Category Archives: Christian fallacy

Can 2+2=5 if the Bible Says So?

A couple of months ago I was debating an acquaintance of mine on the rational merits of the doctrine of Original Sin. After describing some of the logical failures and destructive consequences of the doctrine, I concluded by saying of Original Sin, “That’s impossible”. To which he replied, “That’s Bible”.

His reply is an example of the rational fallacy known as “argument from Authority”. The definition is pretty self-evident. One asserts a thing is true based not upon the internal consistency of the logic, but upon what, or who, happens to be asserting it. In this article I shall explain why the argument from Authority as it pertains to the Bible in particular is a rational disaster, and, due to its relentless prevalence and promulgation amongst today’s Christian apologists, makes these apologists the laughing stock of pretty much any and all intellectual discourse. I will do this by attacking the issue relatively obliquely, posing a hypothetical contradiction.

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If the Bible said that 2+2=5, would you accept it as true?

Well, there are three ways we can answer this question.  One is the best; one is the worst; and one is okay. The one most Christains use is unfortunately, and of course, the worst one. Why? Because it’s lazy AND contains no null hypothesis, either implicit or explicit, and thus it ironically allows them to claim infinite moral and intellectual superiority without ever having to consider critically nor defend or debate…well…ANYTHING about what they say they believe. This approach is VERY appealing to many because, among other things, it pretends to provide truth to those who for whatever reason are incapable of achieving it on their own. By offloading moral and intellectual responsibility to the Bible (that is, the Authority), absolute truth is (somehow) INSTANTLY accessible. This is intellectual and moral egalitarianism at its penultimate worst, behind only Marxism, and should be regarded by anyone with an ounce of integrity and self-respect as completely embarrassing.

At any rate, here are the three ways we can answer the question: Can 2+2=5 if the Bible declares it?

1. No. Of course not. If an assertion defies rational consistency and logic then it cannot ever be true. The source is irrelevant. For even if we assume that God himself could make 2+2=5, humanity would have no way of confirming its veracity. Human beings organize their reality according to the non-contradiction of concepts, period. We call this reason. If black is also white and up is also down and blue is also red and a square is also a circle then correctly interpreting reality is impossible for man, and his very mind is totally irrelevant and contrary to existence, itself, which means he cannot possibly know God let alone claim that God can defy reason. Concepts must mean one thing and one thing only for ANYTHING to be defined. If 2+2=5 then conceptualization itself is impossible, because concepts which contradict cannot generate meaning. Thus the very notion of “to conceptualize” is categorically defunct. And without concepts there is no language, and without language there is no meaning, and without meaning there is no knowing, and without knowing there is no God as far as man is concerned.

2. If the Bible says so then it must be true. Man’s wisdom is irrelevant; we must accept what the Bible says without question. After all, this is what it means to have faith. Because God is its author, the Bible’s veracity is not dependent on man’s finite capacity for reason.

The problem with this answer is that it implies that man must accept what is irrational as nevertheless true if God says it. But if you ask why, you will ultimately be told either explicitly or implicitly that because God is who He is, he is able to do things man cannot do, including claim “truths” that are inherently contradictory and thus ultimately self-defeating. In other words, the one making the argument from (God’s/Bible’s) authority is appealing to his insinuated RATIONAL belief in God as a defense of his IRRATIONAL belief that 2+2 can equal 5. It is REASONABLE, in other words, that God’s message is UNREASONABLE. Or, put most simply, the unreasonable is defended by appealing to reason.

Do you see the MASSIVE problem with this? We cannot argue that it’s rational to believe in the irrational, because we are obligating irrationality to rationality, which is a complete contradiction of the concepts. The entire argument then falls apart. If our understanding of God (even if we should claim it “incomplete”) is based on reason then we must likewise base our understanding of what he declares on reason. The method by which we understand who God is cannot be mutually exclusive of the method by which we understand what he says. If our belief in God is reasonable then our belief in what he says must also be reasonable. Of course we can attempt to jettison reason entirely with respect to God and his message but then we are left without a means to claim that we can know him or anything he says. Which makes God and his message meaningless to us. Man uses reason to arrive at truth, period. There is no other method. Even if we say we have pure faith we must be able to say WHY; otherwise it’s not faith. It’s “faith”…as in just a noise from your mouth hole.

3. I need to examine the issue further. It is possible that the Bible is speaking metaphorically or allegorically or poetically. Or perhaps I am interpreting the Bible incorrectly…perhaps I hold an erroneous assumption about what the Bible is actually saying, or have misunderstood the context somehow. Perhaps my own logic is flawed, so I will examine my own assumptions to see if they are indeed consistent with reason before I offer a verdict..

As for the last point—the possibility of flawed assumptions on my part—I offer the following example:

The Bible is often criticized as erroneous for teaching geocentricity due to many passages referencing the sun rising and setting. Though this provides little hard evidence for such a complaint, let’s assume that yes the Bible does clearly assert geocentricity. Now, we might be quick to dismiss such an assertion as impossible. After all, science has long since proven that the earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around. But has it really?

Before we reject the passages which speak of geocentricity and chalk them up to error and ignorance, perhaps we should examine our own assumptions to see if our rejection of the Bible’s claim is actually warranted.

In a vacuum all objects must move/exist relative to one another. No object in a vacuum possesses in itself an endemic natural and existential property which makes it the “center” or, conversely, which makes it “that which revolves around”.  In a vacuum ALL positional references must be defined by an observer (one who is self-aware). This is utterly axiomatic.  An observer writing in the time of the Torah and New Testament would indeed perceive the sun as revolving around the earth. And, as bodies in space all move relative to one another, one could not declare this observer objectively wrong. Simply because geocentricity is not mathematically useful does not make it utterly false as a concept in EVERY context. Thus, the Bible would NOT necessarily be asserting a rational error by claiming that the sun revolves around the earth.

Thus, my first instinct when asked if I would accept as true 2+2 equaling 5 if the Bible claimed it so would be to examine the Bible, the context, and my own assumptions and conclusions before giving an answer.

Answer number three then is the best; answer number two is the worst; and number one I would say is okay, at least as a gut reaction.  The point is that if we stay away from number two, we stay away from foolishness. And then maybe we can legitimately and with integrity begin to  insert the Bible into mature intellectual discourse once again.

END

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Rethinking Prayer: Asking or telling? (Part TWO)

What do I think prayer is?

Well, this question cannot be answered without discussing what I think God is.  So, both questions will be looked at here, though not necessarily in any particular order…and I cannot say this will be an easy read.  These are complicated subjects, but if you apprehend the essence of what I mean then I’ll consider it a win for both of us.

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Prayer, or more specifically the answer thereto, is the necessary response of reality—specifically its underlying RATIONAL philosophical apparatus, and this apparatus is God.  In other words, God is reality as expressed, and as possible (efficacious), through the objective rational principles which utterly imply it.  Starting with an irreducible metaphysical primary (which can only be Ability, because existence must be active for it to be possible, and all action must be underwritten by the Ability to act), and proceeding through epistemology, ethics, etcetera, etcetera, where all the root philosophical premises (epistemological premise; ethical premise, etc.) proceeding from the metaphysical primary are corollary to promote, affirm, and reinforce the primary (and therefore themselves) thus creating  what I call the Great Corollary…or the Many Truths (the premises) from the One Truth (the metaphysical primary).

Now, I know this explication is pretty abstruse (though less so if you follow my blog) and this is a function of the complexity of the subject.  And the reason, in large part, for this complexity is because the church has spent almost the entirely of its existence avoiding the question.  The substitution of truth by the Church, you see, with equivocation, tarted-up logical fallacy (contradiction explicated as Truth), mysticism, pagan and neo-pagan syncretism, despotic absolutism and collectivist authoritarianism, emotional blackmail and outright blackmail, spiritual manipulation, excuse-mongering, and plain old lying, has made getting to the truth of what God is, and thus what is meant by prayer to God, exceedingly more complicated and enigmatic than it ever needed to be if we could have avoided the past two thousand years of the intellectual error of the sociopaths, psychopaths, narcissists and fools who have traditionally comprised Christianity’s ruling (priest) class.

If you have spent any time in the Church you will know, unless you are a child or have the spiritual mind of a child, or are blinded by or thoughtlessly committed to the Platonist propaganda which passes for truth there, that there simply does not exist any actual definition of God anywhere therein whatsoever.  And you will understand that this is precisely why no one in the church really knows what prayer is, means, or how to do it.  Oh, for certain there are some mildly clever attempts to provide a meaningful answer to the question “what is God?”, like “he’s the Creator”, which in reality tells us not what he IS but what he DOES, and this only vaguely and insufficiently; or we might hear “he is the Alpha and the Omega (first and last)”, which only obliquely describes his nature and utterly omits the relevant practical implications of such a claim, and does not describe how such a label has any meaning beyond the mere figurative and/or poetic.  Alpha and Omega implies an infinity of being, which is fine, but what is required, and omitted, is how one reconciles the paradox of an infinite Agent manifesting as somehow distinct (finite) in reality. I am not saying that such a paradox cannot be resolved, just that the church has never done so…and will NEVER do so.

Next, of course, we have the extra-biblical assertion that God is a “Trinity”…the “Three in One”—whatever that means.  And don’t bother asking, because NO ONE knows.  If you do dare put on your hazmat suit and wade into the fetid abyss of Christian apologetics and ask about the “Trinity” you will get a smorgasboard of  equivocation amounting to, in practicality, a big fat shrug.  All explanations of the Trinity are designed to dazzle, not inform, because the church realized some five hundred years ago that explaining a rank contradiction in terms was impossible, even with all the divine clarivoyance of the whole medieval priest class, including the Pope with his magic tin can and string direct to God.  Back then, of course, demurring from the orthodox interpretation of God as Trinity was apt to get one murdered for heresy.  Today, murder is not the church discipline de jure, as much as the modern priest class would ABSOLUTELY embrace that power being that it is entirely consistent with Christianity’s doctrinal premises, however, disagreeing with the unbiblical notion of God as “Three in One” indeed marks you as an outcast and a troublemaker, unsaved and evil, denying even the most basic of God’s “truths”.

And here’s something else about the Trinity, as long as we are on the subject…and this relates to my overall point in the article here anyway.  I submit that the doctrine of the Trinity is a thinly veiled ADMISSION that Christian orthodoxy has absolutely no idea what God is or how to describe his nature.  Thus, a contradiction in terms (Three which is simultaneously One) has become the final word on God’s essence…and it is assumed that  this makes him somehow awesome as opposed to ridiculous.  We are supposed be inspired to literal and figurative prostration at the thought of our Creator as that which man cannot possibly fathom by any cognitive faculty or conceptual framework.

And herein lies the whole damn problem.

In an effort to make God astonishingly vast and complex, and thus to inspire man to worship and tremble at his feet, Christianity has instead made him a farce—an arrant joke—by placing him utterly beyond anything rational, and thus (and most abominable) playing straight into the hands of his those who mock and scorn his existence.  God defined as “Three in One” creates an interpretation of the Father which has been punted beyond man’s cognitive, conceptual, and intellectual frame of reference.  By defining God as a contradiction, Christianity has ensured that man cannot possibly apply the Father’s existence to reality in any way at all, making him utterly irrelevant to man, and exchanging practical and rational theology for mysticism, superstition, spiritual despotism, and willful ignorance; and making these things virtues whilst mocking, condemning, and murdering as heretics those who nurture a pure, holy, innocent, and RATIONAL desire to know him.

And finally, it would do us all well to remember that the madness known as the doctrine of the Trinity saw its Protestant canonization punctuated with murder when the scoundrel and false teacher, John Calvin, had Michael Servitus burned at the stake for rejecting it.  And this is the spiritual primordium from which today’s Christians claim to know God?!  I think not.  Look not to the church, my friends.  God is not known there.  The church has ghosts, but they are not holy.

Needless to say, then, since Christianity contains within all its disputations, catechisms, liturgies, and doctrinal interpretations no description of God which may pass for even a remedial or marginally realistic definition of the the nature of the Almighty, it clearly cannot provide a definition of prayer to him, nor how one should pray, nor what one should pray for, nor when, nor what one may expect with regards to its efficacy and outcomes.

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So what is prayer? Well, I will tell you…understanding that this is a summary.  Giving full attention to such a topic would, I think, necessarily fill volumes.

Prayer is an extension of man’s right not to be governed by deterministic cause and effect (cause and effect being purely an abstract rendering of what is an entirely relative relationship between objects when excluding the presence of the observer).  Prayer is an extension of man’s existence as a function not of abstract natural law, but of reason.  Reason extends beyond the mere physical/ontic parameters of the “laws of physics”, and demands that reality accommodate man’s RATIONAL will.  And this either by man’s physical OR metaphysical extension of himself.  That is, either by his hands or by his rational will—his understanding of his intrinsic right to witness his rational desires BEYOND those hands; that man’s will as it controls the object known as his body may likewise control ALL of that which is rationally obligated to affirm his absolute Self.  And because prayer is an expression of man’s categorical right to his own rational and absolute existence, he need not ask or entreat or beg or bargain with reality.  He commands it.  And then it shall obey.  God, you see, then, is not the worker of the effects of man’s prayer.  MAN, himself, is.  God, however, being an extension of the rational/moral (rationality and morality being corollary) existence of man (or, rendered more allegorically, he is Father and man is Son) is man’s PARTNER in manifesting the outcomes of that which is commanded.

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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)

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

Argument From Authority: the Christian’s go-to move

Last week I had a heady discussion/debate with a friend of mine at the home-school cooperative my children attend.  Beginning with some marginally interesting/relevant social issues, in particular the NFL kneeling-for-the-anthem controversy, and then proceeding in due course to the meatier topics of Christian theology and doctrine, it went on for well-over an hour.  Happily, we found ourselves in agreement about a great many things.  It was turning out to be quite the satisfying and encouraging yarn.

Or so it seemed.

In reality, I suppose it was no real shock to discover that we actually had nothing in common, theologically speaking.  Since my full-on commitment to heterodoxy seven years ago, I have had these sorts of conversations with Christians—99% of whom are orthodox—many, many times.  And they ALWAYS end the same way.  Always, always, always.  Without fail; without distinction; without caveat; without ambiguity; without doubt.

Any theology/doctrine discussion, given enough time, will eventually terminate at metaphysics: the nature of reality; the nature of man.  And once we get down to metaphysics, there are really only two directions you can go:  Reason or Mystery.  That is, do we define man according to an innate existential ability to apprehend Truth, make moral distinctions, and then choose good over evil (or vice versa); or do we define him as merely an epiphenomenon…his consciousness and his will merely an illusion, purely a function of some great, transcendent determinative Force, which we may define as God (or the gods, or the Universal Mind, or Natural Law/Evolution, and so on)?  In other words, can man truly KNOW by what means and to what measure he exists, and can he be certain of what is true and what is not, and from that what is good and what is not, and from that CHOOSE on his own behalf to manifest his existence in a way that is utterly and objectively REAL? Or is Truth infinitely beyond him, because he is not, at essence, himself, but a direct function of some Ultimate Power which controls all things, as all things are, in fact, an absolute function of this Power, Itself.

I don’t expect it will come as any surprise to learn that my friend ultimately appeals to mystery metaphysics.  He is, after all, a consummately orthodox Christian, whereas I have rejected orthodoxy on the grounds that it indeed projects this very brand of metaphysics.  I have rejected the idea that real knowledge is the knowledge that one cannot ever actually know.  And any definition of God which makes everything fundamentally an extension of Himself by hermeneutically wrecking the distinctions between Him and the iterations of His creation, is at root an appeal to Nothing as the root of Truth.  Because if everything IS God, then we cannot ever actually know what God is…because we cannot tell what He is not.  It’s like when we are told that nothing happens which God does not allow.  If this is true, then human choice is impossible for obvious reasons.  And if human choice is impossible, then knowledge is meaningless, which makes “knowledge” itself a contradiction in terms, and thus makes it impossible to KNOW God.  Which means you cannot declare that nothing happens which God does not allow.  Because…who is God?  Shrug.  That’s a mystery.

Now, this is all interesting and is all well and good, but it’s not really the point of this article.  The point of the article is to examine the way in which my friend defended a particular metaphysical assertion towards the end of our discussion.  I questioned the veracity of his claim that man was “fallen” and that God did not consider any “unregenerate” person’s actions to be moral, regardless of whether or not they WERE, in fact, moral. In other words, my friend conceded that man is born with the innate capacity to apprehend Truth and is therefore capable of making moral choices, but that as far as God is concerned, ALL the choices of those who have not confessed Christ as Savior are evil choices.

I demured, saying that if God decides that what is moral is in fact immoral, then he has contradicted Himself by contradicting reason.  How can God value Himself as Good whilst at the same time denouncing man’s good choices—whether he is “unregenerate” or not—as being fundamentally evil?  No God worth his name would conflate evil with good and then have the audacity and lack of self-awareness enough to simultaneously proclaim Himself a MORAL being,  Furthermore, if ALL of man’s choices are evil, then man can never be in a position to accept Christ as Savior, because THAT choice is, to Christians, the apogee of moral action.  God must choose FOR man.

So…let me get this straight.  God must choose Himself, BY (or OF) Himself (that is, from His own will), and somehow this means that man, who has absolutely nothing to do with THAT Choice can now make choices that God now considers to be moral?

Er…

I’m sorry, but this kind of theology is madness, and doesn’t come within a thousand miles of reasonable.  It’s magical thinking…the stuff of children’s fairy tales and old wives tales and superstition.

And yet, what did my friend say in reply?

Exactly what you’d expect.

”But, that’s Bible.”

And that, my friends, is called an argument from authority.  And it is the Christian’s go-to move whenever they find themselves backed into a theological corner.  Always.

You see, it doesn’t matter that the idea is completely devoid of reason, and that it is impossible to explain because how do explain a square circle?  How do you convince someone with words that black is simultaneously white or that up is down or that a bird is a cloud?  You don’t.  Because there are no words for such a task.  Words are the audible expression of ideas, which can only exist if contradiction is excluded from the process of formulating the concepts which are connected together to form those ideas.  If A is NOT distinct from B then neither can be said to exist.  Man cannot express “tree” if “tree” also means “shoe”.

Once Authority has been injected into the discussion, then there IS NO LONGER any discussion because words have become entirely meaningless.  You accept what the Bible says because it’s the Bible and because it’s the Bible you accept what it says.  This is a tautology, and it specifically falls under the category of “argument from authority”.

You see, the argument from authority removes any “why?” from the equation.  There is NO “WHY?” because Authority is FORCE, absolutely, and therefore becomes its own “why?”.  To ask why is to assume you have the right to have something explained to you…but that explanation has been punted entirely out of the realm of Truth.  You OBEY, you don’t ask questions.

So what my friend did, and I like to think unwittingly, is completely nullify the hour of discussion that preceded his declaration that what is an utterly ridiculous, impossible, and intellectually treasonous description of man’s metaphysical state is nevertheless true because the Bible says it.

Well, A, no the Bible doesn’t say it…YOU say it.  I know the Bible, and I can assure you that it makes no such assertion, period.  Full stop.  THAT foolish and evil metaphysic has been smuggled into the pages of the Bible by the gnostic paganist roots of the Augustine/Luther/Calvin theological death cult.  And B, according to your very own admission, the Bible cannot actually say anything because clearly words don’t matter.  The Bible is force, and therefore is not obligated to EXPLAIN a damn thing to you or me or anyone else.  The Bible is nothing more than an idol or a talisman which demands your categorical obedience under threat of terrible punishment.  So how dare you deign to attempt to explain it to me.  How dare you decide that it SAYS something…as if the Sword “says” anything other than “obey or die”.  As if meaning matters.

And this…was sad.  The whole conversation was a bust, I believe.  His declaration was a tacit admission that he has no real interest in what he says he believes, let alone in convincing me of its rational and intellectual integrity.  The point of Christianity is to force the world to obey, nothing more.  Which in actual fact makes its theological apologetics of no more relevance nor interest than any old random jumble of words.  The entirety of Christian orthodoxy has been reduced to mere mouth noises.

So the next time someone says “But, it’s Bible”, take a glance upwards.  See up there?  That’s where you’ll find the guillotine dangling when the political conclusions of that statement are finally realized.

END

 

When “God’s Will” is a Moral and Rational Catastrophe

Recently some friends of mine made a very significant life decision.  I felt and feel that this decision is a dreadful one…one that places the family at serious risk.  What the decision is is not really important; and they are certainly well within their rights to make it…so as far as that goes it makes no real difference to me.  They can do what they want with their own lives; they didn’t ask my opinion and they aren’t obliged to do so.  I’m fine with that.  I wish them good luck and it’s not my problem.

Except that it kinda IS my problem, because it stems from an idea about God and the nature of reality that implicitly affects me.  Because how anyone in a system under which citizens are obligated to associate with each other—through the coercive power of the State to requisition property—thinks about reality is going to affect his or her neighbor…because it affects how they VOTE.  And to cast a vote is to proclaim a tacit desire to use force to compel others to your personal political ideals.  So…yeah, this problem affects me.

Once the decision had been realized and formalized these friends stated that it was wonderful to see how—and I will paraphrase here—God made it all happen.   God prompted their hearts and then secured the “desired” outcome…and the reason I use quotes around “desired” is because if God gives you the idea and the will then is the desire really yours? Umm…no, it aint. You don’t have anything to do with it.

And now you see the problem.

God did it.  Not them.  It was GOD, you see. It was ALL GOD.  And praise the Lord, because His divine Will has been accomplished.

Oh boy…I mean, where do we even start with this?  This is a terrifying and dangerous way to approach life and define reality.  To punt your own will and choice AND the outcomes into the intellectual abyss of “God did it all” is to position yourself where the ability to conceptualize reality based upon the rational notion of choices and consequences, and causes and effects, is entirely neutralized.  And this ABSOLUTELY guarantees your own destruction, sooner or later, in some form.  The painful outcomes of pursuing rational disaster may be as of yet unknown, but we can be sure of one thing:  those who do not take responsibility for their own actions will come to ruin.  And the intellectual bankruptcy of “God’s determinative Will” also unfairly and callously tempts others to join you in your folly, and your misery, and, perhaps even worse, to promote and disseminate the evil ideas which caused it.

Think about it for a minute.  If God does something…if God controls the situation lock, stock, and barrel, from its inception as a mere idea coupled with the requisite emotional response of desire, to its final realization in manifest reality, then at what point can we—the mere characters in the great and transcendent spiritual (sometimes called the “Gospel”) narrative—make a moral and rational judgment concerning it?  If it’s ALL GOD then how does what we think, and, of equal importance, how we feel, have any meaning at all?  And if our intellectual and emotional judgments are irrelevant in the face of the omnipotence of Divine Determintive Will then how can we know if the things we think and feel are good or bad?  Should we make this decision or not?  And once we’ve made it, should we change course or stay it?

And beyond being destructive and intellectually barren, the idea of God’s superseding Will is just plain old lazy thinking.  Lazy and irresponsible.  It cares nothing for humanity.  The ones who adopt the lie of “God does all things through me” have no real compassion or interest in themselves or anyone else.  They have punted their own moral and intellectual responsibility away entirely.  It doesn’t matter how BAD the decision is, or the practical destruction it wreaks upon one’s life and those around him, because it’s not up to them, it’s up to God.  It’s God’s responsibility to deal with the carnage, not theirs.  And since it’s all of God, who can really say that the carnage is actually carnage? That the disastrous outcomes are really disasters at all?  What do we know?  We see with merely human eyes, and gauge with only human understanding.  What right to we have to judge as evil that which God alone is doing?

If we make a bad decision and the predictably bad consequences manifest, and we have claimed that “God has done it, praise the Lord!”, then we are left with only two ways to evaluate the situation, and both of them demand that the evil continue:

  1. The bad is actually good, we just can’t tell the difference thanks to our “fallen” nature and our innate existential insufficiency to apprehend the “truth” of God’s universe.
  2. The bad is, in fact bad, but God wants it that way, otherwise it wouldn’t have happened, and thus we need to accept it and stop being so selfish.  Of course, if God WANTS it, then the bad is actually the good, and…see point 1.

And so we stop considering pain, in ourselves and in others.  We don’t use the natural tools we have to determine if what we are doing is right or not.  Once what we do becomes a function of not us, but God, then we are relegated to the status of mere observers of ourselves.  Ultimately pointless…all we think and feel being entirely without meaning.  The pain we feel, or that others feel, stops being a warning to us and becomes nothing.  The love we are to receive and give is rejected for some “higher truth”…some “divine purpose”.  The drained bank accounts, the detached children, the chronic stress of too much to do and too little time, the premature aging and sagging eyes, the added strain on the public purse…it’s all something we hope God deals with, but if He doesn’t, oh well…after all, it’s not about us, it’s about Him.

But friends, if it’s not about us then why are we here? If its not about us then why consciousness?  Why do you utter the word “I” if its not about you?  Why know who God is if you are merely a game piece to be compelled hither and thither by the Great Invisible Hand?  If our choices aren’t our own and the consequences cannot be morally judged then how do we even live?  How do we know what to do and what not to do?  What’s the difference between right and wrong? What IS REALITY?

It’s a void.

God will not be mocked.  He finds no pleasure in you outsourcing your own decisions to Him and throwing up your hands at your own moral responsibilities.  He doesn’t bathe in the false praise of those who will refuse to be their own person and live by their own choices, and accept and manage the consequences thereof.  You WILL reap what your dreadfully facile theology has sewn, and it will hurt.

Your life is YOUR JOB!  It’s not God’s!  What you want and need and how much and when and from whom…that’s YOUR JOB, not His.  God does not micromanage ADULTS; and those who think He does are bound for pain, misery, and perhaps even destruction.

Christian, it’s your job!

Damn well do it.

The Implicit Lie of Church Attendance Being Necessary to Salvation

Yesterday I found this meme posted by a friend on my Facebook newsfeed:

“So you don’t want to go to His house on earth, yet you expect to live in His mansion in heaven??”

Okay…hmm…where to start…

Here’s a good place:

This is bullshit.

That’s a good summary…if nothing else, that’s all you have to remember.  Even if you NEVER went to church again, ever, and never did, it has no bearing on your salvation.  None.  Nada.  This is a lie intended to keep the billion-dollars-a-year industry of organized Christianity in business, period.  Whether church officials are conscious of it or not.

What this is, is merely the usual fare of emotional blackmail we are fed by the ecclesiastical authorities.  Church-going is mandatory because justification (salvation) is progressive.  You must be constantly and regularly plugged into the collective Christian hive mind where the Pastoral or Priestly authority can micromanage your life, claim a divine right to your property and labor (the “tithe”, though the concept is bastardized for selfish gain), and where you receive regular infusions of “the Gospel”…because that’s what you still need.  You must, as my former head pastor over at the soft cult of Sovereign Grace Ministries used to say, “preach the Gospel to yourself every day”.  Because that’s exactly what Jesus taught…the saved STILL need saving. Suuure…

By the way, I love the irony of always appealing to the object and absolute truth of the Word, by which they (erroneously) mean “the Bible”, and yet NEVER actually teaching anything that’s in the Bible.  It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so destructive.

And THAT is precisely why it is implied that church attendance is “proof” of salvation…which is just another way of saying that if you don’t go to church regularly, then you can’t be saved.

Of course, rarely will any Christian be honest with themselves or you and openly admit this.  They will demur and say of course that’s not what they really believe…but then why the meme? Why are these kinds of facile statements so popular?  Why am I the only one as far as I can tell who called this meme out as bullshit and implying something unbiblical and unreasonable?

That’s easy.  Because this is EXACTLY what Christians believe.  Church attendance is “proof” of salvation.  To eschew church is to declare to the world that you likewise eschew Christ, Himself.  Because church, as the meme says, is God’s house on earth.  How can you say you love someone and yet never pay them a visit?  You can’t.  Christ doesn’t live in your heart…he lives in Church, you see.  When you leave church, you leave Him.  Stay gone too long, and you’re no longer in a relationship with Him.  You’re no longer saved.  Justification is progressive…you get a serving of it when you come to church.  And just like a meal you’ve eaten, eventually you need to return to the table.    Just like the well you drink from, you must return when you’re thirsty.  The whole “he who drinks my water will never thirst” that Jesus counseled…well, again, irony.  Those who worship the Bible don’t actually follow it.

I will say this unashamedly:  This is an outright satanic manipulation of the doctrine of Salvation in general and the Gospel in particular.  By declaring, even implicitly, that the Christain must be re-saved by endless repetitions of the Gospel message at church on Sundays is to make the believer a NON-believer at root.  You must continue to RECEIVE the Gospel because you are unable to actually BELIEVE it. Its power is finite, available only in doses, and your sin nature absolute.  You are not taught, you are exposed…not informed, but inculcated. This DESTROYS the Gospel by stripping it of reason…which is its very TRUTH.  Its power.  Instead of being a philosophy which can be articulated and defended on objectively rational grounds, it becomes relegated to the “transcendent” realm of God’s Unknowable Mystery.  It becomes a hammer of the Spiritual Authority (Pastor or Priest Class) to compel your obedience to “the Church” by threats of ostracism, spiritual failure and hell…it is emotional blackmail and pshychological abuse in perhaps their most pernicious incarnations.

One commenter who took issue with my interpretation of the meme explained that Church was a “house of sinners” not a “hotel of Saints”.

Forehead slap!

Do you see what I mean?  The church, where ostensibly believers in Christ gather, is called a house for SINNERS!  This, my friends, should shock and scandalize you.  This is a “Christian” who openly admits that the saved are STILL full of SIN! That despite the acceptance and devotion to the Gospel, Christians are and remain spiritually unchanged.  They are sinners…which is precisely how the Bible describes non-believers.  There is no difference then from one who accepts Christ and one who doesn’t.  Salvation has nothing to do with the Gospel and YOU believing it.  Your belief is completely irrelevant.  You are saved by “going to God’s house…for SINNERS…regularly, to receive your weekly injection of medicine.  To get your Gospel fix.  Stay away too long, and it wears off.

So what then separates the believer from the non-believer?  The believer is he who has been effectively blackmailed, threatened, and cowed into pledging himself, his family, his property, and his time to the Church Collective as ruled by the ecclesiastical Authority.  That’s it.  No truth.  No love.  No real existential change.  Just fear, fear, and more fear.  Come to church or go to hell.  And THAT’S the only thing that that meme can possibly mean. Period.

Here’s more irony for you:  Go to church and you will hear endless warnings to stay away from the “world”…that the devil is in worldly things.  But the truth is that if you really want find the devil, just look behind the podium.  The devil is always where God is placed furthest from His children…and the furthest distance from God is a doctrine which says that humanity is by nature incapable of really knowing Him. And THAT’S church, in a nutshell.

Oh, sure they will tell you that you come to church after you “believe” not to get “re-saved”…not to re-crucify Christ, which is exactly what they do, by the way…but to become sanctified.  To learn how to “walk or work out” your salvation, as if that’s some big mystery that you only discover after you devote yourself to belief; that somehow there is this giant separation between what someone believes and how they act according to that belief.

You see, you can be saved, they say, but unless you go to church you can’t really know what that means, so you can’t really act in accordance with your salvation.  Which means that for all practical purposes you aren’t’ really saved.

But, see, as the BIBLE SAYS faith without works is dead…if you claim to believe something, but never act according to it, then you don’t really believe it.  What this means is that to believe something necessarily means that you ALREADY understand how you must act in accordance with it.  There IS NO fundamental distinction between belief and behavior…they are corollary at the epistemological root.  If I relevantly and rationally belive that I would like to be an opthamologist, then I understand the behaviors in which I must engage in order to validate that belief…go to school, study hard, do a residency, cultivate a profitable patient base.  Similarly, to believe in Jesus is to understand how to act in order to validate that belief…and it’s not obedience, it’s simply the CHOICE to believe driving the corollary behavior.  I act because I ALREADY know how because I understand what I believe. I don’t believe, and then OBEY a demand that tells me where to go every sunday so that I can be TOLD how to act in accordance with my belief.  That’s NOT belief, that’s slavery.

If I have no idea how to act according to a belief, then I don’t actually know enough to believe.  And thus, to say that one must attend church in order to know how to act in accordance with salvation is false logic.  I cannot CHOOSE to become saved until I understand what that means; and to understand what that means is to understand what I must DO from that CHOSEN belief.

And so, no, you do not attend church to learn how to act according to salvation.  To know how you must act according to your salvation is a prerequisite for actual belief.  You attend church, as the meme implies, because that’s what saved people do.  Church attendance thus = salvation.  That’s the real point of the meme…and what Christain orthodoxy implicitly teaches.  Thus, salvation is not a function of faith, but of obedience.  Not of freedom but of Authority.  Salvation obligates you to a collecitve, which is ruled by an ecclesiastical authority which demands that you regularly offer up your time and resources to itself.  After two thousand years of Christ’s wisdom, we’ve boiled down salvation to blind obedience and the abject sacrifice of the individual to the collective ideal of “Church”.

Enjoy the meme.

 

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.

 

 

The Problem of God as Absolute Power: A brief explanation of the contradictions of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence

If God is omnipotent then omniscience is irrelevant.  It doesn’t matter what God knows about what or whatever, IS, because what IS is utterly subject to his power.  And thus meaning—that is, whatever there is to know about anything—is utterly subordinate to what God decides things are and do at any given moment.  Because HE may arbitrarily decide all meaning at any given moment by controlling absolutely what all things are and what they do, He doesn’t actually need to know anything about anything at all.  Since He can change meaning at will and at whim, the knowledge of anything is completely subjective, and thus, at root, pointless to him.  Omniscience is irrelevant to he who has the ability to arbitrarily command meaning through plenary control of all that which exists.

But if God is omniscient then omnipotence is irrelevant.  In order for God to know everything about whatever is, then whatever is cannot be subject to a plenary power to change things on a whim.  Because in such a case, as I’ve already shown, knowledge is entirely subjective, being subordinate to his power to command meaning. Unless one knows truth which is not subject to an ability to arbitrarily change it on a whim, then one is not omniscient.  Omniscience thus renders omnipotence impossible.  If what God knows truly IS, then what it IS must be beyond his direct control.

And if God is omnipresent, then we must conclude that He exists in precisely the same place and at the same time as you and I and everyone else.  And thus, there is no place for us, or for anything about us, to be, including our own consciousness—our own awareness of and ability to conceptualize our own Self. In which case we do not actually exist…for there is nowhere for us to be since God is everywhere.  And therefore there is no one to ponder the ideas of God and his omniscience or omnipotence or omnipresence or anything else.  God’s omnipresence precludes the possibility of any actual thing, or any actual agent, outside of Him, or co-existing with Him.  He is everything and everyone, which…when you think about it really means that He is nothing and He is no one.  And in this case, there is nowhere for Him to be, either. So God’s omnipresence means that He cannot actually be present anywhere, and thus is a contradiction in terms.

 

Christian Appeals to Divine Determinism and Mystery are Nothing More Than Intellectual Laziness

I ran across this quote today by erstwhile Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia:

“God assumes from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and he has not been disappointed. If I have brought any message today it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.”

Hmm…

Okay, well…I’m just going to get right down to it.

Here’s the translation of this vapid nothingburger of pointless, gnostichristian, doublespeak:

A Christian tells me the world thinks him a fool.

My first question is: Are you?

Indeed, this question is really the first thing that should come to mind when accused of being a fool by WISE and SOPHISTICATED people.

Am I?

Because THAT? Is the surest way to know that you are not, in fact, a fool. As opposed to, say, clumsily lobbing forth some thinly-thinly veiled, narcissistic nonsense about how “the world” can’t begin to understand the depths of your inspired “truth” and the limitless degrees of your moral superiority (with humility, though!), and your poor, poor put-upon sensibilities as you sooooo selflessly strap on the shield of faith and give sooooo tirelessly to the thankless barbarian masses. Which is what usually happens when Christians are justifiably derided for their utterly senseless doctrine.

Friends, I have met many, MANY fools who call themselves Christians. I promise you, being “divinely gifted with the grace to perceive” and possessing the status of one of Christ’s “elect” is no inoculation against the ravages of rank stupidity and the inherent narcissism and mendacity of UNEARNED and UNFOUNDED moral virtue. Spend ten minutes discussing doctrine with the nearest available neo-Calvinist pastor and you will see exactly what I mean. I promise.

Here’s an idea we Christians might want to adopt: If the world calls us fools, let’s not shrug. Maybe…just maybe… we should try RATIONALLY explaining why we’re not.

But the unpleasant fact of course is that most Christians CAN’T. And this being the case, Scalia’s quote is simply another boring excuse to retreat into the narrow-minded shelter of baseless moral superiority and downright senseless ideological arrogance. Quite frankly, it’s disgusting, and it reminds me why I can’t darken the doorway of a church today without feeling the almost irresistible urge to cover my ears and collapse into the fetal position. My constitution simply cannot handle the abject presumption of so many rationally bankrupt, sub-par thinkers telling me that they have the right AND the OBLIGATION to hope and pray that the world adopt their folly…because GOD SAID SO!

????

Yes, Scalia’s quote is merely another example of the the long, ignoble Christian tradition of intellectual sloth.

*

God telling us that “the world will call us fools” translates into “this is the way it MUST always be”. Trust me, I know the metaphysics of protestant orthodoxy like the back of my hand. Of course, this is precisely the conclusion you’d expect from the intellectually indolent.

This assertion is not a boon to courage! Far from it! It’s emotional bromide, nothing more! Designed to swaddle the the poooor misunderstood Christian in a warm snuggly and rock him back to sleep. A state, by the way, eminently suitable for those so ill-prepared to discuss grown up ideas in the real world.

*

”The SMART people can’t inderstand you”, is a statement that, if intended as an encouragement to share our Christian beliefs, is the worst effing one I’ve ever heard. You see, once again the intellectually gifted—the diligent thinkers—the smart people—get the shaft. Sheesh…first the State trips over itself to tax the living hell out of their productivity, then the schools dumb down the curriculum to make the intellectually inferior feel equal, and now God’s chosen ones snub them as being divinely ordained idiots in disguise! I tell you they can’t catch a break.

*

I understand that we as Christians cannot necessarily control what people think of us. But this doesn’t mean that we should be complacent about it. Particularly when being called fools says as much about our own intellectual failures as it does about the “world”. Believe me, the primary reason the world thinks us fools is that we spend more time appealing to and retreating into the rationally barren non sequitur of “God’s mystery/will/determinism” than we do actually explaining what we believe with rationally consistent apologetics.

When we Christians make the claim that God has ordained that the world will call us fools, they are asserting nothing more than yet another all-too-typical Christian excuse to avoid having to actually figure out just what the hell it is we really believe at the most fundamental of levels. Inevitably, whether explicitly or implicitly, we shrug our shoulders and tell ourselves “Oh well. They’re going to call us fools no matter what, because God said so [He didn’t], so what’s the point in engaging people in any real way?” And by “real” I mean at the level of ACTUAL ideas, not merely the usual fare of moral condemnation and self-serving, ego-stroking, doctrinal haranguing. We preach at them and let God sort out their salvation à la “divine election”.  (“Divine election” has been utterly misinterpreted as “divine salvific determinism”, which is merely the salvation of man according to God’s subjective whim, which is as stupid as it is false.) And when faced with our detractors’ legitimate criticism we blithely chalk it up to the fact that God simply hasn’t elected and enlightened them yet. Notice how a rational argument isn’t within a thousand miles of this tactic.

We Christians punt the truth into the cosmic abyss of God’s mystery and then cry foul at the world, wallowing in feigned innocence and the passive aggression of baseless self-pity, as if WE are ITS victims, when the reality is that it’s been the other way around for hundreds of years.

No, we need not worry that our spiritual witness is hindered by the fear of being called fools. It is hindered because deep down we know that we don’t really understand what we claim to believe. And our ignorance is embarrassingly revealed by even the most cursory and amateurish objections to the transparent (to everyone else) dogma which passes, shockingly, for reasoned orthodoxy. And that certainly DOES make one look foolish…for looking like a the fool is the natural consequence of preaching foolish ideas. Christians aren’t girding their loins against an onslaught of injustice directed at their evangelical mission by declaring that being called fools is a PERFUNCTORY aspect of sharing the faith. They are, rather, seeking shelter from the natural consequence of professing an ideology utterly steeped in rank intellectual error. Proclaiming the INEVITABILITY of insult because of God’s determinative will and the natural depravity of the vulgar masses is in reality nothing more than a palliative; and does little more than help Christians avoid the character-building ridicule which the sharing of dreadfully irrational ideas must naturally produce. And the church is clearly weaker for it.  The church’s rational impotence is so transparent that everyone not immersed in the dogma can see that it is the obvious root of the ever-widening popularity of authoritarian polity amongst church leadership. When “calling” and “truth”, though they be entirely bereft of reason, are emitted directly from the Divine, church leadership is GOING to be more about coercion than convincing. It’s a simple logical progression: Revealed truth is truth beyond question. Which is truth that is by definition fundamentally incompatible with discussion. Which renders man’s will—the exercise of one’s free CHOICE to believe what he wants—entirely irrelevant. And this makes obedience, not reason, man’s only real moral obligation.

Friends, this evil needs to end. Let’s stop making excuses and go out there and make an ARGUMENT for a change. And I mean a real one. If we cannot even do that, then we simply cannot know God. Period. And thus we have a duty to stop talking about Him. Speaking of a God you cannot know because your knowledge has become a bed of pure divine mystery and a bog of muddy, abstruse determinism is to make a liar out of both you and the Holy One. And THAT is a very, very foolish thing to do.