Monthly Archives: September 2013

A Physicist Finally Engages Argo

A Physicist Finally Engages Argo:  The notion of “time”

Many thanks to Wartburg Watch’s resident physicist, a commenter who goes by the moniker of “Old John J”.  The thread in question concerned the ongoing debate between Old Earth and Young Earth proponents; clearly, Old John J, being a professional physicist, sides with mainstream science (as do I, in the strict terms of the debate).  However, that is merely because Young Earth proponents want to concede the same scientific presumptions on what constitutes the agreed upon definitions.  In other words, in both camps, a second is a second, a minute a minute, a year a year…and so on.  For me, as one who denies the concept of time as nothing more than a product of a mind which can conceptualize his environment, I believe that the whole debate is moot from the start.  The only relevant question in any school of that is what constitutes actual value; the source of truth…or, that which all ideas are in service to as the plumb line for their TRUTH. That is the place from which all ideas should proceed.  Otherwise, it’s merely academics quibbling about relative terms which don’t actually mean anything.

Since time is not absolute, because both schools of thought, Old Earth and Young Earth (scientific and religious), concede that time was created, “in the beginning”, then time by definition did not have a time from which it started (a contradiction in terms anyway).  And if time itself has no beginning time, it is impossible then to say that any time which we ascribe at all to any motion of any object regardless of the reference we use (a calender or clock or moon or sun) has any sort of actual, non-subjective,  value.  Thus, the  debate actually boils down to a quibbling about definitions.  What I am trying to say to Old John J in this dialog, and having little success it seems for whatever reason (I chalk it up to the stubbornness of physicists in general; they will concede an argument about as readily as a Calvinist will, so…you get the point), is that all Young Earth proponents need to do to reasonably reject Old Earth science is redefine time in such a way that it “proves” that the age of the earth is relatively young, as opposed to relatively old (and really, they don’t even need to go to that trouble…they just need to rightly point out that since science doesn’t have an absolute reference for time, then age is relative; they can just as rationally call the Earth young as they call it old; a billion years can become a thousand years and there is no absolute standard by which to refute their claim).  Since time is indeed relative to whatever abstract reference we choose, “old” and “young” can mean whatever we want it to mean.

This of course is a notion that anyone who believes in a “force” which “determines/governs” the universe simply cannot suffer.  Mystic, or scientist…they love excluding man from the equation.  And that is the crux of my problem with science, and why I love going after the assumptions of Old Earthers (scientists/physicists).  In the end, their “Standard Model” is as subjective as Calvin’s standard model of the Institutes of the Christian Religion.  Both break down, collapsing under the weight of their own capricious definitions, as soon as we realize that the SELF (a physical body) is the source of itself, by itself, and that it simply cannot be any other way.  Both physics standard models and religious models (and all models for that matter) inevitably arrive at the only place they can really go:  utter contradiction of themselves and, if forced upon the masses anyway, the destruction of mankind in favor of their abstract absolute “truth” which “controls” absolutely.

People think I’m nuts…but I have seen the end of all “laws” (determining forces described in various schools of thought), and they end either in the affirmation of mankind’s singular and perfect value/truth, or mankind’s utter ruin in service to a “truth” which lay perpetually beyond him.  And the belief that this truth “controls/determines” is simply more proof that man cannot really be valued in the equation, and thus, cannot be known to exist. There is no middle ground.

Incidentally, if you really want to get their—that is, the physicist’s—goat (they are fun to poke at), tell them that the universe is not, in fact, expanding.  Watch the nerds fly into a rage.  Tell them that since the “big bang” created space and time, thus making space and time and of course the universe itself as having an origin of NOWHERE and NO-WHEN, it is impossible to deduce that the universe is in fact expanding because by definition (their own!) there is no actual place the universe could be expanding from.  Space began in NO space.  And time began at NO time.  And that being the case, there can be no location to the start of the “expansion”.  Therefore, the universe is where it is now in the same place it was then…and where it is, is nothing more than itself.

Again, if the universe doesn’t have a starting point, then it cannot be going anywhere.  For how can anything be going anywhere if it came from nowhere?  It is an irrational notion.  Movement, and thus expansion, by extension, is simply another way man qualifies the relative motions (which can be of a variety of sorts, not just “movement”, but “time” and “distance” and “direction” and “energy”, etc.) between two bodies.  In reality, since there is no actual value to space or time, because in the physics model both were created, and thus are direct functions of NO space or time, there is no such thing as expansion.  Expansion is relative between two bodies.  The location of those bodies can thus only be themselves in literal fact.

To me, it seems that the logical fallacies of physics are the only things actually expanding.

Finally…before we get on to the dialog between myself and Old John J…

Why is this important?  Why do I spend so much time going after these false notions of time and space as entities which, though they are direct functions of the utter contradictions of themselves (of no space and no time) even according to physics itself, are deemed as somehow non-relative and actually causal?

I do it to show the insidiousness of the philosophy of the Primacy of  Consciousness.  I do it to show just how quickly abstract truth can pass for CAUSAL truth.  These “laws” are always thought to carry the epistemological and existential day.  ALL notions of absolute truth outside of man–like the Jewish “law” as James Jordan argues it, like the Gnosticism of post-Augustinian Christianity, like the Standard Model of physics–must eventually push man into a place of utter irrelevance.  If we do not concede that all truth is a direct function of the physical bodies which actually exist, observed by a man’s conscious mind, then man must become an affront and an enemy of truth.  Once that happens, man must be destroyed.  There is no living with an absolute truth that does not include YOU.  There. Is. No. Living.  Period.  Either YOU are VALUE, or you are the enemy of value (and another word for “value” is “morality”).

If physics places truth outside of man, then physics becomes the destroyer of worlds like any old despotic religion does.  Man dies in the service of truth.  That is why this is important.  And physics and math and science are the gold standard for impenetrable abstract “truth” in the world.  To me, if I can declare and reveal the contradictory assumptions and the false logic of these schools of thought, then the rest of the despotic ideas which rule the world will be easy fodder.  One can easily show how individual man is outside of the “collective”, and thus, the collective itself must be nothing more than an abstract concept meant to enslave individuals to a “truth” which MUST destroy them in service to itself.  That isn’t too hard.  But declaring that you or your mind are NOT a product of physical laws which determine or govern, which we can observe to be efficacious in many tangential-to-man’s-self ways, such as industry and technology…well, that is hard.

But we must ask ourselves:  Does efficacy in these areas make the laws of physics “true”?  What is “truth”… meaning, if truth is in service to areas outside of man’s self, then what does that make “truth”?  Is a science-based technology used to kill men and women and children (Syria?)  in mass quantities “true”?  And if so, true according to what?  Not to man, obviously…thus, the truth is revealed by what the science is used in service to, not In the science actually “working”, I submit.  For if what “works” is what removes mankind from the face of the Earth, then “works” is actually NOT working at all.  And so in this sense, the laws of physics are not any different than the laws of government, or art, or language, or economics.  All of these schools of thought have their ways of organizing the world.  Science is no different.  In all cases, there are ideas—there are “laws”—and yet, the truth can only be measured one way:  the affirmation of that which is the only thing which can be objectively known as TRUTH:  human beings.

Here is the dialog between Old John J and myself.  John J bailed I would say pretty early…but maybe you don’t think so.  That’s fine.  For me, well, like I said…a physicist is simply a priest of sorts. They are the ones divinely given grace to perceive the truth.  When Old John J declares he has nothing more to add to the discussion, this is the same thing as a Calvinist saying “Well, I know it’s true; you don’t have to accept it”.  In other words, agreement with them is the only way you can have truth.  You have to agree before you understand.  [sigh]  Notice in the discussion with Old John J his presumption that the consistency of ideas is not relevant.  That is, truth can be known in spite of its foundational assumptions being utterly mutually exclusive to reason.  Notice how time does not need to have any actual absolute value in order to be completely able to consistently and accurately describe reality.

This is not a rational idea.  The notion of a NON-absolute ruling absolutely is insanity.  This is merely mysticism in a white lab coat instead of a miter.

Here is me and Old John J talking time.  The couple of comments in brackets are mine, added during the writing of this post:

Argo said:

The answer is simple [to the question of “how old is the universe”] : there is no actual “age” of the earth or universe since time is, according to GR, relative. In both YE and scientific claims, time is “created”. This means that time itself begins, by definition, at “zero time”…or, better said, time is created at the location of NO time. This makes time itself a direct function of zero. Which means that the age of the universe and earth cannot really be known since the birthdate of anything which exists is 0/0/0.

Old John J said:

Argo, sorry I missed this yesterday.

I think there is considerable confusion here. Time is not an absolute measure. It is always the difference between two times taken with respect to the same reference: our calendars and clocks. Relativity as in General Relativity defines how perceived times are to be compared over large distances, large gravitational field differences, large speed differences. It’s computations are precise, not relative as in the colloquial sense of the word. Your age is not arbitrary: at the minimum I assume you know it’s date. Official accounting of time here on Earth is done by counting seconds. The second is defined in terms of a reproducible property of the Cesium atom. The inability to establish an absolute time does not in any way call into question time keeping.

Many physical properties have been shown to take place extremely regularly. Radioactive decay is one of them. OE proponents count on the long term reproducibility of many different radioactive decay sequences, measured quantities that are falsifiable by direct observations to make their age estimates. All measurements are subject to certain amounts of uncertainty. Statistics was invented to deal with such measurement problems. No statistical uncertainties in the current OE age of Earth estimates are large enough to encompass the YE preferred age.

Argo said:

Old John J,

I am fully aware of how the YE crowd attempts to “prove” its “science” by appealing to the usual scientific assumptions regarding what constitutes a “day”, or an “hour”, or the “math” or whatever. I am being a little facetious when I suggest that YE crowd simply needs to redefine a “second” according to their own consensus. Since time, as you admit, is not absolute, really, it boils down to what we label (how we choose to quantify) the relative movement (relative to us) of whatever object we are tracking as the reference.

You rightly point out the use of atomic clocks for time keeping. Sure…it’s a great system, as long as we all agree that a motion from A to B (or whatever interaction we choose to measure) constitutes a second (strange…no one asked me). Since time is not absolute, then what if we make the same motion from A to B two hours? Do that enough, get the math to work out, and you have “proven” YE. My point is that time is merely a measurement of what physical objects do…it is not a “law” that governs the motion of those objects. Time is a term. Human beings give it meaning. As with everything then, truth is a function of man, not a function of abstract measurements.

I understand it may seem like semantics. However, I submit that truth gets clouded when we lose sight of ideas like relative time (not absolute). We begin to subjugate man to “forms” which are beyond him. This can only lead to man’s destruction. In addition, I submit that science would be more evolved if it dropped its Platonist facade. Ideas like “numbers don’t lie” must hinder any scientific endeavor, I assume. One has to ask, if we began with the proper assumption, that the SELF is what actually exists and acts (and even more so, that truth is ultimately derived from the conscious observer), might we have advanced our understanding?

Old John J said:

Time is a well defined concept. There is no absolute time but since all given times are actually the difference between two measurements the lack of an absolute reference is immaterial. Time differences can probably be measured more accurately than any other physical quantity. There is sufficient accuracy to see even the minuscule variations due to General Relativity effects on our planet. There is nothing in the physics of time that can bridge the gap between OE and YE age estimates for the Earth.

Argo said:

“Time is a well defined concept.”

Defined by who? Time does not define itself. Man defines time. So if I don’t accept your concept, you have no way to prove me wrong. Time has no reference. Itself has no value.

“There is no absolute time but since all given times are actually the difference between two measurements the lack of an absolute reference is immaterial.”

On the contrary. Since there is no actual reference for time (an absolute reference) then time cannot be defined absolutely. All values of time then are both relative and a matter of consensus. You cannot PROVE an age based on a reference which you admit does not exist.

“Time differences can probably be measured more accurately than any other physical quantity.”

Differences based on a reference number that is merely theoretical. Change the number, change the measurement.

“There is sufficient accuracy to see even the minuscule variations due to General Relativity effects on our planet.”

Variations in what? Time is a concept. Variations in time are variations only insofar as the abstract reference is agreed upon. The only ultimately non- subjective measurement of time is OBJECT (self). Every object is where and when it is. Any other description is theoretical only. A theoretical measurement between the relative movement between two or more objects. Remove objects, remove time.

“There is nothing in the physics of time that can bridge the gap between OE and YE age estimates for the Earth.”

Time does not have physics because it is a product of cognition. It, itself, is an absolute idea (infinite ). It can have no measurements apart from objects; thus, it has no physics. Physics itself is theoretical only. If you change the definitions, you change the age of the earth. You claim the earth is old. I might claim it is young. Outside accepted definitions, neither argument is right. Because there is no reference for time ITSELF.

Old John J said:

Time is fundamental to all of physics [oh…I know, heh, heh]. It is in no way undefined or arbitrary. Time is measured by reproducible periodic astronomic or atomic phenomena. An agreed on reference time and date and choice of measurement units is all that is needed to compare the times of different events. The small gravitational and velocity effects that occur in measuring time are well understood as shown by the functioning of the Global Positioning System.

There is nothing that allows for the YE 6000 year estimate of the age of the Earth to be taken seriously compared to the accepted OE estimate of 4.5 billion years (4,500,000,000). This the only absolute in dealing with time that I accept.

Educationally, I am an old experimental physicist. Theologically only Genesis 1:1 appears to be a useful science reference point. The remainder of the first 11 Genesis chapters speak to the relationship God expects from his chosen people: no idols, polytheism and an expected moral righteousness. Genesis should not be interpreted in the light of contemporary science.

Beyond this I don’t believe I have anything that I contribute to a deeper discussion of time.

Argo said:

Old John J,

I am not trying to be argumentative. But seems to me that physicists have as hard a time letting go of their assumptions about reality as anyone else. They think that because they have models which do a good job of organizing the environment, that they get to claim somehow that these models are causal. (Maybe not you…but the idea that physical laws “govern” I have heard all my life; it is a lie…because that which is purely theoretical cannot govern, because it cannot exist.) So, the real question is WHY do we decide that the way physics models and uses the concept of time is “better” than one who would choose to disregard those models, such as a YEC proponent?

What is the thing which the models are in service to? If you say “truth”, fine…but what is truth in service to? True in what way? All truth must boil down to the affirmation of what EXITS, which is not physics itself, but the relative relationship between the objects physics describes. Objects are the cause of themselves…the physics is simply a paradigm we use to organize what we observe. And what exists as a function of the VALUE that physics is in service to is MAN. Anytime the model becomes causal (time becomes “objective”), then truth is outside of humanity. And this is the Platonism in science. This will eventually lead to abuse. Physics, like any other idea, must serve the affirmation of MAN, or it cannot be proven as true. We can argue against YEC…but if we argue it by making physics the new primary consciousness, instead of the “biblical inerrancy” like the Young Earthers declare, then we are hypocrites.

And I am right. Age is relative. By definition. If time is a function of “no time”, then any value of time is NOT actual. Your appeal to physical phenomenon as the source of time is concession of this argument. I am forty years old. Relative to the age of the earth. Relative to the age of the universe. Relative to the big bang (or creation) which occurred at NO time. All age stems then from a reference which is zero. Age is relative. The only actual age is ME. I am when I am. You are when you are. Age is merely a brand of relatively quantifying our difference with respect to an agreed upon theoretical reference.

I asked: At what time did time begin? There is no answer to this question that doesn’t ultimately prove that time does not exist. It has no absolute reference itself, so any value of time is going to relative to whatever objects we are observing. If we put all objects into a physics model, then time certainly can seem “non-arbitrary”. But the fact is as one time, some PERSON had to decide how to define a day. An hour. A minute. The definition itself doesn’t really matter…consensus matters. Why does consensus matter between human beings…what is the value they are trying to perpetuate? Existence of MAN.

The only truth then is LIFE. Human life. Life(man’s SELF) then is the objective source of truth from which all ideas (even physics) stems. Physics is not causal. It is descriptive. It is man’s attempt to organize his universe in a way that affirms himself.

Post Script:

Here is a perfect example of the favoritism and hypocrisy which exists at Wartburg Watch.  This is precisely why I reject all of the arguments Dee has made for placing me in permanent moderation on her blog.  In this way, she plays the part of a hypocrite perfectly.  This is a good example of the kind of reasoning she used to moderate me into oblivion there in the first place:

Bennett Willis said:

Argo,

The uncertainty in time is such that even over 4.5 billion years it does not amount to your age. Please select something that matters to discuss.

Argo said:

Huh?

Something that matters? The insinuation of an abstract, theoretical construct as the source (cause) of truth doesn’t matter? In the context of a blog meant to deal with abuse, I would say you need to rethink what matters.

You and I have different notions of what constitutes relevance. I do not agree that you are the arbiter of what is truly relevant.

Dee said:

Argo

Could you take it down a notch? Thanks.

So…yes, I am accused of discussing something wholly irrelevant, while none of my claims are refuted, and when I respond to the accusation, I’m the one who has to tone it down.

The Marxism of the mind.  The Haves are to be sacrificed to the Have Nots.

The tyranny which so easily seduces is seen in so many little fits and starts.  It is big in some places, and small in others.  But it is there, always and inexorably.  People think that can never fall prey to the devil’s schemes.  That’s because we don’t fall…we waltz right in.

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Man as the Source of Truth: An offense to the Christian Platonists, a soothing balm to Christians longing for the return of LOVE

I wasn’t going to skip down this yellow brick road of Judaism vs. Christianity (more properly, Platonist gnosticism/Kantian collectivism vs. Christianity), but this topic is too important to back-burner, I suppose.  The truth is, the thrust of my metaphysics (and physics) and epistemology hinges upon my assertions in this matter.  It is good for me to fine tune my argument…for I utterly accept the efficacy and reason of my beliefs; but organizing the thoughts into words takes practice, and that is what debate is.

After all, philosophers don’t avoid philosophizing any more than Angus Young avoids rocking.

And debate is also about being right according to logically reconcilable ideas.  As such, both sides cannot be true.  One side is reasonable, one is not.  If James is reasonable, then Christ would indeed be superfluous, and likely, the swansong of all historic farces.  The problem is that Jame’s ideas are rooted in Gnosticism…the very thing he accuses me and Calvinists of, ironically (and in only one of these is he actually right). And this–Jame’s idea– is nothing more than the assertion:  TRUTH is only found outside of man.  Man is either the source of TRUTH or he is a slave/sacrifice to it, which makes his entire existence irrelevant.  I know this is hard for people to accept, but after thousands of years of Platonist conditioning, peoples’ brains are simply not wired to see the obvious anymore.  Like I said, try to find one physicists who declares that the “vacuum” (nothing”) doesn’t actually exist as “something”.  Even our science is rooted in impossible Platonist ideas.

And yet, science “works”…from a certain point of view.  And that is why these ideas are so wily, and so alluring.  They “work”…in a manner of speaking.  They satisfy.  For a while.  But we won’t get into that cluttered  closet yet.

So, James is not right, and I maintain my previous assertion:  Either the Law culminates in its obvious conclusion:  Jesus Christ as the final chapter in the saga of Man AS GOOD (and in this, in a manner of speaking I actually agree with the “historical redemptive hermeneutic”…but not in service to the tyranny the Calvinists crave, and not really by the same interpretive premises); or, man must be mass murdered in favor of the Law’s inexorable, infallible “TRUTH”.

There is no other option, regardless of how anyone wants to qualify their “logic”.  There is NO other actual logic available.  There is no “agree to disagree”.  Either man dies so that TRUTH can be revealed as utterly and perfectly true, and it is no longer necessary to inevitably apply it in the context of totally depraved man’s individual life, or man IS truth.

Any other notion is nothing more than a glorious and stupefying example of hope over reason.

Here is Jame’s latest comment.  A typical knee-jerk product of Platonist western thinking.  Unable to separate the illusions of truth for the real thing–of abstractions from the physical universe–we all, via Jame’s latest arguments and accusations–all move one step closer to the “collective” as the central rule of the barbarian masses.  For if abstractions like “law” are THE source of their own “truth” (people like Jame’s pretend to say God is the source of the Law, but this turns God into nothing more than your run of the mill Consciousness Prime), then there is only one absolute truth:  Marx’s Utopian Workers Paradise.  Otherwise known as the the destruction of the individual; otherwise know as the singularity of Platonist logic:  man is destroyed as a means of reconciling himself to the ineffable TRUTH which cannot be “perfect” by definition as long as it must suffer communion with the total depravity of human beings.

And so I declare that if I am an atheist, as James accuses, then James is a rank communist.

Here is his comment:

As I see it )and Argo seems to explicitly argue it this way) existentialism is nothing but the secularization of justification by faith alone into justification by existence alone.

So in Argo’s Sept 15th post “Man as the Singularity of Moral Truth: Another defense of Christ” he says at the end “Man’s existence is the key to his perfection, and that is why the temple curtain was torn in two. There is no more sanctification; there is no more justification necessary for man.”

No justification needed. No sanctification needed. That’s what Argo said.

Why? Because the moronic doctrine of Paul “justification by faith alone” and the moronic doctrine of the Calvinists “sanctification by faith alone” has been secularized in existentialism into justification and sanctification by existence alone.

Argue all you want that Jesus would have approved of this, but he certainly not have.

This secularization of the two most moronic doctrines ever contrived is responsibly for the total meltdown of society. In reality, despite teaching it in a putitively theistic way and making assertions about a determinist god, this is precisely what Calvinists actually believe. By buying into this secularization of their whole scheme, Argo is becoming a Calvinist, just a more secular one.

And if its true that you really believe we are both justified and sanctified by mere existence, then you really are nothing but an atheist pretending to theism exactly like the Calvinists.

And here is my response:

The debate about God’s existence is not one of morality.  This is a common mistake Christians make…and why they lose constantly in the face of learned atheists.  For the assertion that morality cannot exist without God is an assertion that Ayn Rand decisively vanguished in her philosophy of Objectivism.  It is really a red herring that Christians constantly fall for…it isn’t the point, and never was, and a lot of atheists know this, which is why they pounce on the nonsense that man cannot declare value without God.  It is akin to the maddening and ludicrous argument made by reformation Christians who don’t like to think:  “I can’t debate with you because my truth cannot be learned…God must give it to you.  So the only way you can understand me is if you agree that I’m right FIRST.”

Oh.  Good.  Fucking. Grief.

No wonder we are laughed out of government and schools.

For what is morality?  Morality is nothing more than the choice of one thing over another in service to the abstraction of “good and evil”.  In other words, morality is simply a value judgment.  Who makes the choice?  Man makes the choice…for otherwise, you are a determinist and YOU cannot exist in your own existential construct. For if man doesn’t  make the choice, something else is making the choice for him.  And since life is observed by choice, where do we see man?

That’s right.  Nowhere.

But if it is man making the choice based on what he observes to have some kind of value, then morality is nothing more than the utterly logical notion that THINGS have VALUE.  Big whoop.  Yes, any atheist can see this.  By your definition a Jew can be an atheist.  Who needs God when we have the Law.  If the Law is the source of TRUTH…of categorical moral value, then what does God have to do with anything? The Law, not the SELF, becomes the source of itself.

James, your need to re-evaluate your arguments.  You even said yourself that God still blessed Israel even when they failed to uphold the Law perfectly.  If the Law IS truth, then how can this possibly be?  The only answer is that the Law is NOT the source of ultimate moral value.  Man is. But you prefer to argue out of both sides of your mouth…to have your metaphysical cake and eat it to.  And you accuse me of being a Calvinist.  That’s a hardy har har.

The distinction is not then in what “law” we “follow”, for law by definition is an abstraction…an idea of values that MAN decides is true or not, based on what?  Well, based on whatever MAN affirms as having the highest value.  But what man constantly misses is that the only thing that can have value objective value (value that is not ultimately an illusion OUTSIDE of man, like the Law)  is that which actually exists as THE source of all truth.  The source of all truth is not God, the SOURCE of all truth is man.  Man becomes the plumb line for value then, because only man is in a position to SEE value in a way that drives choice; that drives “law”.

The argument about God is an argument involving how the SELF can exist if it is, at its root, infinite (and this is something I’ve not gone into on the blog).  If we argue that self cannot exist without God, then obviously, the perpetuation of the SELF (which then by extension must be that which is of the greatest and only objective moral value) becomes GOD’S purpose for man by definition.

In other words, If God is the sustainer of the SELF, then the SELF must BE VALUE by direct divine decree.

So James, you can jump up and down and foam at the mouth and froth and beat the air and scream and yell and use the “f” word and sing Camptown Races in racy French, but the fact of the matter is that all truth of any kind, be it a natural physical “law” or moral truth is a direct function of SELF, man, and whatever other physical object can be observed to exist…but again, only by man’s direct and conscious observation.  There is simply no way to get around this fact.  You can rant and rave and heave and ho and spit and shake, but your frustration I suspect is little more than realizing that this is an axiom that is unavoidable.  If YOU claim to have a truth, then YOU must be the source of it…otherwise, you are a determinist for one, and also you concede NON-EXSTENCE is the source of “your” truth.  Period.  This is obviously rank fallacy…at least if any kind of thinking even approximating reason is your guide.

If truth and meaning is “bestowed” upon you, then you have destroyed all metaphysical and existential distinctions between yourself and whatever “force” of “truth” has seen fit to give you the “grace to perceive” (whatever the hell that means, because you can’t exist…you can’t know what is GIVEN to you to know, not as a function of yourself, but of something outside you).  And given to you to perceive based on whatever arbitrary reason that you can’t possibly understand, because again, there is no you.

And finally, this goes in the last paragraph, because you read backwards (boy, do you ever):  If calling me names like “secular”, or “atheist”, or “existentialist” makes you feel better about your own irrational argument, go for it.  The fact is that none of my ideas work without God.  Your accusations could not be more false or backwards if you uttered them standing on your head in front of a mirror.

Man as the Singularity of Moral Truth: Another defense of Christ

For context, I refer readers to the comments thread under the previous post.  This is a follow up to that one…originally a comment on that thread which just got too lone.  As usual.

Warning:  Rant alert

James,

I sometimes wonder…do you actually read comments here or the posts?  I get the feeling that you perhaps skim them at best, and then pick at them in parts.

Do you not understand my perspective at all after all this back and forth.  Do you not understand that I REJECT an EXTERNAL standard as an illusion of truth; I reject it as an abstract notion of VALUE and not value itself.

I cannot make myself any clearer.  You ask “do we need to be perfect?”…you are either not hearing me, not understanding me, or ignoring me. I do NOT agree with you that this is what Jesus means.  We disagree on the interpretation James…you continue to proceed as though you and I agree on the interpretation and the definitions.  We do not.  If there is to be a reasonable debate, with some kind of relevant outcome hovering anywhere even remotely near the light of day, then we need to debate the interpretation/definitions first, rather than proceed down a road that takes us to the dead end of Not Really Listening To The Other Side Lane.

At any rate, for now, I’ll join you for a walk.  Or, I have a scooter you can borrow.

What is perfect?  You speak of perfection as yet another plumb line or value that is NOT man.  What is happening here then is you are ignoring my oft and clearly stated definition of “standard of value is SELF”, then proceeding to make up your own definition for me, and then denying it.  It’s like you are disagreeing with yourself.  Are you?  Because I was right in the middle of “The People Under the Stairs”, a pretty good Wes Craven horror flick, so I can, like, head on back to it if you two need to be alone.

(Wink…just kidding, James.  You know I love you.  And I’m not being sarcastic.  I do love you.  As long as we agree that it is YOU, not your external self.)

I am saying that man IS perfection IN HIMSELF.  That is Jesus’s point and that is the ONLY reason God has mercy on humanity.  It is the only reason that the Jew, though he did not keep the law perfectly as you correctly point out, was pardoned by God for his lack of faithfulness.  The reason that the Jews were pardoned is because the Law is FOR man…which is a point Jesus outright declares, Himself.  This is, for me, the wisest thing I have ever heard in my life.  It is the single greatest utterance of TRUTH in the history of the world.  It is a rank declaration that EVERY notion in existence is designed for one thing:  to serve man.  Period.  MAN, or more properly, man’s LIFE, is that which gets to decide whether ANY “law” is true or not.  Man is subject to nothing except himself; and nothing subjects man to TRUTH.  (Even God is a TRUTH which is revealed through the context of man’s life; this doesn’t make God less than God, but it does make man of equal existential BEING and WORTH as God.  And I can hear computers leaving this site as I type this, LOL.  Well, yes, I suppose after three thousand years of gnostic Platonism infecting the whole of Western thought, my ideas would seem quite controversial.)  The fact that Jesus declares this says that Jesus is in no way obsessing about the afterlife as you accuse Christianity of doing.  Jesus’s obsession is LIFE, full stop.

Man is not for the Law, and so God cannot condemn man for ignoring the law in service to the inherent right of man to EXIST…to be Himself.  This is shown a thousand times in the old testament, and STILL you want to claim LAW as the superior standard to MAN…it is like you are rejecting the very argument you are making to prove YOUR point.  Incredible. 

But anyway, this is precisely why the law inevitably points to Jesus.  Jesus is the culmination of the absolute truth of MAN as PERFECT VALUE.  Thus, the only real morality is that object which affirms man’s life unequivocally and observationally:  MAN, HIMSELF.  And nothing else.  Not the law.  Not God’s “Word”, not the Church. Not the “collective”.  Not the government…nothing.

And this is what Jesus means by “perfect”.  He does not mean what appears to be your indefatigable determination to declare it merely another Platonist “form”; the truth which is beyond man, but which contradictorily determines him, and gives his very being meaning (the contradiction being that if Plato is right, and man is a shadow, then man is not really man, but a mere manifestation of the “form”).  The whole point of Christ is to show man that perfection is in being man, not DOING the law (works), because value cannot ever be outside humanity. This is simply a metaphysical fact.  All truth is derived from man, it is never bestowed upon him, because if TRUTH is bestowed upon man then there is no actual purpose to man, for TRUTH is more pure by itself, not bastardized by the “untruth” of man’s SELF.  Further, man cannot himself really ever be declared as a separate entity from that which bestows the value, a point I have made many times in citing Argo’s Universal Truth Number Seven:  Anything which proceeds directly from an absolute IS the absolute .  So, man is either nothing more than an extension of the “external” truth, or man MUST be destroyed in service to it.  There is NO OTHER OPTION.  The Law either culminates in Christ, or man must DIE in service to it.  That is your only choice, James.  Pick one.  Any other choice is only an illusion of logic.  And a red herring.

Either the law culminates with the Christ, or the law makes man MOOT.  This is indisputable.  Continuing to seek value in an outside standard means that YOU, as a person, can never actually claim TRUTH because TRUTH can have no communion with you.

The observation of the Christ as the permanent atonement for man’s rejection of SELF makes perfect sense if you understand where I’m coming from.  It not only makes perfect sense, it is undeniable.  OBSERVATION is how we know anything IS.  The observable reality of God as HUMAN proves that morality…or better said, GOOD, is LIFE, not death.

Who’s life?

MAN’S life.

That God IS man is proof of man’s inherent moral value.  The law is satisfied when Christ is put to DEATH, for this–death–is the end of the law, inexorably.  Man’s VALUE is observed as triumphant when Christ, the man, is resurrected. Why didn’t Christ stay dead?  Because nothing can kill man, because man is not at the mercy of ANY notion except his own self.  Not even death. Man is the beginning and end of himself…this was God’s intention from the very beginning.  And this is why Christians do not fear death.  For death is merely another way we quantify the movement of the SELF relative to other objects, nothing more.  In reality, the self cannot be destroyed…because all that IS is a function of the SELF, never the other way around.  And if the self IS, the self cannot die, because it is impossible for the self to both BE and NOT BE at the same time…and this contradiction is the contradiction which the SELF cannot abide.  The only way out of this inexorable truth is to, in fact, choose to contradict it, which cannot lead to a harmony of SELF and NOT SELF…it cannot even lead to “paradox”.  It can only lead to death…which is the conscious rejection of SELF.  Now, what does this look like in the “afterlife”, I don’t really know, but I can imagine some kind of “hell”.  Perhaps not the fire and brimstone kind, but an eternity of rejecting SELF in favor of what is ultimately DEATH (an external standard, like the Law)?  I’m guessing it’s not great.

If man willingly capitulates and sacrifices SELF to STANDARD, what is God to do?  Man has a right to act.  If he acts to his own destruction, then God cannot interfere.  You want to put TRUTH outside of you, fine.  But know this:  a denial of self as THE source of all meaning, value, and existence is is a rejection of life.  And if you are not alive NOW, why should we expect you will be alive EVER.  (Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead.”)

ANY other standard except for man, observed in Christ, is death, period.  Without Christ, the Law can only destroy humanity.  Like any other “law”, it MUST condemn; it has no other purpose!!  It cannot save.  It only KILLS.  Left to its own, as a sparkling example of  the rank circular logic of being both the declaration and source of its own truth, it can only commit mass murder! 

(You see this trend in Calvinism:  the Bible is the infallible “Law”; and ritualistic Communion is the “sin sacrifice”.  It is a distortion of the Jewish practices and religion, but make no mistake:  their own brand of “mystic” Judaism is the object of the Calvinist thrust in the world today.)

But now, for the non-reformed Christian (for reformation theology is nothing more than a return to the the death of Law, which is why neo-Calvinists are the modern day Pharisees and Judiazers, dressed however in antinomian garb…Paul Dohse rightly points out, much to the chagrin of Calvinist despots everywhere, that their theology is as works-based as it comes; again, they are modern day Pharisees to a T)…for the non-reformed Christian all of man is seen through Christ, not the Law any longer.  Man’s existence is the key to his perfection, and that is why the temple curtain was torn in two.  There is no more sanctification; there is no more justification necessary for man.

There is just SELF.

Man as the Singularity of MORAL VALUE: A defense of the only faith which proclaims this…Christ

This is a response to James, who has made his true position unequivocally known in the last thread.  That James rejects Paul the Apostle’s epistles he has certainly made clear to us here at unreformingtheology.com.  However, recently revealed is that James rejects Christianity as a whole.  He does this because, I submit, he concedes that reformation protestantism interprets the faith correctly.  As such, he denies Christ categorically.

And that is fine.  No one gets criticized by me for engaging their brains and drawing their own conclusions.  James raises valuable questions.  James correctly identifies the weaknesses of the Christian argument in light of its thousand year whoring-out of itself to Greek mysticism.  James rejects the Calvinist mystics without a blush of shame; without the slightest concession of their vile premises.  That we should all do this, is my dream.

But here is my brain.  Here is my conclusion regarding the rejection of Christ:

James’s position is a mistake of reason.  A return to Judaism as THE source of ultimate moral restoration is impossible.  Why?  Well, put simply, the Apostle Paul is right.  NO law…no external, abstract standard of good and evil can do anything other than enslave man to sin.  Because ANY good man does will ultimately and only be defined by the SIN which declares good, good.  And so again, Paul is right.  You cannot do good without sin being “right there with you”.  Right there with you, DEFINING your good for you.

There cannot ultimately be salvation in that idea.

This is the inevitable truth of any morality OUTSIDE of man’s physical, individual self.  And this is precisely what Jewish law does…and this is why Christ came.  Either Christ comes, or the Law is an endless cycle of sin and “atonement”, going nowhere, leading only to the conclusion that moral value is constantly beyond man’s reach.  Man is the horse, the Law is the carrot.  Man moves in the right direction, but he never actually gets anywhere.

I know a lot of us don’t want to acknowledge this…that Paul the Apostle is right. This is understandable…our reticence to embrace Pauline theology is certainly due to the way he has been utterly bastardized and his theology dragged through the filth of Platonism by countless false teachers.  But understand this…this is by design.  This is Satanic.  Jettisoning Paul is THE single most dangerous thing any of us can do aside from denying Christ.  Paul, for all his faults and his dearth of talent in the art of clear communication, is the loudest voice in the entire canon of scripture, apocrypha or not, translation–no matter; yes, the loudest voice concerning the restoration of MAN as the source of his own moral worth.  Yes, even more so than Moses.  I might even add, more so than Christ, Himself.

You reject Paul, you reject yourself.  You reject SELF, and you reject value (morality), knowledge, love, and ultimately God, by whom SELF can exist.

This is my response to James, in post form:

(NOTE:  After this, I will move on to the posts I have in mind to print.  And to the focus of this blog:  NOT surrendering my faith to the physical and moral and intellectual horrors of Calvinism.  This subject (Christ versus the Jews) can quickly consume a conversation.  I won’t let that happen to me.  Nevertheless, I am compelled to answer.  Because, as for me…no, they (the neo-Reformed hordes) will not get away with their rational theft…the murder of the SELF.  Their hypocrisy will not be an excuse for denying the only source of moral value.  ME.  And YOU.  And PEOPLE. )

James,

I would love to go through the looking glass with you on this topic, because I think much can be said.  Alas…I am pressed to make a decision, and I need to get on with the posts I have lined up to write for the blog.

I think you raise some excellent points in your criticisms of Christianity.  I think you illuminate many problems the theology has…ironically (or maybe there is a better word), the arguments you use to attempt to dismantle the legitimacy of Christianity are some of the exact same ones I use to dismantle the legitimacy of Calvinism and basically Protestantism as a whole.  However, in the end, this becomes clear to me:  you have accepted that the Calvinists actually DO interpret Christianity correctly, and therefore, you reject Christianity as nothing more than the fatalistic determinism the Calvinists preach and teach.

You need to do better than this.  Rejection of Christianity is the easy way out.  It is merely another way of ceding the Calvinist interpretive premises.  That is running away from them.  They don’t care if you leave the faith.  All the more room for them.  One less thinker they have to deal with.  In the end, you argue from not from reason but only from retreat.  If you choose not to accept Christ, I have no problem with that. But if you do it because you accept their interpretation of the faith, then, as far as I am concerned, THAT is where our disagreement lay. Let’s put away Christ versus the Jews and debate what is relevant to the whole damn argument: your reformed assumptions.

You are going to argue that Judaism without Christ is more rational??? Really…that’s your play?  To claim that TRUTH is found APART from man in an abstraction called the Law?  Obeying God?  Easy as that?  According to what standard?  Exactly…it’s not man, it’s something else.  It’s outside of man.  Well, if TRUTH is outside of man, as it is in Judaism (really?  we are going to find peace in a religion that is as awash in bloodshed as any in the history of the world…I mean, have you READ the OT? It is wiping out whole cultures and societies of human beings in service to TRUTH; which I get why from the historical context, but THIS is THE answer to PEACE?)…if truth is outside of man then you’ve got nothing with which to dismantle the Calvinist despots.  You concede the SAME idea:  obey your priests, for real truth is beyond your understanding anyway.  YOU don’t get to say what is true and what is not because TRUTH is outside of you.

This is a mistake, in my opinion.  If you truly understood the OT the way you say you do, I do not believe you can actually read the NT in its and Jewish historical context and come away withe the conclusions you do. You are doing nothing more than conceding the Calvinist interpretive assumptions and then rejecting the whole of the Christian message as an evil farce.  However, this only becomes possible if you conveniently jettison the first two or three hundred years of church history before Augustine, up until which point, Christ was understood much differently than He is today…thanks to the systematizing of Augustine’s gnostic message by Luther and Calvin, which is the bedrock for ALL of Christianity to this day.

The conclusions you draw about Christianity are the exact same ones I would draw about Judaism apart from Christ: that it is ultimately a dualistic paradigm, which perpetually places man OUTSIDE moral value, and thus makes the reconciliation of man with GOOD impossible.  Unless man becomes THE standard of moral value by a physical reconciliation with with “himself-as-good” (Christ), then man can never claim any goodness at all, and thus is perpetually exclusive to God’s standard of moral perfection.  By pursuing any abstraction as TRUTH, man places truth always outside of himself.  This must result in death, oppression, and destruction for man…for the only “good” man can do then, is to die.  To not exist.  And you can only mitigate this with animal sacrifices for so long before it becomes clear that the whole ceremony must either lead to Christ (Messiah) or lead nowhere.  It is precisely the perpetuation of this dualistic external Good and Evil construct which those rejecting Christ want to perpetuate.  And yes, I would include Judaism apart from the culmination of God’s TRUTH in Christ.  Christ is the only way man becomes THE singular source of value in the universe.  Any other way places man outside his own value.  We can thank Adam for that.

This is not a rejection of Judaism.  Of course not…for without the Law, Christ could not be understood.  But Judaism without Christ is incomplete.  It is the “form”, but it lacks realization because without Christ, man cannot BE the Law, He can only DO it.  And doing (works) the law cannot restore moral value, it can only express what it is supposed to look like.  The law looks like man is suppose to look, but only man is man.

You greatly misunderstand Paul, by the way.  I get why he is easily misunderstood.  But this does not change the fact that you interpret him falsely.  And it is painfully obvious you do this in rank service to an ideology.  You form an idea, then twist Paul to fit that idea.  This is easily seen.  And easily done.  The fault is both his and yours.

All truth proceeds from man, and because of this, the Law cannot save, because the Law is not actual, only MAN is actual.  Truth proceeds from man…it is not the other way around.  A rejection of Christ in favor of ANY law is an exchange of man for an illusion…an idea.  An abstraction.  The law is an abstract standard.

Jesus Christ was a human being.  THIS is the difference which makes man MORAL versus enslaving man to SIN.  Because by the law, any GOOD is ONLY defined by the SIN by which it is known.  But with MAN, there is no SIN by which good can be known.  There is only man, and he is GOOD.

This is a fact that cannot be circumvented in the end, which is why Christianity will never actually find itself extinguished.  The TRUTH of man as VALUE is as plain as your face in the mirror.  Sure, we constantly reject this, but unless man is utterly wiped out, all truth must return to man’s physical self.  And man as MORAL TRUTH is proclaimed by one faith and one faith alone:  Christ.

“Baby Killer” a New Compliment?: More on the “merciful” homicide of Infants in the name of soul-saving, and the evil Reformed assumption from which the notion springs

With regularity this question pops up.  Thankfully, for now, the question is merely hypothetical.  However, the assumptions behind the question have been taken to their logical conclusion many times in the past, and the bloodshed and murdered babies–along with a goodly and commensurate amount of adults and all persons in between–have been decidedly NOT hypothetical.

The last time I looked at this question, many posts ago, it was posited by an atheist, and so the tact I took in pointing out its rational failures was quite different.  Back then I was arguing that to murder based on the wholly abstract idea of “chance” was madness.  And that if we were to act literally upon probability all the time, we shouldn’t bother leaving our houses.  We might ALL as well drink from Bob Jones’s faucet, not just babies.  Because the “chance” of anything which an atheist would find malicious and unpleasant happening to a dead person is zero, by definition.  In short, I was saying that since “what could happen” could never actually be seen until it happens–since what “could happen” is literally NOTHING, because reality can only be truly defined by what DOES happen–it makes little sense that humanity should make decisions of life and death based on actuarial tables.  Again, if that is the case, let’s just let the nukes fly and be done with it all.

There is no way to say what will happen.  There is only assumption.  And chance and assumption is not causal.  It is cognitive.  Chance washes nothing in the actual truth of the event.  At the end of all the equivocating, all you’ve really done is kill a baby.

Of course, when an atheist poses a question like this on a Christian forum, it is really nothing more than a “gotcha” question designed to undermine the entire theist argument at its root.  And…it actually does a pretty good job of it.  Sure, you can destroy their own assumptions and argument by pointing out the falsity and contradictory ideas inherent in their “gods” (the mathematics of probability and the actuarial tables), but for Christians, the question should give us pause.  Well…it should for non-Calvinists, anyway.  For Calvinists, they can only have one answer, regardless of how much shit I will get for saying as much, and how much many of them are so comfortable hypocritically denying their own doctrine when it suits their own moral sensibilities (as IF somehow, on this issue THEY get to decide between right and wrong).  But if they are consistent with their doctrine, they will assume–as good little sheep–John Piper’s belief that since salvation is based upon God’s arbitrary election alone, there is no reason why a baby, born as totally depraved as the next human pig, should have a get-out-of-jail free card with respect to eschatology.  Baby or not, if you are not one of God’s elect, before the foundations of the world, then your ass is going to burn.  Age hasn’t a thing to do with it.  What makes babies so special?  Because they are cute?  But aren’t they, as my old SGM pastor used to say, just cute little vessels of depravity and sin?  And God is no respecter of outward appearances, after all.  Besides, a baby’s wailing, as those of us who have had them understand, will most certainly make hell that much more unpleasant.  Which is the whole idea.

But for us non-Calvinists, it is a question that poses a dilemma.  Looking past my argument concerning the nature of “chance” and “probability”, let’s look at the weakness in our assumptions this question identifies.  For if babies all go to heaven, and if beyond that, hell is a very real possibility because of choice, isn’t it actually more merciful to kill babies, rather than take the chance that some of them will not believe on Jesus and spend eternity perfecting their teeth gnashing, begging for a finger dipped in cool water?  Shoot, some people out there might even agree that, for the misery they have endured or are enduring in their own life, they might have even preferred infanticide. Maybe that is an act of mercy even in the eyes of some Christians.  It’s not that far fetched.  If you end up in hell, what might you think if someone asked you if you should have been killed as an infant?

Yeah…it’s actually a pretty good question.  It’s sick, true.  But it is effective.  And most of the time, I have noticed, the answers are seriously wanting.

This question was posed by a Christian, attempting, I think, to argue in favor of the idea of “election”.  That we let live because we don’t know who God will elect and who He won’t.  And that?  Is a pretty good answer ostensibly.  And one my wife said she would give if she were a Calvinist.  It is the most sensible…but then you run into the whole election debate, again, and the injustice of God sending someone to hell just because.  And the obvious reply of “well, if salvation is by election, then what difference does it make when a person dies? As a baby or an adult?”  To which she said “only a living person can spread the message of God”.  To which I said, “There you go, being all NOT Calvinist again; to think that spreading the message somehow effects salvation.  I thought you just told me that salvation is by election, not “the message”.”

Finally, there is the most effective way to dismantle the Calvinist response concerning “who will get elected and who won’t” assumption, which has to do with the fact that Calvinists first and foremost assume that ONLY the destruction of the individual can bring him or her to a place of moral purity.  So the only real difference is what this “death” will look like in the end.  YOU can’t possibly be saved, according to Total Depravity.  So salvation is only in spite of you…ever.  And that being the case, the question proves itself yet again too formidable for most Christians.  In the case of Calvinists, since the very doctrine demands that YOU die in service to the God’s “truth” by hook or by crook, there is little reason to argue against killing babies beyond “well…it just seems like a bad idea”.  After all, better to be in hell has a non-cognizant child than a fully aware adult.  Wouldn’t that be more “merciful”?

But getting back to the assumption in the question.  What is it?

And this is really the crux of the issue.  The crux of the issue isn’t the assumption the question makes about death, but what it assumes about life.  The driving idea behind the question is this:  That human life EQUALS evil.  That moral corruption is a DIRECT function of human physical existence.  Full stop.  And that being said, all that is GOOD then–truth and salvation and prosperity and peace and heaven and God–is only to be ultimately found in the death of the human being, and never in the life of him or her.

This of course means that the primary point of human existence is not life, but death.  For death IS GOOD.  Death of the self is the pinnacle of human moral achievement.  For only in death can human goodness be found; only in death can the human be reconciled with God.

This idea is the implicit assumption behind the question when posed by Christians, particularly non-Calvinists (for consistent Calvinists would never ask such a question because they understand there is no surety of heaven for anyone):  Shouldn’t we just kill babies in order to ensure people go to heaven?  Would not that be the most merciful solution to the problem of evil?  Again…there it is, in all its wicked glory.  Human existence IS the problem of evil.

And so what is really being asked is a prime example of a.) Calvinist doctrinal hypocrisy/inconsistency; which we have touched briefly, but which will be elaborated upon.  And b.) The Christian presumption in general of death as the panacea for humanity’s inherent total moral failure, beginning at conception.

Now, with respect to the first:

A. Calvinist doctrinal hypocrisy/inconsistency in denying the what should be their own acknowledged implicit morality and “mercy” of infanticide.  

The idea that there is a certain point in time after birth, where God will arbitrarily elect a human to either salvation or damnation flies in the face of Calvinistic assertions in the frankest of ways.  This implies that God’s will, with respect to those He damns or those He justifies, is somehow dependent on the notion of a human being “coming of age”–that point in time where they can properly gauge the morality of their choices against God’s standard.  That is, if the child does  not “come of age”, then God has no choice but to save that child.  And this, again, ultimately contradicts the sovereignty of God over salvation/damnation as taught by historical Calvinistic orthodoxy.

The idea that God is somehow obligated to save the infant means that salvation is rooted not in God’s will, but in humanity–or at the very least that humanity must play a role in deciding its fate.  God’s “sovereign Will” becomes subservient to the human time table.  And this notion denies every single point in TULIP (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the Saints), and I am pretty sure that no Calvinist I have ever met would concede that humanity gets to ever, under any circumstance, be the final arbiter of eschatological decisions.  In other words, if man is Totally Depraved, then there is no reason to supposed that God won’t or shouldn’t damn babies to Hell.  By definition, their moral corruption is as complete as yours or mine.  There is no such thing–no such addendum to absolute sovereignty–as “coming of age” in the Calvinist construct.

Calvinism, and I dare say pretty much all of any school of Protestant orthodoxy, presupposes that the only real way for humanity–being perpetually morally defunct and estranged from God by virtue of innate catastrophic failure–to be reconciled to God is for humanity to be destroyed.  To cease to exist.  To die.  And this can only happen, within the Calvinist ideology, in one of two ways:

One:  God kills and sends people to hell, where humanity’s eternal moral failure is condemned to eternal purging in the everlasting flames; and that this torment is rightly and logically and mandated to be preceded by violence and pain inflicted upon the unbeliever at the hands of God’s priests, proxy’s, and elected ones.  Death is truth, period.  Whether in physical life, or in the unquenchable burning  pyres of perdition is irrelevant.  They both mean the same thing:  the moral failure of man, and his just torment for merely existing as one of God’s unforgiven.  The un-elect (and really anyone…more later) must suffer in atonement, regardless of where or when, in any time and in any place (“the wicked will have no rest”) for their inherent dearth of any efficacious value.

Two:  God’s “election” of a chosen one is revealed (i.e. earned) by the effective, for all practical purposes and assumptions, death of the individual as he or she sacrifices him or herself–mind, body, and property–to the orthodox collective (religious, intellectual, political, etc.) which is the only place that absolution for a “living individual can be found (i.e. earned).   Often times, the individual is conscripted by a person in some form of “authority” into the collective, who uses his divine mandated of FORCE to compel that individual, by any means necessary, into the subjugation of the Consciousness Prime, which is governed in part or totally by that authority.  This other person could be a spouse, parent, church officer, teacher, guardian, overseer, slave master, prophet, civil leader, political officer, “accountability” partner, etc..

The authority of the collective’s elders, leaders, officers, etcetera…is generally rooted in a systematic philosophy organized into a formal “canon” of creeds, confessions, manifestos, constitutions, articles, or volumes of political/philosophical schools of thought.  These ideas are generally considered to be “inerrant” and therefore not subject to any outside interpretation beyond that of those authorities who have been somehow granted the right of all interpretive conclusions.  Namely, the very authorities which compel the masses by “divine” mandate (i.e specially dispensed, somehow, according usually to some subjective interpretation of the canons of “orthodoxy”).

So what we are talking about is more than simply a figurative or symbolic death of the individual.  It is a functional and utterly practical and efficacious death of the SELF at the root, where an individual is no longer and by no means defined by the physical person which exists as the tangible SELF and occupies its location, but is now nothing more nor less than a purely abstract idea (and thus inexorably hypocritical…for an abstraction can have no actual power).  The human being is not figuratively, but literally, sacrificed to the abstraction of “collective”.  The collective may be the “church”, the “body”, the “masses”, the “workers”, the “government”, the “clan”, the “group”, the “nation”, the “party”.  And the death of the SELF may not by physical, but it is no mere semantic exercise either.  In fact, the death of self so real that identification with the collective utterly defines the person in literally every facet of their lives.  At the very least, this is precisely the idea behind the doctrines of Calvinism and the Reformation in general.  You only actually exist insofar as you are identified with the collective.  Apart from it, you are dead as far as they are concerned, and thus, are no one to be concerned with, except in disciplinary measures (i.e. violent and/or abusive).  Excommunication from the group doesn’t sound so bad in a free society where enough people who make the world go round still laugh at Calvin’s rational larceny, but in a society which is governed by a deified theocracy, almost always headed by a deified autocrat, the life of the unfortunate excommunicated soul is horrifically painful.  Ask any Muslim convert to Christianity who remains in his/her community what it is like for them.  It is hell on Earth.

And that is precisely the idea.  Anyone not “in” with the group, goes to hell.  And it doesn’t mean after the grave, either.  It happens in an instant.

In short, humanity itself, which is the SELF, is in some way killed off when it is exchanged for the lie known as the “collective”.  And so the Calvinist axiom remains firmly in place, whether one dies in infancy, or whether one lives to the age of Enoch: Death is that which and only brings reconciliation with God.

That being said, I will repeat.  There is no reason whatsoever why the Calvinist should ever concede that there is some inherent moral crime in the murder of infants in the name of “mercy” and moral purity.  For which is ultimately better:  to live a life of misery  only to face conscious torment in hell as God’s un-elected forever after all of that; or, as an elected “saint” to feel the pain which is the plumb line for “truth” in Calvinist doctrine as you daily nail yourself to the cross in service to the “group” which owns you?  Or is it better to simply take your place as an infant, with only the scarcest of conscious realization, in the realm of your elected purpose: to burn in hell forever or to live in heaven with God, according to his arbitrary whim?

Well, you can answer that whatever way you like.  It matters not.  The point is that since the doctrine election stands, and absolutely no moral accusation can be brought to bear against anyone acting in the “stead of God” in service to his absolute and wholly exclusive-to-man TRUTH in his position of divine authority, then the murder of children in the  name of God is neither doctrinally forbidden nor should it be considered morally repugnant if you are a Calvinist.  The only real moral repugnance is the life of a human being, not the death of one.

B.  The failure of even non-Calvinist Christians to effectively answer in the negative the question “Should infants die as a means of securing their salvation?” based on the exact same assumptions as Calvinism. 

Their is a ubiquitous assumption in practically all of Christianity, and it is the Reformed one.  It is the idea that death equals moral purity, period.  The immediate and literal death of any human being is the most logical, most efficacious, most efficient answer to the problem of evil in Christian doctrine today.  The axiom is DEATH is GOOD rules the theological day.  Not that I am saying that everyone believes this consciously, I am merely pointing where the theology goes when you stop equivocating and put the pieces together in a way that does not make you a raging hypocrite to your own “absolute” truth upon which you have claimed monopoly ownership by nothing more than your irrational and subjective opinions on the matter.

DEATH is GOOD shall be your mantra from this day forth, Christian, when moral value is outside the human being.  You believe, by your very own creeds and declarations and statements of faith that human life is the direct source of evil; of moral failure.  That the reason we have sin and evil and thus hell and torment and judgement is a direct function of life itself.  And thus the single greatest, most effective way to thus destroy evil, to confront the moral affront, is to remove life.  To kill human beings in service to the only real GOOD:  whatever Consciousness Prime we happen to be considering at the moment (God, in this case).  Death then leads to inevitable GOOD, just as assuredly as life leads to evil, which must and will be destroyed.  Life always leads to evil, inexorably.

And so then what about the murder of infants?

Well, according to the assumptions It is quite simply the quickest and easiest, most painless way for man to fulfill God’s righteous requirement: the destruction of evil.  If life is always evil, then the sooner man can be put to death the better.  It is the Final Solution…the end of all doctrine.  The utter destruction of humanity as God’s moral purging.

Now, a cursory look in the Bible with our neo-reformed blinders off will show us that this is not the objective of God, but the objective of Satan.

So, the only way to concede that all infants go to heaven is to place an objective and inherent moral value upon human life.  Individual life becomes THE plumb line for morality…it is the only objective moral good man can recognize.  For the SELF IS GOOD.  The SELF is the source of moral purity.  LIFE is GOOD by virtue of its simple existence in a simple child.  This is why murdering infants is wrong…because it violates the singularity of moral truth:  LIFE.  The destruction of life is EVIL.  And this is why murder of any kind in service to a moral standard outside of human life cannot ever be equivocated by any appeal to morality…because outside of human life there IS NO MORALITY; and thus, there is NO MERCY to be found.  Mercy is ONLY found in the perpetuation of human life, never in its death.

The destruction of humanity denies the very truth which declares God to be God.  For God is not God without the SELF of mankind by which God recognizes Himself to be God, and by which man recognizes himself to be man, and thus a moral equivalency and objective GOOD can be established between man and God because both are life.  God is known as God by humanity…destroy it, and you destroy God in a manner of speaking.  There is no claim by which God can declare Himself God.  Destroy any recognition of God, and you destroy God.  This is the devil’s rationale, I submit.  This declaration will shock and appall some of you.  So be it.  If you cannot declare that your own life has as much inherent moral value as any other, including God’s, then you must deny humanity at the root.  If this offends you I submit you have an incorrect assumption of who and what God is.  He is the Father…and the children of the Father are co-equals in inherent existential worth as the Father.  They do not replace the Father, but they are not LESS THAN the father on the level of objective value; and they have no less inherent right to self-affirmation and self perpetuation.  Our worth is realized in the fullness of our self, not in our subjugation to some external self; and yet we can only affirm our own self when we affirm that of others, starting with God.  This is hardly contra-biblical thinking.

So, if you concede that infants to do heaven, you concede that humanity is inherently morally good, NOT depraved.  And that evil and sin then is a choice man makes.  The choice to either affirm life or deny it.

That choice starts with children.

Critique of Cal Thomas’s (Terrifying) Sermon at Wade Burleson’s Emmanuel Baptist Church

“…what the greatest threat of all is—even a bigger threat than the Nazis; even a bigger threat than the communists—is radical, fundamental Islam.”

-Cal Thomas

By the way, John Immel has touched upon this subject in an article he wrote at spiritualtyranny.com, as well.  I highly recommend you read it.  And of course, I highly recommend you read all of John’s articles.

Last week The Wartburg Watch posted a sermon by Cal Thomas, famous Journalist and past member of the Moral Majority.  This was in place of the usual preaching by Wade Burleson…who, as any regular reader here knows is a favorite subject and target of this blog as of late.

Now, let me emphasize again this: I continue to respect Wade for interacting here on unreformingtheology.com; and I mean this in no way facetiously when I say that Wade is still a class act in my mind by putting his arguments, ideas, and positions out in the open, playing the “away” team, knowing full well that they will be eviscerated by a nobody like me–someone who unabashedly declares that his Pure Reason will subordinate their mystic “wisdom” any day or time.  But I understand that I criticize Wade’s doctrine and beliefs (or what I believe them to be) in the strictest and frankest of terms, and will continue to do so; and this is why I prefer to continue to repeat myself in stating how much I admire him on other—meaning, not doctrinal—levels.

Anyway, this article is the first in a series on Cal Thomas’s sermon, which, frankly, I found egregious and terrifying.  It confirmed many of my suspicions regarding just what horror show we can expect to be in for should the Calvinist autocracy ever get its iron (maiden) fists on the reigns of civil government.  We need to be very afraid of this kind of thinking; for the assumptions in Cal’s sermon—the ideas he flings about, with his nonchalant air of divine “wisdom” and monopolized “truth”, as if these ideas were just as obvious and natural and efficacious to beauty and wholesomeness as a blue jay in the sky or an apple pie on porch—concerning the nature of humanity; particularly the non-Christian, should cause any man or woman who believes this country does and should stand for the freedom of the individual…well, it should at least cause them a heart palpitation or two.

Folks, let me be blunt:  we need to reject reformed Protestantism and all its creeds and confessions and start brand, fresh anew (something Paul Dohse is trying tirelessly to accomplish…I don’t envy him his task).  All of it needs to be thrown into the fire; the drawing board erased; the blueprints wrapped around rocks and tossed indifferently into the ocean.  It is an evil doctrine.  It will kill people as freely as any ideology has killed before if its “authority” moves from the pulpit to the infantry.  The baptized will become the bombed if the Priest becomes the Provost Marshal.

I don’t know how many articles I will do on the sermon.  It will depend on how I feel…my posts, as you might have noticed, tend to run the gambit of ideas.  I envision at least one more, but I’m mulling over determinism again, thanks to a couple of commenters over at Wartburg continuing to argue, as proof of their divine and absolute “truth”, that what has not happened can still somehow exist to be “known”.

Yeah.  They still push that one.  Er…how can “nothing” be known?

The answer…oh, yes the wonderfully Platonist scientific notion of “natural law”.  That’s how. More bullshit from the nerds who were good at math in high school.  Whose inability to dress in a manner that didn’t bring a beating like a worm brought a fish…whose poor luck with girls, even the homely ones, was only emotionally buffered by their superior ability with the theoretically abstract…whose disregard for religion and philosophy as sources of truth in favor of a more “empirical” method, but which is derived from the exact same philosophical assumptions as most of the metaphysics they claim to be defunct, is never considered hypocritical in their eyes.  Whose school of thought brought perhaps THE greatest METAphysical equation of all time: E=MCsquared.

That got you, didn’t it?

Have your attention?

Oh yes…enter the metaphysics of Einstein.  Well, when you finally realize that energy is nothing more than a theoretical place-holder, you get…ta da!  A very, very fine metaphysical TRUTH!  More later.

Back to our article.

Within the first minute or two of Cal’s sermon, he offers this little bit of subjective insight:

“…what the greatest threat of all is—even a bigger threat than the Nazis; even a bigger threat than the communists—is radical, fundamental Islam.”

-Cal Thomas

Ho hum.  Fairly innocuous start to a sermon…kind of obvious on some, superficial level.  But it isn’t what they say, it is the context from which it proceedeth.  And the context is: Emmanuel Baptist Church.  Protestant.  Reformed.  And I would submit, unashamedly Calvinist in its doctrinal roots.  (Cal Thomas’s full name is John Calvin Thomas…I’m just saying.) Believers of the theological and intellectual embarrassment of Total Depravity.

Enter my cry of “hypocrite“!

I submit that the radical Islamist and the committed Calvinist hold to the exact same metaphysical assumptions.  This is what this short article will deal with.  Now, I am NOT saying they behave the same way…yet.  What I am saying is that all behavior which man engages in as a function of his religion begins with basic assumptions man makes about who HE is versus who GOD is.  And IF the root assumption is that God is more valuable than man as a function of his LIFE…meaning, that God’s life is worth more than man purely because man is man and God is God, then this puts man on a metaphysical plane that can only…and I mean only, at the end of the day, when the sword is pulled from the fire and cooled to steely hardness by the simmering and hissing water, lead to this truth:  the only way man can be at peace with his Maker is to die.  And I mean literally. Dead in the individual self of the mind, or dead in individual self of the body.  Because for this assumption to be truth—that man’s life is less valuable than God’s, then in order for God to truly be good, he must purge all that is not Himself from utter existence. (For what fellowship hath light with darkness?)  This results eventually and inexorably in two kinds of death:  the spiritual/emotional/psychological death of a human being who has utterly given himself (herself), his mind and his property over to the abstract neo-Marxist collective known as the “church”, or the “body of believers”; and the physical death of those who refuse to comply.

Both radical Islam and Calvinism are fatalistic/deterministic, and both believe that the only way to deal with the un-elect or those who dare to define truth for themselves, beyond the purview and beyond the scornful and watchful eye of the religion’s priests, is to compel them by FORCE.  Both make FIRST appeals to the authority of God and never human reason nor individual human context, and by extension His “church”; and since a church is merely a collectivist abstraction, and since, as John Immel rightly points out (an obvious point which somehow people miss constantly), God is not here giving orders in person, it must fall to someone, some PERSON to enforce TRUTH on all of those recidivists and recalcitrant stick-necked barbarians whose sole purpose in life, according to doctrine (sin nature; total depravity; limited atonement) is to get in God’s way, lead the “elect” to hell (which is of course impossible by the very nature of the doctrine, but…hey, the priests need to pretend like what they do actually effects something, otherwise, why pay them).  And so, in a religion which, as the cornerstone of its metaphysical truth is the idea that man IS the problem of evil, and can do no good thing unless God (i.e. the ecclesiastical “authority”) does it FOR him, what is the natural outcome of a natural born killer like reformation theology?  Right.  It is killing.  It is death.

So, in light of this fact…the fact that any destruction of humanity is by doctrinal definition in keeping with God’s sovereign will and perfect moral GOOD (not one molecule is out of God’s “control”), added to the fact that God’s existence is infinitely more moral and important than man’s, added to the fact that God has given only a select group of mystics the “grace to perceive”, and the “power of the Keys”—which is merely the power of destruction per capricious volition;  added to the fact that truth is utterly beyond the senses of mankind to grasp any true knowledge unless God has specifically imparted it, and even so, it is NOT then the mystic “person” which knows truth, but God through him, and so when the mystic enforces truth by any means he wants in service, of course, to “shepherding” the herd and “preaching the word” he is acting as God, and thus can never be held accountable for death or destruction because…well,  He is in the “place of God”.  And God is accountable to no man; to no idea; to no justice or morality or mercy save Himself.

And added to this the very idea of divine “calling” of leadership within the epistemological construct of truth-beyond-humankind must mean that the leadership has carte blanche to act in whatever way they see fit in service to God’s “will” and can by no means be held to a standard of morality beyond themselves.  Added to this that human kind is never then in a position to claim injustice because by definition, they cannot possibly know good from evil in any real way, because they have not been given the level of insight the Priests have been given.

How can anyone who holds to the fundamentals of reformed Protestantism ever be in a position to declare Islam EVIL?  How can they ever be in a position to condemn a mother for having an abortion or a terrorists for blowing up a bus full of Jews (for Luther likely wouldn’t have minded “On the Jews and Their Lies”, by Martin Luther)?

This is rank hypocrisy at its very glittering finest.  Since there is absolutely NO reformation/Calvinist protestant who will declare that the greatest and only objective moral standard is the LIFE of the individual, which makes man of equal value and worth as God, then man is always, always, always in position of moral corruption…for he can never attain divine worth, by definition.  You can say “well, Jesus is in our place” until the hordes of your Calvinist ideology return with swords now dulled, but it doesn’t change the eschatological fact that MAN must, in keeping with the absolute nature of total depravity, always be EXTERNAL to his relationship with Christ.  In other words, since God is the on one who has the perfect worth, then the only real way Christ can relate to anyone is if He has a relationship with Himself, not with man.  Which leaves us again, as humans, in the same bloody predicament I have been talking about:  the only way man can be saved is if man is destroyed.  Either he is destroyed in favor of being GOD in essence, so that he can be worthy of love and affection by God, which he could never be on his own, because he is forever of LESS worth than God; or he is literally destroyed in service to disseminating the truth, under the auspices of which the church of Calvin has the heavenly mandate to disregard all human ideas, reason, property, and life to usher in the New Heaven…in service to the only life that really matters:  God’s.

I say, what in the hell is the difference?  On man’s terrorist is another man’s pastor in the stead.  All of the death starts with an ideology.  It all starts with doctrine.  And believe me, if the “sound doctrine” can only be revealed in spite of man, and not in service to his life, then it is an extremely short walk from doctrine to flying planes into buildings.

A short walk indeed.

Don’t bother packing a lunch.  If you are truly “on fire for God”,  and your vest is properly tightened, you won’t be making a return trip anyway.

Tired “Total Depravity”; Boring “Biblical Inerrancy”: Ramen noodle doctrinal “explanations” and Wartburg Watch’s ongoing proof of their ignorance of basic Calvinist presumptions

For those of you who have taken a distinct disliking to the Wartburg Watch since the advent of the season of “Wade Watch” (thanks to Paul Dohse for yet another excellent play on words; his other great one being “Googleburg Press” LOL).  This playful label of Wartburg Watch as “Wade Watch” refers to the fact that for the past year or so Wartburg’s e-church has been represented by Calvinist/Reformation-ist preacher, Wade Burleson.  I have below a few of my comments which Dee and Deb have deigned to allow to see the light of day over there (but they still won’t speak to me or respond to my comments…awww, they no likey Argo, he make bloggers mad, he make Calvinist readers saaaad) after the requisite amount of exactly one million hours in the moderation time-out corner wearing the meanie-labeled dunce cap…still.  The thread is dealing with Calvinism, related to a couple of Calvin posts, and I think the intention of the posts was to try to convince those who hold Calvinism as THE benchmark of theological “truth” must begin to put love ahead of doctrine.

Okay…you can stop laughing now.

Seriously, you are going to give yourself a heart attack.

Oh…you know what, you’re right.

Yes.  You read me right.  For all of Dee’s waxing eloquent about her heavy forays and and Ph.D. level self-educational excursions into the annals of the school of Calvinist Death-Worship, Debauchery and Doctrine, she…uh, excuse me, I have to go laugh my ever-loving ASS off here…

(LOLOLOLOLOLOROTFLMAO!!!!!!)

Yes, she has the nerve to post an article entitled

To Calvinists: Stress God’s Love Before You Get Into Doctrine

Insert ear-ringing forehead slap here.

I mean…honestly, in all Dee’s time in listening to and reading and posting and commenting on the stories of sordid abuse; of railing against the injustice and sick-minds of the SGM leadership in the child sex abuse scandals…after hundreds of posts detailing the ongoing violence perpetrated upon unwitting parishioners and the public in general from Calvinist monolithic monstrosities who pass for the “moral majority”; from declaration after declaration that she has studied and sat under the teaching of Calvinist doctrine…still, it is painfully obvious that no amount of reason, from me, from any other commenter, from herself, from anyone else at all, not even from the abused and tormented, have made a single dent in her understanding of what really is going on in the minds of her Calvinist friends whom she “admires”.

And this is where this blogging thing…which is done at the expense of my own time, my own energy, my own family, and my own pocketbook, with absolutely zero compensation of any sort save for the blessed satisfaction which comes from seeing even just one human being experience the dawn of the morning of TRUTH; and from that truth a resolute determination to declare the rank hypocrisy and base evil of reformation and Calvinist doctrine…yes, this is where it becomes a CHORE.  It stops being fun.  It stops being anything except a digging of a hole only to see it filled in again by the very people who claim they want to uncover truth.  (Actually…no they don’t.  They fully concede, it seems, that ultimate truth is a “mystery”…but because it’s God’s mystery, it’s okay.)

I mean, seriously, if you cannot understand by now that love for humanity is completely mutually exclusive to Calvinist theology…well, I mean, what to do?  Do we throw up our hands?  Is it time?  I hope not, but still.  To think that Calvinists can categorize “love” and “doctrine” as somehow two ideas which can co-exist in harmony is just plain silly at this point in the discussion.

Human beings are by no means entitled to LOVE!  That’s the whole fucking point!!!  Haven’t we been listening to at least WADE?!!  Human beings are NEVER entitled to demand LOVE…they are never entitled to cry FOUL, or INJUSTICE!  For their very existence is WHY they are so horrible.  Humanity is to blame for EXISTING.  Human existence is EVIL, and what partnership can light have with darkness?!  The ONLY love is that which God, without ANY appeal for justice from man, arbitrarily decides to “give” to an “elect” person…and this only in spite of that person, and never because of them.

Really…looking at Dee’s post, I just want to cry now.  Their understanding has been exorcised.  By Wade?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that you cannot declare Wade Burleson the spiritual authority and mentor of your blog and your blog’s church and ever truly confront Calvinism for the atrocious evil that it is.  Because to do this you must confront and destroy the very root doctrinal assumptions Wade holds.  And they cannot do that; they will not do that.  For, in their mind, the panacea for all Christian ills is tolerance.  And that means that letting Wade, in all his neo-reformed glory and unfettered “authority” as God in the stead, teach his destructive Calvinist ideas is the very pinnacle of GOOD, no matter how many human lives these ideas have wrecked in the past and will wreck in the future and continue to wreck, of which Wartburg Watch is stark evidence.  Exhibit A.  A once-great site in the throws of utter capitulation to the very ideas it was founded to confront.

So far I have not been able to understand exactly what the attraction is to Wade over there.  He is, with the exception of overt fire and brimstone teaching and a threatening jangling of the “keys to the kingdom” in front of the faces of his parishioners like a carrot in front of a tired and dead-eyed horse, every bit as rank a Calvinist in his doctrine and his assumptions about the “authority” of the reformed “orthodoxy” as CJ Mahaney or Al Mohler or John Piper as far as I can tell.  And make no mistake, the authority of orthodoxy IS the authority of the PASTOR who teaches that orthodoxy.  For orthodoxy is nothing…but he who has been “called” to preach it has been given the authority inherent as the divinely bestowed priest in the stead, because orthodoxy can compel no man.  But a human being with the divine mandate of FORCE certainly can, if given enough power.  And make no mistake about this either:  power is what the neo-Calvinist movement seeks (I am going to do a post on Cal Thomas’s terrifying sermon at Wade’s church last week).  A theocracy of their own making, wherein the state is truly merged with “the Christian religion”, making TRUTH not a function of individual human beings or the purview of human contextual REASON, but of the government guillotine.

So, regardless of what Wade says or even believes (because believing one thing about your philosophy and having it actually mean something entirely different is not a farfetched idea, regardless of how commenters like Jeff S over at Wartburg whine that I am “misunderstanding him”…no he is misunderstanding his own presumptions)…so, regardless of what Wade thinks, the very idea that TRUTH is utterly beyond human agency means that the only people who get to have truth are those whom God has somehow, someway, in spite of their own innate evil and blindness in the spirit of total depravity managed to–in utter contradiction of Himself; which implicates God in their hypocrisy–bestowed this utterly mutually exclusive TRUTH.

And so what are they to do with this TRUTH then?  For, surely God has given it to them for a purpose, and that purpose–what these pastors in their million-plus dollar churches with their expensive clothes and fine, large houses get PAID for–is to disseminate that TRUTH.

Well, I ask you, how is this possible?  By their own doctrinal definition man does not possess the capacity to understand truth, for he is so lost in a sea of his depraved self…for in Calvinism man IS evil, and does not merely DO evil, and so man then is never in a position actually “get it” without some kind of…er, external help.

And what kind of help is that, exactly?  Well…there a few ways these pastors, Wade included, disseminate truth as the “specially dispensed” ones, divinely placed in positions of “authority” (FORCE).

….and let’s take a break for a side note:  from now on, anytime you read or hear the word “authority”, no matter who from, think VIOLENCE.  Think FORCE.  For this is the practical meaning of authority.  Nothing more.  Authority never implies that the recipient of this power gets to decide when to bow to that authority…authority is absolute at the end of the day.  Authority breeds violence ultimately.  This is sobering.  And it helps to think of it this way…for it ceases to allow those who carelessly throw this word around (and even some folks I respect, like Paul Dohse, speak way too much of “biblical authority” for my comfort) to get it past your brain’s “warning/danger” trip circuit.  Respecting the pastor’s or the bible’s authority is nothing more than acknowledging that they both have an inherent right to do violence against you–to HURT you–in the event you refuse to concede their perspective; and it NEVER implies that he or it which has authority must convince you of their point of view using a rationale that you can understand and that speaks to your own individual self context.

Oh, sure, by the goodness of their heart, and according to whatever plumb-line of “charity” they have arbitrarily decided to allow themselves (because, of course, as those given authority from God, they get to decide what is “truth” in ALL things, even the limit of their patience with the slobbering barbarians they “teach”), they may not exercise force until their own good pleasure runs out, but understand that they are not obligated to “convince” you of anything.  But if needs be, they acknowledge violence as an appropriate tool, and that in their capacity as God’s holy priests, they will be held completely innocent before God, because ultimately it is God’s “truth” that matters, not human lives.  And of course the two are indeed, by their own doctrine, mutually exclusive.    Human existence is the root of all evil.  For without humanity, there would never have been a “fall”.  And thus, God’s greatest mistake is in creating you and me, then.  So, all of Calvinist thought is wholly devoted to the idea that somehow those standing in the stead must cull the elect from the damned.  And, really, they reserve the right to declare who is who…which is another contradiction in terms, for how do they get the “keys to the kingdom” if God has already elected whom he has elected before they even existed?

Enter the single greatest truth in all of reformed theology:  the great cosmic SHRUG in the sky.

So, how does Wade or any other neo-Cal pastor get to “teach” this truth?  Well…it’s pretty simple.  First, those who wholly agree with every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of Go….er, Wade (or whoever) are of course among those God has elect–provided they continue in their “agreement” with God’s authority.  As such, they need no convincing.  For they have abdicated the throne of their own minds (and thus, their property, which is of course of the most practical benefit to “God’s” kingdom…ehem).

Next, to those who disagree.  Well…elect?  Hmmm.  Who can say? For by definition, since election in reformation theology is totally arbitrary (and it must be, for it has nothing to do with man or anything outside God…which means election is based on God’s whim) then these people may be elect.  And of course, as this possibility is evident, the hypocritical and logically contradictory assumption is that they will eventually “see the light” and agree with Calvinist orthodoxy and thus the “proof” of their calling will be sure.  So, Calvinist pastors aren’t so heavy-handed with the keys right away.

Perhaps they will try to convince them of the “truth”.  This certainly is charitable, but seeings as how by their own doctrinal assumptions man is wholly incapable of grasping truth, because he is an evil slob jerk-off at his core, this tactic seems a futile endeavor…which is why Wade frankly states that he is under no obligation to “impress” my readers (by “impress”, I submit he means, “convince”…which makes sense; he cannot convince those God has not given the “grace to perceive”…a grace which I would say that Wade, himself, fully assumes he has been given).  But since “teaching” is what they get handsomely paid for (seriously, has “treading out the grain” ever seemed so cushy and so profitable as in the American Reformed church?  Ew.) they must at least make an attempt to teach what by definition cannot be learned.  And maybe God’s election of this dude or that gal will be revealed this way.

Those who refuse to accept…well, this is where the man-God behind the plexiglass must actually, for the first time in his life, take into account the context of REALITY.  He must look and see just what practical and actual power he has in light of the social and civil constructs of his surroundings.  That they can do this so well, as is evidenced by all their lawyers (see SGM lawsuit) and their carefully worded “membership-agreements”–or as I like to call them “less impressive and less intellectual versions of the Communist Manifesto”–is proof that they are not insane and thus are completely culpable and at fault for their evil abuse and abusive teaching.

And their level of civil authority will be the yardstick for their abuse.  In places where the state is wholly merged with reformation theology, the unsurprising and unrestrained violence perpetrated upon the citizenship is patently seen with all the clarity of a bright spring afternoon.  Just take a quick gander at the Wikipedia article on John Calvin, the part where this despot is in Geneva, and…well, here we see the fullness of all of the presumptions of Calvinist pastoral “authority” in the likeness of a serial flasher.

But the lower the level of their civil authority, the more they temper their violence…but not always, as a cursory reading of any one of the discernment blogs, like SGM Survivors or Spiritual Sounding Board, will show (make sure you don’t eat for at least four hours before reading the stories of how “sound doctrine” is applied in many churches…or just stick your finger down your throat in service to medically necessary preemptive vomit).  So, they may not be burning you at the stake, but excommunication?  Oh sure.  Stalking?  Following you to your new church with the intention of purposefully maligning your reputation in front of another entire body of believers?  Of course.  Threatening you with violence?  Yeah…they got that.  Putting you under “redemptive church discipline”?  Oh that you should be so lucky.  For that one presumes that you can be “reconciled”, and thus, there may not be any immediate violence done to you…well, at least not outside the church.

Or, there is the Wade way.  The “loving” way.  They will dismiss you with a wave of their charitable hand.  “It may not make sense to you” he says.  Which is just another way of saying that they will see your dumb ass in hell.  Sorry to be so blunt, but really…what else could that mean?

You are beyond help.  You are lost in your ignorance.  Shrug…it’s up to God.  You ain’t my problem.  Wade, I submit, has merely selected the the lazy way of applying “authority”:  Shelve it.  Your problem, not mine.  Go to hell then, and let God deal with you.

(Not that he actually says it or thinks in in such base terms; but the meaning, I submit, is the same.)

Again, the presumption is that they have NOTHING to learn from you, because what they know, they have gotten directly from God.  And this is merely a passive aggressive form of authority; merely a non-physical form of violence.  But it is a psychological punch in the groin.  It is a shrug of which the veiled meaning is that you are not his problem.  You are to be handed over to Satan.  In Wade’s church, I would be surprised if you are permitted to proclaim oppositional views in his building.  You may be tolerated, but I feel like eventually you (as I was at SGM) be “invited” to attend at church you are more comfortable with.  Which is fine…I’m a big believer in libertarian capitalism.  You want to have a place where only your brand of “truth” is tolerated, that is fine with me.  But let’s not mince words.  Let’s stop the presumption.  Just admit that YOU have truth because God has given it to you, and as such, you don’t have to explain a damn thing to anyone else.  They either get it or they don’t.  Admit that you will NEVER concede that you could actually be teaching ideas that are false, because since they are GOD’S ideas, and God is merely using you as a vehicle for Himself, you cannot by definition ever be wrong.

Why?

Because HE is God’s AUTHORITY.  Period.  He is the priest who has special knowledge, and you are not.  And thus, as I have said before and will say again, proof of TRUTH is nothing more or less than agreeing–not with the Bible; not with God–but with HIM.

So, after all that, here are my comments on Wartburg for your reading pleasure, in case you have either a.) eschewed that site, on account of you witnessing its decline in effectiveness in actually defending the abused or b.) don’t see my comments because they appear seventeen days later and you don’t have enough computer memory and/or time in your schedule to scroll up to find them.

These comments deal with the same old and tired and trotted out defenses for the indefensible doctrines of “total depravity”, and a little bit of Biblical Inerrancy, just so we an rest assure that these “absolutes” are still, in as jaded and rote way as possible, bandied about by stunted thinkers as proof of their divine enlightenment.  Enjoy.

Nancy,

You said: “…not the bible says, but “the bible says and this is what it means””.

Wow. Exactly right. For all the claims of biblical inerrancy, we seem to forget, inerrant or not someONE…some HUMAN, has to interpret it. So the question is not “is the bible inerrant?”, but “whose interpretation is inerrant?”.

An this is the problem. If we concede that truth is not ultimately rooted in individual human context based on a moral value of the human SELF as the objective plumb line for truth and love, then we are forced to trust that God has somehow given some person a “divine” insight you can’t have. And this is why so many Calvinists are comfortable with contradictions in their assumptions. The realize that the only proof of truth they have is merely to agree with whomever they have decided speaks “for God”.

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I would disagree that anyone on TWW–and I have been reading here a long time–has misrepresented Calvinism. In fact, with respect and not intending to hurt feelings, it is the Calvinists who are misrepresenting their own doctrine by refusing to acknowledge the contradictions (which…they do this by arguing that truth really can’t be known). Many of us come from heavy Calvinist backgrounds, have studied the confessions and the institutes, and can find no basis for a distinction between Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism. For example, the word “total” in Total Depravity is an absolute…there is no such rational idea as “partly total”, which is what some Calvinists want to say when they declare that humans are “not as bad as they could be”…as if this matters in the dualistic Calvinist paradigm: God is Good, and you…are not. This, of course, is totally irrelevant. The ideas of “bad” and “good” are meaningless in Calvinist doctrine. The simple interpretation of total depravity is this: because you are human (totally), you are perpetually and inexorably morally corrupt, and the only way you can understand any truth is if God functionally does it for you via the doctrine of arbitrary “election”. People like RC Sproul understand that he can woo you all day long with heady notions of “secondary causes” because he understands that it will appeal to your false, but emotionally necessary urge for “feeling loved” and your “sense of justice”, without actually conceding his utterly deterministic assumptions. A secondary cause is always subservient to the primary cause, which is God. Hence, your “free will” is categorically subject to God’s absolute control (meaning, God “allowing” is functionally the exact same thing as Him “not allowing”; anything that happens happens as a direct function of his will, either via that positive (allowing) or the negative (not allowing)…in either case, your “free will” is utterly under God’s sovereign control. In light of this, RC understands that “free will” cannot possibly be free, by definition. But RC, as a neo-Cal intellectual, is, I think, trying to avoid what so many Calvinists do with regularity, and have no problem with it: concede that at the root of what they believe are ideas that simply cannot be reconciled.

Some Calvinists who want to make a distinction between “hyper calvinism” and “proper Calvinism” will gravitate to these equivocations in an effort to convince you–and I suspect themselves–that God in their construct is not some despotic puppet master who controls all things including abuse, rape, etc (e.g. by “allowing” them). But those of us who are labeled as “misconstrue-ers” of Calvinism are simply pointing out the logical flaws in their arguments. I am not trying to hurt or be cruel…I am trying to say that ideas must have basis, and one does not get to declare an idea and then refuse to defend it rationally by appealing to humanity’s inherent inability to understand it, and THEN proceed to give examples of why what is a contradiction in the doctrine really isn’t a contradiction.

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I would be happy, however, to never use the label “Calvinist” again, out of respect for Jeff and Jeff. I have no problem with that…no one likes to be labeled. I get called an Arminian routinely…LOL, I don’t even know anything about Arminianism. How one can be labeled an Arminian after a decade and a half as an SGM bobblehead is beyond me. But I do…and I understand where Jeff S is coming from here.

Anyway…that’s fine. We can just debate doctrine. Or the ideological roots of abuse.

Buuuuuut the problem with this is that trying to pin a Calvinist down on what doctrines they actually believe is like trying to hold a wriggling cat using hands stuck in oven mitts (not that we’d be putting the cat in the over…gross, and, uh, cruel). Because their first and most precious assumption is that truth is forever beyond any human agency. Thus, just when you think you’ve got them pinned with the logical plumb line, they slip deftly away with a declaration of “no…you don’t understand; I don’t BELIEVE that”. By which they really mean: God hasn’t given you the “grace to perceive”; or, as my mother in law likes to say to end all discussion “I just know that I know that I know”.

Uh huh.

This is merely a nice way of saying that God hasn’t enlightened you to the “truth”. You are still lost in your finite mind. And thus, we are left with the only real “proof” that anyone has been given the truth: by agreeing with THEM.

But, no…they will say, you don’t have to agree with me! That’s misrepresenting my heart, Argo! Yet again!

I disagree. They MUST insist you agree with them…it is implied in the very protest to my assertion: You don’t understand me; you can’t understand me; thus, your only response is to AGREE that you could be wrong. In other words, the Calvinists want you to agree that YOU have a FINITE mind and “could be wrong”. Agree that you can’t really know, truth, and as such you can have NO basis for denying their doctrine. After all, you could be wrong.

No. I am not wrong. And I will not say I could be…because many of us understand that once we concede that men and women cannot know truth, then there is only one thing left to decide who gets to wield God’s “authority” on earth, because reason and logically reconcilable ideas have no place in “truth”: violence. He or she who has the bigger gun or knife or bomb–he or she who has the juggernaut of “platform” or Church Leadership “seniority”–is the one who gets to compel others to their point of view. Once we agree that all ideas have the exact same chance of being wrong…we have merely held the door open for ANOTHER, and even more sinister and vicious, arbiter of truth to be released: the power of the “keys”, which is nothing more than the power of DESTRUCTION…and with this, the powers that be continue to be the powers that be. And those of us who see the logical cause and effect of Calvinism-to-abuse are against Calvinism because we don’t WANT the powers that be to be the power any more.