Unfortunately, there are still many out there–even among those who agree that the tyranny of Calvinism creeps on the horizon like armies of Mordor, seeking to replace truth and light with a love of death and the bloodletting of moral relativism and lawlessness (antinomian-ism)–yes, still among these there are many out there who won’t concede that reason alone should be the death of Platonist insanity; of paradoxical notions of “truth”; of irreconcilable metaphysical matters; of spiritually nebulous matters.
And as this blog trudges on, I realize that the majority of my time is spent defending my ideas to my philosophical compadres, ironically, who understandably believe on some level that you can only fight fire with fire…that the mysticism of Baal can only be destroyed with a “Christian” mysticism (of sorts) of their own.
I don’t fault them for this. It is perfectly understandable. After all, we are speaking of spiritual things–of METAphysical things. And it has been common knowledge since the Pythagoreans laid down the twin tablets of philosophy and mathematics, that existential truth must of course be beyond a reasonable explanation of events and ideas that the senses observe and vet.
And one paradox deserves another. An eye-for-eye and a tooth-for-tooth; an anthropomorphic abstraction for an anthropomorphic abstraction.
This has always been the way, after all, among good Christian philosophers. Our God is a mystery…o man, who can know His ways? Truly, Argo, you are a fool to think you can ever get to the bottom of truth using nothing but ideas which do not wind up in the painted corner of paradox.
Well, truth be told…I abandoned spiritual-ism almost immediately after realizing that the problem with Sovereign Grace Ministries was not the dudes running the metaphysical fun-house, but the doctrine. I realized that the destruction of humanity in favor of ideas which at their root are contradictory (whether you want to call this contradiction “paradox” or not, it still means one thing: [shrug] Who can say?) is the real source of the violence. I realized that it didn’t matter how altruistic it all sounded, or if a nice guy like Wade Burelson was preaching the insanity or if a duplicitous shaman like CJ Mahaney was doing it, it all boiled down to the exact same presumption:
Man cannot know truth.
Man cannot define “self”.
Man cannot OWN self.
Someone else must define and own him FOR him.
If man cannot reconcile the very root of HOW and WHY he is here, then quite simply, man is not man. For man can know NO truth because the reference point–the singularity/the point locale–for all knowledge is a giant black hole where reason and consistency of ideas is smashed into a dark oblivion where only “God” resides.
And from then on, it is only a matter of who is willing to be the bigger asshole. Who is wiling to take the idea of “man is not really man” to the logical conclusion. Who is willing to do the most violence to compel human beings to “truth”, to the real paradox? Who is willing to send the greatest number of children through the fires of Moloch in service to worshiping the real Primary Consciousness.
It took me almost no time at all between being in Sovereign Grace Ministries and leaving to understand that all appeals to paradoxical versions of truth was mysticism, period. That there is only one kind of TRUTH: Reasonable. Truth which resides in a place that man is fully capable of grasping and reconciling based on what he observes with his senses. Beyond that, there is no truth. There is not even “faith”, because faith based on ideas that cannot be known as true is not faith, it is madness. I submit that NO person in the Bible ever believed God on paradoxical “faith”. The “doctrine of paradox” like the “doctrine of the Trinity”, the “doctrine of Original Sin”, the “doctrine of Church Discipline”, the “doctrine of Complimentariansm”, does not exist in the Bible. There is no rational reason to decide that faith must equal paradox. God never demands faith based on contradictory ideas. And God, Himself never declares that the key to understanding the “mystery of God” is to declare that you cannot understand. No…what does God ask? That we continue to seek, to knock, and to look for WISDOM.
So I ask you, would God offer us the well of wisdom if he knew that at the bottom was the spiritual poison of “paradox”? Would God promise the good gift of wisdom to His children if He understood that beyond the frilly wrapper and bow was emptiness? Was a “truth” that at best could only slip through man’s fingers?
The word doesn’t exist in scripture. But like good little Platonists we continue to return to the well of wisdom which is perpetually dry. So we simply imagine the water and call it truth.
People, this is insane.
Come…says the man of God. Let us REASON together.
So, we are going to do that now. We are going to dismantle the false and irrelevant idea of “biblical inerrancy”, not by some vast appeal to this book of the Bible or that, or this verse, or our mysticism as being more “rational” than their mysticism. We are not going to appeal to the Greek, or the Hebrew, or the Early Church writings, or the Heidelberg Catechism; nor are we going to point to historical applications of tyranny and violence and death as proof that false ideas meant to solidify the power of a Kantian authority, like biblical inerrancy, prove that these ideas are decidedly NOT in keeping with Christ’s command to love. We won’t use our personal experience with a reformed/Calvinist despot who cared more for his ability to compel and control and take, take, take for the sake of “sound doctrine” than for actually saving souls. If you want that, there are about fifty blog sites I can give you a road map to that specialize in that brand of resistance.
I don’t and won’t take this tactic on this blog. This blog uses a different tool: reason. Logic. We destroy destructive ideas by showing that at the heart of them ALL is contradiction, by one label or another. That at the singularity of them all is the fact that they cannot, nor ever will be found to actually appeal to LOGIC as the source of their truth. That what they only ever do at the end of the day is appeal to the idea of “man cannot understand” as the root of understanding.
The Achilles heal of all destructive and evil doctrines is NOT the Bible, as so many “biblicists” are fond of saying ( hey…I have a great idea: let’s fight one subjective interpretation of the scriptures with another subjective interpretation of the scriptures…and it never occurs to them that they concede the whole damn argument before they even wake up in the morning; it is maddening). No, it is logic and reason.
All ideas are found having or wanting for truth based on reason alone, even “Christian” ones.
So let’s take a minute to look at “inerrancy”; that king gremlin of all nonsensical “Christian” platitudes. That secret weapon of despotism: the idea that if WE are those “gifted” to know truth, and WE can say the bible is indeed “inerrant”, then our power is by definition unlimited. WE have the keys to hermetical TRUTH, which is beyond you, mere man. We (or I) get to define it; and once defined, it must be followed, and we have a mandate to FORCE you to follow it by any means necessary. Why? Because the Bible says it (what we/I decide “it” is), and so it is inerrant. Fall on your knees, lay person. Fall on your needs or eat the fire of the Righteous Burning Stake of Purification.
Oh…yes, Is it any WONDER why so many Protestants have spent so many years hammering the idea of “inerrancy”? Think of the power! There is none greater than that of he who gets not only to define TRUTH but to declare it unassailable by any means in the universe.
You can go take a moment to go throw up. I’ll wait.
Hummm….deee……hummm…..(smoke break)…..hummm deee….(oh look, another web site about abuse in the church; and what’s this…oh, yes, the doctrine is still just fine)….hummmm…deee…oh my, is Oprah gaining?
Are you back? Good. Hope you feel better.
I’ve got something for your sickness. A dose of reason. Take this, and you are cured for life. It’s easy. One little spoonful, as sweet as honey. Drink it in and know the freedom of reason. Because the freedom of reason is the ability to LOVE. It is the antidote for hate and death and and bloodshed and tyranny. Here’s a bottle. Use as needed. Use liberally.
Those of you who read here regularly I think will have heard this argument against biblical inerrancy before, but nonetheless it bears repeating.
“Inerrancy” as you will notice, or “infallibility” is NEVER qualified when it is presented as the bedrock for scriptural integrity. There is a good reason for this. Do you know what it is? It’s not hard to spot if you just think about it.
Right. You have it.
“Inerrancy/infallibility” is an absolute. It is infinite in its implication. It can have no qualification because a qualification imposes a limitation upon inerrancy. And limited inerrancy by definition is not inerrant.
Once limited, inerrancy becomes a contradiction in terms. Inerrancy cannot be contextualized without destroying the very concept itself. As soon as you say inerrancy is only inerrant within a certain limited frame of reference, inerrancy stops being a rational concept all together. It is, then, by definition, no longer inerrant. Because inerrancy cannot be BOTH inerrant and errant at the SAME time. It cannot be logically said to ONLY apply here, but not here. For this makes inerrancy a dimensional construct; and this implies limitations. If inerrancy is bound at the corners by its own existential limitations, then it is not by definition inerrant. It is wholly errant IN ANY OUTSIDE-OF-ITSELF CONTEXT. Out of the context of itself, it cannot possibly be inerrant.
But since we have (and MUST) as human beings, in order to practically apply a concept, anthropomorphized the inerrancy idea (like we do with any abstraction…and this is the foundation of why it is so hard for people to separate what is abstract from what is actual, and why so many people disagree with me, LOL), it can be observed in only context. But the problem is that in context, it cannot be inerrant. And more than that, it can ONLY be errant. An idea which is given life as a “thing”, can only be revealed in context…but since in order for it to be wholly what it proclaims to be, it must be INFINITE…and thus, in context, it cannot be integrally itself (what it takes for it to be infinite), and so it cannot possibly be true in context, because in a context, again, it is not, by definition, infinite. It is bound by the limitations of the context. Therefore, in context, which again is where it must be revealed for man to observe it, it cannot be itself. And if it cannot be itself, then man can never say that it actually is the infinite concept he declares it is.
Confused? Yeah…I never said it was easy.
Inerrancy, like time and space, can only make sense as an absolute truth if it is seen as an infinite abstraction (note: “infinite abstraction” is redundant; for all abstractions are infinite by definition)…utterly removed from the context of the physical reality of those things where it is applied. But, apart from those things–apart from context–it can have no relevant meaning at all. In other words, the idea of inerrancy must be completely removed from the context of any THING else in order for it to be, in fact, inerrancy. Once contextualized, it is limited, but inerrancy cannot by definition be limited. Because what is limited inerrancy? The very concept has no meaning. Limited inerrancy? It is a complete contradiction in terms.
So, if you say the BIBLE is inerrant, you have contextualized “inerrancy”. You have limited an infinite abstract concept to a THING, and therefore, you have qualified what inerrancy means,and thus destroyed the concept utterly. “Impossible to err” cannot actually be qualified because what you are saying via the qualification is that in this context it cannot err, but in another it CAN err. And an inerrancy which can be said to be capable of erring is not, by definition, inerrancy.
But some will say…Argo, this is confusing. It is real simple. Inerrancy is not inerrant, the bible is inerrant.
No, no, no! If I were to take my bible to a construction site, and no other tools, and attempt to build an ice skating rink with nothing but my bible, how would that work out?
It wouldn’t. Why? Because in that context, the bible is ERRANT. It is wanting. It offers no help. It cannot be used to hammer nails, or to install drywall, or to lay ice. So, how, pray tell, can the bible be both inerrant and errant at the same time?
The answer is: it cannot.
It can only be “inerrant” in a certain context. But…that won’t work, because as soon as you qualify “inerrancy” it is no longer inerrant by definition. You have “limited inerrancy”.
And what is “limited inerrancy”? It is nothing more than “errancy”. An inerrant bible is fully capable of erring in a certain context. Therefore, it cannot possibly be inerrant.
The reality is that the bible’s truth can only be revealed contextually. Take it out of context, and it is no longer “true”. This is why IT cannot be ITSELF inerrant, but the bible’s efficacious application can only be observed IN CONTEXT.
MAN is the plumb line for how errant or inerrant the bible is. The bible cannot possibly be its OWN plumb line, because, as I said, in a certain context, such as at the construction site, it will FAIL in its efficacy.
That is those who claim “biblical inerrancy” never qualify that statement. Because they cannot. It is why the bible , to them, is “inerrant”, period. Now some will say, “inerrant in the original writings”, but that scarcely matters. That is not really a qualification of inerrancy, it is a lame attempt to add an air of rationality to what is a wholly ridiculous idea, nothing more.
The truth is that only man can be the plumb line for what is true. Not even God can be “inerrant” because how God is applied in man’s context will reveal to man how “inerrant” He is. God can only be revealed as true if man can observe this truth as being, actually, efficacious to the only thing which can have real, objective value: man’s SELF.
This is exactly why “inerrancy” never appears in scripture. It is a totally irrelevant concept, indefatigably meaningless. Glittering in its ridiculousness. The reason I decry ANY “truth” which man cannot reconcile is because anything that is TRUE outside of MAN’S context cannot really be true because there is no way to observe its truth. And if we cannot observe it is true, then there is no way to acknowledge if it is true or not. And further and again, truth must be measured against what is the only thing of objective value, which is : man. Man’s physical SELF is the root of truth. Any idea which does not reconcile to the context of man’s life, then, cannot possibly be true.
The bible’s truth is revealed in MAN. It does not get to be inerrant apart from this context. And because the bible must be contextualized in order to be true, it cannot possibly be inerrant.