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.

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

  1. This is a hard one for folks because to say a doctrine is morally reprehensible means to most you think the people holding them are morally reprehensible. And being “nice” is more important than truth. And the average person holding them most likely have not thought them through including practical applications of those beliefs. Like you did for a while.

    I am not sure folks find reformed doctrines morally reprehensible as much as they simply disagree with them but think we ultimately get the same place: salvation. (I disagree with that, of course. I believe people can be saved IN SPITE of holding wrong doctrines but also think those doctrines are producing more rabid athiests these days)

    The idea/truth of Free will is a huge strength. Helping folks to understand that they CAN think this through on their own. They have the capability to see truth without some philosopher king to guide them or admonish them about confronting evil. We don’t want followers. That would the antithesis of truth.

    The Reformed/Cal doctrines totally confuse good and evil. They merge them and then some philosopher king defines them for you. People do not think for themselves. They start believing the ratoinalizations. And I will tell you that nothing works better than when the PK tells the average nobody that they are not “responding nice enough and are in danger of sin”. That works. It is insidious. The evil guys LOVE IT.

  2. Yes. I have noticed certain teachers/preachers begin with “the Bible is everything we need…” Bible verse & follow it up with XYZ belief. They say it early & often. Many will agree with the first part & so will swallow the whole. It’s subtle, but what they are truly saying is THEIR thinking, interpretation, doctrine, orthodoxy IS the Bible. The truth is beliefs are based on interpretation.

    These types of teachers are uncomfortable with questions or independent thinking or disagreement. It must be group think (directed by a select person=pastor and possibly a select few=elders). And the control tactics for the “sin” of disagreement are shunning, declaring people unbelievers, rejection, holy war.

    Argo/Lydia/John Immel & anyone else, this link on communication was in a comment on JA’s Spiritual Sounding Board blog post dated 12/9/13 by Maria, on 12/10/13 at 7:45PM. Have you heard of Marshall Rosenberg? I’m very interested to know your thoughts on what he has to say, if you have time to review.

    If you click “show more” under “Upload” beneath the video, there are actually 3 sessions.

  3. A mom, I only got to watch about 20 min before my hotspot froze up. From what I gather the premise is to stop trying to control people. I think the “non violent” label threw me off and I was expecting it to be more political. I want to watch it in full when I get a chance. I do know that he is right we have been taught win/lose thinking. Covey tried to cover this years ago. Seek to understand first then to be understood, sort of thing. But I want to watch the whole thing because I get the feeling he is building to something.

    Thanks for the link.

  4. A Mom,

    Yes…you totally see it. That is wonderful…just wonderful.

    No text, the Bible or otherwise, can exist in a vacuum of its own meaning. It MUST be interpreted. There is no such LITERAL thing as a “plain” meaning, because what this is really trying to posit is that somehow words exist as defined…or, better said “valued” utterly within the scope of themselves,as if they somehow exist beyond any context at all. There is NO such thing as a concept WITHOUT a frame of reference. There is no such thing as “distance”, or “time” or “left” without the context of an observable “thing”–or at least an theoretical reference point generated by a human being–to give that concept meaning (value). Try to imagine “up” without any observable context; without any reference. What does “up” look like? It doesn’t look like anything at all. Because in a vacuum of its own “self”, “up” is infinite. And infinite doesn’t look like anything because infinite doesn’t have any value.

    The reason I like to use “value” as opposed to “definition” is because definition is a bit…hmm perfunctory. Meaning, it is harder to make my point with that term. I like value because value designates an “amount” and that speaks better to my point. There is no amount of “up” without a context. Up is infinite. The value of “up” is only established in CONTEXT. What exactly is going up? Where, how…and most importantly, according to WHOSE observation. Meaning, WHO gets to say what is up and WHY up means up. The two basic epistemological questions are then, essentially: What is the standard of TRUTH the concept in service to, and what is the value of the concept in that particular context according to that particular observer? (Meta and particular)

    Since MAN creates the concept, then his life is the standard of all TRUTH. Why up is up is because MAN decided that that concept would serve HIM in organizing his environment in service to his life. And since man is individual, the individual gets to decide for him or herself the value of “up”, perpetually from the point of view HIS or HER context, which is their LIFE. All concepts must serve man at the individual level, because this is where we all exist, and this is why there can be no “meaning” to terms outside of YOUR and MY individual context. We can agree upon a general definition, but we cannot claim that there is an efficacious, relevant definition OUTSIDE of our lives. And this was the point of my contention with Paul Dohse a while back. He thought I was preaching that concepts had no agreed upon definition. That is not it…I was stating, again, that we can agree upon a definition of a concept, but we cannot say that any “word” has a meaning outside of individual human life. Concepts do not exist without people, and thus, all concepts can only exist as TRUE insofar as they serve the individual in organizing his or her environment in service to their life, and, of course, the lives of their fellow men and women.

    Therefore, you are right, again…there is no such thing as a text which is above interpretation. All text, whether it is a word or a paragraph, or the whole canon of scripture must have its TRUTH valued against the plumb line of the standard of human LIFE…to affirm it, perpetuate it, to love it. IF the meaning of the text (as interpreted) runs against the standard of LIFE (life is GOOD, and must be affirmed) then it cannot be TRUE. There is no true interpretation of any text which declares that MAN is not the standard of TRUTH. Because ALL concepts are FROM man, concepts declared to point AWAY from man as the origin of all TRUTH cannot possibly be true. It would be an impossible contradiction of reason.

    This perspective sits like a heavy piece of cheese in pit of Christian’s stomachs because the immediate knee jerk reaction is that it is man-worshiping. Make no mistake…the ability of humanity to RIGHTLY define TRUTH according to their LIFE is exactly why man is able to CORRECTLY identify God as Creator of LIFE, and thus worthy of our wholesale adoration and worship. Man’s ability to see his life as GOOD means that he is able to see God as GOOD. This is a fact.

    On the contrary, THEY who deny human life as infinitely GOOD at its metaphysical root cannot possibly affirm with any certainty the goodness of the Creator of that VERY life. The only reason God can be actually and truly declared good is because WE are good at our root. Our existence…our life is good. If we were not good, that would leave in doubt the goodness of God.

    And those that would argue that man’s “choice” made him “fall” into his TOTAL evil…this is an impossible concept. For what is infinitely GOOD on the root metaphysical level cannot by definition, become evil at that same level any more that “black” can become “white”. Thus, man’s capacity for evil is not a result of his total depravity (a lie), but because of choice: assumptions, followed by action. Man becomes evil according not to his being, but according to his assumptions…his philosophy, his choices, which are utterly his to make, and define his very existence. God cannot force you to believe something. If you believe a false ideology which denies yourself, then you OWN it. If you decided that you aren’t good and don’t really exist as such, then God cannot force your reality to become something you have decided to organize it into according to your inherent ability to conceptualize your existence. So if you decide you aren’t you, then God isn’t going to swoop down and convince you otherwise. You need to get better ideas so that you can concede at better reality, if that makes sense. This will be a rude awakening to man on the last day, I’m afraid. But God is merciful. So, we’ll see…I’m just warning people: there is a way God can say He never knew you without being a hypocrite, and that is if you decided that YOU aren’t really YOU. If you decide to be nobody, then nobody is what God will see. And this which is why the Bible spends so much time telling us to get better ideas so that we’ll do better things.

    Okay…that was long. LOL…you got me going with that one. I just get so excited that you see this truth: Everything needs to be interpreted. The key is to getting the RIGHT interpretation (or, if no right interpretation is present, then to reject the idea as evil and a lie), and that can only happen when we have the right standard of TRUTH. Human life.

  5. Lydia,

    I was reading a comment on Wartburg watch the other day and the person was saying how they took comfort in Calvinism’s definition of God’s sovereignty because they never had to worry that all these tragedies and terrible things that had happened to them in their life weren’t ultimately “good” or according God’s “good” purpose…or something like that. You get the idea.

    And, while I understand their point, I wish they would spend a little less time serving their ostensible “comfort” and a little more time pushing their ideas to the logical conclusions. For example, if God is in control of everything and man consequentially unable to make correct observations of his reality, dividing it rightly into categories of “bad things” and “good things”, according to a standard of TRUTH they can objectively observe, then there is no way that this person could even DEFINE their tragedies as tragedies in the FIRST PLACE so that they could take comfort that God really means them for good. Which begs the conclusion that, likewise, they can no more define the good things than they can the tragedies. Which means they ultimately can’t really call God and His control good, because, again, they have completely surrendered their ability to rightly observe their world according to efficacious concepts which have practical value in their lives. When God is in control of everything, then man’s epistemology is wrecked. Bad becomes good, and vice verse…and in comes the moral relativism, and the philosopher kings to tell everyone what it all means FOR them.

    The reason why there is a “time for mourning” according to Ecclesiastes is because people are able to correctly identify the bad things which happen AS ACTUALLY BAD. We should thus spend our time wisely avoiding tragedies, or asking God to relieve us of them or help us through them, rather than submitting to them as a way to “honor” God.

    Not to minimize this person’s situation, but let me say that God is not honored by man deciding that the best way to worship Him is to assume the status of an irrational ignoramus.

  6. I remember one time we had a miscarriage…this was recently after leaving the SGM morality grinder, and she was struggling with her feelings. She felt sad, but was worried that she wasn’t “trusting God” for his ultimate goodness by feeling sad or hurt.

    I told her that that was old SGM bullshit talking. I said it IS BAD. A miscarriage is NOT a form of God’s “sovereign goodness”…it is a tragic twist of nature, and we are completely right to mourn in the face of such a tragedy. You don’t blame God any more than you praise him for nature simply doing what it does. The fact that we can look around us and see how the world works and make value judgements is how we can even know God in the first place.

    So mourn your tragedies! They are NOT God’s plan. They are NOT determined. They are part of LIFE…of stuff doing what it does because that’s the point of Creation…to BE, to DO, to exist, to act; and YOU see it and you conceptualize it because that is your inherent power and right by God’s design. Evil things and tragedies are not GOOD merely disguised as bad.

    Mourn them and feel sad and try to change what you can and pray for God’s help in the rest. Believe me, this is the kind of faith real prayers are made of, and He will answer. When you pray from you ability to know TRUTH, and make right value judgements, you please God, you don’t offend Him.

  7. In addition to the obvious, often they focus on the exact wording of a text to the exclusion of its actual point. For instance, Romans 9. Paul’s point is that God can save Gentiles just as well as he can save Jews. But they focus on his rather unfortunate wording and miss the point altogether. Or take Philippians 2:12-13 where he says “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (which they ignore) followed by “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (a mistranslation of what should be “for it is God who works with you both your willing and doing of his good will”) and they focus in on this idea of God working in our will, and assert that it is a denial of freewill. All hail to the literal wording of the text! Yet Paul’s point is that we must work out our own salvation, and we should not get lazy or neglect this because if we are working out our own salvation then God is helping us, working with us. The point is not that we have no will, but that we do! The point is that we must work with God so he can work with us. But the whole point of the text is overthrown by their childish insistence on the letter (actual wording) rather than the spirit (intent).

    Yet more than this, the gospel is a basic jist oral message that is preached, not a legal text for scribes to go over with a fine-toothed comb and dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. The message is that God sent his son to die for your sins, so believe in him, get baptized, and live a good life. That is the spirit. And when you get bogged down on the letter (on all Paul’s little opinions and the unfortunate and illiterate way he often words them) then you die.

  8. Perhaps a better way to explain it: They always oppose any summary of the gospel. The gospel must include all the dotted i’s and crossed t’s of their favorite Pauline verses.

    Letter-worshipper (Calvinist): So you believe the gospel is about Jesus dying on the cross for your sins, and you should be in him, get baptized, and live a good moral life? Hah! Have we got news for you, that’s not enough! No sir! Your gospel is a mutilated gospel like Marcion’s, so short that it has no right to be called the gospel. No, see the gospel starts with Original Sin. A gospel that doesn’t teach we were born damned and with no freewill is not a gospel at all. You first have to believe you are a sinner.

    Spirit-follower: But I do believe I am a sinner. I’ve sinned and I repent. But I wasn’t born a sinner. That’s crazy talk.

    Letter-worshipper (Church of Christ): So you believe the gospel is about Jesus dying on the cross for your sins, and you should be in him, get baptized, and live a good moral life? Hah! Have we got news for you, that’s not enough! No sir! Your gospel is a mutilated gospel like Marcion’s, so short that it has no right to be called the gospel. No for the gospel must include knowing which church is the one true church, and what is the exact proper way to observe the Lord Supper, and that its a sin to use instrumental music in a church service, and that if you ever miss one Sunday morning service that you are damned to hell until you publicly confess before the congregation that you sinned by doing so.

    Spirit-follower: Where did Jesus say any of these things that you have added to the gospel?

    Letter-worshipper (Cavlinist and Church of Christ both): The gospel is not only what Jesus preached but every last word of the New Testament. Unless you believe every syllable of it, you cannot be saved.

    Spirit-follower: So Jesus didn’t know the gospel nor preach it?

    Letter-worshipper (Cavlinist and Church of Christ guy in unison): Of course Jesus knew the gospel, but he didn’t preach it all. He preached only a part and then revealed the rest to Paul after the ascension.

    Spirit-follower: I guess you can explain your insane theory to him on the Day of Judgement then when he declared to you “Depart from me you workers of lawlessness, for I never knew you.”

  9. Lydia & Argo, love your comments so much. They are sensible, comforting and so…healthy. Someday on the other side of this life, I want to find both of you, and some others, and thank you face-to-face for all of the ways you’ve helped me… Count on it!

    Argo, it seems to me that when someone finds comfort in that idea, the person is either unwilling or unable to take off the rose-colored glasses and accept the fact that evil actually exists – that evil is truly evil, and by definition not good, and that we must face and deal with it honestly. As you and Lydia said, these doctrines totally confuse good and evil, and ultimately call evil good. In fact, they celebrate evil, and twist and distort reality.

    It’s crazy-making and extremely insulting to someone who’s been affected personally by horrible evil, such as child abuse, to deny the truth/reality of that person’s experience/situation. Not only does this blur the lines between good and evil, it leads to horrible and intolerable conclusions about God that only intensify the pain. I could go on and on about that, and often do…

  10. Oasis,

    You got the flu? I hope not. Sorry you aren’t feeling well. I’m a huge sick wimp. I don’t want to be around anyone or do anything except lie in bed an listen to my heart pound inside my head which feels like it’s been stuffed with mayonnaise.
    So awful.

    I feel like I’m coming down with something now, actually. That sucks.

    Thanks for the compliment. There is a hell of a lot more where that came from, trust me!

    Hope you feel better soon!

  11. I feel like you do Oasis. And I am certain that we’ll all get together and still talk about this stuff in the hereafter.

    Will I still get to blog in my underwear in my mom’s basement in heaven? I hope so, because blogging in a white robe in a mansion with many rooms just won’t be the same. For one, I’m afraid I’ll be in too good a mood to maintain the right amount of pissed off it takes to drag this theology behind the woodshed and give it its rightful, daily drubbing.

  12. Yes! Our evil is a choice! And here is the big one
    …… That is missing from so much of what passes for Christianity…. Without choice there is no responsibility. And we are seeing that all around us.

  13. So sorry to both you & your wife for your loss. You make an important observation. Trust God has been twisted to mean we cast off feelings, sad feelings & even good feelings. It strips us of compassion. How awful & evil. I am so glad you knew these truths then & shared them with your wife. Thank you for sharing it here.

    Your little message & explanation of “it’s rightful to mourn” is very timely for me. I lost a cherished family member last week. My child said, “I rejoice he’s in heaven with those we love. I am sad he’s not here”. I feel the same way.

    Thank you, brother Argo. You are a rich blessing, more than you realize. Thank you for valuing life, championing life & arguing our worth.

    Keep going.

  14. Yes. God doesn’t force us to believe anything. It’s up to us. We completely own what we think, believe, do.

    I like to think of an idea as a solid object, in my hand, that I need to hold up & look at closely in the light, from different angles – in order to accurately assess & understand it. As if I am actually moving the object (idea) slowly in my hand.

  15. Thanks, Lydia. I value your opinion. I’m interested to hear what you think after watching the whole video. BTW, Have a wonderful Christmas! I read these blogs for a long time before commenting. You speak truth. I thank God for you, your persistence & defense of who God is & your love of others. God bless you!

  16. You hope so, LOL! Oh, I think you’ll have even more to say by that time, and you’ll share your thoughts and insight with many interesting people who missed out on these discussions the first time. A blogger’s paradise, hehe.

    I am with A Mom, and am sorry for your loss. I was thinking the same thing – so very, very glad you knew these truths and shared them with your wife.

  17. Argo, thanks. I live with my little nephews, and they’ve been bringing home one thing after another from school these past four months, and giving them all to me! You sound just like a guy I know, another sick wimp. You take good care of yourself, also!

    I look forward to reading whatever you decide to share in the future.

  18. God bless you,. A mom. I feel teh same about your comments and only wish we had not been deprived of them for so long! Coming here and a very few other blogs is like living in a desert and finding water.

  19. I feel the same way! I am so blessed by those who have added so much to my understanding of TRUTH. Thanks Lydia, Oasis, David, A Mom, Bridget, John Immel, Paul Dohse (whom I am hard on, I know), James Jordan, and everyone else I might have forgotten. You all are truly, truly brilliant human beings. A rare breed of a rare breed.

  20. Oasis. Thank you for your kind words. Sorry you’ve been under the weather.

    BTW, Your words consistently affirm life. No, God is NOT evil. Nor does God force us to obey. Know you are thought of with love from those here. Totally our choice to. 🙂 I cheer you on. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  21. Wow, thank you, A Mom. I was beating myself up pretty badly for being such a broken record here and other places, but I know that for a few reasons, I won’t be shutting up anytime soon. So, I really appreciate your comment! And a wonderful Christmas to you, too! 🙂

    And please know that I absolutely love reading your well thought-out, life-giving comments here, on SSB, and I also see you on Paul’s Passing Thoughts. You make me want to dance!

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