Hypocrisy, Stupidity, Dishonesty, Ignorance, and Evil in the Bible


Truth is a Man

noah-drunk One reason I find Christianity believable is the hypocrisy, stupidity, dishonesty, ignorance, and evil in the Bible.

Take, for instance, those remarkable individuals who made it into the spiritual “hall-of-fame” in Hebrews 11:4-38.  A list of some of the most important saints who ever lived; individuals God worked through to accomplish incredible things; individuals whose lives were built on faith.  Yet, every one of them were hypocrites–that is, their lives did not always match up to the values they cherished most.

Consider Noah, one of the only men to remain faithful to God in his lifetime–“humanities last hope”.  After the flood, whilst in the primordial stages of building a new civilization, he gets wasted and exposes himself to his sons (Genesis 9:20-23).  Or take Abraham, for example, who, out of fear, led a king to believe his wife was actually his sister; thus allowing the king to take his wife into his harem (see Genesis…

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I Lost Faith in Myself . . . Now I Have Hope


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It occurred to me the other day that Nietzsche is right.  The only thing I could possibly have faith in, if God is dead, is me.  This thought, I must confess, is rather unsettling (namely, because I know myself far too well).  But, if there are no transcendent values, if there is no meaning, what else is there to put my faith in?

I suppose I could put my faith in “science” or in some abstract notion like “humanity” or “the universe”—but these things are only meaningful, in a world devoid of intrinsic value, if I consider them meaningful.  In such a world, I, the subjective knower, am the arbiter of truth, meaning, and value.  It is clear, therefore, that, in actuality, “I” (and not some objective reality outside of myself) am what I truly have faith in.  I have faith in my beliefs, my intentions, and my desires (e.g., my affection for science is the source of my trust in science; for science in and of itself has no objective meaning or value).

This, however, is truly a miserable, and hopeless, state of affairs.  I am finite; I am mortal; I can be (and will be) destroyed.  My existence is a temporary blip—a shifting shadow like the shadows on Plato’s cave wall.  I am merely the byproduct of cold, impersonal, meaningless, physical processes which blindly, and uncaringly, march on without direction until the final death and collapse of the universe.  In such a world, I am not a subject; but, merely, an object—a passive object.  All of my thoughts, longings, desires, and emotions, as well as my ability to reason, are merely physical happenings—unimportant, undirected, predetermined, events.  Thus we see the sickening irony of the situation: there is no “I”—at least, not in any traditional sense of the term.

To make matters worse, I am unreliable.   I fail to understand or to comprehend or to communicate effectively.  I am forgetful and can easily be deceived.  I fail to keep my promises.  I tell lies and cheat and steal and have pity parties.  I lack self confidence and lack the power to change anything about the laws of nature which completely hold sway over my fate.

As I ponder these things I realize that, in the absence of God, there is no hope; because I am my only hope . . . and I have no delusions of grandeur.

When we recognize that placing total faith in ourselves is utterly useless and ultimately futile, we are finally in a position to understand the paradox that Truth presents us with:  “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:24-25).

“I” is an absurdity—a meaningless illusory object—operating under the delusion that the world has value.  Life is hopeless; the universe is impersonal; I will end; I can’t save myself.  This is because I live in a fallen world disconnected from Truth and estranged from the Giver of Life.  I remain in this despairing state so long as I worship “self”; so long as I pin my hopes on a temporal, finite, feeble, dying blip in the universe.  This is why Truth tells us to deny ourselves and to follow Him.  Only He can give us life; only He can restore meaning and value.  Apart from Him, we remain in the void, in the darkness, and held captive by death.

Previously posted on Truth is a Man.

Nietzsche and a Pastor: The Domestic Animal


“The problem I have here is not what ought to succeed mankind in the sequence of species ( — the human being is a conclusion — ):  but what type of human being one ought to breed, ought to will, as more valuable, more worthy of life, more certain of the future.

           This more valuable type has existed often enough already:  but as a lucky accident, as an exception, never as willed.  He has rather been the most feared, he has hitherto been virtually the thing to be feared — and out of fear the reverse type has been willed, bred, achieved:  the domestic animal, the herd animal, the sick animal man — the Christian . . .”

1

 If the world we live in is, as Nietzsche asserts, one in which immaterial substances, or ideas, or forms, or gods do not exist, then it is utterly preposterous to believe that the,  “human being is a conclusion.”  On the contrary, it is painfully obvious that the physical world is as Heraclitus observed long ago: constantly in a state of flux — constantly evolving.  Within a matter of years every molecule within your body will be replaced; physically speaking, you will be an entirely different person.  Everything changes; nothing stays the same; the species is forever evolving.  On naturalism, there is nothing to ground your identity in and absolutely no good reason to believe that the evolution of human beings has come to a close.  In fact, there is absolutely no good reason to believe that human beings, as we know them, will always exist.

Modern naturalists have come to embrace this view with great enthusiasm.  As Gregory Stock notes with great excitement:  “we know that Homo Sapiens is not the final word in primate evolution, but few have yet grasped that we are on the cusp of profound biological change, poised to transcend our current form and character on a journey to destinations of new imagination” — It is a hallmark of current naturalistic thinking to believe that mans ever increasing power over nature, thanks to advances in science and technology, has brought about profound liberation – total freedom to control our destiny; to shape man into whatever image seems most desirable.

Therefore, Nietzsche’s attempt at redefining the ideal man, under the assumption that man, “is a conclusion”, is incredibly limited in scope when compared to the aspirations of contemporary naturalists.  Nevertheless, like contemporary naturalists, it is equally incoherent . . .

2

It should be clear now, that if we accept the naturalistic framework, it is impossible to say objectively, “what type of human being one ought to breed, ought to will, as more valuable, more worthy of life.”  Without a transcendent reference point, there simply is no concrete answer to this question.  In point of fact, there is no ought at all; there is simply what you think is the ideal man or what society believes is the ideal man.  At the end of the day, those with the strongest will to power will determine what the ideal man is—and this is nothing more than tyranny.  Consequentially, Nietzsche’s discussion about the ideal man (as if such a thing actually existed within the naturalistic worldview) seems rather disingenuous; or, at least, naïvely optimistic.

Considering the total fluidity of reality and the complete absence of absolute universal truths entailed by naturalism it is surprising, to me, that Nietzsche actually believes in his ideal man.  It is also surprising, to me, that he believes his ideal man actually exercises a certain amount of freedom—in contrast to the wretched domesticated animal.  At the end of the day, even Nietzsche’s ideal man is completely subject to the mindless and impersonal laws of nature which, if we accept naturalism, dictate his every thought and action.  Not even the super man can escape the laws of physics or transcend the controlling influence of his biochemistry.

3

In the final analysis, Nietzsche’s diatribe only communicates two things—his subjective opinion of what the ideal man is and his personal distain for Christians.  Perhaps, thirdly, it communicates the dissonance in his own thought—the inconsistent ramblings of a man bent on refuting objective values while simultaneously arguing for that which he deems most valuable.  At the end of the day, in order to fully embrace Nietzsche’s worldview, we must abandon the notion that there is an ideal human being and accept the fact that ideals are simply subjective opinions generated within the human brain through the brute physical processes of nature.  We must be willing to embrace the fact that human beings do not have a nature and that we simply reflect one fleeting moment in a constantly evolving reality.  We must also accept, in spite of the claims of contemporary naturalists, that mankind has absolutely no control over his destiny.

4

Freedom is, arguably, the chief aim of naturalism: freedom from a controlling omnipotent God, freedom from outmoded and irrational religious dogmas, freedom from puritanical ethical systems, freedom to redefine the human race and guide the course of evolution . . .

Sadly, this supposed freedom is completely illusory.  Consider these two points: (1) human beings are a part of nature, and hence, themselves locked in the endless, and fundamentally, meaningless, cycle of material causes and effects, and (2) those human beings currently in existence will ultimately decide the fate of those human beings (or other humanoid species) in the future.

Regarding the first point, although human beings seem to be gaining more knowledge of and, hence, better control over nature, human beings are not transcendent from nature.  Therefore, human beings are just as much subject to the laws of physics and chemistry which guide the rest of the universe.  Accordingly, on naturalism, human decisions, in fact, our very thoughts and emotions can be explained in terms of purely physical processes.  In other words, our very thoughts and actions are exclusively determined by the mindless physical laws of nature.  Under such circumstances, any freedom we imagine having over our destiny is truly delusional–in fact, the very notion of freedom, itself, was brought about by an unbroken chain of physical causes and effects completely out of our control.

We must also face the fact that all succeeding generations will be subject to the biological and psychological manipulations enacted by those scientists, academics, and politicians who currently control the new eugenics project.  In fact, the leaders of every generation will exercise total control over the genetic and psychological outcome of the next.  In essence, our species (or any new species) will forever be enslaved to the choices of those in the past.  A similar formulation of this argument can be found in C. S. Lewis’s book The Abolition of Man. 

In summary: there is no real freedom under the naturalistic framework–just enslavement:  enslavement to the blind, impersonal, unbroken laws of nature, and enslavement to those who exercise greater power over the weak (and even over those who do not yet exist).

5

True freedom can only be found in Christ because it is only in Christ that we understand, objectively, who we are and what it means to live.  For it is only if we have a transcendent reference point that we can say, definitively, that there is an ideal man, and in fact, an ideal way to live.  Jesus is our transcendent reference point—“the way, and the truth, and the life”–and, therefore, truly the ideal man.  Ironically, it is only the domesticated animal who can know, objectively, “what type of human being one ought to breed, ought to will, as more valuable, more worthy of life, more certain of the future.”

This is part three of a series; to read the rest of the series click here.

Random Thoughts for 9/24


* The world doesn’t need more Christians who are self-made martyr’s, Christians who shove abrasive placards in the faces of those who don’t know Christ and then claim martyrdom when arrested. The world needs Christians who sacrifice their lives for the world and who, on dreadful and wonderful occasions, are killed for refusing to abandon their love in Christ, not for displaying their hatred for mankind.

* Just as when Christ came down in a raging fire to Moses, but did not destroy the bush, so too did He come down and burn away the sin of human flesh without destroying human flesh.

* Prison should be a place of reform for those we can reform. Yes, the inmates have done horrible things, but they are still made in the image of God and therefore deserve to be treated humanly; after all, aren’t we better than them?

* Before we judge inmates too quickly for their crimes and ship them off to never be seen again, understand that the only difference between an inmate and most other people is the inmate got caught. Prisons are full of criminals who are bad at their vocation of being a criminal. The world is full of people who are simply very good at it.

* Everything in the Bible points to Christ – from the Spirit hovering over the void we learn that the Spirit hovered over the spiritual void; just as God spoke through His Word to create the world, God then sent His Word into the world to redeem creation; just as God gave Adam and Eve animal skins to cover their shame, He became slaughtered and gave Himself for our own shame; just as humanity’s demise was found in the Garden of Eden, humanity’s salvation was found in the Garden of Gethsemane; truly everything in Scripture has a literal truth and an allegorical truth, with one of the two pointing to Christ.

* Why would Christians deny the resurrection? It is our one hope. It is not pie-in-the-sky thinking nor is it an excuse to ignore the plight of today; rather, it is the justification for helping the poor and lame today, while also giving them hope that paradise awaits them.

* Death is bittersweet for the Christian. We are sad to lose companionship, but happy the person now lives without pain; we are happy for the person’s rewards of Heaven, but jealous that we are still here. For the community, death is bittersweet. For the individuals, it releases them from this occupied earth into the loving arms of their Liberator.

* Growing up the Christian community was worried about losing Generation X. I regret to inform this old generation that Generation X is gone. I now point you to teenagers who are in high school and to young adults in college and tell you that you are losing them now. Not because we are not creative enough, not because we lack proper music for them, not because people wear suits and ties to church; we are losing this generation for two reasons and two reasons alone: first, we lack substance in our teaching and secondly, we lack substance in our living. Should we teach a substantial lesson and live substantial lives, this generation will turn to Christ like no other generation before them.

* Is there anything more ugly and more perverse in this world than one who knows the truth of Christ and who stands fast to the truthful tenets of the Christian faith, but lacks love? Telling Muslims, homosexuals, and others that they are going to hell unless they repent might be true, but the truth is not heard over the perceived hatred. It is easier to hear about Christ when Christ is sitting at your dinner table or laying by your hospital bed than when he is at your event protesting your presence.

* Truth is absolute in most cases. While some truth is contingent and therefore created, the importance truths in life are not created and instead are discovered. The most important Truth is not of our creation, is not a matter of perspective, and is not discovered through contemplation; the ultimate Truth is discovered through a relationship, for Truth is a man.

“If you just act like them, it’ll be okay!”


Conservatives – both in politics and in Christianity – have upheld absolute morality for quite some time. Unfortunately, as of late, they’ve been slowly acting postmodern. The political conservatives are bending to public opinion polls, saying, “Well if we don’t do these certain things, people won’t vote for us.” Thus, they caved in, started supporting liberal ideology…and aside from failing to live up to their promise to true conservatives for ten years, lost the election last cycle.

Conservative Christians are starting to say that they need to tone down certain messages in Christianity because if they don’t, people won’t come to church. They’ve begun to water these messages down and all we’ve seen is an increase of immorality, emptiness, and pointlessness in the Church…all the while the numbers have been declining.

This is because they have forgotten one simple rule: Truth is immortal. If what you are supporting is truthful, if it is virtuous, then all the opinion polls, the demographics, and pressure have nothing to do with determining how you should act on the truth. If it is truthful, if it is good, then it is to be followed no matter what.

Fun With Modern Sayings


Today I was thinking about modern sayings and how they really don’t make a lot of sense. We hear them all the time, either as bumper stickers or responses to common problems, but when put under analysis, these sayings are actually illogical.

1)   “Violence doesn’t solve anything/Violence isn’t the answer.”

Is it true that violence doesn’t solve anything? This attempts to bring up the sentiment that it’s good for people to work out their differences in a civilized manner. Certainly if all parties involved in a dispute are civilized, then violence makes little to no sense; violence between civilized persons would only seek to exacerbate the problem rather than solve it.

If, however, one person is civilized and the other person is uncivilized or unwilling to work out the differences, sometimes violence is the answer. If you witness a man beating up and robbing an old lady and you can’t reason with him, violence is the answer. Violence (physically apprehending the perpetrator would be a minimal use of violence, but violence nonetheless) does actually solve this problem. Violence solves the problem of the man beating up the old lady.

If we didn’t believe violence was ever the answer then we wouldn’t have police. Even the most ardent leftists in our country want police (the same cannot be said for the ardent on the right, who are Anarchists, but they are few and far between). But if violence is “never the answer” or “doesn’t solve anything,” then why have police? They have to use violence in order to apprehend an uncooperative suspect.

A better saying would be, “Violence should be the last resort.” This still shows that violence is never preferable, but is sometimes necessary in order to get the job done.

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