Tag Archives: Christian tyranny

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.

 

Advertisements

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.

Christian Tyranny: The Ben Carson Presidency

When it comes to the governing of any given society, discussions of  “government”, its structure and purpose, are always an appeal to authority. Keep this in mind.  It is axiomatic.

According to both the religious and secular collectivists (people who assume that man is most fully and truly represented in existence by groups, as opposed to individually) human depravity is the moral essence of man’s ontological state (ontology = the nature of being).  In other words, at the metaphysical level (the level of existence), man is depravity.  And what depravity is, is the idea that man, for some reason or another, depending on the ideological context (e.g. religious versus economic (e.g. Marxism)) MUST be governed by an outside authority in order to ensure his survival.

(As an aside, it should be understood that the contextual reasons for man’s depravity are ultimately immaterial.  For the functional conclusion of this ideology is always the same, no matter who holds it or why:  the death of the individual–the death of Self.)

Man must be governed by representatives of the collective abstraction (which, again, can vary depending on the ideological context: the State versus the Church, for example).  Because absent government, due to the individual’s inherent depravity, man is doomed to an anarchist orgy of sin and death.  Individually, it is assumed, human beings lack the sufficiency to “rational” and “organized” existence, thus they are determined to exist immorally, and ultimately, futilely without the forced coercion of government, which has been established by “providence” (and what constitutes “providence” again depends on the ideological context) to organize existence FOR, not FROM, mankind.

As I said in the opening sentence of this article, Government appeals to authority.  But authority appeals to force; and it is only by force that a man depraved–a man inadequate by nature to existence–can survive.  But before we go any further with this thought, allow me to discuss just briefly this idea of “existence”, because it is always to the end of man’s “rational” existence that collectivist ideologues push the notion of survival by, of, and to government.  By advocating their collectivist metaphysic, they explain that they are merely conceding the reality of existence.  Though masked as an objective metaphysic itself–which it isn’t–“Existence” becomes itself an ideology; it becomes a byword for the moral end of the abstract ideal to which they, by force of government, seek compel humanity. In other words, they need to force you INTO your existence.  In and of yourself, you, being entirely depraved and insufficient to life, cannot exist.  “Existence” also, you will notice, is a euphemism for “reality”.  Reality IS existence, and force is required to manifest both for the individual.

“Existence” is always the subjective abstraction to which every collectivist ideology claims to derive its reason, or rationale.  That is, individual human existence qua existence is ironically the reason man must be forced , through violence or deception or threats into Self-denial…into the collective authority’s idea  of what it means for the individual to BE.  And this is consistent with the ubiquitous and common appeal in all collectivist ideologies to the “reality outside of man”–and there is some variety of this notion in almost everything, from Marxism, to Objectivism, to scientific empiricism, and so on.  What this functionally means is that the individual can only truly exist by rejecting what he is told is the fallacy of  his own, individual and singular existential context…that is, the reality of Self, which they always claim is, at its root, subjective.  In other words, the individual is told, ironically, that he only really exists by accepting the idea that he doesn’t actually exist at all.

By this (backwards) logic, even man’s very birth can only occur under the auspices of the collectivist system (e.g. the “laws of physics/nature”) or society (e.g. the Workers Utopia; economic egalitarianism; the Church Body).  This presumes that such a collectivist system or society must have existence prior to the birth of human beings.  Of course, this is an impossible scenario because without the existence of the human being, there is absent the necessary frame of reference by which the collective could be organized or structured in the first place.

What all of this means is that man survives at the pleasure of the Collective, and in geopolitical terms, we refer to the Collective as the State.  And by the State, what we mean, practically speaking, is the Government; or, more specifically, the human Authorities which are the fleshly incarnation of the Collective Will.  And this means that individuals are obliged to serve the State for their own “good”…for their own existence, not the other way around.

For a man like Ben Carson, who professes to a belief in the sovereign (read, deterministic) Will of God, how is the State defined?  What is Government?  What is its role and purpose?  Its not particularly difficult to figure out.  Naturally, the Government is an institution established by God to enforce His Will, collectively.  And by that I mean, of course, upon society.  The Church, on the other hand, though intimately tied to the Government, is that institution–ruled by its own specific incarnate Authority of the Divine Will–which establishes the governing principles, interpreted from the Holy Texts (“God’s Word”) by divinely enlightened priests, which the State’s Authority (e.g. President Carson) will, through the establishment of specific “secular” law, level upon society through violence and threats of violence by its monopoly of force.

Ben Carson says that he “follows the doors God opens”.  This means that if he happens to become President, it is, according to his doctrine, because God wants it that way.  God determined him into the Presidency.  Any effort on his part or the part of the voters is entirely tangential, and ultimately irrelevant.  And what is it that God wants him to do then?  Does He want Carson to govern as though it is his duty to ensure the right of the individual to exist as though what God wants is NOT the individual’s obligation?

Of course not.  This is completely at odds with what Carson believes will have thrust him into the Presidency in the first place.  It is contrary to his entire existential belief system.  It is, for him, an impossible consideration.  It is an idea which simply cannot hold any efficacy.  It cannot possibly be true.  The idea of an individual’s Self determinism is utterly exclusive of Carson’s metaphysical premise: that man is a function of God’s Will. Period.  For Carson, “individual” existence is an affront to the “truth” of DIVINE REALITY.

Carson’s duty as President is for him to function as a direct extension of God’s sovereign and determining Will.  That idea is a function of his doctrine; and that doctrine assumes the metaphysic of man’s natural depravity.  And that means that man will be sacrificed to the State.  Because Carson does not and cannot make the existential, functional, practical, or moral distinction between the people, the government, and God’s Will.  “God’s Will” becomes the entirety of his metaphysics…and by that I mean it is the nature of ALL existence.  Therefore, there is no room for human beings–for individuals.  There is only the antagonism of God by the individual’s claim, either conscious or as a behavioral byproduct of his “depravity”,  to possess a separate, distinct existence of his own, and the requisite, perpetual, and  violent conflict which this claim demands.  And this means, when all the sophism and rhetoric is cleared away, that Ben Carson’s job as President is this, and this alone:  the subjugation of the individual for the purpose of eradicating the existential and moral affront which the individual’s presence presents to God’s Sovereignty.  Only the abstraction of “God’s Will” is Truth.  Only the abstraction of his “Sovereign Purpose” has a right to BE.  The individual presents a direct challenge to God because he lays claim to his own existence.  But this anomalous existence is one of depravity and insufficiency.  Therefore it must be governed, and that’s what Ben Carson will do.

But always remember that within the collectivist mindset, which is Carson’s mindset I submit, Government is Authority and Authority is Force. To govern the individual is to compel his life in service to the collective abstraction. That is, to govern the individual, according to the collectivist metaphysic, is to destroy him.