The Root of All Tyranny is the Dissection of Man’s Metaphysic: When man doesn’t get to be him SELF, he has no right to live.

This is the transcript of a conversation I had with a commenter named “Tom” over on the comments thread of the latest post at Spiritual Tyranny (here), with a few extra thoughts specific to this blog article at the end.

Herein, Tom commits the same mistake of reason which eventually leads all well-intentioned Christians right back into the arms of mystic abuse and tyranny.  (I hold aloft Wartburg Watch as exhibit A of how this can happen…see my last post).   It is the mistake of ALL despotic doctrines, no matter which flavor you prefer…political, religious, economic.

It’s basically this:  man never gets to be man.  The absolute metaphysic of the singular SELF of the individual is parsed.  Man is no longer an IS, he is man plus something NOT man, which makes man a direct function of what he is NOT; which is, of course, rationally impossible.  We see man plus his depravity; man plus his class; man plus God’s grace; man plus the laws of nature and mathematics; man plus his race; man plus his collective “people.  These outside forces are claimed to have a causal power over man that he is unable to resist, and consequently, man is never in a position to really make a rational or moral decision or to perform an efficacious act independently.  He is always governed by something outside of him.  And whatever that happens to be is the plumb line of whether he is at his root good or evil.

Now, most of these parsed-metaphysic apologists will argue that the ownership of man by these outside forces is only partial.  Man still bears some free will of his own, of course, they will sagely assure you.  He’s totally depraved, but not really TOTALLY totally depraved.  Or, the laws of nature govern material reality absolutely, but still, man, somehow, possesses the ability to have an unfettered mind by which to freely observe these absolute laws.

Now, I won’t go into detail here as to why this argument is rationally unsustainable, but suffice to say that the logical progression of this thinking inevitably leads to man’s total and utter inability to ever really BE himself, which means he cannot really know anything, which means he cannot really do anything, which means he ultimately needs to be compelled by force to behave.

And this is what I am attempting, in part anyway, to get across to Tom.


How can a Christian philosopher ignore this distinction? How is it that those “In Christ” are expected to behave precisely like those who are not? How can these two groups agree on a metaphysical starting point? How, when Christianity is in decline in a nation, can that nation have an increasingly Christ-honoring metaphysic?” – Tom


Are you suggesting that there is a metaphysical difference between those who are “saved” and those “not saved”? And if so, what by what argument can you defend such an assertion? Metaphysical states are absolute, I submit, and cannot be morphed from one “essence” to another (e.g. the “depraved and unable” metaphysic to the “righteously able” metaphysic). This makes the existential root of man’s BEING merely a direct function of some force OUTSIDE of him. Depravity pre-salvation, and “grace” post-salvation. This is of course nothing more than determinism…and is simply another way of arguing that man as an actual, legitimate and distinct SELF does not exist. Which of course makes the metaphysical distinction you speak of entirely irrelevant, for obvious reasons. If man is not really man, then what difference does it make to him which force controls (determines) him at any given moment. The answer: none at all. –Argo


I certainly would not suppose actual metaphysical reality changes when I become saved. But my reality does. Metaphysics must be considered both absolute and relative. God is absolutely who God is. That cannot change. But my relationship with God is very different than an atheist’s. Further, SOMETHING happened when I got saved. I was “translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son.” I am a “new creation.” That changes not the absolute metaphysics that governs the universe at a macro level, but the relative metaphysics that now attends to my new status. At minimum, God now exists *for me*. That changes (or should change) my entire picture of the universe, at a metaphysical level. For me, a new cognitive filter becomes active, in which I judge the ideas floating around based on MY NEW metaphysics.

Sadly, most of Christendom wants to teach the flawed metaphysics you and John are all excited about. So, most new Christians adopt that metaphysics as their own. And that metaphysical basis is identical to that of “the world.” To me, the metaphysics of “the world” is beyond our control. The only metaphysics we have any control over is that which we can control, i.e. in “the church.” But the church is corrupt and teaches bad metaphysics. So I propose a church which is founded with a goal of avoiding obvious corrupting influences (power, domination, favoritism, government tax collection, paid clergy, hierarchy, disbursement and collection of funds, ownership and disposition of real estate). Such a church may, as John seems to believe, be impossible. But given the options (Corrupt Church as Usual or Just Not Congregating Anymore), it seems to be worth a try.

And yes, btw, such a church would be composed of metaphysically different people. If only because they subscribe to the fundamental metaphysic of the universe: “Jesus is Lord.” Most Christians behave as if He is not. If He were Lord, churches would obey His clear instruction in Matthew 18. But they do not. Will adherence to Matthew 18 resolve all conflict? No. But it will provide a safe place for God’s sheep to grow in the grace of loving one another. Which is the *only* commandment of Jesus. Again, if only He were Lord!!! –Tom


With respect, you are attempting to argue both sides of a mutual exclusivity: Metaphysical reality is absolute; metaphysical reality is not absolute.

Put more simply, you are trying to argue that man is man while NOT actually being man, at the same time. Man is distinctly different at the “micro” and “macro”levels. Man is a duality of absolute SELF. Unfortunately, there is really no logical argument built to carry that idea.

If metaphysical reality is ABSOLUTE and therefore does not change, then there is no such thing as a “micro” metaphysical reality (your “relative” metaphysic), and a “macro” metaphysical reality (your “absolute metaphysic”).

So then what changes when we get saved? Not our metaphysical essence, for that is absolute, as you admit. What changes (or rather, should change but sadly doesn’t) is how we DEFINE our metaphysic. There are only two ways to define the human metaphysic, rationally and irrationally. The only rational metaphysic is that which you also rightly define as God’s: God is God…or better said, God is Himself.

If God is God, absolutely, and God is NOT anything NOT God, then the same must be true for man in order for man and God to have any kind of rational interaction. In other words, if God is God, and is never NOT God, then man MUST also be man, never NOT man. “God is HIMSELF” is God’s metaphysic. Which means that man’s metaphysic must logically be likewise: “Man is HIMSELF”. Period. The thing we must ask the proponents of typical Christian “orthodoxy” founded in an utterly irrational view of man as “finite” is: How can what is infinite and absolute (God) have a relationship with what is finite and temporal? The infinite and absolute is utterly incompatible with the finite and temporal, by definition. Existential and metaphysical equality is a necessary prerequisite for any kind of relationship between two agents, be it man and man or man and God.

So man, like God, can never be anything NOT himself. He is what he is. THAT is his singular and absolute metaphysic, full stop. Nothing else can be said; nothing added; no relative this, no micro that. Man is man, period. And you are done in defining his metaphysic. Your essay on the metaphysic of man should be only one sentence, three words. Any longer and it becomes a lie.

That being said, the only relativity in the matter lay in the CONCEPTS man and God, as SELF-aware (conscious) agents use to define their relationship (via language, which is purely an abstract conceptual paradigm used to efficaciously organize what is observed).

The only “metaphysical difference” between one conscious agent and another is HOW they each define the SELF. The rational person, Christian or not, should see SELF as the absolute singularity of their own individual existence, observing a relationship with OTHERS via a conceptual paradigm which ultimately is rooted in relative values (e.g. “distance” between two absolutes is always going to be relative, by definition). But metaphysically speaking, the two agents each are who THEY are. Only this proper understanding of the NON-relative metaphysic can lead to a rational and efficacious relationship with an OTHER (God, or another person).

In short, metaphysics do not change, BELIEFS change. And that’s Christ’s whole message. A change in BELIEF is necessary for an efficacious change in RELATIONSHIP. Jesus was never about denying man’s absolute SELF (and from that his absolute worth and truth) or attempting to redefine man’s absolute metaphysic, He was about getting people to believe in it.

The only difference between the “saved” and “unsaved” is, then, how they think. A new creation is nothing more than the same man conceding a NEW (and hopefully rational) philosophy. Which, as I said, really doesn’t happen in Christendom, and hasn’t for a loooooong time.

The only way you can change the church culture is the only way you can change a nation’s culture: thinking. And everyone, saved or unsaved, can think.


You see, what Tom is saying in this exchange is that “something” happens, which (somehow) changes all of reality down to the root metaphysic…even though reality really doesn’t change (the macro/micro metaphysical contradiction). We Christians are the same person we were before salvation, and also we are not.

Tom’s message thus is no different from any other in “orthodox” Christianity. Man is ultimately a function of mutually exclusive concepts which are given causal power (e.g. depravity/sovereign grace) to rule him absolutely, though not (in yet another open defiance of logic) simultaneously.  For man has a totally depraved metaphysic prior to salvation, and then (somehow) gets a grace metaphysic after. This both removes man from the existential equation completely so that there now is no actual definition of man because he is always defined as a direct function of what he is NOT, and it asks us to accept that the foundation of all truth is a zero sum ideal…that is, absolute evil is contradicted with absolute good in man, and the converse would also be true. This is probably as irrational as any thinking can get.

And that’s why it’s all about “faith” today in Christianity, where “faith” is nothing more than the elevation of ignorance as man’s epistemological ideal. And this makes sense because the metaphysical concession that man’s SELF is a function of an absolute force outside of him makes the removal of man—man’s DEATH—the moral ideal.  For instance, man must get out of the way so that God’s will can be fully manifest “in him”…man’s selfishness, his stubborn and rebellious tendency to want to think and act as an agent distinct from God and His plans is the root evil and the cause of God’s wrath and judgment upon the earth.

In short, Christianity in its various “orthodox” Protestant and Catholic pedigrees is little more than the worship of death and ignorance. Go into any church on a Sunday (or Saturday of you are a SDA) and see if I’m wrong . What are they always singing about? The cross as the moral ideal ( the death of Christ–which by extension, of YOU–as the direct cause of life…the meta-narrative of the cross, where the cross, an instrument of torture used to compel the masses to submit to Caesar, is the CENTRAL IDEAL of the faith); and the utter inability of man to make rational decisions and thus engage in moral actions apart from God’s sovereign determining will (complete human ignorance) as “wisdom”.

This of course makes the collection of unsaved souls merely rank barbarians by definition. Therefore, sooner rather than later, some Christian “leader”, like every other tyrant, decides that the metaphysically superior human, who is now a direct function of God as opposed to his depravity, has the moral obligation to rule the world and to lead the blind masses into the collective form of a “godly” nation…by force if necessary.

And it’s always necessary, ain’t it?

Beware of Christians who attempt to argue that their salvation and devotion to the Christian moral ideal is the root of why they should be given the reigns of civil government. They are doing exactly what Tom is doing: indefensibly claiming a superior metaphysic to that of their fellow non-Christian man. Thus, the only way for them to “prove” this “truth” is to reveal their willingness (which is always couched as a test of devotion) to kill for their cause (and cover for abuse, and blackmail, and extort, and lie, and steal); to broadcast their utter lack of compassion, compunction, and sympathy by eradicating anyone who stands in their way.

History is my witness:

The metaphysically altered Christian has attained a new level of existence (Heaven’s Gate), by which he is called to lead the masses of totally depraved idiots who are unable to see or hear the truth and are reflexively rebellious by “nature (Calvinism, neo-Reformationism), which gives him a new  “perfect” and absolute body collective, the authority of which he appeals to in order to force the inclusion of others (Marxism, People’s Temple (Jim Jones)). And he cries from his pulpit in a shrieking vibrato that this is the divine mandate of the master race of God’s elect (National Socialism/Fascism).

It’s all the same philosophy. Rooted in the idea that man’s absolute metaphysic of SELF can somehow be dissected.

24 thoughts on “The Root of All Tyranny is the Dissection of Man’s Metaphysic: When man doesn’t get to be him SELF, he has no right to live.

  1. Are we talking about an ABSOLUTE distinction between the Creator and his creation? An ABSOLUTE distinction between man and God? In God there can be nothing less than God. In man there can be nothing more then man? I have difficulties with orthodox concepts such as Theosis/Deification of Man. The Neo-calvinists got around this by chopping everything into spheres – an idea borrowed from the Kabbalah regarding emanations from God reaching mankind in different spheres and different levels. ‘”The more we come to know about the gnosis of antiquity, the more it becomes
    certain that modern movements of thought, such as progressivism, positivism,
    Hegelianism, and Marxism, are variants of Gnosticism.[…] The idea that one of
    the main currents of European, especially German, thought is essentially Gnostic sounds strange today, but this is not a recent discovery.” -Eric Voegelin

    “Now among the isms which deny God’s immutability because they apply to God
    the idea of ‘becoming’ we think first of all of Gnosticism; furthermore of the
    theosophy of the Cabala, and of Böhme, Schelling, Rothe, Hamberger, etc., which exerted its influence upon the doctrine of kenosis (self-emptying, cf. Phil. 2:7 ff.);and finally, we have in mind the pantheistic philosophy of Fichte, Hegel,
    Schleiermacher, Schopenhauer, Von Hartmann; etc.
    The elaborations may differ, the basic idea in all these systems is the same: God
    is not; he becomes.[…] Nevertheless the doctrine of God’s immutability is of the highest significance for religion. The contrast between being and becoming
    marks the difference between the Creator and the creature. Every creature is
    continually becoming.[…] Every change is foreign to God.[…] Aristotle so
    conceived God’s being as “the First(Primary) Idea or Form,” without any
    “potentiality,” as “absolute energy or activity”…
    The idea of absolute becoming was first clearly expressed by Heraclitus and
    recurs again and again in philosophy. Plotinus, more than any one else made useof this concept, and he applied it not only to matter by also to that which he
    regarded as absolute being. He taught that God brought forth his own being, that
    He was active before He existed… [The Kabbala] gave rise to the view advocated
    by Christian theosophists in connection with the doctrine of the Trinity, that God,
    who is not a being at rest but rather an eternally developing life, not only inwardly
    ascends from darkness to light, from nature to Spirit, but also outwardly surrounds Himself with some kind of nature, corporality, glory or heaven, in which heassumes a form and glorifies Himself. That is the representation of Böhme,
    Oetinger, Baader, Delitzsch, Auberlin, Hamberger, etc. Bavink, The Doctrine of God

  2. The above quotes excerpted from:
    ByMichael M. Morbey Dec.25th, 1979
    © Michael Morbey, 1979

  3. Kindly excuse the above scrappy mess. I am constrained by time and I find this conversation fascinating. I feel like a newly blind person looking for the cheese in the fridge and wondering why it smells like the cat.

  4. SCDP,

    Are you asking if I think that man and God are existentially equal? The answer to that is yes. God exists. Man exists. It is impossible to define existence as a function of degrees. Therefore I deny that anything “comes into” existence from non-existence. You cannot become what you are from what you are NOT, by definition. Existence and non-existence are mutually exclusive states. Further, I would argue that the idea of things “becoming” is merely a particular concept man uses to describe the relative interaction of objects/agents he observes. The root of all material is infinite…there can be no end to what IS. Thus, the interaction of material is merely a shift in how man, and any other conscious agent, observes it relative to himself.

    Are you asking if I believe man and God are equal metaphysically? The answer is yes. God is God. Man is man. These are axioms. Man being metaphysically “less” than God is merely saying that man is both man and not man simultaneously. Obviously, this perspective cannot be rationally defended.

    This does not blur the distinction between God and man. On the contrary. It allows for it.

  5. “It is often argued `that Platonic*theism is theologically unacceptable for
    the traditional theist because it violates the aseity: sovereignty doctrine.A
    strong reading of the aseity: sovereignty doctrine states that (a) God is the
    uncreated creator of all things, and (b.) all things other than God depend upon
    God and God depends on nothing whatsoever. Platonic theism is typically
    understood to be in tension with this strong reading of the aseity: sovereignty
    doctrine for Platonic entities are usually understood as either independent or
    (at least) uncreated.To avoid this tension, the move of choice for the Platonic
    theist is (often) to somehow locate the Platonic horde in the being of God.”

    Paul Gould

  6. For some reason I cannot get commenting to work on John’s blog. Tom seems to imply that adults will need someone in charge of them. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. This thinking is automatic out there. I saw it everyday in when in the training field. So I would always ask: Why do adults need leaders? Amazing the convo that came out of that question. And the brainstorming that occured.

    Having someone in charge as a leader is different than delegating a leadership responsiblity i.e. voting. (or what it is supposed to be about)

  7. SCDP,

    A better rendering of God is: The unobserved first Observer . Because what is observed can, and must, still be completely and autonomously ITSELF. And not what is observing it.

    Granted, it is exceedingly difficult to formulate an exact anthropology of God if one concedes that distinctions of objects/agents cannot exist as a function of space, but only of awareness (I am MYself, you are YOURself).

    This makes God and man a product of the same infinite substance which comprises all things.

    I am still working on a rationale.

    For now I will say that God cannot be the uncaused first cause because that makes everything NOT God an effect. That makes God the direct source of everything. And you cannot argue that man exists as himself if he is utterly and infinitely caused by God. At the root of mans being he must have the inherent ability to be CAUSED UPON. And THAT is the real source of his being. Man is the root of man.

    Again, this is complicated stuff.

  8. You cannot comment on John’s site via phone, as for as I know. You need to use a computer. This is a problem for me too because I use my phone for almost everything except writhing my articles.

  9. “When man doesn’t get to be him SELF, he has no right to live.”

    And I am starting to see that one way “they” produce this thinking about no right to self is disrespecting the concept of Justice or Judgement. It is always presented as mean (or even a sin) when it is really a beautiful thing. It is a good thing when people have been wronged to have a “judgement” made to declare it a wrong thing and make restitution.

    This is how God judges. He is about making things right through His people– now. He just does not have many people who understand that. It seems those who claim Him now either get the law/new covenant dichotomy wrong or they believe justice (or wanting justice) is some sort of sin.

    Talk about losing self. Having no right to live. Do you know how many corrupt pastors I have heard tell people: Why not be wronged! They take a concept from scripture and totally misapply it to get by with all sorts of things against others to promote themselves and make Christianity totally toothless in meaning.

  10. “Do you know how many corrupt pastors I have heard tell people: Why not be wronged! They take a concept from scripture and totally misapply it to get by with all sorts of things against others to promote themselves and make Christianity totally toothless in meaning. ”

    It is called the art of the proof text. It is amazing how creative tyrants and monsters can be with scripture (or any source) when they aren’t fettered by pesky context.

    As if “being wronged” is the moral and behavioral equivalent of “being abused”.

    Yeah…because God totally honors those who never fight for truth and instead just nod and bend over and grab ankles for every destroyer who comes along.

    Where is the proof text for that?

  11. Thought you guys might enjoy this from Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art”

    This quote is from pp. 34-36.

    Fundamentalism is the philosophy of the powerless, the conquered, the displaced and the dispossessed. Its spawning ground is the wreckage of political and military defeat, as Hebrew fundamentalism arose during the Babylonian captivity, as white Christian fundamentalism appeared in the American South during Reconstruction, as the notion of the Master Race evolved in Germany following World War I. In such desperate times, the vanquished race would perish without a doctrine that restored hope and pride. Islamic fundamentalism ascends from the same landscape of despair and possesses the same tremendous and potent appeal.

    What exactly is this despair? It is the despair of freedom. The dislocation and emasculation experienced by the individual cut free from the familiar and comforting structures of the tribe and the clan, the village and the family.

    It is the state of modern life.

    The fundamentalists (or, more accurately, the beleaguered individual who comes to embrace fundamentalism) cannot stand freedom. He cannot find his way into the future, so he retreats to the past. He returns in imagination to the glory days of his race and seeks to reconstitute both of them and himself in their purer, more virtuous light. He gets back to basics. To fundamentals.

    Fundamentalism and art are mutually exclusive. There is no such thing as fundamentalist art. This does not mean that the fundamentalist is not creative. Rather, his creativity is inverted. He creates destruction. Even the structures he builds, his schools and networks of organization, are dedicated to annihilation, of his enemies and of himself.

    But the fundamentalist reserves his greatest creativity for the fashioning of Satan, the image of his foe, in opposition to which he defines and gives meaning to his own life. Like the artist, the fundamentalist experiences Resistance. He experiences it as temptation to sin. Resistance to the fundamentalist is the call of the Evil one, seeking to seduce him from his virtue. The fundamentalist is consumed with Satan, whom he loves as he loves death. Is it coincidence that the suicide bombers of the World Trade Center frequented strip clubs during their training, or that they conceived of their reward as a squadron of virgin brides and the license to ravish them in the fleshpots of heaven?….

    To combat the call of sin, i.e., Resistance, plunges either into action or into the study of sacred texts. He loses himself in these, much as the artist does in the process of creation. The difference is that while the one looks forward, hoping to create a better world, the other looks backward, seeking to return to a purer world from which he and all have fallen.

  12. Argo, the fact that wiki has a page explaining “contextual axioms” is quite telling, isn’t it?

  13. Lydia,

    I think I misread his statement. Wikipedia does not have such a page. He was quoting his source tongue in cheek for contextual axioms as “Wikipedia + Tom”. He was essentially saying that by virtue of him making up such an idea, it existed as legitimate.


    He was really angry with me. I have suspicions that “Tom” is “David Brainerd” is “James Jordan”. But he hasn’t any lobbed any epithets towards the “gay mafia” or the “gnostic apostle Paul”, so I can’t be sure.

  14. DUH. I thought he was serious. I just did not bother to check.

    Could be David but without the gnostic Paul not sure you can tell. :o)

    He used to post very interesting things about Jewish thought/OT interpretation that I really enjoy.

  15. Lydia, thanks for that link! Just this morning I was talking with someone about what I think it means to be made in the image of God, and how that pertains to human freedom and the concept of being actual, real human beings, “owning ourselves” etc. Also, complaining about the insane, cruel lie of determinism, and those who hurt others with it or promote those who do etc. That link is fascinating and worked as a salve to help cool the burn from another recent fiery dart.

  16. Oasis,

    Lydia is a gold mine of this kind of this kind if information. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned following her links. So glad it is helping you to learn to love your SELF which is ACTUAL and GOOD!!

  17. “Lydia, thanks for that link! Just this morning I was talking with someone about what I think it means to be made in the image of God, and how that pertains to human freedom and the concept of being actual, real human beings, “owning ourselves” etc. Also, complaining about the insane, cruel lie of determinism, and those who hurt others with it or promote those who do etc. That link is fascinating and worked as a salve to help cool the burn from another recent fiery dart.”

    I am so glad. I have been researching this stuff and came across it. Would love to read the book. Genesis for Normal People is a good start on this stuff.

    I have come to the conclusion that if we get the image of God wrong, we get pretty much else wrong. Same with how we treat Genesis. Trying to make it into a literal creation narrative and science book takes us down the total wrong road.

    Same with the law which we totally ignore was given to a people who had been living as slaves among the pagans for generations. God did not want to give them the law. God did not want to give them a king. And so on.

    I think we can only come to one conclusion: Most pastors are ignorant when it comes to this stuff and they are the last people we should be learning from.

  18. Thanks, Argo! 🙂 Yep, Lydia is a gold mine, and I love and admire her very much. Both of you have- okay, stopping before I get too mushy! HA.

    Gonna google that book, thanks, Lydia. Pastors, schmastors, yes.

  19. Oasis,

    I have an entire article in the hopper on why today’s pastor is a fake job, and little more than a movement of mystic exploitation that depends on promoting the idea of broad human epistemological insufficiency for its survival.

    It’s a good one…utterly reason-based. I make no appeal to an emotional argument. I simply explain that the reason a teacher can be a teacher of the same people for life is because of the presumption that the pastor is privy to literally ENDLESS special revelation, and therefore the laity is ALWAYS working off of incomplete knowledge at any and every given moment of their lives. This allows the pastor to act as the spiritual and intellectual teat upon which the barbarian masses must continually feed. The masses are ALWAYS unaware, blind, and thus are dependent upon the ecclesiastical authority which has been “called” by God to lead them (compel) into right thinking and behavior. Remember, in reformed theology man is defined by his categorical INABILITY, and this view of pastors as the keepers of the divine gnosis is merely another manifestation of this axiom.

    Okay, there is SOME emotion. Like my abject disdain of such exploitative charlatans, and you will know this by the parade of four letter expletives which proceedeth my opinions of their moral character. But my exposition is utterly rational, I submit. Not sure when I’ll get to it. Though, I hope soon.

  20. Argo, can’t wait to read that article. What you describe is sad and even horrifying, and I think more and more of us are beginning to think similar thoughts… Definitely worth serious examination.

    As a feeler type, or at least one with plenty of anger etc., I really do appreciate attempts at utterly reason-based arguments, which can bring a kind of balance and/or tremendous support to the table. Also always appreciate the freedom in which you express yourself. I am just as “bad” with the four-letter words at times.

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