Tag Archives: christian fallacies

You’re Not Saved by Being a Christian, You’re Saved by Being YOU: The lie of collective salvation

In the Christian Church, I don’t care which denomination—it doesnt matter, they all share the same foundational metaphysics—what does it mean to be saved?

Now, you might think that this question is a prologue to a deep and meaningful disquisition of Christian soteriology. However, I can assure you that this is quite uneccesary…for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the vast majority of Christians find such a thing completely useless (and couldn’t even begin to comprehend it even if they wanted to…which they don’t). They fancy themselves far too divinely enlightened and practical (they are in fact neither) in their theology to bother with something quite this abstract. In this case, then, I will answer the question according to the “enlightened” and “practical” faith of the Christain church:

It means to believe in Jesus.

But that seems awfully vague, and it is, so we must press a little.

What does it mean, exactly, to believe in Jesus?

It means to renounce your sins and vow to obey God’s moral commands. It is a commitment to reject your “natural” self—your “pre-salvation” you—and to be “born again”.

Now, here is where the whole thing goes off the rails, wheels flying wildly in all directions. Because here we get into the metaphysics of it…though most Christians, to their own folly, don’t even recognize the word. And this is why discussing soteriology with Christians is a complete waste of time. The whole religion dissolves into mysticism; and “faith’ becomes an antonym to “reason” and “sensibility”. Interestingly enough, and sadly, this is also where Christianity goes completely extra-biblical…or anti-bibilcal, really. In other words, there is little to nothing of Christ in any of the Christian ideas one would normally associate with salvation .

The root assumption behind salvation in Christian theology (or rather, ideology) is that the “born-again” you is both fundamentally different from and fundamentally the same as the the “natural you”. And it is this metaphysical contradiction which undermines the faith, and reduces it to either quaint novelty (as in the Amish or Mennonites), anodyne and stultifying cynicism (“middle America” mainline churches)  or mendacious, civilization-wrecking autocracy (Augustine, Luther, Calvin); and all degrees within and among these. You see, the “old you” by dint of birth is unable to please God due to the pervasive wickedness which is a function of your base existence, period. In other words, the very fact that you are is why you are evil and cannot please God naturally. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” the Chruch perversly and irrationally interprets to mean that the very birth of men condemns them to fall under God’s wrath. Man’s “original sin” is that he is born at all. You qua you—you as existant—is evil incarnate.

Of course Christians will take issue with my use of the world “interpret”, claiming that they are simply declaring what the Bible “plainly states”. But this comes from the false belief that what is written in the Bible is somehow immune from interpretation—that somehow the Bible is a closed system of meaning. That it’s a truth in and of itself and thus outside of man, and therefore it is a truth that man must be “enlightened to”, as opposed to something written specifically for him and from him and speaking to his particular existential frame of reference.

This is mystic nonsense—an iteration of Christianity’s pagan-gnostic roots. The Bible is written in language, and as such it is necessarily interpreted by those who posses the innate ability and inherent reference to give it meaning: man. Christians do not simply “declare” the Bible, despite what they may think and claim, they interpret it. And they do so badly.

So, prior to salvation you can do no good thing because of your fundamental depravity. Now, I understand Christians will object to this, arguing that, on the contrary, you can do good but that you have a “tendency” to “trend” (by which they mean inexorably) toward evil; however, this claim does not suffer rational scrutiny. You see, according to the metaphysics, man’s evil is not at root a function of what he does but what he is. And since what he is is evil, then all he does is evil by definition, no matter how “good” it may appear. Because man’s nature is utterly fallen, and “fallen” is the place from which all men are categorically spawned, there is no moral difference between the man who runs an orphanage and the man who burns one down. Both men are equally evil in root nature, both men require salvation in equal measure. and thus what they do must be morally valued equally. Ethics always follow metaphysics, and actions are valued by essence, NOT the other way around.

Man’s existential evil makes him unable to be good, which means that he cannot choose Christ…for such a choice, even if made by him, would necessarily be meaningless. Absolute Evil cannot conjoin with the perfect Good of God’s Son, no matter how much it wants or chooses to. A mystic conversion is the only “solution” to the existential conundrum in which man finds himself. Hence the get-out-of-reason-free cards of election and predestination. God arbitrarily—as far as man is concerned—chooses those who shall choose Him…and if this seems like good old fashioned contradiction, that’s because it is. So don’t waste your time trying to make sense of it. Those who are saved thus become “new creatures”, no longer defined by their collective existential depravity, but by their collective identity as “God’s chosen”. In other words, it has nothing to do with what a man chooses, individually, to do or not do, according to his own singular reference and volition of “I’ or “me”; no, his new identity in Christ is merely a function of some mystical and mysterious conversion from existential “evil” to existential “good”.

In as much as man’s “evil” has nothing to do with what he thinks about himself or does for himself from himself, but everything to do with simply what he is at root…his evil, thus, is in a sense “outside” of him. He has no choice in it…his choice is irrelevant. Everything he does is evil, no matter what it is, because he IS evil. And likewise his “new nature” in Christ—that is, it has nothing to do with him. What he chooses or thinks, in and of his own individual Self, is irrelevant to God’s determining power. Man is a bystander to both his damnation (from brith) and his salvation (from “new birth”). In this sense then, his salvation is collective, NOT individual. It is an Ideal into which he is gang-pressed, not a choice he makes for and from himself. The proof of his salvation is his membership in the Church; and the Church is the collective institution which is given the authority by God to manifest the salvation Ideal upon the earth.

So what does this mean post-salvation for the new Christian? They have been chosen…they are saved, no longer totally depraved, right? No longer victims of their natural, sinister, sinful selves. They are free…free to choose and do good, right?

Well, yes and no, and thus we have more of the same contradiction which undermines all rationality within Christianity. The same rational inconsistencies which plague pre-salvation man and his election unto and into Christ following him to salvation. Man is saved in spite of himself…he does not actually choose Christ because this requires a natural and innate ability to recognize good, to choose it, and to follow through with it, and this ability he does not have because he IS Evil. And this being the case, by what means or power can man, now saved, recognize and do any good thing? By the same power which saved him, of course—that is, God’s grace. Which of course, like salvation itself, has nothing fundamentally to do with man qua man. By ”God’s grace” Christians mean God’s absolute, all-pervasive power over all of Creation, to determine it to its inevitable divine conclusion. So the “good” that the saved man is, and the “good” he recognizes and obeys are an essence and action which are not really of him at all. In short, it’s fair to say that post-salvation man is still just as vile and wicked as he was pre-salvation. Nothing has changed but semantics. Man is not “changed”, but rather, “covered”, which is as close a euphemism as you can get I supppose.

When we are talking metaphysics…when we are talking about the very root essence of a thing, this essence is utter and absolute. It is not transmutable; it is not transient; it is fundamental. It is the infinite core of what a thing IS, by which it exists in reality in the first place. What a thing is existentially is that immutable core from which it exists, period. And thus “this” cannot become “that”. If man is evil, existentially, before salvation, then he is likewise evil, existentially, after. And there is no argument one can make to the contrary which is not ultaimtely going to be punted into the cosmic abyss of “God’s mystery”. There is no means except the surrendering of one’s sense where one can reasonably declare that Absolute A becomes Absolute B.

And Christians know this, at least on some level, which is why they insist that even the saved can still commit sin. You get sin from where? Sin nature. Otherwise, it’s not sin, its just bad or immoral action. To describe an act of sin is to describe the act according to a nature that pervades man at his very root. Christianity recognizes that man’s immutable sin nature follows him into his salvation, which is why the church encourages the laity to “preach the Gospel to themselves every day”. Even Christians need to be reminded how they can do no good thing, and to recognize salvation as a life of “grace”, not individual and volitonal moral living, as though man is capable of such a thing. Try being a Christian and taking credit for any moral or rational choice, and proclaiming that you thus justly earn the reward of such a choice. You will be patently and shamelessly accused of rank heresy on the spot…of ignoring or being blind to God’s grace. Though, to be fair, they may say it nicely. But keep it up and see what happens. Christians have short patience for rejections of “grace”.

Christians never dawdle in reminding each other that it is foolish pride for them to consider the idea that they, at any time, pre or post-salvation, possess any inherent ability to do any good thing. Indeed, the mark of a false Christian is one who believes that he is somehow  good in himself. He is not. He is evil. His salvation was God’s mysterious grace, and likewise whatever good he does or befalls him after salvation is entirely a product of that same grace. Man’s nature never fundamentally changes. He is saved entirely in spite of himself, and likewise his salvation is “worked out” in spite of himself. In other words, there is nothing of You qua You that has anything at all to do with why God chose to save you, and how God manifests this salvation in your life. You qua You—the “I” of “My Self”—is utterly evil, and thus must be completely sidelined before, during, and after salvation.

So back to our original question: What does it mean to be saved?

Well, the real answer is that it means nothing for YOU, because YOU are nothing. You qua You—You, the Individual—are exchanged for the collective Ideal of what it means to be “Christian”. “Christian” is a collective. “You” are now an indistinguishable component of the Church, which is the physical incarnation of the Ideal. “You” have been aborted by the metaphysics. Only the Collective matters.

This is salvation.

And this is a lie.

END

 

Dismantling Christian Orthodoxy in Five Questions

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

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

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

*

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

“Believe what about him?”

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

“That he died for your sins.”

“What sins?”

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

“How do you know I’ve sinned?”

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

“Why can’t we help it?”

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

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

*

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

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

 

 

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

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

Indulge me a few words as an introduction first.

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

Anyway…

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

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

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

And me.

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

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

The premise is…you.

And me.

Please, read on.

*

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

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

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

Andy”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is rank fallacy on its face.

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