Monthly Archives: October 2013

Slip of the Tongue, or Just Slippery?: A short look at a hypothetical study based on Wade Burleson’s “Prayer/Pastoral Abuse” synergism (PART THREE of series)

“It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor. 🙂 Maybe?”

-Wade Burleson, eChurch Pastor, http://www.thewartburgwatch.com, 10/14/2013, 8:26 am

Before reading this third installment of the series–which concerns Wade Burleson’s extremely disturbing quote above, and which went wholly unchallenged by the purveyors of The Wartburg Watch, Dee and Deb, who laud and congratulate commenter, Eagle (former self-avowed atheist) on his upcoming baptism, while at the same time presumably sending the message that, in the interest of Dee’s brand of Christian love and solidarity, he may be forced to suck up some of the culpability for his pastor’s unholy tyranny should the situation arise.  And let it be known yet again, that neither Dee nor Deb to my knowledge offered one singe rebuttal to this quote; raised no hand of inquiry, nor even demanded a brief explanation.  And I am supposed to congratulate Eagle on his Baptism?  What am I to think, though?  Of course, that we should all acknowledge Christ and be free…but free from the exact same kind of tyranny which Wade declares in this quote and the exact same kind which Dee and Deb cannot fathom is actually tyrannical at all, for Wade after all is just such a kind fellow.  And of course we all know that the plumb line for TRUTH and LOVE, and the single greatest indication that a leader is a good leader is our subjective opinion of  how pleasant his demeanor is, and how many times he pats you on the shoulder and calls you “friend”.

Congratulations, Eagle.  Really.  I mean it.  Now, stop listening to Dee and Deb (and most definitely Wade) and continue on your journey to think for yourself.  Don’t let all the Wartburg love-bombing cloud your senses…because this is just what happens.  You feel all warm and fuzzy…and then WHAM! the next minute your spiritual “authority” is demanding that you stop forcing him to hurt you by disobeying his “divine calling” according to your pervasively depraved nature; and your blog queen friends are right next to him nodding with sympathetic looks and and murmuring, “He’s right, you know.”

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes…before your read this third installment, be sure you’ve read the previous two.

I have mentioned before what I think Wade’s intention was in submitting this quote for all the world to see and wonder just how in the hell anyone who actually likes people could believe such a peculiar thing, but it bears repeating again.  What I submit Wade is doing here is attempting to draw a direct connection between the laity’s interest in prayer (by which he really means:  you’re not praying!) for their pastor and his level of authoritarianism.  This notion he presents, with his patronizing smiley face and the snarky “Maybe?”, as theoretical.  This is because even Wade knows, I hope, that there is no actual, empirical, objective, or even reasonable way to measure such a correlation:  prayer as it inversely relates to a given pastor’s degree of psychopathic narcissism or sadism.

Nevertheless, let’s take a gander at how it might develop should we buck the odds and attempt to make such a correlation, in accordance with accepted university-level research standards.  I have a doctorate, so I am familiar with such things to some extent.  Hmm…let’s see what I can recall off the top of my head.

First, of course, you would need to outline the experiment in a formal proposal for the purposes of securing funds, which…good luck on getting that grant money.  You may want to hit up Liberty University or the SBC for this one, because a secular college (that’s code for a college that actually has empirical standards for the execution of studies and demands valid statistical data in the analysis) will do little more than call security on you depending on how hard it is for you to take “no” for an answer.  But let’s assume you find some complicit institution which is sympathetic to your totally irrational epistemology.

Then you need a control group.  You’d need to get a pastor willing to fake authoritarianism, and a congregation willing to fake prayers.  So you’d actually need two control groups, then.  And in both cases, considering this is church we are talking about, one could make the argument that the control groups are organized around wholly unethical behavior which will likely lead to the affliction of emotional/psychological abuse on the part of certain test subjects.  Which I’m pretty sure disqualifies the study right out of the gate if my memory of Internal Review Board codes of ethics serves; not to mention you’d really be making more work for yourself because now you’d need to do two more studies–because the suspense would kill you–on the degree of abuse perpetrated on church members by pastors who fake leadership in the church (i.e. preach a bunch of shit they don’t really believe)  or members who fake prayer or an interest in prayer for their pastors (i.e. say they’ll pray for him while crossing their fingers behind their back) just so they can make a few bucks participating in a study on the psychology of and social relationships within a hyper-authoritarian Christian cult…a study which is, itself, abusive.

See how Wade’s innocent little remark only very lightly masks a vast, vast ocean of metaphysical and epistemological chaos?  I submit that there is no way a man who would make such a suggestion can be operating from a rational world-view.  That there are people out there who really believe such things acting as God’s proxy for real, life human beings should scare people.

Next, you’d need to identify the Pastor’s (the one in question) natural disposition according to accepted professional clinical standards and definitions/labels, and which has been vetted and reviewed by psychiatric experts.  That is, you would need a reference personality by which you could gauge this Pastor’s standard deviation from this reference to the degree the laity withdraws their “interest” in praying–and you’d need to, if you wanted to precisely measure Wades’ glittering jewel of philosophical insanity, make some kind of quantifiable distinction between an “interest” in prayer and actual prayer.  And so the study’s sample size would need to be limited to those pastors who have been professionally and clinically deemed to posses such a natural disposition…for there wouldn’t be much of a deviation to record if the natural disposition of the pastor was already that of a psychopathic narcissist.  And given the rise in popularity of neo-Reformation teaching and preaching, and the ubiquity of neo-Calvinist despots literally and figuratively littering the landscape of the modern American church, good luck in finding some genuinely compassionate elders.  Before you rounded up enough test subjects to make the study statistically valid, you’d run out of land.  You’d have to sample from other countries and that’s a whole new set of criteria you’d have to meet, as there isn’t necessarily reciprocity between domestic and foreign Review Boards, I’m afraid.  But you might get lucky.

So, as I was saying, you’d have to exclude your psychopaths, narcissists, borderlines, sadists, dependents, depressives, PTSDs, anxiety cases, schizoids, molesters, violent porn addicts, drunks, pharmaceutical dependents, and your general, run-of-the-mill assholes…all of which of course would require an extensive amount of professional vetting.  I’m not sure if you are familiar with the kinds of specialists you’d need wrangle into your corner in order to accomplish such a thing, but as Rodney Dangerfield once said, “I assure you, it’s not the Boy Scouts”.  And these psychiatric egg-heads don’t come cheap; get ready to grease a few palms and fork it over for expensive steak dinners and a more than a few hundred-dollar bottles of wine.  If you are an attractive female, you may need to consider, er, other ideas in order to curry favor with expert adjuncts should you find yourself running short of grant money.

(That was a joke, okay.  Just a joke.)

Then you’d need to both qualify and quantify “excessive pastoral abuse”, and also “prayer”…yes, yes I’m afraid you will.  You must understand that for the kind of exacting study Wades impressive divine musings demand you cannot leave anything up to the notion that certain ideas are just perfunctorily understood.  And so, yes, an equation for prayer will need to be produced by you and your fine research mentors for the purposes of generating the charts and graphs to fill your impressive end notes, first and foremost to cause an impressed murmuring among our esteemed reviewers, and second so we may understand just what we mean by “prayer” with respect to the study.  Which is important, believe me.  Will the monosyllabic prayer of our little three-year-old Cheerios munchers fit the bill, or do we require the solemn chanting of our more seasoned citizens?  Will the prayers of women be permitted for inclusion, or are we assuming that there will be far too little time a woman can give to the kind of prayer a mighty man of God requires, given the weight of his stature and unsearchable wisdom; and after all shouldn’t she be spending a little more time minding her biblical role and a little less time worrying about what a man with supreme God-like authority over her AND her husband (because, see, it’s in the bible) is doing to “abuse” her.  Scoff!  As if she could be in a position to know!  For if God doesn’t give PASTOR the grace to perceive his sins at times, how much less does the Almighty heed the insufficient sniveling of the weaker sex?

Next…what do you consider the direct influence of prayer upon the pastor to be, exactly?  What is the direct influence of a lack of prayer?  How do we define/quantify the direct influence of a lack of interest in prayer?  And then in light of this, how do you define and then how do you statistically subtract other factors which might affect the pastor’s disposition from the influence of prayer…such as stress, fatigue, marital strife, work load, personal health, medication, diet, doctrinal assumptions (e.g. maybe excessive abuse is not actually excessive nor abusive at all according to another pastor…maybe what Wade would define  as pastoral authoritarianism is just biblical as far as they are concerned), interpretive assumptions, vagaries concerning the definition of “authoritarian”, and, if your Mark Driscoll, sexual frustration and the influence of your extra sensory perception (ESP).

Supposing you were able to do all of that, and rule all of that out to an acceptable degree according to the standards of empirical research, you would still have the very, very formidable…nay, impossible task of proving beyond a statistically reasonable and and logical doubt that the prayer–since its direct causal influence is almost certainly unobservable (hence the needing faith part of Christianity)–was the single greatest factor acting upon the disposition of the pastor in question.  It is impossible to qualify as empiric that which is a function of an extra-sensory Being (God) unless He happens to show up in a flash of smoke and lightning at just the right time and on cue during the dissertation defense and and declare “Ta da! That prayer did that thing!”.  Which, I suppose He could do, but…unless the Ph.D. committee actually had faith enough in God in the first place, they likely wouldn’t believe Him anyway.

So what are we left with?  We are left with this:

“It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor. 🙂 Maybe?”

A statement which has absolutely no rational defense, no plausible means of validation by any empirical or reasonable standard, and should be rejected as nothing more than a churlish playing at Christianity.  The point of my facetious exercise in this post is simply to point out that this egregious statement of Wade’s should not in any way be given serious consideration as a legitimate perspective worthy of any sane person’s time.  He should categorically retract it and apologize for its utter offensiveness to anyone who has ever been abused at the hands of a self-absorbed, unbalanced despot, be it a parent, a spouse, a governmental leader, or a pastor.

But he won’t because God likes him better than he likes you.  It’s really just that easy once you get away from all the high-brow platitudes and the appeals to “right biblical exegesis” and “sound doctrine”.  It’s nothing more than a Christian caste system where PASTOR declares TRUTH for all of us…and we agree, or suffer a divine “fuck off” which shall surely run the gamut of physical and psychological horrors.

Still…I’m not done with this little Calvinist peach of a statement.  Stay tuned for part four.

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“Christian” Presented Before the King: The Penitent Neo-Calvinist at the Throne of Judgement

And the King shall say, ” Christian, tell me.  How hath thou applied what hast been revealed to you regarding your life, its purpose, and my glory?”

And Christian shall say, “Lord, I appeal to the Christ and beg you to acknowledge His work as mine own, that His obedience with respect to the application of thy truths revealed be accepted by my Lord likewise as mine own.”

And the King shall say, “I see.  Then tell me, Christian, how is it that thou hath understood this thing?  That the Christ must grant His own obedience to the revelation unto you, that thou may thus stand before this judgement throne and give it to me?”

And Christian shall say, ‘Oh Lord, permit me to answer and I shall, with my face bowed and my body prostrate.  Indeed, by your grace only I shall respond.  Thus:  Because He and thou hath revealed unto me that I am an unworthy and utterly wicked servant to the King.  And as this then must be true, it follows that any work of mine own can by no means be acceptable unto you; because he who hast done the work, if I claim the work to be mine own, must be wholly corrupt and wicked to the bone so many are my transgressions to which my corruption hath given rise, from the day of my birth until this day.”

And the King shall say, “And how is it that thou hath understood this then, Christian?  How hath thou apprehended that thou are a wicked servant from the day of your birth until now, and therefore cannot but work evil in my sight, and never good, as a bad tree must put forth bad fruit?”

And Christian shall say, “Why King, ’tis a simple answer you seek:  for you hath revealed it unto me.  And, please forgive me Lord, for I am a wholly wicked fool, but allow me one question, and please do not strike  me in your righteous anger.  I shall ask you thus, trusting in your charity:  have I not been clear in this, my Lord?  Forgive my failure if I have been found wanting in my supplication, and have somehow vexed thee.”

And the King shall say, “You have been clear in this thing, Christian, and yet one thing still doth vex me.  For if you are wholly corrupt in your wickedness, from the day of your birth until this day, and an unworthy servant thus, with all other descriptions befitting your character being then utterly subservient to your unwholesomeness, how is it that thou  hath discerned good from evil in this matter?  How is it that thou hath understood your need for the Christ to placate me on your behalf, that all thy work is evil work, and His work is good, and hath therefore understood that His work must be granted to you for your life’s sake, because He is a wholly good man and you are not?  How hast this been learned by you, that you hath conceded the revelation of it thus as truth?  For indeed if thou canst learn this revelation, and recite it before me so well, and claim it to be wholly good and necessary, must this not then mean that thou are rightly able to discern good from evil?  And if thou canst discern it, and act to concede the revelation in your thoughts and heart as you have so done before this throne, Christian, what is thy excuse for not pursuing the good and forsaking the evil yourself, that thou might not instead demand before me that the Christ must pursue obedience to the good on your behalf, though thou hast acknowledged it as good in your heart, and yet have claimed that thou cannot act upon this knowledge because thou is wholly wicked; and therefore thou comes before me in thine arrogance and false humility, admitting that thou hast proceeded to do nothing from himself?”

And Christian shall say, “O Lord, do not be angry.  Hath I not made my supplication clear?  For this knowledge of thine revelation is not such that can be learned, for man is indeed, Lord, wholly evil (forgive me, Lord, for I must correct thee in this thing) but ’tis knowledge that can be only revealed, O Lord.”

And the King shall say, “To whom is it revealed, Christian?”

And Christian shall say, “Why, to me, O Lord.  By  thine grace alone, for I cannot learn it.  For I am a wicked son.”

And the King shall say, “Indeed, thou are a wicked man, Christian, but thou are no son of man.  For if you existed, then I would hath revealed it unto you, and you would hath learned it thus; for how can a revelation be understood as worthy and true if thou bitterly deny thine grasping of it according to a wholly wicked heart, and therefore do not pursue it as one to whom it hast been revealed?  But as it is, I say to you that your own words hath condemned you.  For thou hast said it hast been revealed unto me, and yet I was too wicked and evil a son learn it and pursue it thus in obedience to mine King, who hath revealed it.  Therefore thou hast both declared thine inexorable and infinite evil, and also hath lied to the face of the King.  Thou hast claimed a self who hast understood good and evil, by which thou sees thyself as wholly  wicked according to the revelation, but thou denies thine presence as one who is able to receive my revelation and acknowledge its truth because thou hast replaced thyself, O Christian, with utter evil.  Therefore I say to you, away from me you worker of iniquity, and be cast into the darkness.  For I never knew you; because by your own lips you hath proclaimed that there was never a you for the King to know.

Slip of the Tongue, or Just Slippery?: More hijinks from Pastor Wade Burleson and Wartburg Watch (PART TWO)

“It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor. 🙂 Maybe?”

-Wade Burleson, Pastor, eChurch, Wartburg Watch (www.wartburgwatch.com), 10/14/2013, 8:26 am

I would again like to remind you, dear readers, that neither Dee nor Deb of the Wartburg Watch offered a single, solitary challenged to this comment by Wade.  These two run a “discernment blog”, ostensibly in the interest of pointing out abuse and abusive trends in today’s church.  And yet this?  Went utterly ignored by the self-proclaimed “blogging queens”.  And now, of course, where before we thought we knew the answer to this question, it seems we are left in an information lurch.  Just what, pray tell, are they the queens of?  Because for this comment to go unchallenged by either one of them leaves me a lot confused as to just what in the hell the point of their blog is anymore.  They rail against Steven Furtick in North Carolina for having a big house and, heaven-forbid, a “mega-church”, and yet allow Wade Burleson to walk away from his metaphysical/epistemological smoking car-wreck of tyranny while running blocker for him against the doctrine police.

And again, my comment?  Derided as mean-spirited, deceptive drivel.  My comment gets both barrels.  My comment, which calls Wade out on a categorically indefensible statement, utterly un-proveable, with no ties to reason or rationality…a product of a mindset completely bereft of any grasp of the physical world in which Wade operates and draws his living wages—at least philosophically and judiciously–and rooted in the rank acceptance of the Primacy of Consciousness model, which puts all VALUE (TRUTH and MORALITY) utterly outside of the human frame of reference.

Yeah, that’s Dee’s target these days.  Can we all pronounce “Master” correctly?  It’s “massa”, in case you readers over there at Wartburg forgot you were still a slave to he who is in the stead who owns you on God’s behalf.

I have said it before and I will say it again:  Wartburg Watch jumped the shark the day they decided that Wade should be the resident eChurch pastor for that site.  And once the thieves enter in and bind up the strong man…well, we know what happens to the house.  It needs a really good maid, PDQ.  And what was that Jesus said about making people twice as much the sons of hell as they were before?  Yeah…that’s pretty much where my thoughts are headed concerning any abused ex-Calvinist punching bag/drone (like I used to be) who enters into the majority of “discernment blogs” these days.

Dee’s response to my comment was knee-jerk, hyper-emotional, and completely predictable, as I have already mentioned.  Part of it implied that I had accused Wade of advocating domestic violence (“And if the wife had gotten her husband’s dinner on time she could have avoided that crack across her jaw. Just look what she made him do.”), which of course, I did not do at all.  I did, however, liken his accusation that a “lack of interest in prayer”–which must imply a lack of prayer, itself, by logical extension–as the source of pastoral authoritarianism to the idea that a wife can be, by Wade’s crooked “logic”, accused of being the root cause of her own spousal beatings if we decide this: to link violence against a victim with that victim’s own refusal (or obviously limited ability) to claim ownership of his/her tormenter’s sadistic personality disorder.  And of this, you can be sure.  I stand by my argument in this matter.  And further I declare that any Pastor, who is supposed to be in charge of compassionately leading God’s sheep into the safety and love and peace of their Heavenly Father, who engages in abuse and authoritarianism does not need prayer or an “interest” in prayer; he needs to have his ass fired, be publicly stripped of all his pastoral “privileges” and sent to a fucking psychiatrist.  Preferably one who is liberal with his criteria for admission, forced, into a state mental hospital.  Because anyone with that kind of ostensible trust and that kind of command over peoples lives and property who would abuse people’s trust like that is not a healthy man.  He is an evil man.  He is a man who needs a new personality, and/or to be put as far away from other human beings as the law allows.

That’s what he needs.

ANYONE who hears this kind of argument in their church…the one that Wade makes, should grab their kids and sprint to the nearest exit, like air to the vacuum of space.  And I mean STAT.

“It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor. 🙂 Maybe?”

Oh…for fuck’s sake!

This is how a Calvinist responds to ABUSE!!!!  And let me tell you something…it’s the same attitude I saw in SGM for years, and we all know how that church went down.  But do you think anyone in that church accepts responsibility for their evil actions?  Do you think anyone blames the “divine” doctrine.  I have not talked to all, but I’ve talked to several of my old SGM cohorts who are still in that mind-prison and I can assure you that they have absolutely zero appreciation for the level of manipulation and psychopathic teachings that led to the demise of that group’s credibility with anyone who looks to sanity and reason for their world-view.  In short, they just don’t see what the fuck the big deal is.  Seriously.

Folks, that is the kind of lightness with which Wade, I submit, himself takes these kinds of issues.  Issues like Pastoral abuse, which can take many, many forms…from physical, to psychological, to lying or being deceptive about church finances, to using people, to intimidation, to stalking people, to spying on people, to extort, and–as we who have a working knowledge of CJ Mahaney’s soiled history as President of SGM understand well–to blackmail.

Okay…moving away from my soap-box, whereupon I have appealed to my fellow-man/woman’s sense of moral decency to reject Wade and his teachings and his doctrine and his eChurch, I turn now to your sense of reason.  To that large and powerful brain muscle of rational thought that most people have (but many sadly choose to ignore), and one which has been trained to Olympic proportions by those who have spent a few minutes here and there ferreting out the logical conclusions of the Reformed doctrinal iron maiden.

One more thing, however, before I go there…let me just say that I will no longer subject myself to the emotional abuse I get from Dee over there at Wartburg Watch.  I have confronted her spiritual mentor, and as a consequence I have been privileged to taste several of Dee’s shit sandwiches, prepared a variety of ways.  It is no longer worth it…because shit sandwiches, while at first are a novelty and piquing,  just stopped being interesting a long time ago.  And besides that, at this point, let’s be honest.  My comments on her blog are just a red cape to Dee.  She doesn’t bother to think much, she charges and hopes she connects a horn to some flesh…there’s simply nothing rational about how she responds to me anymore.  And it isn’t kind of me to bait her by going there.  So, I guess my point is that from now on I’ll be discussing things only as an outside observer to the car crash that has become the Wartburg Watch.  I won’t actually be in the car.

Anyway…Wade’s comment.  Yeah.  I mean…further on down the comment thread you see Wade equivocate on what he “actually meant” (though, he never concedes, as far as I can tell, that what he said, that is, the words he used in that particular order, which beg a clear and rank interpretation by anyone with a grasp of the English language, are simply just plain wrong, which to me is the only meaningful response; a complete redaction). But, like, whatever, you know?   I don’t particularly care to see Wade attempt to “correct” a statement that should be categorically rejected, full stop, and then stricken from the record; or held up for perpetual derision as an example of how a Pastor can lose all credibility in a single bound.  Any clarification of a statement like that must be, by definition as far as I’m concerned, not nearly enough to make it either functionally justified, nor moral, nor meaningful, nor sane.  Any attempt to clarify what I consider to be a psychologically abusive statement merely indicates that Wade doesn’t really get it at all, and thus is not in a position to understand either abuse nor authority and as such, is not in a position to comment on it ever (nor to be a Pastor).  An attempt to “clarify” psychological abuse/spiritual tyranny is merely an indication that the person doing the clarification is, very likely, uninterested in actually stopping abuse.  If the husband, after he cracks his wife across the jaw for his late dinner decides to “explain what he really meant”…well, this doesn’t make him all of a sudden a guy to be trusted to confront abuse. But this is precisely what Wade believes, I submit, in theory, even though he wouldn’t concede my example.  It is, however, the exact same idea.  And that’s Wade.  And Wartburg.  After all, why does any hyper-authoritarian Pastor need Wade to “explain” that the reason for his tyranny lands squarely in the lap of the laity?  He is just as much an emissary of God as Wade is, according to the doctrine.  Wade doesn’t need to play the middle man.  The abusive Pastor in Wade’s example can excuse his own evil behavior just fine all by his lonesome, thank you very much.

That’s my opinion on the matter and yeah…I went there.  Again.

*

What Doesn’t Logically Reconcile

So Wade draws this direct connection between the laity’s “interest” in praying (which means their actual praying…which means: you’re NOT PRAYING for PASTOR and that’s why he is such an asshole)…yes, between the laity’s interest in praying for their Pastor and the amount of ecclesiastical authoritarianism to which they are subjected.  Now, even though Wade draws a direct connection between these two actions, the “real” connection can only ever be purely theoretical.  Because anyone with even the minutest grasp of the real world can see that there is simply no objective nor empirical way to measure the correlation between the degree of one’s prayer and the degree to which his or her pastor is a psychopathic narcissist.

Allow me to explain how an attempted study might look and why it is doomed to fail…not that this makes any difference to a Calvinist.  Remember, to them, TRUTH cannot be learned but must be, somehow, divinely bestowed, and so there isn’t any pastor who would or could be bothered with any kind of empirical study in the first place.  By their own doctrinal definition, TRUTH happens to be whatever they say it is at any given moment, even if it directly contradicts a TRUTH declared just yesterday over morning coffee.  That is the width and breadth of Calvinist epistemology.  So, even if Wade understands that correlation is not causation it doesn’t mean that it applies to him as God’s proxy.  Correlation, like anything else, is whatever God “gives him grace to perceive”.  Which means simply, again, that whatever Wade declares is true is true, and any criteria anywhere in the world according to any measure of statistical consistency or objective reason or epistemological frames of reference or human context (metaphysics) is merely the devil, up to his old Garden variety tricks again, deceiving the depraved masses until God arbitrarily decides who He has already predestined to get saved again and again by “preaching the gospel to themselves every day”.

Get it?  Yeah. Neither do I. But remember, it doesn’t matter.  As long as it makes sense to Wade and any other neo-Calvinist authority standing in the stead of God, that’s all you need concern yourself with.

Okay…time’s run out for this morning’s edition of Reformed Fun and Hijinks, sponsored by http://www.wartburgwatch.com.

See you for part three.  Oh, and I haven’t forgotten about Cal Thomas’s terrifying sermon on how to compel moral behavior in America’s blind, barbarian masses through a despotic theocracy.  I have MUCH more to say about that in part three of the series.  Ta ta.

Slip of the Tongue, or Just Slippery?: More hijinks from Pastor Wade Burleson and Wartburg Watch

Here is the link to the e-Church sermon in question…Wade’s comment I will be discussing is at the top of the thread: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/10/12/echurchwartburg-10-13-13/

Wade Burleson, 10/14/2013, 8:26AM said:

“…Fascinating to me that the three messages challenging the modern concept of pastoral authority…have an average of well over 200 downloads to watch.  However, the message on “How to Pray for Your Pastor” has only 4 downloads–total.  A reduction of 98%.  It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor. 🙂 [smiley face] Maybe?”

(Comments in brackets and bold emphasis added)

Now, let’s take the most egregious and most salient statement out of the greater quote so that you can view it in all its unequivocal clarity:

“It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor.”–Wade Burleson

And again, just in case you are still blinking your eyes and scratching your brain case, wondering if you read that right (you did) let’s get Wade to give us an encore of his encore.

“It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor.”–Wade Burleson

Now, if you are like me, you kind of tilted your head sideways and thought that if maybe you read the words from a slightly different visual angle, you’d be able to process what in the hell Wade is trying to say here.

Then you tilt your head a different way and realize that the problem is not you, the problem is those words….in that order.  And you can scarcely believe what you are witnessing.  Did Wade Burleson, poster pastor for Compassionate Calvinism, actually just blame the the victims of the abuse for the abuse?!  Well, as you read through the comments thread and you see Wade equivocate like schoolboy caught smoking crack in the bathroom, you will notice his denunciation of this interpretation (in his own charitable way) in spades.  However, read the quote again.  I mean…I am not calling Wade a liar; perhaps he truly doesn’t mean in his heart what his words so clearly, I submit, declare, and declare with force:

THE problem with excessive pastoral abuse is the LAITY.

Friends, country-men, lenders-of-ears…this is what I have been talking about, and why a site like the Wartburg Watch is a place that is almost an abject educational necessity for those of us interested in seeing the evolution of tyranny from its innocent roots as merely a bunch of confused and slightly indignant-but-well-meaning people just trying to “learn to accept and love one another better while not playing the doctrinal blame-game”, become a full-fledged monstrosity of irrational and despotic metaphysical and epistemological assumptions.  And the fact that this comment by Wade went utterly unchallenged by Dee or Deb, and yet, my response was immediately condemned as mean-spirited and deceptive and whatever other irrational, knee-jerk pejoratives Dee could conjure up in the deep well of her emotionally-lopsided reason…well, this should speak volumes and volumes to the fact that indeed, it doesn’t take much time nor work for the very destructive ideas which led to the formation of Wartburg Watch in the first place to swallow that same site whole and spit out even more victims than before Wartburg even existed.

So, yes…a little confused at first, I am, and so are you (but deep down, perhaps not really…we understand the roots of how Wade sees humanity).  It’s like…you know there is something vastly wrong with a statement like this…and you know that it isn’t just wrong in one way, but its wrongness and evil spread and fill the sky like countless branches on a tree used for lynching.  So there are thoughts all going in a thousand different directions and you sit and think and think about…okay, why is this so evil, and where does one even start to lay down a counter-argument to such debauched thinking?  There are plenty of places to begin, each one seemingly as good as another.  But then you notice that within the purely blatant and obvious meaning of those words in that order are layers and layers of nuanced theology, each stratum more putrid than the next.  And so you dig to the bottom, trying to find the root which gives life to the poisonous vine you see above the dirt, which is but the flower of violence…the concluding fruit of what is really a deep, deep philosophy.  A very well-rounded and very reformed philosophy.

And this is what I was able to come up with as a quick response.  I realize it is inadequate as a systematic rebuttal to Wade’s statement, but the reason I only hinted at the myriad of ways you could defy such a belief while highlighting  its frustrating effect on me, was to get Wade and others to understand that, yes, of course, there were indeed logical and and organized avenues of answering  Wade’s false assertion, but the first logical response should be one of abject offense and anger.

“The reformed get-out-of-jail-free-card.  The pastor is merely a sinner saved by grace.  If you only prayed for him…”

Okay…wait.  Break.  It’s always a him, isn’t it?  And that of course is the first sign of tyranny within the ranks of “God’s chosen people”:  a caste system based on the possession of external genitalia (among other things).  That is a sure sign that you are walking into a philosophy which operates in a vacuum of reason, and without any objective plumb line of morality and value…and there can be only one:  life.  And the sex of that life simply cannot rationally matter.  Now, certainly, this isn’t to suggest that the Calvinists don’t have some use for the “weaker sex”; surely, male copulation is a divine right not to be refused by women under any circumstance (within marriage, of course, they are quick to point out, as if that makes it any less disturbing…and, listening to some Calvinist pastors, I think I finally understand why some define marriage as institutionalized rape), so the male supreme ecclesiastical authority do have an orthodox “biblical role” for boobies, but they only really talk about that at the marriage retreats (or, if your Mark Driscoll, whenever).  Anyway…back to my response:

“If you only prayed for him more, none of this unpleasantness would would have happened.  Your lack of prayer is probably why God did not give him the “grace to perceive”.  If you just showed a little more interest maybe the pastor wouldn’t have to force you into right behavior.  If you just got with the program, and admit that all your pastors’ sins in the area of authority are due to your lack of compliance [to his supreme and infallible will as God’s proxy]…well, you wouldn’t be so miserable, now would you?

And if the wife had gotten her husband’s dinner on time maybe she could have avoided that crack across her mouth.  Just look at what she made him do.” 

(Comments in brackets and bold emphasis added)

Coming soon: part two

The Wartburg Watch’s Dee and Deb: Their fall TO grace, part TWO

A lot of irons in the fire, here.  I’m currently in the middle of two series’ with respect to the Wartburg Watch (www.wartburgwatch.com)–one concerning the relatively recent E-Church sermon by Cal Thomas (it’s horrifying…the sermon), and this one concerning the decline of Dee and Deb’s site from a formidable and encouraging discernment blog to a fairly innocuous entity interested in what I would describe as “light” criticism of abuse in the church.  A categorical bulwark for Reformed doctrine, the Wartburg Watch is currently incapable of unveiling and challenging the roots of the ideas that drive the violence and the hypocrisy.  This is in large part thanks to their resolute determination to affirm Wade Burleson categorically (for some reason), which means he is off the table as far as criticizing ideas is concerns.  And if Wade is off the table, then so must be his doctrine.  For like I said, Dee and Deb cannot or will not make distinctions between bad men and bad ideas.  Wade is very likely a good man with bad ideas.  The problem, of course, is that eventually, bad ideas manifest into action, and that is when bad men DO bad things.  It is only a matter of time, as history has witnessed.  Thus, to me, the logical rout for a discernment blog to take is to defer talk of personality traits to other places and times, at least for the most part, and in the interest of actually discerning and destroying abuse, its evil spawn (other abusers), and the ideas which premeditate it, instead focus on the the bad ideas themselves, even if they  happen to come from Wade Burleson.

And this is precisely where I intend to go next.  Wade’s comment under the thread of his E-Church service this past Sunday or Wartburg Watch (10/13/2013) wherein he describes–theoretically (he says “maybe?”, at the very end of the comment, though I suspect that to him, there isn’t much “maybe” about it…but I could be wrong)–the direct cause and effect relationship between the laity’s lack of an “interest in prayer” and “excessive pastoral authority” I would categorize as an abusive statement.  At the very least, the implications are psychologically detrimental because they offer a cause which cannot be in any sense objectively verified, and thus, provide no way for the laity to reasonably validate the level of the efficacy of prayer, should they take steps to foment an “interest”.  To me, this is clearly psychologically abusive.  But that’s me.

Believe me, there is much to be said about Wade’s comment, and I have written much about it.  It is a  smorgasbord of telling doctrinal information with respect to the heavy Reformed roots of Wade’s philosophy.  For a critic like me, it is the gift of manna in its most pure form.  It is the proverbial gift which keeps on giving, and I intend to give back.

Now, I will limit my criticisms to Wade’s ideas only, and not to his person.  I do not like to make the connection between ideas and the definition of the human being who proffers them because that gets into sticky legal territory…not to mention that since I cannot read Wade’s mind I cannot judge his intentions, and thus it would be uncharitable of me to somehow claim that Wade is, himself, a sinister, evil jerk.  I cannot say that and I won’t.  Certainly, I have yet to speak to anyone or read a comment by anyone who knows Wade who even comes close to describing him as anything but a kind sort; humble and long suffering.  And with me, he has been, I must admit, gracious and kind in his speech.  He is also NOT a demagogue from what I can tell…and there is simply no way I can truthfully declare HIM an abuser.  That is something I cannot possibly argue…I want to make that clear.  And thus, understand that, regardless of what you might conclude from my posts, I reject any claim that this is, in fact, what I am declaring.  I am not.  I am discussing the doctrinal roots and broad philosophical and theological implications of his ideas, and how they might hypothetically manifest themselves in practical application by both pastors and laity.

In other words, though I cannot judge Wade, because I don’t really know him, I can judge his words and what I think they belie and how I suspect they might affect the teaching, behavior, and leadership style of the ecclesiastical authority.   I will offer an expose on what I believe his word choices symbolize with respect to Wade’s Calvinist roots, and why his teaching should be avoided at all costs, because, like I said before, Wade may be nice and kind, but his doctrine, I submit, is fundamentally evil.  And my primary point in all of this is this:  Wade’s ideas, I submit, are pure Reformation interpretive premises with respect to epistemology and metaphysics.  But I also submit that Wade, in service to a humble and kind heart, may function himself at some level of contradiction to his ideas, and may either not know it or not concede it…or something else.  Who knows?  Like I said, I am not going to pretend to know the man’s mind or intentions.  Just his doctrine.

But back to Dee and Deb and Wartburg Watch in general.

My premise is that ideas drive behavior…and this I submit is axiomatic.  There is always a reason which serves as the catalyst for the actions of man (man is conceptual being).  Behavior may be consistent or inconsistent with a given philosophical school of thought (e.g. Systematized Calvinism/Lutheranism: neo-Reformed theology), but this does not change the fact that the school of thought is, in fact, codified and organized to completion. If one accepts such a philosophy as orthodox, then they are on the hook for it, particularly when they defend all of their actions and behavior, ultimately, by appealing to it.  If they reject it on some level, then they must explain which parts they reject and why; and then explain how this does not contradict their concession of its “absolute orthodoxy” entirely.  Then and only then are they no longer on the hook for the destructive manifestations of the ideas they declare as absolute truth.  Whether indirectly or directly responsible for abuse in the church will depend…however, it is ultimately irrelevant how nice or inconsistent-to-abusive-outcomes some men are as a function of how they apply what they declare as TRUTH systematized and divine.  If there is fallout and abuse from the ideas, and the leadership does not reject outright those aspects of orthodoxy which can be seen as responsible for the abuse, and then explain their capricious and inconsistent understanding of the pure doctrine, then as far as I am concerned, they are culpable for the outcomes of what they confess as TRUTH.  Perhaps not legally culpable or directly culpable, but culpable as those who disseminate ideas which must logically conclude, when implemented in accordance with the cohesion of their epistemological roots, in humanity’s suffering, exploitation, and destruction.

And so on this level, the level of ideas–the level of doctrine–I submit that Dee and Deb’s apparent categorical support of Wade Burleson must then be considered a categorical support of his Reformed theology.  For there is no distinction made or indeed, allowed, on the Wartburg watch as far as I can tell.  Doctrine has been deemed by them as inadmissible in the discussion of why abuse happens in the church.  This is nothing more than a declaration that all doctrine then must be morally pure, and thus is beyond reproach.  That if we just got the right kind of men involved in forcing people into right behavior on God’s behalf, all the time and trouble abuse causes would vanish in a sea of altruistic, vapid notions of “love” and “tolerance”.  Aaaaaaand….we all know that life just doesn’t work this way. We all know that in the end, absolute ideas (the notion of the Primacy of Consciousness) will not suffer humanity to limit them.  And very quickly the right kind of men become the wrong kind of men right before our eyes.  I have seen it, and it is a disgusting and terrifying thing to watch.

This has always been the loophole for tyranny:  the notion that men, not their ideas, do bad things.  Ideas are good.  Men are bad.  Hello, Platonism.  We missed you; though we understand you were never really gone.

The Wartburg Watch then is the quintessential “new boss” which is, as Roger Daltry so famously sang, “the same as the old boss”.  Truly, they are exhibit A.   And this leaves me in an uncomfortable position, and one I need to tread carefully.  On the one hand, I do not believe nor am I saying that either Dee, or Deb, or Wade are directly responsible for abuse.  They are not abusers nor are they abusive people.  But I am forced to believe and opine that they are indirectly responsible for abuse because they all seem to me to categorically confirm what I argue are abusive ideas…that is, ideas, when afflicted practically upon people in their individual lives, must demand abusive outcomes in service to the root assumptions.   You see, Reformed doctrine demeans and diminishes the moral and physical worth of human beings, and further I unreservedly declare and argue that this should be obvious.  I declare either a rank liar, or a self-deceived shill, or a pure-bred ignoramus anyone who attempts to deny this; for how can one assume God’s absolute sovereign control and not apprehend how this must diminish man to the level of utter irrelevance (without appealing to “mystery” or “paradox”…which is not a rational argument, it is the lack of one…it is NO argument)?  How can God be in complete control of one who, as a person, claims to be independently valuable (have truth and morality in and of themselves) and is thus existentially equal?  It is impossible.  For man who is “less than God” in value and existence can never be in a position to claim their own individual relevance in light of an absolute (infinite) God.  Next to God, man is a worthless non-issue.  This is a fundamental presumption of not only neo-Calvinism, but of practically every Protestant and Catholic denominational school of thought in the world.  And thus this:  that the doctrine the Church concedes must demand man’s removal from the existence equation if TRUTH can be absolutely true should hardly be earth-shattering news to Christians.

And Dee and Deb, having made it clear to me on their blog that doctrine is not what they consider to be the driving force of abusive behavior in the Church have severed the link between religious ideas and religious abuse; that man does not in fact act according to his assumptions–in stark contradiction to a panoply of historical (and logical) examples to the contrary–means that ideas presented on the Wartburg Watch are, again, above reproach in any deep, philosophical, theological sense of the word.

In their rush to condemn my “mean-spirited” attacks on Wade Burleson, Dee is never shy to proclaim loudly that they do not believe that all Reformed pastors are abusers…and the implication, as I take it, is that I do.  Of course, this is yet another typically superficial knee-jerk reaction common to a person who is not interested in any real discussion of the matter, but is simply an appeal to the notion of “my blog…you aren’t allowed to say that here”.  Fair enough.  I’m a Libertarian capitalist.  But let’s just cut the bullshit.  Dee simply refuses to be truthful about what I believe because I submit that she thinks the ends justify the means.  As long as she is acting “in love” (which, to her, is utterly devoid of any rational, observable standard from what I can gather), she is  completely sanguine in doling out abuse in service to her “absolute truth” of “love” without the fetters of any pesky rational definition.  Because she loves Wade, her abuse is just fine.  And she would never qualify it as abuse in the first place.  Remember, ideas are not abusive, people are.  Intentions then, are either pure or not pure…the doctrines behind the intentions and thus the behavior are irrelevant.  Her intentions are good, so she will act in any damn way she pleases towards people like me; people who don’t agree with her divinely-bestowed “truth” and attack Wade’s doctrine.

Of course I do not believe every Reformed pastor is an abuser.  But this is purely subterfuge, anyway.  Whether every Reformed pastor is an abuser or not is irrelevant to the larger and serious issue of abuse in the church as a reality.  Reformed theology, followed as a consistent flow of ideas to action in direct service to its foundational metaphysical and epistemological presuppositions will lead to abuse in the church because the logic inexorably goes there. And this truth is born out by the regaling of tales and woes of abuse by literally dozens of people–who are suffering or have suffered in Reformed churches–on Dee’s own blog!  So the problem, yet again, is that Dee and Deb have made the assumption, despite all of the evidence to the contrary dancing and twinkling right before their eyes on a blog that they own and operate, that a doctrine which demands the destruction of humanity in service to its absolute “truth” and “moral purity” will not actually lead pastors and teachers of such a doctrine (appointed by God to “stand in the stead”) to behave in ways that destroy/abuse humanity; and thus, to debate doctrine is useless, and even worse, unloving and “mean-spirited”.  A Pastor or any other person then, by definition, is utterly removed from their ideas, is my point.  So if there is abuse in the church by the leadership, it doesn’t actually have anything to do, incredibly, with what the leadership believes the “infallible Word of God”  demands is their duty and calling in Christ to act as God’s proxy in doling out his divine and exclusive will without any respect to individual human application and context.  And thus if there are poignant and unequivocal attacks targeting the abuse, according to Dee and Deb it cannot possibly be directed towards doctrine which they have somehow deemed a non-issue and thus functionally non-existent; but it must be, and can be none other than, a direct attack on the person.  Thus, all my attacks on Wade’s doctrine are interpreted by Dee as a personal attack on Wade the man, and literally NOTHING else.

I submit then, that Dee and Deb operate in this endeavor of “discernment blogging” on purely an emotional level, and in the long run this unfortunately makes them ineffective in actually preventing abuse by spiritual tyrants.  They only see behavior, not ideas.  This may make for a great shoulder to cry on, and, to Reformed preachers like Wade Burleson, makes them wonderfully vigilant allies who will defend his peculiar doctrine to the bitter end, it appears.  And in the short run, it makes them look good…keeping all the meanies like me away; but again, ultimately it does little or nothing to address the problem.  This is a shame, and something I lament, because obviously Dee and Deb have a massively popular blog with a following to be envied by any blogger–exponentially more influential in this respect than mine–and yet the overall effect is nullified by the very same notions that allow abuse to happen in the first place.  But this is just not what the Wartburg Watch is about, and I wanted it to be…so I lingered longer than I should.  My pain is thus my fault in this.  I was too obtuse to see what Dee has been shouting at me for months.

She doesn’t give a shit about what Wade believes.  Duh.  She literally could not have been clearer.

As long as Wade continues to be a nice and charming person, Dee and Deb will not allow people like me to speak freely about the doctrine that forms his approach to all matters in the church and in the world.  They do not see church leadership through the prism of theological assumptions as I do.  Simply put, they do not believe doctrine is all that important.  Mean-spirited demagogues like me are stopped and frisked.  But evil ideas flow to and fro with all the impunity of a diplomat.  This is a mistake.  For to not evaluate the little old lady next door through a prism of her metaphysical/epistemological assumptions is one thing; but to deny the importance of this approach when evaluating someone who declares themselves specially called by God to hold authority over other human begins is disastrous.

Hence the sad and heart-wrenching decline of the Warburg Watch.  By taking doctrine off the table as a legitimate target of grievances, Dee and Deb have unwittingly thrown open the doors to new and greater trauma, I submit; and for an even greater degree of abusive thinking to take root in the church.  If people cannot appeal to the inconsistencies of the doctrine and the evil to which it thus must inexorably perpetrate upon the Lord’s people, the I would ask them by what standard can they ever hold their leaders, called by God, accountable for the abuse? For abuse can only be qualified as abuse if it violates some standard of morality and truth which we can all, as human beings, apprehend and agree upon, otherwise, our religion is pure mysticism.  And therefore the idea of what constitutes moral or immoral treatment of human beings must be rooted in standards of GOOD that can be observed by humanity as a natural function of their existence and their ability to observe and organize their surroundings.  But since Reformed theology makes it clear that defining standards of GOOD/VALUE/TRUTH are the sole purview of the pastors, where exactly can a layperson turn to for an injunction?  For relief?  Since they, by Reformed definition, cannot be in a position to recognize TRUTH on their own, the unfortunate layperson cannot even categorize what they are going through as abuse.  For that label, being a subsidiary of morality, is one that only the Pastor can use. 

So, the poor abused layperson who has been told they are nothing and nobody and no good for years by their Reformed pastor might turn to Wartburg Watch, as so many have.  For relief.  A shoulder to cry on.  But when they look up they will see that on the other shoulder is the very face of their torment…happy, healthy, and flourishing under Dee and Deb’s succor and their longing gazes of sublime adoration.

The Wartburg Watch’s Dee and Deb: Their fall TO grace (the Reformed doctrines thereof, that is), part ONE

I am thinking…nay, I will post this under a new category:  The Wartburg Watch Watch.  I thought it appropriate since I seem to spend so much time defending myself from their knee-jerk emotional responses to my comments over there; as well as helping myself on many occasion to a large serving of Wartburg Watch Fodder and Folly Casserole in service to my own blog’s content.  It is a treasure trove these days; a precious-gem mine of wonderful cautionary exposes.  And also, it is educational for me.  I mean this in all humility:  I find that sometimes yes, I can actually communicate better, and my infinite time in the moderation corner (we’ve been having some great keggers over here, by they way…if Dee ever tosses you into this motley crew, bring beer money)  has helped me see that. So, I can thank them for a few things, both personally and “professionally”–that is, as a writer dabbling in the subjects of philosophy and spiritual tyranny.

For those of you who want the complete context of what prompted this post, I suggest you visit http://www.wartburgwatch.com and go to the comments thread under the recent Wade Burelson E-Church post.  Wade makes an…er, well, very interesting remark which naturally I took issue with and attacked accordingly, because, I guess you could say that that’s how I am.  And yes, if you read it, you’ll see that I “went there” and you’ll also see what I mean by this and you’ll also see that I’m unapologetic about “going there” and think that “going there” is inevitable when the egregiousness of the statement to which you are responding basically drop kicks you directly “there”.

Dee reacted with a predictably uber-emotional knee-jerk reaction and made all sorts of unsubstantiated and false accusations about my heart and my intentions and my “spirit”…which, shrug, I expected that much.  I also expected her to not post it because by now I understand that that is how she is.  What I didn’t expect was for Wade Burleson, himself, to take up my cause and basically call Dee out on her hypocritical natural instinct to decide for me what my intentions were or were not, and essentially tell her that he wears big boy pants and can take it and give it back (with all the added charm and grace of…well, of Wade; he really does have quite a fetching disposition).  And Wade is and was right…though, his rationale…hmm, I’m going to talk about that later.  You can read it for yourself over there, just go down a bit and you’ll see the scripture reference he uses (uses the example of Shemei and King David).  At any rate, Wade was right and seeing him stick up for me was pretty awesome.

I was, like, this close [index and thumb together and one eye squinting] to not even commenting because I realize that I have totally  misjudged what Wartburg is going for as a blog; and understand that I have been trying to go in a direction over at that site that is just not what they are about at all.  Oh…what foolishness we engage in when we convince ourselves that we are helping people.  What we really need to understand–and I know this will sound jaded and cynical, but I’m of the real world and let’s be honest, the real world makes people cynics and jaded like gravity makes them hit he floor when they trip–anyway, what we really need to understand is that the people we help or want to help in understanding how doctrine affects the behavior of spiritual despots are vaaaaastly, almost infinitely, outnumbered by the people on these “discernment blogs” who simply don’t give a shit about that at all.  And that means we can all breath a sigh of relief, shrug off our illusory responsibility to “them” which can be counted usually on a couple of hands at most, and stay away from these blogs and the inevitable abuse we will suffer at the hands of those who proclaim themselves  moderators of “discerning abuse”, without a blush of irony.

They. Don’t. Give. A. Shit.

They do not make a connection between bad men and bad ideas.  Thus, they have a blog that is really good at pointing out who in Christianity these days is a big old meany, but not necessarily why they are a big old meany.  They are a fine shoulder to cry on, and a place to gather and vent “outrage” at the blindness of these wicked overlords/the CJ Mahaney’s of the world…but the root of the calling out of this behavior by these moderators and blog hosts extends no further than:  “that was a bad thing to do, mister, and you should know better”.   And when you ask them, “Well, since they (the meany Pastors) believe this, can you explain why they should “know better?”

That’s when you are told that you should just be quiet and just love people more.   That you should stop pretending to “understand God” and should quite “telling people what they think”.

Because,you, dear reader, must understand, that love, undefined and without a standard by which it can be known, is somehow the “thing” which these Christians truly believe will magically make all intentions good and all doctrines beside the point.

So, this little post is dedicated to what I call Dee and Deb’s fall TO grace…a little tongue in cheek reference to the ironically quite evil “doctrines of grace” as codified and systematized by Reformed Protestantism and specifically, and most purely and abusively, by today’s American Neo-Calvinist movement.  And I do categorize Wade Burleson as being part of this movement.  He is a quintessential Calvinist in his theology, I submit, and the fact that he is quite a nice man cannot and should not and will not absolve him of his responsibility to defend his doctrine rationally.  This he cannot do, because the doctrine is irrational…an anathema to reason.  And thus, can only be apprehended at the expense of humanity, never in service to it.  You see, nice occurs only in spite of reformed doctrine, as I have said numerous times in the past.  It is not canonical nor is nice orthodox, as a cursory review of Protestant history will verify.  And also, nice is a relative term.  Wade is “nice” to me (I suspect only to a point, though).  And Dee is not nice to me at all now, but she is nice to Wade.  My point is that Wade and Dee may be nice here and there, but Reformed doctrine is always evil.

Gotta run…back with part two in a bit

The Full-On Moral Hollocaust of America’s Christian Impostors: Cal Thomas’s rank treatise on Platonist-rooted Gnosticism disguised under a false front of Christ

Okay…so, the title may or may not be hyperbolic.  I’ll let you decide.  For me, I find the subtly of the tyranny the most disturbing.  It is soothing in its delivery.  We think these people are merely preaching the love of Christ.  In reality, the conclusions of their dogma are anything but loving.  For in their understanding of the world and their faith, there is no room in the equation for you and me.  Not really.  We are shells at best…illusions.  Shadows of forms.  Tossed to and fro by the dualism of Evil Nature and Sovereign God.  On one side of the Calvinist coin, neither can be distinguished from the other, for the equality of the control of each over humanity is demanded by the doctrine.  On the other side, God is in control of all of it.  Your sin nature, and sin in general, is just as much a direct function of God as your salvation. The doctrine also demands this.  The coin contradicts itself.  It is a valueless coin.  A NO-sided coin.

And how is that interpreted by the Calvinist despots at the podium?  Why, as absolute and divine truth, of course.  You see, the best way to control people is to preach a theology which makes God unable to convey even the most basic of common sense to His children, and then tell the children it is their fault, and that they are going to hell because they are too stupid to understand what God has designed them purposefully to not be able to understand because apparently He couldn’t figure out how to design them with the ability to understand.

Er…makes sense?  No?  Good.  If it made sense, they’d call you a heretic and burn you at the stake.  How dare you pretend to understand God, you worm.  Only PASTOR has that right.  Somehow.

So, see?  Where are YOU in the doctrine?  Where are you and HOW are you able to even BE you?  You are nothing!  You don’t exist…for your very thoughts are merely the direct extension of God’s will which has already determined you.  So, I ask:  Will the real YOU stand up?  If you see yourself–your life, and your will and your choice and YOUR reward or judgement that YOU earned–please let me know where to find him/her.  I’ve been searching in this metaphysical coffin for a long time, and so far all I find is more coffin.

But we fill the churches with the best and brightest, so many successful and rational minds, do we not?  But under the veneer of intellectual empiricism and stoic common sense “values” is where you so often find the worst kind of evil.  Because it is precisely in those places and in those minds where you find the search is not for how to elevate the individual to a place of moral value and perfect truth by allowing him/her to actually BE themselves–which is how God made them and how they will approach the judgement throne–but rather, the search is to find the panacea for all of the ills the individual human being creates.  There are constructs and paradigms and doctrines and philosophies and Standard Models all proclaiming or hoping to proclaim one day that they are THE solution for the UNIVERSE…the cure for nature’s most malignant and destructive virus:  the free thinking human being.  For his removal is truly the answer when all the pretensions are removed and exposed for the impossible contradictions they are.

The idea then is to remove man from himself by hopefully finding, one day, sooner rather than later (for you must understand the urgency of the matter…after all, the earth and the animals and the minorities and the vegans and the communists and the “unsaved” and those without healthcare are simply dropping like flies in the face of the virulent disease of individual human freedom)…yes, one day soon man will be cured by finding the right universal equation OUTSIDE of himself that he has just been too stupid or too blind or too stubborn to find yet.  And if man then can just take this equation and plug it into his asshole like an electronic hose from the Matrix, he’ll be set on the right track to perfection…to morality and truth and all manner of peace, and everyone will be able to fill in their proper place like a cosmic game of Tetris, and all will be taken care of and you won’t worry about all the the things you lost and your soul which is now a condom for the altruistic government, or religion, or culture, or society, or whatever primary consciousness in consideration, to use while it rapes you in order to save you from your own existence.

And so the real search is revealed.  It is not the search for how to make man better, for that assumes an individual can be a solution; that an individual has worth.  No, no.  Again, man, himself, is the problem.  So the search is not for how to improve man but for how to remove man from himself.  To put him into a law that exists beyond him in order that he may become the law, and only then is he “perfect”.  Perfect existence is actual or functional non-existence, so the premise goes.  Which makes sense.  How is man reconciled to an absolute (infinite) truth outside himself?  By getting the fuck out of its way, that’s how.  Man is closer to fine the further he finds himself from himself.

In other words.  Death is the panacea for LIFE’S ills.

So…what else is new?  It’s the same argument given by every psychopath and tyrant from the Lenin to Lucifer.  And yet we send our kids to university after university, pursuing degree after degree, in search of ways to make this universal “truth” both more palatable and more subliminal to the barbarian masses.  We think surely the next evil dictator, the next Platonist philosopher, the next reformed protestant mega-church demagogue, the next atheist scientist, the next professor of political science or linguistics, the next collectivist President, the next warmongering monarch will find an idea that demands the death of the individual (mankind) and proclaims the final solution as the the most obvious one and yet…well, without it being obvious at all, and hopefully without the actual death part.  Because ignoring the death part is what makes the Platonists/altruists/collectivists/Marxists/Calvinists/etc. seem so loving.

From Islam to Communism, from Marx to Kant to Plato to the Gnostics, from Calvinism to Roman Catholicism, Augustine to the Reformation, from Manifest Destiny to the Cold War and the Arms Race and racism and the oppression of lesbians and gays and minorities, to white teenagers who happen to wear a shirt with a Confederate Flag on it , to black teenagers who happen to have a shirt with Tupac on it, to the Standard Model of physics which refuses to concede its own obvious circular and infinite conclusions which can result only in a complete collapse of ALL of its presumptions…

Well.  Go back to school kids.  No one has dodged the “death is life” contradiction yet.  Good luck.  See you at Burger King.

Ah…but kids, wait!  Perhaps there is hope!  For here is Cal Thomas, speaking at Wade Burleson’s Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma.  And he has thrown his hat into the ring!  It seems he thinks he has found the equation which man can jump right into and see God’s good times abound in America like a ho-down in a whore house!  Without the fornication that is…gotta be sensitive to “God’s chosen people”, those good old Southern Baptists, who don’t go for that sort of smut.  And they define smut as whores and any translation of the bible other than the King James…though, in some places, the ESV is growing as an acceptable alternative.  It seems even smut can be less smutty if the doctrine is “sound”.

Let’s see if Cal Thomas can succeed where all other violent overlords have failed.

Returning to the subject of Cal Thomas’s sermon at Wade Burleson’s Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma, posted on September 1, 2013 on http://www.wartburgwatch.com, which can be accessed here http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/08/31/echurchwartburg-9-1-13/, I would like to address only a portion of what is both wrong and terrifying about the assertions and assumptions of Cal’s sermon.  This is not Christ in the true sense…for it is impossible, within the confines of Cal’s wholly Calvinist interpretive construct, to find any room for humanity.  And if humanity cannot be included in the salvation equation, then man cannot be saved.  Because man cannot functionally exist.  Which is why Calvinism is nothing more than a cult of death.  It is a world view that finds TRUTH only in the DEATH of humanity; only in man’s literal or psychological erasure. It is obsessed with and worships not God, but the primary consciousness of Bible and Cross, because as absolutes, these become effective instruments of war.  Their only purpose is to bludgeon and hack humanity either into utter submission to their “divine” standing as God’s appointed authority, or to death in service to the absolute TRUTH of Bible and Cross, which can NEVER, by definition, being declared wholly and utterly true only apart from man, suffer any human being as a SELF of his or her own.  And thus, the only way truth can reign, as Cal will clearly explain, is by a.) the wholesale rejection of man and his rational thought as the source of metaphysical and epistemological value, and by b.) the compelling of humanity into right behavior and thinking by either witnessing their “conversion experience”, that is, their acceptance of of “God’s” divine absolute ecclesiastical authority (Cal Thomas, and whatever pastor of whatever neo-reformed church declares it) without any appeal to reason or consistency of ideas or human context or worth at all…or, well, by the most obvious and expeditious method:  violence…granted by God to those he has divinely called to “lovingly” “shepherd”, as His divinely sanctioned punishment for the rebellion and wickedness of the non-conforming, stiff necked unbeliever.  Unfortunately for humankind, it is power these mystic despots assume simply because certain of their fellow human beings who do not conform to the spiritual caste system have decided on their own (the nerve!) that the notion of “agree with me before you can understand me” is no moral basis for conceding an opposing idea.

And the Calvinists have the audacity to call the “unsaved” blind to the “truth”.  They wouldn’t know truth if it appeared to them in a flash of light on the Damascus road.  And, no, I’m not exaggerating.  These people have put their senses and reason so far away from themselves that they do not and cannot possess a doctrine which grants that they can judge anything correctly.  They can’t “see” a road, or a light, or Damascus.  They are blind guides, leading blind financiers.

Here are a few of the more salient excerpts from Cal’s sermon.  Like I said, you can access the entire sermon for yourself by clicking on the link provided above.  At Wartburg Watch, you can enjoy the onslaught of moral horror in its commercial-free, unedited entirety.  If you are sartorially  creative, perhaps the sermon could make an effective costume for this year’s Hallows Eve frightful festivities.  You’d sure scare the shit out of me.

“We have a vacuum in the world, and do you know what it is?  We have turned away from God and God has given us over.”

“…it behooves us, then’ he [quoting Abraham Lincoln] said, ‘to humble ourselves [as a nation; with respect to an assumption of a widespread, national rejection of God]  before the offended Power.  And to pray for national clemency and forgiveness.’”

“All of these things we are seeing [terrorism, economic downturns in our country] are not the cause of a decadence, they are a reflection of it.  We have forgotten God.  We have made idols and we are worshiping them.  Oh…not the kinds of idols that the ancient Israelites did…not of wood or stone.  But we have our own idols.  Some of us worship America.  Some of us put in so much time trying to fix what is wrong with America…maybe we’ll elect the right leaders, and they’ll be able to fix what is wrong with America.  Republican or democrat, liberal or conservative…they can’t fix what is wrong with America because they can’t fix what is wrong with Americans.  The problem isn’t in Washington, it’s right in here [taps chest…indicating “heart”].  The problems aren’t economic or political, they are moral and spiritual.  And if the politicians can’t even solve the economic and political ones, how are they ever gonna touch the spiritual ones.  I’m mean it’s just…it’s impossible.  So, God has brought us to this point.”

And I want to talk about the idol that America has become.. Now the question before us this morning is…can and should followers of Jesus of Nazareth seek to produce righteousness behavior in our land through politicians and through the unredeemed by political activism alone or even by political activism mainly. Now I’m not calling for withdrawal…surrendering or giving up.  I’m calling for an enlisting in a new army with better weapons.  We’ve seen in recent years certain religious political movements under different names—the Moral Majority, of which I was a part for a while.  The Christian Coalition.  One defunct, and the other not much more than a P.O. Box.  How much has improved culturally?  Are there more politicians acting more uprightly in their lives…?  The expectations inherent in political/religious activism rest on a false premise.  It is that unsaved people can be forced to embrace righteousness through politics and government and that they will accept laws based on such principles.  Now, ask yourself…when you talk to an unbeliever, do you persuade them on the correctness of your position on abortion, same sex marriage, whatever it may be?  Probably not.  That’s because they’ve not been transformed by the renewing of their minds.  So this is kind of futile to expect righteous behavior from the unredeemed.

Break for a minute.  Look at Cal’s assumption:  reasoned discussion with “unbelievers” is impossible, because at their root they are unreasonable.  They are animals.  They function only by the instincts of their depraved nature.  Therefore, there can be no efficacious exchange of ideas with them, because only God can GIVE them the truth (against their will, just like their “sin” is against their will, because both virtue and vice, Cal firmly believes, is utterly outside of human beings); truth cannot be learned.  This is the single greatest assumption you must, must, must understand is a foundational assertion of all who preach an ideology of collectivist altruism.

This is the most base form of spiritual tyranny and horror.  The root problem of Americans is that God hasn’t seen fit to grant them en masse the “wisdom” and “understanding” that He has given to Cal Thomas…for whatever reason that Cal cannot explain and so he NEVER goes there, nor does any other reformed teacher.  It is assumed in the faith that this falls under the category of cosmic, divine “mystery”.

And so what then can be the only course of action?  What then can be the only logical assumption Cal can be making on how to deal with the depraved animals that run this country and live in it in the fullness of their vicious God-rejected flesh?  What do you think?  What does history teach us happens to human beings when they are thought of in such terms?

There is NO peaceful return to God-glorifying values from Cal’s philosophical frame of reference, I don’t give a shit how they talk of a non-violent and gentle political transformation of America.  A cursory look at history and the bloodshed of Europe during and after the Reformation proves that notion to be a rank farce.  There can only be one course of action.  Spiritual terrorism, culminating in physical terrorism and murder.  Give the barbarians a chance to convert.  If they refuse, destroy them or banish them.  There can, by definition, be no effective argument to convince the mind of someone to your ideas when their root ability to comprehend your message is dependent on God’s arbitrary divine revelation.  And further, that revelation can only be observed by them agreeing with you before the debate even gets off the ground.  So, it is simple.  Convert or die.  There is no discussion.  Like I said in my last post, Cal Thomas unblushingly  declaring “radical Islam” the greatest threat to the world is  jaw-dropping in its hypocrisy.

What Cal is insinuating here is that he doesn’t  want to argue his ideas effectively with anyone because he will never concede that he must argue his ideas effectively.  He is right simply because he is Cal Thomas; and God, for some mysterious reason, has decided that Cal Thomas gets to be right, always.  Period.  Full stop.  Convert or die, infidel.  God told Cal Thomas that He likes Cal Thomas better than you.

Finally, notice the recurring theme in this sermon and all sermons by neo-Calvinist preachers lamenting and bemoaning the debauchery of modern American society and the mass exodus of free thinkers from their churches…the bastions of God’s “truth” and “authority”.  Notice how it is never their fault.  It couldn’t possibly have to do with their flat-out refusal to discuss the epistemological rationality of their doctrine.   It is never that they cannot provide a consistently logical assumption that an individual human being can practically apply to their life.  Nope, it’s never them.  It’s never Cal Thomas.  Never, never, never, ever.  The problem is simply and always YOU.  Not your ideas, really, or your opinions or even your depraved, “worldly” actions.  The problem is just that you ARE.  You exist.  And that’s the root of America’s moral decline.  And so how do you make people conform to your moral code when the roadblock to their conformity is their rank existence? Well…you certainly don’t bother with arguing, for starters.  Only a raving hypocritical lunatic argues that life is evil while speaking with lungs full of fresh air.  So they don’t argue.  They invent false doctrines which declare them exempt from reason and debate and defending what they believe in the arena of ideas.  They invent false doctrines which provide them divine license to torment and terrorize with licentious theology and threats and violence while they pretend to speak for God.

And this is nothing new.  I’m sure Cal and Wade think they are just something special in their Daddy’s eyes.  So full of kindness and mirth and winsome callings.  I’m sure their fame and wealth in their eyes is God’s favor shining down like a blessed mountain mist.  They are hearing “Well done, good and faithful servant” a hell of a lot earlier than the rest of us debauched slobs, wallowing in the filth of our constitutionally protected democratic freedoms.  In our stench of Enlightenment, individualistic thinking (well…some of us, anyway).  They are just cute and fuzzy and peachy as far as God is concerned.

In truth, what they are is history repeating itself in a terrible and bloody way.  Nothing more.  They are their evil doctrine’s forgone conclusion.  A footnote in a future cautionary tale.

[Next: Part Three]

The Apostle Paul’s Burden: The wisdom in ferreting out his message and extending him the benefit of the doubt

The Apostle Paul.  Sigh.  What can I say? Heretic?  Gnostic?  Apostle?

The guy takes a beating.  If nothing else, the fact that his name is awash in confusion and fisticuffs, beloved by tyrants and saints alike is proof that there is much more to his message than can be deciphered in a “five week series on Romans” (thanks, old SGM church!  They were big on series’s…so damn boring, I got a lot of daydreaming done).

This is a relatively short post.  Here, we will take a deep look at the concept of “Law”.  It’s not an easy thing to unwind.  The Platonist thinking that anthropomorphizes abstract notions is tenacious to the point of being almost impossible to separate from man’s existential understanding in TOTAL.  How many people here would acknowledge that the “laws of nature” are not merely a construct of man’s conceptualizing mind, but are ACTUAL.  That is are THE cause of the effect of all actions of nature, even though you have never seen a law of nature, you have only seen nature?

Yeah.  Pretty much every hand in the room.

Some days I’m convince that I could spend my time better in a bar.

When discussing the concept of “Law”, in this case, we’ll say a moral Law, as a standard measure of value (which I define as a combination of truth and morality (moral GOOD)), before we can jump right in to building a philosophy around the idea of “Law” we must first answer very specific questions. These questions will form our foundational presumptions and thus define the entirety of our metaphysical and epistemological approach to not only what we consider the standards of truth, but also how to enforce them…upon ourselves and, more importantly, upon other people.

This is good to understand. Whole nations of people have been wiped out because of how certain other people decided to answer these questions.

The understanding which forms the crux of any moral law is simply this:

Doing this thing (x) is GOOD.

So what are the obvious (or perhaps not so obvious) questions which must follow? The first is, of course: WHY is it GOOD? The second is, of course: WHAT is GOOD? Meaning that any idea which presents itself as a law must have a standard by which it is measured in order that doing it, whatever IT is, can be called “GOOD”. In other words, the act of doing it (A) must be in service to something (B), and that something then must be the root of WHY doing that thing is GOOD. A (the act) is GOOD because it is in service to B (the object). So we must define what exactly B is, which gives the law a right to declare that doing A is GOOD.

If B is the Law itself, meaning if the standard of GOOD is the Law itself, then that means anything NOT the Law is inherently and totally antithetical to GOOD (the root of the doctrine of Total Depravity). Which contradicts the notion that anything else NOT the Law can act in service to the Law. For the Law itself is the standard of value, and as such, anything else can only exist as a contradiction to it. If the Law itself is GOOD, and GOOD is absolute, then nothing else can be GOOD, and nothing else can DO GOOD, because GOOD cannot by definition proceed directly from that which is not GOOD.

So remember, the first question is WHY is doing it GOOD? The answer in this first example is: because the Law itself is GOOD. The act of obeying the Law is GOOD because, and only because, the Law itself is GOOD.

But that is a contradiction in terms. It is senseless. Because if the Law is GOOD itself, then any act of any outside agency (not GOOD) is redundant and irrelevant. The Law, being GOOD, does not need man to act in service to it, because it is already utterly and completely GOOD in and of itself. Bringing man into the picture can only ever present an offense to the pure GOOD of the self of the Law. Man cannot act in service to that which is already perfectly GOOD without him. Therefore, man can never do GOOD, for GOOD is not man, it is the Law. Man can do no GOOD because man is by definition outside of GOOD. All of man’s actions stem from a place which is NOT GOOD, because the Law is GOOD, and as such, any action of man, regardless of what it is or if the Law (contradictorily) says to do it cannot possibly be GOOD because any action will be in service to that which is already perfectly GOOD without him, rendering the Law itself a hypocrite, demanding GOOD but being GOOD without such action. So, crazy as it sounds, this is precisely the argument those who claim the Law as the source of God’s judgment upon mankind. The Law saying “do x or y” is the beginning and end of goodness. Man offers nothing to the Law. And thus of course the only way man can be reconciled to the perfect GOOD of the Law is to die. Non-existence is man’s only way of “existing” in peace with the absolute Law.

Now, alternately, if we say that doing A is GOOD because B is MAN…that is, humanity, then the perfect standard of GOOD is not the Law, but human beings. And if human beings ARE the standard by which the Law can be declared GOOD or not, then the Law itself as any source of self-derived morality becomes moot. It cannot in fact be a Law because a Law, in the moral sense, presumes obedience to IT as the prerequisite for moral behavior. Moral GOOD. But man, if man is the standard, cannot act in service to a Law in order to be GOOD (which he already is) but can only act then in service to himself, because HE is the standard of all GOOD. Making the Law itself as a LAW, again, moot. The Law may be instructive to man…it may teach him efficacious ways of affirming himself as the standard of GOOD, but it can no longer BE the standard which binds man. Which means that man is not declared righteous or unrighteous by how well he obeys the Law, but by how well he affirms himself and others for HIS OWN sake, for the sake of his LIFE, which is the standard, not the Law. Thus the Law now becomes “law”…for if the Law merely points to man as the standard of WHY obedience to the Law is GOOD, then obedience to the Law itself as the source of reward or damnation becomes moot and irrelevant. Behavioral actions become relative to the LIFE of the individual human being…actions demanded by the “law” now become contextual to the human being. Which again means that the law is NOT absolute, but MAN is. And thus all actions can only be observed as GOOD or EVIL insofar as they affirm that MAN has the right to his LIFE in any given context because his life is THE standard of all VALUE (morality and truth).

This, I submit is Paul the Apostle’s point, and as you can see, it is a difficult one to articulate. Those who might be quick to judge Paul for his confusing epistles would do well to offer him the benefit of the doubt. The good news is that he does, eventually, make the right argument. Salvation cannot logically be of the Law…it must be of Christ, because Christ represents the reinstatement of humanity as the plumb line of value by God, Himself; a removal of the Law which can only logically condemn men/demand their death as payment for its moral perfection. The bad news is that the argument in light of the juggernaut of Platonist thinking which so pervades Western thought to the point of it almost being utterly fused with man’s entire understanding of his own categorical existence, means that false teachers like Calvinists, James Jordan, and other gnostics will swarm to exploit the tedious argument to serve themselves like Yellow Jackets swarm trash cans. Given the difficulty of Paul’s task, I submit that Jesus had him pay for his crimes against humanity both physically and psychologically. In addition, he gets to go down in history as the most misunderstood, misrepresented, and exploited Christian in history, beloved by mystic despots everywhere.

Argo Responds to Atheist Guitarist Zal Cleminson’s Article on “We Are Atheists” Site

Zal Cleminson, guitar player most notable for his work with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (British blues-based/nouveau rock) in the late 60’s and 70’s, posted an essay on the website http://www.weareatheists.com.  It was a strong essay, well written (if not slightly pretentious and patronizing in its style), and yet, like most intellectual atheist arguments, was more pomp and circumstance, colorful hypocritical appeals to “reason” and the senses, deft slight-of-hand epistemology than it was rational content.  At the root of every atheist is a Platonist with merely a different label for his or her primary consciousness…in their case, the “Laws of Nature”.  Once this is realized, it makes their hypocrisy easy to spot and dismantle.

The site, weareatheists.com, in true cowardly atheist form, withered at the slightest and merest prod at its intellectual fallacies, and did not post my response.  You see, atheists, like Calvinists despots and Marxist dictators, love to debate when you concede their assumptions.  Defy them, refuse them, and demand that they explain the inconsistency of those assumptions first, and they tuck and run with all the vigor of a retreating French army, shouting “off with his head!” and punting their lack of rational epistemology and insane metaphysics into the great cosmic abyss of “mystery” (nod to John Immel for that excellent phrase…I steal from John constantly, because he is a genius metaphysician, and I have admitted that I commit intellectual larceny at his expense often–that is for Sopwith, not that he reads here, LOL).

Of course, the benefit of having a blog site of your own is that when you confront the intellectual shamans and snake oil salesmen with a currency that they cannot comprehend and thus cannot use or spend on themselves–actual reason, that is–and they inevitably run from you waving their hands and saying “We must move along!  The market has shifted…after all, location, location, location!!!!” and then refuse to post your comment because they liken truth to a dog’s nose in his own poop, you always have the option of posting it yourself, on your own blog, where you are in charge of the content.

And so, in homage to Paul Dohse’s playful labeling of today’s freedom of written speech as the “Googleberg Press”, I post my response to Zal.  I have removed his make up (go to Youtube and search “SAHB”) and revealed the atheistic intellectual void beneath it.

You can access his essay here:  http://www.weareatheism.com/zal-cleminson/

Argo said,

“Hmmm…sounds good, but there is just something very, very wrong with Zal’s essay.  It is rooted in the hypocrisy so common to men of every “faith”.

Zal makes two suicidal mistakes so very common to atheists.  First, argues from a false understanding of the philosophical roots of Christianity and Judaism.  Second, he either refuses or is unable to see that the very same epistemological assumptions he rejects in religion are the exact SAME ones he acquiesces in atheism.

First, Zal concedes the Platonist/Augustinian/Calvinist interpretive assumptions which have defined Christianity from roughly 400 AD onward, finding itself ultimately systematized and codified in John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian religion, and then subsequently enforced as a version thereof in every Reformation denomination as a matter of “orthodoxy”.  There may be minor differences in “disputable matters”, but the essentials of Protestant Reformation theology are the same throughout the denominations…and trust me, these apples do  not stray far from the parent tree of the Roman Catholic Church.  St. Augustine is the father of ALL Christian doctrine today.  John Calvin, the great protestant reformer himself, quotes Augustine over a thousand times in his Institutes…for those of you who want to argue that Catholic theology holds any salient differences.

The Platonist assumptions, which are nothing more than gnosticism codified, form the backbone of practically all of Western thinking, not merely religious, have nothing to do with the original and true Jewish philosophical roots of Christianity.  Gnosticism is what modern Christianity is as it is commonly practiced in its organized form, and refers simply to the “gnosis”: a special knowledge of the “heavens”, not apprehended but somehow divinely bestowed upon the philosopher kings so that they may rule the barbarian masses. In this, Zal’s criticisms are proper and well-founded.

However, contrary to Zal’s false assumptions about the Christian belief system, its very ACTUAL roots–that of the Torah–are formed by ideas which place man’s physical SELF at the very center of all TRUTH and thus morality.  Even a cursory reading of the ten commandments and the sermon on the mount describes a world not where man is wholly unable to organized his environment and apprehend moral ideas and practice them, but quite the opposite.  Man and his senses form the very crux of reality and goodness, according to the Scriptures.  The sanctity of his physical life and body here and NOW (not in some mystical afterlife) is the cornerstone of value.

Indeed, the idea that God becomes a man in the form of Christ, who then is sacrificed, only to rise again, immortal and eternal is the singular and only belief system in the world which so soundly and surely places humanity at the service of its own will and life, even more so than the Enlightenment.  Christ’s body is proof that the human being is not, in fact, corrupted at its root…for if God can become flesh, who then can declare flesh evil?  His death removed the inevitable consequence of the Jewish moral Law, which– claiming utterly morality apart from man without some divine intervention–must insist on man’s destruction as payment for its debt of absolute TRUTH.  Since absolute truth cannot exist outside of man’s self, man can be lead into truth only so far before the inevitable conclusion is realized:  man can never hope to attain to a TRUTH outside of himself.  Christ’s resurrection in turn is proof that the root GOODNESS of man’s SELF (proclaimed by God in the Garden of Eden and never recanted by Him anywhere in Scripture…thus, rendering the doctrine of Original Sin an obvious lie)…the root goodness of man’s self is once again THE singular plumb line for TRUTH and therefore GOOD.

The thing about atheists is that they never see the utter hypocrisy in their own assumptions.  Their knowledge and belief system is informed by the exact same philosophical foundation as Christianity in its Augustinian/Calvinist/Lutheran/Anglican form.  The idea is this: that man is not really himself but is merely the extension (or the depraved/evil cosmic affront to) some kind of mutually exclusive Primary Consciousness inexorably beyond himself and his understanding.  Their–the atheists–notions on life and evolution are informed by the wholly Platonist, and therefore NON-scientific and but rather philosophical “Laws of Nature”, which “govern” and “guide”.

This kind of thinking results in only two epistemological and metaphysical outcomes for the atheist:  1. They are fatalistic determinists, assuming that we are all nothing more than pre-programmed entities carrying out some inevitable cosmic code of sorts…and in which case, even our very thoughts are pre-determined extensions of the “force” of nature, and so claiming that YOU know a TRUTH or can have an idea is rank nonsense because there is no YOU in the equation); or 2. They cry “mystery!” and then punt their premises and knowledge into the great vacuum of the cosmos…shelved, and best not to be worried about.

Yeah. [wryly] Guess who else does this with startling and disturbing regularity as they sacrifice humanity upon the altar of “Shrug…what are human beings anyway?  Space dust and tools of “god””…yep, you guessed it.  Those dastardly Christians.

The Laws of Physics are a Platonist joke as an ACTUAL force of “nature”, existing outside of man’s conceptualizing mind.  These “laws” can have only one inevitable conclusion, and if you think about it long enough, it isn’t really that hard to figure it out.  The laws of nature (which Zal concedes in his essay) are merely another kind of Plato’s “forms”…a Primary Consciousness which can never be truly observed or understood because it cannot in fact exist within the scope of man’s physical reality.  At the heart of the Laws of Physics are dimensionless particles…these are described as “point particles” which means that they are actually only singularities of infinity (which is a contradiction in terms…but science can’t be wrong, heaven forbid!).  Which means that at the end of the day, there is NO value to found in them.  Thus the Standard Model leads us into an infinite and meaningless cycle of oblivion:  particle sustained in existence by some force (law of nature), and force revealed by some particle, which in turn is sustained by some force, which in turn is revealed by some particle, and so on and so forth into the oblivion of nature’s grand unknowable mystery.

What they, the atheists and their chums, the physicists (priests of Science) can never explain is how the infinite particles which are infinitely guided by some infinite force can actually EXIST..because by definition something infinite cannot be qualified, ever, by any notion whatsoever.  It cannot even be said to exist.

Thus, the problem with atheists is that they have no argument for consciousness nor the senses, the very cornerstones of their supposed “enlightenment”.  They cannot explain how unconscious space dust is eventually revealed as a conscious, observing mankind which can then be in a position to declare the “truth” of atheism or any notion or idea whatsoever. If YOU aren’t really YOU (your consciousness is an illusion…or delusion?), then YOU can’t know anything, by definition.

Which means at the end of the day they concede the very premises they pretend to despise:  there is “something out there” making it all happen, but we don’t know what.  So, best to just believe and get on with it.

Such is the state of our “rationally minded” postmodernist atheist.

On Original Sin, the Trinity, Christ’s Sacrifice and Why My Presence and/or Response is Not Really Required to Dismantle His False Ideas: My final response to James Jordan

James Jordan said:

“And I certainly would not be destroyed by an educated atheist or any type of atheist, and certainly not by you. But a Christian has to answer for the 3 most idiotic doctrines ever conceived by any religion:

1. Original Sin.
2. The Trinity.
3. The necessity of a human sacrifice for anyone to make it to heaven.

The Christian has destroyed themselves before the atheist even gets started. “Everyone is born damned and in need of salvation because a man thousands of years ago ate an apple when he was told not to, and now nobody can go to heaven without a human sacrifice that is required by a god who is three people at once.””

Argo said:

James,

You have already lost the debate to me…you just won’t concede it.  You are as stubborn as any advocate of a Primacy of Consciousness in that you will never explain how man can be reconciled to an absolute truth which exists outside of his physical person.  By any rational observation or standard, the only means man has of apprehending any sort of truth, moral or otherwise, are his senses and his brain.  The only way man has of physically organizing his environment vis a vis  his cognitive conceptualization of it is with his legs and opposable thumbs.  Thus, all reality and all truth starts and ends with man, even God.  If God does not exist to ultimately affirm the only thing man can know as absolute truth, himself (his life/existence), then God cannot be trusted. Further, your premise assumes that there is an inexorable and perpetual chasm between you as a human being and your epistemology and metaphysics.  This means that by your own definition you cannot actually know anything.

Anyone affirming that there is a standard of truth which exists outside of man’s person (be it a physicist proclaiming the Laws of Physics, or Plato with his Forms or Marx with his Utopia or Lenin with his Collective or the Calvinists with their “body of believers” or Kant with his Categorical Imperatives or Ayn Rand with her “happiness”) will lose the argument because when all the bullshit they use to try to qualify what cannot be qualified or reconcile what cannot be reconciled is done away with it always comes down to the fact that unless YOU are YOU and YOU as a person–not what you do or think or how lovable you are or what “values” you offer to another person or what property you own or money you have…and yes, I am a capitalist–are the standard of all that is GOOD and thus all that is TRUE, you cannot claim to know one single damn thing at all.  And so it is the height of arrogance and self-contradiction to continue to argue for a truth which by your own rationale cannot ever be obtained.  It is more than arrogant…it is insane.  It is a sign of a mind that is not in touch, literally, with reality.  And how these men/women like Kant and Marx and Plato and Augustine and Calvin and even Rand are not called out as shills of the Impossibly Insane Epistemology but instead lauded and thrown money at and propped upon pedestal’s to be worshiped as givers of life and lesson is beyond me except to say that at any one time in my life, I was given to accept their conclusions like every other third rate thinker walking the streets.

No more.  I demand you and them…no! I defy you to answer the basic question of how a man can be a function of a truth which cannot include himself as a physical being (actual, observable, quantifiable, visceral, relatable, an objective of the senses) in its infinite absoluteness…and further, how that truth can demand anything from man and by man except man’s utter destruction.

And since you cannot answer the basic question: how can the Law both be satisfied as an absolute truth and yet still affirm MAN as the root of all GOOD (which MUST mean all truth), you have lost the debate before I need to utter a single word in rebuttal.  You kill yourself in order to be “right” (metaphorically speaking; but those like-minded to you in civil power will kill to be right literally, as history has shown).  We call that kind of argument insanity in the rational world.

As to your accusations of Christian assumptions, I have addressed them many times on this blog.  Actually reading my posts would, I believe, satisfy your interrogations.  You may not agree, but at least you’d have your answers.

I deny Original Sin as a false and evil lie.  Original Sin contradicts even basic Old Testament standards of the right of the individual to stand or fall on his own moral actions before God; he or she is not a product of anyone’s offense but their own.  It is their life, they own it, their name is on it, they have categorical free will, and thus when they are judged they are judged by what THEY do, not what Adam and Eve did.  Adam and Eve subverted the human being as the source of all moral good and sold themselves and by default all of humanity to the notion of the Primacy of Consciousness.  It is up to individuals to reject that premise and put themselves at the center of all morality and truth…which is the way it was before the “fall”.  At the root of humanity is moral GOOD; man IS good, as the Lord declares in the very first chapter of Genesis, and never recants in any other chapter in any other book in the Bible.  If man is not fundamentally good by his mere physical existence, only rendered “evil” when they deny the human self as the singular moral truth which must be affirmed, then man cannot be saved period.  Not by the Law, and not by Jesus Christ, and not by any Consciousness Prime.  Man can no more be totally depraved and yet “saved” and “declared righteous” than the color black can be declared white or the grasshopper declared an automobile.  Aristotle’s Law of Identity must stand in this case. Original sin is a logical fallacy.

I deny the Trinity as impossible logic.  A God which is infinite cannot be declared a number (by obvious definition), because numbers are purely an abstraction used by man’s conceptualizing mind in order to cognitively organize his own environment for his own physical survival.  Time and numbers and space are not actual…they are concepts man invents and uses to affirm and propagate his own survival.  They are not the source of man, they are a product of his mind.  Hence, a concept is only logically useful when it practically and observably adds to “truth” in such a way that it results in an  efficacious elevation of the standards of life or understanding (incidentally, this is also the definition of “truth”).  The “Trinity” does no such thing. The Trinity detracts from man’s proper understanding of God’s metaphysical truth by attempting to make what is most useful to man’s understanding and thus his survival–God as infinite–and declare Him to be a function of MAN’S own devised and purely abstract concept:  number.  This is ludicrous.  In this case, the idea of infinity is utterly incongruent with a limitation of that which is infinite via numerically conceptualizing it.  Literally speaking, that which IS, IS (God is I AM), and so regardless of how God reveals Himself to man, man has no right to remove God’s infinite identity and replace it with an utterly useless and improper label, as boring as it is stupid:  Three.  It is arrogant, stubborn, and nonsensical for a person to both declare God infinite and NOT infinite at the same time.  Such is the state of the Christian mind.  NOT thinking is as ontologically inevitable to the Christian it seems as his utter worthlessness as a human being in the universe.  And this is why Christians are pariahs to the rational world when they should, in fact, be the bastion of it.

As to the “human sacrifice”.  Christ’s sacrifice is an extension, and necessarily so and inevitably so, to the demand by Old Testament Law for sacrificial atonement.  The “human sacrifice” rose from the dead, so the death of Christ as a sacrifice does not qualify as “human sacrifice” in the common understanding of the notion.  To rank Christians as practicing and affirming the customs of those worshiping Molech is ad hominem at best.  And an evil lie at worst.  (Closer to the latter.)  The point of Christ’s death was to satisfy the only and inevitable conclusion of the Law so as not to invalidate the Law as a lie and a contradiction of itself; and His resurrection was proof that the human Self, the human LIFE, being the real source of all moral good, was not ultimately subject to the Law, but quite the opposite.  All truth is subject to man’s life…this is why Paul declares no condemnation for those in Christ.  Literally, THEY are the source of their own moral perfection.  Christ’s death was God’s way of satisfying the Primacy of Consciousness which man demanded when Adam and Eve conceded Satan’s Platonist lie without actually destroying man altogether, which is what the Law inevitable leads to without Christ.  God, in order to save humanity from a truth outside itself–the very thing the Law cannot do–sent Christ to both reveal man’s root existential purity as defeating the Law of Truth outside himself, and yet not contradicting His (that is, God’s) own need, after the Fall, to explain to humans that there are ACTIONS and ways of THINKING (as embodied in the Law) which affirm the Truth of human life as the source of all morality and knowledge…which affirm man, not despise him.  And that if you don’t think these ways, or run around with people who develop whole cultures (look at Islam today; look at Communist Cuba and China) around the idea that man’s denial of himself is the key to absolute truth, you will suffer the fate you demand: destruction. Only more viscerally so as God had chosen Israel to reveal his right to instruct TRUTH to man by his ever-present and in-your-face power.

Finally.  James, I have no problem debating ideas that really have little or nothing to do with the original post to which the comment thread belongs.  However, I do have a problem debating ideas which I have already explained in previous posts (some very, very recently so) and which your questions reveal you have never bothered to read.

From this moment on, I will no longer engage you because I don’t believe you actually read anything I write, either in post form or as a response to you in the comment thread.  This makes communication and the exchange of ideas impossible, you see, and I do not appreciate spending my time engaged in activities which are, by definition, a waste of that very time.

You, not because of your ideas or your disagreement, but your laziness in actually reading anything I write, have become an albatross to me.  You see the world as a mirror, and so you can hear nothing.  You can learn nothing.  You may continue to post, but I will delete any comment of yours which indicates that you have not read a post or comment…by me or any other person here.  And I will delete any comment which resorts to insults or other sundry evidences of childish thinking and ranting rather than rational debate.

I would hope that you would have granted me the ostracism you so vehemently declared we–that is, those who disagree with you–sorely need.

By the way. I like gay people a lot and have absolutely no problem with them, their behavior or existence.  I declare them to have every inherent right under the sun as any other human being and that Christians cannot and should not pass judgment on them or anyone else for behavior that is mutually agreed upon between two self-aware and law-abiding American citizens who are hurting no one and nothing by engaging their right to own their own lives. I do not concede that homosexuality is a sin in and of itself.  Like anything, truth and morality is established by the context of the individual human being in specific circumstances.  And truth in general, that is axioms and maxims, are only true insofar as they affirm the right of human individuals to pursue their own survival and happiness and comfort because and for no other reason than they are human individuals.  Anything which is effective to that end is truth.  Anything not effective to that end–the end of the human individual him/herself–is a lie.

Does that help?

Perhaps a “Get behind me Satan!”?