Tag Archives: christian fallacies

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.

 

 

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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.

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“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.