Friday, October 13, 2006

The Fall into Mere Reality (10.01.08)

Continuing from yesterday’s post, we are tracing the dialectic of nihilism in the postmodern world through the stages of liberalism --> realism --> vitalism --> nihilistic destruction, as outlined by Father Seraphim Rose.

Incidentally, as reader Alan pointed out yesterday, hardcore traditionalists tend to prefer monarchy as the proper form of government, and although this is undoubtedly a nonstarter for Americans, the traditionalists have their reasons. I may discuss those reasons later, and although I must ultimately reject them, I certainly appreciate where they’re coming from. Traditionalists are concerned with the inevitable dark side of democracy--demagoguery, the tyranny of the stupid and emotional, the plummeting of standards, the loss of the spiritual center of civilization, etc. The question of how we reconcile tradition and progress is an absolutely critical one, so perhaps I will address it after we complete our four-part fall into nihilism. The future of civilization will depend upon how we balance the two.

Let us stipulate that religion deals with absolute truth, or at least purports to do so. In the end, in the absence of absolute truth, the only option left open to one is nihilism, because nihilism is simply the doctrine of relativity drawn out to its logical conclusion. An honest nihilist such as Nietzsche realizes this: “God is dead and therefore man becomes God and everything is possible.” In the final analysis, the existence of God is the only thing that prevents honest human beings from inevitably coming to Nietzsche’s stark conclusion: “I am God and all is permitted.” Nietzsche also knew full well that once the appeal to absolute truth is vitiated, raw power comes in to fill the void.

As a brief aside, we are all aware of how petrified the left is of religious Christians. I was thinking about this yesterday, and it occurred to me that this speaks volumes about the nihilistic temperament. For to be truly religious is to be humble, to be humble is to pray, and to pray is to think on one’s knees. While I am not literally on my knees as I type these posts, I can assure you that I am figuratively. But this is the one thing you cannot imagine a leftist doing. Can you picture a truly arrogant nihilist of the left--say, Randi Rhodes or Bill Maher or Keith Olbermann--ever humbling themselves before God prior to a show and asking for the light of truth and the ability to express it? Of course not. Otherwise they wouldn't conduct themselves the way they do. The essence of being fallen is the pride that comes with one’s utter independence from God. (And no, I am not saying there are no arrogant demagogues of the right. I am speaking in large generalizations about the wider philosophies and what they imply.)

Yesterday Dennis Prager was on the Larry King program, and made, of all things, a truthful statement about the Foley scandal. King, speaking for fallen man and media, responded with words to the effect of, “forget about that. What about the perception. Isn’t that what counts?”

Scientific or logical truth is always relative truth. Thanks to Goedel, we know that there is no system of logic that can fully account for itself, or that can be both coherent and complete. Rather, completeness is always purchased at the price of consistency, while a rigidly consistent system will be woefully incomplete--say, a consistent program of materialism or determinism. Such a philosophy will leave most of reality--including the most interesting parts--outside its purview. This is why Marxism is such an inadequate theory. In explaining everything, it explains nothing. But at least it’s consistent, like Darwinism.

But if there is no absolute there is only the relative, incoherent though that philosophy may be (for the existence of relativity, or degrees of being, proves the absolute, for the relative can only be assessed and judged--or even perceived--in light of the absolute). In the face of the the absolute we are easily able to judge various cultures on the basis of their proximity to the ideal. But once we have destroyed the absolute and descended into relativity, then what necessarily follows is multiculturalism, moral relativism, deconstruction, “perception is reality,” and Larry the Lizard is King. All cultures become equally cherished, with the exception of the culture that believes some cultures are better. All truths are privileged with the exception of Truth itself. Belief in Truth itself is "authoritarian" or "fascist."

In the relative world of nihilism, I am necessarily all. The world literally revolves around me, since my truth is absolute. The ultimate questions have no answers except for those I might provide. This is why leftist academia has become so corrupt, for how can it not be “corrupting to hear or read the words of men who do not believe in truth?” “It is yet more corrupting to receive, in place of truth, mere learning and scholarship which, if they are presented as ends in themselves, are no more than parodies of the truth they were meant to serve, no more than a facade behind which there is no substance” (Rose).

The emptiness of relativism evokes the next stage in the nihilist dialectic, realism. This is an entirely new kind of realism, for, prior to modernity, it had referred to any philosophy which affirmed the self-evident reality of transcendental categories such as truth, love, and beauty. In short. it testified to the reality of the vertical. But this new type of debased realism entirely excluded the vertical, and affirmed that only the horizontal realm was real--that is, the material, external, and quantifiable world. In one fell swoop, a philosophy of unreality became the paradigmatic lens through which mankind was now to view the world.

In my sidebar you will see a relevant quote from Richard Weaver: “The modernistic searcher after meaning may be likened to a man furiously beating the earth and imagining that the finer he pulverizes it, the nearer he will get to the riddle of existence. But no synthesizing truths lie in that direction. It is in the opposite direction that the path must be followed.” Nevertheless, it is in this downward direction that our fall inevitably takes us.

Here philosophy is officially replaced by modern misosophy: hatred of wisdom. It is a childishly naive ideology that confuses what is most obvious with what is most true and what is most fundamental with what is most real. The cosmos is officially turned upside-down and inside-out, bizarrely elevating insentient matter to the the ultimate. This is certainly intellectual nihilism, but we have a ways to go before we hit bottom, which we will proceed to do in my next two posts.

As Father Rose writes, “Worship of fact is by no means the love of truth; it is, as we have already suggested, parody. It is the presumption of the fragment to replace the whole; it is the proud attempt to build a Tower of Babel, a collection of facts, to reach to the heights of truth and wisdom from below. But truth is only attained by bowing down and accepting what is received from above. All the pretended ‘humility’ of Realist scholars and scientists... cannot conceal the pride of their collective usurpation of the throne of God...”

Such an individual “becomes a fanatical devotee of the only reality that is obvious to the spiritually blind: this world.” Human beings are reduced to races or classes, spiritual love to animal sex, higher needs to lower desires, while the earth is elevated to Goddess, the dramatic to the significant, the celebrity to the important. If there is only this world, I’m going to get mine and have a good time. A new kind of human monster is born, and takes his place a bit lower than the beasts. It is Vital Man, whom we shall discuss in the next post.

Which may not be until Monday. Due to popular demand, I may cut back to five posts a week, so that people may have a bit of time to chew, swallow, metabolize... and flush if necessary.

27 Comments:

Anonymous Will said...

>>Here philosophy is officially replaced by modern misosophy: hatred of wisdom. It is a childishly naive ideology that confuses what is most obvious with what is most true . . . <<

And, I think, it leads to mistaking the complicated and unnecessarily complex for the profound. In other words, without a unifying spiritual perception, the mind sees only the complexity of the world - complexity without a unifying vision then becomes a model for what passes for the profound. I think the Truth is actually rather simple albeit the Truth manifests in phenomena as a complexity.

On the issue of "royalty" - I think there may have been a time in the ancient past when kings, queens, pharaohs, etc., were actually "divinely designated" rulers, a spiritual leadership of a humanity not ready to assume the individual responsibility needed for a fully self-directed spirituality. Those who favor a traditional royalty may have an unconscious longing for that kind of "benign tyranny". It's basically a longing for the innocence of childhood and perhaps a longing to be told in no uncertain terms what is wrong and right, good and evil.

10/13/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Right on, Will; I have always noticed that liberals have a penchant for "nuancing" an issue' that is, overcomplicating it by dividing it up into little "pieces-parts", therefore obscuring the central issue itself. The favorite phrase of any liberal being interviewed seems to be "it's not that simple", when usually, it is. But to someone who lacks a grasp of The Truth, little "pieces-parts" is all you're left with.

10/13/2006 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Here philosophy is officially replaced by modern misosophy: hatred of wisdom. It is a childishly naive ideology that confuses what is most obvious with what is most true and what is most fundamental with what is most real."

Misosophy, I hate the word. It's perfect for, and perfectly describes what both its knowing and unknowing adherents subscribe to; the surface level gleaning of facts, each carefully wrapped and kept hermitically sealed away from any possibility of being naturally related to other facts, so that any number of facts can be mix and matched and arranged to suit the forgone conclusion of the hour.

All messy integrations and troublesome principles are avoided, and status can be gained without that nasty odor of wisdom hanging about, one only need to arrange their data in an attention getting fashion, like other modern art - it doesn't really MEAN anything, but it speaks to those willing to pretend it does.

10/13/2006 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob writes:

"In the relative world of nihilism, I am necessarily all. The world literally revolves around me, since my truth is absolute. The ultimate questions have no answers except for those I might provide."

A chilling thought: perhaps God Himself is a nihilist. After all, He is "it." There is nothing else. He must answer His own "questions." No wonder He plays at Inconscience--otherwise, there would be nothing to break the monotony. Or?

The problem with metaphysics vs. materialism is that metaphysical reality lacks the essential quality of "intersubjectivity." Each person's perception of God is different, unlike mass perceptions of,say, a cat on a mat. Everyone you ask will say "yes, I see that cat on the mat." Concise, shared perceptions are very powerful.

You can't do the same with metaphysics; and I say there's an ultimate reason for that--God wishes to remain veiled. He doesn't want the Game to be over too soon. It's like he says "Find Me, but not too quick. I shan't make it easy."

So that should explain the lure of materialist and nihilist beliefs. These are easier to establish as a group consensus, and we, being the social animals that we are, are naturally drawn to that.

You can't lay the responsibility of the fall of man on his own frail shoulders. This is God's play and materialists/nihilists are not to be suspected of willfull evil. If they could see God, then they would go to him. There's little doubt of that.

In the end, perception is indeed everything. If you can percieve God, then you are fortunate. For those who are having trouble doing so, compassion and gentleness is called for. Correct your blind comrades but don't imagine in them sins that are not there.

10/13/2006 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger lazlong said...

Anyno said: "You can't lay the responsibility of the fall of man on his own frail shoulders. This is God's play and materialists/nihilists are not to be suspected of willfull evil. If they could see God, then they would go to him. There's little doubt of that."

That is the same thinking that has lead too many of us wayward. The "it isn't my fault that I can't see God" even though they don't look for Him. Maybe, just maybe, the reason that they cannot see God is because they don't want to see God, and have only themselves to blame.

Anyway, if, as you say, God is in hiding, only allowing the truly spiritual to see Him, wouldn't there be a purpose of that? Maybe as a, forgive the language, "shit screen" to keep the filth out, and only let the faithful in? Oh yah, that is the whole basis of religion and faith, as well as the discussions that Bob starts every day. Silly me.

10/13/2006 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Gaude said...

I've recently gone through the whole first season of "My Name is Earl" on DVD.

It occurred to me later that of course H'wood would have to make him belong to one of the last groups in America it's PC-ly licit to make fun of: white trash.

Now granted, Earl's quest to right the wrongs he's committed is not selfless.

But he has to be that simple to make him funny to the sophisticates of the audience.

10/13/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Anonymous,
clever sounding but utter bullcrap. How can God be a nihilist when He is by definition Omnicient, Omipotent, and Omnipresent? He is God, therefore of course He is It, for crying out loud. He does not have to answer His own questions, because He does not have any, being all-knowing. He is not dependent on our perceptions or non-perceptions of Him. It's true that he hides sometimes, but that is to draw us out to seek Him. His non-visibility at such times does not make him less real, which the believer knows. The point is that God is God, and that he, not us, has the prerogative of being the I Am, which I believe the Hebrew YHYH says in literal translation. The idea of God being a nihilist makes great comedy in a Frank Zappa or Monty Python kind of way, but does not qualify even remotely as serious discussion. And to say that God is responsible for the fall because he gave us free will is silliness. If he had made us into androids incapable of disobeying Him, it would not be a real relationship, because we would not be choosing Him. Therefore God had to create us with free will in order to have the relationship with us which is the whole reason we exist. That same free will is what leads nihilists to make the choice to disbelieve God today. With all of the scriptures, books and preaching that are available 24/7 these days, what else can nihilism be but willfull rejection of God?

10/13/2006 04:04:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Correction: the Hebrew for I AM as it appeared in the original OT was YHWH.

10/13/2006 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Annonymous said… “You can't lay the responsibility of the fall of man on his own frail shoulders. This is God's play and materialists/nihilists are not to be suspected of willfull evil. If they could see God, then they would go to him. There's little doubt of that. “

Personally I suspect that if there indeed is a God, then there is a reason why there aren't any neon "See God Here!" signs. And since obviously "If they could see God, then they would go to him"... they would, so... there's something else that's supposed to happen.

I don't agree that there's no trail of bread crumbs available for everyone to see, that if not leading to God, leads one to begin thinking inwardly about the existence of God.

Everything in physical reality is related and integrated, and the slightest examination of visual reality leads you to that conclusion, even at the level of Sunshine, grass, soil, herbivores, carnivores & omnivores. The Periodic Table would jump out at anyone with the wit to look at it that guiding pattern of the universe is orderly integration, principles etc.

What may appear to us as disorder, is likely just an incomplete understanding prior to a new breakthrough, as astronomers had come up with epicycles to explain the seemingly bizarre movements of Mars through the night sky prior to Copernicus, Galileo & Newton putting the key pieces of the puzzle into place.

Bacon (?) said that "To command reality, one must first understand it". That is Truth. With that said, think of who it serves to ignore it? "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need" means, you don't have to pay attention & learn and work! We'll just force others to give you what you need! Reality of life be damned! We'll get what we want because WE WANT IT!

It serves the purposes of those who do no want to submit to reality, to pretend that it doesn't exist, who want to get their way because they want it to be their way, and the more people they can con into their tantrum, the more they can feel the puffed up importance and God-like thrill of getting their way, even and especially against all the rules.

The only way that can be done, is through misdirection, equivocation & the endless complexity of disassociated particulars (hello Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Chompsky and all the rest) - and the one threat they all know they face is reality itself, with it's simple truths and integrations and principles. Just one, just one Truth - properly understood, can lead anyone out of their tangle of sophistry, and the leftist's know it, deep down they know it.

And that is partly why I also disagree that a 'superstitious religion' is required to gain a sense of Ethical behavior. Once you conceive of the universe as being an integrated whole, and observe that Man is part of the Universe, and what causes Man to flourish, and to Perish, the concept of Civil behavior, inquiry, Individual Rights and Property Rights are not far behind. Reality is filled with bread crumbs leading you to Truth, Justice (and the American Way!), Civility and Ethical behavior.

There is a darned good and solid basis for responsible and ethical behavior culminating in an Ethics of Individual & Property Rights derived from the properties and requirements of objective physical reality alone (See Aristotle, Locke & The Founders for a partial view, or Ayn Rand for that pure secular schema).

But with that achieved, the secular world comes to a limitation of progress, you've followed the trail of breadcrumbs as far as you can from neutrino's to atoms to molecules to objects to life, living things and humans... the trail of breadcrumbs comes right up to your door - and then you have to follow it inwardly towards a wider Supra-something exited out into from within, and ultimately you have to do it alone (though I dare say you'll soon have the feeling that you aren't alone in there).

This is the point that you are no longer able to get and reference direct external objective observations and examinations between yourself and others... ultimately it is up to you to seek within, to ponder, to find that something out-in there. You can bring your suppositions back with you, but you'll find no easy see-and-say evidence to make the easy proofs and integrations for you, you have to expand you yourself. You have to do the hard work of becoming that new understanding, turning your beliefs into your actions and finally into your self. By their deeds will you know them.

It's at this point that the language and imagery of the 'superstitious religion' lays patiently waiting for you, the prodigal son returning home. Your snap judgments and dismissals of foolish tales, slowly undone through trial and effort, and wisdom knits together, slowly but surely.


"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.
By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? ...
So by their fruits you will know them.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?'
Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.'
"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock."

10/13/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Wo, that got a bit long... sorry, I was on a roll.

10/13/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

That's okay. Roll abatement is not your responsibility.

10/13/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Karl Vincent said...

Bob,
First let me say that I have enjoyed reading your last two installments. Combining wit with humor makes for an enjoyable read and provocative after-shocks.
What I find missing in your analysis of the modern Liberal is that they suffer from despair. I find nearly the lot of them hiding behind their cocky smirks a terrible "fear and trembling". How dare God NOT create them in his image. Clearly he made a mess of their particular selves. And so they distract themselves by playing the "game of life". There's many games one may choose to play. What they have in common is that they are all, in the end, inconsequential, because they reveal neither truth nor purpose. I'm a grandfather, and it took me 60+ years the one overarching goodness in life... the love of friends and family. Without these, one falls into despair and views the end of ones days with fear and trembling. Karl Vincent

10/13/2006 05:11:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Wow, Van, that was awesome! Hey Bob, watch out, Van may be after your job! :)

10/13/2006 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

tsebring,
Thanks, but notice that My comments follow His posts!

10/13/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tsebring said:

"And to say that God is responsible for the fall because he gave us free will is silliness..that same free will is what leads nihilists to make the choice to disbelieve God today."

In response:

God is responsible for the fall of humanity because he is the CEO of this company; he shoulders the ultimate responsibility. It would be arrogant to think otherwise. The buck can and must stop with God.

AS for choice: all people's sense organs are designed to detect material superbly; conversely, whatever "organs" we employ to sense God are extremely wispy and present in only a small percentage of people. Not everyone can "tune in" by no fault of their own. This is biology; not something under voluntary control. The point: the turning away from God is not a choice; it is a kind of blindness.

So, if God were running a business, wouldn't you call this a "bait and switch?" How can you fault the materialist for falling for the duplicitious and forceful presentation of of the material over the spiritual?

If God were to stand trial for fraud, there would be a case.

I say all these things in the defense of the unbeliever. He will someday stand before God and be appraised-but until then it is not our place to revile him.

10/13/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Karl--

We're only halfway down. I'm getting there!

10/13/2006 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger dicentra63 said...

You can't lay the responsibility of the fall of man on his own frail shoulders. This is God's play and materialists/nihilists are not to be suspected of willfull evil. If they could see God, then they would go to him. There's little doubt of that.

The fall of man was man's choice, and his alone. Hers. That's why we have the story of the fall, to show us that we were in on this fallenness from the beginning.

Would the materialists go to God if they discovered Him? Some would, and some would go willingly. Others would go but reluctantly. Others wouldn't go at all. Finding God means having to give up an awful lot, such as pride, willfulness, and the illusion that whatever you want to do is right.

God has a good reason for being veiled. This way, those who for whatever reason decide not to seek Him out have some plausible deniablity. "Hey, I didn't know any better," they can say on Judgement Day.

Some of those people would follow God if they knew where to find Him, but others are very happy to not have Him in their lives. They are terribly attached to their favorite vices and sins such as pride, lust, and gluttony. They'd also have to start doing things they don't want to do, such as attending church and being totally generous with their stuff. If God appeared on CNN, they'd be forced to give up the things they like and to take up things they don't like. And when you're forced to be "good," it doesn't develop your character at all.

On the other hand, there are those who are so given over to darkness that they would rebel against God in His very presence. Their condemnation would be the worst of all.

So God is doing us a favor by staying veiled. Those who are ready to deal with the implications of the existence of deity can forge ahead with spiritual maturity, while those who, left to their own devices, don't really dig that spiritual stuff, can be free to live without it.

How can you fault the materialist for falling for the duplicitious and forceful presentation of of the material over the spiritual?

I believe that the degree of accountability is different for each individual in different phases of his/her life. It's hard to blame a teen for getting caught up in status symbols and stuff; it's a different situation when someone at 80 is still in its thrall.

John 10:

24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.


It's true that not everyone can hear the voice of the true shepherd, but I have a feeling it has less to do with genetics and more to do with what one decides, of one's free will, to pursue or value.

And as a last point, I don't particularly like the terms "absolute" vs. "relative." Plenty of truth, real truth, is relative, e.g., "It is Fall in the Northern Hemisphere."

A true statement. But not true in a few months.

Or "I am a fallen being." Which is true right now. But if I mind my Ps and Qs, I could end up being exhalted later.

Relative truths are dependent on location in space and time as well as other shifting conditions. But they're still true and still valuable.

I prefer the terms "objective" and "subjective" when discussing the problem of Truth. Surely, the Left is enamored of Subjective truth rather than Relative truth. Relative truth can still be true, but "subjective" means that there is no "truth" beyond one's opinion and no objective reality about which one can opine.

That's why they can look at the jihadis, who are "doing what they think is right" and observe that we Westerners also think that we are right. Making rightness a subjective value in their minds, not something you can measure against an objective standard.

He dicho.

10/13/2006 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Anonymous said...
"God is responsible for the fall of humanity because he is the CEO of this company; he shoulders the ultimate responsibility."

To say that God is responsible for the fall because he's the boss, is just another way of saying you aren't responsible for your mistakes. And to actually believe that, that you aren't responsible for your choices and actions, is to believe in determinism, that there isn't really any free will, that we're all at the complete mercy of purely physical cause and effect.

But if you were ruled by determinism, you would be infallible, insensible and inanimate. A creation ruled by Determinism doesn't make mistakes, doesn't differentiate from pleasure and pain, doesn't feel sad or happy, doesn't have any knowledge whatsoever, determinism is just stuff - perfect inanimate stuff, a computer not a Thinker.

From a slightly skewed perspective, one way of looking at the Fall, of Man falling from perfection, for eating of the fruit of knowledge. is to see it as one consequence of Free Will, of knowledge, of Life itself - there can be no possibility of choosing correctly without the possibility of choosing incorrectly, no choosing at all without choice, no possibilities without uncertainty - no life without death.

To become alive is to separate from the totality of the undifferentiated 'perfection' of the Universe and begin to experience possibilities. The perfect inanimate clay of the earth has the spirit breathed into it - Inspired, and separates from the perfect oneness and absolute certainty of all the Universe, and 'Falls' into the world of possibilities and the uncertain present and future of living Life.

"Not everyone can "tune in" by no fault of their own. This is biology; not something under voluntary control."

B.S. Everyone can and does choose to, or choose not to, Think, and everyone is fully capable of knowing the concept of Truth and Falsehood, of being Truthful and deceitful, and so of Right and Wrong. This is not biology - biology is your heart pumping every second of your life. What this is, is consciousness, psychology and Philosophy, and every human being is capable of practicing and improving theirs to one degree or another. Turning away from Truth, Integrity and Responsibility may create a kind of blindness, but it's no different from poking yourself in the eye with a stick - it takes choosing to do it.

"So, if God were running a business, wouldn't you call this a "bait and switch?" How can you fault the materialist for falling for the duplicitous and forceful presentation of of the material over the spiritual? "

Sorry, not Falling for it. And no one does fall for it without some inkling of what they are agreeing to go along with, without some guilty desire of something for nothing. As the Con men say, "You can't cheat an honest Man".

"If God were to stand trial for fraud, there would be a case."

Should you ever get the chance to make a motion before the court, I think that before you were able to state your case you'd be told something like what George Burns said as God in Oh God! "Sit down sonny, I'll take it from here."

10/13/2006 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

anonymous
is like a friend of mine
who insists "religion
was created by a bunch of con-men to dupe the credulous".

i wasn't about to argue with him...
i've been down that dead-end.

i simply said it was clear to me that the religious impulse originates in each individual human,from the "human condition".

i pointed out that while there are people who manipulate and prey on the impulse,they didn't create it.

10/13/2006 10:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dicentra63 said, explaining the veil:

"So God is doing us a favor by staying veiled. Those who are ready to deal with the implications of the existence of deity can forge ahead with spiritual maturity, while those who, left to their own devices, don't really dig that spiritual stuff, can be free to live without it."

Upon reflection, I think this explanation is brilliant. I wish I had thought of it before. The veiling of God does allow for differential relationships, which wouldn't otherwise be possible.

Dicentra63 also said:

"The fall of man was man's choice, and his alone. Hers. That's why we have the story of the fall, to show us that we were in on this fallenness from the beginning."

Faulty logic. The existence of the story proves nothing except that a story was written.

Van said in response to the contention that materialists have no biological tool for sensing God:

"Turning away from Truth, Integrity and Responsibility may create a kind of blindness, but it's no different from poking yourself in the eye with a stick - it takes choosing to do it."

I think this is a correct assesment that I didn't consider before--that every person is responsible for striving to percieve God with whatever dim sensory equipment that they have at their disposal; many people don't try at all and that is a willful choosing of sorts.

Anonymous stands corrected. Thanks you.

10/13/2006 10:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Two things come to mind, reading this post and comments, and by the way, appreciating Anony for the proddings and counters; I'm not afraid to lay the *ahem* "blame" at God's glorious feet.

It cannot and does not diminish His glory a whit. The apostle Paul understood this, with an amazing spiritual maturity that later so-called scholars, in their PC madness and incredulity, tried to explain away: (quoting from memory...agh! sloth is such a sin!) "For He maketh one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour. ...Can the pot say to the Potter, what makest thou?" Egad! Could God really have made vessels unto destruction?" And from there the Armenians and the western church split into factions of free-will and predestination and ....well... I'll just have to believe in the predestination of whosoever will.

Yet, I can't get my mind around it, and I can't make God "fair" (which could be another fun discussion: fairness)or even reasonable. Frankly, He scares me with his terrible unknowableness, and yet, He keeps trying to help me know. The storms rage, the whirlwind thrashes and then a small voice terrifies me; it contains too much to even know.
"We reach after Him, lest haply, we find him."

Secondly, history has recorded a face-to-face encounter with God, by many thousands of people. They spoke with him, ate with him, walked with him, listened intently to his teaching, and then made their choice; they killed him.

I think He was being a very good sport, if you will, knowing the heart of man would want to ultimately throw that old argument in his face, "show us the Father and it will suffice." So he says, "okay, here he is. Gotcher FatherGod right'chere."

And they said, "Oh no! No way! He doesn't look a thing like the picture we drew of him!!"

God is blameless, says Paul. Maybe because he had the experience you can't argue with: he got knocked off of his high horse and God poked him in the eye until he could see.

Me? Still seeing thru a glass, darkly...

10/14/2006 08:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Hmmmm.... thinking about all this makes me want to watch, "Time Bandits" again.

10/14/2006 09:17:00 AM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Joan,
A fellow believer once said this to me:
"God is totally sovereign, and we are totally responsible". It took me years to realize the total sense that makes when you look deeply into it (and I mean real deeply). It gives some insight into Adam, Cain, Judas Iscariot, and others, as well as the Fall, the Flood, The Crucifixion. The statement seems almost idiotic on the surface, but one finds when one seeks God that He is full of such contradictions, such as Christ being fully God and fully man, etc. Faith itself is a contradiction of sorts; believing that that which you cannot see is more real than that which you can. Nature is full of such contradictions as well, such as perfect chaos resulting in perfect order (fractal equations), and bumblebees, which should not be able to fly, being able to do so. So God being totally sovereign and us being totally responsible is not such a stretch for me when I consider how Other God is when compared to us.

10/14/2006 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger Eeevil Right Wing Nut said...

Joan --

The story of Isaac and Ishmael is an object lesson in free will and what happens when man in his finite wisdom tries to “help” God. Abraham knew what God’s promise was—that Sarah would bear a child, his name would be Isaac and his descendants would be Gods chosen people. Abraham and Sarah did not believe that she would not physically have Abraham’s son as promised by God because she was old and had already gone through menopause so Sarah chose to give Hagar to Abraham and Abraham chose to go to Hagar and she conceived Ishmael. Later God fulfilled his promise to Abraham and Sarah gave birth to Isaac.

Now God could have stopped Sarah from sending Abraham to Hagar or stopped Abraham from going to Hagar but He did not. Instead, God allowed Sarah and Abraham to exercise their free will to doubt God’s promise and take such steps to “help” God.

The consequences of Abraham and Sarah’s actions were that as promised, the children of Isaac were God’s chosen people (later known as the Jews) and he kept his covenant with them and they were given the Law. Ishmael’s descendants (later known as the Gentiles) were not God’s chosen people so they were not party to God’s covenant and were not subject to the Law (though they could and some did convert) and were allowed to be a thorn in the side of the children of Israel.

Now fast forward to Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. The verses you refer to are Romans 9:20-22

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the ting formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou make me thus?

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another to dishonour?

22 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction

Taken out of context, these verses would seem to point to predestination. However viewed in context, that is not the case at all.

The Christians in Rome, being converted Jews, were having a debate about whether or not to preach to the Gentiles and if the Gentiles are allowed to be added to the church, should they not also keep the Law of Moses. Clearly some Christian Jews thought themselves superior to the Gentiles for the Jews had been God’s chosen people and had kept His laws and the Gentiles did not deserve God’s grace through Christ for they had not kept the Law. It is also clear that Christian Jews believed that the Gentiles, if allowed in the church, should keep the Law of Moses.

But Paul says that the Gospel is for all and you are not to decide who is worth of His grace and mercy and who is not. That God loves all mankind and longsuffered the rejection of the Gentiles and showed His mercy by not destroying them so that salvation through Christ could be extended to everyone. He goes on to say that it is not keeping the Law that you are saved; it is by confessing Jesus. (Romans 9:23-24 & 10:9-15)

Sorry for the long post...

10/14/2006 10:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rightwingnut:
In other words, that which you can see is less real than That which you cannot. Even the Buddhists would agree with that.

10/15/2006 01:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Jack Schmidt said...

Gagdad Bob writes:
>> Scientific or logical truth is always relative truth. Thanks to Goedel, we know that there is no system of logic that can fully account for itself, or that can be both coherent and complete.

Goedel's theorem can only be applied to logical systems which are similar to the natural numbers, ie., systems whose elements obey the Peano Axioms or some alternative. For instance, Goedel's theorem cannot be applied to any system whose elements are finitely numbered. More specifically, the Rubick's cube, with its finite number of configurations and twists, is immune to Goedel. So is chess. So would be a Grand Unified Field Theory, whose variety of elements are finite. Goedel's theorem is inapplicable to a vast collection of logical systems.

Many people deny all absolutes, but their denial has no basis in logic or science.

10/15/2006 03:21:00 AM  
Blogger Bird Dog said...

Cut back to four - max! That's my advice. Or three.
Heck - I can only absorb one sermon in church per week. Your stuff has so much in it, you have to ration us readers.
And to make sure that you don't burn out.

10/15/2006 06:16:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home