Category Archives: Calvinism/Philosophy

Rethinking Prayer: Asking or telling? (Part ONE)

Prayer is both a thing and a concept with which I have struggled for quite some time now.  Probably like you, I have had my share of answered prayers, and also my share of unanswered ones.  And this I think naturally leads one to consider the actual efficacy and legitimacy of prayer.  If we observe that prayer is only inconsistenty answered at best, then how can we not say that perhaps it is the mere cause and effect machinations of normal reality and is nothing of prayer?  I would think this not only reasonable but obvious.  If prayer only inconsistently effects change as we may observe it, then it’s logical to assume that what’s really going on has nothing to do with prayer at all, but is merely a matter of probability.

For example, I have chosen to fly on airplanes dozens of times, and I’ve prayed for each flight, and all have landed safely.  However, to call this an example of “answered prayer” is, in fact, quite a stretch of logic since statistics clearly show that the percentage of flights that crash is so very low relative to how many flights have taken place in history.  This makes “safe flight” much more likely a function of human engineering favorably manipulating the probability of a safe outcome rather than divine intervention.  The safety of the flights may have something to do with answered prayer, but how can one really know? The only way to know even mildly is if one observed that all his prayers were answered all the time…and even this would be logically subjective, but at least it would make a strong circumstantial case. Logically subjective perhaps, unless we are speaking strictly of the miraculous, but certainly compelling.

My thinking on the matter of prayer has  evolved through several iterations.  I went through the neophyte version of God-as-genie when I was a kid…but not quite so disrespectful as that sounds.  My prayers as a young person were never overtly  irrational…I prayed to be ignored by bullies at school—or, as I like to refer to them:  the bastard spawn of the mass dysfunctional family wreckage which hallmarks  the worst generation in history:  the Baby Boomers—to recover from illness, to do well on exams.  That sort of thing.  I remember God being quite gracious back then, but this is perhaps just the positive memories of childhood rising to the top.  Maybe God answered my prayers, but as I had no rational working definition of God back then (most Christians don’t, in fact) I really couldn’t say.

During my fifteen years as a neo-Calvinist in the cult of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) I brushed up against the congnitive dissonance of prayer as it relates to object and abject divine determinism.  This view of prayer makes it merely ritualistic, signifying nothing of any real efficacy, since all things are up to God anyway, so it goes, and he has already decided what to do with everyone, from birth unto hell or heaven, whichever you happen to get.  You’ll never really know until the day God disposes of you into one or the other eternal receptical.

Is that just a peach of a belief?  And yet this is where most Christains today tread water with respect to prayer…in this arrant folly of reason.  And don’t let them tell you they don’t actually believe this.  If you are BORN evil, which is precisely orthodox when it coms to the Christian interpretation of man’s nature, then you are entirely insufficient to any good thing, and this includes knowing the difference between good and evil.  And since this knowledge is the root of ethics (how man values what he knows), and ethics is inexorably tied to epistemology (how man knows what he knows), then the eradication of man’s moral compass by the doctrine of “original sin” completely wrecks man’s ability to know anything at all.  Thus, God must necessarily determine man to his eventual eternal destiny, regardless if he be “saved” or not, because man, once you tease out the doctrine to its logical conclusion, is utterly mindless.  You may go to church and follow all the commandments and abstain from all worldly temptations and throw out your television and excoriate the idea of modern technology as merely the devil’s distraction, but to think that you can know you are saved…that somehow you, who is rotten to core from birth, can know the mind of God and what his grand plan is for you is something that in a different time would have gotten you burned at the stake.

And thus you see the implicit evil behind the notion of prayer as merely a ritual we do because God commands it: salvation is not a thing the church can offer.  It’s a lie.  No one knows where they will end up, be they found in church on Sunday or in a whore house.  The advertisement that there is actual salvation to be gained in the church is the greatest bait-and-switch scam ever perpetrated upon man.

This abysmal version of prayer never really took hold in me.  I always found it terribly specious..and while I paid lip service to it, not wanting to cause a stir (SGM doesn’t take doctrinal disagreement with much levity…regardless of the degree, it’s pretty much stomped out with ferocity), I used to despise it when people would pray for me and top it off with “if it be thy will, Lord”.  Because that presupposed that God had already decided what should happen to me, and that what I wanted and intended was besides the point.  And this is the crux of what I want to talk about in this article.  The notion that what I desire for my life through prayer is infinitely subordinated to an outside will, even God’s, doesn’t sit well with me.  Not because I crave control, or lust sinfully and selfishly after what is God’s power alone, but because it is at root utterly irrational.  If God has predetermined for me my experiences, and possesses the ultimate veto on all my choices, and shall tell me whether or not my prayers contain any merit whatsoever, then what is the point of prayer?  What is the point of my having any ideas at all about anything?  God will do what God will do…my very existence then becomes entirely meaningless.  My mind is an illusion of a mind which cannot actually exist because it’s infinitely irrelevant.  And this is a contradiction in terms.  And I may not know everything about God, but I know this:  He cannot be God if his very existence is utterly incompatible to my own, or vice versa, and if what he asks of his children contradicts itself, thus rendering the very words he uses to communicate himself and his intentions utterly meaningless.

But even more superficial than all of that…I mean, we can get into the root philosophical contradictions, and that’s its own brand of fun, but we can put it in more pedestrian terms:  Would you continue to ask favors of someone who has told you to freely ask him favors if you never knew whether or not your favors would be granted; if there were all these stipulations about what could be asked for and when and how and that it really wasn’t going to be up to you and that you couldn’t be trusted to know what you really wanted or needed, and therefore the asking of favors became this tedious and exasperating task of self-examination and naval gazing and groveling and bemoaning your own infinite existential inadequacy and ignorance, and then when confronted with a desperate circumstance like a child with a terminal illness or the loss of a career or a sexual assault you found yourself groveling and prostrating yourself before this giver-of-favors, wailing and begging him to just this once give you relief; and then to forgive you for thinking what YOU want actually matters?  In other words, you are told to ask favors, but then told that you don’t possess the intrinsic wisdom or foresight to know which favors should be asked for.  So favor-asking becomes this giant farce…a facade of love.  Because the giver of favors is going to do whatever he’s going to do whether you ask for it or not.

Needless to say, most of us, if presented with such a clearly ludicrous waste of time would pass on it, and many of us wouldn’t hesitate to scold the snake oil salesman for his wicked deception.  Nevertheless, this is what prayer has become.  It is nothing more than the dance of a medicine man around the fire of primitive, polytheistic superstition.

So what, at root, is the error?  Okay.  Wait for it.  And prepare to be scandalized.

We ask instead of tell.  We politely request instead of demand an answer to our prayers, which I submit as children of God, with all the responsibilities and complexities and challenges that this implies, is our divine birthright.

Now hold on. Let me explain (in part two). This is not without its reason; it comes with much understanding and responsibility.  I promise, it is not a return to the genie in the bottle.

End (Part ONE)

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Debating Most Christians is Basically Pointless

Here’s why debating (orthodox) Christians is so tedious, and virtually impossible to do productively:

[NOTE: When I refer to Christians I am speaking of the orthodox variety, not those like myself who differ categorically with almost every doctrinal premise and Biblical interpretation found in the Church today, from Original Sin to Christ’s Resurrection.]

“Faith” by Christian definition contains no null hypothesis.  What this means is that the doctrinal premises Christians accept and assert are not beholden to any sort of rationally consistent plumb line.  Indeed, I submit that for a Christian to accept that reason is efficacious, or even worse, NECESSARY, to “God’s Truth”, is heresy, at least implicitly.  Faith is beyond reason because God is beyond reason, so it is assumed.

This is of course entirely false, as God is, I would argue, perhaps THE most rational Ideal out there when defined correctly (“correctly” meaning: In a way which does not endemically contradict him). Anyway, the relevance of this is that it is impossible for the rational person to disprove Christian doctrinal assertions or interpretations because proof by definition is a matter of reason…of consistency and non-contradiction.  And reason is mutually exclusive of  “faith”.  Of course this also makes it impossible for the Christian to prove HIS assertions.  The standard of disproof for the critic is also the standard of proof for the Christian (and vice versa).  And this is another reason why debating Christians on matters of doctrine and interpretation is an almost entirely fruitless enterprise.

Here’s the paradox:  In order to truly debate a Christian, the Christian must have first ALREADY rejected the “no null hypothesis” root of their arguments.  And this necessarily means to reject those arguments, in essence, which equals a rejection of the doctrinal premises and interpretations—as these simply do not survive alongside a null hypothesis.  In either case, null hypothesis or none, the debate is pretty much over before it begins.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that debating Christians is a complete and categorical waste of time; there is a lot to be said for the manner in which persons engage one another.  You might be surprised at how successfully you can evangelize a Christian by simply not being a dick about things. (In other words, don’t model your approach after asshats like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, whose patronizing and irascible manner could turn off the Devil himself (and they are both completely wrong about everything, by the way…they pat themselves on the back for dismantling the object farce that passes for Biblical doctrine in orthodox Christianity—a task even my 10 year-old can do with facility—and think they are actually dismantling the scriptures, themselves…embarrassing.) But don’t expect to dazzle Christians with logic.  They punted that away a long time ago.

END

Dismantling Christian Orthodoxy in Five Questions

Once you see the rational errors which form the root and body of Christian orthodoxy, it becomes impossible to unsee them.  That is, once you accept the basic and inexorable truth that contradiction is not actually a valid method for drawing doctrinal conclusions, or any other conclusion for that matter, the failure of Christian orthodoxy to satisfy even the most remedial of logical consistency—the 2 + 2 = 4 kind of logic—becomes a punch in the face every time you are exposed to almost any form of Christian theology.  It’s why I had to stop going to church.  Literally everything coming from the pulpit is laced with rational failure.  And it’s more than annoying…it’s offensive.  It’s like that episode of Seinfeld where no matter how hard he tries Jerry can’t get the smell of body odor out of his car after he loans it to a friend.  Once you see it, you can’t unsee it…and once you smell it, it lingers like insuperable body odor around everything and everyone in the church today.

And do not think I do not know from what I speak.  I was a committed evangelical Christian in the spiritual meatgrinder of Sovereign Grace Ministries for ten years, and before that, grew up in the Lutheran Church.  I know the doctrine…I know what Christians believe and how they think and how they preach and how they equivocate their impossible theological claims.  I have lived it, preached it, financed it, lost friends and family over it, and seen the utter ruin it wreaks upon the innocent…children and spouses brought into the cultlike “family” of those who define reality according to “mystery”, and believe that applying heady-sounding labels like “systematic theology” to their proof-texting passes for enlightened and learned scriptural interpretation.  Everything I say in this article is based upon an objective knowledge of exactly what Christians believe, and dismantles those beliefs by pinpointing exactly the fatal weaknesses of their logic. I am still a Christian, by the way, but certainly NOT orthodox.  I categorically reject orthodoxy  and the whole of its interpretive methodology.

To back up my claim that Christianity is a conspicuous offense to the basic rational sensibilities of those of us who have decoded Augustinian/Lutheran/Calvinist (the unholy doctrinal trinity) doublespeak, I developed a simple exercise of logic, based upon the most prevalent assertion of Christian evangelism.

*

“In order to be saved, you must believe in Jesus.”

“Believe what about him?”

[Note:  The rendering of the first assertion is sometimes “Believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior”, to which my response is “What does that mean?”, which leads to essentially the same answer as “Believe what about him?”, albeit likely in a more explicative form.  That answer is:]

“That he died for your sins.”

“What sins?”

“The ones you have committed…he died for all of them.”

“How do you know I’ve sinned?”

“Because we all sin.  We can’t help it.”

“Why can’t we help it?”

“Because we are born sinners…with a sin nature that makes it impossible not to sin.”

“So…we are born sinners, and thus we must sin.  It’s in our nature…a manifestation of our very existence.  Then…sin is not a choice.  That which my nature demands I must do cannot also be something I choose to do.  And if I do not have a choice whether to sin or not then my sin is not actually sinful.  My sin, having nothing to do with my will, cannot be called an immoral act, and therefore, by definition, it cannot actually be sin.  In the same way I cannot help but to breath, and my heart cannot help but to beat, and I cannot help but to be human, I cannot help but to sin, and therefore only a fool would call my natural sin sinful.  Which means that only a fool would call this sin “sin” at all.  I cannot be born with a sinful nature because I cannot both commit immoral acts by my nature and have a nature which makes immoral action impossible because I have no capacity to choose to commit immoral action in the first place.  You cannot morally judge, Christian, what I cannot help.  If sin is a part of me, of my nature, and is unchosen, and I cannot help it, then you cannot call what I do sin.  In order for sin to be sinful, it must be a choice, and you, because you do not know me, cannot possibly know whether I have chosen to sin.  You do not know the sum and substance of my choices, and if my need for Jesus is predicated on you knowing that I have committed sin, then you cannot reasonably assert that I should believe in him.  So I will ask again, and hope for your sake that you stop mocking the God you claim you serve and provide a less embarrassing answer.  What should I believe about him?”

*

At this point it is inevitable that the Christian will punt his ENTIRE theology into the cosmic abyss of “God’s Mystery”. You have little choice but to walk away.  The Christian has retreated back into the ouroboros of his spiritual echo chamber as quickly as he emerged. And there he will stay…in his own mind, or, perhaps, up his own arse, you might say, until his guilt entices him to venture out and try again. He will eventually learn to avoid the thinkers, grotesquely condemning them as blind and worldy, and will seek out the meek and the helpless and the needy.  But not for the reasons Christ implored. But because the Christian understands that there is no practical difference between gullibility and indigence when it comes to meeting his quota. He has learned that the desperate can be convinced of almost anything.

My next article will deal with the difference between mystery, paradox, and contradiction, to help you to stop falling for the claims that God’s mystery is actually an argument to be considered.

 

 

What is Government?: All you need to know in two brief paragraphs

Government is “legal” violence. And what is “legal” violence? Simple. It is the violence necessary to compel the naturally evil individual into the collective moral code.

This “need” for “legal” (read “moral”) violence is predicated upon a false metaphysic: that individual man does evil by existing at all. In other words, to be man is to be evil. The Christians call this Total or Pervasive Depravity. Most other religions have their own labels, but it’s metaphysically identical.

Non-Specific God is Non-God

Omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, Creator of Everything, even Savior of the World…these are all non-specific and non-contextual terms by definition. Which means that they are irrelevant concepts; which means that they are irrational and meaningless definitions of God.

If you intend to have faith in something, you must be able to define it. Stay away from people who define their objects of faith according to the terms above. These people are blind, and turning in circles, having nothing to offer the living.

Hey Frank, Liars by NATURE Can’t Pretend


Franklin Graham: ‘Men Pretending to Be Women’ Should Not Use Women’s Restrooms”

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/04/23/franklin-graham-men-pretending-women-not-use-womens-restrooms/

Well, if humanity is naturally depraved, then (also by nature) they lack the epistemological sufficiency to apprehend truth. In which case, Graham can’t make the argument that transgenders are pretending anything. In fact, since truth is a function of God’s elective revelation (God chooses you; you don’t choose God, so the Protestants teach), then those who act according to their sinful nature do so because God hasn’t caused their enlightenment. In which case, by Graham’s own doctrine, transgenderism and the “evil” it afflicts upon society is really all God’s fault.

Here’s a better tweet:

Stop listening to Pastors who condemn people according to a doctrine which makes such condemnation hypocritical and rationally impossible.

Graham needs to quite his fake job and go do something else. Anything else. I hear California now has a $15 minimum wage.

Enlightenment or Dogma?

It’s not enlightenment to simply parrot an ideology. To simply repeat the spurious assertions of others is to be a merchant of dogma, not truth.

To agree with others is to accept a rationale; and likewise to be enlightened. And to accept a rationale requires the ability to present a reasoned explication of the ideas with which you agree and to which you claim to be enlightened. And a reasoned explication demands rational consistency.

Enlightenment to and agreement with ideas thus goes only as far as rational consistency wil take it. And that is as far as the nearest contradiction.

To claim to believe something and to proceed to preach something that you cannot explain without categorical rational consistency is, again, simply dogma, and any rational and moral person should reject it as such.

To preach dogma is to advertise to the world that you have rejected the sufficiency of your own mind, and by that the sufficiency of your own Self.  You have become a missionary of death worship.

 

The Christian Does Not Die, He Becomes Death: Spiritual Marxism masquerading as the Christian orthodox ideal, Part 17

Discussion Questions:

1.  Have you ever felt like you had insight and clarity into someone else’s poor decision?  Did you say anything?  How did it turn out?

(Community:  Your pathway to progress, pp. 35. North Point Ministries, 2008)

Let’s examine the profound and irrational assumptions/presumptions which form the philosophical roots of this “discussion” question (one of three we will examine), according to the spurious standard of today’s “doctrinally sound” Christian church.  Remember that in this series of articles on spiritual Marxism, using North Point Ministries’ small group booklet as my reference, we have been examining the doctrinal premises–and their ideological spawn–of today’s neo-Calvinist, neo-Reformed church movement, which is quickly becoming, or has become, the Christian movement of the 21st century in America, in general.

What is presented in this essay is based upon the philosophical ideals underwriting Christianity today, some of which we have  discussed in the Spiritual Marxism series already.  However, I believe that it is possible to read this essay without having read the previous ones and not be too terribly confused.  As usual, my penchant for verbosity tends to fill in most of the informational gaps which might otherwise be present in the essay of a more concise writer.

*

Here again is the discussion question:

Have you ever felt like you had insight and clarity into someone else’s poor decision? Did you say anything?  How did it turn out?

What we must understand with respect to the collectivism implicit in Christianity today, particularly of the neo-Reformed/neo-Calvinist type, is that, for these spiritual Marxists, the Group understands the existential context of the individual better than he or she does, at any given moment, and with respect to any issue, and any situation.  This is because “Group”, as I’ve explained before, is the primary metaphysic.  The irreducible ontological state of existence for any human being is not the Self, but the Collective. The individual is a direct function of the group with which he or she affiliates, not the other way around.  The key to existence then is finding the “right”, or the “True” group, and affiliating yourself with it, after which, through the epistemological enlightenment of the group (understanding how you know what you can know), you come to realize that YOU never actually had anything to do with joining, or finding, the group after all.  You became affiliated with the group, not by choice, but because you were determined into it…for determinism is, in fact, the only possible causal source of everything within a universe where Group, or Collective, is the sum and substance of all there is.

In Christianity today, the “Church” is the only ACTUAL, legitimate thing. It is All in All.  And “God” is its essence…which is merely the same thing as saying God IS the Group, the Group is God.  There is no relevant difference.  And what this means–and is the whole point of fabricating a Collectivist metaphysic in the first place–is that those who claim the divine mandate to rule the group, which is correlated to their special revelation/enlightenment, means that they, and no one else, (because God works through them, alone) possess an infinite Authority over everyone else.  This literally enslaves ALL of mankind to the subjective whims of a single person or small group of people, forever and absolutely.  And that, like I said, is precisely what all of the heady-sounding doctrine is all about.

So…back to the determinism which drove you into the “loving” arms of your Collective–the One, True Collective which governs and controls all things via its oneness to the Primary Consciousness.  Or, in this case “God” (and I use “God” in quotes, incidentally, because by no means should we think that these despots in any way have any actual affiliation with the real God…for He forbids such a thing I am convinced, and has nothing, I submit, to do with them in ANY measure according to their doctrine, which denies His truth as thoroughly as it denies yours and mine):

The “Group” as represented by that transcendent and infinite and immaterial Consciousness realized its Will upon your life, and you, helpless to resist because you have no actual will of your own, complied. Therefore, the answer to the question now begged–“What is the TRUE group, as opposed to one of the panoply of impostors?”–is simple:  The Group to which you were determined MUST be the True Group, otherwise you could not be counted among it.  See, since only the True Group has the True Consciousness which can determine all things, you could only ever have chosen to join to the Group to which you now belong.  There was no choice, you might say.  Otherwise, you would not have chosen it.

It is a tautology, you see.  The proof that you were determined to the group is that you chose it.  You chose because you were determined, and you were determined because you chose.  “A is A” is not a law of identity in this instance, it is a tautology, and this is a great example.  Whatever you chose to do you did because you were determined to choose it.  Choice and determinism are equivalent.  Another way of putting it is that choice is A and determinism is A.  A is A.  The Law of Identity is satisfied. Which is, incidentally, why so many smart people fall for this kind of thinking.  (Incidentally, the ease with which Aristotle’s Law of Identity can be conformed to the collectivist metaphysic by applying it to abstract concepts (actions) which are necessarily a function of material objects (concrete existence) is startling.  It is a strong argument for doubting the rationality and veracity of that Law.)

I understand the massive cognitive dissonance that is endemic to this ideology, and the need to suspend disbelief in order to make the rational leap from the discussion question to its answer.  Nevertheless, once we concede, as Christianity today does, that the metaphysical primary is not the Individual, but the Collective–the Group–we understand that this is the only possible answer which is consistent with the premise.

*

In Christianity, the Consciousness of the Group is “God”, naturally, and it is His “Sovereign Will” which “controls all things”.  It is “God” then to whom the fleshly incarnations of Himself, the Pastors (and the lesser deities, the Small Group Leaders) appeal, in order to physically and psychologically compel the unwashed masses into “right thinking” and “right behavior”.  Therefore, God compelled you into the Small Group at North Point Ministries (or whatever other neo-Marxist spiritual trap into which you may have fallen), to be instructed and ultimately governed (forced) in the ways of the One True Collective (the “Church”) by those who claim the authority to do so.  And since those who claim this authority are God’s proxies, which makes them God to you, or God qua God, for all relevant intents and purposes, the answer to this discussion question leveled at us above, “Have you ever felt like you  had insight and clarity into someone else’s poor decision?”, is…

Yes.  And no.  As a group member, yes.  As an individual whose depravity only allows him to view reality from the singularity of Self, no.  I am divine, but I am also wicked.  I am aware, and I am also blind.

Let’s break it down.

Yes, of course.  Of course you’ve felt like you had insight and clarity into someone else’s poor decision. And, as corollary to this, of course you’ve been the one to make a poor decision, and thus have had to defer your will and your mind to another person.  Maybe even the person upon which you are now, ironically, passing judgement even as he simultaneously passes judgement upon you.

This ostensibly contradictory answer is utterly demanded by the acceptance of the Group AS Self metaphysic.  As a member of the one True Group you’ve been given the divine perception afforded to everyone who understands his or her nature as entirely a function of the Church, which really means the Authority of the Pastors and their representatives, the subordinate, lesser deities, which include the Small Group Leaders.  Because you have absorbed the explications, explanations, and presumptions of “Sound Doctrine”, you have the divine, unmitigated, and inerrant authority, bestowed by spiritual osmosis,  to pronounce judgement upon anyone, anywhere, at any time, for anything which does not comply forthrightly with said doctrine, regardless of the presence of contexts or circumstances which you could not possibly understand, and may confidently declare the perpetrator utterly ignorant, morally bankrupt, and insane, worthy of all manner of death and destruction.  The slightest disagreement or inconsistency with what you know must be the infallible “Word of God” simply by being a “Church Member” invites you to offer a thoroughly justified condemnation on behalf of the Group, and a demand (disguised as “counsel”, or “advice”) that thinking and behavior be brought to heel..or else.

(As an aside, please realize that understanding of the “Word of God” doesn’t have anything to do with understanding qua understanding at all.  It merely means that one can, if even in the most remedial of ways, parrot back the presumptions, assertions, premises, axioms, and maxims to which he or she pledges fealty as function of their affiliation with the True Collective.)

In other words, because you go to True Church–one approved by the doctrinal standards of “orthodoxy” (whatever that means)–you know everything.  As the Group knows, you also know.

On the flip side, however, you, being an unremitting and unrepentant sinner by nature, categorically depraved and infinitely insufficient to any moral thing, act, or idea, abstract or concrete, you MUST sin, and sin perpetually, because the very fact that you possess an awareness of SELF, as an individual, demands that the entirely of your observance of the entirety of your existence is false.  And more than false, it is the very archetype of evil.  You can do no good thing; you can think no good thing; you can see, hear, and speak no good thing.  Because you ARE, according to the Fall of Man who is Perpetually Falling, no good thing, and absolutely so.

Thus, in equal measure as the enlightened one, bringing the all-seeing eye of the “Church” to bear upon your fellow man to level judgement and command repentance and recompense, you are also the Sinner.  The Evil One.  The one who will make mistakes, because he IS the mistake.  Therefore, as you give your unsolicited rebukes, condemnations, warnings, exhortations, demands, and absolutes to your fellow man, so you will prostrate yourself before his.

Because according to the extremely loose logic of “sound doctrine”, rooted in the Ethical (moral) primary of “Total Depravity” and the metaphysical primary of Existence through Church Membership, the only real purpose of the discussion question at the top of this essay is to promote the following ideal:

You can judge others, but you cannot judge yourself.  Your awareness proves efficacious only when it is applied to the existence of another; but it is utterly incapable of serving you, because you qua you do not possess by nature the existential sufficiency to awareness.  That is, to Truth.

And this eventually distills down into this very evil premise:

You can be the Group, but you cannot be yourself.  And this is because what a seemingly innocuous and innocent little book on small groups is desperately and yet so surreptitiously demanding is that you accept the ideal that you are Evil Self AND Perfect Group, and the paradoxical distinction denies you a reality of your own, which makes you dependent upon that of the Church leadership.  You have insight, and you lack it.  You speak truth to sin, and you wickedly deny sin.  You receive the truth with grace, and you stubbornly resist and worship Satan.  You are both the dark and the light.  The Is and the Is not.  You are Individual inside Collective.

And now, at last, we arrive at the real answer to the question above.  The only one that matters…and they know it.  It’s not about groups, its not about church, its not about God. It’s about control.  The control which flows from a fabricated reality they create for everyone else.  A reality which convinces you that…

You are you and you are not you.

You are an existential contradiction.  A positive added to a negative.  A zero sum.  A blank.  An infinite everything with a nature of infinite nothingness.  In other words…

You’re worse than dead.  You are Death.

 

Church-22: The Fallacy, Irrelevancy, and Tyranny of Biblical Authority and Divine Inspiration of Scripture

Recently I received the following question from a reader (see quote below).  I spent a few days mulling it over before I responded, and when I did, my comment, as usual, became so long and involved that when finished it resembled more an article than a comment . So, I decided the rational thing to do was to post it as such.

Indulge me a few words as an introduction first.

Heretofore, I have not yet dealt (not sufficiently, in my mind) with the question of how I, personally, integrate the Bible into my philosophy and ideas–a notion about as scandalous as it gets to Christians…for who am I to apply Biblical ideas to my beliefs, and not the other way around?

Anyway…

As a believer (I am no longer comfortable calling myself “Christian”, due to the Protestant and Catholic doctrinal assumptions this label necessarily implies nowadays), it is  important to be able to coherently explain how I appropriate the Scriptures, for they do possess much value, I believe…though I reject the idea that they exist in the form of some magical talisman or divine oracle–which is precisely how American, institutionalized Christianity interprets them.  This is a mistake, and has led to much abuse and misuse of the ideas of the Torah and the New Testament.  Ideas which in their purest, un-mystified form seem to affirm human life, and yet must subjugate it, I submit, when they are claimed to exist in a vacuum of “divine inerrancy”.

The Scriptures, in today’s Christian “orthodoxy”, have become the new Temple…, or, more specifically, the new “most holy place”.  A place where only God’s divinely appointed priests may enter; and a place where the untouchables of the laity and the rest of the world’s blind masses must inevitably find death and destruction should they gander a look around inside.  Oh sure, today’s priesthood of Reformed Elders (among other false teachers…like, say, the priestly lessers who advocate that most egregious of mystic false offices, the Papacy) pay lip service to “quiet times” and the importance of daily Bible reading.  But make no mistake:  by no means are they suggesting that you in any way have the divine and existential capacity or mandate to actually understand them apart from their–the ecclesiatsy’s–perpetual authoritative tutelage.  You are permitted to gaze lovingly and ignorantly from the outer courtyards of “truth”…you may examine the words as you would the walls of a fortress from the outskirts of town.  But to attempt to wander inside and examine the wells, the towers, or the bedchambers for yourself…to seek to apprehend the blueprint of the structure in the hopes that you may one day build your own…well, tsk tsk, sinner.  You are not an architect.  You are a brick.  Real understanding is the sole territory of the priesthood…the right only of those whom God has given His divine enlightenment, wholly apart from the graceless, bumptious, and pedestrian reason of fallen humanity.

Do you not yet understand, you poor, poor Protestant plebe; you Catholic spiritual leper?  Do you not realize that what is wholly inerrant cannot possibly be reconciled to that which is wholly depraved.  And that which is wholly depraved…is you.

And me.

So what do I think of the scriptures?  What do I think of a book that has had more revisions than the Ford Mustang and yet is continually and paradoxically adored as perfection in a vacuum?  Well, like anything else its usefulness goes only as far as reason takes it.  If its truths are beyond the context of human existence, as apprehended and organized via rational consistency, then they are irrelevant.  However, if its truths speak to the utter right of man to form his own moral standard, by his nature, and thus the perfect morality and necessity of his existence and essence, then the truths of the Bible are perhaps the most powerful to have ever graced the face of the earth.

The scriptures, as with all ideas, are bound to a standard of, as I mentioned, reason–that is, conceptual consistency rooted in the identity of the individual human Self.  Beyond that, they are meaningless.  In other words, the Bible, as is so often falsely claimed, is not itself axiomatically irreducible.  It is not, itself, the premise.  So, what is the premise?

The premise is…you.

And me.

Please, read on.

*

“Well, for me your key lines were: “examine [the faith] metaphysically, using Reason as my guide. My assumption is that faith must coincide with what is both logically and metaphysically consistent. I reject contradictions as being outside of reason[.]”

I’m the same as you in that regard — yet I also strongly affirm the divine inspiration and authority of the Bible. Therefore, while I’m committed to logical coherence, at the same time I draw no theological conclusions based on metaphysics alone. God’s word /must/ inform me.

So where in your line of reasoning about the faith do you “allow” (so to speak) Scripture to have a say in the conversation?

Andy”

Hmmm…I’ve been trying to decide how formulate a response to you. There is a lot going on in your comment…maybe even more than you realize. So, I guess I will just figuratively point at some spot on the chart in my mind and go from there.

Okay, first, I reject the idea of “authority” as a means to teach; to educate. Authority equals force, and so to claim authority is to ultimately claim the right to coerce by violence or threats of violence my beliefs and behavior. To claim the right to violence over an individual is in essence to claim ownership of that individual; in which case that individual cannot really be expected to learn, because the implication is that he has no right to the ownership of his body or mind. Which renders his existence as a volitional individual irrelevant. In other words, there is no need to appeal to authority to teach, because teaching becomes superfluous. Why instruct when you can simply force?

Next, I submit that when people appeal to biblical “authority” they are really appealing to the right of a select group of men to interpret reality for the masses according to a specific doctrine, which may or may not have anything to do with what’s actually in the Bible. For example, the words “the fall of man” and “total depravity” appear nowhere in Scripture, nor can one even reasonably argue that the bible speaks to these ideas despite its lack of direct mention. Nevertheless, man’s “fallen nature” and “pervasive” depravity form the whole of Christian metaphysics.

In general, I consider the concept of “authority” like I do the concepts of “perfection” and “inerrancy”. Since these are ultimately contextual concepts, their meaning is always contradicted. For example, the Bible is inerrant, we are told, however, I cannot use my Bible to pound nails; thus, its inerrancy is contextual. Out of context, it is in fact, wholly errant, contradicting the appeal to its inerrancy by definition. The same holds true for “perfection” and “authority”. The perfect car is not the perfect candy cane; and the authority of the police is not the same as the authority of a child’s parents.

In some cases, the concept of authority is equated to “expertise”. This is a fine application of authority, however, we must remember that in all areas of knowledge, authority is and must be subordinated to reason. If one’s doctor, who is an authority in the field of cardiology, tells you that you must swallow motor oil to lubricate your heart, you will naturally reject such advice on the grounds that it is absurd. In short, being an authority in a given subject does not give one license to deny reason. One cannot appeal to his expertise as grounds to completely spurn human identity. A human being, as we all agree and understand, cannot digest motor oil. It is contrary to his identity as a human being. Therefore, such advice, regardless of the source, must be false.

In the same way, when it comes to matters of Scripture, the idea of “divine inspiration” and “authority” must be subordinated to reason, which makes them functionally irrelevant with respect to Scripture. Even if God Himself declares something that contradicts man’s identity, and therefore his ability to ascertain reality, man is morally and epistemologically obligated to reject the declaration. Of course I’m betting that God would not declare something as truth if it destroys man’s identity. A declaration which hinders man’s ability to interpret reality must also hinder his ability to define God as God in the first place. Which makes the declaration moot.

Thus, when I read Scripture, I never actually consider ideas such as “divine inspiration”, “authority”, or “inerrancy” at all, because they have no practical application. They are ultimately irrelevant to anything the Bible says; and if we attempt to say they are, then the Bible becomes meaningless because “authority”, “inerrancy”, and “divine inspiration” denies the existential context of individual. For example, if am told that the Bible declares something that cannot possibly be true from the frame of reference of my identity as an individual, the only way I can accept it is if I do so by forced coercion. I cannot really voluntary accept it because I have no context whereby my volition is relevant. The declaration denies me as adequate to grasp and thus act upon such “truth”, because any such actions must be from my mere human context, which, again, is insufficient and irrelevant with respect to “God’s truth”. God’s “truth” trumps human truth, you see. But since my frame of reference is always human, I must be FORCED to accept God’s truth. I cannot verify it as truth because it is outside my context, so I can only act under compulsion. I cannot volitionally choose to accept it as true…for, again, I have no frame of reference.

Take for example the idea of human “total depravity” as a function of man’s very ontological nature. This doctrine cannot possibly be true because A.) it does not specify, by definition, where one’s depravity ends and where it begins. And B.) If man is totally depraved he is epistemologically insufficient to understand the truth of the bible in the first place. He “learns” by the forced coercion of a divinely enlightened priesthood established to compel the blind masses into “obedience”. Man’s pervasive depravity makes him entirely irrelevant to God’s goodness and truth, which makes the Scriptures meaningless to him.

This phenomenon is what I refer to as “Church-22”, and it is a direct consequence of the doctrine of Total Depravity:

The only way to be saved is to realize you cannot by nature be saved, because what is wholly evil cannot be reconciled to what is wholly good. And that the only way to choose to be saved is to recognize that you cannot choose to be saved…and that, again, is due to your sinful nature. You are told God has to choose you, for you, because you are insufficient to make your own choices for good. Which means that you are saved in spite of you, making you entirely superfluous to the salvation process. You cannot experience it, because it can only occur by the entire existential rejection of you, since you are entirely depraved.

This is rank fallacy on its face.

So, while I do read the Bible–and have many times–with great interest and find it to be of immense value to the objective of instructing humanity on the absolute morality of individual life, among other things, I apply it to bulwark and underscore my philosophical premises (i.e. my metaphysics, wherein the human individual is the moral and epistemological standard). I do not look at it as a means to subvert my premises simply because some self-appointed pontiff (God proxy, also known as the “senior pastor”, or whomever else claims a superior spiritual caste) tells me that it has some kind of spurious “authority” over them, and myself.

Christian Tyranny: The Ben Carson Presidency

When it comes to the governing of any given society, discussions of  “government”, its structure and purpose, are always an appeal to authority. Keep this in mind.  It is axiomatic.

According to both the religious and secular collectivists (people who assume that man is most fully and truly represented in existence by groups, as opposed to individually) human depravity is the moral essence of man’s ontological state (ontology = the nature of being).  In other words, at the metaphysical level (the level of existence), man is depravity.  And what depravity is, is the idea that man, for some reason or another, depending on the ideological context (e.g. religious versus economic (e.g. Marxism)) MUST be governed by an outside authority in order to ensure his survival.

(As an aside, it should be understood that the contextual reasons for man’s depravity are ultimately immaterial.  For the functional conclusion of this ideology is always the same, no matter who holds it or why:  the death of the individual–the death of Self.)

Man must be governed by representatives of the collective abstraction (which, again, can vary depending on the ideological context: the State versus the Church, for example).  Because absent government, due to the individual’s inherent depravity, man is doomed to an anarchist orgy of sin and death.  Individually, it is assumed, human beings lack the sufficiency to “rational” and “organized” existence, thus they are determined to exist immorally, and ultimately, futilely without the forced coercion of government, which has been established by “providence” (and what constitutes “providence” again depends on the ideological context) to organize existence FOR, not FROM, mankind.

As I said in the opening sentence of this article, Government appeals to authority.  But authority appeals to force; and it is only by force that a man depraved–a man inadequate by nature to existence–can survive.  But before we go any further with this thought, allow me to discuss just briefly this idea of “existence”, because it is always to the end of man’s “rational” existence that collectivist ideologues push the notion of survival by, of, and to government.  By advocating their collectivist metaphysic, they explain that they are merely conceding the reality of existence.  Though masked as an objective metaphysic itself–which it isn’t–“Existence” becomes itself an ideology; it becomes a byword for the moral end of the abstract ideal to which they, by force of government, seek compel humanity. In other words, they need to force you INTO your existence.  In and of yourself, you, being entirely depraved and insufficient to life, cannot exist.  “Existence” also, you will notice, is a euphemism for “reality”.  Reality IS existence, and force is required to manifest both for the individual.

“Existence” is always the subjective abstraction to which every collectivist ideology claims to derive its reason, or rationale.  That is, individual human existence qua existence is ironically the reason man must be forced , through violence or deception or threats into Self-denial…into the collective authority’s idea  of what it means for the individual to BE.  And this is consistent with the ubiquitous and common appeal in all collectivist ideologies to the “reality outside of man”–and there is some variety of this notion in almost everything, from Marxism, to Objectivism, to scientific empiricism, and so on.  What this functionally means is that the individual can only truly exist by rejecting what he is told is the fallacy of  his own, individual and singular existential context…that is, the reality of Self, which they always claim is, at its root, subjective.  In other words, the individual is told, ironically, that he only really exists by accepting the idea that he doesn’t actually exist at all.

By this (backwards) logic, even man’s very birth can only occur under the auspices of the collectivist system (e.g. the “laws of physics/nature”) or society (e.g. the Workers Utopia; economic egalitarianism; the Church Body).  This presumes that such a collectivist system or society must have existence prior to the birth of human beings.  Of course, this is an impossible scenario because without the existence of the human being, there is absent the necessary frame of reference by which the collective could be organized or structured in the first place.

What all of this means is that man survives at the pleasure of the Collective, and in geopolitical terms, we refer to the Collective as the State.  And by the State, what we mean, practically speaking, is the Government; or, more specifically, the human Authorities which are the fleshly incarnation of the Collective Will.  And this means that individuals are obliged to serve the State for their own “good”…for their own existence, not the other way around.

For a man like Ben Carson, who professes to a belief in the sovereign (read, deterministic) Will of God, how is the State defined?  What is Government?  What is its role and purpose?  Its not particularly difficult to figure out.  Naturally, the Government is an institution established by God to enforce His Will, collectively.  And by that I mean, of course, upon society.  The Church, on the other hand, though intimately tied to the Government, is that institution–ruled by its own specific incarnate Authority of the Divine Will–which establishes the governing principles, interpreted from the Holy Texts (“God’s Word”) by divinely enlightened priests, which the State’s Authority (e.g. President Carson) will, through the establishment of specific “secular” law, level upon society through violence and threats of violence by its monopoly of force.

Ben Carson says that he “follows the doors God opens”.  This means that if he happens to become President, it is, according to his doctrine, because God wants it that way.  God determined him into the Presidency.  Any effort on his part or the part of the voters is entirely tangential, and ultimately irrelevant.  And what is it that God wants him to do then?  Does He want Carson to govern as though it is his duty to ensure the right of the individual to exist as though what God wants is NOT the individual’s obligation?

Of course not.  This is completely at odds with what Carson believes will have thrust him into the Presidency in the first place.  It is contrary to his entire existential belief system.  It is, for him, an impossible consideration.  It is an idea which simply cannot hold any efficacy.  It cannot possibly be true.  The idea of an individual’s Self determinism is utterly exclusive of Carson’s metaphysical premise: that man is a function of God’s Will. Period.  For Carson, “individual” existence is an affront to the “truth” of DIVINE REALITY.

Carson’s duty as President is for him to function as a direct extension of God’s sovereign and determining Will.  That idea is a function of his doctrine; and that doctrine assumes the metaphysic of man’s natural depravity.  And that means that man will be sacrificed to the State.  Because Carson does not and cannot make the existential, functional, practical, or moral distinction between the people, the government, and God’s Will.  “God’s Will” becomes the entirety of his metaphysics…and by that I mean it is the nature of ALL existence.  Therefore, there is no room for human beings–for individuals.  There is only the antagonism of God by the individual’s claim, either conscious or as a behavioral byproduct of his “depravity”,  to possess a separate, distinct existence of his own, and the requisite, perpetual, and  violent conflict which this claim demands.  And this means, when all the sophism and rhetoric is cleared away, that Ben Carson’s job as President is this, and this alone:  the subjugation of the individual for the purpose of eradicating the existential and moral affront which the individual’s presence presents to God’s Sovereignty.  Only the abstraction of “God’s Will” is Truth.  Only the abstraction of his “Sovereign Purpose” has a right to BE.  The individual presents a direct challenge to God because he lays claim to his own existence.  But this anomalous existence is one of depravity and insufficiency.  Therefore it must be governed, and that’s what Ben Carson will do.

But always remember that within the collectivist mindset, which is Carson’s mindset I submit, Government is Authority and Authority is Force. To govern the individual is to compel his life in service to the collective abstraction. That is, to govern the individual, according to the collectivist metaphysic, is to destroy him.