The Bible is Not a Philosophy; and Pastoral “Wisdom” and “Understanding” is the Very Definition of Subjective Opinion

Before we examine another parcel of madness bathed in a wash of syrupy platitudes and cliches, and wrapped in a paper-thin shroud of compassionate spiritual counsel, I am compelled to point out the lack of bibliography, citations, or references of any sort in the primer which has been the subject of my latest series “Collectivist Philosophy Masquerading as the Christian Orthodox Ideal”.  The booklet is, again, entitled, “Community: Your Pathway to Progress”, and it was published by North Point Ministries in 2008.

We are all just supposed to assume that they are speaking from some place of higher authority and that whatever they have scribbled down is somehow “God-breathed”; which is merely another nod to their presumption of representing God as proxy to the laity.  The laity…which is not in the position, either metaphysically or epistemologically, to really know the difference.  Oh, sure, they will poof-text the Bible in a lazy attempt to add credence and legitimacy to their ideas, but this is merely another stage prop in the facade.  Remember, the Bible is NOT a philosophy, no matter how many of us wish it were or function as though it was.  It does not spell out a clear, stark metaphysical construct for man; it does not lay out a fundamental epistemology rooted in this construct; it does not declare axiomatic ethics (beyond the Ten Commandments, which are unfortunately obliterated in a raging sea of equivocation once the Jews are seen to interact with tribes outside themselves, not to mention how the Commandments are handled, often circumspectly, in the New Testament); it does not posit a stark political strategy (and given that most of the Old Testament is within the context of a monarchy that God advised AGAINST, and the New Testament functions within the confines of Roman imperialism and Rabbinic hyper-authoritarianism I’d say this point is pretty well made for me…my further elaboration unnecessary); nor does it offer examples of a derivative aesthetic based upon the rest of the philosophic axioms…because they aren’t there.  My point is that in order to interpret the Bible rationally one must have a rational philosophy already established.  For I submit that the single greatest weakness of the Bible (and this is not really the Bible’s fault, but rather the fault of those who pretend to be its authorities and experts) is that because of its decided lack of metaphysical and epistemological absolutes it is prone to massive subjectivity with respect to the doctrines derived from it.  Meaning that anyone can get it to say just about whatever the fuck they want it to say.  And again, this is precisely because it is NOT a philosophy.  Thus, in order to understand the Bible–if we concede that the Bible is our primary source for what we think, spiritually–we must possess a rational mind, with rational consistency, and have developed our existential assumptions (philosophy) via reason before the Bible can possibly make any sense or have any efficacious relevancy.

My opinion with respect to God’s view of man from all of the aforementioned is this: The fact a reasonable philosophy is a prerequisite for a rational rendering of the Biblical messages is, to me, an illustration of God’s faith in man’s ability to observe his own reality and concede the existence of his own distinct, autonomous, volitional SELF, and to live by it, before He even deigns to dialogue.  Indeed, the efficacious and rational existence of man’s SELF is so obvious that God doesn’t even bother with presenting some kind of singular philosophy; he just jumps right in to LIFE, and counsel for the most valuable and profitable and satisfying way of living it.  Alas, God has a much higher opinion of man’s intellect and ability to apprehend reality rationally than does man.  But try arguing this with the evil, Marxist shills in charge of running the institutional church these days.  You’ll find yourself run out of town on a rail; next stop, Heretic Land. My point is that you must remember that when you read things like “Community: Your Pathway to Progress”–with “community” being a euphemism for Marxist-style totalitarian collectivism–understand that it is not rooted in any particular, salient, deep, or rational understanding of…well, anything at all.  It is a bunch of ill-educated, intellectually stunted, under-productive man-hens clucking around the coop in the hopes that at some point truth in Shakespearean prose might burst forth from their lips.  Why?  Simply because they’ve assumed God’s omnipotence and authority by fiat.  In other words, by just deciding that they are somehow “called”.

So my recommendation?  Take this stuff–advice books from the institutional church–for what it is:  very little.  And then proceed to find the humor in it by its sheer audacity; then mock it, disprove it with reason, know that God does not consider madness to be wisdom, and go on with your life, living it for you, your pleasure, your comfort, your peace, because its God’s gift to you, because he’s a Father, and normal, sane fathers actually want their children free and happy…not enslaved, confused, tortured, and murdered for the sake of some asshole who stands at a podium and says “obey me”, with absolutely no more depth to his “authority” than that simple directive.

6 thoughts on “The Bible is Not a Philosophy; and Pastoral “Wisdom” and “Understanding” is the Very Definition of Subjective Opinion

  1. I have been skimming through the movie Lincoln again. On my pvr and about the 9th time through. Lincoln was an Ethan Allen fan and tells a humorous story about him and an an English WC. Lincoln wrestled with reason and religion. There are copious internet debates around Abe’s salvation. I like to think that he was a believer, but who cares. Here’s a gratuitious quote from old Ethan Allen: Those who invalidate reason, ought seriously to consider, “whether they argue against reason, with or without reason; if with reason, then they establish the principle, that they are laboring to dethrone;” but if they argue without reason, (which, in order to be consistent with themselves, they must do,) they are out of the reach of rational conviction, nor do they deserve a rational argument.”

  2. General Ethan Allen of Vermont died and went to Hell this day.
    Reverend Doctor Ezra Stiles, president of Yale College, on learning of the death of Allen. Diary entry (12 February 1789)
    Passed by Ethan Allyn’s grave. An awful Infidel, one of ye wickedest men ye ever walked this guilty globe. I stopped & looked at his grave with a pious horror.
    Rev. Nathan Perkins in his Narrative Of A Tour Through The State Of Vermont on 25 May 1789.

  3. Jason,

    Ethan makes a great point. Reminds me…

    Just yesterday a friend of mine submitted that paradox was a way to understand certain things (wrt faith, God, etc.). I said that, on contrary, paradox was the concession that whatever thing is in question CANNOT be understood; that paradox was a perpetual question, not an answer. The whole point of a paradox is that it does not HAVE an answer. It is two (or more) mutually exclusive things at once. It is both and neither. Infinity multipled by zero.

  4. Jason,

    Good stuff!

    I think Lincoln is totally underestimated. I have read about all there is on him and his own stuff and I am thinking he was very practical about his beliefs. (Which is totally missing these days).

    As far as the Yale guy and Ethan Allen, the determinist from Yale could not stand the idea of reason. and its practical application. Back then, Yale was still a religious school immersed in Puritan thought. It was started by a wing of the Puritans who called themselves “Congregationalists”. Mark Dever of T4G tries to pass off this sort of congregationalism using the mask that most Baptists these days think it means democracy but historically it did not. A way of redefining old words.

    This country would never have been founded on Puritan thinking. The ideas for it were implemented by those who had thrown off those determinist shackles. Praise God!

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