Monthly Archives: May 2014

Moral Attrocity at the Hands of the Group is ALWAYS a Function of Choice Via Belief, Not “Nature” nor “Aberration”: Divorcing doctrine from behavior, and Wartburg Watch’s new commenting policy

“At TWW (www.thewartburgwatch.com) only thing they are really discussing is the “degree” to which something is bad/evil. And they have not really defined the line and that is going to be hard since believers sin all the time as normal way of life and have mixed motives. Now the only thing they can do is define the degrees.”

Lydia (Unreforming Theology commenter extraordinaire)

This is exactly right.

TWW is just like any other version of pure reformed theology in action. They want their metaphysical cake and to eat it, too. They believe man is totally depraved and incapable of resisting his sin…at least twice in yesterday’s post/comments thread (here) Dee references her inability to stop sinning whilst acknowledging her desire to do so–a common misinterpretation of Romans 7–and yet she hosts a blog with the ostensible goal of holding neo-Calvinist leaders accountable for their licentiousness and abuses of power. It’s a rank contradiction in terms. You cannot have it both ways. Man cannot be unable to resist sin as a function of his root metaphysic and yet be “held accountable” as though he were.  Ever.  There is NO logical explanation of this scenario.

It is this kind of insanity which causes abuse in the first place, and why there is NO salve for atrocity in the Church today, almost without exception, nor is there any to be found in the vast majority of “discernment” blogs.

Dee and Deb are acting like the morally relative authority their peculiar version of Christianity demands, via a doctrine that is at its root an expose on moral equivalency. Since humanity is perfectly sinful to the point where all actions are merely an extension of its inherent sin nature–a nature which absolutely determines their every move as it is the source of their being–then there can be no such thing as good or evil. Man acts as he acts, period, and thus, to establish some kind of moral guideline for “God glorifying behavior” must be the sole purview of divinely appointed leaders possessing the special Gnosis  (knowledge from on high) who, via this special understanding from God and the de facto mandate of absolute force which always accompanies it, compel humanity by hook or crook (or stake or dunking chair or guillotine or firing squad or oven or labor camp) to do the “right thing”.  This is because, according to essentially all of Christian “orthodox” doctrine, man cannot himself ever do the right thing because he is unable to even recognize what the right thing is in the first place.

So, again, Lydia is exactly right. As John Immel might say, all the fuss at TWW is merely an argument over how much, and this is the tightrope every “good Christian” inevitably finds themselves walking as they attempt to defend their indefensible metaphysic. In the case of the Wartburg Watch Blog, the philosophical conundrum is: How much sin is to be excused…or rather, to what degree can can sin exist under the banner of man’s inability/total depravity before blog moderators Dee and Deb are cleared to assign blame to the totally depraved perpetrator? That is, when does it become “appropriate” for them step in and declare someone actually culpable for their behavior?

See the problem here?  Of course you do.  If man is TOTALLY depraved (and yes, they mean totally…don’t let them get away with any equivocation on this; they are either lying or ignorant) then by definition man can never be held culpable for his sin because his TOTAL depravity precludes him from having any say in the matter.  It cannot be a matter of moral failure except to say that man’s rank existence IS the failure, period.  Because as soon as we attempt to separate the sin of man from the man, himself, we have declared man  NOT totally depraved; and thus in order to sin he must choose to do so; and this means that each and every one of us (who is not either clinically insane or cognitively challenged in some way) must possess an efficacious epistemology which is the inherent ability to understand TRUTH…for only in this case can there be a right from wrong.  And if all people are able to possess the truth then there is no specially dispensed class of authority needed to compel them by force into right thinking; they by nature flourish on reason. And thus people can inherently make a decision for themselves as to who they will follow and listen to and who is a waste of their time.  The power of truth resides in the masses as individual human beings, not a special class of God’s proxies.  The absolute power of the world’s self-appointed god-men is crushed to dust under the infinite value of individual human life.

And that, my friends, is the real issue.  The real problem with the idea that truth is rooted in man’s ability to know it and define it as such is that truth then becomes a function of the individual, and literally nothing else.  It is no longer even ultimately a function of some other consciousness, not even God.  It is no longer a function of some otherworldly, metaphysically mutually exclusive Agent who, in order to claim a monopoly on truth must also assume an existential state that can have utterly nothing to do with the rest of Creation, because absolute truth is an infinite ideal, and it cannot be parsed into relative units.  Truth becomes a function of human LIFE (and this is Biblical…for without human life FIRST, all the truths of God and the Bible are literally irrelevant; for if they are not relevant TO man, then man cannot claim them relevant at all, obviously).  And this means that individuals have the right to pursue their own lives free from anyone’s interference of false standards of “good and evil”.  Good and evil become utterly defined by how one perceives and treats individual human life, and nothing else.  Period.  Full stop. And this means that the pursuit of power over others becomes objectively evil…and that is a HARD pill to swallow for those who are committed to altruism (the sacrifice of man) as the means to their own power under the guise, either believed or feigned, of universal utopia, and to determinism as the explanation for how the universe interacts and exists.  Confronting the notion that truth lay outside of man then becomes the human moral mandate, and there are woefully few souls willing to do this; willing to declare and defend the idea that truth is a function of the individual human SELF.  To believe that this is true upsets the apple cart of almost all of humanity’s metaphysical and epistemological assumptions.  And this is why, incidentally, I don’t plan on ever having many friends, even amongst those whom comprise the philosophical circles in which I run.  It simply requires to much intellectual change, and that’s a LOT of work.  And it’s exhausting.

Anyway…

So you can see how those in power over the unwashed masses stand everything to lose if they declare man capable of actually sinning by choice.  They lose their power, their money, and worst of all, their doctrine.  And yet the unsolvable enigma for them then is how to define sin, exactly, if people aren’t really choosing it?

Well, again, you can blame man’s root existence, but then you end up ipso facto blaming the Creator for being the “uncaused” first cause of SIN, and that spells trouble in their book, for obvious reason. So, again, back on the fucking tightrope they go.  Man can sin, but he can’t help it; he is culpable, but there’s no way to explain why which doesn’t ultimately resort to a punting of the entire thing into the cosmic abyss of “God’s mystery”, as John Immel might say.  Dee over at Wartburg Watch admits she sins all the time against her will and then turns around and in a perfect display of rank hypocrisy dresses down C.J. Mahaney and the rest of the Gospel Coalition guys for their heartlessness with respect to church abuse victims. Again, it is merely a tightrope of “how much”, and only certain people are allowed in the epistemological sanctuary. These certain people are those whom God has arbitrarily called to be the standard bearers for His “truth”, which is hidden from those whom He has not called. Somewhere along the line I believe, someone told Dee and Deb (perhaps Wade Burleson, their resident Reformed pastor/guru, but it could have been their own idea) that they are now “called” to “lead”.  Consequently, they are now endowed with the divine ability to draw the relative line of morality in the infinite desert of moral equivalency. THEY alone are the ones who are responsible for deciding when someone is actually culpable for their sin and when it’s simply a matter of being another little ol’ “sinner saved by grace”; which is merely code for: they’re not actually on the hook morally because they couldn’t help it. It’s just the way God made them…or the Devil made them…or their sin nature made them…or Adam’s choice to disobey in the garden made them.

This last one is a rank display of the rational madness which passes for truth in Christianity today. As though the ability to freely choose can give birth to the inability to choose. Ability and inability, choice and determinism qua depravity (no choice) are entirely mutually exclusive ideas. There is no way Adam could have freely chosen to not freely choose. This is an entirely contradictory and senseless premise.

But regardless, Dee and Deb have decided that it is their job to say how much of any action is actually “sinful”; meaning, though ALL of man’s actions are morally reprehensible according to their professed Reformed metaphysic, they are the ones who will decide when it actually matters (i.e. warrants their invective), and then green light their commenters to criticize it. But only with the understanding that even the criticisms must be micromanaged because only THEY are gifted to know when someone’s comments are “over the line” morally speaking; meaning, they will determine how much of someone’s sin should be ascribed moral culpability and then how much criticism is warranted and and then how that criticism shall be appropriately leveled.

Now, let’s take a look at  Wartburg Watch’s updated moderation strategy:

New Policy: No sexual innuendos out of respect to those who have been abused. No references to Nazism. No name calling to one another or even to those with whom you disagree. We need to take it up a notch so pls understand that moderation slows things down since we are not chained to the computer.

You can read the disclaimer as well as the relevant discussion on the comments thread here.

First on the docket, side note:

How does this moderation strategy get a pass from anyone over at the Wartburg Watch?! It boggles the mind, truly. How is this madness not seen…how does anyone look in the mirror each morning convinced that they are proclaiming truth via an impossible philosophy of moral equivalency? Reformation theology destroys any moral actions or outcomes entirely…it is nihilist determinism. Nothing has any meaning because nothing has any relevance. Everything is a direct function of mutually exclusive determinist absolutes: God’s sovereign will and man’s total depravity. It is the epitome of the zero sum game. There are no winners. There are no losers, because everything is actually, at its root, nothing at all.

Now back to our discussion.

Aside from how reasonable this moderation update reads on its face, I have had some experience with TWW and their heavy-handed and capricious editing and, though I admit that I am a natural cynic, I don’t believe that this disclaimer is anything other than an attempt to control content in service to maintaining Reformed doctrinal purity.  Period.  I don’t think it has anything to do with guarding the delicate sensibilities of abuse victims or preventing the comments thread from becoming an homage to Eddie Murphy.  Dee and Deb have made it very clear in the past that ideas  (a.k.a. doctrine) are off limits; only behavior is to be criticized.  Thus, there has been, I submit, a longstanding endeavor at that site to utterly divorce behavior from doctrine.  This new moderation policy is a perfect example of this.

Since only behavior is to be criticized, not the ideas which drive that behavior, it seems only natural for Dee and Deb to want to control what behavior is discussed in the comments; and to that end, to decide how that behavior is described.  This is the root I believe behind the “no sexual innuendos” policy.  In the minds of TWW’s moderators, overt descriptions of the heinous sexual acts of Reformed perpetrators amounts to a commenter taking it upon themselves to declare specific behavior morally reprehensible.  But this is purely the prerogative of Dee and Deb, and never that of an “uncalled” layperson.  And yes, I said “layperson”.  The Wartburg Watch is now, since the inauguration of Wade Burleson as ePastor, a virtual church, and to label the regular commenters there “members” is not, to me, any kind of stretch.  They are members of a virtual body of Reformed believers, a “local church” if you will (for what is more local than your home computer?), and as such they are expected to tow the doctrinal line.  Do not doubt me on this.

Commenters have no business expressing their moral outrage by giving examples of morally offensive behavior…what Dee and Deb refer to as “sexual innuendos”.  And by the way, for the record, I’m not entirely sure those two really know what that means.  Reading through the comments thread, specifically the input from long-time Wartburg pal, commenter “Eagle”, who is the most notable victim of the latest propaganda edit, it seems that making reference to direct quotes from Reformed pastors concerning their idea of “wifely duties”, which include all manner of debased and degrading sexual acts as a function of her moral obligation to “biblical” submission (sex during menstruation, as one example), is “sexual innuendo”.  Which, er…no, Dee.  It is sexual slavery, if you want to get technical about it.  And I would define sexual innuendo for my readers, but I assume they are smart enough to know what it means and already understand that it would be incongruous and ludicrous to make one on a blog like this, or a blog like Wartburg Watch. Don’t really need a separate disclaimer.

It also should be said that to his credit Eagle immediately and rightly called bullshit on the censorship, and was then predictably and perfunctorily savaged by intellectual lightweight “Numo”, who tows the Wartburg partly line like nobody’s business, and who appealed to all manner of non-specifics and ad hominem as a defense for the egregious comments purge.  Now, I must admit that Eagle was at a distinct disadvantage as his comments were, obviously, never posted, so we don’t really know what actually comprised them.  I suspect that if we did, however, and knowing Eagle from reading his comments over the past couple of years, and knowing Numo from the same, we’d see the fuss Numo makes is at best hyperbole.

But getting back to my point.  The main idea is to buffer doctrine from action.  This is more easily done if the actions are less, not more, egregious.  For when we see a whole bunch of people engaging in immoral behavior that can be spun so as to not appear to be “so bad”, then we can better make the argument that the doctrine is pure and the behavior of humanity, though it tries and tries its little heart out, still leaves perfect morality to be desired.  With a pensive sigh they explain that nobody’s perfect, after all.  However, when we see a whole bunch of people engaging in outright shocking debauchery and evil (like forcing a wife to have anal sex, or sex during menstruation, or sex on demand, or the systemic enabling and cover up of child abuse in Sovereign Grace Ministries) and a whole bunch of other people affirming and confirming this behavior, people ostensibly just like you and me…well, then it gets a little harder to divorce the doctrine from the practical outcomes.  All of a sudden, in the face of the rank horror of this kind of moral death, people want to examine everything, and not even the fucking doctrine gets a pass.  Everyone not totally insane, Reformed or not, wants the proverbial microscope focused in on every facet of the issue, and they are vigilantly interested in the major malfunction of the lives and minds of the perpetrators.

And some of those perps and affirmers of the perps are themselves, they realize, as card carrying members and long time, abundant tithers.  And then they start to wonder if they have been duped, and that’s when it becomes personal and that’s when people really start asking questions.

A convenient way to nip this kind of critical eye in the bud is simply content control.  This happens all time.  A cursory glance at the history of Nazi Germany (the NAZIS, DEE…yes the NAAAAAAAZIS) reveals this.  If we don’t talk about the really bad stuff, then the really hard questions aren’t as likely to arise.  It’s easy to couch bad stuff as a function not of doctrine but of “sin nature” when the stuff isn’t something one normally sees in horror movies.  It is much harder ascribe mere perfunctory sin nature to an action when it’s so bad and so prevalent and is engaged in by so many seemingly “normal” people that it is impossible not to attribute to it some kind of root philosophical assumption; some manner of group think.  But content control is the mother of thought control, and that’s what Reformed theology is all about.

Perhaps Dee and Deb are just intimidated.  Perhaps they have no confidence–and they shouldn’t–in their ability to defend their beliefs.  It is MUCH easier to condemn behavior, waggling a disapproving finger and telling C.J. he should have known better, than to actually argue WHY he should have known better, especially since he believes the same things about God and Jesus as Dee and Deb do.

But I don’t think so.  I think they are fully committed to the idea that in order to be truly “Christian” any real and efficacious judgement of behavior should be reserved for God.  And since real judgement is going to be a function of a knowledge that humanity cannot possibly posses, because only God really understands, there is no point in debating doctrine.  And a great way to steer the comments away from doctrine is to steer them away from any truly controversial examples or comparisons.  Dee and Deb make a great show of expressing their moral outrage over church sex abuse scandals and the predictable Gospel Coalition wagon-circling, but these ladies I submit understand that they cannot make any substantial argument for the doctrinal legitimacy of their disapproval.  And that’s why they never allow their blog to go down the path of doctrinal discourse.  And anything which they decide offers a vehicle for any disagreement with the Reformed theology they have conceded is declared blog heresy and is summarily purged.  It is as simple as that; and not even Eagle is spared.  Yes, for aaaaaall the melodrama and emotional slobbering Dee and Deb lavished upon this guy–a guy who, frankly, needs to be a hell of a lot smarter when it comes to the kinds of religious folk he chooses to roll with–they shoved him aside with all the grace and finesse of a runaway truck.  Hitler himself couldn’t have been dealt with with more disdain for his ideas.  HITLER, DEE!  Yes, HIIIIIIITLER!

And speaking of Hitler.

You see, “inappropriate” comparisons are the ostensible root of the moratorium on discussing similarities between Reformed ecclesiastical leadership and the National Socialists.  Again, this is a function of Dee and Deb’s moral equivalency qua moral relativism.  Remember, when behavior is summarily divorced from ideas then the ethical outcome of such a belief WILL be moral equivalency…and this is precisely why a discussion of National Socialism is a perfect and natural and necessary segue into Reformation theology, and vice versa.  Because this is the root of how the Third Reich could go on to commit one of the most egregious crimes against humanity the world as ever seen.  Any “evil” done on behalf of National Socialism was never a reflection of, nor did it impugn, the integrity and purity of the state and its ideals.  In fact, “evil” and “good” were redefined to utterly support the mission of the Reich, and to act as a functional propaganda tool for the perpetuation of its doctrine.  The ability of the leadership to summarily dismiss general INDIVIDUAL human existential nature from the purity of its collectivist philosophy, leading to the concession of the doctrine’s absolute causal and determinative power over the universe, led, in part, to the wholesale slaughter of over six million defenseless human beings.  And this kind of tyranny is always the practical outcome of moral equivalency wielded as moral relativism in the hands of a select group of herrenvolk.  The doctrine becomes a life force, itself, and thus those who act as extensions of it–the officials of the party, or the tribe, or the church, or the king, and those who are fully and formally integrated into the group–can never be held accountable for any “evil” action…because there is no such thing.  And the more the overt horror is scrubbed from the eyes of the general masses, like Auschwitz was hidden from the citizens of mother Deutschland, the less likely people are to start questioning the primary consciousness’s “absolute truth”.

Yes…such is the capricious yardstick of relative morality in the hands of a divinely ordained “authority” who acts as the proxy for the absolute and all determining Primary Consciousness, e.g., the National Socialist State officials, terminating with the fuhrer in Fascist Germany, and the senior eldership of the “local church” in neo-Calvinist theology.  They alone get to decide when and how to make moral comparisons; what is bad and what is worse; and what is good and what is better, and what is neither.  Period.  Full stop.

So please, no comparisons to Hitler or “sexual innuendos” (as we understand them to mean), Dee and Deb will sagely advise.  We must draw the moral lines in the sand on this blog.  You will nod your heads and write a lot about our justice and our compassion and how adept we are at bearing the massive and humbling burden of being a part of the elite group of chosen keepers of God’s “sound doctrine”.

And that, my friends, is the message of the Wartburg Watch’s new comments policy.  And it speaks volumes about what is really going on over there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Lie of Human UN-Existence (Absolute Self Sacrifice) as the Standard of Moral Perfection, and God’s Creation of Man as an Example

The second half of this post is comprised of a comment of mine taken from spiritualtyranny.com, where we are discussing this issue, along with others, in the comments thread of John Immel’s latest post.  You can view it here.

Another commenter there posited the notion that utter self-sacrifice is the absolute standard of moral good; and that God alone possesses the ability to achieve it.  The example he used was Christ on the cross, which John summarily dismantled.  I likewise inserted my disagreement with this perspective, which presumes that Christ profited nothing in sacrificing Himself for mankind; that His sacrifice was of no actual value or benefit to Him, and therefore qualified as meeting the requirements of the moral benchmark.  I thought this a massive stretch of logic, to the point of breaking it altogether. I went on to explain why this assumption is not only wrong but impossible by pointing out that since existence is absolute– you ARE, and thus you cannot be what you are NOT; and you possess no inherent ability to be what you are NOT whilst being what you ARE…for this is a contradiction in terms–yes, since existence is absolute, one cannot sacrifice himself to the point of NON-existence–of literally NOTHING–which is the rank opposite of absolute existence, and which, by definition, cannot exist.  That nothing cannot actually exist is axiomatic.  For if it existed, it would be something.  Which…no.

In other words, Christ cannot sacrifice himself into non-being, which is precisely what absolute altruism demands.  Christ’s sacrifice is a categorical extension of His SELF, not a denial of it.  Further, it was a choice, which means he must have had a reason for doing it, and that reason is inexorably a part of the object of His sacrifice:  man.  Which means that humanity cannot possess zero value to Him; for it is the existence of humanity which is the necessary cause of Christ’s having a reason for sacrificing Himself.  Meaning, without man, the sacrifice is irrelevant and pointless…utterly devoid of any definition at all.  Man is the root purpose of the sacrifice.  It was for man, and thus man must possess not only some value to Christ, but ALL the relevant value by which the sacrifice has any meaning.  And this must then mean that the benefit to Christ personally is utterly apparent…for if there is no benefit to Christ for sacrificing Himself for man, then there is no reason, which  makes the sacrifice irrelevant and meaningless.  Where there is value, there MUST be benefit.

I then extrapolated this idea to the false assumption that God does not “need” man; that God’s creative process was of ZERO value to Himself, of ZERO benefit, and therefore constitutes an act of perfect altruism, of absolute self-sacrifice.  Benefiting Him nothing, it was a total denial of Himself.

This is categorically impossible, and this is how I explained it:

*

The idea of exclusive external-to-man absolute forces RULING him at any given moment is the Achilles heal of all determinists philosophies. Be it one force (the Standard Model of Physics which reveals a “nature” which “governs”) or several of them (depravity, grace, God’s will), either all at once (Christians are both “sinners” and “righteous), or temporally (depravity morphing into righteousness).

Finally, God’s altruism.

Why would God create anything in the first place if He gets no benefit from it? This would make creation the single greatest act of irrelevancy ever perpetrated. If God derives NO benefit from His work then there can be no point to the creative process whatsoever. Which makes God the author of nonsense. If Creation is absolutely irrelevant TO the Maker, then Creation is itself, irrelevant TO ANYTHING, including itself. It is purposefully designed to be irrelevant…meaningless, useless.

Taken to its logical conclusion, this means that Creation cannot even be defined as existing; for “to be itself” indicates a purpose…a purpose which is precluded if we assume that it is of ZERO benefit or value to God; God possessing no reason to create it. If God has no reason for it to BE, then its creation is predicated on NO meaning nor purpose,not even “to be itself”, which equals nothing.

But if we concede that we do exist we must ask why. But more than that we must ask: who gets to decide why? God does…which means God’s creation of man cannot be utterly altruistic. Man must pose some objective, legitimate value to God in order for man’s existence to have been manifest in the first place.

Some may argue: okay, man exists to be absolutely altruistic, for this is the moral benchmark…to utterly sacrifice himself to God, because God is the greatest GOOD (making everything else ipso facto “less good”, which demands either an impossible value hierarchy to the absolute of GOOD (moral relativism), or making everything else patently evil, which makes God the creator of evil). To sacrifice not only what he has but what he is to God is man’s purpose. But this is nothing more than the same argument worded a different way. This argument simply says that man was created in order to NOT be himself. He was created as himself, so that he could utterly deny himself for God’s glory. On its face, ridiculous!

Why create man in the first place? If man’s greatest moral good is to fully deny himself–to be NOT himself–then why even bother with him at all? It is an act of utter divine insanity. No…if man exists as himself then he is divinely intended to BE HIMSELF. And no one and nothing else. His metaphysical singularity is SELF, and as an absolute, the point of the SELF is: to be.

And who gets to decide what that looks like? Man does. Because ACTION is a direct function of the absolute of his BEING, which is the root source and purpose of man. Anything else is mysticism…and impossible to argue rationally.

 

Why My Criticism of the Neo-Calvinist Juggernaut Knows No Boundaries, Including Personal Dress and Grooming, and Why This Should Not Be Applied Outside of This Context; and an Argument For The Therapeutic Benefit of This Kind of Personal Criticism of the Tyrant

Recently, commenter A Mom took issue with a portion of my previous article. I responded, slept on it, and then realized I would need more time…well, yes…more time, but specifically, more words. Which I have no problem with. I am not the type of person who is comfortable going “fuck it, I’ll do what I want and I don’t care what people think”.

Not that that’s a particularly bad philosophy. Aside from the sociopaths who will use it as an excuse to act as a criminal or an asshole or both, I think this perspective is a remarkable strategy to good psychological health, and a veritable flood of happiness and prosperity. If we all recognize that each one of us is of moral and existential equality to everyone else, and that this is not a function of our bank account, good hair, fast car, nationality, race, sexual orientation, or I.Q., or how much we bench, etc., etc., or, conversely, that virtue somehow resides in the personal deprivation of such attributes (e.g. I am better than you because I forgo using my God-given brain and instead “trust” God that the theological contradictions I’m taught are simply part of His mystery; or because my lifestyle is more meager it must be more humble, and is thus, ipso facto, more pleasing to God) and that this a defensible point by appealing to nothing less than utter reason, we’d all be a LOT more comfortable doing that which God intended for us to do…the entire point of our creation: being ourselves in whatever way we think best; manifested by our unfettered volition and ability to organize our environment to the promotion and validation and prosperity and satisfaction of ME as an infinite and absolute SELF.

But this is too much of a cop out in my context. Again, I don’t really have a problem with those who do not demonstrably violate other human beings and do no preach a philosophy which attempts to create metaphysical discrepancies between one person over another and also do not feel obligated to explain a fucking thing about themselves to anyone else because it is, in reality, it’s no one else’s damn business, and who genuinely live as if they don’t give a shit what you or I think. I find these people among the most honorable. And if you talk to them you will find that they generally want nothing less than to see others treated the same way:  left alone to do and be what they want.

But as a blogger, I have made it my business to tell people my business. I have chosen to open up about my opinions and my philosophy and have written out a systematic defense of it for the distinct purpose of mass consumption (“mass” being loosely used, lol). There is no honor in me saying, “If you don’t like it, too bad”. That is not a reasonable request to make of any reader here. On the contrary, people who take time out of their lives to visit this site and contribute their thoughts are venerated. And part of that veneration is in the form of allowing them to question, disagree, criticize, call-out and protest anything I’ve written. If I’m not up for that, then what the fuck am I doing dumping my thoughts out on a public forum? And if I’m not willing to explain my ideas and/or methods to those who take issue with them then the more rational course of action would be to shut the hell up and keep it to myself.

Clearly, however, blogging is the very opposite of “keeping it to one’s self”.

I have chosen to make public my ideas and assumptions and my methods for expressing them. Result? I am on the hook for defending them. Period. Full stop.

Incidentally, this is why I stopped reading Brent Detwiler’s blog…because he stopped taking comments (well, that , and my uncontrollable projectile vomiting, a consequence of Brent’s relentless hypocrisy). He accuses those of us who use internet monikers of being cowards. I accuse him of the same for disabling his comments thread. If you are not willing to discuss your ideas with your readers then to me you are not worth reading. Why? Because I need to know you can defend your thinking…only then can I see how you’ve arrived at your conclusions and if they are consistent with reason.

Brent’s ideas are not, I assure you, and that’s because he concedes the exact same doctrinal premises which drive the abusive behavior of the people he pretends to disdain, and that is why he doesn’t take comments. What I think is that he is terrified of being caught in his obvious hypocrisy. And only a coward fires such accusations into a crowd and then slams the door on any responses.

By the way,  if a blogger cannot tell the difference between a legitimate criticism/question and the baiting, belligerent reprobate who is exchanging physical violence for psychological (savage insults, nonsense, ludicrous accusations, diatribes) then they clearly have judgment issues, and that is something worth considering should anyone be tempted to expose themselves to that blogger’s ideas.

*

Now…having said that, I will risk being labeled a hypocrite and attempt to argue that on occasion, being a belligerent reprobate who baits and uses insults is effective, necessary, and even therapeutic. The ability to apply this in the right context is crucial, however…and it makes all the difference. Otherwise one loses all credibility and their message is lost in the swirl of their apparent assholery.  And I’m pretty sure that is the basis for A Mom’s criticism.  And if it is, she’s not wrong.

I don’t want that to happen to me. Therefore…this post.  Here is the initial exchange:

*

A Mom said:

“I find that pointing out how ridiculous they look (pointy bald heads almost every damn one) and sound (“Calvinism IS the gospel) puts them in a more appropriate perspective. They ARE scary motherfuckers, but even more than that they are, for the most part, short little insecure men-children with precious little intellectual capacity, group-think and crowd-following proclivities, who lack even a rudimentary awareness of their own creepy-in-a-molester-kind-of-way affect.”

Had to call you out on this one, Argo. I’m not enjoying this paragraph. When you speak of physical appearance that may be purely genetic, you detract from the truth of personal responsibility & choice. Pointy bald heads & shortness of stature have NOTHING to do with it.

A Mom,

I adore you…but you’re not going to like this. These men, other than their height (that’s my bias…I just can’t take seriously a five foot John Piper demanding I submit to his authority; I start laughing out loud) these men are entirely responsible for their appearance and affect. They aren’t the Coneheads; They CHOOSE to shave their heads completely bald, sporting their chrome domes as luminescent as crystal; they CHOOSE their creepy, false modesty and their forced smiles and their unsettling, toothy, Cheshire Cat grins and their unctuous emotional heavy petting and their melodrama and pulpit histrionics. To me, there is a Stepford qualify to it all, and it just adds to the cultish atmosphere of the neo-Calvinist authority power grab.

But more than that, I simply don’t believe I owe these men any benefit of the doubt. I don’t assume that anything about them is innocent. Nothing. Not the way they dress, not the way they groom themselves, not the way they speak, not the way they think, not the way they relate to each other. They are vindictive, subversive, deceptive, destructive, self-serving false teachers whose determination to achieve absolute power by removing you and I from ourselves is matched only by their desire to remove God from HIS Self.They are categorical life-wreckers and I will criticize them in way that makes it plain to all who will listen that there isn’t a thing about them I take seriously.When CJ takes his head out from up his own bottom and assumes a modicum of responsibility for destroying the lives of a disturbing number of people, including at least half a dozen of God’s precious little ones, then I’ll knock off the bald jokes.Until then…he’s a doorknob with wire frames. That’s all I see.

Argo,

I like your honestly & passion. I am with you in your words that call their fake out. But many are bald (by choice) or short who aren’t diabolical… who may be reading here. That’s my message. Call their deeds out, not their hairstyle or stature out. I don’t care if they are long – haired or bald, 6 foot tall or 5. It’s their actions & what they peddle that are the problem.

*

Well…

Before I get to the meat of the post, allow me to nitpick. There are actually very few men who are what I would call legitimately bald. Most men are more properly described as balding.  Some have more or less hair than others, but, again, very few have either no hair or so little as to qualify as “naturally” bald. So, being bald in the case of most men is a choice. In other words…they shave their head like I shave my face. They aren’t really hairless, they just figure it looks better than having only a partial patch. Which…fine, each to his own.  But for me, I would rather look like Jason Statham than egg head Mahaney, but whatev.

I have no problem with this. People are free to groom, or not, as they choose. Granted. Conceded. Affirmed.

But I have always thought this. This is no new revelation to me. And my general opinion on the matter has no relevant bearing on my criticism of neo-Calvinist thugs. As usual, everything must be observed and vetted according to context. For in the dissemination of ideas, it is context, context, context. In fact, I would argue that it is the failure to acknowledge context as the reference point for the efficacious and relevant meaning of any given idea which allows for what are purely cognitive concepts to be given (falsely) causal power and “life” outside of humanity, which always leads to tyranny. To say that my criticism of C.J’s baldness is commensurate with a criticism of my next door neighbor or the tractor guy at Sears is, I submit, inaccurate at best. My mockery of C.J.s blockhead is not a general derision of the entire segment of humanity which happens to be bald.  In other words; it is a specific barb leveled at a specific group of people in a specific context. And within that context, especially since it is a demonstrably evil one, I do not consider anything above my derision.  In that context, I believe denigration, if leveled skillfully, disrupts the plastic and pristine veneer which tyrants cloak themselves in as a hedge against just criticism and open, public  investigation of their destructive ideas.

More on this in a bit.

*

I think my philosophy has shown that I would never simply criticize just anyone based on how they choose to dress or groom. I don’t care about that, personal style having nothing at all to do with my philosophy except to say: do whatever you want to do…I’m all about people doing what they think brings the most value to themselves. In fact, if you’ve seen my YouTube videos, you’ll notice that I, myself, keep my hair cut VERY short. It would indeed be hypocritical of me to just randomly accuse bald men of some kind of hairdo impropriety when I’m practically a crystal doorknob myself, at least for the first 48 hours after a trim.

However, as a relevant aside, I will admit that within the context of the neo-Calvinist movement there is something about head-shaving that just fucking rubs me the wrong way. Maybe its because I come from SGM and the deification of C.J. Mahaney led many, many other “leaders” in the “family of churches” (cultish terminology if there ever was any) to adopt his mannerisms (uber-affected speech pattern, herky-jerky hand gestures and body language, manic emotional eruptions), his style of dress, his tastes and, his…er, head. The percentage of bald men in SGM seemed massively disproportionate to the percentage in society in general. This to me is a full-on symptom of the sycophantic tendencies a cult like SGM engenders in their psychologically groomed devotees. And there is a creep-factor to it all that is difficult for me to explain, but nevertheless remains influential with respect to how I view the the neo-Calvinist juggernaut as a whole and the emotions that arise when I read their blogs and hear their sermons and watch their discussions on YouTube.  To be clear, these public displays are nothing more than public fucking discussions on how to best propagandize the masses, murder critics, and control followers, all while pretending that they are glorifying God in process.  And how oh-so humble and meek and reverent they seem, except both you and I know that the humility is a woefully thin  disguise for their egregious arrogance and their absolutely limitless hatred of humanity.

And I suppose that’s what I think about every time I see these overlords getting together with their baldness and syrupy affect and their all but outright public stroking of each other and their abject dismissal of anyone else’s ideas and opinions and doctrine, and their arrogance qua false, lying humility. So, yes…in the context of the neo-Calvinist hoards, baldness evokes a disdain in me for that specific…uh, hairstyle? I know there is nothing inherently wrong with it as I witness it in general public, and it can be a downright badass look on the right person (Samuel L. Jackson in The Avengers/Lawrence Fishburn in the Matrix…can I get an amen?!).  Still, when I see it on a neo-Calvinist I can’t help but think, ‘Emulate evil demagogues much?’.

So, yes…that comes out sometimes in my posts.

*

If you’ve read this blog much, you know that snark is my style. I like to integrate this kind of mildly-offensive humor into my critiques and expositions. It’s merely another symptom of the satisfaction I get out of my polemic. It would be wrong to assume that any criticism of neo-Calvinist despots, even if it is their clothes or their verbal affect or their “hair” somehow applies to anyone and everyone. That’s a generalization I would hope people understand is not consistent with my oft-stated philosophy of the sacred autonomy of the individual. To think otherwise I’d consider an overreaction.

Finally…

All of us who stand in solid opposition to human degradation should realize that these men have been totally idolized for the majority of their “professional” careers. It is not hyperbole to acknowledge that in Sovereign Grace Ministries C.J. Mahaney was (and likely still is) the epitome of the “proper Christian”. He was everything and anything any “good Christian” man would aspire to become. He was deified upon the stage, behind that pulpit where his very finger smudges were thought to reveal the epitome of man’s status as “God’s image”. His name became synonymous with God’s Will. He was considered the apogee of God’s grace; the apex of His blessing; the absolute limit of what mortal man could hope to become in this life, which disturbingly, as time went on, began to look less and less like mortal man at all and more and more like God, until the only real distinction was that one of them went on and on about how SGM was the church done to utter perfection and then constantly lied about how unworthy he thought he was to lead it…and the Other just up and left.

Why do you think the doctrinal shift from charismatic to full-blown Calvinism covered SGM as smoothly as butter covers hot bread? Because it was what C.J. WANTED! And C.J. WAS GOD to the rest of us and so no other opinions mattered. No one batted an eye.  No other “leader” raised a hand and asked to take a vote, or suggested that perhaps the congregations, who after all are members (by legally binding affidavit, btw) of the “family”, and who, incidentally, front all the fucking money for the spiritual ponzi scheme which is Sovereign Grace Ministries in the first place, might be entreated to give an opinion on the matter.  No one questioned CJ’s motives as he became more and more enamored with and by the Reformed “big dogs” (if…you know, your definition of “big dogs” is short and bald and whitebread (that’s for you, A Mom, ;-)).  Further, nowhere in the thousand-page shit sandwich Brent Detwiler force-fed his  former spiritual “covering” does he seriously question the legitimacy of or the need for such a radical doctrinal shift.

Again, this is entirely due to the fact that they worshiped (worship) C.J. Mahaney. And even his staunchest critics to this day continue to proclaim that he is a “good man”; that they are trying to “help” SGM move forward as a effective emissary of Christ, never realizing that that motherfucking ship has LONG since sailed.

This is the power these shamans have over everyone around them. It is a scary charisma that has served them very well for a long time and has elevated them to the status of “untouchable”…and I don’t mean that in the Hindu sense, but in the God-likes-me-better-than-you sense. And, truly, this is precisely what these men think of themselves.

Along with God, they have been knighted by the best and brightest of the faith and as such they can do no wrong. Remember that in almost all of Christianity’s  “orthodox” thinking the epistemological assumption is that truth is a function not of  learning and/or the application of reason but of pure revelation. And as such, no one knows anything except that which God divinely bestows upon him (and, naturally, women, the “cause of Adam’s fall”, are in all but the rarest circumstances entirely excluded from God’s revelatory favor), somehow giving the metaphysically totally depraved worm the “grace to perceive”. It is stating the obvious to point out that C.J. Mahaney, Mohler, Dever, Duncan, Sproul one and two, Piper, et. al. are among the epistemologically advantaged thanks to the (fake) conduit of absolute divine intervention which as I said is the only way knowledge is passed on to man.  So they believe.

This lauding to the point of deification of those who we are told have been “called” by God to “lead” (own, and rule absolutely) is intentional.  As it comes from the ecclesiastical authority it is neither a symptom nor a consequence.  It is an active strategy.  The idea that those whom God has called to finally do Christianity “right”…to take the Church to the place where God has always wanted it to go but was waiting with baited breath for the appointed time: the birth of these great men whom God has determined for such a time as this (bleah…), riding to the rescue of America on their pure white horses and holding aloft the Sword of Truth to cut the wheat from the chaff…yes, that these men are somehow untouchable and above reproach because they are for all intents and purposes God, Himself TO you and me and all of the unwashed barbarians inside and outside the church whom need compelling into right thinking…this image is purposefully perpetuated for the purposes of securing absolute control over all things spiritual and civil. We are lied to and told that to criticize the neo-Reformed “leaders” who are “standing in the stead of God” is tantamount to the rejection of God’s past prophets and Kings, even unto Christ, Himself. For as far as you are concerned, there is no distinction between your local church senior pastor and Christ. “Follow us as we follow Christ” is merely an appeal to their right to OWN you. On God’s behalf, of course. Do not be so naive as to take this to mean that somehow you are able to rightly discern whether they are actually following Christ or not.  As if!  What it means is that the perpetual work that Christ must do FOR you in order to maintain your salvation because you are totally depraved and thus excluded from any righteousness by which you can claim your OWN acceptance by God is actually the work, whatever it happens to be at any given moment, that they are doing. They occupy an impossible metaphysical position which demands your unwavering affirmation and devotion to their every word and whim because without them, YOU don’t exist to God. They are God to you and YOU to God. They are YOU…so as they act in this capacity, you get to live, and there is no other relevant life for you. And it is by this proxy-life you are saved. This is the root of their “kingdom keys” doctrine and why they are so fucking big on excommunication. They inherited that little blasphemy from the abominable Catholic church idea of the same name; “Saint” Augustine, as John Immel so deftly explains, being the first to systematically and absolutely sever the relationship between God and the individual child of His divine creation. And humanity has never fully recovered; which even a cursory glance at the positively abominable behavior of so many “Christians” reveals.

My point is this:

People are terrified to criticize these people for fear that God will, somehow, even in spite of the fact that their message is demonstrably evil, drop a fucking engine block on their heads as soon as the step out the front door. Or send a bear to maul them, or bring about their financial ruin, or their madness, or send them, worst of all, to gnash their teeth and wail in a lake of burning sulfur forever and ever until they beg for a finger dipped in cool water to be placed upon their tongues to ease their indescribable suffering. Congregations have been systematically bred to vaunt these despots and to consider every parameter of their personal taste and style as the paragon of wisdom, and every passing or trite opinion as some kind of divine mandate which true godliness dictates they should emulate.

And if one is too terrified to even state that CJ is not an attractive man in any capacity, which is, I would argue, objectively true, (not saying that I am, but merely pointing out that he is not) and therefore maybe purposefully pursuing a C.J.-style is not the most valuable course of action given that attracting others to us is a GOOD thing, objectively speaking…yes, if one cannot even say that CJ is rather un-fetching, and is a terrible athlete, or that it seems silly and absurd for a dust mite like John Piper to demand that women submit to him simply because he happens to have external genitalia, understanding that there is almost nothing else by which to distinguish him as a man, then how on earth can we expect people to criticize or challenge the oh-so-venerated and holy reformed DOCTRINE, which, so they lead us to believe, has been hand-delivered on stone tablets by none other than God, Himself to the lobbies of their churches. Postage paid by Sender.

They are just men!

And recognizing that they fall prey to the same kinds of physical follies, foibles, and various jokes of impish mother nature (no fashion sense, no athletic ability, a head so white and shaved so bald that an airplane could see by it to land safely in the dead of night) that the rest of us do helps those who are being abused and have been abused by their lording and lies to see that in reality they are not so special after all. I suppose it helps me to think that if God really liked them as much as they would have us believe, to the point of His specific, special, divine enlightenment of their humble little selves, all the while using this “divine calling” to demand unequivocal ownership of the masses, well…I wouldn’t think they’d look like such weasels.

This may or may not be true, but criticizing their flaws to me opens the door to criticize that which is that much more significant: their doctrine. Once people realize that, yeah, you know, CJ isn’t particularly impressive either in intellect or in physical stature and he does not make an attractive bald man (unlike, say, Patrick Stewart, who rocks it, along with the aforementioned Jackson and Fishburn) and that John Piper probably shops in the boys department, or that Al Mohler looks like he either doesn’t get enough sleep or is on drugs, or that James McDonald’s head looks like a Bartlett pear, then I submit that the allure is shaken just that much. The bloom is just a little more off the rose. The false front has been to some extent revealed. People realize that these men are not above the usual flaws that bedevil us all. It opens them up to far more substantial criticism.

I’m not arguing that I’m better looking or possess a greater fashion sense. No! I’m arguing that neither are they. I am arguing that they are NO BETTER than you or I, and if I have to remark upon their physical limitations and grooming challenges to point this out then I will. When someone tries to convince you that he is the chosen master race, I don’t care what the fucking context, racial or spiritual or what have you, the first thing that crosses my mind is: that’s high talk for someone who can’t even pick a shirt that fits, or who might make a great stunt double for Danny DeVito except for the fact that he doesn’t look powerful enough to support the make up.

But in all seriousness, pointing out the fact that our gurus have the same basic flaws and imperfections as the rest of us is wonderful with respect to destroying their mystic veneer. They are just men. And when you realize that,  you realize then there is no reason to think they are somehow special, or that they can make some kind of rational claim to a special revelation which subverts or circumvents our own reason or Biblical interpretation. They possess no particularly impressive stature or intellect. They have ideas, that’s all.  And not very good ones.   And they are on the hook for defending them, rationally, not appealing to force or divine dispensation or fear or penis possession, just like the rest of us.

That’s my message, and promoting it is the end goal of my derision and snark.

Plus…well, isn’t it just plain fun to poke and prod the delicate sensibilities of those who take themselves so damn seriously? I thinks it’s an absolute gas.

The Evil Determinism of Christian “Orthodoxy”, and Why Child Sexual Abuse in the Church is Propagated by its “Sound Doctrine”

“…Jennifer Colhouer, and what life was like for her little brother after he found her bloody body on his bedroom floor among his Christmas toys…and think that our pure, holy, loving God either directly or indirectly decided that it was BETTER for these horrible events, these sins, to happen….

…One thing that stays with me is, it is my responsibility to think more highly of God than that.”

-Commenter, Oasis

*

Oasis,

Excellent point.  And I love this: “…it is my responsibility to think more highly of God than that.”

Your statement really goes to the heart of Christian “orthodoxy’s” problem: in its process of eliminating man from the existence equation by making him a DIRECT function of two mutually exclusive absolutes, God’s “sovereignty” and Total Depravity, it likewise eliminates God, Himself.  When a philosophy/theology destroys the conscious agent (man) who is able to efficaciously (thus, rightly and truthfully) define God…destroying man by declaring his epistemology utterly defunct, it also destroys the ability of God to exist TO THAT AGENT.  You see, if man has no real mind of his own because he is always governed by some external force (again, sovereignty AND, contradictorily, depravity) then he cannot claim to know anything, and that includes God. Thus, man can make no claim that God exists, because…how would he know?  He has no autonomous mind with which to think. His mind is a direct function of not the SELF, but the absolutes of depravity and God’s divine control.

Man cannot possibly know that God exists because even if God did, without an actual consciousness–an actual distinct, absolute, and autonomous SELF–by which to acknowledge Him, God’s existence is utterly irrelevant to man…because man is, all the way to his metaphysical root, NOT HIMSELF.  And any idea or notion that is irrelevant cannot possibly be declared TRUE; because without an actual Standard of Truth to which ALL concepts and ideas (including the notion of “God”) can act in observably efficacious service, then the concept has no point.  And if a concept has no point then it can never be verified to BE whatever it purports to BE.  Thus, man can cry “God” all day long, but in the absence of his own mind and his own ability to recognize himself–his LIFE–as a standard of TRUTH (a standard of efficacious, legitimate reality of SELF) by his own free, unfettered and absolute consciousness which manifests as a actual self-awareness…yes, in the absence of an autonomous non-determined mind man can make no claim to know ANYTHING about God, even that He is, in fact, God at all.

You see?

So not only is it our responsibility to think more highly of God than the improper mysticism of Christian “orthodoxy” allows, it is the only rational course to follow if we want to assure that we as believers are not only faithful and good but are psychologically balanced. It is impossible to have a healthy mental outlook on anything when our fundamental philosophy is rooted in ideas which contradict so severely that they actually demand man’s removal from himself and his own mind in order to be “righteous”. This means that man’s goodness and worth can only come about when he entirely denies the efficacy of his own existence and all the attributes thereof, including his own ability to think…to know ANYTHING, even that God loves him or that his existence is effectual to the very root purpose of BEING something and someone.

The thing to remember, and the thing which your statement directly addresses, is that the evil idea that is “God is in control” is a concept which does one thing and one thing only: it removes man’s mind from himself.  It makes man’s mind a direct function of some “force” outside of him, which means that it turns EVERYTHING man knows into a lie, including God. To deny that man is free to cognitively interact with his environment and others (including his God) in a way in which man’s cognition in the form CHOICE works efficaciously in service to the truth of the SELF–a reality in which he is independently and rightly able to discern and observe–does more than just make God the author of evil, it destroys the concept, and all concepts, altogether. God, evil, good, black, white, red, up, heaven, love…all of them vanish in a mist of the ILLUSION of your SELF.

What remains is worse than moral relativism, it is moral equivalency qua nihilism (the philosophy that everything is ultimately meaningless). Which means that everything you observe isn’t really happening, because what you observe is processed by your mind, and your mind is not your own (it is a DIRECT extension of a determining force outside of “you”), therefore your mind cannot exist.

Now I ask you, what is the only possibly way in which to govern a church, a state, a nation…any group of people when the interpretive philosophy which under girds the polity is one of moral equivalence qua nihilism?

Hold that thought.  We can answer that question with my next point:

What are the leaders of a “Christian” movement, like neo-Calvinism/Reformation Protestantism, even Catholicism, going to do when confronted with, say…an insatiable pedophile and sexually abusive monster like Nate Morales running amok in the church and littering the aisles of the sanctuary with the bodies of his innocent young victims? How do you think the leaders of such a church–a church with a categorically determinist theology which grants the ecclesiastical “authority” the sole right to interpret reality for every other fucking human being on the planet, and all the trappings of the absolute power of punishment and compelling violence which is thus granted, ipso facto, to he who occupies the role of “church leader”–yes, how do you think they will choose to handle such a situation?

By calling the cops?

Scoff and mock!!  As if, you naive boobs!! (My brilliant readers excepted.)

In your dreams, Van Winkle. Since when do the apostles of God, who “stand in His stead” (C.J. Mahaney) and wield His power and pass His judgment upon the earth as His Church’s right arm of authority, twirling the keys to the Kingdom upon their forefingers and blinding the masses with the light of Christ’s glory as it glares off of their obnoxiously conspicuous and greasy bald heads…yes, since when shall they listen to men instead of God? Judge for yourselves if this is right, so says God’s “Word”.

Shall they handle it by declaring the perpetrator an evil-doer and commanding him to stop and delivering him over to Satan to be sifted that he may be spared on the day of judgement and granted clemency for his sick and wicked crimes?

Scoff and mock again!!

This course of action is hardly defensible given that the rallying cry for all good Christians, apart from “Kill the Pelagian!” and “We are of (fake) Christ, and John Calvin is our father!”, is “We are ALL just sinners saved by grace!” This woeful declaration is nothing more than a bumper sticker quote for their moral equivalency. Since there is no actual definition of good or evil–because rational consistency with respect to their deterministic theology demands they acknowledge (and they do, in so many words) that the raping of little boys in various rooms of the church building is, in fact, a part of God’s sovereign plan and Will–then the only course of action is their own capricious desires, whatever they happen to be. Since they alone have the monopoly on God’s will because they alone have been “called”–which is a euphemism for “divinely gifted with the only “real” knowledge of anything, and this is known in the pagan philosophies from which Christian “orthodoxy” springs, as the “gnosis”–then they alone get to say what is wrong or what is right at any given moment. Thus, they decide according to their own whims whether or not a sexual deviant like Nate Morales is actually doing evil or not; and if he is, then they alone get to decide what to do with him. Which usually involves, well…nothing.  Except perhaps transferring him to someplace where his actions are less of a distraction and less inconvenient to their power structures and financial stashes. For it is hard for the neo-Calvinist pastors-in-God’s-stead to tread out the grain and feed upon the morsels which fall to the ground in the form of six or seven-figure paychecks when they have to sidestep a fucking child molester.

Make no mistake.  Abuse in the church, like all other forms of systemic, institutional abuse, is rooted in distinct and fundamental philosophical assumptions which masquerade as “Biblical ethics” and “sound doctrine”.  In the case of Sovereign Grace Ministries, the promotion and perpetuation of child sexual abuse is a direct function of that institution’s false and evil beliefs.

And anyone…any “discernment blog” or outraged commenter or pensive observer who will not acknowledge this needs to take the log out of their own fucking eyeball before they judge C.J. Mahaney or Josh Harris or that hypocrite Brent Detwiler…or that reprobate Nate Morales. Who, if you want to know the truth, is just as much a victim of SGM’s evil doctrine as anyone else. If SGM wasn’t so enamored with the lies of hell they might have stopped this predator twenty-five years ago, and he might have gotten some seriously needed psychological treatment.  And just maybe he and a number of his victims and SGM itself wouldn’t now be so colossally fucked.

“Control” is a Concept Which Must Be Qualified; Control Can Never Be Absolute Without Destroying Man’s Existence: A short examination of the Reformed/Neo-Calvinist Lie of “God’s Sovereignty”

Things in the created universe are either God or they are NOT God; they are either an autonomous SELF distinct from God or they are functional extensions of God…which means they ARE God.

If they ARE God then it is redundant to classify their actions a being extensions of God’s control. There is no distinction between themselves and God, which makes any attempt to define them according to some kind of “God and Creation” construct an exercise in bullshit. If man isn’t man but is God then man has no ability to think (because he does not exist as a distinct volitional agent), which means he cannot know, which means he cannot declare that “God is in control”. He has no mind by which he would fucking know.

If Creation is NOT God then there must be a limit to God’s control. For if God cannot BE what He is not then what He is not must have a root autonomy of SELF. The actions of everything then NOT God are therefore a direct function of the root SELF of their own absolutely and perfectly autonomous existence. You cannot integrate absolutes like “control” and “freedom”; either creation is free to BE itself and from that SELF, to absolutely ACT, or Creation is absolutely not free to be itself and thus cannot claim any actual existence at all.

The actions of any object in creation must be either an ABSOLUTE extension of the SELF or an ABSOLUTE extension of NOT SELF (e.g. God). Human actions are either absolutely their own or humanity cannot claim any rational existence.

The doctrine of “God is in control” has no basis in efficacious reason. It’s logical outcome will always be the destruction of humanity (exhibit A: chattel slavery). It is a lie. If we were created to be controlled, then there is no purpose to BEING us at all. We exist to serve ABSOLUTELY that which is NOT us. And if that is true, then the only logical philosophy is one of absolute denial of SELF. Which equals death as the greatest moral service man can make for that which demands TOTAL control of him to the very limits of the SELF.

This is the neo-Calvinist “cult of death”, as John Immel describes it. And it’s an abomination. And its hypocrisy can be sadly observed at Wartburg Watch and a thousand other blogs.

Which Comes First, The Chicken of Consciousness or the Egg of Existence?

As my readers probably already know, I do not concede that time is actual, but rather is a product of man’s conceptualizing brain, by which he organizes his environment in service to the survival, comfort, and propagation of his SELF.

In light of that, I will tell you that the answer to the question posed in the title of this article is:  it is an irrational question.

The meaning…the definition of TRUTH isn’t one of cause and effect; that is, it is not  “Does existence cause consciousness or consciousness cause existence?”.  We waste MUCH time arguing “truth” from the assumption that it must somehow be a direct function of ideas man pulls from the ethereal recesses of his brain in order to conceptually organize his universe.  The idea that something which cannot be rationally argued to actually exist, like time, which cannot be observed apart from any material object, thereby requiring the existence of the object “first” as an abject requirement for time to have any rational meaning or purpose…yes, the idea that that which is not materially actual is somehow causal is ludicrous.  Further, since man is required in order to create the concept of time it would appear that those of us–which is almost all of us on earth–who concede the causality of time must somehow explain how time can be a causal force of man’s existence retroactively.  (NOTE:  Forgive me…since language is abstract in and of itself, I am essentially forced to use temporal concepts in making my arguments.) Meaning, man must exist before time can be devised by his brain; and then once it is devised by man’s brain we then must explain how it could have had a hand in man’s material creation, such that “before” man existed, this this and this other thing must have happened “first” in order to effect man’s existence; again, as though creation of material reality functions according to an external temporal force which cannot be directly observed thereby making it (time) existentially exclusive to what is material, which precludes its ability to effect material reality…and yet, all things happen according to “cause and effect”, which is merely arguing that time is somehow causing the movement of what materially exists which in turn effects the manifestation of material objects we now observe in our universe, including ourselves.  Meaning, what these objects are is a direct function of the interaction of material objects in a process that is absolutely dictated by time.  The argument, boiled down to its logical premise is this:  Time (not God, not leptons, fermions or bosons, not electromagnetism) allows, utterly and absolutely, for the manifestation of material reality.:  This must happen first, and then this, then that, and eventually you arrive at that.

Seems logical, but the problem is that there is simply no way to rationally argue it.  By cursory reason and appealing to simple, logically reconcilable assumptions and conclusions I can, I assure you, dismantle anyone’s argument for the actual existence and causal properties of time.  I don’t care how man Ph.D.s you have or how great your calculus is or what seminary you attended.   I’ll go right now.  Anywhere, anytime.  I defy…I double-dog-dare anyone to rationally argue for the existence of time apart from man’s conceptualizing brain.  I’ll go anywhere, anytime at my own expense and debate you for free.

Anyway…

Since we cannot observe time directly, as I said, it is impossible to argue its causal power, let alone its existence.  What is time absent the objects we observe?  It has no rational definition.  It is, well…”time”, and “time” is not a rational definition of “time”.  That’s what’s known as a circular argument, or appealing to the idea as proof of its own efficacious meaning.  That doesn’t work.  It’s the same reason the “biblical inerrancy” crowd is so fucking scary and insane: they do not appeal to reason as the basis for their truth; rather, truth exists in the “talisman” properties (John Immel) of the Bible.  It is inerrant because it is the Bible.  It is true because it is the Bible.  It’s truth is nothing more than its name.  It’s relevancy is itself, nothing more.  And you must try to fit yourself into its absolute fortress of inerrant truth.  It’s true because it is itself, without you, and so what the fuck does the Bible need you for?  It is insanity like this passing for “faith” which is why Christians are so scary to the rest of the country.  They are becoming terrorists before our very eyes and the worst part is that they are utterly blind to it.  They have conceded that their very existence is wrapped up in the causal power of some abstract “truth” which is utterly exclusive of man and thus needs nothing of his existence.  The greatest moral good in such a case becomes human death.  And bring on the Marxist slaughtering hoards (Khmer Rouge among others), the Nazi purveyors of cooked human flesh, Islamic terrorist shitheads, and the cult of death known as the American neo-Calvinist movement which IS protestantism in the country these days.

Anyway…

Try to explain time without a reference to the material universe.  I assure you it is impossible.  You cannot even make a mathematical argument.  For as soon as YOU open your mouth or tap on your keyboard or pen your letter or pick up your can and string you have already conceded the contrary argument.  YOU, a material agent, are required to explain time.  YOU must exist first, before time can have any rational meaning.  Thus, the material reality which we attempt to argue is caused by time is a prerequisite for the relevant meaning of the concept altogether.

Whatever…my point is that the simple concession of time as an abstraction resolves MANY “paradoxes” which Christians and others assume is part of the “mystery” of God/universe and therefore unexplainable by man, nor attainable by his intellect.

It is useless to make ANY truth utterly dependent on the actuality of human conceptual abstractions.  As soon as we realize that human material presence is required for concepts to serve any efficacious purpose, we realize the futility of such ideas of “truth”.  To argue that this philosophy is superior to that because it more closely adheres to human abstract conceptual thinking is, itself, a fatally flawed presumption.  Since concepts are not REAL any philosophy which depends on them for its “truth” will never actually be true.  Truth is NOT a function of which process or manifestation of reality must precede this, or succeed that, but is only a function of reason:  an understanding of the nature of reality absent any inexorable, inseparable link between human cognitive concepts and what actually IS, tangibly so.

Reason, I submit, is not tethered to conceptual abstractions…on the contrary, if reason is a slave to man’s abstract, psychological notions of how he happens to cognitively organize his surroundings, then it cannot be reasonable at all.  To argue that the universe is caused by a force (time) which MUST be existentially exclusive of it, which has NO observable manifestation whatsoever apart from material reality, and has no relevant definition nor purpose until AFTER what it supposedly caused is already in existence…people, this is not reasonable.  Rather, it is inextricably ridiculous.

And this is why I hate the question I pose in the title of this article.  Reality is NOT a function of cause and effect.  The idea of cause and effect ultimately relegates all of reality to the power of time…an abstract concept which cannot be argued to possess any causal force over anything at all, but only retains relevance as a means by which man cognitively organizes his environment for the purpose of survival.  It isn’t a debate then about whether existence causes consciousness or consciousness causes existence, or which comes first.  There can be no rational debate because once we inject “cause” into the argument we have conceded a faulty determinist philosophy; that is, we and everything else are all a function of the unseen and unknowable force of time.  Which makes anything we argue moot by definition.  We are all a direct function of the absolute power of time nothing more.  And then we all go home and watch TV, because life isn’t real anyway.

The real issue is getting the definitions of each right,consciousness and existence, and understanding the nature of each as a rational extension of a rational understanding of reality.  The ability of man to materially exist and the ability of man to be conscious proceed from the IS of man’s infinite and absolute being. Consciousness and existence are both equal and direct functions of man’s material SELF.  Existence isn’t a concept which is causal any more than the concept of time is. Material reality, that is the actual SELF of man is the direct source of BOTH consciousness and existence.  Another way of arguing my point is to state it this way:  man’s material SELF, the IS of his being, is his ability to be conscious, which is his ability to devise a rational and efficacious concept of existence in order to describe his relationship to other agents and objects.

SELF = existence because it also = consciousness.

Since the SELF is How We Know God, SELF-Gratification Must be GOOD…(Part Two)

“Please unpick this gem from a popular teacher in the charismaniac movement. Sorry there is no context, but this kind gentleman doesn’t seem to bother either.

“’Sin is often justified when a persons awareness of God’s heart is replaced with the emotional gratification of self will.’”

-Commenter, Store in a Cool Dry Place

*

Picking up where we left off from the previous post…and, off topic, I would like to say that I am committed to finally, for once, completing an entire series of articles in uninterrupted succession.

And this time I mean it.

I think.

🙂

Anyway…

I have many times in the past argued that the single and absolute context/frame of reference any person has for knowing or doing anything at all is the SELF, defined as:  man’s individual existential singularity.  Meaning that in order for anything to happen to you–any interaction with man or God or anything else which exists, in order that you might be “caused upon”…that is, taught anything, shown anything, effected, affected, etc., etc., so that you, in turn, might manifest those same actions in the direction of some “OTHER”, be it God or another person or another object–you must possess the inherent ability to to BE YOU.  YOU as YOU, as a direct function of YOU, is the axiomatic and categorical prerequisite for anything at all which exists to you and interacts with you, and you to it/them,  including God, Himself.  If YOU is not a direct and absolute function of YOU–meaning, your physical existence, which must also include your mind, because your mind is a direct function of your brain, which is an absolute component of your physical body, with no rational distinction then being made between body and mind–yes, if YOU is not a direct function of YOU, then YOU cannot be said to exist as YOURSELF at all.  For whatever is a direct function of something IS that something.  Thus, if YOU, for example, are a direct function of God, or God’s creative power, meaning that prior to the existence of YOU there was nothing, no material from which you sprang, but you sprung directly out of the Being of God (which is the natural implication of the doctrine of ex nihilio), then YOU don’t actually exist.  You are merely some manifestation of the absolute source which caused you directly.  If an absolute caused you–as in God is “infinite” and “absolute” and is the “un-caused first cause”, whatever the fuck that means–and that there was NOTHING prior to Him creating you and the rest of the things in the universe which we say are NOT him, then there can be no rational argument for an efficacious distinction between the absolute, God, and “you”.  Which means there is no YOU:  You as a SELF are nothing.  You are whatever created you; and this must include your mind, making whatever it is you happen to be thinking about right now (like the stakes and dunking poles and gallows,for all you neo-Calvinists) a complete lie. “You” are thinking of nothing at all, because there is no distinction to be made between YOU and whatever created you “out of nothing”.

YOU don’t exist, which makes anything you think and say and believe likewise non-existent by default.

See the problem then?  If we deny that the actual first cause of anything is the root ability to BE of whatever exists, like man for instance, this “ability of being” which is the direct source of anything’s ability be caused upon, or to bring cause upon others (to do and to act and to interact with “others”, objects or agents)….yes if we deny that this ability to be caused upon, to act and to be acted upon, is the infinite material substance of the SELF of anything which exists, and that this infinite material substance of the SELF is the root absolute source and context of all we know and do, then we cannot rationally argue for the actual existence of human beings.  Human beings must be rooted in an infinite material SELF, which is now and always was utterly distinct from God, in order for any legitimate relationship to exist between man and God, or man and anything else.  If man does not exist as man, and infinitely so at his material root, then man cannot be said to exist at all.

This is why I argue that the infinite and absolute frame of reference you or I have for anything at all is our SELF, and why I argue that individual human lives are the absolute and only objective standard of TRUTH.  Without the SELF actually BEING, and absolutely BEING the SELF, there is no way for man to make a rational case for his own existence, which means that there is no way for man to make a case for his own efficacious epistemology…his ability to know anything.  Without an absolute and absolutely distinct vessel of himSELF from which to know it, a case for human existence is impossible to make.  And thus, without the SELF being infinitely the SELF first, there is no way to please God as the Calvinists define it:  by denying SELF.  Because there is no way to actually deny SELF, in service to God’s “will”, unless SELF is the infinite frame of reference for man to act.  You cannot deny SELF in service to God if SELF doesn’t exist in the first place.  And if it does, then it exists absolutely and infinitely, which makes it impossible to deny by definition.  Which makes the notion of “denying self” a purely metaphorical idea in service to some very specific philosophical premise, rather than some kind of broad literal imperative designed to command an entire world view.  For the SELF which is absolute is impossible to deny, except at the peril of man’s rational epistemology, which is the only means man has for knowing his God, and defining Him thus, which makes a literal denial of the SELF also a denial of God.  The literal denial of man and the futile and destructive attempt to live thereupon, based on neo-Calvinist/Reformed theology, means the functional death of God.

More on that in a bit.

*

We know nothing outside the infinite frame of reference of our infinite, absolute material SELVES.  For any one of us to argue that we are not ourSELVES because our “faith” teaches us that we must be a direct function (extension) of what is NOT us is a rank impossibility.  It is total nonsense.  Because what we are arguing then is that somehow we are ourselves by not and never actually being ourselves.  Which is laughable in its absurdity.

And this is the single greatest reason why determinism, which is precisely what Calvinism (and Protestantism in general) is, cannot possibly be true.  No matter what kind of determinism we preach, atheistic scientific determinism or “God’s sovereign control and will”, or whatever other line of  collectivist opium the pseudo-intellectuals, Calvinists and other “Christian” mystics, false prophets, despots, psychopaths, Islamic terrorist shitheads, communists, fascist nationalists, group-think tribal devotees, and ignoramuses spin on their charkhas, it all utterly falls apart when we realize that for determinism to be true man cannot exist; and if man cannot exist then who can make the argument that they just know that they know that they know (whatever the fuck that means) that their abominable deterministic theology is “truth”.

No, it’s not.  Not. Even. Close.

*

All that being said, when we as human beings define anything, it must be defined TO the SELF.  For there is no other rational definition of whatever thing or agent is in question, but that everything which man observes to actually exist, including God, must be said to exist in utter service to the TRUTH of the SELF.  This, yet again, is why individual life is the only standard of TRUTH.  That is, for any concept to be efficacious, it must be defined in such a way that it can be observably useful for the affirmation, perpetuation, propagation and succor/comfort of the SELF.  Blue is blue and red is red and up is up and sand is sand and one inch is one inch and Montreal is Montreal and God is God because these material things are cognitively organized, via an integration into a conceptual framework which man creates out of his own mind in the interest of pursuing his own existence; that is, these concepts, rooted in actual objects and agents man observes, and relying upon them (the concepts) to be rational and efficacious servants of the SELF, are how man survives.  Man uses his brain, particularly his ability to conceptualize his material reality, in order to promote his own LIFE.

Why?

Because the SELF is the absolute entirety of his existence.  It is the sum and substance of his being, and it is infinite.  Without the actual SELF, as I have already explained, man is utterly incapable of being or doing or knowing anything at all.  That is, without the SELF, man can make no claim whatsoever to the actuality of his very existence.  Which makes God utterly pointless to him, and there goes all of “faith”.

Thus, since the distinct SELF of man is the only way, and the utter way, he interacts with God and/or anything else, the point of ALL concepts, of ALL man knows (for the entire cannon of man’s knowledge is conceptual…this is what makes man so different from the rest of the world’s species) can only logically be to categorically confirm his own SELF, which is his existence; its perfect moral innocence, its indefatigable TRUTH, its absolute nature and right to be what it is, forever.  And since this is the only logical perspective–all contrary ideas being fatally flawed in accordance with the only legitimate device of truth which is fit to defend man’s existence and the nature of all reality, reason–any concept which denies that the SELF is necessary to TRUTH, even the very truth of God, is a lie.  For to preach that the SELF is metaphysically flawed, and therefore epistemologically insufficient to understand “God’s ways”, or “God’s truth”, or the “mysteries of God”, or the “questions of life and the universe”, or whatever other false presumption, is a dreadful interpretation of the nature of human existence, and must logically conclude with the destruction of human beings in service to “specially revealed understanding” brought to you by “God’s” spiritual proxies, which is exactly what the American neo-Calvinist movement is force-feeding all of us denizens in an all-you-can-eat style abundance.

And so, all of this being true and reasonable, to preach that the gratification of the SELF, or the “emotional gratification” of the SELF–which is the exact same fucking thing…for “gratification” cannot possibly exist outside emotion; it IS an emotion (I mean, what the fuck is non-emotional gratification?, I defy anyone to explain it)–yes, to preach that gratification of the SELF is somehow an unholy thing, disdained by God and contrary to His “will”, is, in fact, an irrational evil.

Further, it is a direct offense against God, Himself, as He is the Creator of the very thing neo-Calvinist truncheons claim is the single most despicable thing on Earth; the very source of evil itself: human life.  They hate the human SELF, and therefore, they must hate its God.  You cannot declare that one is evil without likewise declaring the other.  If the SELF shall not be gratified in the interest of the very SELF which man was specifically created to BE…or rather, if the gratification of the SELF is a very evil thing, how much more evil is the gratification of the One who is ultimately responsible for its creation?

If it is an unspeakable evil for man to gratify himself, then how much more unspeakably evil for God, the Creator of man, who singularly holds the very power by which man is able to be manifest at all, and is the One most responsible for man’s efficacious existence, to either gratify HIMSELF, or to be gratified by the human SELF which Reformation theology teaches is infinite in its depravity?

Along with the SELF of man, Calvinism hates God; and it must, for it declares that the pinnacle of God’s Creation is precisely His fatal mistake.  The total depravity of man must be the death of God.  And this is why Calvinists, and almost all of Christian “orthodoxy”, worship death to the disturbing degree they do.  For in creating man, God has denied Himself, and has purposed His own destruction.  The creation of man ushers in an evil of which God cannot be absolved.  The denial of existence as preached by the Reformed then is a divine ordinance, applying to both God and man.  By creating man in the full knowledge and determined purpose of his fall into total depravity, God has denied that His own existence is either good or efficacious.  By creating he (man) who must by virtue of his own absolutely determined SELF deny that he was created at all–because he denies his very existence by virtue of his absolute depravity as a direct function of God’s sovereign all-controlling power, God has no legitimate means of defining Himself as God TO man whom He created.

Man cannot know God because he is blinded by his depravity, which is, again, a direct function of God’s sovereign will; and therefore God cannot know that He is God to man because He created man who is unable to rationally define his Creator because he possesses no rational epistemology, being merely an extension of his depravity (whilst being also a direct extension of God).  Thus, God cannot rationally proclaim Himself as the God (the Creator) of man.  He cannot point to man as proof of his God-ness because man does not actually exist as a distinct SELF; therefore, God did not create him, He merely extended (manifested) Himself as totally deprave evil.   According to Calvinism, man is not himself, but rather is a determined evil, and this determined evil has nothing to do with man as a distinct agent, but is an absolute and direct extension of God.

This is why Reformation theology, its unsettling apostasy culminating in the neo-Calvinist movement, must be condemned as a rank and total evil.  There is no equivocation possible; none arguable.  The “sound doctrine” of Calvin’s devoted spawn is as far from Christ as one can philosophically get.

And determined evil, being absolute, mitigated by nothing according to Reformed theology, not even an efficacious and actual SELF of man, cannot point to God as being God, by definition.  Absolute evil (or any evil) cannot know God, nor proclaim Him.  Man then, being absolute evil, demands the death of God in service to its own absolute existence.  God then, in creating man, created an absolute and infinite evil which then competes with His own absolute existence.  Of course, the idea that God is the direct source of this absolute evil (man’s totally depraved SELF) can only mean one thing:  God IS Evil and Evil is God, thus eliminating any competition or conflict between God (good) and Evil at all.  We are then inexorably left with this conclusion:  all things, man and God and everything else, is the sum and substance of absolute, infinite, all-encompassing Evil.

This is the very idea embodied in the contemptible quote which commenter Store In a Cool Dry Place sent me to critique.

Behold Calvinism and neo-Calvinism; behold they that are the roots of all Protestantism.

Behold the doctrine of the anti-Christs.

Since the SELF is How We Know God, SELF-Gratification Must be GOOD; for the Affirmation, Perpetuation, and Interest of the Individual SELF is Not Only Good, But is the GREATEST Good a Human Being Can Perform: How Reformed/Neo-Calvinist hatred of humanity is nothing less than a satanic hatred of its Creator (Part One)

“Please unpick this gem from a popular teacher in the charismaniac movement. Sorry there is no context, but this kind gentleman doesn’t seem to bother either.

“’Sin is often justified when a persons awareness of God’s heart is replaced with the emotional gratification of self will.'”

-Commenter, Store in a Cool Dry Place

*

Commenter SCDP knows just what kind of gifts Argo loves to get in his stocking.  This comment is ripe for the picking, and pick it we shall.  We shall not unpick, as SCDP suggests, but shall pick it, roots (which extend to hell) and all, and then we shall toss it into the refuse like so much brown cabbage.

And it is our digested cabbage, vomited up from our years in the kind of spiritual meat grinders (or is it vegetable grinders?) which teach this sort of interpretive rot and pass it off as reverence.

*

How you know who God can only be through the infinite and inexorable frame of reference of the SELF of your individual existence…as YOU.  And you (and everyone else) must concede this  as absolutely true unless you can explain to me just how you can know anything, or believe anything, or learn anything, or do anything outside the context of YOU, your SELF.

I assure you it is quite impossible.  For as soon as you open your mouth to respond, or place your dainty/meaty/slender/stubby little fingers to the crumb covered keyboard (come on…you know we all eat at the computer) you have already concede my point; for it is YOU and YOUR mouth which is responding; it is YOU and YOUR fingers which are typing.  And since you cannot even explain why my assumption might be incorrect without first being YOU so that you have a source for your disagreement, you are forced from the outset to acknowledge, whether you like it or not, that SELF is the only way to do anything at all…to speak, think, or know must always follow being.

SELF is not a vehicle for existence, it IS your existence.  SELF is not a holding cell for your soul, it IS your soul.  SELF is not the means to your existential end, it IS the end.  Being YOU is not a stepping stone to some higher purpose God has for you; it is His ONLY purpose for you.  LIFE, that is SELF, is not a middle man…some kind of purgatory between birth and heaven or hell.  Rather it is the singularity of existence in total.  There is nothing from which LIFE is merely an extension, and no external objective to which life is merely a highway.

*

Knowledge proceeds from the individual SELF.  Your knowledge of anything is a direct function of your inherent ability to know; and your ability to know is a direct function of your SELF; your body, which is also your mind (your brain).  Knowledge, or learning, or understanding, be it of God or of anyone else is utterly dependent upon YOU to be YOU first, before it can serve any rational purpose, which also includes existence (as a rational and efficacious objective: to be whatever it is).  Meaning, without the life of man as a categorical prerequisite, there is no point to God, or the Bible, or Truth, or anything else…for all those things exist TO man, or they cannot be said to exist at all, because without the context of YOU, and ME, our lives, our SELVES, man has no means by which to argue for their substance by any definition at all…including, again, existence.  Man must be man first, before any knowledge of God can be passed unto him, for any practical purpose.  And thus then, naturally, the root of any purpose of any revelation from God or any action of God is man’s LIFE; meaning YOU, and ME…our SELVES.

*

If we concede that God is good, then (presuming upon my aforementioned arguments), then we are forced to concede that the human SELF is likewise good.  For how is it possible to claim that the Creator of the SELF is good and yet the SELF, which He created, is not good, and utterly insufficient for acting or thinking in a way which which is distinctively, by itself, good, and allows for an efficacious understanding of God’s goodness? “The fall” of man (a non-existent concept in the Bible; for the Bible never describes man as “fallen”) cannot destroy the epistemology of man; for if this is the case, then how in the fuck can any of us acknowledge that God is good?  If man’s epistemology is utterly flawed by his depravity, then man is infinitely blind of the knowledge of God’s goodness, as well as of the knowledge of anything and everything else.  But if we concede that we are in fact capable of acknowledging God’s goodness, and our “infinite sinfulness” (a lie) in comparison to Him, then it is impossible to make the argument that the SELF of human beings is evil.  It must be good, and it must be absolutely good in order to make an absolute statement like: God is GOOD.

Further, if God is GOOD, and we acknowledge that, then it can only be utter blasphemy to pronounce the human SELF which He created to be evil, or morally inferior, to that which is its Cause.  Therefore, if the SELF is in fact good, and it is by this SELF, and inexorably so, that man acknowledges God’s perfect goodness and His great and mighty existence and supreme and utterly necessary place in the existential scheme of everything that IS, then the gratification of the SELF must by logical extension be GOOD, not evil.  The question then is not whether SELF-gratification is good…for SELF-gratification IS good, and likewise SELF-interest, because the SELF is the very creation of God, and is the very and only means by which man can know Him and acknowledge His greatness.  So, again the question is not whether SELF-gratification is good; the question is how do we define the SELF?

For if we have a proper definition of SELF, then we can understand how to properly define OTHERS:  as other individual human SELVES which are likewise morally perfect and true, as efficacious creations of God…as people who, like ourselves, exist as legitimate and infinite volitional agents, just like we are.  And thus the gratification of the SELF, where SELF is rationally defined, must by logical necessity deny that this gratification can exist at the direct expense of the SELF of others.

But, again, this cannot not make the gratification of the SELF evil; it merely allows us to define the SELF in a rational way, in order that when we pursue its gratification–which we have every right to do, and must do, as this is the greatest moral GOOD: to promote and affirm and satisfy the singular source of man’s ability to know God, which is a GIFT, not a curse–we do it in a way that affirms the truth of the SELF, and not in a way that denies its truth, which must occur when the gratification of ourselves constitutes a violation of the mind, body, and/or property of other SELVES…that is, other human beings.

Finally…if we can successfully argue that man’s epistemology is veracious and efficacious, then we must concede that man is NOT metaphysically flawed; for man’s epistemology is a direct extension of his metaphysic.  And thus, if man can acknowledge God’s goodness, he cannot possess a totally depraved SELF.  Which means that SELF is not evil, and therefore, its gratification is likewise not evil.

Why Metaphysics Absolutely Informs Epistemology; and What the Laws of Nature, Total Depravity, and God’s Sovereignty Have in Common

Commenter, Store In a Cool Dry Place (one of the best internet monikers ever) said this on the thread of the last post:

“Can you please have an article or 2 for Dummies 101, Dummies 201 and 301 regarding Calvinism, neocalvinism, epistemology etc. that I can make reference to. Perhaps more clarity instead of just rants. I love the rants and colourful adjectives.”

Here is my response:

SCDP,

I like to think of my articles as philosophical treatises in rant form. 🙂 Because really, the ranting is just the tone of the argument (for damn good reason), but the points are beyond mere outrage and frustration.  I believe that I  challenge the root assumptions which undergird Reformation theology/neoCalvinism, as well as other Platonist schools of thought.

Epistemology is simple: it is the study of how we, that is, human beings, know what we know. It is rooted inexorably in metaphysics, which studies the nature of human existence; from a philosophical perspective, it looks at the question (and the pursuant inquiries which it naturally begs) “What is man?”. If the answer to that question is a shrug or a mystery, man cannot logically claim an efficacious epistemology; it is impossible.  If man has no relevant meaning, then he cannot be certain of ANYTHING at all, even his own existence, because irrelevancy cannot by definition breed truth…what is irrelevant has no efficacious objective, and such an objective is required for truth to exist.

Epistemology is a DIRECT function of man’s metaphysic.  Therefore, if man is nothing, lacking any relevant definition (as seen in the Reformed Christian hermeneutic, for example, particularly in the doctrines of Total Depravity and Original Sin), then he, by definition, must know nothing, as knowledge is a direct extension of man’s existential, essential SELF.  If man cannot answer the question “What is man?”, then he by logical extension cannot answer the question “What does man know?”.   This should be obvious, and I think it is for most of us.  Put simply, if man isn’t man, then man cannot know anything, because there is no one to know anything in the first place.

This basic contradiction (that man is NOT, and yet is somehow aware) is a big problem for many schools of thought, not just Christianity and other religious credos.

For example, science, and especially physics, claims that the material universe is a product of laws of nature which “govern” the existence of everything, and which manifest themselves in mathematical theorems, fondly thought of by many scientists as the “language of the universe/the heavens/the cosmos/God”…this last one being a particularly egregious presumption.  If God speaks in Math, then who do you think his priests are?

Notice the pattern?  Those of you familiar with the tyrannical machinations of Reformed theology (Protestantism) will recognize it almost instantly.  The language of the Cosmos (translated “God” by the scientific determinist, or as I call them “fake atheists”) is that which only a few very gifted people (divinely called and revealed upon proxies), usually haunting the stuffy rooms of trendy universities, are privy to.  Thus, they are the ones who get to stand in “God’s” stead and command the power and nature of truth, which is reality, for everyone else.

Anyone who thinks science is somehow absolved by its”objective” and “observable” and “testable” methodologies from flawed and irrational philosophical assumptions is sorely mistaken.  No one gets to claim ownership of man’s body and mind by appealing to some kind of divine revelation or external-to-man causal power, ever, no matter how many numbers they can add in their head, ivy league institutions bearing their class rosters, articles and theorems boasting their names, and no matter how many supercolliders they have helped construct.  And if they attempt to do this, you can be sure that any argument they make for their epistemological claims–their claim to “know what they know is true”–is going to be rooted in a false metaphysic, which makes the claim patently false and rendering an explanation of it entirely superfluous.  And further, history bears out the fact that the assumption that “God/the cosmos/the language of the heavens” reveals (as opposed to teaching) knowledge to a specific group of men for the purposes of leading the unwashed and blind masses into right thinking and behavior always leads to despotism in the end if it is allowed to run its logical course by the support and succor of a complicit government which wields the authority of force (violence).

When science claims that man’s body and mind–which are singular in their existence; there is no distinction between man’s material SELF and his consciousness…both are the IS of man–is a function of outside-man’s-existence laws of nature, it falls prey to the same contradiction in terms which spawns every other despotic world view.  Making it, like them, nothing more than mysticism materializing into, as John Immel so perfectly puts it, a cult of death. If man is a direct function of a law of nature which exists outside his material SELF (his body and mind), then man has no rational claim to himself.  That is, he has no definition for SELF except:  that which is NOT him; that is, the laws of nature which govern (determine) his very material being.

You see, the laws of nature do not merely organize the material universe into its coherent (observable) components. If indeed they are causal in their power and their purpose then they must be directly responsible for the very existence of the material itself, which makes the material universe’s existence a direct extension of the laws which govern, with no rational distinction to be found between the two entities.  Which means that the material universe IS the laws of nature, according to Argo’s Universal Truth Number One:  Anything which is a direct function of an absolute is the absolute.  If we say that the laws of nature merely organize the material universe into its various components, then the natural implication is that the very existence (existential being) of the material itself is not dependent upon any law of nature which governs it.  This means then that the supreme ROOT of why everything forms the way it forms and does the things it does and interacts the way it interacts and causes and effects what it causes and effects is NOT the laws of nature but the very root BEING of the material, which does not exist because of a law but because, and only because, and for no other reason, than it is what it is.  Period.

We cannot have our metaphysical cake and eat it too.  We cannot claim a rational existence which is a direct function of some external law or laws of nature and then declare that we are not, in utter existential and material actuality, those very same laws of nature, and absolutely so.  There can be no rational interaction of these two  absolutes: laws which govern, and material which is.  For absolutes, being infinite, cannot co-exist, by definition.  If the law(s) absolutely govern, which science indeed argues it/they do/does, then it must govern the material universe’s very existence, which means that the universe has no SELF to its material essence; has no actual root IT to itself.  It then literally is nothing more than the law itself, period.  Full stop.

Likewise, using the same logic, if the material itself exists because it is what it is…meaning that its existence and being are a reality because IT is ITSELF, absolutely, then there is no way to logically attach a law of nature outside of it, to it, in order to claim that its existence is governed by this law.  Existence of the material itself is absolute, which precludes any causal relationship with any law to govern it; there is no actual thing, object, entity, agent, or whatever else which can be the source of its existence, because its very existence is absolute in its SELF.  It needs no law to govern its interactions; it merely needs an observer to make abstract conceptualizations which describe how these material objects interact in order that the observer can define these conceptualizations as TRUTH, using himself as the singular frame of reference for their practical and efficacious application (applied to promote the existence of him SELF) and thus, by logical extension, declare himSELF as the only rational standard of what is TRUE.

And so this is really what science’s “laws of nature” are; they are nothing more than part of a cognitive conceptual framework which is  expressed in theoretical mathematical proofs.  Man creates these proofs in order to articulate the relative movement of objects he observes; a sort of sheet music for the universe.  They aren’t the universe itself, but they allow human beings to create (organize) an environment to serve an efficacious purpose (the human SELF), without having to re-invent the wheel every time we turn around.  The same way a musician can take a piece of sheet music and play a song, a scientist can take a series of mathematical proofs and construct something out of his material environment.  But these proofs are not what CREATE the material environment any more than sheet music is what creates the movement of air particles which strike your eardrums in a specific pattern.  They are not causal.  The air particles, and the substantive objects from which science creates tools or technology or buildings or guns or telescopes already existed before the music was ever written down or the mathematical proofs ever developed.  Thus, material, actual objects (which includes man) are not there because of laws of nature; they are there because they ARE.  Which means that the singular source and root of everything they do, and how they interact with man and other objects IS their very existence; and this is from themselves.  They exist because they have the inherent ability to do so.  Period.  Not because of some outside, invisible “law” or “language” of the cosmos.

Now, the hypocrisy then of scientists (fake atheists) who demand that the universe is a product of abstract laws which somehow cause its actual existence can be seen in how this exact same thinking applies to Christianity.

For the same reason science has no rational answer to the question “What is man?” because it concedes that man is nothing more than an extension of the laws of nature which govern, making man a direct function of what is NOT man, Christianity has no superior alternative metaphysic.  Indeed, the difference in the core philosophy between science and Christianity is purely semantic.  It is literally nothing more than a few different words .

By declaring man totally depraved at the root of his existence (which is why they deny man’s volition, even though some are liars and some are ignorant and deny this) what they, the modern day “orthodox” apologists, are really doing is making a metaphysical argument, and not, as they assume, an epistemological one.

Let me explain:

Almost every Christian denomination declares in their Statement of Faith than man is totally depraved.  This is known in Calvinism/neo-Calvinism as the Doctrine of Total Depravity.  They declare that man is blind to the truth of God because he refuses to believe…where “refuses” is a euphemism for “can’t”.  In other words, people believe the wrong things instead of the right things.  But it is not the belief in the wrong things which is the cause of their depravity (which then would not make it TOTAL), but precisely the opposite. They argue that it is man’s total depravity which causes him to believe the wrong things.  You see, wrong belief is a symptom of depravity, it is not the cause of it, which is precisely why those who accept this doctrine must deny man’s free will.  Wrong belief does not cause actions…wrong belief comes AFTER depravity in the causal chain of events.  It is in man’s nature to believe the wrong things (nature, meaning metaphysic) and thus do the wrong things.  It isn’t the belief that drives man’s choices and actions…which are then sinful.  No, no, no…for that would make man at his existential, material root innocent, and his sin thus a function of what he chooses to believe and thus chooses to do as a manifestation of that belief.  This is something no self-respecting Calvinist (contradiction in terms; Calvinists deny SELF) will EVER concede.  It is man’s depravity–his “sin nature”–which determines absolutely his beliefs which then determine his actions.  Remember, in the Augustinian/Lutheran/Calvinist construct, which is 99% of all Christianity (basically every Christian who has not yet realized that they’ve been exploited and lied to for most of their spiritual lives), there is no room for any choice at all, except as an obfuscation of the doctrine; and this for purely manipulative reasons…or out of ignorance.   You believe what you believe and do what you do because you ARE totally depraved, which is the same thing as saying you ARE total depravity itself, as if total depravity is an actual, material essence, which presents itself to the world as MAN…as YOU.  The simple meaning then of this entirely false doctrine is this:  YOU…your very material self is absolutely defined by your depravity. Therefore, there is no essence of you, no root material YOU, flesh and blood, at any level, which is not governed by your depravity.  Making your flesh and blood literally a direct extension of the concept of depravity; again, as though depravity IS an actual, tangible, material thing.

Is any of this sounding familiar?  We just talked about it a few paragraphs ago.

YOU are governed by your depravity.  THAT is the doctrine of Total Depravity, and why this doctrine is the salient and destructive seed of Calvinism’s utterly evil and anti-Christian theological assertion.  There is no YOU in the existential equation.  You ARE depravity, period.  The control in which “law of depravity” wields over your material SELF (mind and body) is absolute, and infinite, and thus, there can be no distinction between you and depravity.  There is NO place where depravity ends and you begin, or vice versa.

See the theme here? It is exactly the same root philosophy of the mighty physicist. You can’t be YOU because the very notion of an actual YOU which exists independently and autonomously implies that there is something which is not in fact governed by the law of depravity.  And if that is true, then depravity is not absolute…is not total.  If you are you, then you are not governed by depravity.  You are you, and that, not depravity, is the root and causal source of you.  Yourself is not of depravity but of your SELF.  Which means that the SELF is what is absolute, which means that depravity does not govern because it cannot actually exist.  It, like the laws of nature, is purely conceptual; a product of man’s mind.  For if YOU are absolute, then there can be no causal entity or agent or force which controls you.  For only one absolute cause of something can exist, and absolutes cannot be reconciled, by definition.  What is infinite cannot be bounded to or caused upon (in the non-conceptual sense) by something which it is NOT.

Now, unfortunately this is a hard fact for most Christians to swallow.  Even those who deny Total Depravity will not accept it because, though they might not like the idea that man cannot actually choose to sin but instead must sin, they still feel the need to believe that man is not inherently capable of being a direct function of himself…that is, his own cause (you can thank science, in part, for this).  So, instead of Total Depravity they appeal to “God’s Sovereignty” as the metaphysical substitution.  Man can choose, but only because God let’s him.

Whatever the fuck that means.

You see, even though you aren’t totally depraved, you are still utterly bound and restrained in your will and very being by God’s “Will”, and by this they mean that everything that happens and exists is manifest as a direct function of God’s choosing…God’s choice, never man’s.

This is nothing more than a regurgitation, with the requisite semantic differences and euphemisms, of the exact same philosophy of scientific determinism found in the declaration of laws of nature which govern, and spiritual determinism found in the despicable doctrine of Total Depravity.  Perhaps it is a kinder and gentler form of the same idea, but it is no less destructive.  And is only kinder and gentler in ostensible demeanor, perhaps, but not in force and not in violent outcome when the rubber meets the road.

No need to reiterate all the points; I’m sure you can make the connection by now.  If all is controlled by God, then there is no component of YOU which ever gets to be YOU apart from God’s absolute control.  God’s control is absolute, thus there can be no distinction between your SELF and God’s control, which means that YOU don’t really exist, but are a mere extension of God’s absolute Will; because there is NO place where God’s absolute Will ends and YOU, not controlled by God, begins.  Such a place doesn’t exist, which means that all of YOU is nothing more that God’s Will, period.

Do you understand how this metaphysic–you as a direct function of NOT you–destroys epistemology?  The easy logical connection is:  if you are not really you then you cannot make any claim to know anything.  It really is nothing more complicated than that.  If man isn’t himself, because he is a direct extension of some other absolute causal force, then everything man claims to know is a lie.  An illusion. There is no “How does man know what he knows?” in the absence of man defined by way of rational metaphysic.  And NOT MAN-as-man is NOT a rational metaphysic.

The common and altogether despotic political fallout (politics being another key tenet of philosophy…how man interacts with other men based on his metaphysical and epistemological assumptions) is manifest usually in an oppressive collective (like the theo-marxist neo-Calvinist church), and this occurs when these aforementioned faulty and irrational metaphysical and epistemological notions give rise to the necessary assumption that:  TRUTH and GOOD is not learned but is revealed (we discussed this a little previously in this article).  Revealed by what?  Why, the Primary Consciousness which is said to be the absolute source of everything (in Calvinism’s case, “God”), but which only a few priests, having received their “special revelation” of truth, have been “called” to represent, as Its proxy to the rest of us, of course.  And when you present with the audacity to utter criticism of their authority, your disagreement is declared proof that you have not been called to have the “wisdom” and “knowledge” (the gnosis…for this IS Gnosticism) that your rulers-in-the-stead-by-way-of-divine-revelation are privy to.

And so what to do with such a rascal?

Well, what is the easiest way to deal with people who can offer no logical claim nor rational argument for the presence and efficacy of their own physical existence as legitimate, autonomous SELVES?

Why, you FORCE them, of course.  And if they still refuse compliance, you murder them in service to the “absolute truth” which is, after all, outside of them, and yet utterly IS them.

And without an answer to the question, “What is man?”, who is really getting hurt anyway?

*

PS: As far as the roots of neo-Calvinism and Calvinism…have you checked out Paul Dohse’s blog paulspassingthoughts.com? He is all about that. He is the expert, and no article of mine could compare to the volumes Paul has written on the subject.