or infallible, because the Bible is still, as a function of MAN’S environment/world/reality is NOT God (and if anyone disagrees with that, they are conceding that a created thing–God’s “words” to us, either spoken or in the form of the Bible–is God. Which is of course rank nonsense).

Incidentally, I do not accept the idea that the Bible is God’s very words transcribed exactly to man.  How we as Christians can rationalize “inspired” to mean “absolute direct translation; verbatim, to the point where we can utterly consider the Bible OUTSIDE of the context, interpretive assumptions, perspectives, and intentions of the human writers” is something that I have yet to see argued reasonably.  If we see a movie and the movie declares “inspired by the life events of Shaft”, or “based on the novel by Tom and Jerry”, does ANYONE in his right mind consider the movie to be an utter perfect and infallible representation of the book or life which inspired it?  Now, I’m not suggesting the writers of the bible took artistic license, but what I am suggesting is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to remove the perspective/interpretation/and context of the individual and singular selfaware consciousness which is relaying the story/scene/command/idea/truth/prophesy, etc., etc..  That is, the truth they are relaying can ONLY BE TRUE IF PROPERLY QUALIFIED and CONTEXTUALIZED within the holistic framework of the author.

In other words, there is no truth in the Bible which exists apart from man’s context:  first for the writer, and then for the reader.  And, as those two contexts may be substantially different, TRUTH can only be realized as a function of the individual as  he or she applies the information.  And if this is true, the only way any biblical idea can be seen as truth is in a sense always going to be SUBJECTIVE outside the individual; however, it CAN be objective, when verified are directed by the Holy Spirit WITHIN the individual.  What I am saying then, is that the only way biblical truth can ever be objectively seen (excluding those sins which involve the direct violation of other human beings; for a good summary of these, look at the Ten Commandments: they are special because they deal with outwardly observable, quantifiable and thus objective sins) is in the context of each individual person; and this may or may not be visible to outside observers, which is why we are commanded NOT to judge others.  Because HOW the Holy Spirit applies a biblical revelation to each individual may LOOK completely different from person to person.  “Do not be yoked to the world”, may mean something totally different, applicably speaking, from one person to another, according to the understanding of that person by the Holy Spirit.  So it is NOT the Bible which is infallible, but the cooperation of the human being with the Spirit of God where God’s TRUTH to man is realized.  The Bible then is wholly for man, as a guide to applying GOOD (not applying God, which is impossible for the same reason it is impossible to apply an infallible Bible) to their life.  The Bible is not inerrant, but MAN applying it in Spirit and Truth IS.  MAN, with Christ, IS the infallible thing, NOT the Bible.  This is the very ROOT of salvation and justification; why we are no longer judged by the law, because a man or woman in Christ IS infallible; he or she cannot be judged for sin, because sin no longer can mean anything for them.  MAN’S life, with Christ, then, is the only “inerrancy of Scripture” if there must be such a thing.  

As a point of pragmatism:

The Bible makes it clear to me when God is speaking: the words are either in red (thanks to the wonder of the modern printing press…or, well, not so modern, maybe) or they have “God said”, and quotes generally following that.  Any other interpretation of the Bible as God’s very words is impossible to substantiate without, of course, returning to the tautological argument which says that because it’s in the Bible, it must be God’s very words, and because it’s Gods very words, it must be in the Bible.  Again, this rational impossibility is essentially nonsense because it demands that you accept that the Bible is proof if its own “truth”.  And once more, the truth is that IF the Bible is in fact wholly inerrant unto itself, as God is, then it can NEVER be for man, but only for itself, as God is for Himself.  For all man can do is detract, by definition, from its perfection, which must always and only be completely in and of itself.  Obviously, no rational Christian would declare that the Bible is useless for man and was never intended as a tool for refining man’s behavior, faith, and philosophy.  And yet, this is precisely what they are in fact saying when they hold to the idea of biblical infallibility.