Monthly Archives: December 2013

Christain Contradictions = Death Worship: Man CANNOT exist in service to mututally exclusive ideas; only reason confirms TRUTH

Man simply CANNOT function off of mutually exclusive presumptions.  Leading your cart with a philosophy that has no reconcilable definitions/assumptions/and by extension conclusions–and thus no meaning, and thus no relevance TO life because its ideas contradiction themselves–WILL never bring peace because peace preserves life.  And life, of course, without a rational standard by which to know it objectively so that it can be pursued efficaciously is impossible to affirm.  A philosophy, a “world view”, a “faith”, a revelation which can by no means be rationally married to the individual life’s inexorable and singular frame of reference/context (that is, the context of his SELF, NOW) MUST be antithetical to life, because life is only efficaciously and objectively pursued when it is understood to be a direct relationship between a standard of all TRUTH–which must and can only be man’s SELF, NOW, in this material context– and concepts and actions which move in DIRECT service to that standard.  Without an objective standard of TRUTH, which is LIFE of SELF, NOW, concepts and actions are ships with no rudder, and no anchor by which to stop and contemplate where they are going.  They float around aimlessly until they inevitably crash and burn and sink, without purpose and without meaning.  There is no reaching the shore, or anywhere else, because the shore does not exist.  The ships have literally no where to go, because there is no definable objective.  The ships have no where to go because they have no idea why in the fuck they are there in the first place.  So they go nowhere except, eventually, straight to the bottom.

This denial of the standard of TRUTH being man’s individual SELF, NOW, in this material context is a problem because human beings are wholly conceptual agents.  It is our ability to conceptualize the SELF of our individual person as opposed to the OTHER of our environment and other people which allows us to define not only what LIFE is objectively (as the SELF) but to then conceptualize what we observe in order to organize it in service to our LIFE.  It is this ability to “see” beyond ourselves via abstract concepts (up, down, left, right, hard, soft, fast, slow, here, there, cold, hot, direct, circular, black, blue, time, space, distance, stick, ball, chair, house, fort, wall, stab, slash, weak, soft, etc., etc) which puts man at the top of the food chain.  By giving man choice…thus man possesses the unique ability to act in the the most efficacious way possibly in service to his life.  When confronting the angry lion he can make the distinction between “fight” and “flee”, and then CHOOSE which of those concepts to follow at the moment…which offers him the best way to preserve his life.  An animal cannot make this distinction.  An animal cannot organize its environment by separating “SELF” from “OTHER”.  An animal may instinctively pursue its own life, but it cannot conceptualize it or the environment in order to volitionally  pursue the best option for living at any given moment.  If the environment does not happen to possess readily a means for the instinctive animal to live, it will die.  It will not cross its mind to consider altering the environment in service to its life.  Either the environment is conducive to life or it is not.  Now, certainly a bird can fly south for the winter, but its ability to fly is its tool for living, not its ability to conceptualize.  It will move to warmer weather, but it cannot build a fire so that it does not have to move.  It cannot build a shelter by which to keep the cold air out.  For the animal, the environment controls behavior categorically.  It will never alter its behavior to serve a SELF in the conceptual sense.  Meaning, it cannot fundamentally change its “nature” to pursue its own life.  A beaver will build its dam so long as their is material to do so, but it will never decide to NOT build a dam when there is no material and seek to make use of some other means of shelter.  A squirrel will climb things as long as there are things to climb.  But it will never decide not to climb things because there is a better, more efficient way to pursue its life.  Again, the environment ALWAYS is the direct dictator of how an animal acts.  Animals always act linearly.  There is never any distinction made between the SELF and anything else, so that the SELF can be pursued in a myriad of ways, even if it means altering the fundamental “nature’ of who the animal is.  Birds don’t all of a sudden start to walk around on the ground because it is more conducive to their SELF.   If a bird cannot fly, a bird will eventually, sooner rather than later, die.  The bird will not think to make a fortress, and live in that fortress, and organize its life in a new way using the fortress as the new primary means of survival, against its natural tendency, in order to live.  (Yes, I understand that birds do not have opposable thumbs, but this is not strictly a matter of physical ability.  On the contrary, the primary limitation of animals, and why man rules over them categorically, is cognitive.  A bird would not need opposable thumbs to say, build a nest which was surround by sides and a roof, and to stuff the holes with mud, and to pluck its own feathers to make a downy interior.  Or to pick up a sharp stick in its beak and stab the cat with it.  It doesn’t do this because it doesn’t think to do this, because it does not conceptualize.)

A little side note:  Now, when I say man can “change his nature” I do not mean that man’s SELF changes.  What I  mean is that man’s ability to conceptualize SELF means that man can be a tree dweller, or a desert dweller, or a tundra dweller…he can change his actions in service to life, even if it means not playing to his inherent physical attributes.

But man does not in any way think like an animal, I submit.  Man acts in service to SELF, not to the environment.  The environment may dictate what choices man makes, but it will not alter the standard of the conceptualized SELF as the motive for what man does and why he does it.

The power of choice is a direct function of the power to conceptually abstract.  But all choice must be in service to something–for no choice is an end to itself–and the only logical something is mans’ LIFE.  And further, there is no such thing as any rational nor efficacious pursuit of choice in service to death.  That is called insanity.

And it is also called “Christian Orthodoxy” and “sound doctrine”.

When the conceptual abstractions man devises in order to pursue his life are contradictorily divorced from the singularity of man’s material SELF, then they must demand man’s death.  If they are divorced from man’s brain, they become absolute and infinite.  Instead of promoting man, they demand his death in service to their infinity.  Instead of serving man, they seek to destroy him, seeing him as nothing more than an imperfect limitation on the perfect infinity of the abstract concept which, in a vacuum of itself, cannot co-exist with man or God or anything else.  This is axiomatic.  The abstract concept of “blue”, divorced from a material (physical) and finite object by which to give it a value by which it can be observed, known, and integrated into man’s LIFE, and pressed into man’s service, must be infinite.  Meaning, the concept is the end and beginning of itself.  It has no definition and no relevancy beyond itself.  “Blue IS” is the only definition of the concept of “blue” absent a material THING.  

You see, if our life, our SELF, no longer is the standard, because we have decided that the standard of TRUTH, which should be the SELF, is now utterly outside ourselves, then all the concepts we create which are suppose to affirm and propagate the SELF go to serve whatever we decide is the standard of TRUTH outside of us.  The problem with that is that any standard outside of the SELF is by definition not only infinite, but by logical extension, categorically unknowable.  What is infinite cannot be observed, axiomatically. And if it cannot be observed it cannot be defined, known, or limited

Now, for those of you who are raising your hands in protest, remember, that which you concede you don’t know is a direct function of your ability to observe what you observe and thus DO know.  In other words, there is no such thing as what we don’t know…for what we don’t know is a conceptual abstraction; it does not actually exist.  We make conjectures about what we don’t know, again, by directly observing what we do.

At any rate, when our concepts are not conceded to be direct extensions of our physical SELVES, NOW, then they are divorced from  man entirely.  Thus, our concepts go to serve some phantom in the sky (because if we cannot set the standard of TRUTH as SELF, then we have no rational frame of reference to actually define anything, much less God) or some other concept/abstraction, neither of which has anything relevant to do with us (because, again, it is wholly outside our existential frame of reference:  the human SELF).  The logical conclusion then of this kind of thinking is that our concepts are not supposed to serve our SELF, but they go to serve something NOT us.  Which means that our concepts go to serve our death, no longer our life.  We exist to DIE, is the point.  And notice that in Calvinism, just like every other bastard son of Plato, man’s DEATH is the greatest moral good he can do.  Deny yourself, sacrifice your life, your money, your property…reject reason, reject emotions and your own understanding of right and wrong.  All your ideas are steeped in depravity, making it impossible for you to make any kind of right judgement; reject your own conscience in service to that which you are utterly incapable of grasping because it is wholly outside of you.  Look at the cross, cross, cross…and never move beyond it because the death of man, the destruction of life, is the panacea for all of life’s ills and sins.

And that is what Calvinism is.  A cult of death, as John Immel rightly and poignantly concludes. We never move beyond the cross and neither does God. Jesus is nailed there as a constant reminder of what is demanded of you:  your very existence.  It is gone, from the womb to eternity.  Whether you think so or not, YOU were dead (i.e. not YOU) when you got here and you will be dead when you leave.  There is no overcoming death in Calvinism, there is only its wholesale worship.  Even after you are saved, notice your free will is still utterly null and void.  You are still a product of evil; all your good deeds as a Christian are not really of you, they are of God.  Whatever you earned, no matter how hard you worked or how many hours you put it, you don’t deserve.  It doesn’t belong to you; it’s all God’s (how many times have you heard that tidbit of rational rape).  You can work until your back hurts and still  you don’t deserve what you earned.

How is this possible?

Because there is no you.  You ARE evil…you don’t just CHOOSE evil.  And as such, there is no YOU at all.  Thus anything “good” you receive, insofar as you are able to define a “good thing” (you aren’t), must by logical extension be purely God’s grace. You can’t deserve anything or earn anything no matter how hard you work because you are not really the human you, the SELF, you are the conceptual abstraction of EVIL. 

And you are right.  When you think about it, none of this makes any fucking sense at all.

You obey, but it doesn’t matter.  Why?  Because your life doesn’t matter.  In Christ you are dead, just as you were before, except that now the contradiction becomes “divinely ordained”; a product of your “election”.  Unsaved your death is punished.  Saved your death is rewarded.  The same depraved self, the same definition of moral perfection:  death.  The only thing that changes is now hell is redefined as heaven; it is purely a matter of word swapping. What each one actually IS, doesn’t change, because the meanings of “heaven” and “hell” are irrelevant to a SELF which does not actually exist to know them.  You cannot ever rationally make a distinction between heave and hell because you do not exist as a free agent who can actively observe his/her life and universe, make moral and epistemological judgments and pursue them.  And as such, you have no ability to really know anything because you cannot define SELF.  You are first depravity incarnate, and now in Christ you are morality incarnate.  Both are forces which possess your body, but exclude your mind…somehow (again, its all bullshit).  For this type of person, any distinction between heaven and hell is immaterial because there is no YOU to understand the difference anyway.

I want to hammer, hammer, hammer down this point.  In Calvinism/Reformation theology (and collectivism/communism, scientific determinism, socialism, fascism, Platonism, gnosticism, Kantianism, etc., etc.), there is no way to define YOU.  You are utterly removed from any metaphysical and epistemological equation.

And that is why it is all, by definition, a lie.  YOU are the only rational objective singularity in your existence.  Therefore, any idea which denies this must be a total lie.  Period.  Full stop.  There is no such thing as a philosophy which does not start with the individual existence of the human SELF.

Here is how they bullshit their way around it:

The utter contradiction in Reformed theology, which exists like a cancerous leaven in essentially every doctrine and every orthodoxy of Christianity in the world today, is that you are dualistic in your existence.  There is an infinite schism in man’s metaphysic. He both is and is not.  He knows and knows not.  He can choose and not choose.  He is evil and he is good.  He has distinct body and distinct spirit, which are each complete.  He is finite and infinite.

Man is not one; he is a a function of two essences which are mutually exclusive. This is the metaphysical assumption of Christianity in our day.  And therefore contradiction is and must always be the root of our “faith” and our theology, and thus our philosophy.  There is no such thing as a rationally founded or a rationally conclusive philosophy which can proceed from a metaphysical dualism; from a severed SELF.  Ever the two parts of man will contradict…and this is why Christianity is more a force of human destruction today; and it is a world view the likes of which are not actually philosophically discernible from communism/collectivism, fascism, Islamism, atheism, determinism, mysticism, gnosticism, Platonism, and the political theory which drives and has driven every two bit dictator in the world.  Tyranny and naked despotism is Christianity’s handmaiden, and it all goes back to the inconsistency of its Platonist ideas.

Man never gets to be what he is NOW, in this life, in this body, observing what he sees NOW and judging it and organizing it with respect to how it affirms his moral goodness and right to live and be NOW.  And this is why Christianity in general will continue to be a destructive force in the world, loving death and power more than it loves God or His children, or Christ and His salvation.  It will continue to worship man’s death and pursue it as the means to spiritual perfection.

And even worse is the marriage between a philosophy of death and the love of money.  They go hand in hand.  The death-is-life business is very profitable.  If you convince people that they don’t matter, then you can easily convince them that what they have and what they do doesn’t matter.

Now…are you connecting the dots?  Are you seeing why the ecclesiastical “authority” is so invested in Calvinism? Convince people to fear and hate themSELVES and they will fear and hate WHAT THEY OWN…and give it to you And that is the big motherfucking point of it all. They don’t give a shit about people, but they sure as hell want to get their paws on the cheddar people own.

It is a long and very old story, going back to the beginning of time…to the seeds of evil.  If you can successfully separate people from who they are, then you can very easily separate them from the property they possess.

Works every time, too.  Church is a gooooooooood fucking business.  And from the looks of things, it will continue to be.

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Narcissism: The root of altruism; the bastard son of Platonism; the seed of sadism (Conclusion)

“The more you bend your will to me, the more you function as a constant source of my own affirmation, and perpetually concede my right to claim you for myself and mine own ends, so that I may demand your ongoing succor, worship, adulation, and capitulation to my vacillating and fickle needs and whims; and thus, the more I can love myself.  Which is, of course, the point of it all.  Mine own adulation is the single greatest and most prestigious moral action in the entire universe.  The purpose of all that exists is to facilitate my adoration of myself.  In this sense, you are at the same time needed and wholly unnecessary to the purpose and material reality of the universe.  I am eternal, you are non-existent.  You, insofar as we choose to label you “you”, are merely an extension of me, so that I can feel through you, and claim your life-force for myself.  And yet, the contradiction which is so obvious to everyone except me is this:  without you and the succor and affirmation you are obliged and commanded by me to grant, I am faced with the crushing guilt of what I know is my infinite inadequacy.  And worse, I am made aware of the actual truth, which is not that I am spectacularly inadequate, but that I am merely an average man.  I am not particularly brilliant nor successful nor smart nor special, and even my failures are unimpressive.  And this is something that I,the narcissist, cannot endure.  Because I cannot accept average because there is no, and never has been any middle ground with me.  I am either the paragon of life gone utterly wrong, which I lived with for a time as a child, or I am God incarnate to the universe, which I became in order to kill that useless child.  And so now I am not average, you see…for this I cannot accept lest I die. I am Him and He is me when He affirms me.  And you are me when you affirm me.  And when you and He does not, then you both are void.”

This is the lie in the mind of the narcissist; it is his creed, if you will.  It is perpetually before him as the singular philosophy which defines his every living moment.  The inherent contradictions are brushed off as either irrelevant or the narcissist considers it his divine right to define and/or re-define reality in service to his “perfection”.  The never-ending violations of logic are like the climaxes of a serial rapist, feeding his false sense of intellectual and even physical superiority.  For he truly believes that he is able to see things others cannot see, to know things others cannot know, to do things others cannot do.  His presumed ability to redefine reality at will so that it bends to his emotional and psychological needs does not tell him that he should seek professional help, or that his understanding is skewed, for it is impossible for him to concede that he could ever make an irrelevant or irrational statement, or believe a contradictory belief.  So, rather than prove his need for psychiatric treatment and remediation from his destructive lifestyle, the narcissist’s irreconcilable “logic”, on the contrary, is abject evidence that no mere mortal understands the depths and complexity of his psyche (when the reality is that the narcissist is about as uncomplicated a personality as exists…all narcissists, though they think they are so unique, think the same, and their thinking is not particularly deep).  The narcissist is the lone genius in a sea of imbeciles who pretend to understand him, to counsel him, and yet he knows that they cannot possibly apprehend his mind and emotions.  When he is happy, you cannot fathom the degree of happiness, for it so transcends your pitiful emotions.  And when he is in despair, his suffering has no equal in the world, and the circumstances surrounding his anguish are of course positively epic in scope…you could never understand the weight of the responsibility he shoulders; the burdens his poor soul must endure.  You simply don’t understand, and never will, so don’t try.

Your purpose is never to criticize or offer counsel, suggestion, or advice…for this is a rank insult to his superior status.  And never, ever hint at his own culpability in the matter, for to do so will invite an onslaught vitriol and invective.  The only thing you can possibly offer him is a shoulder to cry on; to be the one who affirms his greatness and tells him that all men of infinite moral worth and intellectual perfection must frequently endure the torches of the commoners –those empty-headed automatons who run in pointless circles, only shells of life.   You must reassure him that his plight is merely proof that he is far above the rest; that his Tower of Babel he has been successfully built, and its greatness is such that not even God can  bring it down.  Reassure him that his victory in the face of such Herculean odds is inevitable; that he has proven time and time again the superiority of his intellectual and psychological fortitude and his physical stamina, of which no mortal words can adequately describe.  Tell him without reservation that he is the personification of stalwart resilience.  He is invincible, everyone else temporal, expendable, and doomed to eternal failure and to the curse of the fires of hell.  After a while he will come out of his funk, brimming with narcissistic supply, and able to see once again that all the universe rises and falls by his will and purpose.

Well…he will come out of his funk for a time, anyway, until his narcissistic supply runs shallow, which it always inevitably does, as reality has a cruel way of inexorably intruding upon the narcissistic fantasy…and then the cycle will begin again.

*

You think I am exaggerating?  Really? Then I submit you have never met a true narcissist.  Your incredulity is irrelevant…and I mean that not as an insult, but only as a matter of fact.  Not only is this not an exaggeration, I have likely not done justice to his perceptions of himself.  The level of self-deception and false hubris is likely beyond what one who is not a narcissist can adequately explain.  Truly, these are sick people, and that is the primary thing you need to know.

And they have their own theology, in the form of neo-Calvinism and the resurgence of Reformation ideals.

And they are quite probably right now running your church.

Are you afraid?

You should be.

*

The narcissist will regale you with long and ostentatious tales of his unconditional love; of the free gift of his grace and doting heart; of his immaculate and infinitely sacrificial charity…

…and then he will proceed to innumerate, without skipping a beat, your countless moral deficiencies which constantly foil and restrain his “free” grace and his “unconditional” love.  In short, you soon find out that with the narcissist, every day is opposite day.  “Unconditional” means absolutely conditional in every way imaginable.  “Free” means absolutely at severe cost to you.  If you want to partake of his divine and corpulent dispensations, you must pony up the narcissistic supply.  Your claim to your self-ownership is the single greatest condition which prevents the narcissist from bestowing upon you anything at all, even the mere recognition of your existence.  You are either a source or potential source of narcissistic supply, or you are void.  Irrelevant. Non-existent.  Disregarded.  Out of sight and out of mind.

The narcissist will never hesitate to contradict himself to your face in service to his full-on farce of existential superiority…for what does he have to fear?  Again, need I remind you that your existence is so immaterial that it isn’t even truly recognized.  Whatever contradictions you may point out to him are dismissed or savaged as yet another condition of yours which presents a stumbling block to his “unconditional” love.  His “free” and “unfetter” desire to show you his perfect grace is fettered by your faults, of which he is, of course, categorically allowed (hypocritically) to point out.  And your stubborn insistence on your existence is the biggest motherfucker of all your “conditions”.

Let do that again.

Your existence is the insufferable condition which will automatically exclude you from the grace and love of the narcissist.  The narcissist, in so many words, will explain that it is, at the root, your very being which is the primary problem…why you can’t understand him, why you can’t possibly commune with him, why you must be punished.  For your own good, he will hypocritically and contradictorily explain.  He will deflect the accusations (either from you or from the small, thin voice of his “true self” which is little more than a dried up husk of the actual human being he used to be) of his own hypocrisy by arguing that the reason his unconditional love may appear hypocritical is because you persist in the lie that you are actually YOU…that you even exist to have an opinion concerning him or anything else at all.  You, not him, are the hypocrite who makes your own existence the condition which then must preclude an unconditional love.  Your refusal to renounce your individual, autonomous SELF is why instead of unconditional love he is forced to heap upon you hate and violence and endless criticism. The sin of your existence has created a condition in you which is the root of all your pain (of which you are of course wholly culpable for, somehow).  And the condition is defined thus:  that you insist (rightly) that you must be YOU in order to receive love, grace, adoration, revelation, and reconciliation, which, of course, renders the unconditional love a categorical contradiction in you.  Your very existence is the condition which precludes the unconditional love.  This is otherwise known, in certain peculiar theologies, as “total depravity”.

For you neo-Calvinist survivors…is any of this sounding more and more familiar?  Of course it is.  Narcissism is narcissism is narcissism.  Wherever it is found, in whatever form, the template is always the same.  You exist to serve someone else, or you do not exist.  In other words, you don’t exist…you are merely an extension of those who claim to rule over you by divine mandate.

By demanding that “unconditional” love require an object in YOU that it may be defined and known as love, you have contradicted the narcissist’s root assumption:  that he alone is actually aware of SELF.  By insisting that YOU are a prerequisite to any relationship involving something specifically directed at YOU–that YOU must come first in any equation involving the transference of value between YOU and someone/something else–automatically proves that you cannot possibly be elect.  As in Calvinism, the entire problem narcissists have with people is that they always want to BE people, individually, and self aware.  That is the sin of them totally defined.  And that is what the narcissist despises, because it demands that the entire philosophy is one of relationship, not of rule.  And the narcissist, like the Calvinist, insists that the only real existence is one in which you have no actual volition of your own.

You see, in a relationship, moral worth is equal.  In rule, right is claimed by special, unknowable, divine mandate, which always ends up “verified” to the masses through their wholesale slaughter and oppression.  And human value is replaced by divine right to either own or destroy the opposition.  For indeed, the right to destroy the premise of humanity’s own existence is the narcissist’s idea of a perfect world.  He rules you, period.  Full stop.

It is this claim–that of your autonomous self–which enrages the narcissist like nothing else can.  He does not tolerate the presence of any other volitional agent, not even God.  Your claim to self-being and self-ownership invites his wrath like a line of cocaine invites a drug addict to snort.  Because what it says to the narcissist is that he is obligated to consider you in the relationship, and thus may not then reserve all his unconditional love for himself.  By claiming your own SELF–and even worse, the moral and existential equality of your own SELF–you deny him his “rightful” place at the center of the universe.  Interaction cannot be wholly self-serving.  He must share his charity and affection with you…and this notion utterly contradicts and distorts the narcissist’s twisted definition of love.  You see, to the narcissist, unconditional love means love which is completely self-directed.  Since your existence presents a condition which denies his definition of “unconditional”, he rejects your claim to SELF entirely.  He will see you dead or destroyed…or, more likely, will abandon you, before he cedes one inch of love to you.  The only love is the love reserved for him.  If it is not directed solely inward, it is not love, by definition.  It is a lie, a farce, and a sin.  He is the only one who does not present a condition which precludes unconditional love.  Because he is the source of all love (and everything else), due to the fact that he alone is morally perfect, he alone gets to say what is done with it.  And since no one else can receive it because no one else exists–and those who “do” deny the unconditional love by the condition of their existence–all the love must go to him.  

(As an aside, those of you with narcissistic parents might have noticed how they abandoned you emotionally and psychologically as soon as you attained a modicum of self-sufficiency and self-acknowledgement.  Oftentimes, narcissistic parents are less likely to be violent with their children (though they certainly can be) and will instead resort to savage emotional abuse and the “silent treatment” as punishment for perceived slights to their perfection.  The most egregious slight being, again, any claim to your self-ownership/existence.)

A person with clinical Narcissistic Personality Disorder is, unfortunately, beyond hope and beyond help.  The human being who once embodied the vacuous shell which is now seen has been emaciated and destroyed by a long, tortured death inside the narcissist’s psychological iron maiden.  The vacuous shell is merely a semblance of a human being; a robot, charged and rebooted by the souls of others which program love into him so that he can “feel”.  Nothing is real to the narcissist.  Everything is a contradiction, a lie, a masquerade.  The love he feels for himself isn’t love at all.  It is hate.  The love he feels for others isn’t love at all.  It is rage.  The things he concedes about himself are the stuff fantasy movies are made of.  Reality brings the realization of his average status, and his wholly inadequate ability to live up to the illusion he has created.  Thus, reality is death, and he avoids it like the plague.

If this series on narcissism reads like a Calvinist theological catechism, do not be surprised.  You have judged correctly.  For Calvinism, like narcissism is merely another bastard son of Plato.  The Primary consciousness is the narcissist’s shell, rather than the Pastor/Priest-in-the-stead, but the functional assumptions are precisely the same, as are the outcomes.  Nothing beyond the cult of personality is real.  All either sacrifices itself to the “authority” of the vessels of the “revelation”, or it is sacrificed to the vessels by divine mandate.

Existence is sin.  SELF precludes love.  You do not get to be you.

Narcissism as the root of altruism; the bastard son of Platonism; the seed of sadism: The second rule (part three of series)

Proceeding from where we left off in the last post, let us examine rule number two with respect to the assumptions and consequential behavior of the narcissist, as I have come to see it:

The second rule of narcissism is that it is perhaps philosophically (that is, clinically described as) a form of masochism, but the practical application of it to others resembles more of sadism; though, again, there is not the abject hatred of humanity and the requisite pleasure derived from their suffering.  Nevertheless, it must be conceded that the behavior of the narcissist towards his fellow man is catastrophically destructive, ruining the lives of his fellow human beings with a remorseless violence–be it emotional or physical or both–and there is an almost vampire-like lust for their routine sacrifice to his appetites. Children of narcissists may (and often do, I believe) become victims of severe psychological disorders, such as panic/anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, narcissism dependency, or even become narcissists themselves.

Narcissists have capricious temperaments, and can react differently to the same situation or words/behavior of his fellow man, without reason.  One never knows how a narcissist will react in any given situation.  This uncertainly renders his victims skittish to the point of dysfunction if exposed for too long; and his vicious temper when confronted with what he perceives as an insult or a denial of his omnipotent perfection can render his victims emotionally broken for years to come, and maybe for the rest of their lives.

He may be labeled as a masochist, but I submit that if he is no friend to himself, the narcissist is even less of a friend to his fellow man.  And for that reason, I do not concede he is purely a masochist.  He may not take direct pleasure in the pain of others, but the fact that their exploitation results in his pleasure (and exploitation is indeed what it is, whether he understands this or not) in the form of narcissistic supply means that there is a dark streak of sadism running through his personality.  Indeed, it is this tendency to annihilate his victims with a stoic, emotionless savaging of their autonomous selves which thus groups the narcissist in with other severe psychological pathologies such as psychopathy/sociopathy and Borderline Personality Disorder.  Narcissism is self-hatred which translates into a blanket punishing of humanity by routinely engaging in behavior which denies and destroys it.

What this means is that engaging the narcissist is extremely hazardous to your health.  His inability to see other human beings as actually human leads to all manner of human destruction.  He has no compunction about damaging or destroying anyone whom he deems “broken” or unable to perform their “jobs” for the narcissist.  And your job is, of course, solely defined by the narcissist.  You obviously have no say.  He possesses no capacity for apprehending individual human contexts, personality nuances, or belief systems of other people; and as such these aspects of people’s humanity are entirely ignored by the narcissist.  He has no objective beyond self-preservation through the slaking of his insatiable appetite for narcissistic supply…a full slaking of course ever eluding him.  Indeed, it is my opinion based on my reading that his need for narcissistic supply is the only real barrier between narcissism and full-on psychopathy.

But again, it isn’t that the narcissist hates people.  His hatred is reserved purely for himself…which is why they are I think considered more masochistic than sadistic.  No, the narcissist cannot hate people or take direct pleasure in their pain precisely because, as I have explained, they do not acknowledge the existence of other people.  And though we may be tempted to consider the narcissist more…hmm, “desirable” than the psychopath; less dangerous perhaps (which he is to society at large in a sense, which he disregards as non-existent and irrelevant unless he is actively engaged with it) or more “stable”, we must remember that to deny another person their humanity–and by extension, their natural human rights (life, liberty, autonomy, property)–represents the zenith of human destruction.  It targets man at the place sure to do the most damage:  his very SELF.  To deny a person the right to claim his or her very material existence–their very essence and being–as actual and as their own is the single greatest act of immorality which can be perpetrated upon man, I submit.  It completely eradicates man at his source, the SELF, and everything that follows which is a product of their lives.  Further, when human beings are deemed non-existent then not only are they denied the knowledge of themselves, who are TRUTH in the only way rationally definable, they are denied knowledge of and access to God, Himself, by definition, who is man’s Creator, and as such is the single greatest affirm-er of individual human life in the entire universe.  But the narcissist says no.  The narcissist declares God the Creator of nothing.

If one were to ask me if I thought the devil himself were a psychopath or narcissist, I would deem him a narcissist.  The psychopath takes pleasure in hurting humans, and will taunt them by saying that not even God can help them once they become his target.  The narcissist will say that there are no other humans to hurt, and that there is NO God to help them, regardless of whether they are his “target” or not.  And no matter how many times they may say God and you exist, your narcissist does not actually believe it.  Not in the sense that he concedes they are autonomous entities in their own right.  They are forms of narcissistic supply, existing to satisfy his craving, nothing more.  God is treated with no greater deference than you are.

This sounds more like the devil to me than a psychopath.

If I am making narcissism out to be more appalling than you ever thought, good.  Narcissism is the scythe put to humanity.  And once you have come face to face with a real, actual, clinically defined Narcissistic Personality Disorder…well, trust me, the horror of that experience is not easily shaken, if it ever is.  To be stripped of your humanity in either a violent or a coldly indifferent instant, and thought of and looked at as literally nothing more than a jockstrap to hold someone’s sad little balls up…well, it’s frankly disturbing.

I submit that Calvinism is little more than narcissism in mystic guise, which is why when you hear of abuse in the neo-Calvinist church, it is so fucking horrific, and yet simultaneously played down or denied as not really such a big deal after all.  “God” is always bigger than the circumstance, of course (they won’t even deign to call it abuse most of the time) and has great plans which will come of it…but never for the victim you will notice.  No, the victims are merely the “vessels of wrath”; cosmic bed pans for the divinely called priests/pastors-in-the-stead to defecate in as an expression of God’s divine determinism.  God’s all-determining will, which is the vehicle for the abuse of course, renders the narcissistic church not only perfectly morally innocent of any consequences of the abuse, but the recipient of what will surely come to a blessing for the church because of it.  Because the church, in lock-step keeping with the assumptions of the narcissistic personality, can only ever do “God’s will”.  Which is to say, they can never do wrong, no matter how wrong it might look to you or I.

In Calvinism, just as is the clinical description of the narcissist, there is no YOU.  Only they exist.  Even God is merely an illusion.  The real deity is the pastor/priest…for their theology can make absolutely no metaphysical distinction.  There is no difference between God and His men “called”, somehow, to enlighten the masses to His absolute “truth”.

Stay tuned for part four.

Narcissism: The root of altruism; the bastard son of Platonism; the seed of sadism (part two)

In my experience, there are two essential rules which seem to undergird and describe Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  I do not mean symptoms, of which I believe there are nine mentioned in the psychiatric diagnostic and statistical manual.  I mean that these are assumptions you can make about how the narcissist views you and others; and what the practical effects are upon human beings who engaged them, when the narcissist acts in service to his assumptions.  These two rules are:

1.  You do not exist as you.  You are a machine, or an appliance, of which they presume to be the sole operator/proprietor.  Their wants, needs, and desires, no matter how insane, contradictory or capricious, you are to categorically reflect.  You are a program or a switch..and this is exactly how they see you.  They react in anger when you make even the slightest pretense of autonomous existence; when you do not respond according to the preconceived notion of their sole ownership of all the appliances (people) they “purchase” with their “affection” and their “attention”.  A person the narcissist has deemed as belonging to himself but does not acknowledge his slightest whim is treated as, again, a broken machine/appliance in need of “fixing”, which comes in the form of verbal/psychological/emotional abuse, physical violence, or a simple tossing aside like so much useless trash (ignoring or the “silent treatment”).  You see, your job is to serve as a vehicle for his convenience, and thus your role is to serve as nothing more nor less than the perpetual affirmer of his omnipotence and moral perfection; their supreme ontological importance.  In short, his infinitely superior agency makes him essentially God to you.  He does not understand the nuances of humanity, the many layers of thought, feeling, and motivation which drive a human being along the pathway of his or her life.  And I mean literally.  As in he literally does not understand humanity outside of the machine/appliance model.

It isn’t that the narcissist, like a psychopath, hates people as such.  It is that he is, again, literally unable to understand the nature of other human beings as equally self-aware, equally feeling entities.  He simply does not and cannot see you as a full-on personality of your own.  You are a machine, a robot, a computer, an appliance, a thing which is merely a human doppelganger, wearing merely a thin and unconvincing exoskeleton of human form.  Underneath you are wires and microchips and transistors, brackets and harnesses, nuts and bolts.  He assumes ownership of you like he would own a television, or a cell phone.  Your life is literally not your own.  It does not matter that you may live in a different neighborhood, or county, or state, and have your own house and car and job and family.  All of that is utterly irrelevant, and makes about as rational an impact in his thinking than if you were a washing machine claiming to have a social circle of its own.   All of your life is utterly ignored…and when you are out of sight. like an appliance, you are essentially out of mind.  He may call you, or have you over for a visit, or take you out on a date, but understand that this is not in service to, nor proof of, your own separate existence as a rational being.  No, this is merely how he accesses you.  Turning on the television requires him to pick up a remote and press a button.  Starting the stove involves walking to the kitchen and twisting a knob.  Starting you involves calling a number on his cell phone and a well-imitated pretense of interpersonal interaction.  That is it.  Any gift given to you on your birthday, Christmas, or “just because” is in service to him.  Filling up the car with gas gets him around town.  Showering you with compliments and gifts and false empathy or love fills you up so that you will continue to run in service to himself…dispensing your narcissistic supply like the television dispenses his favorite shows, or the stove dispenses his favorite brownies.

You must accept this.  You are not a person to him.  Ever.  No matter how much he may make you feel like one.  For the narcissist, it is an impossible realization and connection.  As incredulous as this might be, trust me…if you know a narcissist, evaluate your relationship with him in light of what you have just read.  You will be shocked, I submit, at the eerie and seemingly uncanny ability I possess to describe this person, whom I have never met, so perfectly.  But it isn’t that I have some kind of special revelation or extra sensory perception.  This is the face of narcissism, and it is consistent amongst people, collectively and individually. Truly, when you have seen one you have seen them all. The narcissist, I submit, is the closest a human being can come to being deprived of a soul.  To being merely a plastic person.  The irony here, of course, is that he is the machine, not you.  He is the appliance, and you exist to keep him running.  And deep down, somewhere within the corpse-like husk of his “true self” which he killed years and years ago, he knows this.  But he cannot acknowledge it, lest he die.  The fear of this truth being brought to bear on his consciousnesses is what keeps him going so inexorably, relentlessly, in pursuit of his coveted narcissistic supply.

So as I was saying…you are an element of, or an extension of himself, like any other piece of his property.  You exist only to do a job that he alone gets to define.  You are nothing more, and never will be.  Full stop. If you are friends with or otherwise involved with a narcissist this is the first thing you must come to terms with should you decided to remain in the relationship.  To attempt to advocate for your own autonomous SELF will only confuse and enrage the narcissist.  Do not bother.  It is a complete waste of time.  He possess no psychological or emotional capacity to understand nor concede.  Even if he swears he does, he does not.  Being in a relationship with a narcissist thus involves surrendering yourself to one of only two options:  Leave and do not look back, or stay and accept your place as a walking canvass for his whims and desires; an ever-present source and reflection of his own self-adulation.  Accept that you may never speak of yourself as an autonomous human being without inviting the abject wrath of the narcissist.  And always remember that the narcissist does not change.

Now, over time, faced with a weakening body and mind, which are unavoidable reminders of his own fallibility and temporal existence (which he generally does NOT ever think about, let alone concede), the narcissist may grow more tolerable, knowing that he no longer possesses the strength nor alluring presence and disposition with which to restrain you and your own self expression.  He may slowly slink back and accept at least practically what he never could intellectually.  But this will come only after years and years of abuse, torment, and psychological/emotional savaging at the hands of the narcissist.  And by that point, your capacity for self-expression and acknowledgement will likely be almost as blackened and corroded as the narcissists “true self”, which only briefly existed in childhood until the false self, the monster which has been the face of the narcissist ever since and the only “self” of his you have ever known, murdered it in service to his own perceived survival.  And should you choose to remain, long term, with your narcissist, you likely won’t know what to do with your autonomous SELF any more than that he ever did.

(Please stay tuned for part three)

Narcissism: The root of altruism; the bastard son of Platonism; the seed of sadism

Narcissism, clinically speaking (not colloquially speaking), has fascinated me for a long time, probably because I have known at least two full-blown narcissists–again, I submit, clinically speaking–in my life.  And these people were, unfortunately, no mere acquaintances.  Furthermore, I was, as many of you already know, a loud and proud member of neo-Calvinism poster tyrant, Sovereign Grace Ministries for fifteen years.  And as one who unreservedly believes that Calvinism, among many other vile ideas, is little more than a seething pit of narcissistic manifestos masquerading as “sound doctrine”, I consider my time there at the very least the equivalent to a grad school residency specializing in that particular personality disorder.  Of course I do not profess to be a professional psychiatrist, but the point is that I have done enough research and been around the disorder long enough to feel comfortable calling something or someone “narcissism” when I see it/them.

A recent conversation with someone I consider to be an abject jewel of narcissistic personality disorder enlightened me to yet a further realization of just how deep the canyons of self-delusion and rational desertion run in these people.  I do not mean this post as a personal assault upon this person; truly I do not begrudge (much) my time with this specimen.  It has been a wonderful learning experience…and I mean that sincerely.  No sarcasm intended.  I intend this post to be a criticism of the narcissistic personality in general and not, again, as a personal invective against this person.  I hold against him no ill will.   But be that as it may, his disorder must be discussed in the public square.  For indeed narcissism is nothing if not a rank public menace, and the more we know the more our rational revulsion and pity is increased to our benefit.  Which is to say that most importantly, we can protect ourselves against being dragged down into the pit of their man-eating Platonism.  And when we can know the enemies of the SELF for what they truly are, we can promote the SELF, and in doing so the love and awareness of God and others.  And we can rightly file narcissism within our life experiences under “What not to do”.

In short, I mean this post as something which will help us look beyond the ostensible demeanor of society’s parasitic types so that we can better deal with them, and avoid the mistake of surrendering our bodies and minds to their despotic ideas.

Oftentimes, these people are not rank idiots who stumble around in their folly like drunk sailors, so obviously troubled that anyone with eyeballs and a half of sense can see it.  No, these are seasoned sadists (more on that distinction later), with enough wit and guile to masquerade–initially anyway–as even the most compassionate souls.  Often intellectual, they have a way of qualifying every vile thought, every self-serving whim, every hiss of their utter disdain for you and all things “other” in a way that makes them sound like Mother Theresa’s protege.  A wolf masquerading as a sheep; a devil as an angel of light…it is an art form which they have perfected, having lived almost their entire lives in relentless pursuit of the only manna which satisfies their lie and prevents the truth of their own catastrophic existential failure from sending them into a personal hell of naked, pointless oblivion…this manna being what is known as “narcissistic supply.  They blend in perfectly.  Well, what I mean to say is that they blend in perfectly…until they don’t.  Tuning your mind to a point where you are hyper-alert to logical contradiction removes the false narcissistic front of intellectualism and rationalism like a good pair of night vision goggles.  Once you learn to spot the rape of reason a mile away, the narcissist will no longer have the upper hand on you and your life.  But beware, and do not underestimate their acumen.  Like I said, they have perfected the pursuit of narcissistic supply.  And no matter how vigilant you are, occasionally they’ll get an idea past you, and even to those of us who spend our free time counting the ways of evil philosophy so that we may never be blind to its madness will be tripped up for a time by the artful narcissist.  Guard against this by bearing in mind that all ideas must be vetted for the consistency of their premises, as measured against individual human life–yours included and particularly–as the standard of all TRUTH, before being accepted and you’ll likely be okay.

Be ever alert for the narcissist.  And understand that, like the Siren’s of Homer’s Odyssey, even when you are fully aware that the person with whom you are engaging is a narcissist, you may find yourself nevertheless attracted to his rocky shores.  And there you will surely and inexorably be shipwrecked.  Do not be fooled by his charisma, his charm, or the excitement you sometimes feel when you are around him.  Never underestimate his uncanny ability to make a life which is solely about himself seem like it is all about you.

More coming later today…stay tuned !!

 

Redemptive and Grammatical Interpretive Hermeneutics are Both Primacy of Consciousness (Platonist) Models: Continuing to look at the “plain meaning” of Scripture

How the interpretive approaches to Scripture are used–to what epistemological objective or purpose, as valued against the standard we choose to make the yardstick of what is epistemologically “true” or “false”, “good” or “bad”–must utterly inform the interpretation.  And this is the problem.  For neither the Redemptive Historical Hermeneutic or the Grammatical Historical Hermeneutic assumes the standard to be human life/existence.  Further, in my studies, I have yet to see either one define any standard beyond its own assumptions.  This means that the interpretation is right merely because it is the interpretation chosen.  Neither claims to validate the veracity of its interpretive conclusions against any standard other than “it means what it means”, so to speak.  Thus, the “plain meaning” of Scripture is an argument both use.  Again, the interpretation is valid because of the conclusions it draws, not because the conclusions it draws comport with an objective and external-to-the-interpretation standard of TRUTH.   The conclusions must support the interpretation because the interpretation is already assumed to be correct.  Therefore it is impossible for the interpretation to reveal anything that does not bulwark its self-assumed monopoly on interpretive truth.  This of course, in turn, makes it impossible for anyone or anything, be it man or God or Scripture or anything else, to gauge the accuracy of or to even remotely question the interpretive approach.  It is right simply because it is what it is and says what it says.  Therefore, the interpretive approach is not informed by God and certainly not the Bible.  On the contrary, the relationship is quite the opposite.  The interpretation is the standard of all TRUTH to which everything else in the universe must agree.  If anything does not, then it is both epistemologically and metaphysically non-existent…without any definition.  In short, the interpretive approach becomes the “lens” of the primary consciousness by which one decides what the Bible (and God, Himself, is the implication) “plainly” says.

It is not necessary, I am assuming, to point out the irony here.

Do you see the conflict of interest then?  The circular logic?  And of course this makes the “intellectual” root of each interpretive approach exactly the same:  the interpretation speaks for itself, and it must necessarily by default then draw conclusions out of the text of scripture which are “plainly seen”; and “plainly” verify that the interpretive approach is, indeed, infallibly veracious.

In both cases, the Primary Consciousness approach to existence is assumed and remains indefatigable.  Man is incapable of deciding truth on his own, due to the absolute insufficiency of his material existence in essentially all matters (moral, physical, metaphysical, epistemological, etc., etc.), and thus requires an external, abstract/conceptual “intelligence” to explain everything for him…and this “intelligence”, this divine gnosis, is accessed by specially enlightened individuals who have been, somehow, chosen as God’s emissaries; His chosen vessels to bring enlightenment–by any means necessary–to the masses, who are only different from rank animals in that they are morally culpable for their mindless existence and thus will get hell and torment should they resist God’s chosen priests…even though they cannot help but resist because they are mindless animals by nature, but anyway…

In the face of this epistemological rape, the only alternative of course of action is for man to assume that his conscious existence is not only sufficient for apprehending and organizing his reality/environment but is, being the singular and infinite constant frame of reference for anything and everything he sees, knows, and/or does, the only standard of TRUTH which can be credited as reasonable…and as such, valid.

And this is what Christians, in the death-worshiping, mystical, philosophical smorgasbord that has become Christian theology (and has been since at least Augustine, if not earlier) will never, ever, ever concede.  They would rather play Russian roulette with interpretive approaches and hope–out of naked blind and utterly vacuous faith–that they will somehow be spared the requisite death and destruction which must follow mankind when he decides that his own mind is actually antithetical to his life…that his very own created SELF is perpetually in God’s way, and that if he would just lay down and roll the fuck over and die (intellectually/psychologically is preferred…that way you can still tithe; but physically?  Just as good in the end….).  Yes, they would rather do this than concede the standard of truth which stares plainly at them in the mirror every day of their lives, begging and screaming to be accepted as God’s gift to man–his very SELF–but is brushed aside with about as much rational sense as one would brush aside a rocket ship whilst planning a trip to the moon.

And here is the sad little lie.  There is no such thing as an interpretive approach to Scripture which can be said to use God or the Bible as the standard of TRUTH.  This simply isn’t possible, and if we spent more time studying Old Testament philosophy as we do attempting squeeze all of our theological understanding out of a very few, very short epistles from Paul, who is about as easy to drag a “plain” thought out of as…well, as Paul, then we’d understand the futility of putting the plumb line of TRUTH outside of the human ontological context.

The whole point of the Law was to do what?  To point to itself as the standard of TRUTH and morality?  Of course not…for if that were the case then what is the point of Christ?  What is the point of the incarnate Messiah?  What is the point of the death of the new Adam to satisfy the Law?  Why have a perfect, flesh and blood human being as the conqueror of death?  For if the Law itself is the standard of TRUTH, then death is man’s purpose.  It hardly seems logical that God would come as that which the Law decries and condemns (in service to its own absolute TRUTH) in the interest of proving that the Law as the standard of judgement and TRUTH.  I mean, where is the sense in that idea?  It is completely self-contradicting.

On the contrary, Jesus Christ affirms–as does even a cursory look at at the Old Testament and its linking of the morality of the Law to the preservation and affirmation of human LIFE–that human beings are the point of the Law.  It is not their death it demands, it is their life.  And if it is their life that the Law is in service to, then to what is man’s life subordinate?  It cannot be the law; it can only be itself.  Man’s life is the ruler of man’s life.  

If the point of God’s Law is to preserve, persevere, and perpetuate human life then only one inexorable conclusion can be drawn:  man is suppose to exist as he does, in the form he takes, with the mind he has, and with the bone-stock senses with which he integrates and organizes his world to himself.  And the implication then is that it is this form of man which is perfect alreadyYOU are who and what you are supposed to be.  Your goodness and perfection is NOW, not after you DIE…as if death is, again, the panacea for all ills.  No, that is the easy, weak, and intellectually lazy approach to life:  “Well…[shrug], when we DIE it’ll all make sense; when we DIE our infinite depravity will be done away with; when we DIE we can finally be good for God; when we DIE then we will live; when we DIE there will be no more pain or suffering or evil or…er, death.”

Yeah…no fucking shit, Sherlock.  It’s funny how death works, isn’t it?  Just seems to take care of everything, huh?  How marvelously convenient.  What a fucking a-okay theology.  Please, tell me who to make my check out to…I gotta have more of this “good news”.

But God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.  And it is only through your life that you have Him.  Remember that.  If you die, you will by no means see God.  And that is the whole point of Christ.  To defeat death, not to worship it.

The Infinity of the SELF, and Without the Existence of SELF Nothing Exists (explanation and clarification): Response to A Mom

““truth doesn’t need me to be true”
I just said something to someone very similar to this recently. Something like, “It’s true, whether I’m saying it or not”. So I pondered it. And, you know, that person wouldn’t know it if I didn’t say it, so… you’re right. That is a silly statement. And it marginalized me, didn’t it? Not affirming to my life either, right?”

-Commenter, A Mom (previous post’s comment thread)

A Mom,

You make a point that I had not considered…I never thought of it quite that way.  Like, if YOU hadn’t told that person, they’d never actually know that particular truth. So, in that sense, the truth did need you for it to be true to THAT persons…you were the source of that truth to them, and so you are right:  the fact that it is true “in spite of you” is neither entirely true, but even more salient, is, in that particular instance, entirely irrelevant.  At that moment you were indeed the source of that truth to them.  The truth needed you, like it always needs a human agent in order to be true; in order to exist.

Great illustration of this, A Mom.  Excellent.  Again, truth always needs a human agent.  And it speaks well to the point I am (trying…not sure how successfully) making in my last two posts concerning “plain meaning” of words and text:  there is no such thing as “truth” in a vacuum of its own meaning.  That is, without a human agent who makes his or her life the standard of all meaning (that is, your LIFE is WHY anything is true, or false, or good, or bad, etc.), there is no truth.  If you are not conscious, then nothing exists to you…and if nothing exists to you, then you cannot really argue that anything exists at all…obviously (or not).

And this is a hard thing to get our heads around.  For on the one hand, we do need to be able to make a distinction, for practical purposes, between what is a fact and what is merely personal opinion.  For example, no Calvinist gets to say that total depravity is reasonable just because they happen to believe it, because factually, it is simply NOT reasonable.  Them believing it does NOT make it true; will not make it true, and cannot make it true.  So, it is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of reason.  Obviously we don’t allow maniacs to define the world for us because that leads to all kinds of disaster and torment.  So…”reason” is a guide is a practical idea because, remember, truth has to serve human life, not demand its death.  And human life is indeed individual, because the individual is the infinite source of their own existence and all that exists to them.  But by our empirical observation, which MUST be true (because I submit that if you are consciously aware of something, then that something must be real…for there is no such rational thing as a “false consciousness”, or an illusion, so to speak, being aware of an illusion, but that’s another discussion), we can see the very real lives of other human agents.  So, what we affirm as truth must not only serve our SELVES–and indeed, it would be quite logically impossible to rationally argue a truth that affirmed the right of our SELVES to live and not the SELVES of other human beings, which provide a perfect frame of reference (infinite setting) for and an empirical verification of our own SELF–but it must also serve the SELF of every other human being and certainly God, Himself, who is likewise a morally equal and equally self-aware autonomous Agent.

But, as you understand (and kudos to you, because believe me I KNOW this stuff is really, really hard to get our heads around), I am, with all of this hullabaloo, attempting to breach a deeper, I guess, sort of existential idea.  And, as I have said before, ad nauseam (because, this is really my whole theological and philosophical bag) that is the idea of the human SELF as the beginning and end of all a person both knows and is, and all that IS, even God, to that person…and as that person is infinite, then by definition, this would mean that the individual SELF is the source of not only all that exists to him or her, but all that exists, period…because, when push comes to shove and the amplifier gets turned to 11, there is no way to really deny this reasonably; and again, that is because the single infinite constant to existence is YOU, and only YOU, and only ever YOU.  The source of your existence can never be anything or anyone else. Period.  Full stop.  Therefore, the only ultimate literal claim you can make is that without you, nothing exists.  (Now, let it be known that I am willing to possibly concede a true paradox at this juncture.  One might say, for example, that once you exist, FIRST, you can know that other things exist besides you, which means that they also exist concomitantly with you, or even, “before” you, if you want to qualify it that way.  The problem is, of course, that I fucking hate paradoxes because I think they are a fucking cop out a their root and I just cannot quite bring myself to believe that there is any truth which man can claim which is mutually exclusive to another truth.  I.  Just.  Simply. Can’t.  But…perhaps I may have to.  Buuuuuuut…not quite yet.  And I mean it…I am NOT conceding it yet.  At best thus far I may concede that all conscious agents infinitely ARE, together, and are concomitantly the roots of existence, period…and it is observation which allows for a relatively finite relationship between infinite consciousnesses.  But that’s getting pretty deep, and as you are already probably asleep, I’ll move on for now.)

I submit it is axiomatic to say that EVERYTHING we know, or think or see, etc., requires US in order to exist.  And I mean LITERALLY.  As I said, unless you are, it is impossible for you to claim the existence of anything else at all, by definition.  For all practical purposes, if you do not exist, then neither does anything else.

Now, at this point we inject reason–which is the observation of the senses integrated into our consciousness to form conceptual abstractions of other things which we rightly declare as actual.  Reason tells us by what we observe that our existence is not the material creation of the objects we observe…but here is where reason really needs to be parsed a bit.  Yes, we are not the creators of the things we observe, but we are the creators of what these things mean and how they are defined. And since we are the source all meaning by what we observe we do need to recognize that existence of everything, in a meaningful (epistemological) sense, is predicated upon our existence FIRST.

Now, one might counter argue that we are only the source of all meaning for us, and not anyone else.  And I would respond by saying: The difference is between our infinite SELF–that which is the never changing constant in your existence: YOU–and the relatively finite OTHERS with which we share our environment. So yes, meaning is only for our SELF, but our SELF is the only rational plumb line for all meaning because our SELF is the only infinite constant in the equation. That is, between your SELF and others, YOU are the source of their meaning for YOU; and YOU is the only absolutely relevant agent at the end of the day, because without YOU, absolutely nothing can have meaning at all because, like I said, unless you exist first, there is no way for you to concede any truth of any kind.  And once you do exist, meaning exists…and meaning to what end?  The only end which can have any objective relevance: YOU.

Now, I need to be careful here because, trust me, I know what this sounds like.  I know it sounds like I am saying the universe, even God, revolves around the individual human SELF.  And in a sense, I concede that this is exactly what I am saying because the fact is that the only constant in your life, again, is YOU, by definition.  There is absolutely no way to argue around this axiom.  You are the infinite, never changing agent in your life.  Your existence is the source of meaning for all the universe.  Without YOU, then nothing exists…and I am not arguing from, “observable evidence” right now–for lack of a better phrase–but from a literal interpretation of our existence.  There is no way to argue for the existence of anything outside of you, even God, unless YOU exist to make the argument.  And this fact completely undercuts any contrary perspective.  “There are things which exist whether I’m around our not” is contradicted by the fact that you have to be around to make that claim in the first place.  If you do not exist, then by definition it is impossible argue for the existence of anything else.

So, what does this fact then require in how we view our world?  Well, first, as I said, we need to be careful lest we attempt to take the place of God.  That is a real concern, I understand, with the realization of the axiom of your infinite SELF as juxtaposed to the relatively finite SELVES of everyone else.  But this is easy to head off once we make the proper distinction between the Creator of THINGS and the creator of MEANING (which I briefly touched upon above).

Besides dipping my toe into the waters of the anti-Reformed theology arguments, I spend an equal amount of time pondering the rationality of the ideas we accept as the “laws of nature”, or the “laws of the universe/physics/mathematics”.  I am currently working on a book–and who the hell knows where I’ll send it or to whom–which I have titled “The Metaphysics of the God Particle” in which I look at most of the basic scientific assumptions/ideas/theories/discoveries which have given rise, and continue to add to and modify, the Standard Model (of the Universe…according to physics), which culminates, currently, in the God Particle (the Higgs Boson).  Obviously, as John Immel rightly pointed out to me, science is fundamentally Platonist in its assumptions, so I spend much of the time criticizing scientific assumptions by measuring them against structures of reason (like, the presumption that space is actual, and that time is real…but since neither can be observed, by what reason do we declare their material existence?)…but in addition, I spend time affirming some of their theories with recommendations as to how to tweak the assumptions to arrive at a TRUTH which is reasonable, and yet still does not contradict certain laws of physics which clearly have some merit and practical application.

At any rate, after pondering these ideas for a looooong time I have arrived at the conclusion that God is the Creator of the objects we observe, while man is the creator of their meaning, by codifying them and organizing them in service to his own existence.  This distinction makes it impossible for man to pretend he is God.  God is the one who must create WHAT we are, materially. We are left with the task–and I believe Genesis 1 supports this–of creating the definitions of what we observe for ourselves, in a most literal way.  But the point is that the knowledge of God as the Creator of the material “what” of not only ourselves but what we observe gives God a place of, well, adoration and worship as GOD, without compromising the truth that our existence MUST precede our knowledge of Him.  We are still infinite SELF and He relatively finite with respect to us…but this does not create a moral inferiority of God, nor does it remove from Him his rightful label of “Creator”.  On the contrary, a proper recognition of ourselves makes possible the accurate defining of God.

Next, since we understand that without the ability of us to observe (sense) OTHER–that is, other people and objects–we can have no frame of reference for, and thus no knowledge of, our own SELF.  This implies an equal existential (and moral) value to that which we observe, especially other human beings who can verify the efficacy of our abstract concepts via language; again without compromising the axiom that we are the infinite SELF which is the yardstick for the proper meaning of everything else (everything NOT us).  We recognize that the existence of all we observe is predicated upon our existence first without relegating others and other things and God to a place of moral inferiority.  Indeed, on the contrary, there is now a mutual exchange of perfect value.  The human SELF gives meaning and verification of moral worth and truth to ALL he/she observes, while at the same time they do likewise by providing him/her an anchor for his/her own existence…that is, an observable distinction between their infinite SELF and relatively finite OTHERS is how both can be verified as TRUE.

So, I am not proposing that we all become Gordan Gekkos here and begin to worship ourselves, or that we set up altars with our old yearbook pictures surrounded by tealights and incense and then on Christmas Eve celebrate our own birth by passing our children through the fires of Molech in service to our own deity.  Not at all.  The argument I am making is for the existential and moral equality of the individual human SELF to all that he/she observes, including God, by making the very axiomatic observation that unless you, the SELF, exist first, nothing can have any meaning at all because all of its meaning and even existence is utterly a function of YOU; for you are the infinite and constant source of existence, thus, nothing exists and nothing has meaning unless it is a direct function of your existence.  Your ability to BE is why anything can exist, period.  Since you are a prerequisite for ALL you know, it must stand to reason that the existence of all you observe must serve your life or it cannot possibly be declared good or true; and this understanding allows man to then make accurate interpretations of all he observes, especially and including God.

We can know God is God because He, being Creator, is infinitely reasonable to the truth that existence is SELF.  As the Creator of the SELF, He is the ultimate proponent of it.

What is the “Plain Meaning” of Scripture in Light of Man’s Life as the Only Legitimate Standard of TRUTH (part two)

I submit that interpretation is antithetical to the idea of a “plain meaning” of Scripture.  “Words mean things” as a truism ultimately is incomplete.  The logical assumption of such a statement is that words can somehow exist in a vacuum of meaning outside of the context of the human agent and his/her environment.  Since this is not rationally possible, “words mean things” MUST be qualified.  And, of course, the obvious problem is that once this statement is qualified the question which must be begged is, “WHO gets to decide what the words mean, exactly?”.  And the question which is begged by the begged question is, “Why do THEY get to decide what the words mean?”

Why does Paul Dohse get to decide what the words mean instead of the Calvinists he and I oppose?  Nothing against Paul, but the question is a legitimate one.  Why should I trust his definitions over the definitions of the Reformed crowd?  What makes his interpretation more noble and righteous than theirs?  Simply swapping external standards of TRUTH will not solve anything.  And I asked Paul several times in a debate with him “What is the standard of TRUTH”, and got no answer.  That was concerning.  Either the standard of TRUTH is man and his life, or it is something else.  If it is something else, then ultimately man must die in service to it…his life and existence itself is meaningless, and an affront to truth.  So it is quite irrelevant what the standard is if it is not man’s life.  Whether it is the Bible or whether it is God or whether it is Calvinism is quite immaterial at the end of the day.

Anyway…I’ve gotten ahead of myself.

It isn’t enough to say “words mean things”.  Thus you cannot approach the Bible with the interpretive premise of the “plain meaning of the text”.  There is, again, no plain meaning of any text.  The things the words mean are never simply “what they are”.  Outside of a human agent interpreting the words, they cannot possibly mean anything at all.  Each an every person is the absolute context for every item in the lexicons of every language in the world.  Therefore what the words mean will always and only ever be a direct function of the individual human being considering them.  It can be no other way.

Thus, as we have shown that words need a context by which their meaning can be discerned (interpreted), we are left with only two choices which have to do with deciding that the meanings of words are actually “legitimate” or not.  Words and their meanings are only legitimate in how they serve a context…except, what is “context” exactly?  For there is no such thing as a context in a context…meaning, context is not a thing itself.  The context is then of a standard of absolute TRUTH…and this is constant, perpetual, never-changing, and infinite, and it is the thing which all concepts, words, meanings, interpretations and contexts perpetually revolve around.  The context then is the standard of TRUTH wherever it happens to be at any given moment with respect to its environment (place and time).  And therefore words must always serve the standard–its perpetuation, health, and affirmation–before they can be given any meaning or value.

So, yes…as I was saying, when considering “context”, which is the standard of TRUTH as it relates to its environment at any given moment, we have two choices we can make.  The standard of TRUTH is either ourSELVES, meaning, our existence and life; or the standard of TRUTH is well…something else, something outside of your existence.  And this is the root difference between the Primacy of Consciousness approach to existence, and the Primacy of Existence.  The Primacy of Consciousness approach puts the standard of TRUTH outside of man’s life.  Meaning, man himself doesn’t really exist except as he sacrifices himself for this “law” of existence outside of his own.  Put simply, man’s only moral obligation–indeed, his only moral act–is to die for the “cause”, so to speak…either literally, or practically, via surrendering his person and property and mind to the “priests” of the Primary Consciousness, or, as is sometimes the case within certain schools of Biblidolatry, to figure out for himself, in the absence of a mystic overlord in the flesh, just how he is supposed to remove his self from the existential equation by figuring out just what the “plain meaning’ of the text is and then dying to that.

Thus, we see, in the Primacy of Consciousness model, man only really “lives” when he denies that he has any ownership of himself because he must, being utterly outside of TRUTH, lack any epistemological competence, and therefore cannot really claim to know anything at all, especially himself if he is outside the Primary Consciousness.  For without the outside standard, he has no hope of even claiming he exists at all…his life is merely an illusion, and thus, has no real bearing on TRUTH.  Death is his moral obligation thus again…and he can’t really even know this without the knowledge of the Primary Consciousness, which he cannot get, by definition, from the Primary Consciousness on his own which is why the proponents of this philosophy are so big into “election”.  The way you know you are “elected” to “salvation” (the categorical death of you which is supposed to, contradictorily, bring life) is if you concede the truth of the Primary Consciousness without considering your life as a context by which to vet its “truth”.  And the rest of us unfortunate slobs are rightful heirs of judgement and wrath…somehow culpable for our “evil” even though, according to the philosophy, we had no choice but to be “evil” because we weren’t divinely (and arbitrarily) chosen by the Primary Consciousness.  A choice which, incidentally, can have nothing to do with us…and so how we are still culpable for our judgement and hell is well, as John Immel would say, punted into the great cosmic abyss of God’s (Primary Consciousness) mystery.

So, man’s only real “knowledge” is then, the Gnosis, or divine revelation given to him by an intermediary of the Primary Consciousness.  In the case of Calvinism, the mystic impostors for God (Pastors) are the intermediate between man and God; and in the case of the Biblicists, they would say that the Bible is the intermediate between man and God.  And what I mean by “intermediate’ is, of course, the divinely chosen keeper of the Gnosis.

If you have already seen that there is and can be no real distinction between the keeper of the Gnosis and the Primary Consciousness itself (or himself or herself, depending) then hats off to you, because you are absolutely right.  Why?  Because you, in your infinite depravity and the tragically embarrassing moral failure that was your birth, can by no means have anything to do in any way with the Primary Consciousness because he, she, or it is completely mutually exclusive to your life; and as such, you need to have something or someone around who or which can connect the Primary Consciousness to your existence.   And that someone or something is the compelling force which has the “keys” by which to either “save” you or “damn” you according to their impossible-to-dispute claim to hold mandate from the Primary Consciousness to serve as his/her/its absolute power to enforce its absolute will upon humanity with the singular purpose of destroying all of it, either by integrating it (again, somehow…and trust me the logic is impossible to reconcile) into itself or by killing off the detractors.  In other words, the purpose of the Priests is to decide which of the existentially-challenged savages is sacrificing themselves and which, in their stubbornness, need to be sacrificed on the PC’s behalf.

*

The Primacy of Existence approach is the better one, and the one which we all must insist upon as the approach for our lives because it is the only rational one.  It is the only one that doesn’t trade man’s life for his death.

The PE approach basically says that man’s life is the plumb line for all TRUTH because, quite obviously, nothing can be said to exist at all without a human agent existing FIRST.  The reason being that for you to know anything as TRUE and for TRUTH to have any relevancy to you, you must actually exist first.  You can neither know TRUTH, nor can truth be revealed to you without your life being there to serve as the source…the reference, not the vessel, of that truth.  This of course leads one to the only logical conclusion:  all truth is an extension of individual human life.  There is nothing that can be said to be true that denies the prerequisite of life before it can be seen to be true.  In order for the revelation of God to be known as TRUE, man’s life is required to serve as the revelation’s reference.  This means that all truth must affirm man’s life as the absolute, infinite reference.  Anything that says that man’s life is outside of truth…or that man’s life proceeds from a construct, a Primary Consciousness, that is outside of his existence, cannot possibly be true.  For there is no way that man can be birthed by something or into something which is wholly exclusive to him.  In other words, man is the source of HIMSELF.  You are the constant in everything…and without you, nothing can be qualified as even existing let alone as TRUTH.

Of course, the emotional knee-jerk reaction to this is that I am nothing more than a man-worshiping apostate…my claims, heretical and criminal, denying God, denying Christ, and blah, blah, blah.  Well…if anyone can explain to me how they can know any TRUTH at all outside of the frame of reference of their own SELF, then I’m all ears.  Believe me, it is quite an impossible argument to make.

Don’t you think its ironic that the only way you can claim a TRUTH which exists whether you are around or not is because you are around?   That the only way you can declare a truth outside yourself is from within yourself?  That the only way you can know God is because you were born  first?  Or do we pretend that what we know precedes ourselves?  That you know what you know because you weren’t around to know it?  That its true to you, even without you?

There is absolutely no logic to that.  Think about it, and thinks some more.  Without YOU, you cannot claim that ANYTHING exists…by definition.  Don’t we think it is ironic and contradictory for someone to say “truth doesn’t need me to be true” when the only way they can possibly concede that is because they exist?!  Who makes the statement “truth doesn’t need me”?  ME is making that statement.  ME, the person, has to exist first before they can know the truth which somehow doesn’t need them to be true.  Without them, there is no frame of reference for truth…no frame of reference for the existence of anything.  The backwards logic is mindblowing.

No, you give birth to what you know.  What you know did not give birth to you.  You say, “Argo, but I didn’t need to exist for Abe Lincoln to be President, or for Jesus to walk on water.  Those events were true even though I wasn’t yet born.”  And I say, how can you know that except by your existence?  The answer is:  you cannot.  And so which comes first in the “chain of truth”?  Your existence, or the fact that Abe Lincoln was President.  The answer is:  your existence must come first.  Before you can know that Jesus walked on water before you were born, you had to be born.

This is fun, huh?  Isn’t it great turning traditional logic on its head?  I love it.

And so the PE approach rightly claims man’s life as the standard of TRUTH, and thus gauges truth, value, meaning, morality, etc. in how it affirms man’s life.  Those things which affirm him are truth, those which deny him are false.  Those things which seek to perpetuate his life according to his own tastes and pleasures and health and contentment and satisfaction as an end are “good”;  those which demand from him pain and suffering and death as an end are “evil”. Does this mean that pain is always evil and pleasure is always good?  No…that is the argument of the “words mean things” crowd.  Remember, the context is always human life.  Pain and suffering can be good if the end is individual life..such as giving your savings away to help provide for your sick mother a place to live.  Pleasure and comfort can be evil, such as when you enslave other men for your “pleasure”.  The context is what is “good” for LIFE.  And so what I mean by “pleasure” and “pain” go beyond whatever “plain meaning” we might have.  No, they must be defined according to the context of the individual in how they pursue their own life, as is their right, while obviously affirming the rights of others with whom they relate to do the same.  Jesus dies on the cross to affirm man’s life and God’s goodness.  It was suffering, but the end was life.  It was ultimately his choice to pursue life, and this WILL bring pleasure in the end because life is GOOD, and good is rationally defined by what is MOST pleasing…and what is most pleasing will always be SELF-affirming, not what is painful and life-despising.  So am I saying that Jesus dying on the cross had value not only for man but for Him?  Yes I am.  Our relationship with God is an exchange of value, just like it is with any relationship.  As God turns man to Himself by his mercy, God reaps the benefits of man’s adoration…this adoration and worship is pleasing to him.  A sweet aroma, as the Bible says.  To say that God finds no value in man that He would sacrifice for him in such an epic way is to not only underestimate man’s innate worth because he is able to rightly observe God as God, which God likes, but also underestimates the goodness of God and the power of God as the Creator of man in the first place.  God will by no means create that which can observe God as God without that creation being something God will unreservedly adore.  What is the next best thing to being God?  To be recognized and worshiped as such, I submit.  And further gratifying is knowing that you gain this adoration by providing something of equal value and esteem:  man’s LIFE; knowing that you gain this adoration and praise and worship in the most moral way possible:  by giving man his SELF, his LIFE.  And this life is GOOD, and being good will then feel good.

To hate one’s life, I submit, is to hate God.  And no, this does not contradict Luke 14:26.  For what is “hating one’s mother, father, sister and life” mean in the context of following the Christ?  Jesus is making the argument that no one else can BE you for you.  That YOU are your life, and it is not found in anyone else.  Hating your life in that context, I submit, is hating the world’s definition of what is YOU.  Because that is a standard of life outside of the infinite and absolute YOU, which is the root of your moral goodness before God.  To pretend that anyone else has a right to define who you are for you…that you belong to some notion or idea is NOT Christ’s message.  Christ’s message is to be “born again”, from this life into His.  Born again means throwing off the definitions of this world for who you are and returning once again to the perfect moral innocence you had as a child.  Where on the day of your reason you looked around and knew that you were YOU, alone, and nothing and no one else was you and that you were GOOD.  And that it was RIGHT and TRUE and GOOD to be you and to live.  And that this–being you–is the end of your existence; its absolute purpose.  To be you.  And to affirm that same level of moral innocence in others by loving them for THEIR existence as human beings having innate worth before God.  And by this, we affirm that we can know God as the Creator of this good life, and thank Him, not despise Him for birthing us into a hell on earth which demands that each and every one of us sacrifice ourselves to some idea, some standard which someone ELSE has decided for us that we must conform to in order to truly live.

And that…that life of you and you alone, by no standard except the innate goodness of your very material being as a creation of God is the life we love, and that is the life we do not dare despise.

In the next post on this subject, we will look at the particular Primary Consciousness of “Bible”, as is espoused by Christians who would call themselves Biblicists.  We will look at why this approach shares the same destructive outcomes as Calvinism/Reformation theology, and why replacing allegorical hermeneutics with “literal” hermeneutics is basically the same thing:  saying the Bible is the standard of TRUTH is no different and has no better moral outcome than saying Reformed interpretive premises are the standard of TRUTH.

A Right to Believe Does Not Make it a Right Belief: Parsing Politics, Ethics, and Epistemology

In one of her most recent posts, Dee of http://www.wartburgwatch.com declares that she vociferously defends the right of neo-Calvinists to believe what they want to believe, while at the same time making it plain that she rejects it, and would reject it to the point of becoming a giant nuisance.  You can believe what you want, and she’ll say bring on the freedom of speech.  But then, look out.  It won’t come cheap.  And she’ll take the cost of your right to believe right out of your ass.

I wrestled with this idea a lot yesterday.  I wrote a post about it…but still, I found myself unsatisfied.  I hadn’t found the core.  I didn’t get to that place where all the contradiction and “mystery” unravels into a seamless progression of rational thought.  Now I know that this does not always translate into a lucid, straightforward post…yes, I get that.  I understand that what is first in my mind a seamless progressions of thoughts ends up on the blog as a convoluted, mosh-pit of ideas, spangled with parenthesis, hyphens, and logical roller coasters…with loops.

That’s fine.  I don’t mind that.  I have often thought that perhaps I need to invent new words for some of this stuff.   My lexicon is sometimes an insufficient vehicle for what I want to express.  But as long as I have it up here [taps head] straight, I’m happy.

And yesterday…hmm, I just didn’t go to bed happy.  There was still something missing.  And there was this little nagging feeling that perhaps I had been a little too hard on Dee.  You see, I get what she’s trying to say, it’s just that I think she makes the same kind of connections in her thinking that we all do, but which are not really, when you think about it, rationally defensible.  Since we have, I submit, wholly conceded, ipso facto, Platonism as utter absolute (we are merely extensions of some invisible primary consciousness which determines our lives, and require “gifted” men to lead us in the right direction), most of us give little to no thought of philosophy.  Epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, art, politics…they all get crammed together into one soup, with all the parts and flavors mixing together until you really can’t tell one ingredient from the next.  The answer to the question of politics tastes and feels on the tongue the same as your opinion on art, or morality.  Every answer is from the same can,so the philosophical underpinning of each subject we engage in is exactly the same.  We accept all the same “truths” at once, assuming they all click nicely together like Legos.  You string them along in your arguments and you never realize that you just squeezed a Lincoln Log between two Lego pieces, and a few pieces down the line, you tried to connect the Legos to an Erector set.  And that’s why your argument never really works, and falls apart as soon as you let go…that is, as soon as you allow it to leave the soup can of your mind.

And this is why philosophy is so important.  If we are ignorant of philosophy, we will ultimately try to apply our entire belief system into a paradigm which will at best contradict itself logically, and at worst lead straight into moral relativism which always leads to the destruction of man because it leaves man without any epistemological anchor.  And without an anchor, human beings simple crash around and get in each others’ way until the person with the biggest gun and no compunction about using it just forces everybody the fuck out of his way and into a corner where he can keep a Gestapo’s eye on them.  You see, without a single, objective, undeniable and wholly reasonable (reasonably argued) standard of TRUTH, which is also simultaneously the standard for GOOD, which is also the standard of EXISTENCE (the fusing of the epistemology, ethics, and metaphysics of philosophy into one absolute standard of TRUTH, I submit) it will always boil down to violence.  And that is why I spend all of my time savaging Reformed doctrine.  Because when all the lofty standing on “orthodox” ceremony is gone and there remains only the quiet silence of the individual soul, alone in a room with a single bulb and a curtain-less window reaching out into the black, starless night there will be no comfort found in that philosophy.   At the deepest and darkest places of life it ultimately abandons man to the feral, savage will of the forces of determinism.  Once all the mystics with their phylacteries and books and worship bands and “care” groups and “gospel-centered”, “cross-centered” gnostic speeches are gone, and along with them the groping, salivating, brainless masses who follow them straight into a their black hole of existence, there will be only you remaining.

And in that small, bare room with its single blub and black windows there is only one question that will be on your mind:

If THEY aren’t here, am I still here?

And the answer to that question will either bring you comfort or naked despair.

*

I have said it once and I will say it again:  Reformed theology is a vile, evil thing.  It is merely another bastard child of Plato’s, with every doctrine pointing to only one “logical” conclusion. YOU do not really exist.  You are part of a theo-Marxist collective and the existence-razing divine determining force…and absolutely nothing more.  You owe your existence to forces outside of you, reducing you to a mindless brute by virtue of the fact that if you aren’t in control of you, and thus you cannot make any claim to knowledge at all.  And that is how you are looked at and treated.  The Bible is a rectangular, leather bound primary consciousness, whose authors have “special” access to dispensed knowledge (gnosis) that is simultaneously inaccessible to you as a function of your rote existence AND absolute TRUTH…which makes it, though you cannot possible apprehend it nor integrate it, absolutely relevant to your life.

And here is what Dee from Wartburg Watch says…paraphrasing:  I will vociferously defend your right to believe what you believe.

And it is this kind of thing which perfectly illustrates the philosophical problem I mentioned above.  In this one sentence, Dee combines politics, epistemology, and ethics into a single thought, and in the process creates a rational conundrum that seriously vexes.  She makes no rational distinction between a right to believe and the rightness of that belief.  I’m not saying she does this on purpose…but a failure to approach the issue rationally may indeed lead one to conclude, as it did me, that Dee is speaking out of both sides of her mouth.  On the one, she applauds the fact that one believes an idea, and seeks to teach it to the masses.  On the other, she declares her rejection of it on the basis that she concedes that it is so flawed that she could likely not remain on friendly terms with those teaching it…according to the right they have, that she defends, to do so.  So, she fights on both sides.

So what is the conundrum?  Well, that’s obvious.  How in the heck can you make a moral declaration that you will support the politics of an idea (its integration into society) while at the same time declare the idea a rank epistemological failure; and so vile that you’d risk open confrontation with its proteges in order to check it?  Yes, how do you do that without contradicting yourself…that is,without holding a contradictory ethic?  The “good” right to believe and teach an idea AND the “evil” believing and teaching of that idea.

Do you you see?

What I am saying is that there is no way that Dee, nor any of us, can morally declare that we will defend the right of someone to believe and teach an idea/doctrine/theology/etc. that we find morally repugnant.  Or even worse, that we can reasonably PROVE is morally repugnant.  If we truly concede that the idea is destructive, then we cannot proclaim that anyone has a “right” to believe it.  It is that simple, because that is a moral contradiction in terms.  We are conceding that the idea is both “good” and “evil”, and that is rationally impossible.  We are saying it is good to believe and bad to believe simultaneously.  Like I said in the title, the right to believe does not make the belief right.  And if it isn’t a right belief, then on what moral grounds do we declare that anyone has a right to believe it? On the contrary, we should demand that no one believe it, for indeed it is truly destructive.

Now, am I suggesting that people don’t have the right to believe what they want to believe?

No, I am not.  What I am arguing is that when we approach issues we should not integrate the apples and oranges of philosophy as if they were the same, which is what Dee did.  We need to focus on the relevant philosophical issue in question, which in the case of confronting evil and abusive church doctrines, is epistemological and ethical, NOT political.  Like I said in my last post, declaring that the neo-Calvinist despots have a right to believe what they want is utterly irrelevant to the debate, and it simply confuses the issue and I think, gives false assurance to those espousing destructive philosophies.  It allows them to confuse the “right to believe” with the “rightness of what they believe”.  For our message should always an only be that we deny the doctrine categorically, as evil and destructive.  The right to believe it is beside the point.  We are making a moral and epistemological argument, not a political one.  Meaning, we are not really discussing the “rights” question, as a function of the limits of a government’s authority (force/punishment) and/or the legal boundaries of individual citizens, when we take the neo-Cals to task for their rational larceny.

Further, what do we really mean when we say “you have a right to believe whatever you want”?  We are not declaring that you have the right to foist upon the masses an unethical philosophy which has no practical purpose except to drive men and women and children to their knees in service to an ecclesiastical authority and their political agenda, and which at the same time strips them of their very humanity and drives God as far from them and their existence as possible by placing them in a total metaphysical vacuum of determinism.  And further, MUST be rooted in lies and deception if it is not consistent with the only objective and rational standard of all TRUTH:  human life.

No, the “right to believe” has nothing to do with making any belief right, nor demanding that any belief be tolerated.

The right to believe what you want is not a moral issue, nor is it an epistemological issue.  It is political. Defending someone’s right to believe has nothing to do with defending the belief at all.  I would never and will never defend anyone’s right to believe a wicked and destructive theology which I submit cannot stand the light of reason to be shone upon it.  Because there is no such right.  No one has the right to be a tyrant.  And further, proclaiming that someone has a right to hold to totalitarian ideas which do nothing except feed human beings to the machine of abstract collectivism is a complete misrepresentation of the right of free thinking and free speech.  The rights thereof have nothing to do with being a rank psychopath or ignoramous…for no one anywhere on earth, nor any Government can prevent a dolt from being a dolt and and a sadist from being a sadist. So why are we talking about people having a right to do something which no one and nothing on earth can prevent?  It is ludicrous and irrelevant to consider THINKING a “right”. Thinking is what all human beings do.  It is even impossible to wholly prevent someone from acting upon their assumptions.  If one truly thinks a certain way, they will act a certain way…there will be some manifestation of it.  You may prevent some behaviors by fear or force, but if someone’s thoughts define their reality, they will act.  And you cannot stop them.  You can punish them, perhaps, but you cannot prevent assumptions from becoming actions…at least not entirely.

And now we get to the point, then.  Defending someone’s right to believe has nothing to do with curtailing or not curtailing an existential byproduct of a human life–thinking and volitional action (with exceptions of violence).  It has to do with this:  the right to believe is the idea that no one can FORCE you to believe something.  I may not defend your right to believe John Calvin, but I do defend your right not to have your mind changed through violence…physical, psychological (fear, manipulation, deception, propaganda), or confiscatory (theft).  And this is not the same thing as defending their right to believe what they believe.  The do not have a right to sit back and never be held accountable for their destructive beliefs.  They do not have a right to walk out their despicable ideas unchallenged and without criticism.  In the public square, they will and shall be spoken of, their assumptions razed, and they may not use force to stop us.  They have no right to force others to their beliefs.

And that is where Dee went wrong.  As I said, the threat of force is not from those of us who hate abuse and understand that abuse is due to a theology of FORCE, which compels and threatens and punishes people into submission, utterly denying THEIR “right to believe”.  The threat of this kind violation has always been from the Reformed crowd, and quite frankly, they are the ones who should be reassuring Dee about her “right to believe” what she wants, not the other way around.  Dee should never have gone there.  Dee is not threatening excommunication or church discipline (punishment) upon anyone disagreeing with her.  I mean, as much as I don’t care for Dee’s disposition I will say that the worst she will ever do, I submit, is kick someone off her blog.  That is hardly on par with the kind of appalling behavior the neo-Calvinist crowd inflicts upon its detractors.  And of all people, Dee should know this.

Trust me, after 15 years in SGM, I can tell you they don’t give a shit about your right to believe.  And it is my opinion that they would certainly use civil force to punish their members for incongruent or critical thinking or actions if they had the power.

So…the inherent right not to be FORCED to change your mind is what is confusingly called a “right to believe”.  That phrase is counterproductive and obscures the real issue:  changing thinking by offering better ideas.  Like I said, no one has a right to be a manipulative tyrant, and they don’t have a right to proclaim the “divine gnosis” without being criticized and challenged publicly.

So…let’s keep up the good work.  And let the Reformed crowd worry about OUR right to believe, instead of the other way around.  For they are the epistemological and moral and political threat.  Our strength is not fear-mongering, or epistemological charades, or moral relativism designed to confuse and subdue.  Our strength is our ideas.

“Winter Wartburg Follies”: The right to choose what people believe makes what they believe good? Another logical puzzle from our friends at the Wart.

“Please understand that I have no beef with any church and their selection of primary and secondary doctrine. I may disagree with the doctrinal emphasis or even the core theology of a particular church but I would vociferously defend their right to express and celebrate their beliefs. I would also “elect” not to attend a church that subscribed to the set of beliefs that are described in TULIP, etc. I would be unhappy. Also, given my propensity to verbally emote, in excruciating detail, my disagreements and affirmations, it would stand to reason that the church leaders would be dispirited by my presence as well.”

This is a quote of Dee’s.  She is the moderator and one of the proprietors of www.wartburgwatch.com.  Go ahead and read it…take a moment to think about it.  Try to decide if you can figure out just what point Dee is trying to make here, because I must admit that I am struggling.  Maybe we can think this through together and come up with something coherent.

I’ll wait.

[tick tock]

Finished?

Good.  Now, let’s examine this intellectual puzzle, because Dee, if nothing else, is very prolific, almost prodigious, when it comes to pithy remarks that contradict multiple points in a single breath.  Let’s look at this doozy.  What did you come up with?

Here is what I got:

Dee somehow has managed in her mind to make a complete and practical distinction between  a church “selecting their primary and secondary doctrine” and that same church actually practicing those doctrines.  Meaning, if you read her quote, she is utterly in favor of, and would support any given church selecting whatever doctrine they want to teach and be taught, regardless of how oppressive and destructive to humanity it might be I presume; and yet at the same time she reserves the right to disagree with—which means oppose—the actual implementation (teaching) of that doctrine that she is so happy they selected.

Hmm…wait.  No.  That’s not it.  Or is it?  I’m so confused.  She’s okay with them choosing what they believe, and yet she disagrees with what they believe.  And that can only mean that she does have a problem with them believing what they believe.  No…wait.  She has doesn’t have a problem with their right to believe what they believe, but she has a problem with what they believe. But if they don’t actually choose it, then how can she know that any right has been exercised so that she can affirm the right?  No…okay, let’s see.

Okay, here it is: Believing the doctrine is their right, it’s just that she doesn’t like the doctrine.  She just likes that they believe it.  Why?  I guess because they have a right to believe it.

So…er.  What in the hell does that have to do with anything?  I mean, as far as I can tell, no one is threatening to impose martial law on the neo-Calvinist churches.  In fact, the only ones interested in martial law are the Calvinists, I submit.  If there is anyone who should be reassuring the opposition that they have no interest in denying anyone’s right to believe what they believe, it should be the fucking Reformed crowd.

Still, I’ve gotta work through this.  Bear with me.

Hmm…you like the right but hate the belief; and yet there is no right without the belief, because rights are irrelevant and don’t functionally exist unless they are being exercised, and often times exercised in service to beliefs you hate.  But there is no distinct dichotomy between rights and actions, so the real debate isn’t “right”.  Rights are merely a vehicle for ideas.  The ideas still need to be destroyed even if they are exercised as a “right”.

Yep…yeah.  I think I’ve got it.  The right to believe what you believe is totally irrelevant.  Ideas are the issue. Not politics.

Of course, such pointless diversions aren’t, unfortunately, a joke.  We aren’t discussing rights, we are discussing evil ideas which destroy humanity.  It is this kind of thinking which kneecaps Dee, and many other discernment bloggers’ argument against abuse in the church.  Talking out of both sides of one’s mouth makes for no effective rebuttal of a Reformed Orthodoxy that has been codified, systematized, synthesized, and fully integrated into Western thinking for going on 600 years.  And this is why today Christianity has become little more than a collection of mutually exclusive ideas meant to convey a cohesive belief system which is good for nothing except propagandizing the masses in service to a theocratic Marxist “state”.  Be it a full fledged theocracy collective like Calvin’s Geneva, or the tyrannical mystic  Marxism of today’s Reformed “local” church.

Now, now…I know what you are thinking.  All Dee is doing is proclaiming the right of people in this country to believe what they want, and the commensurate right of people to believe differently.  Yeah, yeah…I get that.  I am an Enlightenment-American (my new hyphenated label…you like it?), and utterly deny the right of government to enforce morality except in the cases of direct violations against person and property.  That being said, I too, have no problem with people believing what they want; nor do I have any problem with standing up and expressing my opinion that what they believe is stark naked bullshit.

But here is the difference.  First, I submit, after spending much time on a her blog, that Dee does not make a connection between what people choose to believe-their assumptions–and how what they believe drives abuse in the church.  She doesn’t think that “celebrating” an evil, destructive doctrine will lead to human sacrifice in the form of all manner of horror.  I think to her, “celebrate” means happy and nice and loving.  And thus, “celebrations” of ideas always will lead to life, regardless of what those ideas are.  So, the tyranny is only caused, not by celebrating or choosing ideas, but by meanies whose mommies just never taught them any manners.  Could I be misreading Dee?  I suppose, but I have not seen it myself.  I still have not yet seen Dee make a connection between ideas and abuse.  Just “bad people” and abuse.  Or, people who are not “doing” the ideas “right”. Like, it can’t be the ideas’ fault, but if there is abuse, it must be in spite of the doctrinal assumptions, not because of them.  If I am mistaken about this, please send me a link.

Second, and to emphasize my first point, by being completely comfortable with people selecting whatever doctrine they want, Dee, I submit, is again not seeing anything particularly wrong with IDEAS.  The point is not whether people have a right to believe what they want…the inherent right of free thinking and free speech is irrelevant in this fight against the Reformed, neo-Calvinist juggernaut which is slowly coagulating Christianity into a violent, theo-Marxist altruistic hoard.  The point is that ideas matter…more than anything.  You can’t on the one hand be completely complacent about the fact that there is a growing denomination of Christian influence which is substituting life for death as the yard stick of man’s moral GOOD, and then turn around and condemn them on your popular blog for “celebrating” the very ideas you just said they have every right to implement…to foist at the point of oppressive “church discipline” upon the masses.  You can’t condemn doctrine and laud it too, is my point, and this is exactly what I believe Dee does in her statement.

The fact is one cannot ever celebrate any group of people choosing to accept and teach a belief system which categorically concedes the singular premise that DEATH is GOOD.  I don’t really give a shit if Dee thinks they have a right to believe what they want.  Again, what does that have to do with anything?!  You can believe that a friggin monkey built Disneyland…that isn’t the point of a “discernment blog”.  The point is to confront abuse…the rape of children, the fleecing of innocent parishioners in service to a money-lusting Pastor, the installation of idiot twenty-somethings in positions of “authority” (force) over mature and seasoned men and women, the relegation of women away from their own self-perpetuation and self-fulfillment in a free society to a “biblical role” which denies them any natural right to pursue their own interests and talents as categorical human equals.

And you will never confront abuse by “celebrating” the fact that everyday another church falls prey to the mystic despotism which is sweeping through our great faith like the Orc hoards of Isengard.

So, sure…they have a right to choose their beliefs.  They have a right to practice their beliefs.  But the don’t have the right to tell me that it isn’t stark, raving rational larceny.  And they don’t have the right to say it isn’t abusive.  And they don’t have the right to deceive the communities of our great nation in service to their own will to power.

You know…hmm.  I hate all this talk of “rights”.  It’s just…well, it’s just fucking irrelevant, like I said.  So, scratch that last paragraph as just ranting.  Rather…again, their “right” is immaterial.  Getting into this “rights” business is a red herring.  Better said, they have an evil doctrine, and it should not be tolerated by anyone who concedes that morality is summarized best by doctrines which confess that God actually loves and inherently values his children for who and what they are.  And the whole idea of they have a “right” to it is just pointless, immaterial blabbering. It is only useful for false humility.

Yes…that’s exactly what bothers me about Dee’s “you have a right” business and blah, blah, blah.  It has the appearance of something disingenuous about it.  Like…don’t be scared, I’m really a nice person.  Of course you have a right to your beliefs, we can all get along.  We just need to be nicer, okay? If you guys would just do it like Wade does, we could all go back to baking Christmas cookies, and my commenters could spend more time discussing their love of chocolate and sharing lasagna recipes.

It’s just…trying to assuage the very people who are exercising their rights in about the worst way possible.  It’s totally besides the point.  Your right to believe what you want.  Here’s a newsflash for Wartburg Watch. THAT?  Has never been the issue.  And the fact that you are making it an issue tells me that you still don’t get it.

Abuse is ideas, not politics and not personalities.  Abuse is doctrine.  Period.  Full stop.

And further: The Constitution allows us to have these debates.  It is sad that it seems it has become yet another Wartburg Watch excuse for intellectual laziness.