Category Archives: Christian fallacy

The Implicit Lie of Church Attendance Being Necessary to Salvation

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

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

Okay…hmm…where to start…

Here’s a good place:

This is bullshit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forehead slap!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the meme.

 

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Dismantling Christian Orthodoxy in Five Questions

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

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

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

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

“Believe what about him?”

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

“That he died for your sins.”

“What sins?”

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

“How do you know I’ve sinned?”

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

“Why can’t we help it?”

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Hmm…

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

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

A Christian tells me the world thinks him a fool.

My first question is: Are you?

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

Am I?

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

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

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

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

????

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “Law” is a Null Concept in any Context

To explicitly (as in communism and Islam), or implicitly (as in our own democratic system and Christianity) claim that man’s morality is a function of obeying the Law (which necessarily demands of man his property and time, to be taken not asked for, as we can clearly see ) is to claim that man’s natural state is Evil. For it says that man’s sole moral purpose is to subordinate the very thing that separate’s him from the beasts, and makes him man: his conscious will.

Further, if the Law is what makes man good, then of what use is the Law to man or man to the Law? For the implicit or explicit claim is that man, himself, alone, is utterly evil; and therefore how can what is good, the Law, make man good if man is utterly evil?

It can’t. Because absolute evil is by definition exclusive of what is good. It cannot be made good without contradicting itself.

Therefore, if man can be made good by the Law–his obedience thereto–then man is, himself, NOT actually evil. It is impossible that he should be in any way labeled an immoral creature at the natural level without ALSO nullifying the Law as a rational moral standard. And if man is not an immoral creature at the natural level then his morality is not a function of the Law, but a function of his nature–of himself. And this too nullifies the Law as any rational moral standard.

Any attempt then to create a moral society by obligating man to the Law will fail. Because an idea which contradicts itself (e.g. that morality = Law) cannot exist.

Contradiction: Why Christians aren’t Christian

There is a categorical difference between believing you are a good Christian and actually being a good Christian. Being a good Christian means believing right things. Believing right things means believing things that make sense. Things that make sense are things that are not contradictions.

Like, here’s a common Christian contradiction:

The Spirit gives man the ability to believe.

Here’s the problem which contains the evil:  If man must be given the ability to believe, and by that alone have belief unto salvation, and by NOTHING of himself, then obviously he, himself, has infinitely no ability to believe. Which means he cannot believe at all, ever, even if the Spirit gives him the ability. Because infinite inability cannot accommodate ability of any kind, in any measure. Period. Man’s failure is himself, at root…and so all “belief” in the face of his infinite inability is in spite of him. Which means all belief is not of him, or to him, or for him, period.

But here is something else:

If we say that man CAN believe, then we admit that he does not need to be given any such ability by the Spirit, and this has to do with his implicit ability (by the assertion that man can believe once given the ability to believe) to receive the ability.

Here’s what I mean:

To be ABLE to receive the ability to believe is, itself, in fact, the ability to believe. For if A (ability to receive the ability to believe) = B (ability to believe) and B (ability to believe)= C (belief) then A (the ability to receive the ability to believe) = C (belief).

And this being the case, anyone who advocates that man must be given the ability to believe, and via that alone believe, and via that be truly saved, is lying…by their own implicit admission, according to the logic of their own claim. And that being the case, they cannot possibly be preaching the truth of God. And thus, they must be instead preaching the devil. Because he is the father of lies.

So, here is my claim and my advice:

Find your contradiction and you will find your evil. Then…KILL IT.