Reading Wade Burleson’s latest post on his site, www.wadeburleson.org, he offers this disturbing insight:
When the act of confronting evil is borne out of a desire for personal gain (healing), then the confrontation itself is in danger of becoming actively evil by seeking to take from or harm another human being for one’s personal profit and pleasure.
Personal healing is “profit and pleasure”? Hmm…
But that’s not really the big problem. The big problem is, once again, Wade’s doctrinal assumptions. Okay…first, the boring stuff, then will examine the comment in all its Reformed glory.
Oh, before that, and by the way, I submit that a comment like this is merely a further reminder to us that Reformed pastors do not belong within a hundred miles of a church pulpit. Run. Run home. Lock your doors and bar the windows. For I have seen the zombie apocalypse, and the virus comes in the form of smiling Calvinists.
The beginning and end of all epistemology, that is, all knowledge, is the individual human SELF (which I describe as the inexorable condition of the physical body merged with the conceptual “I”; or the physical self and the conceptual self). It is categorically axiomatic that the entirety of one’s life is comprised of a single infinite agent, and by physical extension this also applies to the root of man’s epistemology (how he knows what he knows, via conceptual abstractions): oneself. There is no disputing this. There is no rational disagreement. You must EXIST before you can know anything; therefore, all knowledge you have begins and ends with you. Again, you are the singular infinite constant in your life. This perspective forms the epistemological root of the conceptual human self.
All your actions have one single, infinite agent…the constant of your physical existence: you (oneself). And this means that all actions must be in service to YOU. Because you are the infinite absolute in your mind and in your body, everything is done, literally, OF yourself and BY yourself. That is, you can have no thought and perform no action which is NOT ultimately and infinitely self-serving. This is the nature of man’s existence. As soon as man concedes “I” and “I think”, there is no turning back. He has embarked on a journey of the SELF, and again, all things are thought and all things done in direct service to the self.
This is a difficult thing to grasp, I understand…for many will argue that suicide, for instance, or “selfless living”, or “sacrificial giving” is proof that my statement is false. But think about it for a minute…how do you commit suicide while denying yourself? How do you sacrificially give or selflessly live apart from yourself? Every action is in service to an assumption/abstraction/idea/concept, and that assumption was derived from YOU, according to an idea that YOU accepted was GOOD. Your ability to BE is the direct source of every idea you concede or deny, doctrine you hold or retreat from, every revelation you accept or reject. And this is to say then that for whatever reason YOU conceded the truth of the idea you act in service to; YOU had to decide to integrate it. The action then must be likewise of you, and the outcome then must also, logically, lead squarely back to you. You commit suicide because YOU have decided it is GOOD, and the same for “sacrificial giving” and “selfless living”. GOOD for whom? For others? It is impossible for others to be the DIRECT beneficiary of what you think and do. The first and infinite and absolute cause is YOU…thus, any actions and consequences are directly in service to yourself infinitely and absolutely, regardless of how you might qualify them by some kind of external, abstract standard of “Good and Evil”. You commit suicide because it suits YOU first. You give to the Calvinist despot behind the plexiglass because it suits YOU first…there is no such thing as “putting others before yourself” in any metaphysically rational way; there is only loving others AS yourself.
And why others? Because we know that we are human selves by observation; and the greatest affirmation that our observations are valid and efficacious is the interaction we have with other people. Language confirms our ability co-organize our environment effectively for life, and thus confirms the existence of other “selves”. And by observing them, we know that we are indeed a true and valid SELF. Therefore, our observation confirms BOTH us and others as whole, actual, human individuals.
But make no mistake, the idea that you can live for others, or that you somehow can exist without being the FIRST and most important beneficiary of your life is a lie. And further, it is a truism that the only reason you can do good is because you ARE good…remember that. Because this is something that Wade will never concede with any metaphysical certainty.
And that is why his doctrine is false and worships death.
Actions which are in service to “death”, that is, the denial and destruction of the SELF cannot possibly be GOOD, because they fundamentally deny the existence of the SELF, which must EXIST before GOOD can have any value or meaning. Thus, Wade’s statement is a logical fallacy; an epistemological impossibility, and it is rooted in again a philosophy which worships death, NOT life.
Self-gain is the ONLY gain. The idea that an action which is in service to self–even, as Wade says, confronting evil for the purposes of “personal healing”–must be rejected is rape of logic at its worst. The idea that that somehow human beings getting something of benefit solely for themselves he rejects as evil. Why? Because Wade’s doctrine rejects the SELF as any standard of truth. The idea then is the DEATH of human beings is the greatest “good” they can do. And this is of course utter nonsense, and isn’t Christian in the least. It defies human existence completely, and flies in the face of what must be true in order for GOOD to exist in the world: man’s LIFE. If there is no man, then there can be no good…again, this is axiomatic. It takes a MAN to define good, and it takes a LIFE then for man to exist. If you don’t exist, and we don’t exist, then GOOD does not exist, because GOOD is an concept that is solely for the benefit of man. God does not need to be GOOD apart from man…God just needs to be IS. God only becomes GOOD as he is revealed as Creator. Whose Creator? Man’s Creator. Man understands God is GOOD because God Created his LIFE, and affirms it, and affirms that confronting evil for personal healing is not only acceptable to God but is the single greatest moral action a human being can take.
If you cannot act in service to self, then there is no way you can act in service to anyone else. Because only YOU can give value to those you observe; your existence is a prerequisite for you defining them as valuable, and thus, worth your thoughts and time and actions and possessions. Without YOU, in other words, there IS no other, by definition. So all acts are “selfish” in this sense then. And the only question which remains then is what are you gathering for yourself? How are you promoting your own life? Are you engaging others in a way that declares the inexorable truth that LIFE is GOOD, and that YOU are GOOD? Are you reaping reward based on the reasonable assumption that you understand your worth by directly observing others? And are you then functioning according to the rational axiom that this means that THEY must be inherently worthy as well? If this is your philosophy, you will do good, and you will not have to feel guilty of your gain. What YOU reap, YOU sow, remember? And if your life is truly in service to YOU–which then, if YOU is rationally defined, must automatically declare OTHERS of equal worth–then you will reap reward. You will live life fully, you will be selfish in a way that promotes LIFE, especially your own, not in a way that violates it.
Denying your life in “service” to others is an impossible metaphysical contradiction. Impossible. This philosophy is altruism…and altruism is evil. Altruism denies individuals as the standard of truth. Altruism HATES life…it sets up a standard outside of man and then demands that he commit suicide in service to it. That he murder himself, and in the process, deny the humanity and worth of others. It is passing children through fire; it is not holding them close and saying I love you because God has made you YOU.
So, confronting evil for personal gain is GOOD. Personal gain derived from a philosophy which lauds human worth is GOOD. The only way personal gain is evil is if it at the expense of others…as a result of violating others. But how can confronting evil violate others? On the contrary, confronting evil for personal gain is the very GOOD God demands of us. How in the hell can there be any scenario where confronting evil is evil?! The very notion is a contradiction in terms. Confronting evil is ALWAYS good…there is no such rational nor Christian thing as confronting of evil being itself an evil act. That’s simply absurd! And Wade is a PASTOR? What, if a man comes into my house intent on murdering me and my family and I stop him…is that not the very definition of personal gain? And is that not also a perfect example of moral good? Wade’s tongue is like a flailing fish at times, slapping everyone in the boat whilst trying to “reason” with them.
There is absolutely no sense to his statement above at all. No. Sense. Do not concede it. Do not believe it. Deny it. YOU are good, and seeking your GOOD, when it is truly GOOD, is GOOD. There is NO violation of others when you pursue GOOD for yourself. It is an impossible concept. Because true good, like true love, will never violate others in service to self. There is no such thing then as true “healing” or true good which is at the expense of others. Which makes Wade’s statement categorically irrational.
Violating others is sin, not because it is “not putting others first”; it is sin because a violation of another is tantamount to a violation of YOU. And if you deny yourself by violating others then who is God supposed to save? What is God supposed to make of you? You have denied other, and in doing so must deny yourself, and thus deny God. And this is why I warn Calvinists so fervently. When you approach God’s throne with a philosophy that intentionally denies your own existence, what do you expect God to do with you.? If you cannot acknowledge your moral and existential worth because you have decided that only the REMOVAL (death) of you is “good” before God and others, then what is God going to say, do you think? He can very well say, without any hypocrisy on His part, “I never knew you.” Because you have taken it upon yourself to declare yourself irrelevant, and thus non-existent, with respect to truth and goodness, by putting it perpetually away from yourself. And since TRUTH and GOODNESS can only be efficacious concepts if you EXIST, then you have, by declaring yourself pervasively depraved, removed yourself from the Promise. For God is a God of not the dead, but the living, remember?