Category Archives: Christian fallacy

How Christians and Secularists Both Define You as Nothing (Part TWO)

The question of “you” (or me or anyone) is an all or nothing proposition. The question of “what are you?” can only be answered in terms of Absoluteness or Absolute Nothingness. That is, you are, at the most fundamental root, either you, absolutely (Absolute You), or you are utterly NOT you (Absolute Absence of You). You either are or you are not. Period. No matter how science, religion, or philosophy, of all and any kind, attempt to equivocate, or make allowances for “mystery”, or the “unknowable” (a conceptual contradiction if there ever was one), or “epiphenomenon”, or even “magic”, there is no way to get around this simple bifurcation of the root existential question: To be or not to be.

Are you, or are you not?

So which is it? Only one answer is correct. And that correct answer is the only possible answer. Thus, we must choose wisely. The answer may seem obvious, or at least intuitive, of course…at least it should. But after thousands of years of the mass acceptance and integration of reasonless and impossible ideologies on the matter, underwriting and permeating every human endeavor and institution from here to the Great Wall of China on both sides, from the State to Society, Religion, Science, Arts and Entertainment and on and on, it seems that rational blindness is solidly ensconced as the undisputed conveyance of human philosophical wisdom to the point where ascertaining the existentially obvious, at least as the foundation for epistemology and ethics, is as improbable for the average man as winning a gold medal in the Olympics.

From part one in this article series we already know how Christians fundamentally define you—as null. A zero. A cegorical non-entity. A non-agent…despite their unwillingness to plainly admit as much. “You” are merely a placeholder…or rather, a character in a play, having no substance until God fleshes out your role with his all-determining will. In other words, you are an arrant projection of God’s infinite foreknowledge; an agency-less character in his cosmic production. His “gospel narrative” drops you in, with lines, actions, consequences, and destiny all decided for you, outside of you, and thus (and ironically) having nothing actually to do with you at all. Because there is no “you” in Christain metaphysics. No self. No cognition nor agency nor conceptualization of any fundamental substance. You are made from “nothing”…spoken into existence; materializing into reality from a place that not even God can define (if you follow the logic) because it is nowhere and at no time…like the Big Bang. You are not of God, himself, because that would make you a part of God, and yet you are not from a substance which co-existed eternally with God because only God is eternal. You were birthed somehow from an infinite vacuum. You are something which is beget from nothing (ex nihilo). You are thus a contradiction—a lie. An unsolvable, indecipherable enigma…a lock with no key nor combination. You are, but what you are is absolute nothingness. Indeed, “you are nothing” is the rank metaphysical contradiction which forms the fulcrum upon which your liar’s existence pivots, points, and from which it proceeds, only to utterly return to itself inexorably and infinitely.

And that, my friend, is not hyperbole…it is theology. It is the sum and substance of your meaning and worth to God. it is the metaphysics of Christian canon. Your value as an individual is null because your individual self is the illusion in which only the unsaved reprobate indulges. To be saved is to recognize that there IS NOTHING of you worth saving in the first place, and this is because you don’t actually exist at all.

So what do you do with this cold slap of Christian doctrine? Well, you might do what many others have done when they realize that all hope must be abandoned once they cross the threshold of the institutional church. They flee to the ostensible “safe haven” of the stoic, cold, unflinchingly certain, emotionless arena of “objective” and “empirical” science, and embrace the metaphysics of scientific determinism (which is the practice of science as a philosophy). Its arms are not warm or loving; its embrace is not meant to comfort or sooth; its wings are not going to transport you to the safety of the eternal afterlife and lay you gently down in a diamond city with gilded streets. But what it does offer is the hard, rigid truth, so at least you always know where you stand. It doesn’t get your hopes up, but then there are no hopes to be dashed when the empiricism of reality inevitably comes crashing down upon you, grinding your life back into dust.

Scientific determinism is closed to bribery. It has no use for dreams or wishes, nor does it offer any. There is no Grand Consciousness to which one may nor must make supplication; it pretends no miracles…no defiance of reality does it promise. And despite the fact that its determinist metaphysics are indeed philosophical, it implies that philosophy is for fools—the opium of the masses because it’s really nothing more than religion, anyway. Metaphysics is psuedo-science and psuedo-rational, like alchemy or phrenology as far as science is concerned. Science explains “what is” in terms that can be measured, and thus in the only terms that can be trusted to be truly meaningful.

So…what of all of this?

Is it true?

No. All of this is a lie, of course, and thus what actually happens to erstwhile Christains when they flee the rational madness of Christian metaphysics for the nuthouse of the metaphysics of science—by becoming atheists or some other iteration of secular determinism—is that they become even more preachy and insufferable than before. Out of the frying pan and into the fire, as they say. The labels change…the vocab, the ribbons and bows. But the metaphysics—and the pretension—remain the same. If you want to know how the scientific determinist defines the nature of existence, and specifically man’s existence, you need look no further than the mysticism from which they ostensibly fled.

The reason, you see, why so many Christians turn to the scientific determinism of secular ideologies after their disillusionment with the church is because they are lazy. Atheism provides them with all the trappings of Christain metaphysics in new clothes…they FEEL better without actually having to do the work to GET better. Scientific determinism provides them with remedial and superficial change, and relieves them of the time and trouble and loss and hurt which accompanies real, substantive change.

Real change, you see, is humbling, not empowering. It proceeds along years and years of uncertainty, it does not gift wrap instant truth in the form of formulas and equations. It is not simply tearing off a red jersey and donning a blue one. It is not simply switching to another team that is still playing the same game. It puts you OUTSIDE of “cause and effect” and makes you an observer of it. Which is what you truly are.

The scientific determinist rejects “God” in favor of physics. They forsake an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient Diety for an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient Natural Law. But of course both mean the exact same thing. Both determine all things; both know what was, is, and shall be, forever and ever; both are everywhere and in everything to the point where it is impossible to know just where they begin and that which they govern ends, and vice versa. And both interpret man, his existence and his consciousness, in the same way: you are a function of that which is absolutely outside yourself, and so there is no “you” in the deep, foundational, and primary sense. “You”, in other words, are a direct function of “NOT you”…and thus You qua You is a lie. “You” do not, in fact, exist at all.

Christianity, and scientific determinism—which is the philosophy of secularism—are metaphysically identical; and this means that they interpret the PHYSICAL universe in indentical ways as well; only the terminology is different. Whether theology (God) or mathematics (Natural Law), both are notions of some kind of Infinite Causal Absolute, which is of course a contradiction in terms. The infinite cannot create anything outside of itself, by definition. At any rate, God or Natural Law are merely broken up into abstract units, organized into various categories of “reality”, and presumed (somehow…the logic is very loose at this point) to be creative…causal. But then beyond that, “God” and “mathematics” as Christianity and Science define them respectively in their spurious philosophical terms, by absolutely causing everything, must necessarily BE everything. In other words, outside of God and Natural Law there is no thing which they did not create ABSOLUTELY. In this sense then, there can be no distinction between what is created and that which creates it. In truth, then, “God” and “Natural Law” do not really explain reality so much as they eradicate the distinction between it and them.

Now, certainly theology and mathematics provide humanity some practical efficacy and utility, which lends them their veneer of philosophical sensibility. Christianity is good at listing rules for man to follow in order to promote some desired, and even perhaps remedially ethical, outcome…an ostensible moral existence: do not kill, do not covet, do not steal, and so on. Mathematics is a fine blueprint for the organization of what is observed in order to provide an a reliable abstract foundation for society’s infrastructure: here’s how you build X to do Y; here is how A can be measured and formulated in order to produce B, and so on. But when we take this rote practical utility and attempt to construct from it a full-on existential paradigm which INCLUDES man, the Observer, we go way astray. The practical utility of “God” and “math” is NOT philosophy…it’s not even a premise…of any kind. It is a tool of cognition…as hammer is a tool of the hand. You cannot reverse engineer “God” or “math” to a metaphysical primary (e.g. man is X, or man is Y) anymore than you can reverse engineer a screwdriver to determine what the user IS. Perhaps you can determine what he does, but not what he is. You do not derive existential meaning from mere practical application. But this axiom is lost on the world, it seems.

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When it comes to our existence, the old idiom tells us that we have no control over the cards we are dealt. Some of us, we are told, win the “genetic lottery”. Others don’t beat the odds. They are unattractive, ignorant, awkward, disabled, in poor health…any, all, or some combination thereof. You’re either a “winner” or a “loser” as Nature has dictated. That we are born to rich parents or poor, nurturing or abusive; we are servant or ruling class; tall and handsome; short, fat, and ugly…all is determined for us upon our birth. True we may escape some of these circumstances, but the intrinsic characteristics which allow us to do so—our intelligence, toughness, resilience, diligence—these are all dictated to us by nature.

All of this is merely an appeal to the same fundamental metaphysical premise as that of the Christian who describes your “talents” and “time” and all other characteristics as “God’s gifts”. All of that which makes you you is nature’s gamble, nothing more—the cause and effect of the all-determining Law of Nature. And of course this premise carries with it the same rational failure of imagining that a distinction can be made between you and all of the characteristics endemic to your birth; that your eye color, for example, hair and skin color, height,  intelligence, parents, the socioeconomic class into which you are born…all of these exist in a cosmic closet outside of your Self, and Nature costumes you with them upon your birth.

Well, except it is a little more complicated…or perhaps, more manipulative. If you examine the metaphysics which inform this idea, to say that you may somehow be defined as distinct from your inherent and endemic characteristics is at root to remove you from yourself, and THIS ultimately and necessarily renders You qua You an existential contradiction. All the things which make you, you, are not actually OF you, but outside of you, which makes “you” a false premise. Science and Christianity are truly the bedfellows of determinist metaphysics (which, by the by—because I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet—are simply a remedial version of Collectivist metaphysics). Ironic perhaps, but on the other hand, not really ironic at all. All variations of determinism are GOING to be based on mysticism—appeals to the Unseen, the Unknowable, the Infinite Cause, which create all things ex nihilo. Whether we call the the Creator “God” or “Natural Law”; whether the beginning is the Bible’s “In the beginning God created…” or the Big Bang, the definition of reality is the same. Reality is a place where “you”, at best, is entirely imaginary.

Think about it…science decreees that there is no “you” until the moment of your birth, or your conception, or of any given number of gestational weeks…it really doesn’t matter with respect to the metaphysics. Yet it simultaneously asserts that the child born to rich parents, and/or with abundant intellectual or athletic ability, for example, has simply won the genetic lottery. And this means that he has been birthed as a function of random cosmic occurrence. He is a child as much of probability as he is of his parents. Of course the question that is either unknown, ignored, or forgotten is: how can one win the genetic/cosmic lottery if one does not exist until AFTER the lucky number has been drawn? Or perhaps better said: how can one win the lottery if he is a FUNCTION of that lottery? The lottery—meaning the determined cause and effect of all object interaction as a function of Natural Law—is what CREATES the one who is said to have won it. The “lottery” generates the winner out of itself. The one who is said to have won (or lost) the “lottery’ is created DIRECTLY out of it…it doesn’t select a winner it produces him. The “winner” is nothing but a direct function of the very probabilistic mechanisms which are also said to have given him his winnings. This is a contradiction. What I’m trying to say is that there is NO ONE to “win” the “genetic lottery”…the “winner” doesn’t submit the lucky numbers, the winner IS the lucky numbers.

The “lottery” isn’t actually a lottery at all, then. The “lottery” is only random manifestations of the Infinite Determining Cause. There is no “you” who upon his birth wins or loses some cosmic game of chance. “You” is an illusion. You can make no claim to Self because the Self is a lie.

The question which follows then is: If there is no Self then how can be conscious of yourself?

The answer is that you aren’t, according to the deterministic metaphysics of science. The spurious assertion that there is a “you” somewhere behind all that genetic code and foreordained cause and effect is a bromide given to the masses to placate any possible protest. Behind that bromide however is the truth…and the facade is very thin indeed. Behind it is the truth that scientific determinism is an ideology which is fundamentally anti-human and pro-Authoritarian.

The insidious nature and consequence of both the Christian and Scientific determinist metaphysical premise of the fundamental non-existence of the Individual Self is that man shall therefore not be ALLOWED to exist AS an individual. Since all men are a function of the exact same determinist force (“God” or “Natural Law”) there is no possible individual distinctions to be made among them. Mankind is thus collectivized under the auspices of some fatuous, subjective, abstract ideal and then ruled by an Authority, usually the State, which acts as a surrogate—the physical incarnation of that ideal which exists to eradicate all expressions of individuality, as these are considered an imposter to reality.

Which it is…IF we concede the false metaphysical premise that the Self (You qua You) cannot exist. And by the authority of THIS foundational belief comes every and all manner of moral violation…everything from petty crime to the Holocaust. The idea that man is not in fact himself is the ideological root back to which all violence and violations of humanity can be traced.

Think about it. Man does not actually exist as himself. Thus he does not earn himself. His existence stems from a birth that provides him with ALL of his attributes—all that he IS—by mere accident; infinitely determined outcomes by the Infinite Determining Force, which is the infinite essence of all of reality and everything in it. Your existence has nothing to do with you…it’s not work; it’s not an action of you, and thus you cannot rightfully claim ownership of yourself and thus you cannot claim ownership of anything that proceeds from your existence. Your life is not your own because YOU are a lie. Your time, talent, property, family, business, labor…these are things over which you can claim no just ownership because you don’t even own yourself. You didn’t earn YOU, so you cannot claim to own anything that is a consequence of you.

We can sum all of that up with this simple maxim: You’re existence is a function of forces outside of you; you do not earn yourself and therefore you do not own yourself, and therefore you do not own anything you produce.

Of course it is hard to avoid the glaring contradiction in this determinist argument. In order to assert that you do not earn and thus do not own yourself, YOU must be assumed as de facto. In other words, the essence of the claim that “you do not earn yourself because you are a product of forces outside of you” is this: YOU do NOT (de facto) exist. However, the claim “you do not exist” is self-nullifying—a contradiction in terms, like “false truth” or “unknowable knowledge” or “infinite time”. In order to make any claim about “you” you must have an existential reference for “you”, and to have that reference “you” must by definition exist. In other words, you must exist in order to claim that “you do not exist”. The very notion itself is utterly dependent upon the presumed existence of “you”.

To be clear, the claim that “you do not exist” is not the same thing as saying something like “unicorns do not exist”. This is because the “you do not exist” is a metaphysical argument based upon “you”, which is a metaphysical premise, not merely a distinction between what is physically present verses what is only imaginary, cognitive or abstract. In other words, “you do not exist” more precisely means “you CANNOT exist”. That is, “you” are impossible to reality itself  in all its forms…physical, cognitive, object, abstract, etc.. “Unicorns do not exist” can never mean “unicorns cannot exist” simply because unicorns qua unicorns are NOT contrary to reality itself because they are not a metaphysical premise. Unicorns may exist in reality, though they may be limited to the imagination; the Self, or You qua You CANNOT exist in reality AT ALL, even in the imagination, because it is a metaphysical concept which is categorically contrary to determinist metaphysics.

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”You” is an all or nothing proposition. You either absolutely are or you absolutely are NOT. But only one of these propositions is correct; only one does not self-nullify due to rational inconsistency. I submit that you ARE, period. “You” as a metaphysical premise cannot be parsed, divided, or distilled. “You” is irreducible. Your essence…your Self is a root metaphysical premise, and the proof is that you speak forth the pronoun “I” via an apprehension of its greater meaning in language in general and in communication. The very fact that this is a concept that can be meanginfully and efficaciously formed and communicated is proof that you ARE. “I” would be infinitely impossible as a concept were it a metaphysical fallacy and thus anathema to existence and reality. “I” is either devoid of all context within reality or it IS the context for reality, itself, and irreducibly so. And as you have no other reference, and will NEVER and can NEVER have any other reference for reality, this statement MUST be true: You are you; You qua You is, in fact, a thing.

And by your ability to be you, you EARN you and all of the characteristics which make you YOU in the practical sense; and therefore you own you and thus own all which exists as a willful consequence of you.

END

How Christians and Secularists Both Define You as Nothing (Part ONE)

The other day my daughters received a thank-you note from a sweet little old lady to whom they had given a small homemade gift on Easter Sunday. The valediction read “May you continue to use the gifts that God has given you.”

And within those sweet little words we find the devil. And thus began quite a long lecture—given to my girls on the spot—on the dangers of ideologies which reduce existence to an idea which enslaves them to authoritarianism for the rest of their lives. That idea is that life and existence are UNEARNED. And though Christians are more ostensibly to be blamed for this evil, the idea is in fact a foundational component of secular metaphysics as well.

Wow. Hmm. Where to even begin. This is tough. There is so, so much wrong with this that it’s like trying to determine which of a thousand maurading orcs I should decaptiate first.

Let’s start with the obvious and aforementioned presumption that one’s talents are gifts. Which implies that they are unearned. So, let’s work backwards to the premise, and from this we shall then have our conclusion as to what this really means…and we will see how sinister it is.

You want to build a cabin, but you have no tools. So someone gives you them. You don’t work for them, they are gifts. Now, you might have “earned” them in the sense that the giver must like you or at least value you as a human. So that’s something. I mean, you didn’t work for them, but you can argue that there’s some inherent value to yourself that serves as the reason why one would give you something out of the profits of their own time and labor.

So, can you call the cabin you build from gifted tools your own? Yeah. Probably. I mean, you’d have to thrown in the obligatory “I could never have done it without you” platitude pretty much every time you had the person over, but they’d be hard pressed to take any real credit for your work, or even more, to claim some kind of shared ownership of it.

What about if the materials for the cabin were gifted, too? Hmm…getting a bit harder to claim that you’re the sole owner of it. At this point, you could still call it yours, and appeal to the meaning of the word “gift” as grounds for sole property rights, but you’d probably have to give the gift-giver carte blanche when it came to using the cabin. They probably could convince you to allow them to come and go at will and to stay for as long as they felt comfortable.

What if they also gifted you the land on which to build the cabin? Now its harder still to claim it as soley yours. But still, it’s a gift, right? And a gift means that you now own the thing gifted and thus can do as you please with it.

True, perhaps in object principle. But let’s be honest, here. When that much is gifted, propriety, etiquette, social convention, and basic consideration at this point imply and, I submit, necessitate a level of gratitude that begins to bleed over into obligation. It’s “your” cabin, but only in abstract principle at this point. Still…you could make a claim based on the strict meaning of the word “gift”.

What if the food and water were also given to you so that you had the energy to build the cabin? And the clothes and the work gloves and the work boots?  And the medical insurance in case you got injured, and the pick-up truck for trips to the hardware store and lumberyard; and the gas for the truck and the insurance for it?  And the fees for the permits, and the water which will be piped into the cabin, and the electricity which will power the appliances and provide heat and air conditioning? What if all the training on how to build the cabin was also a gift? No fees. Just a free ride at the vocational school of your choice?

Well, you might still appeal to the very definition of “gift” to make the case that the cabin belongs solely to you. After all, you might argue, this is pretty much what it means to be a parent. You provide all of these things to your children so that they can go out and build their lives and you don’t necessarily claim to own the things they acquire after they leave home and start their independent lives. And true this may be, but lets’s be honest. There is still some expectation placed upon the children. All things normal, it wouldn’t be considered anything less than rank insult if the children left home, with all the knowledge and resources the parents have provided, and then declined to have anything to do with them. So, there is some quid pro quo expected, even in the parent-child context.

At this point we must begin to face the obvious. “Gift” doesn’t really imply no strings attached. In fact I would say it’s quite the opposite. Which is why when there are no strings attached to a gift, the giver usually has to make that specifically clear:

Hey, Bill. Got you this new putter. And don’t think you have to pay me back…this is my treat, and I’m not looking for you to return the favor. No sir, not one iota. No strings attached, bro.” 

Still, you could argue a technical right to categorical ownership. One is never obliged to give a gift, and thus the recipient can’t technically be obligated to provide return value. I mean, yes, you can make an ethical argument, which is compelling and is the norm in real life, but “legally” the receiver of the gift is not on the hook to return the favor at all.

So, while it’s unlikely, we could at least at this point technically say that God has given us, as gifts, the talents we have and use. It doesn’t mean that we necessarily owe him anything or that we didn’t necessarily earn the gifts. I mean, we could say that we “earned” them in the way that children earn the gifts of their parents. Certainly there is value endemic to the children in their very person that compels parents to provide nice things for them, right? And similarly God could be said to give us gifts because there is inherent value to us, in and of ourselves, that drives God’s desire to give us skills and talents and potential, right?

Sure…this is all possible, if we don’t wade any further into the quicksand of untenable Christian metaphysics. And frankly, the idea that we aren’t obligated to God in EVERYTHING and in EVERY WAY is complete anathema to the church.

Now, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I stopped here. To explore Christian metaphysis no further than this is why the Church is the rational disaster that it is. Thus far, though we are speaking technically, it still sounds relatively hunky dory. God gives us our talents as gifts because he loves us. Of course in our gratitude we’d use them “for his glory”, as they say. But we still own them, and this is because we are valuable to him.

Of course, in order for us to be valuable to God there must be an actual “we” somewhere in the equation. Meaning we must have an existence of our own, independent of God, for us to be loved and thus the recipients of his affectionate gifts.

And here is where Christain metaphysics take their inexorable sinister turn. This is where all the talk of love and value and affection and gifts goes right down the toilet. Because the truth is that there IS NO WE.  There is no “me” to me. And no “you’ to you. And you’ll see what I mean as we move further along with our cabin example.

So, we’ve already hypothesized that our resources, including clothes and food and education and tools and raw materials, are all gifts to us. Let’s take it a step further. What if your vision is also a gift. What if your very ability to see the nail in order to hit it with the hammer was given to you…you didn’t work for it, didn’t earn it. It’s a true gift. And what if your ears and hands and feet are gifts, too? And your very brain, and all therein, and thus your very capacity for learning; and the roots of that capacity, as well—your innate potential to be good at this or that…your natural, genetic proclivities, like your IQ, your talent for abstract thinking and organization, and your creativity.

Not seeing a whole lot of “you” in the mix are you now? Starting to feel a little squeezed, huh? Starting to wonder just who it is that is receiving these gifts. You’re starting to see that there is a very fine line between “you” and “that which you have been gifted”.

Well, that make senses. Because the root premise is that there is no line. Because there is no distinction. Because there is no you at all.

Your DNA is a gift. Your genes are gifts; and the interaction of the genes by which you are formed in the womb, and the atoms and molecules, and the inherent ability of these things to interact in meaningful and efficacious cause-and-effect ways…these are all gifts, too. The very ability of any of these things which make up you at your most fundamental physical root are God’s gifts. And beyond the physical then we must go, deeper and further until “gifts” comprise all of your reality, and your existence, itself. The very ESSENCE of you—the ABILITY of you to BE you—is not of you, it’s a gift. Indeed it’s no strain on credulity at this point to admit that YOU, YOURSELF, are a gift.

In other words, YOU are given by God…as a gift to YOURSELF.

But wait. That doesn’t work. YOU cannot be something God gives TO YOU. If your “you-ness” isn’t of you then there is no you in the first place in which TO GIVE YOU.

And now we have arrived. This is the whole point.

When a sweet little old lady tells you to “use the talents God has given you” she is actually implying many, many Satanic things, which is disappointing and terrifying.

She is implying that your talents, and thus ALL of the fruits of those talents is unearned. This is meant to stem the sin of “pride”, but “pride” is only sinful when it is irrational. To say I am a better man than you simply because I am rich and you are poor (I promise you I’m not, by the way) is an example of pride as a sin. To claim that a cabin I built is a wonderful cabin and to take responsibility for its beauty and functionality is NOT sinful pride. It’s merely a statement of fact: my hard work has EARNED me a beautiful cabin of which I certainly can, and I would argue MUST, be proud. But Christain metaphysics make no such distinction at all. You see, because your very talents are gifts from God, you can fundamentally take no pride of ANY kind in anything. You cannot claim to have done anything, in and of yourself; you can claim no ownership nor credit for any thing of value you create. Without your talents, you can do nothing productive…because “talents” is a broad, broad category. Everything from your intelligence and creativity to your physical deftness and dexterity, attention to detail, your wit, your ability to organize, your innate understanding of color, your conscientiousness, your photographic memory, your compassion, empathy…and on and on and on. And this evil, false, thoroughly anti-Biblical idea of “talents as gifts” or “talents on loan from God”  has been used by the church to guilt, terrify, manipulate, and exploit the masses of believers for thousands of years.

Next, the sweet old lady’s words imply that one can draw some kind of objective and verifiable distinction between “you” and “your talents”. As though there is any frame of reference for yourself ABSENT the very things that make you YOU, like your creativity and intelligence, contentiousness and organizational skills, your physical dexterity…etcetera, etcetera. These are all things that distinguish you from others. Without these things, who exactly are you to me or anyone else? Take away my wife’s tremendous organizational skills, her intelligence, her extraordinary work ethic, her compassion, her careful and caring nature, and yes, even her occasional rush to judgment, her critical disposition, and her relentless drive to finish her list of chores which never ends, and I don’t know her at all. Take away her talents, and even her foibles, and you take her away from me.

The claim that man has no innate and inherent talents that really belong to him, and BECAUSE of him, and from and to none other BUT him, represents—when followed back to its premise, and then pursued to its logical conclusion—the very death of man, and God by proxy. This is the premise: that God made YOU, entirely, completely out of nothing, or out of something completely NOT you. And thus there is nothing constant…no you QUA you, and thus you can claim NO aspect of yourself that you fundamentally own from beginning to end, and thus you can claim to have earned NOTHING that you acquire and possess in life. It doesn’t belong to you because there is no you.

This premise is the bane of man, and has been an excuse to terrify, torment, and murder human beings for thousands and thousands of years. It is evil. It is not true. It should be rejected for the rank lie that it is.

The dirty little secret behind “the gifts God has given you” is that there is NO YOU at all.  You are nothing. A placeholder for “God’s will”, or “nothing”; at best you are merely a character in the cosmic play of God’s divine determinist plan. You are an illusion…a name on a page, an actor without will. You have no Self, and therefore you have no right to anything. Not even your very existence.

In the next article I will explain why this idea, or a semantically different form of it, is loved and adored by many strains of secularists and scientific determinists the world over, who only THINK they are different from the Christains they ridicule as blind and/or stupid.

END PART ONE

The Cross of Contradiction: The Christian error of the Law and Christ briefly stated

If Jesus is God then Old Testament Law cannot apply to him. Christ, being God, is the Authority which gives the Law its coercive power (law and coercive force being corollary). In which case Christ keeping (obeying) the Law is a contradiction…an error of reason. Further, Christ, if he does keep the Law, must CHOOSE freely to obey it. He must get the CHOICE. Because the implicit authority to coerce subjects into obedience—or punish them for non-compliance—resides with Christ, and thus he cannot be forced to comply, which makes his relationship to the Law one of choice not of obedience. But law and choice are in both meaning and essence incompatible. The whole point of law is that it doesn’t care what you WANT or what you THINK. Obedience, to be obedience, must be irrespective of one’s will, and thus CHOOSING to obey the law is a contradiction. You don’t have a choice whether or not you pay your taxes, or submit to a traffic stop, or obtain a license to practice certain vocations. That’s the whole idea. The message of the law is: obey or else. That’s not choice. So…how can Christ rationally choose to obey the Law? He can’t.

And this is a problem for Christian soteriology, becasue Christians don’t have an answer for this conundrum beyond the bromide of “God’s mystery”. Jesus cannot be forced to obey the Law because he is God, and he cannot CHOOSE to obey it because this is contradiction in terms.

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If Christ is under the Law then he has no choice but to obey, otherwise he’s not under it but over it, and it doesn’t apply to him. And if it doesn’t apply to him then it cannot be the basis for how and why he possesses the moral perfection by which he serves as an acceptable sacrifice to God as atonement for man’s sins. But if Christ does obey the Law, and by this may become the holy propitiation, then his natural moral perfection as God is supplanted by the mere LEGAL perfection of the Law. Morality is a function of one’s nature…his WILLFUL actions are morally valued. Legality is a function of one’s obedience…how his actions comply with legal demands in SPITE of his will. Legality and Morality, you see, are entirely antithetical ethics. They are completely distinct and fundamentally incompatible. And thus through obedience to the Law Christ is valued according to IT, not according to his nature. His divinity, in other words, is moot. He’s no less obligated to the commands of the Law than you or I (and our eternal obligation to the Law is a fact if we accept that Christ’s obedience to the Law is what makes him an acceptable sacrifice…our salvation is fundamentally FROM THE LAW, even if it is Christ who obeys it for us). Thus the only difference Christ’s divinity makes is that it allows him to somehow obey the Law in full where we cannot. He can meet the standard of moral perfection required for entrance into heaven (I will use “moral” and “morality” as a synonym for “ethical” here on out, but you understand that these are not really the same thing).

Now, watch the dizzying rational madness unfold: Christ is God simply because only God can obey the commands of which he is the Author, and over which he is the Authority. The Law comes from God, and yet he must obey it in order to satisfy his own ethical demands. BEING God is not what makes Christ good, then, fundamentally. He is NOT GOOD UNTIL HE OBEYS THE LAW. You see, God, to be Good, must obey the Law, which is only legally binding because of HIS OWN authority to enforce it. In other words, God must force himself to obey himself so that he can be good and serve as the sacrifice for man’s sin.

How’s that for some serious intellectual contortion? You know what’s a miracle? That people are able to suspend belief long enough to buy any of this. Nevertheless this is orthodoxy. Which is…terrifying.

And here’s another rub: Christ’s obeyance of the Law actually imparts NO morality to HIM, HIMSELF, but merely reaffirms the LAW, not Christ, as the standard of moral perfection. You see, if Christ is the standard of moral perfection then the Law is not, which makes his obedience of it a pointless moral exercise. If Christ, by being Christ, is ALREADY moral then obeying the Law doesn’t do anything for him in terms of how God perceives his sacrifice. But if the Law is the moral standard then any morality which is manifest as a consequence of obeying it is simply proof that IT is good, not the one’who obeys it—Christ, in this case. The one who obeys the Law must obey PRECISELY BECAUSE HE, HIMSELF, IN HIMSELF, IS NOT GOOD. The LAW is what manifests goodness by appealing to an Authority to FORCE the depraved to obey it. By conceding that Christ must obey the Law in order to prove his moral value implies that he has none in his own person. The reason Christ needs to obey the Law is the same reason man does: because his own nature is morally insufficient. There is no reason, nor is it possible, for Christ to obey it otherwise.

The implicit and root ethical message and underlying philosophical argument of the Law is that without it there is only degeneracy. Christ obeys it as a means to manifest morality, which implies that he is not moral, himself, apart from it. Which makes him an imperfect sacrifice. The Law is morally perfect, man is not. NO man, nor GOD even, can be made moral by the Law AT ALL because the LAW is ALREADY perfect. In other words, it is redundant and impossible for the Law to outsource its absolute morality to that which is outside of it. To attempt to integrate the moral perfection of the law with the imperfection of those who must obey it is a contraction in terms, and is an abject redundancy. Integrating the moral perfection of the Law with the imperfect nature of those who will obey it simply dilutes the Law’s moral perfection. The nature of those who must obey, be it Christ or man, is a HINDERANCE to the Law, not an affirmation of it. And THIS is the point of Christ’s death on the Cross. The point is EXACTLY this. The Law doesn’t save men, it KILLS them…even if that man is Christ, and even if Christ is GOD. Men are an offense to the Law, not a friend to it.

So here’s what the cross really means:

Christ had to die because that’s what Law demands. Once the Jews demanded legality instead of morality they replaced God with the Law, and consigned themselves to death. The Law brings death absolutely and indiscriminately. It murders BOTH man and God by replacing THEIR inherent existential morality with its own absolute LEGALITY. It replaces the RATIONAL ethic of morality with that of IRRATIONAL legality. And in his mercy, Christ came to viscerally prove this point, and then to rise again to show that the Law, in fact, cannot ACTUALLY destroy man unless man concedes its power over him. The death it brings is a lie; truth and the concomitant eternal life is found in accepting that MAN is the reason morality exists. It is the life of oneself and his neighbor which makes ideas and actions good, not the Law. Man’s life, not the Law, is what is ACTUALLY Good, and what is ACTUALLY eternal.

So to summarize the main points of this article:

!. Christ obeying the Law implies that Christ is not moral in himself, which makes him an insufficient sacrifice. The source of Christ’s morality is the Law. HIs obedience to the Law nullifies his divinity by making him subject to the Law, just like depraved man.

2. If Christ is not subject to the Law because of his divinity then his obedience of it is irrelevant. Christ is moral ALREADY; the law cannot grant him any righteousness that he does not already possess without it. Christ’s sacrifice does not require the Law AT ALL…Christ’s perfect morality is a function of himself, not the Law, thus the Law is NOT the source of the righteousness which makes Christ’s sacrifice acceptable to God.

3. Further, Chirst cannot CHOOSE to obey the Law because the Law doesn’t recognize the will of the subject. What the subject chooses is irrelvant.  The Law demands compliance whether one wants to obey or not.

4. There is an inherent and garrish contradiction in the assertion that God, Himself, as Christ, must obey the Law of which he is the Author and the Authority, in order to prove himself righteous to himself, in order to serve as an acceptable sacrifice to himself on behalf of man.

Clearly Christian soteriology MUST reevaluate how it explicates Christ’s relationship to the Law, and present it in a way which does not mock God by making the salvific process one of stumbling contradictions and intellectual dead ends. One cannot preach eternal life until he can define and defend the process by which this happens in ways which do not conflate “faith” with “blind submission to the Utterly Unknowable Mystery in the Sky”, which is nonsense and doesn’t have a thing to do with God, Christ, or the Scriptures.

Christ is meaning, not mysticism.

END

 

Why Jesus Has No Free Will and Niether Do You: Christianity’s moral determinism fallacy

“Jesus lived a perfect life so you don’t have to.”

Sometikes you hear it put like that. Or sometimes…

”Jesus kept the law perfectly because we couldn’t.”

Or…

”Jesus’s perfect life is imputed to us.”

If you are a fan of Christian whimsy you might like…

”Christ obeyed so we could be saved!”

However it’s put, the point is the same. And for the sake of argument let’s accept it as true. We’ll concede the point for now: Jesus obeyed the Law perfectly; we do not, and so our ability to be accepted by an absolutely holy God in the face our own absolute unholiness (our “fallen state”) depends entirely upon Jesus’s perfect obedience. That perfect obedience means perfect innocence before the Judgment Throne, which is then applied to the guilty—or at least those whom God has given the grace to receive it (the doctrine of “election”)—and this is how we can be saved.

Now, a dizzying amount of intellectual gymnastics must be performed to make this case, complete with a landing that doesn’t quite stick. Christian soteriology is one long smorgasbord of rational error, with contradictions tripping over themselves as they fight for space, and it begs a lot of questions. Questions which of course are never really covered in the church, let alone answered…not at least since John Calvin “answered” them by burning Michael Servitus at the stake. But, like I said, we willl accept the aforementioned explication of the salvation process for now.

Also, I ask the reader to please note that in accepting the terms of Christian soteriology in this article I must ignore the fact “choose to obey” is a contradiction in terms, as obedience is simply forced compliance which has nothing actually to do with choice (“you will obey or die” is NOT a choice, but is, in reality, quite the opposite). So, I will assume for now that Christ, in keeping the Old Testament commandments, used his will and chose to do so, as opposed to God using threats and force to compel him. In other words, I will assume that Christ’s relationship to the Law is one of voluntary acceptance and not authoritarian coercion, even though by definition law demands that you obey it, it doesn’t accept that you may choose not to. Of course the law would accept it if the law had anything really to do with choice. But then it wouldn’t be the law.

*

In looking at the claim that Christ fulfills the Law for us, we naturally ask how? To which the orthodox reply is that he ACTED in a way which satisfied the commandments, perpetually, for those who accept the imputation of the righteousness that this implies. In other words, Christ’s behavior reflected the commandments of the Law. The Law commanded, and Jesus acted accordingly.

We could thus say that it was Jesus’s obeyance of the Law which allayed the wrath of God towards us (through him) and not because he WAS God (accepting, only for now, the veracity of the Trinity doctrine). In other words, we must assume that Christ was not given an automatic dispensation simply for being God. His willful obedience of the Law thus is the only possible explanation for his fulfillment of it. In fact, being God doesn’t imply fulfillment the Law as as much as it implies a circumvention of it.

Ah. That’s very interesting.

Let’s pose this as a question.

Is Christ’s fulfillment of the Law a function of his willful obedience or a function of him simply BEING Christ (which equals being God)?

Here  is where we find the problem which undermines the entirety of Christian theology, I submit. As usual, greed gets in the way of truth. Like all authoritarian ideologies, they want their metaphysical cake and to eat it, too. For Christians answer this question predictably. They will say both. And why is this predictable? Because contradiction is ALWAYS their response to questions concerning doctrinal premises.

But reason, and therefore objective truth, doesn’t contain a rational frame of reference for contradiction…which in this case is the claim that Christ merits what can’t be merited. Either Christ CHOSE to obey the Law or he fulfills the Law by metaphysical fiat. To say it’s both is to say it’s neither. And that’s nonsense, of course. Fake words.

As one method of getting around this clear violation of reason Christian soteriology attempts to merge two DISTINCT metaphysical components: man’s thought (man as a conceptualizing agent) and man’s choice (man as a willful agent). Of course doing this always goes wrong in hugely embarrassing and destructive ways, as church history reflects. Christian metaphysics FUSE the ability to think with the ability to choose, making them one and the same. But choice is in truth a mere CONTEXTUAL function of man’s metaphysical identity as a thinking agent, stemming from the fact that thought implies will. It’s the equivalent of saying that a pencil IS whatever it happens to write; there’s no root difference between what IS written and what IS the pencil. So one’s choices are not actually chosen, and yet in Christianity, with the right metaphysical subterfuge, it can still be “technically” called choice. That subterfuge is…

…it gets worse, because Christianity further fuses the false “thought/choice” singularity with an ABSOLUTE ETHICAL value. It makes ALL of Christ’s choices ethically GOOD by applying to Christ a “metaphysically ethical” (or we could say moral) value of Absolute Goodness; and it conversely makes ALL of man’s choices EVIL by applying to man a “metaphysically ethical” value of Absolute Evilness. This is why man cannot CHOOSE to keep the Law, and Christ always CHOOSES to do so.

Let me explain further.

Man, we are told, cannot keep the Law because he is fallen. By dint of his birth, or the fundamental existential depravity he acquires at birth (same difference), he CANNOT consistently (“perfectly” is the religious euphemism) follow God’s commandments. He has free will—this the Christian will concede—and CAN thus freely choose to do so, but because of his depraved nature WILL NEVER ACTUALLY choose to do so. In other words, his disobedience is a free choice that is utterly determined by his nature. His free will will only ever lead to a confirmation of his root metaphysical wickedness. His “choice” is always simply a reflection of his root moral-metaphysical Identity: Evil. Man is free to sin…and to ONLY to sin. Man is choosing his own condemnation, which is HIMSELF. Because he acts from his root moral-metaphysical Identity, and his root moral-metaphysical Identity is Evil, it is only possible for him to choose to disobey the Law.

Now, the reason I say it is a “moral-metaphysical Identity”, and not simply a metaphysical Identity, is because Christianity, as I mentioned earlier, merges metaphysics with ethics. In other words, it fuses two completely distinct philosophical categories. And in this way they believe they can claim that man is responsible for his own condemnation, via choice, and yet ALSO claim man’s CATEGORICAL moral degeneracy as a function of simply existing at all.

Of course Christ then represents the obverse side of this determinist coin—and yes, it IS utter determinism, having nothing to do with choice and will despite some relatively clever philosophical obfuscation. Christ we are told CAN keep the Law consistently because he is God. By dint of his birth he is able to CHOOSE to follow God’s commandments. But more than that, he MUST follow the Law. His perfect moral-metaphysical Identity which enables him to keep the Law likewise makes him UNABLE to break it. Because as with man, Christianity concedes that Christ has free will, and thus chooses to obey; but also like man, Christ’s choices must ALWAYS affirm his root moral/metaphysical Identity: GOODNESS. Because Christ is Good, all his choices must be Good. Likewise man, being Evil, must always make Evil choices. (For even if man were to choose to obey the Law on one day (Christianity concedes that man can sometimes do good, but only “in part”, or contextually) he will inevitably break it the next…which means that the Law, in general and in essence, remains COMPLETELY unfulfilled by man.)

Christ’s choices are determined by a singular source—his moral-metaphysical Identity of GOODNESS—that represents the inevitable conclusion of every choice. All of Christ’s choices will be in obedience to the Law; he cannot choose any other way, and yet still he is choosing. He is PRE-DETERMINED to always chose to keep the Law, just as man is PRE-DETERMINED to always choose to break it.

Remember, I am not making the argument that ANY of this makes sense. On the contrary, it is entirely EMPTY of sense. It is gnostic determinism in Enlightenmnet garb. This eradication of the lines between meaning and meaninglessness, between metaphysics, epistemology and ethics; the ascribing of blame to man and credit to Christ whilst also claiming that all choice is a pre-determined function of one’s declared root moral-metaphysical Identity; the clumsy integration of reason and mysticism…this is only what passes for truth in the Christian faith, not was truth actually is.

Behind it all is a fulcrum of intransigent nonsense upon which the entire theology pivots and directs itself. Thousands of years of equivocation, propaganda, and fear mongering have made the faith enigmatic and arcane enough, and the masses uncertain and anxious enough, to allow it to permeate the souls of billions of people, and to settle there with almost no resistance, and concommittantly without love. There is no love without truth. And there is no truth in the church.

*

Let’s summarize.

How does Christ fulfill the Law for us? Is it because he is God, or because he chose to obey?

If we say it is because of his choice, then morality is a function of making the right decisions in the face of moral options. And thus man can likewise choose to make the right decisions and likewise fulfill the Law. But if we say that man cannot choose to make the right decisions because he is man, whereas Christ is God and thus can, morality and the fulfillment of the Law have nothing to do with choice at all, but are simply a pre-determined function of what one IS (his moral-metaphysical Identity) and not what one BELIEVES.

You see, belief drives the distinction between right and wrong and thus informs all of choice…which doesn’t actually exist because it is absolutely pre-determined, which makes it a contradiction in terms. Of course this nullifies “belief in Christ” as having any rational meaning and thus any moral value. One’s belief in Christ is irrelevant given the fact that he doesn’t actually choose or not choose to follow Christ; his nature DICTATES and DETERMINES his choice.

Choice, being determined by one’s moral-metaphysical Identity (e.g. Christ = Good and Man = Evil) is not actually choice. Which means that Christ did not in fact make any right choices in fulfilling the Law and man did not make any wrong choices in disobeying it. Christ was ALWAYS going to do good because he IS Good, and man was always going to do evil because he IS Evil.

So in conclusion, here is the truth that we all really need to accept; we need to stop holding on to childish, fantastical interpretations of reality. For fantasy, when we attempt to make it reality, is just hell.

If what we believe matters, and from that belief we act, and those actions matter, and thus both belief and action have real moral value, then man is capable, in and of himself, of fulfilling the Law because he is capable of making REAL and EFFICACIOUS choices. His nature is to apprehend right and wrong and to make REAL DECISIONS  accordingly. For man THINKS, and to think is to believe, and belief matters because it drives actions and consequences, and those consequences are what the Law morally values. To say that man cannot fulfill the Law in and of himself BECAUSE HE IS MAN is to render thought and belief and action and consequence irrelevant, which makes the moral valuing of consequence irrelevant, which makes the LAW irrelevant, which makes CHRIST irrelevant.

Truth which cannot be acted upon and confirmed by REAL CHOICE by man and Christ precludes ANY Law based upon its moral implications. There is no moral value to the Law then if one cannot CHOOSE to follow it. And if the Law has no moral value then it can serve as no measure of Christ’s perfect life which is thus imputed to man so he can be saved.

The entirety of Christian theology is top-heavy with intellectual error: determinism, the suffocation of morality, the death of meaning, and the rejection of the will. It totters and collapses accordingly.

END

Why “Jesus Loves You” Might be the Most Offensive Statement of All Time: The rational failure of unconditional love

It happens every so often.  You’re driving or walking along and you spy a bumper sticker, or a shirt, or a lapel pin sporting the (ostensibly) encouraging words “Jesus Loves You”.  Sometimes this proclamation is prefaced by “Smile!”, or punctuated with an actual smiley face.  My father in law had one of those stickers on his mini van for years.  He replaced it with a “Jesus is the answer” sticker.  That one was swapped out for a “Trump” sticker.  That one didn’t last on account of him discovering Trump’s affinity for whores and “pussy-grabbing” braggadocio.  Now I think he just sports the slightly jaded yet never truly out of style “Jesus saves”.  Yes, even my father-in-law finally came to see that for all of Trump’s virtues, avoiding fleshy hedonism isn’t one of them.  Of course if you think this means that he won’t be voting for the Donald again in 2020, you’ve got another thing coming.  Yet before we cry hypocrite, let’s remember that the left side of the political spectrum, which declares itself the true home of feminism, has never sufficiently condemned Bill Clinton for using the power of the Presidency to secure oral sex from a White House intern.  Clearly on both sides of the aisle there is a certain subjectivity we accept with respect to the moral character of our politicians.  I actually think it’s rather hypocritical to call Christians hypocrites for supporting Trump.  For Christians to shelve virtue in the interest of seeing their particular political aspirations realized in government doesn’t make them any more inconsistent than other constituency.  Christians, like everyone else, realize that you can’t always have your morality cake and eat it, too, when it comes to the fetid witches brew that is American politics.  All of us understand on some level (unless we are insane or idiotic) that government IS vice, pretty much by necessity, and this axiom isn’t lost on Christians, and rightly so.

So no, my devout orthodox Christian father-in-law sporting a Trump sticker on his mini van does not offend me.  The mini van might, but not the sticker.

*

“Jesus loves you” is a statement I will not accept from a stranger on the street.  In that context, I find such a claim fatuous, vapid, and presumptuous…at best.

First of all, how do you know Jesus loves me?  You don’t even know me.  I mean, the presumption and fake sentimentality is so odious and so gushing that one almost chokes on it.  You don’t know anything about me.  Maybe I’m lovable.  But maybe I’m intolerable.  Maybe I’m a miserable prick (true); a misanthrope who would push you into the Grand Canyon just to see the face you’d make as you went over.  Maybe I cheat on my wife or girlfriend, or steal from work, or lie to get my way.  Without knowing anything about me or the company I keep or if I even believe in God at all, you claim that I provide value to the Almighty as a function of literally nothing more than the fact that I exist, because that is ALL you actually know about me.  Further, you insinuate me into a relationship that I might not want and might not have asked for, and even more egregiously you do the same thing to Christ.

I already know how you will defend your position.  And I know you think it is rational and encouraging, but it is truly not these things at all, and is likely even worse than you can imagine.  The fact that “Jesus loves you” is purely meaningless bromide when absent any frame of reference is the least of its problems.

You’re going to say that Jesus loves all of his children, both his loyal followers and his wandering strays alike, and that there is nothing about me, my life, my choices, or my actions that his love does not (as opposed to “cannot”…and this is very important) overlook.  “Jesus LOVES you” you say.  It is not that he will or would love me IF if I happened to repent of my wicked ways and embrace a new moral compass, with a commitment to his specific brand of religious ethics.  It’s that it DOESN’T MATTER, you see.  He loves me…now.  Right now.  He loves me not IF I repent of my evil and rebellious ways and embrace his version of righteous living, but IN SPITE of those evil and rebellious ways…meaning his love utterly ignores them.

Um…what?

Jesus might like to see me repent, in the interest of a broader morality and a desire for peace and harmony amongst humanity, as an expression of his recognition of the general value of humanity at large, but this is not the same thing as loving me, specifically, for nothing.  In other words, Jesus may want the asshole to repent in order to make life for the non-assholes better.  But this does not imply love for the asshole. It implies mercy on him, perhaps, from a general recognition of the worth of human life, but not love.

+

The context-less claim that “Jesus loves you” implies that there is no cost to love…no value which must be provided in exchange for it.  Love is free; it costs one nothing at all; comes with no expectations of any kind; asks no committement to change, not even an attempt.  It implies that the love of God, and thus by extension love in general, is VALUELESS; and being valueless, is IRRELEVANT.  And being irrelevant, isn’t love, or anything else for that matter.

Unconditional love is unconditional precisely because it is completely meaningless.  It can afford to be unconditional because there is no practical difference between being granted it and NOT being granted it.  The outcome is the same.  That which requires NOTHING of me does not and cannot affect me.  It is categorically pointless.  Christians think that love is a cause, rather than an effect.  That is, once granted, it generates a character worthy of it.  They never seem to realize that if it is given away for free then there is no reason for the recipient to bother altering his character in the first place.  You don’t give money to someone out of the blue and then wait around for him to come back later, having conjured up something you want.  Why would he?  You’ve asked zero responsibility of him.

It doesn’t work that way.  You find the value you want FIRST, or you ask someone to manufacture it, or retrieve it, and THEN you give them your resources.  Love is not a magic potion…it is a currency that is given for something you want that the other party ALREADY POSSESSES and is a position to trade.  It is not unconditional.  Like any currency it is UTTERLY conditional upon the person with whom you are exchanging goods ALREADY POSSESSING or BEING ABLE TO POSSESS that which you find valuable.

Do you have any idea how evil and destructive this notion of unconditional love is?  Do you not understand the implied DEATH which haunts it?  To give love to those who need not earn it is a recipe for human annihilation.  If it is implied that love must be given unconditionally then what is to prevent it from being DEMANDED by the selfish and violent and manipulative among us?  And what is to prevent them from defining it in whatever way they choose?  Unconditional love is love that is at root valueless, and thus it is in essence meaningless, which means it can be defined in whatever way the oppressor decides is most efficacious to his wicked scheme…your money, time, property, or your life.  To consider it a moral imperative (because “GOD does it”) to give love to he who need not earn it is to concede that he thus has a right to demand your plenary sacrifice.  Mark my words, this philosophy enslaves humanity, and underwrites the logical defense of ALL manner of carnality, calumny, oppression, exploitation, and murder.

I submit that in addition to my father-in-law and other well-meaning Christians, there is someone else who desires that the random stranger on the street know “Jesus loves him”.

The Devil.

END

What Ayn Rand Gets Very Right and Christians Get Very Wrong (and why Christian Orthodoxy is Not About Love but Loathing)

The greatest contribution to ethics in the twentieth century I submit is Ayn Rand’s popularization of the Virtue of Selfishness.  Because what she gets so very right, up to the point of being utterly axiomatic (if our ethics are indeed rational), is that one who acts wholly in his own self-interest cannot but help be concomitantly acting in the interest of his neighbor.  Without fully delving into the metaphysics behind this axiom, in the interest of time and context, the root of this perfect ethic is that others are the complete existential equal of the Self.  This means that the default root moral status of all others is existential equality to the Self, and thus when one’s Self is pursued and its interests sought, the interest of the Other is a natural consequence, and manifests to a qualitatively equal degree.

Allow me to explain. And here, understand, is where I will deviate from Rand’s specific metaphysics, and exposit my own defense of virtuous selfishness.  The following exposition very much depends upon a completely different metaphyscial primary than the one subscribed to by Rand (existence).  My primary is Ability, and from this I assert that individual consciousness is a proper and necessary component of any rational metaphysics; and, being the ONLY thing which can develop and apply reason (conceptual consistency), which is how reality and truth is established AT ALL, consciousness, itself, at root, is an ENTIRELY objective manifestation of reality.  Conversely, Rand rejects consciousness as having any particularly necessary function within reality taken holistically, and sees it as intrinsically subjective, as its primary function is, as Objectivism implies, to interpret that (existence) which is fundamentally exclusive of interpretation.

*

Every individual human being exists metaphysically as a Self qua Self (YOU (or I) as a function of your SELF…the “you-ness” which IS YOU in the most fundamental sense); and the FACT of that existence is itself the PROOF of the propriety of one’s existence.  In other words, the FACT that one exists is the proof of the de facto NECESSITY of one’s existence—reality NEEDS one’s existence to be, in fact, REAL, you might say.  Reality cannot be absolutely real if its components—e.g. one who exists—are not essential.  For example, it is irrational to assert that one who exists could just as easily not have existed (been born); this means, effectively, that their existence is not fundamentally necessary to reality.  The reason this is irrational is simple.  We have NO frame of reference for the non-existence of what exists, because non-existence and existence are mutually exclusive contexts.  Or, simplified, IS and IS NOT are mutually exclusive frames of reference.  If I AM, then my frame of reference is from the place of WHAT IS (what is real, and exists, period, and absolutely).  Which means that I can ONLY observe and describe what likewise IS.  In order for me to talk of you, for example, not needing to exist, you NEED TO EXIST.  Do you see the contradiction?  I cannot claim that your existence is not necessary since it is necessary that you exist in order for me to make the claim in the first place.  Whatever exists, exists; whatever is real is real.  Period.  The hypothetical thought experiment of “what if X did not exist/had never been born” is INIFINITELY hypothetical.  It is entirely irrelevant to anything, except perhaps, a good science fiction story.  Now, it is quite tempting here to dive into the rabbbit hole of choice and free will, but I have to end this article sometime before retirement, so let’s just leave it at that for now.

As I was saying, the fact that one exists is proof of the de facto necessity of their existence.  And here is where it gets interesting…because here is where metaphysics inexorably incorporates what I call the Morality of the Metaphysical.  What I mean is that metaphysics, in order to mean anything, must have, itself, intrinsic value, and thus cannot be entirely cordoned off from eithcs.  It’s fascinating just how the five categories of philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, aesthetics) incorporate and even embody one another so precisely.  Because one’s existence is necessary, one’s existence is necessarily GOOD.  Put generally, existence (or reality…the two are essentially equivalent, metaphysically speaking) is Good, because it MUST BE; and since man exists, he likewise MUST BE, and therefore he is, in his root existence, likewise Good.

Thus, all men being equal in their metaphysical value (Good), and understanding that the Individual Self is that from which and to which all men (being at root Individuals) act, and understanding that the Self is the reference for reality, communicating meaning with other Selves (other men) and drawing a consensus of meaning together, then all men who thus act in service to their own Individual interests will necessarily and concomitantly act in service to the interests of their fellow man.  And this is what is meant by the “virtue of Selfishness”.

For example, if I choose to marry and have children with a woman I note to possess virtues I find valuable, based upon a RATIONAL definition of virtue, then in keeping and fulfilling my wedding vows I am serving my own interests as much as I am serving the interests of my wife and children, who have entered into the relationship voluntarily (the only way a true relationship is possible).  And, yes, I know the children didn’t “choose” to be born, but (without going into metaphysical detail here) it is simply irrational to consider anyone, even children, as someone OBLIGATED to a relationship against their will.  It is my job as a parent to make sure that I provide my children with an environment that reflects their right to the sanctity of their own lives, body and property, with abundant displays of affection and genuine pleasure and privilege with respect to their company, so as to accurately represent the context of what a voluntary relationship should look like.  In short, I am obligated to provide my children with an environment that they could CHOOSE to be in, by all rational standards (love, resources, negotiation, the absence of corporeal punishment,  shared responsibility to whatever degree possible, shared input, respect, rejection of any Authority/Submission dynamic, etc.etc.).

Getting married and devoting resources to having children then is not sacrifice, it is selfishness.  It utterly serves me…and in rationally serving myself, I have served my family.  And this is precisely why there is virtue in selfishness.  If I build a business to serve myself, the corollary is provision of value to my employees and customers.  I never have to think about their needs and desires directly or explicitly.  Their needs are fulfilled as a function of fulfilling my own.  All notions of altruism, sacrifice, charity (in the “giving of one’s self” sense) are entirely superfluous.  Real moral utopia then is not found in sacrifice, but selfishness.  And as scandalizing as this may seem, this is, in fact, the ONLY true and rational morality possible for man.  Period.

*

In order to employ virtuous selfishness we must eradicate Self-loathing from ethics entirely.  In other words, we must understand and accept the inherent value of man at his metaphysical root.  Because man is metaphysically Good, he must possess an innate and existential sufficiency to the apprehension of Truth (epistemology), and Truth’s corollary, Good, and then make choices in service to these things.  Man is by his nature able to define and apprehend the distinction between truth and falsehood and good and evil and then make volitional choices based upon that knowledge.  Man possesses AGENCY, which is capable and efficacious, as a function of his very metaphysical IDENTITY.  Man in his natural state is Good, and thus in his epistemology (capacity for knowledge) capable of Truth, and thus in his ethics (capacity for morality) capable of choosing Good, and thus in his politics (capacity for efficacious moral action) capable of manifesting (acting out) Truth and Goodness.  Man’s sufficiency to the knowledge of the true and the good is one with his root nature…it is not bestowed upon him post-conception by some external force, be it God or be it Nature.  Certainly, man is not born knowing…he is not born wise.  This is not what I am saying.  I am saying that man IS born ABLE to know, and ABLE to acquire wisdom.  He learns because he IS.  His abilty to think and do is HIS, from himself, by nature.  It is not given to him…it IS him.  And it is here where my apostasy with respect to orthodox Christianity comes to a fine point.  Orthodox Christianity rejects this metaphysic to the point of war, literally.  And it is why Christianity is an unmitigated disaster by any rational measure: social, emotional, intellectual, psychological, political…it is a shared psychosis that eats humanity from the inside out.  It HATES humanity with a red hot passion…it knows absolutely nothing of love at root.  But we will get to that.

For man to act truly morally, he must accept a root nature that has endemic/intrinsic moral value; and thus, from this, knowing it and knowing its ethical implications, when he acts (necessarily) from and to himself in his own best interest, he concordantly and concomitantly acts in service to the Interests of his fellow man.  This is the reason why those who accept their own natural moral worth are the ones who are the most compassionate.  In almost every case, on the contrary, those who loath themselves prove to be the most insufferable and vile of the species, either explicitly or surreptitiously.  Every narcissist and psychopath in the world operates from the metaphysical principle that declares themselves to possess no root worth, and thus neither does anyone else.  Their occasional sense of grandiosity is a mask for their terminal and inviolable self-hatred.  I submit that this is axiomatic.  There is no way you can despise your fellow man and love yourself, where “man” is defined RATIONALLY.  There is only one rational morality, and it begins with innate Self-worth and bestows that same worth upon others.

*

Here then we can begin to see the categorical failure of the orthodox Christian Ethic.  It is an ethic that asserts obedience to Authority (the divine Ideal, the Church, and the State…the unholy trinity of Platonist ethics) as man’s highest moral obligation, not the making of moral choices; asserts punishment, not rational self-inflicted consequence, as the proper outcome for ethical failure; asserts fear, not love, as the primary form of human motivation.  Bear in mind that this is NOT what Christ ACTUALLY teaches, nor what the Bible declares in either of its Testaments (though I will submit that the Apostle Paul’s grip on rational ethics often gets quite tenuous).  But orthodox Christianity has about as much use for Christ as Tiberius.  Christian ethics of the last 1500 years or so is a derivative of pagan gnosticism, with its interpretive lense brought to bear upon Christ’s legacy first by Augustine of Hippo and formally canonized and organized by the Martin Luther and John Calvin.  My point is simply:  don’t blame Christ for the abject failure of Christian ethics.

Orthodox Christianity espouses the metaphysical insufficiency of man.  He is not in his nature Good, but Evil, and therefore utterly incapable of apprehending Truth and choosing Good.  His very IDENTITY is antagonistic to TRUTH.  This is why Christianity asserts that all knowledge and morality must be DICTATED to man.  His natural insufficiency to Truth makes him capable of no real understanding.  He must thus be treated, fundamentally, as one would an animal.  He is to be trained, not taught.  He is to be motivated by threats and violence, and rewarded with condescension.  It is why the concept of “humility” has been bastardized by the Church to mean a rejection of the idea that one possesses an inntate, natural sufficiency to goodness and truth.  To take credit for one’s own success and accomplishments is viewed as “sinful pride”, because anything of true value comes not from within man, but from without.  Any moral behavior exhibited by an individual always occurs in SPITE of his humanity, not because of it.  It is why even “saved” Christians still speak of “needing the gospel”, and explain that they don’t actually do any good thing in and of themselves, but operate entirely “under God’s grace”.  It’s the whole false idea of “but for the grace of God go I”—an Individual making good choices according to his own volition, and reaping the benefits of such choices is anathema to Christian ethics.  In Christianity there is no fundamental difference between the unsaved criminal being marched to the dungeon and the saved Christian spectator observing from afar.  Both are criminals at root, as far as God is concerned, it’s just that by some divine mystery God decided to spare the Christian.  It has nothing to do with the Christian spectator actually CHOOSING to turn away from criminal activity and because of THAT avoiding a date with the iron maiden.  And even if Christianity might equivocate and concede that choice is possible, it is only because God grants one the “grace” to make that choice…so no, it’s not actually man making the choice at all, it’s God.  Left to himself, man will NEVER make the right choice.  And this assertion denies man any REAL choice entirely.

Christians understand, at least implicitly, because the doctrine declares it EXPLICITLY, that there can be no actual justification of or for that (man) which is absolute evil at its existential root.  The whole salvation process is very much an appeal to inexplicable mystical powers which transcend man’s “finite” reality; his intellect and his reasoning.  There are no answers to the paradoxes (rational contradictions) of Christian theology because they are utterly beyond the mind of man…beyond his very existence.  Man is saved, but he cannot say why beyond “grace”, and then a shrug as to what this actually means.  God chooses some people over others, seemingly at random.  There is some plan God has, we are told, but the wherefore and the why…who knows?  Christian metaphysics deny that a thing like salvation is possible, but somehow it happens anyway.  The whole philosophy is a massive boiling cauldron of contradiction simmering into a cosmic soup of “God’s mystery”.  Just take the cup and drink.  Don’t spend any time thinking about it.

So for all the talk of man receiving a “righteousness from God’, or a “new birth/new nature”, or being “Justified by Christ”, Christians implicitly understand that they are still Sin of Sin.  And this is why abject misery is so common in the Church. These aren’t congregations of broken people getting healed, as we are told.  These are execution chambers where people are slowly gassed into a brain dead stupor by contagious conginitve dissonance brought upon by the endlessly wafting sedative of rank mysticism.  The life of a Christian is not the fulfillment of the Self, but the sacrifice of it.  The Christian is not imbued with a sense of empowerment, but is instead entirely disarmed, intellectually, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.  He learns not how to take upon himself true responsibility, but to hand off his duties and questions to God, letting “His will be done”, in yet another bastardization of the words of Christ.  The Christian does not learn to take up the mantle of his own cause and pursue his dreams with strength and confidence, but to utterly submit himself to “God’s plan”…outsourcing his brain to the Divine, as though God gave him a mind purely on a lark.  He is not given the freedom to exercise his own intellect, now unfettered by the lies of the world and the devil, in service to his own passions, but is sternly reminded that his greatest moral obligation is to obey Authority.  Once saved, the Christian soon finds himself under the “divine mandate” of the church leadership, who are expecting him to sacrifice his time and reasources in pursuit of not his own interests, but that of the greater Christian Ideal.  Of which, of course, they are in charge.

Thus the Christian, now saved and yet still lacking ANY REAL understanding of his own innate worth, is incapable of Self-love, and thus is likewise incapable of loving his neighbor.  The ONLY real, necessary, and ultimately relevant difference between one who is saved and one who is not is that he who is saved has recognized that the sum and substance of his life’s meaning and purpose is to annihilate himself in service to the Christian Authority placed over him, which is God and his Will as manifest by the ecclesiastical powers of the pulpit.  In other words, he is saved in order to sacrifice himself to the worldly ambitions of other men.  Period.

*

According to the ethics of Christian orthodoxy, Self-loathing, not Self-love, is one’s default ethical frame of reference. Through the instruction of accepted orthodox doctrine, consistent in its essence amongst all protestant denominations and Catholicism, man is taught to hate his own existence as an act of his own First Sin (his birth) and thus concomitantly the existence of his neighbor.  He therefore implicitly yearns for the destruction of both.  In other words, as the orthodox Christian proclaims his love for God he implies his disgust for humanity.  The relationship betweeen loving God and hating man is indeed direct.  And this is scarcely surreptitious amongst Christians today, though perhaps not said quite as bluntly.  I have heard it stated this way:  that as one’s recognition of God’s glory (i.e. God’s supreme existential moral superiority) grows, a recognition of one’s own moral insufficiency (i.e. man’s supreme existential worthlessness) likewise grows.  And THIS, it is said, is the mark of a true Christian.  The mark of true salvation is that he continues to grow in the understanding that he HAS NO RIGHT TO EXIST IN THE FIRST PLACE, because his very existence at root is an offense to God.  And from this we can extrapolate further to see then the FOUNDATIONAL mark of one’s salvation:  the growing knowledge that he, being evil incarnate, is unable to possess a frame of reference for SALVATION AT ALL.

How is that for a kick in the crotch with irony?

It is this basic orthodox Self-loathing which is the reason Christians are so in love with rules and obsessed with punishment.  Man, being morally defunct in his existence, is insufficient to truth and to moral behavior.  And thus control, not freedom, and dictated behavior, not choice, is how the ethics of one’s salvation are to be worked out.  It is why Christianity has always promoted corporeal punishment for children, and has lusted endlessly after the power monopoly of the State—the Church almost ubiquitously imitates their own brand of absolute power (dictating behavior, punishing rulebreakers and wrongthink), routinely implementing Authority-Submission polity to the greatest extent it can get away with.  It is why churches are so often brothels of the worst kinds of moral degeneracy imaginable, like blackmail, child rape and all other varieties of sexual abomination, extortion, manipulation, deception, indoctrination, intimidation, oppression, theft, and murder.  It is why Christianity holds excommunication over the heads of the laity like the sword of Damocles, and why church schisms occur as often as Communion.  It is impossible to show love to others or one’s self when the metaphysics of one’s philosophy declare man’s very birth an act of moral corruption and a violation of God’s perfect creation.

Love, you see, is the desires and behavior generated by employing rational ethics.  Rational ethics places the Self as the moral frame of reference.  Rational ethics recognizes the legitimacy of man at his natural root, and understands the Self to be the singular essence of each human being, and which is necessarily good, and thus shall not be violated.  It shall be free to exist, not enslaved to Authority.  And since all men are equal Selves at root, making the SELF the reference for truth and morality (virtuous selfishness), it is ensured that an Individual, unfettered by the false chains of Authority, who will thus freely act in service to his own wishes and wants, will necessarily act in service to those of his neighbors in the form of cooperation.  All interactions with one’s fellow man will result in the mutual benefit of value exchange.  But again, notice how this—how this rational love—demands that man have intrinsic natural worth.  It concedes that man’s birth is an act of Divine Expression, not an offense to the Divine.  Since Christianity asserts that the birth of a human being is an expression of one’s natural depravity, and as such is an act of rebellion against God, rendering unto man an existential worthlessness to an infinite degree, love by any measure is simply impossible.  Man possess no frame of reference from which to give love or receive it.  And this is why salvation comes from God to man in SPITE of himself; indeed, all expressions of “love” from God or from others comes to man in spite of himself.  And all his acts of “love” are never done BY him, but THROUGH him, by the Spirit.  In other words, man qua man (man, himSelf) is merely a bystander to love and morality in general.  He is a two-dimensional character in a predetermined bit of theater, written and directed by the Divine Author.  He, himSelf, thus, being wholly unnatural with respect to God’s perfect and perfectly moral reality, doesn’t actually exist at all.

*

In order to truly love—that is, in the way that Christians cannot—humanity must accept its own innate natural worth, and reject the satanic notion of innate moral failure.  This is the difference between Self-love and Self-sacrifice (or Self-loathing)…and yes, these are mutually exclusive concepts.  The former always acts in love whilst the latter never does. The former always saves, the latter always murders.

END

The Cognitive Dissonance of “Easy Contradiction”: Why I am accused of being too rigid and abstruse (PART TWO)

I am a “black and white” absolutist philosopher simply because I deny that black can also be white at the same time…that A is also B, that the square is also the circle, that what IS simultaneously IS NOT.  The fact that I reject rank contradiction, which is the bane and the intellectual, moral, and rational failure of pretty much ALL world philosophies, makes me much too petulant and pedantic and confusing to pass for a serious thinker.  I boil down to a thin, simmering layer of arcane (at best) ideology, selfishly demanding that 2+2 not equal both 4 AND 5, and throwing a temper tantrum when this childish demand is not met.

Hmm…

I must say I find it both ironic and hypocritical that so often this criticism comes from some of the most rigid ideologues the world has ever spawned:  Christians.  Usually of the orthodox pedigree.

Hmm…

If you are a church member today in good standing, I dare you to try espousing the virtue, or even the mere possibility of virtue, of any other doctrine or theology, be it from another religion altogether or merely a deviation from orthodox Biblical interpretation.  Suggest even a mild stray from traditional thinking, like, say, questioning the moral necessity and efficacy of abstaining from profanity, and watch what happens nine times out of ten.  You’ll be met with polite but utterly categorical disregard, and tacitly denounced as nurturing abject wickedness.  You’ll soon be tagged as a likely insurrectionist…one to watch out for, and there will be a hyper-vigilant monitoring of your presence and influence.  Now, dare stray from a truly cornerstone doctrinal issue, like the Trinity or Pedestination or Penal Substitution, and all but the very slimmest pretense of civility goes right out the stained-glass window.  You will be explicitly denounced as an emissary of Satan…an apostate of the worst kind.  Overnight those “Christians” who were once so emphatically and eternally devoted to you and your family become, effectively, total strangers.  You may retain a smattering of “rebels” who are willing to risk eternal damnation to send you an email now and again, or to get together for coffee, but make no mistake, the vast majority of your “church family” will have held court without you, denounced you as a traitor and a wolf, and will divorce you from their reality entirely.  You are dead to them.  No, worse than that.  You are never-born to them.

Don’t believe me?  Go ahead and try.  See what happens.  I dare you.  Walk up to your nearest member of the church leadership next Sunday and tell them that you have rejected the doctrine of Original Sin, Total Depravity, the Fall of Man, and/or the Trinity, as irrational and unbiblical.  When the leadership and its sycophants eventually engage you for the purposes of “gentle correction”, explain to them that none of those terms appear in Scripture, ever, anywhere.  When they mellifluously tell you that the spirt of scripture clearly implies that such doctrines be absolutely true, ask them when “clearly implies” stopped being an oxymoron, and where scripture implies that one also means three, God controls all things yet doesn’t control them because man is still responsible for his sin and sin nature, or that punishing the innocent for the sake of the guilty is a moral duty (with respect to Penal Substitution).

Watch what happens. After a merely ceremonious appeal to divine enlightenment followed by some rational equivocation, they’ll pull the “God’s chosen Authority” card and you’ll be banished as an imposter and interloper.  And then you will feel the stress of yet another completely irrational and unbiblical doctrine oft employed by Christians:  Excommunication.

So, yes, I find it just a little bit precious when I AM the one called “absolutist” and “unforgiving” for merely refusing to accept that “tree” also means “mailbox”.  In psychology, I believe they call that kind of thing “projection”.

*

I find it insulting and intellectually lazy when my ideas are labeled too abstruse or confusing…too full of enigmatic, circumspect rationalizations; too unwieldy for any practical use.  Just too damn hard to understand.

Okay.  Here’s a list of ideas that apparently are not too hard to understand, if you’ll indulge me.  And in this list you will see arguments and ideas I have encountered from not just Christian circles, but political and scientific as well.  And this is just a mere fraction of the conflicted ideas I have stumbled across in my attempts to get at a rationally consistent interpretation of reality.  And make no mistake, these ideas are taken very seriously by the most accomplished and prodigious intellectuals in the world, and are often also accepted wholesale as axiomatic by the vast majority of laypersons.

-Government exists to protect private property, and it obtains the resources to do so through the tax code, which takes one’s private property by force.  This is thought to be not only completely rational but many times a moral necessity!

-Libertarians want to reduce the size of government by running for office.  In other words, they intend to use the power of the government to reduce the power of government.

-God is infinite and man is finite.  This means hat the finite and the infinite co-exist.  In other words, what is infinite stops where finite begins.  In other words, “limited infinity” is a thing.

-Time and space were created at the Big Bang. In other words, the Big Bang never actually happened, since it has neither a location nor an instant.

-Space is a vacuum.  Wormholes are holes in space.  In other words, there are physicists seriously considering the reality of holes inside another hole.

-We often hear the phrase “beginning of time”.  Of course, time is the beginning.  In other words, there is such a thing as the beginning of the beginning.

-Atheists don’t believe in God, and assert that the concept of God is completely irrational whilst simultaneously appealing to omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, infinite, untouchable, transcendent powers called the “Laws of Physics” which are invisible as distinct from the objects they supposedly control and create.  In other words, atheism is polytheism, soon to be monotheism once the geniuses at MIT and Cambridge get around to discovering the “answer to everything.”

-Scientists claim that the observer is a function of what he observers.  In other words, the observer observes himself from outside himself.

-Consciousness is a direct function of unconsciousness (categorically unconscious natural law).  In other words, consciousness is an “illusion”…which in this case is a euphemism for “doesn’t actually exist”.  So what exactly is it an illusion of?

-It is true to claim that absolute truth cannot be known, and that the inability of man to truly know anything absolutely is intellectually and morally meaningful to him.  In other words, its very important to know that you can’t know.

-Einstein’s theory of time travel implies that such travel is both to the future and the past,  depending ENTIRELY on the observer, making time travel so completely relative that it becomes functionally meaningless.  In other words, time travel is both possible and ABSOLUTELY irrelevant…which is to say, possible and impossible.

Now, this is what I have gleaned from that short list.  Apparently, for my philosophy to be sufficiently digested by the masses and made fit for practical employment, I must somehow find a compromise—in gentler terms…what is meant is actually a synthesis—between mutually exclusive concepts.  This will make me warm and fuzzy and comfortable and relatable and rational.

And here it seems I’ve stumbled upon yet another contradiction to add to the list.  It never seems to end.

*

All right, let us finally put away the rabbit and hat and reveal just how the logical magic trick of contradiction (often mislabeled, either deliberately or unknowingly, as “paradox”) is performed.  Humanity has for too long accepted that contradiction is a legitimately rational means of reconciling extremely complex or seemingly unresolvable concepts, or explaining observations (e.g. the wave-particle duality of light) that are not easily integrated into linguistic paradigms.  In other words, humanity has consistently revealed itself to be, in unfortunately typical fashion, intellectually lazy on the whole.  Or at least, too willing to accept intellectual insufficiency as the apogee of man’s mind.  The reason why it’s easier to “understand” contradiction as “truth” is simple:  because there’s NOTHING to understand.  And I mean literally.  To declare that A is also B makes both A and B…well, nothing.  A is also Not A; and B is also Not B.  By this methodology we get a complete vacuum of meaning…a hole in one’s consciousness instead of a truth.  The assertion that the square is also the circle is to admit that you cannot actually say which is which, and this, ultimately, only means that you have thrown up your hands and surrendered reality to…well, who knows?  You cannot say, because you’ve rejected the means by which anything is said at all.  And if you have surrendered your grip on reality by accepting even a tincture of contradiction as somehow commensurate with truth, then you have spoiled the entirety of understanding.  A pinch of leaven leavens the whole batch, so it is said, and this is true likewise of contradiction.  To claim even one contradiction as truth is to render the entirety of reality ITSELF a contradiction.

If you find my ideas too arcane and rigid, and too aggrandizing of human reason, then I humbly submit that this has nothing to do with the actual substance of my ideas and everything to do with the fact that you have become shamefully complacent in your thinking, and have compounded this error with ignorance.  That one who asserts that mutually exclusive concepts can be synthesized to form truth, or that truth is a measure of degrees, or that the key to understanding is realizing that humanity lacks sufficiency for fundamental understanding…yes, that the one who peddles this mystical, ethereal, esoteric, senseless, pseudo-spiritual bromide should suggest that I am the one whose ideas are much too far beyond the boundaries of human sensibility is exceedingly facile.  I might even say amatuerish.  If you struggle to comprehend the axiom that there can be no such thing as a square circle, then might I suggest you glance in a mirror to discover just which one of us is the real rational grifter.

And look, I get your oblique point.  Unraveling contradictions that have been accepted as axiomatic of reality and truth for often hundreds of years or more can seem exceedingly tedious, complex, full of ostensible random minutia, and just plain nonsensical.  But that this is MY fault is an accusation I refuse to accept.  I am not the one who built whole civilizations out of bullshit.  Civilization and all of its bullshit—from the Church to the State and all of the the little religious and scientific determinism bullshit in between—was already here when I got here.  And this is precisely my point.  It’s not okay to fault me, intellectually or morally, for a problem I did not create; nor is it okay to condemn me for the mess a fully ensconced contradiction makes when it is finally extracted.  Don’t blame the paramedic because the bandages get hella bloody.

END

The Cognitive Dissonance of “Easy Contradiction”: Why I am accused of being too rigid and abstruse (PART ONE)

I have heard it a million times…it’s become simply a toll I must pay daily to make my commute to philosophy and back. I am too much of an absolutist (I love that one…makes me sound almost tyrannical); too “black and white”.  I am unwilling to compromise…things are either this or that, yes or no, there’s no room for negotiation, no allowance for mystery, the unknowable, divine intervention, truth beyond man’s mind; that there are notions and ideas which matter but which we cannot fully explain.  Which of course begs the question: If we can’t really explain them, then how do we know they matter?

But we won’t worry about the rational failures coming from my critics.  Rationality clearly isn’t a priority.  Pity.

By being labeled an absolutist, too committed to stark demarcation between truth and lie; right and wrong; black and white, it is insinuated that I reject the bell curve.  That I believe and assert that there is no such thing as degrees of anything, but all either is or is not.  This is ludicrous.  Now, I can understand how one might initially perceive this to be the case with me, as my focus is on rooting out contradiction from meaning and understanding…which is to say, to indicate what MUST be false, and from that determine what MUST thus be true, and then explain why truth then cannot be integrated with its own nullification (though I’m not sure why this needs explaining at all, exactly…once we know what must be false it seems to me a pretty direct and obvious line to the determination that it cannot also be true).  So, in the sense that contradiction is in fact NOT a bell curve, yes, I am an absolutist. For example, the contradiction that says that it is somehow relevant for us to know that God controls all things but yet we are still responsible for our own moral choices is COMPLETELY false.  Why?  It’s obvious!  Why does this even need explaining to anyone not five years-old or younger?!  You cannot integrate the concept of personal responsibility with an utterly determinist God.  To attempt to merge these mutually exclusive concepts is not “thinking in degrees” or some form of virtuous compromise, it’s complete bullshit and should be rejected out of hand by anyone with an ounce of intellectual integrity.

You don’t have ANY frame of reference for the assertion that A is simultaneously B!  You can’t assert that such a contradiction is true without implying that you have NO MEANS by which you can EVER ascertain truth.  Because your fundamental epistemology is rooted in the fact that something can both be true (God controls ALL things) AND false (man makes his own choices and thus bears responsibility for them, which means that God doesn’t actually control all things) at the same time.  In which case truth is impossible, because it intersects with falsehood.  Truth is and isn’t true, in other words.  And THAT is nothing.  Just irritating noise coming out of your mouth hole.

But by making it a constant theme in my philosophy that contradiction cannot somehow pass for rationally consistent truth I am called too rigid…an absolutist.  Just too doggone black and white.  No compromise; no bell curve.  The only two flavors are chocolate and vanilla.  The only dinner options are Italian and Mexican.  The only breed of political ideology is American Republican or American Democrat.  By rejecting contradiction as in any way meaningful, I somehow reject the existence of strawberry; believe that Chinese food is a myth, and declare that Libertarianism is only practiced in Fantasy Land.  There are only dog people and cat people, no one ever owns a turtle; there are only squares or circles…the liar claims to prefer rectangles.  There is no gray…no spectrum of color.  My philosophy is fundamentalist in the most LITERAL and OVERT of ways.  EVERYTHING is an illusion that isn’t A or B.

C, D, E etc. are mere interlopers.

I show myself nothing more than an immovable ideologue…nothing but “black and white” philosophy, you see, because I DARE commit the OUTRAGEOUS intellectual sin of declaring that black cannot simultaneously be white.  This makes me a moral pariah to “learned” and “less judgemental” Christian acquaintances, who are much more versed in the holy and compassionate virtues of wisdom, compromise, temperance, and forgiveness than a recalcitrant asshole like myself could ever be.  I’m a prick because I won’t let people have their cake and eat it, too.  The bromide of soft contradiction is something I refuse to ingest, and that makes me a criminal.

Do you remember who it was that was so intent on convincing Adam and Eve that knowledge (truth) came from OUTSIDE of themselves, from a tree, and not from their own rational minds…not from living life as a thinking agent?  Do you remember who it was that was so enthusiastic about the idea that man’s own reason had nothing fundamental to do with reality?  That truth is a function not of man’s own innate ability to reason fact from fiction, and thus integrity  from perniciousness, morality from mendacity, but from some special,  magical, ethereal enlightenment granted from beyond?  And thus implied that man’s mind itself could not be trusted to SAY what is TRUE at any given moment because what man says “IS” might simultaneously be “IS NOT”, and so man should simply accept a DICTATED truth, rather than think for himself….do you remember who this was?

You who are so quick to judge me as stubborn and cruel and arcane and abstruse and exacting and pedantic and judgemental…why don’t you root out the serpent in your own tree?

END PART ONE

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.

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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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