Monthly Archives: April 2014

Clarification of Blog Intermission

I wasn’t going to go here, but things moved quickly for me today…I explain in the text below.  So, after working through a big issue today I figured I am in a position to post an explanation of what’s going on here, if that makes any sense.  Maybe it doesn’t.  Anyway, it’s nothing earth shattering, just…er, details I suppose.

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Thanks everyone for you kind words and encouragement. You guys are all great..and I mean you, too, Dee. 🙂

Nothing big is going on. I just have an awful lot of material here and I’m trying to decide where to focus the blog, or even if I need to focus it at all. Meaning, should I continue to do what I do here and just post whatever catches my fancy, or should I make a concerted effort to keep myself to some of what I consider my most pertinent themes and write articles specific to those themes, and little else?

The problem I’m having is, again, I have a LOT of content here at home that never makes it to the blog because I always seem to get “sidetracked” (by my own fickle attention span) into writing articles that are more impromptu…that is, written on the fly, as opposed to a concerted effort to post the stuff that I spend hours and hours both thinking about and also writing down in article form.

So, there’s that.

The other issue I was having is trying to decide who I thought my reader should be. I never stopped to think about what kind of “market” I’m going for. Not that I’m interested in the blog as a means of financial profit…that’s not what I mean by that at all.  I’m not in a position where that’s necessary (thankfully, because I’m not convinced it’s possible anyway…I’d have to go get a day job 🙂  ). I have a sugar momma for that, who sees fit to take care of my material needs because I watch the kids and do the homeschooling, and because she makes three times what I made doing what I used to do and loves her job where I hated mine.  So, we both win!  (But I have a doctorate and she only has a masters…so I win in the education category; that’s how my ego deals with that, LOL).

But I figured that if I could decide who I’m writing for it might help guide my content so that it isn’t so scattered.  (But the other issue is that I’m not sure that scattered is a bad thing.) Please know that I welcome ALL readers, of course…but I think having a specific audience in mind really helps to organize not only my article content but even the writing itself.

Today I solved that problem. I thought to myself: I don’t believe in “groups” except as an abstraction. So I stopped thinking of the “market” in terms of bunches of people and began to realize that everything is rooted in the individual, even an “audience” for a blog. For “groups” is merely how we conceptualize a specific number (also an abstract concept) of individuals (existential singularities of SELF). So I stopped asking myself which “group” should be the focus and began to ask myself which PERSON I am writing for. The answer came quickly: the people who already read here. People who are no longer interested in blindly accepting the philosophical ideas that pervade society and the world and which find their most abusive and oppressive conclusions, thanks to their obvious-but-sort-of-not inherent contradictions, in organized “orthodox” religion (specifically dealing with the neo-Calvinism movement, which I know WELL) and in government; and in some instances, even in personal relationships. People like me who for years have been told they are crazy and now are on a quest to determine if that really is so, or if there is something inherent in the thinking which disallows us to truly exist as a SELF, instead maintaining that we are nothing more (or should strive to be nothing more) than a “component” of some external standard (outside the existential singularity of SELF)…just because it is assumed that the people who are the “keepers” of the standard simply know better. People who wonder if “knowing better” is nothing more than conceding a bunch of fucking contradictions and then resorting to some form of violence to silence those who have the gumption to stand up and say, “Er, wait a minute…”.

So the problem of “who is the audience” was resolved very quickly, to my surprise, and happily so. That’s fully half the battle there, so I would think that this hiatus shouldn’t be very long. Perhaps a few days or a week or so to think about what I actually what to SAY to everyone now that I know who “everyone” is, so to speak. Do I want to continue to post seat-of-my-pants retorts to things I read on other blog articles, or responses to commenters (which are my favorite things to write), or should I discipline myself to post the material which I spend 90% of my time musing over and writing with the intention of posting but never sees the light of the LCD (I hand write most of my material…I just love to write with a pencil; something about being in elementary school…I miss those days)? Is that stuff of any interest to people? Too esoteric…theoretical…heavy? And should I care? It is important stuff…no, I wouldn’t be reserved in admitting that, but it may be dry…and why should that make a difference?  Where is the line between reader consideration and personal fulfillment in posting material I think is fresh and enlightening but which may not be appreciated by an audience who might (rightly and understandably) reject its…hmm, more clinical and less sardonic nature?

Anyway…that’s what’s going on. Like I said, nothing big, just a little administrative thinking with respect to where to take this thing, and how to get it there. I mean, I guess in the grand scheme of things it’s not a big deal; I’m not particularly popular relative to other blogs (DEE 🙂  ). Still, with the amount of time I invest in this thing I do want to try to get it as right as I can.

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Blog Intermission

I will be taking a break from blogging for a while…the length of hiatus is not determined, however.

Thanks to all who read and share here.  Your contributions to this site are very much appreciated and very highly regarded.

I know I have a few articles with subsequent parts still pending.  I apologize for my truancy regarding their completion.  There’s a lot to think about and discuss and only so much time.  I hope to conclude them at some later date.

The blog is not closing…I am just taking a hiatus from posting new articles for the time being.

Very kind regards,

Argo

 

Forgiveness is Good, But Not Having to Forgive is Better: Response to Oasis

Oasis, a well-respected and well-liked commenter here posted a heartbreaking comment in the thread of the last post.  I have much to say about the things he/she shares with us, much more than appropriate for a mere comment.  Hence this article which includes my direct response to Oasis and also discusses in detail the philosophical reasons why neo-Calvinism, which is raging through the American church like an epidemic of Spanish flu, do not believe that abuse is real; why they do not concede that suffering of humanity ever, for any reason, is unwarranted, and thus deny that anyone can justly or reasonably claim to be a victim.

This outright denial of abuse and the legitimacy of claims thereof by its victims, in service to the “church” (the theo-marxist collective), is rooted in the  Reformed definition of the SELF of man…that is, how they define man metaphysically.  In short, they categorically despise human beings as individuals and declare that existence is the apogee of man’s “sin problem”.

The fact that you were born is the reason for your suffering…indeed, this is the root belief which under-girds their interpretation of abuse in the church.  Again, and in a nutshell, they basically deny it entirely.  There’s is no such thing.

Here’s why:

For one, the individual person, who is perennially and perpetually depraved, can only ever deserve suffering and torment, and that suffering is thus defined by the neo-Calvinist monster as JUSTICE…specifically, GOD’S justice, not abuse.  Similarly, because the human being is utterly depraved at the root metaphysic of SELF, abusive behavior is not a choice, but merely an extension of the evil which is human existence.  Therefore, an abuser cannot help his actions, because choice eludes him…for he is merely a “sinner saved (elected) by grace”; or, conversely, a sinner NOT saved (elected) by grace, which puts the “unsaved” (un-elected) child rapist abuser in the exact same moral category as the “unsaved” (un-elected) NON-rapist.  Good, and Sin and evil are purely a function of whether or not you win God’s arbitrary (and it MUST be arbitrary) election lottery, not a function of belief, choice, and action (the trifecta of human material existence…which they deny).  And so an abuser, saved or unsaved, cannot be “guilty” of sinning…or at least, not guilty in a way that demands justice, because he lacks choice.  And thus there is no moral culpability for his actions.  His morality is nothing more than a direct function his “election” status.

The point is that if they, that is, the church’s “authority”  think the fucking animal is “saved”, then he MUST be forgiven, even though his evil behavior may not change, because the sum and substance of his moral character is purely a function of his “election”, which remember, has nothing whatsoever to do with him actually being a good person or doing good things or making good choices….it is merely the arbitrary decision of a “sovereign” God.  Thus, because the abuser in the church is “good” by virtue of his “election” he cannot be judged for his sin, which Jesus came to wash away (which neo-Calvinist theology  makes nothing more than a euphemism for “excuse” and “ignore”, and this is entirely unforgivable) the abuser cannot be accused or “judged”.

And because the abused are at their metaphysical root evil incarnate (totally depraved), even if they are saved (because in Reformed theology man’s existential essence, his depravity, never changes)  they have no right to remonstrance or relief or justice; for there is no such thing as justice for those whose suffering can only result in a fuller understanding of just how fucking awful they are and how much God fucking hates their ever-loving guts.  Therefore, their suffering, which is ultimately at the hands of a “sovereign God”, because He is ultimately in control of all things, is always “good”, and never bad.  Which means that the vehicle by which that suffering is manifest can never be criticized or denounced as immoral, even if it happens to be in the form of child-rapist.  The vehicle for human suffering in whatever form it may take is merely God’s chosen means of destroying the SELF in service to His “truth”, which you will notice is always a direct function of some fucking collective.  In this case, the church.  (But it just as easily can be the “State”, or whatever.)  The abused must shut the hell up and accept the abuse, for to do otherwise constitutes an unjust attack upon God’s chosen earthly vessel for His “will”, and “truth”, and, most importantly, “authority”:  the Church.  Which owns you, because it is God to you, and thus will do with you what it wants, and you must remember that you are not you anyway, and so YOU have no moral grounds to resist the violation of your body, mind, or property.

Here is what Oasis wrote:

This abuser is someone who abused me when I was very young, and by the time I was ready to report him, the statute of limitations was on his side. There is nothing I can do now except warn others about him. One of the problems is, everyone who knows what he did is convinced that he’s no longer a danger. That is, everyone except me.

The things you describe in your numbered list are EXACTLY what is going on right now, storeinacooldryplace. But the abuser is not a member of the church (neither am I, anymore), which is an SBC church…nor is he even a professing Christian anymore. Not sure what the church has become on the inside. I am really confused about this whole thing and having a hard time concentrating.

Thank you for what you said, storeinacooldryplace. Sorry to be vague, but I still fear that when I speak, either people will not believe me, or they will not take me seriously. Which is what keeps happening.

By the way, I am with you about church, Lydia. If I ever step a foot inside another church building, my foot will burn right off.

Here is my response:

Oasis,

I agree completely with SCDP; and I echo Jason’s sentiments in his last comment.

And I also understand your desire to be vague. I don’t think you or anyone else would be surprised to know that those who take our concerns and our doctrinal challenges seriously are pretty much restricted to the faceless names we see on these blogs; the number of “Christians” I’ve run into in person who don’t think I’m full of shit I could count on the hand of the guy who had an accident with a lawnmower. That is the measure of the difficulty we face in confronting the deathly irrational assumptions which literally form the very foundation of the church. And the scary part is that when you confront people who lack a definition of humanity except “depravity’, you can never be completely sure that they will respect the sanctity of your person and property. Once humanity has be relegated by the operative philosophy to a place of blind worthlessness which must be compelled by force because it has no inherent line to truth…well, we are all expendable. Death is our greatest moral good, so…even the least imaginative among us can guess what happens to people when they fuck with those whose job (from God) it is to make sure you do what your told.

It took me three years before I would share my real name online because of the great evil I understood that an entity like Sovereign Grace Ministries can inflict upon its detractors. And will, and has, and does. They are no respecter of God’s children…and that is a scary thing indeed. For you are not crazy. Evil is terrifying because evil seeks only one thing: the death of men. All evil is rooted in the notion that SELF (the existential root of all people and God) is a lie. And you certainly understand how notice this notion forms the root of Calvinism and Protestantism in general..

But understand, when you rightly acknowledge your inherent moral worth and the categorical legitimacy of your SELF as God’s creation, entitled to moral and existential equivalency with both God (as His child) and man then you will be surprised at the floodgates of blessings you are entitled to and will receive when you ask God for them from this perspective. God WANTS you to be YOU, and YOU is supposed to be fun, and comfortable, and joyous; a life of pursuing SELF as GOOD, which means never apologizing or feeling guilty for pursuing your pleasures, your interests, without acquiescing to the lie that the collective (be it the state or the church or the authority-in-the-stead) has some inherent “god-given” right to be the benefactor of all your choices (I have an article on this very topic in the hopper as we speak.)

You don’t need to worry that pursuing SELF (which you MUST do anyway, when you logically examine the metaphysics) constitutes some kind of destructive or anti-other behavior. For when you function from the idea that man is GOOD, then you will automatically understand that pursuing your SELF in the interest of your life cannot constitute the violation of another human being. Indeed, it is the very fact that you understand and confess that your life is GOOD which is the source of your acceptance of the root good of others, and why they, like you, are legitimate SELVES, and entitled to unfettered pursuit of those SELVES.

Your life was meant to be a gift…and that has never changed. YOU are supposed to be YOU, forever, and being YOU should FEEL like a gift from God…a blessing. And when you acknowledge the perfect goodness of YOU AS YOU, as God has always intended, and has proclaimed in both the law and then again, definitively, in the human God, Jesus, then you understand that confronting abuse and restraining its perpetrators trumps forgiveness every time.

Forgiveness is good, but never having to forgive is even better. For when there is no violation of humanity, then there is no need for forgiveness.

Defusing Step Three of Rick Warren’s “Christian Recovery” Landmines

Continuing where we left off in the last article on this subject, ‘The Eight ‘Christian Steps to Psychological Recovery…’, here we will take a brief look at step three of this metaphysical atrocity:

3.  Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.  “Happy are the meek” Matthew 5:5

Okay, let’s play a game…a variation of something I, and you, probably, played in the car as a child on the long drive to grandmother’s house.  The game was called “I spy”.

In this case, we will play “I spy the contradiction”.

Ready?

Go.

Too slow.  I’ve already got it. But of course you are at a distinct disadvantage.  I have in front of me all eight of Rick Warren’s disastrous steps to “recovery”, and, alas, all I have given you in this article is one.  No matter…I still will concede that your epistemology is far more relevant and efficacious than Rick Warren does, I’ll bet.

So after reading this point my  mind immediately protested.  I’m looking at step number one, which reads, in part:  “I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing.”  Now, juxtapose that thought, which I criticized in detail in my last post on this subject, with point number three, again:  “Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s control…” 

Now, here’s the problem.  If man is, by his very sinful nature (his categorical existential failure) unable to control his “tendency” (a bullshit term…again, if humanity cannot control a tendency then it isn’t a tendency it is an innate characteristic), then man has no appreciable “will”to commit to Christ.

Rick’s first point makes clear that it is impossible for you or me to commit our will to Christ because it explicitly describes humanity as utterly unable to act in service to the right/good thing, which naturally must include committing our lives and will to Christ.  That’s the whole fucking point of step one, right? You have no will of your own.  All your will is subjugated to your “tendency” to do the wrong thing.

You cannot control your tendency to do the wrong thing, therefore in every choice you make, you always choose evil, which again makes “tendency” a deceptive euphemism for never doing ANYTHING good at all, ever.  Thus, you cannot commit your life and will to Christ because this presupposes that you are able to choose freely (and adding the word “free” to either “will” or “choice” is a proper redundancy…for there is no such thing as will or choice which is not free) to do the right thing on your own, which point one clearly explains you are not.  Thus, how on earth can you choose to do the right thing and commit your life and will to Christ when choice is precluded by your infinitely sinful nature, which completely holds captive any “will” to do anything good at all, to the point where the “will” of man is an utterly irrational notion in the first place?  Man has no will to do good, which means he has no will at all, but is a slave to the absolute determining force of his metaphysical essence of depravity…yes, THAT is the whole motherfucking point.  Man’s “will” is always in service to sin.

This means that choice is an illusion…and if choice is an illusion then so is volition. For the volition of man cannot exist if it is bound to a metaphysical absolute of:  EVIL.  Man IS evil is the underlying assumption of all eight points of this list and likely of Rick Warren’s entire theology.  Since man is evil, everything man does or what he thinks, no matter what it may look like to us or how we may define it, IS evil.  Which makes the idea of man possessing an ability to choose between a good action, like committing one’s life to Christ, and an evil action, like rejecting Christ, completely false.

Thus, the poor victims of this kind of “counseling” are left to wallow in the metaphysical and epistemological wasteland, hemmed in on all sides by Rick Warren’s commands and counsel, and yet they are utterly unable to capitulate.  They understand that since they are the root of all evil, being evil itself incarnate, they can no more hope to employ Rick’s counseling tips than they can hope to cook their own head and then eat it for dinner.

Thus, the metaphysical and epistemological assumptions which are at the heart of this evil theology create in man a passive acceptance of the totality of his own utter moral AND existential failure.  Or better said:  creates in man an acceptance of the totality of his own utter moral failure because there is no distinction between his moral failure and his metaphysical (existential) failure.

Man’s only hope is for God’s mercy…for there is literally nothing he  can do to assuage his torment.  It is as a result of his root existence, and thus, he is helpless against the tide of destructive consequences which God and the universe afflict upon him as punishment for his very birth.  And since, again, it is God who is sovereign and thus God who is “justly” punishing him for his own immoral existence, how much mercy can the defunct currency of his hope buy him?

The answer is:  probably none at all.

Which is why teaching Christians that there is no such thing as anyone committing any injustice against them, no matter how seriously or completely they are physically and/or psychologically abused, tortured and exploited, because they are so evil and thus whatever suffering and abuse they endure is par for their existential course as well as the well-deserved punishment for having the motherfucking audacity to be born at all, is the most popular means of curtailing any resistance amongst the laity in today’s Christian church, and of building a following of completely complicit and self-surrendering financiers and laborers.

What the church almost without exception STILL teaches today is that man’s only hope of any kind of remediation for the abomination of his own individual existence is through integration into the mystic body collective, which derives all its value and worth from the proxies of the Divine, the ecclesiastical leadership, who represent God in all His relevant forms to the unwashed and unenlightened masses whom God has given these pastors and priests, who are “standing in God’s stead”, to “shepherd”.  And their reward for obeying God’s calling is all the fucking mutton they can eat.

And thus we arrive at the most ironical of terms found in Rick’s stupid list:  “consciously”.  “Consciously choose” he counsels us…and likely without the slightest awareness of just what a colossal boob he sounds like.  And probably nary a blush of shame at his irrational imperative.  Since man is unable to control his sin, because “sinful” is the moral absolute which defines ALL of man’s thoughts and actions (what Rick cutely calls the “tendency” to do the wrong thing), thus creating the absolute objective of man’s life:  to be evil, there is no such thing as choice, as I explained.

Aaaaaand the logical extension of this idea is that there can be no such thing as consciousness.  Man’s consciousness is rooted in his awareness of himSELF, as a distinct object from the rest of his material universe.  Thus, the fact that man can refer to himself as SELF, implies that man is able to make such a distinction in the first place, and the ability to make this distinction in TRUTH…that is, as a direct observation of his tangible, material, actual existence, is a function of that efficacious (right, proper, truthful) observation.

But for man’s observations to be efficacious requires man’s rational epistemology…that is, he must be able to truthfully know what he IS from what he IS NOT.  This is rooted in the ability to make an observable distinction in objects, including himself, which are a function of material reality, not “moral” reality, which isn’t “reality” at all, it is purely conceptual…a direct function of man’s cognition.  For material reality is morally neutral, which makes “good and evil” thus a conceptual duality which proceeds from man’s ability to see what he materially is, and to declare it actual and efficacious and truthful and relevant, and then cognitively generate a  moral paradigm designed to promote himself (his life) as an actual object which is rooted observable material existence.  This ability is the root of man’s consciousness.

Man’s consciousness thus is founded upon and is a direct function of  his morally innocent material SELF.  But the notion that man’s material reality is a slave and utterly subservient to his moral proclivity (his “evil nature”) means that man’s ability to perceive himself as a material actuality (a SELF) is compromised by his abstract, conceptual moral failure.  Therefore, what man observes is no longer a function of a material context (flesh and blood life) but is a function instead of moral insufficiency.  That is to say, of the conceptual abstraction:  evil.

And if man cannot observe himself as a material SELF, but instead he observes himself from a place of absolute evil…then what we are arguing is that the moral paradigm (somehow, and irrationally) precedes the material SELF of man.  The absolute of evil is the place from which the material man, himSELF, is derived. Which makes, by definition, the idea of an actual, material SELF a total lie, being nothing but a direct function of man’s absolute evil nature, which therefore taints his entire epistemology.  His epistemology can never lead him to a place where he is able to recognize himself as an agent/object distinct from “others” because his epistemology is utterly bound in the moral concept of EVIL.  And if man’s entire concept of SELF is nothing more than a direct function of his absolute evil existential essence, then he can possess no efficacious (practical or functional or relevant) consciousness.  Consciousness itself is not a function of “man” as a flesh and blood agent, but is a direct function of his absolute evil; his moral failure, which again must precede material existence.  Thus, no matter what man thinks or believes, it is always and automatically evil.  Which means that man’s “consciousness” lacks any rational definition.  Consciousness itself is merely a direct function of man’s evil essence.  Consciousness, like body, and spirit, and mind and heart and choice and desire and belief etc., etc. is simply:  evil.  Period.

Which means that man cannot “consciously choose” to do anything.  Man can only act as a direct function of his absolute and inexorable sin nature, which can observe NOTHING outside itself, because it is absolute, and never mitigated by a rational and efficacious ability to observe any material SELF from NOT SELF, thus making consciousness impossible.

Therefore, point number three of Rick Warren’s steps to “recovery” is nothing more than a self-contradicting, impossible travesty of evil thinking and madness under the guise of compassion and rational consistency.  It is logic being burned at the stake of mystic tyranny.

 

Obeying the Bible or the Law is a Meaningless Objective…Being a Human Being Automatically Accomplishes It

“‘”The Bible gets to be true, and specially so, because it utterly affirms the ultimate standard of TRUTH, recognizing it absolutely, beyond any other work ever written. And that standard, again, is man’s LIFE. YOU are the reason for the Bible, which means that it serves YOU, YOU do not serve it.” From Argo’s last post.

Argo, how/when did you realize this? If you wrote about it already, sorry, I forgot or missed it. It is a huge shift, break-away. What’s first required is not a knowledge of Greek or Hebrew but a knowledge of what love is.'”

A Mom,

It takes nothing but pure reason, to be honest. Without man, of what relevance is the Bible? None. Without man’s life, of what efficacious meaning is the Bible? None. Without man, can the Bible even exist at all as a philosophical statement given TO man? No.

By the way, in my debate with Paul and Alex over on http://www.paulspassingthoughts, in the comments thread of the article in linked to in my post two back, neither one of them answered these questions.  I offered the contradictory thinking in their argument to them for review, expecting an answer, for I consider them noble men:

If man’s life is the necessary prerequisite for the Bible having any relevant meaning (or existing at all), how can it be the standard of truth for man?  Would it not seem that man is the standard of its truth, since it is only true within the context of man?

Again, they never directly addressed the blazing contradiction.  Thus the subsequent frustrated tone of my last few posts here on this blog. It takes dialog to change minds, but some people would rather jump out of a perfectly good airplane than see it to its destination.  And how can there be any confronting of tyranny when we will not allow reason to guide us safely to the landing strip?  It makes everything a colossal waste of time.

The reason they did not answer seems obvious, and the fact that it seems so obvious is mostly why it is so depressing and disappointing:  The questions and answers completely dismantle their assertion that the Bible is the standard of truth.  But they would not answer, I suspect, because to answer would equal a concession.  Thus, it seems to me as though everyone wants to run away in the face of a rational argument that they cannot answer because they think it is more noble to not lose a debate than to concede a rational philosophy that won’t ultimately dissolve into tyranny.

And why shouldn’t this demoralize all of us?  Holding to ideas that WILL destroy human life is preferred to losing a short war of words? I…just don’t understand this.

And if I sound bitter, I am.  Why debate at all if you are unwilling to capitulate when confronted with a better argument?  If you aren’t willing to change your mind in the face of rational ideas, then you are an ideologue, not a thinker or a seeker of truth.  And we already have a shitload of ideologues running things.  We do not need any more.

Anyway..

The Bible is only true after man’s context–after his LIFE–is already established. This means that the Bible simply cannot be the standard of truth; man’s life must be the standard. The Bible serves man, not the other way around.  Anyone who disagrees with this is forced to explain how the frame of reference by which anything can be called true is not, in fact, necessary to the establishing of truth.

I assure you, this cannot be done.

The same argument can be used for the Law.  Without man’s life, establishing the standard of GOOD (morality)…that is, the Law, is impossible.  Like the Bible, without man’s life, the Law is meaningless, irrelevant, and non-existent. Therefore, the Law serves man, not the other way around. The Law is only efficacious when it is condemning action by its declaration of the moral and truthful integrity of man’s life.  That is, it can only condemn those who deny that mans life is the standard of GOOD…and actually, it is not really the law which condemns, it is…well, we’ll get to that.

The Law cannot provide righteousness to human beings who already possess it by nature of their very existence, and are “walking it out” in an efficacious way by believing that they are, in fact, legitimate self-aware agents with a legitimate epistemology operating thus according to legitimate and causal volition (choices which actually pursue and affirm the SELF).

To say that we have to keep the Law in order to be good is not only a false gospel (as Paul Dohse rightfully declares…and this should lead him to the logical conclusion that keeping the Bible then is likewise a false gospel), but it is a totally irrational claim. Obedience to the Law is irrelevant to either morality or truth. Obedience to the law can have no efficacious and thus no rationally definable purpose…thus, it cannot be a moral objective at all.  The only time the Law is relevant and efficacious is when people are disobedient to it…because disobedience signifies that they are acting upon the false assumption that the standard of good is in fact something else outside of man’s life.  And thus it isn’t the Law which ultimately condemns them, but the disregard for the standard of good (and truth) which condemns them; and a disregard for the standard which declares what is good and therefore what is not means that man must operate from a place irrelevance…which is functionally NOTHING.  (More on this later.)

Obedience to a Law that is given to simply affirm that man gets to BE himself makes obedience to the Law, itself, superfluous.  Being alive as an individual SELF is the sum and substance of “obeying” the law (which is why humanity was never supposed to have a Law in the first place). Which means as long as you accept and believe that YOU are the standard of GOOD and TRUTH, that YOU get to be YOU, always and eternally, and that YOU then is GOOD and TRUE, and thus understand that the only immoral act is the denial and violation of SELF, which by logical extension must include all OTHER selves we observe to be our moral and truthful equals (other people and God), then you are perfect and perfectly true and perfectly good. There is no other thing or rule or tradition or habit or “way of life” you need to be absorbed by in order to be perfect before God.

There is no flag you must salute, no “body” or collective into which you must integrate…no hair style you must keep, style of dress you must wrap yourself in, job you must have, income you must make, “bad words” you must not use, Bible studies you must attend, pastors you must obey, ways you must spend your time or your money.  All of those things serve your inherent right to be YOU, YOU do not serve them.

Therefore, obeying the law means nothing except if we decide that the law is the standard of good outside of us, and in that case what obeying the law means is something very bad and very destructive. Because if that’s what we think, then good is good regardless of man’s life…whether he is or not.  Which makes man’s life irrelevant if we decide that man is not good or truth’s standard. And if man’s life is irrelevant then it lacks a rational definition.  Which makes man’s life equal to zero…or, speaking metaphysically, nothing.  Thus, making life’s objective that of law-keeping (obedience to the law), or Bible-keeping (obedience to the truth) MUST demand man’s death.  For the absence of man is the most rational conclusion of conceding that good and truth is  OUTSIDE of man’s life.  If man’s life is functionally nothing, then death is the most logical and legitimate form obedience to standards of truth and good outside of it.

Finally, I submit that God’s truth never ultimately depends on blind faith or mysticism, but it can be discerned by pure reason.

If Man is not the Standard of Truth, Then He NEVER Gets to Say What’s True: Response to Commenter Lydia

I got a comment from astute commenter Lydia this morning on the thread of the last post: “No! The Bible is Not the Standard of Truth”

She wrote:

I am just not up to a logical or philosophical discussion on the bible as the basis for truth. One reason is because I have been reading the court filing on the Doug Phillips lawsuit. The bible was Doug’s standard for truth. It is John Piper’s standard for truth. It was Calvin’s standard for truth…….and so on.

What is wrong with this picture?

Let’s pretend we grew up in an Orwellian society where the bible did not exist. It was out of print and there are never going to be more copies. How would anyone in that society know truth?

Let’s start there for a change…..

And this from someone who has tremendous respect for the bible. I just view it differently. If we make it the standard for truth then it simply becomes a fight concerning interpretation.

But what if we do not start there?

 

Please examine Lydia’s first paragraph. She makes an excellent, excellent point.

I responded to this statement in particular: (DISCLAIMER: I am not suggesting that Lydia necessarily agrees with my response, or has drawn the same conclusion as I have.)

“If we make it the standard for truth then it simply becomes a fight concerning interpretation.”

And of course this is exactly right. But they do not see it that way. They are convinced that there is some kind of absolute interpretation that simply has to be discovered. It’s like the laws of physics…they are not constructs from man’s mind, they are actual entities that man searches for and finds.

But this presents another logical contradiction for them, on top of two insurmountable ones already. It is this: If man discovers the standard of absolute truth OUTSIDE himself (be it the “true” biblical interpretation, or the “natural laws which govern”) then he must concede that HE and his own conscious frame of reference is wholly irrelevant to truth.

And this is where I usually loose them.

IF man’s conscious context of conscious SELF is irrelevant to truth, then how can man claim to know truth? Man’s conscious observations of himself and his environment have nothing to do with declaring or understanding truth whatsoever…because HE is not the standard of truth, something NOT HIM is the standard. So man can never be sure that he possesses or apprehends truth because everything about him, including his mind and thoughts, is wholly irrelevant to truth…again because the standard of truth–that which decides what is true or not, good or not–is NOT him. So man NEVER gets to say what truth is or is not because HE is not the standard. It’s neither his fucking job nor his prerogative.

The standard tells HIM what is truth or not, good or not, but man can make no claim to even apprehend what the standard tells him because HE does not get to decide because his decision making process, which is inexorably tied to his own “rational” interpretation, NOT the standard, therefore possesses no rational means to either agree or disagree with the standard. It is absolutely irrelevant, and thus useless. The standard gets to decide. Not him. So it doesn’t matter whether man agrees with what he thinks the standard says is true or not…what his mind and senses and consciousness tell him is again, irrelevant. HIS MIND is not able to claim truth because his mind is NOT THE STANDARD.

I don’t know why it is so hard to get this across to people…people simply have denied that their conscious observations are efficacious at all. They are convinced that something “greater” than them must BE them for them. Not simply inform them (because to be informed means that you possess an efficacious epistemology

And while I love Paul, and admire him, Biblicists like him are determinists at their root. And they do not see it. They think they have the “right” interpretation…all while declaring that man cannot possess the efficacious ability to even declare truth in the first place because man, not being the standard of truth, doesn’t EVER get to say (again, not his fucking job). The standard ALWAYS says what truth is, and man, if he is not the standard, does not get to say it. He can try, but if someone comes along who disagrees with him, he has no rational or objective means to deny their assertions because he has conceded the exact same premise: whatever man says or doesn’t say is irrelevant. Truth is determined as true OUTSIDE of him and his mind. Thus, it really will revert back to the same old method of compelling human outcomes: violence.

It boils down to mysticism and contradictory thinking again and again and again.

And that is why I have forsaken the TTANC conference this year…you’ll have a plethora of teachers…all of them, who have decided that man’s conscious existence is not necessary to truth.

Which makes truth a function of something…unconscious. And how is that perspective rationally defensible?

It isn’t.

No! The Bible is NOT the Standard of Truth: A response to Paul Dohse

Yesterday I was reading Paul Dohse’s article on his blog entitled “Romans Series Interlude:  Predestination, a Potters House Journey:  Part 2“.  In that article he made this very startling statement:

“The Scriptures are the standard of truth taught by teachers and confirmed by the saints…”

Now, I say “startling” because the theological/philosophical implications of such a declaration are so massive that if Paul means this as strictly and literally as it sounds,  then he has made his entire anti-Calvinist argument moot.  And that means that everything he writes and everything he thinks and everything he believes with respect to Calvinism being a false gospel is irrelevant. If he truly believes that the standard of Truth is an edict outside of man’s life then he has ceded the entire Calvinist argument, replacing one false gospel with another.

The truth is there is absolutely no rational argument for any standard of Truth outside of man’s life. Period.  Full stop.  There is no logical defense…such a notion is pure mysticism, and demands that man sacrifice what he IS (his life and the context of his SELF) for that which he is NOT (i.e. a standard of Truth OUTSIDE of his life).  This is the singular premise which forms the foundation of every cult of death, be it Communism (or other sundry forms of economic collectivism), Calvinism, monarchism, tribalism, racism, etc., etc.

This is why I am concerned that Paul would make such an egregious statement.  Indeed, if Paul really believes that the efficacious existence (truth) of ALL things must be vetted by the Bible, then all he has done is replaced “law” with “Bible”.  He rails against the Calvinists for demanding that the keeping of the law is the means of justification, while at the same time ceding the philosophical assumption which under-girds such an idea:  Truth is outside of man.  He replaces “law” with “Bible”.  How do you know if you are TRUE?  (And the flip side of that is GOOD.)  Your truth and good are a direct function of you integrating yourself into the commands of the “standard of Truth”, the Bible.

Bible-keeping is Paul’s law-keeping.  And the rest of his argument is meaningless.

The Calvinists win.

And this is why Calvinism lives on like so many cockroaches no matter how much ordinance is thrown at it.  Because the critics always start with the same fucking assumptions.  And when you concede their fundamental assumptions, it is impossible to deny their right to proclaim God’s will.  The argument dissolves as it always does, over and over again, into a fight about which external standard (that does not include man) is the right one, and who gets to say?

The most functional component of that fight  being the “who gets to say?”.  Paul’s argument that the Bible is the standard of truth becomes, no matter how he may try to deny it, merely the shifting of absolute power (over the masses) from one philosopher king to the next.  Whoever claims to have the sage wisdom and divine understanding of the “standard of truth” outside of man gets to rule.  Paul declares the standard of truth is the Bible, and he is its priest.  The Calvinists declare the exact same thing, except they argue that all that is required is law keeping while Paul seems to think that Bible-keeping is necessary.

Who is right?

Scoff!  Like it matters!  The point is that YOU, and YOUR LIFE, is NOT the standard!  So who gives a fuck what the standard is?  It all means the same thing:  man’s DEATH is is required in order for him to be GOOD and TRUE.  Because GOOD and TRUTH as a matter of his root existential being are outside of him.  The only way he can make himself good and true is to sacrifice himself in service to that truth which does not naturally involve or include him. So whether your sacrifice comes in the form of being lined up against a wall and machine gunned, or denying your rational brain in order to have “faith” in and utterly obey the “party”, or the “body of believers”, or the “bible”, or the “authorities”, or the “state”, or “tribe”, or “nation”, or whatever, it’s all the same:  the more you are dead, either literally or figurative (literally, however, is always the logical conclusion…hence the notion of hell.  If you have no rational definition of YOU, then YOU cannot be saved.  You have condemned yourself by your irrational beliefs)…the more you are dead, the more “truth” abounds in the world.

That’s what Paul is arguing, whether he knows it or not.

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Thus, your metaphysic is that of UNTRUTH, which means that you lack the epistemological means to apprehend what is true.  And viola!!  Meet the new Priest, who’s mandate it is to force you into right thinking and behavior, in sacrificial service to the standard of Truth.  This means that the point of your life is DEATH.  YOU are not the standard of truth.  Therefore, truth is a function of how fully you integrate yourself into the standard which is outside of you.  The logical conclusion of this thinking is obvious:  the elimination of you in service to the absolute truth of the standard is the very POINT of your existence.  The absence of YOU in sacrifice to the external standard is the only purpose of your LIFE.  The less of you there is, the more the standard is proved to be, in fact, the absolute standard.  Therefore, your DEATH, the death of the individual SELF, is the greatest moral good.

One question I have for Paul:  How exactly can the Bible be true without man?  Meaning, without man’s life, the Bible is utterly irrelevant.  Therefore, man’s life, it would seem, is the source of the Bible’s truth, not the other way around.  How is it that that which cannot be true at all, nor even exist, without FIRST man’s life to give it any relevant meaning all of a sudden gets to be the standard of Truth for man?

That is as backwards and contradictory an idea as any I’ve heard since I started my crusade against false and evil ideologies which seek to proclaim that the death of man is the point of his life…a wholly irrational and contradictory notion.  Utter bullshit from back to front.

This is a comment I left for Paul on that post of his:

“Without man’s life, the Bible does not exist, and it certainly does not have any relevance.  So how on earth can it be the standard of Truth?

Man’s life is the prerequisite for the bible being true.  That makes man’s life the standard, not the Bible.  You cannot say that the bible needs man to be true (not the other way around) and then say the Bible is the standard of Truth.  That’s a tremendous contradiction.

If you make the bible the standard of truth then all you’ve done is replaced “law” with “bible”.  Bible-keeping, like law-keeping, is the means of justification.

Seems like a lateral move.”

Paul replied to me:

“Argo,

Justification has no law.  The Bible informs us of that.  If not for the Bible, we wouldn’t know that there is no law in justification.  So, following the Bible instruction in sanctification cannot be a lateral move back to justification”

To which I replied:

“Paul,

It is a lateral move if we follow the Bible instruction because it is the standard of truth.  We do not follow the Bible because it affirms the right of man to his own existence, but merely because it says so.  That is what is meant when you say the bible is the standard of truth:  nothing is true OR good unless the bible says so.  That puts truth outside of man, and that is the same thing as law-keeping.

But you still did not answer my question.  How can the Bible be the standard of truth when it needs man’s life to be true (and even to exist in the first place)?

Your answer has profound implications.  If you don’t carefully think about what you are saying, you will have ceded your argument to the very people you claim preach a false gospel.  And thus you will have destroyed all your work.  It will have been for nothing.”

Now, Paul’s response is telling, and gives me hope that he doesn’t really understand what he is saying when he declares that the Bible is the standard of truth…that is, he doesn’t understand the massive implications such a statement has.  He is arguing that because the Bible happens to be true (for the sake of argument…understanding that it is possible that it is not always true, because it doesn’t have to be), it is the STANDARD of truth.  But being true doesn’t make something a STANDARD.  A cookbook is true.  Meaning that if it is followed correctly, you’ll get a lemon sponge cake instead of a coffee table.  That doesn’t make a cookbook the standard of truth, it just means that if you follow it properly you will realize your objective:  getting a cake instead of a coffee table.

Why is this good?

Because YOU WANT a cake, not a coffee table.  YOUR life…your desires, your existence has dictated the truth of the cookbook.  If YOU want a coffee table, you understand correctly that the cookbook is no longer true; because it can’t give YOU what YOU want.  The cookbook doesn’t get to call you evil because you want a coffee table; it doesn’t get to say you are wrong because you aren’t interested in the cake.  The cookbook does not tell you what you want or what you are.  The cookbook does not give you meaning, you, YOUR life, gives IT meaning.  The cookbook is created in order to serve what you want and are, which exists already…as a prerequisite for it being true.  That means YOUR LIFE is the standard of the cookbook’s truth.

The same is true for the bible, but with a different focus:  philosophy for living; for existence.  If you follow the bible, which is given for you, in YOUR context (LIFE), then you will get what you want and should want, efficaciously and rationally speaking, above all else:  your LIFE; ownership of your SELF, your existence.  The Bible doesn’t get to give man meaning…man gives IT meaning.  Man’s life is the only context wherein the Bible has any relevance whatsoever.  That makes the Bible a servant of man’s LIFE, not the other way around.  Man’s life makes it true, and not the other way around.  Man’s life then is the Standard of Truth, NOT the Bible.

The bible was given for man to serve his life…to serve what he wants and desire and IS, which existed already, before the bible could be given, could be created, and could be proclaimed as true, before even Christ existed.  That means man’s LIFE is the standard of the Bible’s truth; man’s life, and get ready to cry heretic, is the standard of Christ’s Truth.  Man gives meaning and relevancy to the Christ, not the other way around.  As we affirm Christ, we uttery affirm ourSELVES, and that is the point of the gospel.  Jesus came to show, as God in human flesh, the ultimate source of TRUTH was not the law, but human LIFE.  That LIFE was the context by which anything had any meaning at all, even God has no meaning outside of the context of man’s life.  Man’s life is more important that law-keeping.  That was the message.  The only law then, is the law of love. The love of Self which logically demands the love of God and Others.  

The Bible gets to be true, and specially so, because it utterly affirms the ultimate standard of TRUTH, recognizing it absolutely, beyond any other work ever written.  And that standard, again, is man’s LIFE.  YOU are the reason for the Bible, which means that it serves YOU, YOU do not serve it.  

You always get to be you…eternally, and forever, affirming, promoting and perpetuating your SELF, and your comfort, peace, prosperity, whims, fancies, work, etc., etc.  The only law, again, is the law of love, which says that LIFE is the standard of truth.  The only immoral act then is violating LIFE.  There is no standard of truth found in the Bible.  The Bible does not enslave men to an edict outside of him, like every other evil and despotic ideology.  The Bible is meant to proclaim the right of man to own himSELF, because SELF is the inexorable root of everything in the universe.

The Eight “Christian” Steps to Psychological Recovery are Landmines Best Sidestepped

In this post I will offer a critique of Rick Warren’s “8 Steps to Recovery”, which I mentioned in my last post.  As I stated, these steps were part of a brochure I stumbled upon the other day concerning a program being offered at a local Methodist church where people of the community are invited to attend group “therapy” sessions, courtesy of some truly abominable theological/philosophical assumptions.  Assumptions which, rather than offering the freedom which Jesus spoke of, which is “free(dom) indeed”, would see men and women inexorably bound to their struggles, without hope or light or help, relying only upon the plethora of logical dilemmas of wholly destructive ideas which ultimately serve nothing more than the collectivist power structure of pretty much ALL of “orthodox” Protestantism.  Which, incidentally, inherited its wicked Platonist philosophy from its Catholic parents.  Which means that the apple indeed did not fall far from the tree.  Truth be told, the apple never fell off the tree at all.  For all of the whole bloody spectacle, the Reformation did nothing to offer any markedly different interpretive approach to Christianity and life in general than did the Catholic heresy.  Both operate under the root doctrinal assumption that the DEATH of man, and the notion of a SELF which is NOT (meaning, you must sacrifice to God the idea that you even exist at all, but are nothing more than some functional extension of God’s all-determining power) is the key to holy living and “righteousness”.

Well, sure.  If man is destroyed, then he can’t do anything wrong.  Makes pretty good fucking sense to me.

Anyway, this impossible notion, unfounded and wholly indefensible (which is why faith is utterly blind in Christianity today…there is no one there to see anything, by doctrinal definition), is also the key to “recovery”, as expressed by Rick Warren’s eight step program.

Keeping this in mind–that is, the idea that YOU never get to be YOU according to the theology–here are the eight steps stripped bare of their frilly dress and farcical compassion:

(NOTE:  As requested by commenter Bridget, I have included the meaningless scripture verses (no disrespect to Bridget).  However, I will not comment upon them in the post…the ploy of the proof-text being far too obvious to warrant any criticism except to say what I’ve already said:  they do nothing to support the point in question, but are pure deception, being wholly without context because they have been stripped from the overall body of work as a limb is torn from the tortured by the torturer.  As always, feel free to discuss them in the comments section.  I appreciate the commentary from and perspectives of my readers immensely!)

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*  REALIZE I’m not God. I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable.
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.” Matthew 5:3

“Realize I’m not God.” 

The implicit assumption is that because you are not God, you have no power to do…well, anything at all.  Since God is wholly in control of every event, thought, and action, man’s existence is irrelevant.  This is why, if you are Reformed, even being a “believer” is an exercise in futility.  YOU cannot be saved because YOU don’t even have the power to freely choose to accept Christ.  YOU are an extension of God’s sovereign will, nothing more.  Ultimately then, whether you do good or evil is of no matter at all, for the notions of “evil” and “good” are well beyond your pay grade, and are qualifications reserved only for God, which your total depravity qua your existence separates you from completely.  Indeed, the practical intellectual application of Reformed theology is nothing more than constantly inventing new and creative ways to equivocate the massive logical fallacies involved in the contradictions of a sovereign God who is also somehow absolved from sin; and man who exists, but in light of God’s absolute sovereignty, cannot think or act autonomously and thus has no rational definition of SELF.

The reason Reformed/neo-Calvinist churches are so creative in their deception and propaganda, and rely more upon histrionics and the seasoned lure and saturating bias  of “traditional values”, is because their theology runs headlong into God’s determinism at every doctrinal turn; it is why the objective of these messages is emotionalism and subjective “spiritual” experience.   It is also why Christianity always, as even a cursory glance at history reveals, dissolves into disputes over who has the right to own man; that is, who has the right to rule absolutely the collective which exists to serve its very human authorities.  Since humanity lacks any efficacious definition of SELF, and since whatever happens, according to the doctrine of the preeminence of absolute divine Will, MUST be what God wanted to happen, human beings are little more than a means to an end.  That end, of course, being the appetite of the ruling ecclesiastical class.  Nowhere is this seen to a greater extent than in the current American neo-Calvinist movement, where stories of abuse, blackmail, oppression, threatening, stalking, violence, discrimination and vitriolic bigotry seem to empty the spools of ticker tape.  Even worse, there are now on most Sundays, almost ubiquitously heard, outright and blatant demands that congregations and even the culture at large submit to the “authority” of those “leaders” whom God has “called”.

This is nothing more than the message of theo-marxism, where all individual value is a direct function of the integration into the collective, which is controlled absolutely by the senior pastor.  That is, HE is your proxy before God, and he is God’s proxy before you.

“I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable.”

Sigh.  The intellectual sloth which passes for heavenly “wisdom” in the Reformed church is downright embarrassing.  I am actually ashamed of my race (human) when I see rank nonsense like this passed off without a blush of shame.

By definition, if one is UNABLE to control a specific behavior, then it isn’t a “tendency”.  It is either a product of instinctive nature, or it is a physiological process which is exclusive of cognition altogether, like growing hair or digesting food.  Further, if, as the Reformists would have you believe, everyone has an equal “tendency to do the wrong thing”, then you cannot possibly define that rationally as a “tendency”.

It isn’t tendency, it is a behavioral reference point.  “Tendency” would be a deviation in one direction or the other from the median reference.  Using “tendency” in this way is like saying that people with working eyeballs have a tendency to see, while people who are blind have a tendency not to see (where the proper use of the word “tendency” in this example would read:  Bob has a tendency not to see red lights, which is why the flaky git no longer has a license).

Individuals have tendencies.  The human race has characteristics.  And make no mistake, Reformed theology and neo-Calvinism do not recognize the legitimacy of individual existence.  When they speak of “sinful tendencies” they are speaking of the human race as a whole; which means depravity is not a tendency, it is an inexorable characteristic of ALL mankind.

So what does “I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable” even mean?

It means nothing.

It is assholery couched in euphemistic terms in order to compel agreement and behavior via deception.   Warren’s declaration that we “cannot help our tendency to do the wrong thing” is an appeal to the lie of Total Depravity.  The reason you cannot help your “tendency” to do the wrong thing is because you have no control because YOU are an illusion (again, you are either a function of your absolute depravity or you are a function of God’s sovereign Will…both of which are a function of God’s divine determinism).  Thus, your situation isn’t a choice, or due to any specific cognition or behavior that YOU engaged in, because YOU don’t actually exist as a volitional agent.  If you are in your struggles as merely a matter of determinist course, then obviously your “life” is unmanageable.  There isn’t fuck all you can do to change your circumstance because there is NO YOU; and thus, no possible way for you to manage anything.

And this disaster of a point of “recovery” is the cornerstone of the rest of the list.  And it motherfucking shows.  The salient meaning of what follows this first point is:  cross your fingers and hope God heals you; but if you hope for healing, then you have denied the “indisputable truth” that God is “in control” of all things and uses them for good.

Of course what they never mention is that that this “good” in no way involves you.  Your misery is the vehicle for the “good”, and thus, to hope for healing makes you a usurper of God’s perfect will.

Get behind the fucking “recovery” list, Satan.  That’s the message.

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EARNESTLY believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover.
“Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

“EARNESTLY believe that God exists, that I matter to Him…”

The Reformed/Calvinist theology upon which this list is based utterly refutes these two claims.  Man has no efficacious/rational definition of himSELF, therefore he cannot possibly have one for God.  Man’s mind is utterly captive to the determinist forces of either depravity or God’s will, and so man’s assumption that he is somehow an autonomous agent capable of having distinctive thoughts, beliefs, opinions, ideas, etc. is total bullshit.  There is NO such thing as choice, is the real message, and this is due to man’s epistemological failure as a direct extension of his nebulous metaphysic.   Indeed, this is the foundational epistemological premise–that man cannot know anything because he is nothing–which under-girds ALL of Protestant orthodoxy.  And this being the case, man cannot believe God exists, nor that he matters to Him.  Further, the third claim, that “God has the power to heal me”, also cannot be known with any degree of certainty.  Man’s mind is as totally depraved/enslaved to God’s will as his body, so he cannot know anything, by definition.  There is no HE to know, because man has no rational metaphysic.

“…and that He has the power to help me recover.”

Note the implicit assumption:  God CAN heal, but there is no guarantee He will.  And the reason there is no guarantee he will is due to the fact that Reformed/Calvinist theology cannot rationally claim that human suffering is a BAD thing, and this is because human life–human existence–is decidedly evil.  Understand, saved or unsaved, according to the theology, man is a total metaphysical disgrace.  ANY good God does for you or through you is always and ever in SPITE of you, never because you. Thus, and again, any suffering or torment or misery you endure is by default deserved; so there is little if any reason to hope God will heal you.  For to heal you, as I said in my last post, makes God a hypocrite.  Since there is no such thing as any suffering of man which is not a direct result of the sin of his categorical existence (“original sin”, “fall of man”, neither phrase of which exists in the Bible, by the way), God healing you in order to make you comfortable and happy presents Him with an insurmountable moral dilemma.  Your suffering is the natural, divinely ordained consequence of your inevitable sin.  If God heals you, then He confesses that he is NOT going to judge your sin as His righteousness demands (He will contradict His own goodness in order to give you comfort and healing as a direct consequence of your absolute depravity, which is the source of your misery); in fact, He will reward your sin with comfort.

Now, somehow this is fine for “salvation”…that is, if you are Reformed, you are forced to concede, no matter how you try to get around this, that your salvation is a direct response by God to your infinite and absolute depraved nature, thus actively and purposely rewarding sin with eternal blessing.  No commitment to change is required by man because, again, man, being totally depraved, cannot change.  So man is as depraved as a Christian as he was as an “unregenerate” person.  This means that Christ died to excuse your sin, not to “take away your sin”, which is impossible because according to Reformed theology you ARE sin at your existential root, nor enlighten you as to how to believe in such a way that you no longer ACT in service to sin (because your flawed epistemology is a direct consequence of your failed metaphysic).  Which was Jesus’s real purpose:  to change people not at the level of the absolute SELF, which is impossible, but to change how people THINK.  Because thinking drives behavior, and behavior either applies LIFE to man or denies it.

But according to Reformed theology/Calvinism, when it comes to asking for healing from suffering, or expecting God to grant you peace and comfort and abundant life…well, you are an asshole to ask for such a thing; and your prideful desire to be relieved of your pain when you cannot help but deserve it is more proof of your pervasive evil.  Don’t you realize that your suffering is something God WANTS?!  Your suffering reminds you of what a terrible reprobate you are!  And telling man that he is utterly BAD is always GOOD, hence the ubiquity of the Total Depravity doctrine in every facet of Reformed theology.  So, the real message is that God can heal you, but do not be surprised if He doesn’t.

Points three and four coming next.

 

Hating Yourself to a Better You: Helplessness as a guide to “Christian” counseling

The following abomination comes courtesy of a local Methodist church in my area.  It is the salient components of a brochure inviting those who struggle with psychological distress in the form of addiction to attend weekly sessions where they will, so it seems, be asked to engage in group-therapy centered upon the idea that, according to the Bible and to God, there is really no hope at all.

Which of course makes the entire thing somewhat superfluous I would think.

But apparently in the hurricane of cognitive dissonance and vexing logical dilemmas the idea that there is nothing practical anyone can do, because they are metaphysically inadequate to deal with the problems which plague them, gets lost in all the “grace” of God.  That is, God will heal you instead of YOU actually having to do anything, is the message.

Except…no, that’s not really the message at all.  The message is more like:  God “is able” to heal you.  But of course, since the root of what you struggle with is your inexorable and all-pervasive sin nature, there is really no good argument for WHY God would want to heal you.  From what I gather, the gist is that you are expected to confess to your categorical assholery, realize that you cannot heal yourself, which is probably an okay thing because, being a total asshole you don’t deserve healing, and then you cross your fingers and hope manna falls from the sky.  Hope against hope that some sign will be sent from God that he will “use” your torment for better things, or, preferably, you will be healed.

Of course, implicit in the entire doctrine is the fact that if you prefer to be healed instead of wanting God to “use” your pain for “good”–a good that still involves your pain, that is, so healing seems to be out of the question; for if God is “using” your pain for good then why on earth would He want to end the pain?–…

Where was I?

Oh yes.  Implicit in the doctrine is the idea that if you prefer to be healed instead of being used then you are a selfish reprobate who desires to grant a sop to God instead of accepting His divine Will.  Incidentally the doctrine of “existing to be categorically used by God who controls everything” is at the root of the fundamental theological contradiction:  you exist, but don’t exist at the same time.  You are you, but are not really you.  You exist to be you, so that God can use you in such a way (absolutely determine you) that no actual or relevant definition of YOU, as far as “your” existence is concerned, can be applied.

So, you come away with this…this…well, it can only be describe as wholly destructive advice from these “compassionate” Christians:

(NOTE: This is my translation of the “steps to recovery”, which I will post following)

*Your problems are the rightful consequence of your utter wickedness.

*You are wicked because you cannot help it; and yet it is still defined as “wicked”, despite the obvious fact that if one does not and cannot CHOOSE to act a certain way then there can be no rational moral qualification applied.  That is like saying you are “good” for growing hair or making body odor.  (Or you are “bad”…no matter.  But see how subjective Reformation theology is?  It would be funny as hell if it…weren’t.  These fuckers are serious.).

Which leads us into our next…

*Just because you cannot help it doesn’t mean it isn’t your fault.  It damn sure is, and don’t you forget it.  Asshole.

*God would be right to let you suffer these things and even more for the sin which you cannot help but which is still all your fault…somehow.

*If God heals you then He is a hypocrite because if He is just then He must punish sin; and your misery is obviously because of your sin, because that is the ONLY reason for suffering and pain.  Ever.  There are no accidents or mere unfortunate circumstances with a God who controls every molecule in the universe, including, by logical extension, those molecules which are responsible for sin.  But shhhhhhhhhhh!  we don’t talk about that because the very fact that you thought about this is evidence that you really understand fuck all about God’s great absolute sovereignty which is responsible for sin, but also isn’t.

*God hates you.

*So…

*You might get healed. 

*But probably not.

Are you comforted yet by this?  Well, for my part, I sleep well at night knowing that this kind of “compassion” is so ready and willing to give freely and sacrificially of itself in the interest of…uh…helping?

Now, before we begin our critique, here’s an obvious hint for all of you suffering from any kind of affliction, addiction, or whatnot:  for healing, it is best not to appeal to organizations which hate people, and which have an entire systematized philosophy as to WHY people should be hated, which is rooted in the assumption that the answer to that question is a simple “because human beings blow as a matter of existential course”.

*

Here are the relevant ideas of this brochure, in two parts.  In later posts I hope to examine briefly the stark fallacies and rational insanity of each point.  In the meantime, please feel free to engage in savage criticism and raucous mockery of this evil excuse for “recovery”.

The fist section is called “The Road to Recovery:  Eight Principles Based On the Beatitudes”  by Pastor Rick Warren

(NOTE:  With each numbered idea there is an irrelevant Bible verse attached.  I say “irrelevant” because, as is the usual case with Reformed proof-texts, which are by definition taken out of context and bastardized to fit the subjective intention and interpretations of the person making the list, they have literally nothing to do with the point being made.  This means that the inclusion of scripture within these lists is for the purpose of deception only.  As such, I will not include them in this post.  They are stupid.)

1.  Realize I’m not God.  I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.

2.  Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover.

3.  Consciously choose to commit my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

4.  Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, God and someone I trust.

5.  Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.

6.  Evaluate all my relationships.  Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I have done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.

7.  Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and gain the power to follow his will.

8.  Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.

 

The second section is called “The 12 Steps to Recovery”, and I presume that this was developed by the Methodist church hosting the self-hatred navel gazing…er, I mean, counseling, sessions.  They are basically an answer to Rick’s stupid list.

As with the above list, the totally irrelevant and completely unrelated Bible verses have been omitted.

1.  We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors.

2.  We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3.  We decided to turn our life and will over to the care of God.

4.  We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5.  We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.

6.  We were entirely ready to have God remove all our defects of character.

7.  We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.

8.  We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

9.  We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10.  We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11.  We sought, through prayer and meditation, to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and power to carry that out.

12.  Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we pledged to carry this message to others, and practice these principles in all our affairs.

 

 

 

Are Two Commandments Really Better Than One?: Examining the nature of the “two greatest commandments”

A while back, a commenter here, Bridget, asked me for an opinion on something said by a commenter over at Paul Dohse’s blog, paulspassingthoughts.com.  This person had taken to task the Apostle Paul for the (apparent) fusing of the two greatest commandments, as proclaimed by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew:

“Jesus said to him [a Pharisee, who was asking], ‘ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ ‘”

In ostensible contrast to the…er, Doctrine of the Two-Not-Just-One Commandments, I suppose we’ll call it (hey, everything else is a doctrine, why not this?), Paul, in Galatians, is quoted as saying:

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this:  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Bridget asked this:

Yes, Argo, wondering about your thoughts on the distinction between the two commandments as well as the commenters opinion that Paul actually changed what Jesus had said. I had never seen that distinction before.

The questions which are the crux of the issue with respect to the comment from the person over at paulspassingthoughts.com  is:  Are there two commandments, or just one?  Is Paul a deceiver?  I liar?  A false prophet because he said that all the law is summed up by only ONE commandment, and Jesus clearly implies that all the law is not best summarized by merely one commandment, but TWO?  And is that really what Jesus is saying, or is He saying something entirely different?

The conclusion upon which this person arrived was that clearly Paul deceived his flock by presumptuously asserting that there was only one great commandment instead of two, as Jesus clearly taught.  Summary?  Paul should be ignored because he is little more than a rank liar.

Okay…couple of problems.

First, I have a problem with the “by golly by gosh oh gee there must, must , must be TWO separate, distinct, mutually exclusive, never-the-two-shall-meet-because-that-would-be-like-crossing-proton-streams, commandments” because, well…really?  Is this where our insane interpretation leading to irrational hatred of Paul has taken us?  Down very narrow roads where whole philosophical concepts and epistemological categories are now organized according to the fucking Dewy decimal system?  Where if the ideas aren’t numbered and dotted and labeled precisely, codified and reconciled to some exacting equation which demands a specific product according to a rigorous abstract mathematical construct then we froth at the mouth and cry heretic and take a scythe to the Pauline epistles and organize a mob to burn the books and drown his proselytes?

Come oooooooon, people.  Why is this even an issue?  Whatever happened to assuming that something must actually make some kind of sense in order to be morally compelling and intellectually honest?

Is this what we think theology is?  Is this why there are entire institutions devoted to parsing the difference between “scroll”, and “loaves” in Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew?  Is this why there are a thousand different denominations all hating one another and demanding their excommunication from heaven and earth, all the while conceding the exact same philosophical premises which say that reason is the devil’s plaything and that the human mind is the cauldron for the witches brew of apostatized assholery?

Has it really gotten to the point where we are going to pit Paul against Christ because Paul makes one point and Jesus makes the exact same point but uses a different number of abstract ideas to make it; and therefore, it cannot possibly be the same point at all, because the numbers, being numbers, demand that one is infinitely separated by a chasm of absolute value from two; and the numbers, as we all know, get to make the rules about what is and what is not as far as human beings are concerned?

Why, yes.  Yes it has.  This is exactly what it has come to.

Instead of giving Paul the benefit of the doubt and thinking that maybe the peddlers of a false gospel, the Reformers, and their evil spawn, the Calvinists, who manage to fuck up the message and intent of every other single relevant figure in the Bible might actually have fucked up Paul’s as well?  And the one’s they can’t completely fuck up they pretty much ignore all together…like Jesus.

But we live in an age of cynicism, and truly, I am not one to talk…this, I admit.  Still, I think it is worth pointing out that the overestimation of our western Platonist philosophy has made us arrogant, and poor judges of our ability to truly understand perspectives that differ from our own.  Instead of assuming that our initial opinions might possibly be incorrect which might possibly lead us to spend some very helpful time employing our minds in the act of thinking about whether or not we have drawn the right conclusions, we simply assume that we are right, and either accept or deny ideas based upon whether they have found favor with our understanding (which must of course be full on immaculate) and not necessarily upon TRUTH, as rooted in reason.

This is exactly the kind of thinking that poor Paul, especially in this example, has fallen victim to.  “The numbers don’t lie”, goes the old adage, and yet the salesmen of numbers lie all the time, which is the only salient point.  In fact, since numbers are not actual and thus are not causal, they work for MAN, and not the other way around.  And the fact that they work for man, and yet are generally accepted to categorically “speak truth” (i.e. not lie), has allowed many to be deceived by them; and allowed many despotic governments to rise to power and many false philosophies to rule the crimson day.

Because in the end, numbers and what they say don’t matter.  It is what people believe that truly matters.  And that is a fact I’ll argue for with anyone, anywhere.  Show me a number that needs no human agent to be efficacious and I’ll show you that I’m actually an eight foot tall black man who plays center or the Lakers, has his daddy’s last name, “Jordan”, and is worth millions of dollars and gold bullion (my fantasy life, by the way).  If the government says seven million have signed up for healthcare, then it’s seven million.  A credible source is not required because the numbers, considered to be actual and causal themselves, ARE the source.  And if the earth is going to heat up by a million degrees in ten years, killing us all unless we categorically surrender our right to a free market society, then the earth is going to heat up.  Period.  And if it turns out that it doesn’t happen, it is our senses which are flawed.  It is our  innate human ignorance rooted in our contradictory metaphysics…our “depravity”; our “tendency” to be lazy, stupid, worthless, evil, racist, hateful, careless, arrogant and God-hating which has misled us.  Not the numbers.

The numbers don’t lie.

The numbers are never wrong, and therefore neither are their priests.  If the earth’s temperature doesn’t rise or there are not really seven actual million who sign up then the priests of the abstractions do not confess to error.  They merely re-categorize and re-define the message.  The numbers haven’t lied, and how dare you question them based on what you think you see, as if you are able to see anything at all in your inherent existential failure.  And if seventeen trillion dollars in debt seems high, trust them…the numbers don’t lie, and they are saying that it isn’t really that high at all, because what you think is high is merely what you think is high,and therefore, is of no material relevance.

The numbers don’t lie?

Hmm…perhaps.  But certain men lie all the time.  And these men fancy themselves as the inexorable proxies for the abstractions which they say control us.  This absolves them from their mistakes because it makes us unable to see any mistakes in the first place.

Numbers, like any other conceptual abstraction, can form very strong and, frankly, exasperatingly stubborn beliefs by giving humanity a false sense of intellectual and philosophical security.  And this is why it is so easy for someone, like the person on Paul Dohse’s blog, to reject the Apostle Paul and his message just because it doesn’t happen to agree with his presumed-superior apprehension of the way the universe actually works:  numerically.

But Jesus got it.  Oh yes, Jesus always agrees with the critics of Paul, but never Paul, himself.

So what was the problem again?

Oh, yeah.  Paul said one, and Jesus said two.  Ergo, Paul is a despicable heretic who should be run out of Jerusalem on a fucking rail.

Here’s the thing.  First, let’s start with the obvious.  Jesus did not say that all the law hangs on the two commandments.  He said that there was a greatest commandment, and a second commandment which is like it.  And his use of the word “like” is telling.  It implies a reciprocal relationship; one of equality, not of hierarchy.  But of course, Christianity, and protestantism specifically, is positively obsessed with with “proper roles” and “submission” and “authority”.  Everyone and everything must know their place because all of Christianity is a message of authoritarian “organization”, where life is supposed to be all neat and tidy like; and of course if we have a bunch of individuals running around thinking that they are each just as valuable and as equal and as loved by God as the next Tom, Dick, or Harriet, well obviously the inevitable orgy of sin which follows such wicked, wicked thinking will be enough to engulf the whole world in mass spiritual suicide and send us all careening at breakneck speed straight to hell.  Where YOU belong, by the way, and are almost certainly headed by hook or crook because God fucking hates you…but THEY, you see, as the elect…well, they want to go to heaven, mind you.  And that will only happen if they bust asses and crack skulls and burn some bitches in the name of authority and submission, roles and places, leaders and followers, the called and those who exist to serve them.  So they want things tidy, and they don’t need your assertions of moral and existential equality fucking it all up and disheveling their neat and organized little polity.

So, to them, when Jesus says “greatest” commandment, it must mean that the first commandment has supreme authority over the second command which is merely “like” it.  This means that the greatest commandment subjugates the one that is like it.  Because in our western thinking “second” obviously means inferior.  And inferior implies an authority structure.  Because Jesus used two and not one, He couldn’t possibly have meant that there is a single idea:  love.  And that it is LOVE which is the root of the entire law.  Love for neighbors, which obviously includes God, because God is a person.  And a human being (gasp!) at that, in Christ.

Of course, this is in fact Paul’s point.  Love is the sum and substance of the law.  Perhaps HOW love is shown to God may differ by metaphysical necessity (God being God,the Creator, who is distinct from man), but the idea of loving God and loving people is utterly identical.  You love them both in the same way:  you affirm their right to exist as individuals, not judging them according to false ideas of conceptually abstract ideas and constructs, not stealing from them or lying to them or burning them alive if they disagree with you, and lauding their merits and accomplishments and successes and power when appropriate, revering them and their positions when they’ve earned it righteously, and being “patient, kind, slow to anger”…etc., etc.

And Paul is absolutely right.  Love is the singular idea.  But not love in a vacuum.  A love which has its meaning rooted in the standard of TRUTH:  the life of the individual.  Which includes God.  So, yes, loving your neighbor as yourself includes God.  God is an individual just as is anyone else.  When you love your neighbors, God is ipso facto included.

Paul said it perfectly.  All the law hangs on this:  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

But see, the Reformed and the Calvinists just absolutely fucking hate that.   How dare we lump God in with the fleshly creatures who inhabit weak and sickly bodies of sin and disease.  Just who in the hell do you think you are?  God isn’t your neighbor! they shriek.  You blasphemous whore!  You are the fleshly incarnation of everything God despises, and and so is your neighbor!

So, in their minds, there is NO moral or existential equivalency between God and man, which is why their must be an implicit authority structure (a “more worthy” and a “less worthy” commandment) in Jesus’s declaration that there is a greatest and second greatest commandment.  Of course, Jesus’s entire ministry, message, and the fact that He was a fleshly human being who was God utterly undercuts their false theology, which is all predicated upon the categorically evil, God-despising and God-mocking doctrine of Total Depravity.

They categorically reject man as having any good at all, implicit or explicit.  Inherent or acquired.  Their entire theology and philosophy can be rooted in a single thought:  Man’s very existence is the crux of his sin problem.

Because you ARE is why you do evil.  Period.  Thus, the solution to your evil-saturated metaphysic is to be removed from yourself.  And this is the core of every Reformed and neo-Calvinist doctrine:  YOU never get to be you.  The only way to be saved is for you to confess that YOU are not you; were never really you; and that any YOU there was or will be is totally vile, totally ignorant, and totally corrupt.  God has and wants nothing to do with YOU.

That is their message, and once you understand the message it is as easy to spot in their sermons and statements of faith and catechisms and creeds as Freddy Krueger at a birthday party.

So you see, they cannot possibly concede that Paul’s take on the “two greatest commandments”, if you want to call his Galatians commentary that, was, in fact, true. They cannot possibly concede that Jesus was NOT, in fact, intending to imply the lack of any moral equivalency between the two commandments, and was making the statement from a position where moral and existential equivalency are assumed, with this equivalency being rooted in a singular metaphysical TRUTH: that both man and God ARE, and thus are equal in truth and morality, and thus are both deserving of the exact same thing: love, though perhaps in different manners of expression, one of worship and the other of idealization and unfettered affirmation, because to be alive as YOU is infinitely GOOD.

No, their entire theology ultimately understands nothing but FORCE (as John Immel always aptly explains) as a means to compel moral behavior, right thinking and actions, and to gain “followers of Christ”…for their own good, of course.  And that is precisely why their interpretation of the functional distinction between Jesus’s “two greatest commandments” commentary is as follows:

Yes, we shall love our neighbors, but when push comes to shove, we reserve the categorical right and divine mandate to torture and murder those neighbors should they question our “calling”, our interpretive assumptions, or our authority as God’s proxy here on earth.  Loving neighbors is a different kind of love.  It is a love that is utterly conditional on you doing whatever the fuck you we tell you to do, because we are God to you.  The second commandment is inexorably subjugated to the first, and so also is humanity subjugated to the “will of God” as has been divinely and specially revealed to us, and not to you or the rest of the slobbering, brainless, dickless masses at whom God is constantly offended and embarrassed.

And that’s why they assume that not only are there practical and functional distinctions between the two commandments, but philosophical/interpretive ones as well.  Loving your neighbor is NOT the same thing as loving God because your neighbor is of infinitely lesser worth than God.  Your neighbor, saved or not, is a finite, yet infinitely and perpetually depraved mongoloid whom God barely tolerates at best.  While God, on the other hand, is He who has granted to those He has called to rule and lead and “shepherd” a complete ownership of the masses, and is infinitely beyond the scope and worth and goodness and purpose and understanding of any (other) human, who is filth by comparison.

And this kind of thinking will always see false distinctions in absolutes…like love.