“So who are you? Or more to the point, who knows you? You’ve probably allowed very few people to know the real you, warts and all. Everyone else is presented with an image you’ve managed to create. And you aren’t the only one. Somewhere along the line we all learn to pretend. We adopt society’s idea of what a successful person is and we spend a lot of time trying to protect that image. We drive cars we can’t afford. We pad our resumes. We smile. We act happy and teach our kids to do the same. We work hard to make people believe we have it all together.”
(p. 24, “Community: Your pathway to progress”, North Point Ministries, 2008)
Now, pay close attention, because this paragraph is a beautiful example of the evil deception which passes for “truth” and “sound doctrine” in the Christian church today. It is a sleight of hand…a nod to the individual while at the same time making the point that the individual is not only–or, in a sense, not really–a reprobate, but is a full on lie. The lie of hell, and we all are born convinced of it.
What this is here is a collectivist proselyte drawing an impossible line from a brooooad fucking generalization to an unknowable particular. Which makes the generalization worthless; which makes the point worthless; which makes the message worthless. Welcome to “orthodox” Christianity, Reformed style, in 2014 America.
Generalizations cannot equal specifics by definition…let’s just get that shit out of the way right now. And so generalizations, since we are all individuals, cannot ultimately define the nature of human existence. But when you proceed from a metaphysical assumption that is decidedly collectivist–for example, ALL human beings are “fallen”; ALL human beings are “pervasively and totally depraved”; ALL have sinned (and I must disagree with Paul here, at least if he is arguing that “sin” is a direct function of our categorical metaphysical error)–then there is no such thing as the individual. Therefore, there is no such thing as a specific…everything–all reality–is an extension/function of broad generalization. The “individual” is a lie; a farce; an illusion. The “real” you, to which this paragraph is referring, isn’t REAL at all. That’s their whole fucking point here. The “real” you is the you you only THINK is real, because your very nature demands that you reject the “truth” of the group God has called you to–you are rebellious by nature–and live in a purely make-believe fantasy world of free will, individual choice, and your singular, individual, mind.
On another note, a cursory glance around you reveals this paragraph to be a lie with respect to some of its examples concerning behavior. We do NOT all drive cars we cannot afford. My truck is a 1996, bought and paid for, costing pennies for insurance. My new little car for driving the girls around was a third of what an average mid-sized sedan costs. My wife’s car is a 2005 with a hundred thousand miles. Neither I , nor my wife, have ever driven a car we cannot afford. So, even on the basis of a single individual, myself, and a single example–the car–I can declare this paragraph false and its author a liar.
I know people who rarely smile. I don’t teach my kids to “act” happy but to BE happy by understanding their inherent SELF (i.e. individual) worth as human beings, and their inalienable right to own the full sum and substance of their own minds, bodies, and property; and that only the sad, confused, manipulated, victimized, and oppressed will allow some high school drop out tell them what to do with themselves and their money and where to live and go and what to eat and drink simply because the asshole happens to stand in front of a podium and claim he has been “called” to “stand in God’s stead” FOR Him and TO them, while at the same time, by the metaphysics and epistemology he teaches, declaring that there is absolutely no way he can actually prove this. They just have to take his fucking word for it. It’s called “faith” he says. You have to agree with him before you understand him.
Nonsense. Plain and simple.
Lies upon lies and more lies on top of that. Lies is the “orthodoxy” of the church today, and they have gotten very, very good at it, as this little neo-collectivist primer we are discussing proves.
But that’s not really the point of this paragraph now, is it? No. The point isn’t to proclaim that you are some poor misunderstood sinner who eeks and scratches out a miserable, tortured existence in the quiet still of a barren, cold room in the dark …alone and a liar. No. The point of this paragraph is, as I have discussed, to explain that YOU, yourself, don’t really exist. That this “person” you must lie about in order to get along in “society” (whatever the fuck that is…”society” eats an awful lot of shit, and takes a lot of blame for something that an abstract concept cannot possibly be guilty of, because it doesn’t actually exist)…yes, that this person you must lie about in order to get along in “society” is simply dream. And the reason you MUST lie about yourself is because your SELF, itself, is a complete lie. In order to proclaim that there is a YOU which defies the “truth” of the collectivist metaphysic you are forced to lie about it. That’s because “you” are really evil, the concept, such as it is in its absolute, infinite singularity. And as such, and by definition, YOU cannot be observed as distinct from the evil which is you. You pretend and perform for the crowd like a monkey on a leash dancing to the organ grinder’s tune because that’s your nature. You are LIE. You are the FORCE of DEPRAVITY. There is no real individual human being which can exist within it thus.
The only way for “you” to arise, then–that is, as not a full on lie–is to manifest as an extension of a group…the “real” group. The one that God “really” likes. And that, of course, is the neo-Reformed, neo-Calvinist juggernaut we see forming ever more rapidly from sea to shining sea, and beyond, preaching the same satanic lies it always has, from that day of its medieval spawning to this. And here, of course, is where the metaphysics get a bit muddy (well…they are always muddy, its just that the scum is now rising to the surface, forming an oily sheen, where it is more easily observed): If there is no you, then how can YOU be integrated into the group?
Punt! And, as John Immel says, out goes the contradiction into the cosmic abyss of “God’s mystery”. For here, at this point, you simply have to trust your resident, local “man of God”; that when he says God is “calling” “you” to this group of “fellow sinners” to His “glory” so that through collective navel gazing and wailing and lamenting your absolute and categorical inability to do anything God can be pleased with, because He hates your very guts and only deigns to tolerate “you” because of His Son. Who, for some reason died on a Roman cross for an infinitely vile scum-eating, blithering dickhead like yourself, who is and was and will continue to be a product of his own infinite metaphysical depravity and general existential assholery (which makes Christ’s sacrifice the greatest act of irrational behavior in world history, but, whatevs…). Yes, just take your pastor’s word for it, he explains.
Of course, this begs the following question:
How can you take his word for it if there is no YOU?