“Can you remember a time when even though you were really committed to do something, you didn’t do it? Or have you ever had a strong conviction not to do something and you did it anyway? We want to stay committed. We want to stick to our convictions. But somehow we fall short. We don’t usually wake up in the morning planning to abandon a commitment or jettison a conviction. It’s more of a slow drift. We are tempted to do something we shouldn’t, and then we talk ourselves out of doing it, and then we decide to do it anyway…but just his once. We are all incredibly adept at self-deception. We never intend for the “just this once” to become the norm. But before we know it, we’ve drifted away from our exercise programs, our diets, our schedules with margin, our budgets, our moral convictions, etc.. It is how affairs begin; it is how honest business men become dishonest; it is how social drinking becomes alcoholism; it is how good dating relationships go places we never intended. “
(p. 32, Community: Your pathway to progress; North Point Ministries, 2008)
Okay…hmm. I struggle with this. I mean, this could be one of two things here. The first is: it could be deception based upon a fully committed but inconsistent belief in a false doctrine–total depravity. The second is: it could be deception based upon a fully committed and also consistent belief in a false doctrine, total depravity, but stated in a such a way that the author(s) don’t actually say, in so many words, what they really think…because they understand that the plebes–tithers and free laborers–might rightly bristle at and, even worse, question the rational consistency such utter bullshit.
Here’s what I mean. Now, it’s a bit subtle, I admit. Well, at least for those in the audience who may not be fully versed in the tactics employed by the neo-Calvinist/neo-Reformed Ministry of Propaganda. To those of us, like myself, who have a long and comprehensive (and expensive–thanks to falling prey to the false doctrine of Church Tithing) history with the neo-Calvinist movement, it screams at us like an Irish Banshee dancing on trash can lids.
You see, what we have here is the the contradiction of what I call the notion of man’s Dual Metaphysic. This is the idea that man’s mind and body are somehow rendered absolutely distinct, whilst at the same time those who promote such an idea usually concede that there is no real way of defining just where this distinction is…that is, they cannot actually say where the body ends and the mind begins, and vice versa. Which of course makes the entire idea completely useless, but we’ll ignore that obvious point for the moment.
This mind/body dichotomy may be more familiar to most of you as that of the spirit/body, but I submit that that’s not a particularly accurate way of looking at it, because what is really being promoted is the idea that man can actually think, and somehow assume upon thing, and yet MUST, according to his nature, do another. In short, it is the idea that human beings do not act based upon their cognitive assumptions; that human beings do not act according to what they believe. It is the idea that man can both somehow be aware of what moral actions he should take, and yet be fundamentally insufficient for actually manifesting those actions in reality.
First of all, this is irrational on its face. If man does not possess the capacity for manifesting moral actions, because his very existence as a human forbids such actions, then he can have no frame of reference for the cognitive assumptions about the morality of doing them. In other words, if you never–or even more precisely, can never–observe a man leap over a tall building in a single bound because humans simply cannot be reconciled to their environment this way based upon their endemic physical properties, then you cannot possess a rational assumption that man should do such thing; and therefore you cannot rationally chastise yourself or other men for NOT doing such a thing. You cannot preach moral invective against men for NOT doing an action which is impossible by nature for men to ever observe themselves doing. That action cannot be a rational component of man’s identity for the simple reason that he cannot do it, and thus he cannot be morally guilty before God or anyone or anything else for not doing what he can’t do by design. There is no moral, nor actual, tangible, empirical context for an action man cannot take by design, and therefore it is impossible that he should ever cognitively assume he should do it, and thus should want to do it for moral reasons, or any other reason, and thus lament not doing it as though it is some kind of inherent metaphysical flaw. And further, there is no rational foundation for the possession of knowledge concerning what man should do when he cannot, by his very nature, observe himself ever doing it…because to observe man doing it would destroy the very rational identity of man entirely.
So this message, in fact, cannot be anything but exploitative and psychologically destructive. It is frankly evil to flagellate and decry and condemn humanity for knowing what they should do and not doing it when knowing it and doing it are mutually exclusive properties at the root metaphysical essence of man, which makes both, in fact, impossible. You cannot cognitively know that you should do what you cannot physically do as a function of being human. Period. Man’s moral beliefs about his behavior cannot be rationally separated from his existential identity…that is, how he observes himself physically and pragmatically reconciled to his environment. In short, if man should do something, he must possess the inherent ability to do it. To say man should do something he cannot by his very existence do is nonsense, and even more insane is to seek to punish him for not doing it. Ideas like these must destroy men in the end, and should be actively ridiculed and avoided.
Now, do I need to state the obvious? Does it really need to be said that not everyone falls off the bandwagon? Do I really need to remind us that some people have no need to be on the bandwagon at all? And this is because they do not struggle with their convictions or their commitments. I suppose it would be an utter shock to the archetypes of “divine” enlightenment in the neo-Reformed ecclesiasty to learn that some people can be social drinkers and not and never do become alcoholics. Would it be straining their credulity to explain that some people remain committed to their exercise programs and do not give in to their “real” desire to lie around in bed all day and have Yodels hoisted up to them in dumb waiters? And it is because this is not, in fact, their real desire at all, but rather their real desire is to remain committed to their exercise program. A tacit look around my neighborhood on any given day above 40 degrees will reveal the serial joggers in our society’s midst. I can assure you that these people are not fighting some form of “sin nature” with an all-loving, all-benevolent theo-marxist Reformed church collective encouraging them to conquer their demon of sloth with every “small group” meeting they are required by their “leaders” to attend or face church discipline, not to mention the divine sanction of God as wielded by the Senior Pastor, for the mortal sin of choosing, as a grown-ass adult, to do something else with their own time on a Wednesday night .
I swear, they have turned the church’s small groups into fucking AA; and they treat every person who attends as an addict.
How in the hell do rational and, by all pretenses, sane adults suffer this kind of treatment by men who possess, usually, no greater educational accomplishment in life than a high school diploma and a few years in a Protestant indoctrination camp where the nucleus of the entire experience is to purposefully avoid and overtly demonize any opposing ideas or interpretive methods, and this merely as a means of censuring any examination of their own indefensible assumptions…yes, why on earth do they put up with this?
The answer to that question has everything to do with the prevailing metaphysic in our culture, and frankly, most of the world, and it is a metaphysic that roots man entirely within the abstract “cause and effect” systems invented by men whom all of us are told are experts. Systems originally invented–if we are being charitable–to promote individual man and to propagate his comfort and success within his environment.
Unfortunately, the altruistic nature of these ideas has long since been corrupted; and for thousands of years individuals have been conditioned to sacrifice their own minds and their own observations and their own conclusions to a select group of priests whom the masses are told possess a special nature, a special sight given to them by God, or nature, or the Cosmos, or whatever Power lay beyond the grasp of the ordinary human being. And to this day people scarcely stray beyond that line in the sand, beyond which they have been taught since they were little kids is where the baaaaaad things live. And all of this is founded upon one simple little lie, which is told to you over and over and over again, in both grand and subtle ways, in almost every moment of every day of your life:
Life causes death.
That your very birth has ushered in an endless sea of misery and despair, culminating in an oblivion which is anything but, because there can be no peaceful oblivion from the frame of reference of a life filled with an actual, experiential existence which rejects the individual by its very nature from his very first breath.
And we are trained and indoctrinated to believe that the fact of our birth puts us at odds with our existence, and thus we turn to any Tom, Dick, or Harry who claims through divine insight or special talent that they can mollify and subdue the relentless assault of our very own presence which, if left to ourselves, will certainly overtake us in almost an instant and damn us to that never-ending and infinitely agonizing death which our very life produces.
It’s cute to say this, we think: The moment you are born you begin to die. What simple truth. What insight. How clever. And yet this innocent observation belies a deeply destructive philosophy rooted in an impossible contradiction: that life–that existence–hates itself, and by itself, brings death to itself. That living, at the very root level, causes dying. That the reality of YOU demands that you succumb to the idea of NOT YOU ruling your very existence.
In other words, your very existence is a cosmic anomaly. An irrational epigraph upon the otherwise perfectly mathematical and benevolent cosmic canvas, and only some very special men who possess a nature both at once like yours–so that they can appear sympathetic and co-equal–and also utterly distinct, and infinitely dispensed with a nature that somehow defies the very death you fear, and possesses the peace of understanding which can only be bestowed by the All-Powerful Consciousness, and never actually learned by the un-chosen masses.
And this is why we fall for these evil ideas. This is why I, myself, fell for these ideas. Because they perfectly represent everything all of us have already and accepted about our existence. We come to the Small Group already keenly aware that our existence despises itself. That our very presence in the universe means by default painful, wrenching death. We understand our utter subordination to the Laws of Physics, which demand we must die, as all equations assume man as merely a factor in them, not the creator of them.
We come to the small group already conceding that control is an illusion, and that that which created us, be it nature or God or whatever, loathes our very existence, and that this is verified by the never-ending assault upon our person by time and the environment, and the constant demands that we “volunteer” our property and time to the maintenance of groups and governments which exist to save us from ourselves…that is, the very inevitable death which is a fact of our birth. We come to the collective already conditioned to accept that fear, due to our incongruent and meddling presence in the otherwise ordered perfection of the universe, is the prevailing emotion of a life left our individual existence. We come nursed from infancy upon the idea we do not engage in social collectives because they are an extension of our lives as individuals, and that from this place of individual life we choose–we decide–which groups and which organizations enhance and elevate our individual existence by providing a framework for us to work out our own individual desires and pleasures in a deeper way; but rather the perversion of this truth which makes group integration a foundational requirement for any modicum of existential efficacy and comfort. We come to the church already baptized into the belief that the group is something which can save us from ourselves…that is, we are submerged in the notion that individually we MUST die, but in the group we somehow have a chance to live.
Of course the irony is that group integration ultimately demands a categorical sacrifice of our individual selves…so either way, death shall find us. We merely assume that the group route to death, rather than allowing death to find us in tormented folly when left to our individual existence, is less overtly painful. But the truth is that it isn’t, because in the group–due to the actual and rational and thus true metaphysical essence of man as an absolute and autonomous SELF–there is inevitably the constant rendering asunder of the individual. It is akin to a collective narcissism, where the “true” self (the individual) is constantly at war with the conceptual, or “false”, self of the group. The pain of death that we all are taught to fear is in fact revealed in perfect form in the collective. And this is because there is no escaping the reality that YOU are the beginning and end of your existence. And any group which tries to encroach upon that metaphysical reality will inexorably tear at it, unto infinite misery.
You want a law of nature? There it is.
I would like to also mention that engaging collectives absolutely with the idea that group membership is the panacea to individual shortcomings is the very definition of falling off the bandwagon. It is the final and utter surrendering of oneself to the futility of one’s own life. It is the recognition that one has no right to himself because outside of the collective, his mind, no matter how well intentioned, is completely subservient to the painful and destructive whims of his body. But there is no bandwagon to speak of in the group because in the group there is no ONE who exists to get on it.
According to the doctrine of Total Depravity, there can be no aspect of man which is capable of either doing good or apprehending good. There is no place within man’s metaphysic where man begins and his evil ends, or vice versa. Thus, there is no rational argument to suggest that any sort of mind/body dichotomy exists. If man is totally depraved, then his mind and his body are both in equal measure depraved, because the common denominator is MAN. And man IS evil. There is nothing he can do, and knowing is likewise doing, that is good. And this is because he, at the absolute core of his existence, is not himself in any measure, but is rather depravity itself. Knowledge of good, like manifestations of good, cannot find a repository in man’s essence. And this of course separates man from God infinitely, and even more alarming, creates an infinity of evil in man which must rival the infinity of good in God. In other words, man is absolutely evil like God is absolutely good; and in such a case, it, ironically, is impossible to make a moral distinction between the two. Good becomes no better than evil, and evil becomes no worse than good because both are absolute.
There is no reference for that which is absolute, and so there is no means by which to measure or value it. “Good” and “evil”, “God” and “Man”, cease to have any relevant definition.
And therefore we must understand–and make no mistake about this–that the doctrine of Total Depravity infinitely separates God from His Creation and renders them booth meaningless. And this is as evil as any idea can get. Reformation theology is an unmitigated evil which destroys both man and God for the temporary emotional and material profit of a few men who either consciously propagate this debauchery and apostasy for their own wicked objectives, or do it out of ignorance. In either case it is imperative for all of us to flee it. And due to its pervasive presence in all of Christian circles today, I would recommend you extricate yourself entirely from all vestiges of the institutional church in general. Do not abandon Christ, but do abandon those who proceed from formally established collectives in His name. They are almost categorically up to no good. Show me their Statements of Faith, and I will prove it to you.
So the question is: Is the deception presented in the quote which began this essay proceeding from a conscious knowledge of the lack of difference between man’s mind and body; and that it is purposely taught that man can somehow know the good he should do in order to hook potential devotees into accepting the false rationale that their choice to subordinate themselves to the leaders of the collective is somehow logical and reasonable; or do these proprietors of Christian despotism really believe that the mind/body dichotomy is truth, and that they are promoting some sort of actual good in condemning men to a life-long rejection of themselves in the interest of a vapid abstraction (i.e. the “community”)?
Ultimately I do not think it really matters. Whether out of folly or conscious deception it is all evil. There is, at the end of it all, no excuse for either. Whether by folly or by conscious purpose, an account must be given by those who promote such destruction…such psychological manipulation and psychological violence. Because one thing is certain, neither the fool nor the cunning one can deny the observable outcomes of the ideas promoted in this little book, “Community: Your pathway to progress”, and practiced to disastrous effect. One only needs to look at the swath of church survivor sites cutting deep and wide paths through the internet to witness the carnage, and to know that at some point ideas, not the individual actions of a few random men implementing them (which, given the utter devotion to collectivist ideas, it is ironic to see how these groups throw individual scapegoats to the wolves when they are called out for their crimes) must bear the responsibility. However, it should be understood that the men who implement these ideas without remorse or regret do not get a moral pass on their actions, and the evidence denies them the ability to claim ignorance.
So call out the purveyors of collectivism, particularly in the Church, as evil, and implore those who will listen to avoid any association with them and to deny access to their ideas. For until these collectivists in the church repent of their madness and their destructive devotion to the group, they cannot be engaged as individuals. Because he who cannot view you as an individual, complete with all the laudable and beautiful attributes of your own unique individuality, cannot himself be seen as anyONE, either.
For he who sees you as nothing is himself nothing to be seen.