As I stated in my previous post on this issue, the attempted real-world application of unqualified absolutes–and take your pick; my favorites at the moment are Total Depravity and biblical Infallibility and election (as determinism)–will inevitably lead to chaos, anarchy, and emotional and physical abuse (glaring train-wreck exhibit A: Sovereign Grace Ministries). Now, the operative word here is “unqualified”; for all of us deal in absolutes on a daily basis. Language is in fact rooted in this very thing, the very idea of theoretical absolutes. And, for review, these are concepts which, in their theoretical form, can have no limitations precisely because they are not actually real. Things that are purely cognitive/imaginative constructs can have no actual boundaries. So, again, the employment of theoretical absolutes is how we communicate. We effectively limit the construct by associating it with a “picture” of something from the physical world. Something which has been processed first into our thinking by our senses.
Take for example the concept of “table”. Now “table”, in purely its theoretical form, can have no limitations. Table is table is table; the sum and substance of its own truth. To attempt to theoretically define it as a function of limitation means, effectively, that it becomes a self-contradictory thing, and thus it cannot logically work anywhere, let alone in reality, rendering it a moot and useless idea at its core. However, if you are able to marry the infinite concept of “table” with the “picture” of a real table which has been previously organized cognitively by your senses, then you can practically apply the otherwise limitless and inapplicable concept of table to your world and context so that the theoretical absolute “table”, becomes efficacious for your physical life. For this is the purpose of language; to organize what we actually sense. Communication and the promulgation of human knowledge and understanding is merely the flawless integration of theoretical concepts (which otherwise would be infinite, and thus, useless to life) with the physical world which is revealed to man’s mind by his senses.
Shout out to John Locke.
However, there are some concepts which do not have a real-world correlation, and so for these we must carefully limit our expectations about just how efficacious they can be in the real world, since there is no means by which to observe them. Since we cannot observe them via the senses, they must be assumed to be wholly a function of man’s theoretical thinking (and this is frankly obvious in most cases), and as such, again, can have no limitation. Thus, they cannot be married with any sort of acceptable or logical expectations for rational outcomes to the real world.
And no, it is not logically acceptable, nor wise, to define as “real” those concepts which are only observed via physical objects. You cannot say “flight” exists; you can only say birds fly. Flight itself is a theoretical absolute which does NOT exist apart from the object which flies.
Incidentally, this is why I feel that scientists often make the same “philosophical” flaws that the reformed mystics do. They fall into the same logical trap, and end up “proving” things which cannot possibly be true in the actual universe because they are predicated on the fact that certain unobservable theoretical constructs actually exist outside of the mind. And, again, they do not. You cannot go to your neighbor and borrow a cup of “void”; you cannot go to Target and pick up a pair of spacetime; you cannot photograph the “past” nor swing the bat at the pitcher’s “future”. These theoretical constructs are only observed via the physical objects which exist “in” them. You cannot rationally conclude then that they exist beyond man’s theoretical mind. For rationally, they can only be a product of the physical bodies which can be observed. Apart from physical objects (or theoretical reference points which fill in as mathematical substitutes) spacetime cannot be measured, gathered, observed, or revealed. Thus, attempting to employ these concepts apart from a physical, observable object makes them contradictory, and thus, moot. Mutually exclusive to man’s physical reality.
Physicists will never find the “answer to everything” by digging in the wrong place (Raiders of the Lost Ark). By continuing to mine their own imaginations and cognitive quantification (mathematics) as the source of REAL TRUTH, they dig themselves deeper and deeper into a mystic and philosophical black hole of their own making, not unlike that of the religious despots with whom they claim to disagree.
And this is the implicit danger in neo-reformationISM, particularly the neo-Calvinist autocracy. And, really, it is well past danger. The destruction is being meted out hand over fist in the form of unspeakable physical and psychological abuse. The danger has already arrived, and we are seeing the “logical conclusion” before our eyes. And it is every bit as dreadful as imagined and predicted.
But make no mistake, it isn’t that these neo-Calvinist despots do not qualify their theoretical, doctrinal absolutes, like depravity and infallibility of the bible, and “election” as determinism (the unholy trinity of reformed theological absolutes: depravity, infallibility, election, or DIE). It is that they cannot qualify them. By definition, depravity, determinism, and infallibility (three of many) simply can have no physical corollary in the real world. They are absolute. They are limitless. They are only and ever theoretical. They are wholly and always mutually exclusive to reality. And this forms the basis of the theology and this is WHY it is so destructive. These ideas, being indivisible in themselves, and infinite, wield infinite power, being the sum of their own truth. There is no way any limited human being can apply a theoretical absolute. The human will always fall bloodied on the altar of the omnipotent concept. Between the two, the human, being physical, being limited, being susceptible to violence or force of the physical kind, will always give ground; will always be cut down in service to that which is, again, utterly indivisible. And this is the root of reformed abuse. The irrational, capricious application of impossible ideas which are wielded by autocrats who of some divine insight have been divinely given to somehow apply them will destroy the masses and fatten the autocrats. YOU exist in service to an idea that THEY ALONE get to define. And because the idea is absolute, anything they decide at any time is infallible as far as you are concerned. And if it kills, it kills. The fault for any abuse is obviously the fallible human. This is the only logical conclusion. It is survival of the fittest. For there can never be fault found in a perfect idea. And a perfect idea is an idea which is the utter sum of its own truth. Its truth is unassailable. It is beyond reproach, because there is no way to find fault in an idea which is wholly defined by : it IS what it IS, and what it is, is perfect, and it is perfect because it IS what it IS. And on and on the circular logic goes.
It should be apparent by now, with the horror show of SGM parading across the front pages of the media even as I type this, that there is and can be no love in any of it. Love can only be revealed by human beings, to human beings, for human beings (by obeying God, which is loving God…”if you loved Me, you would obey Me”). And so if humans are all dying because they cannot truly exist in light of the absolutes which continually demote and slash at them, it is because there is no one really there to love. Humans, in light of absolutes which cannot do anything but destroy because they inevitably push reality out of the way, never align with it…and thus humans are functionally dead to it.
Please come back for part three!