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”
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?