Monthly Archives: May 2017

Extraordinarily Ordinary

As extraordinary, God is completely ineffable and as natural, completely ordinary. So when we speak about God, we are doing nothing more than suggesting God is ordinary in extraordinary ways, which is completely mistaken.

We must admit that nothing we think about God is about God; this is a truism.

We them must carefully examine the precise sort of game god-talk is.

The only recourse and rescue of God for the believer is to reject any idea that fails to clearly state that God can only be found in the ordinary human experience. This, for the fact that the nature of man is the nature of God. Finally, that experience leads to revelation and revelation to understanding, which leads to the teleological answers to the question, “Why anything at all”, which is the only reason the question of God is valid in the first place.

For instance, to say man is by nature totally depraved is to say that from man’s perspective, there’s absolutely no difference between God, good, the Satan, and evil; for what would it mean if God himself told us he was good or evil lest we knew exactly what either entailed to. But to say that God transcends yet is perfectly experienced in the goodness of the world and our participation in it, leads us onto a path always ordinary but one into the extraordinary. This would be a fingerprint of something meaningful not only about our lives but what it meant to create at all, and why.

Just a thought.

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Holy Shit!

Kaddosh, in Hebrew, means “holy”, however in Hebrew, “holy” doesn’t mean moral, supreme, sacred or anything of the sort.

It means “otherness”.

And now you know.

Now reconsider “Holy, holy, holy is the lord God almighty!” and why the Hebrews had (and Jews today have) few doctrines about God and why they used personification to talk about God; such as memra, word, sophia, and so on so as to keep God holy, other.

Contrast that with Evangelicalism and how completely ordinary, known, absolute “God” has become.

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I Don’t Have Enough Ignorance To Be Frank

People in general have a hard time understanding belief and denial and the subtlety of truth-telling.

You and I may hear a dog bark on the other side of the fence. Were you to assert the color of the dog is black but you had no means of knowing, my denial of your asserting “That dog is black” isn’t about the dog being one color or the other. It’s about whether or not you are entitled to assert any color the dog may be; black, brown​, orange, red, blonde, and so on.

My denial doesn’t mean that I think the dog is white, or any other color, or even that the dog isn’t black. Assertion relies on justification. When sufficient warrant is lacking, then it isn’t the content of the proposition that’s rejected. It’s only the denial of a person’s right to say it is the actual state of affairs.

As a Christian (though belief in deity isn’t required in order to so be, as far as I can tell), I have a disposition toward the proposition, “There are deity”, and I’m inclined to think it’s the actual case. However, though I think I am entitled to that belief, and justified in having it, I am very much Atheist in all important regards. That is, my anecdotal experience of what I suppose is the divine isn’t justification for me to assert that “There are deity” is actually the case. There’s no way to genuinely suggest everyone has my experiences or that other explanations, just as sound, aren’t more likely the case.

And though this conversely applies to Atheism, the point is that Atheism itself is not reliant on Theism for its definition nor does it entail to the belief that “There are no deity”, since this too is not an ultimately justifiable statement either. While Atheists do have beliefs about the assertion “There are deity”, it more often than not is completely limited simply to denying a Theist has just warrant to say that it is so.

Once Theists understand formal reasoning better, they will stop telling Atheists what they do and don’t believe or that it takes faith for them to believe something they themselves don’t often even believe; that there are no Gods. Instead, folks like Frank Turek will retitle books like “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Athiest”. The newly titled book, “I’m Completely Unable To Be Convincing”, will also change its content. It would now read in summary that people can’t choose what to believe and arguing about deity with those who lack an impression of otherness in reality is pointless. Though this will never happen as the empires of those like Frank only care about selling shitty apologetics to those who already “buy it”, they just may have not purchased the book yet.

Once Atheists likewise understand that a “lack of belief in” doesn’t at all negate the fact there is no “lack of belief about”, then they can simply tell the Theist the only belief they have about the existence of deity is that they justifiably believe the Theist hasn’t made their case at all. And in nearly all cases I’ve seen or experienced, the Theist only succeeds in removing any faith it would take in the Atheist disagreeing.

Just a thought.

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May I Have A Word With You?

In understanding the usage of Memra, Logos, Word in the context of the time and setting these terms were used, we have a hermeneutic about how to read scripture, according to scripture. First, we know the book is not the “Word”. We know that we’re talking about representation and expression of intent. As we find in scripture, God is goodness. God’s (Memra, Logos, Word) intent toward us and creation is goodness. This from scriptures like those in the neighborhoods of Psalms 107:30 and Proverbs 4:20.

So, not only are we charged then with reading all scripture such that interpretation must present God as good, but we have a more relevant Christology. That is, scripture isn’t taken as a divine dictation but as expressing God’s intent. Torah was referred to as God’s Word. Jesus was referred to as God’s Word. And so what we naturally think about is what God is expressing through Torah and through Jesus, rather than what is said about each as the object God is speaking about.

So from this, when considering scripture or Christ, we understand the entire point of it all is to find the goodness of God through both in order that we become the next natural sacrament of God’s goodness in the world; we as God’s expressed intent for creation in the world. In other words, goodness expressed through us as well.

Just a thought.

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As If!

Belief is a commitment to act. So when you say you do or don’t believe Jesus was divine, was or wasn’t born of a virgin, was or wasn’t crucified, did or didn’t raise from the dead, it begs the question of how answering either way changes your behavior. “I believe in God” isn’t like “There’s a snake behind me”; “God” doesn’t even have inherent meaning. To say “I believe” has no other meaning but “I will act as if”.

This calls into question exactly what each and all credal statements actually are. In themselves, they cannot be acted on, and as a result, creeds are only community ties. They are not propositions with any intelligible truth-value, lest we be able to all say that “belief in God” guarantees the same response. That is just as no one, universally no one, jumps off of a cliff when they “believe in gravity” and those that do jump are doing so too for the same reason, they know what would happen; gravity is not a communal incantation.

Just a thought.

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On Society And Ideology

When it dawns on people that morality isn’t libertarian, that it is completely set in the context of community rather than the individual, the more fortunate in society will stop scapegoating the poor for the problems the poor face, and at the very least, know that the most definitive role of government is exactly the redistribution of wealth and not to the more fortunate but to the least.

You cannot be a responsible moral agent while thinking you deserve something others don’t because you, individually, have earned your circumstances anymore than the poor have earned theirs. Society has allowed your success, your abilities are inherited, and work and effort alone almost never accounts for ones circumstances. Bust your ass, get fired or layed off, and ask yourself after a month without an income whether or not it was something about you and your ability to work and desire to work that has you now homeless.

Healthcare and why we would dare think it is optional or that only those who can afford it deserve it is immoral. We cannot imagine seeing a person drop, having a heart attack, and a person offering to give them CPR if only they would give them $5.00. No, any otherwise decent human being wouldn’t blame the death of the heart attack victim on the victim for being caught​ alive without $5.00 but on the would be savior whose primacy is money not morality, society. That savior is no savior but a literal parasite on society.

Capitalism in the United States is no longer a balance of symbiotic relationships but has, as many theorists predicted millennia ago, begun to consume itself. And since its context is society, capitalism consuming itself simply entails to consuming persons because there are no more other resources left for it to consume. We have tied morality not to society but to narratives on why capitalism isn’t failing by largely scapegoating that it obviously is.

Society is made of people. Ideas on how to manage people are simply ideas and cannot be stagnate. The current discourse of the conservative is objectively immoral and are attempts to harmonize dissonance that something truly is wrong with society. The current liberal disconnect with society in addressing real persons with something other than rhetoric is just as immoral.

But once again, when it clicks that morality is only found in society, in community, then we will all see that moral discourse begins with language that includes everyone and not simply one group or other, much less what’s simply “good for me”.

Just a thought.

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“Adulting” Theology?

“If you want at him, you gotta go through me” — God

Or at least that’s a fair paraphrase of what some claim about God.

On closer inspection, if that statement is true, God is either incompetent, or God isn’t just an asshole, He’s sadistic.

I think of all of the children in the world first; those born physically addicted, those facing the witching hour when their drunk and abusive father will come home, those starving, those with chronic pain, those stolen or even sold into slavery of all sorts, those facing death and pains unimaginable every day.

This kind of thoughtless platitude shows utter contempt to humanity through ignorance and a very short-sighted desire to say “it’s all helping you in the end, don’t you know, and for God’s glory.”

There is no coherent Theology that involves the idea of an interventionist God that is loving and that allows suffering. None. That’s because ends do not justify means, and even if they could, someone please tell me the worth of being more like Christ or loved by God because I was gang-raped as a 90 year old in a convalescent home by angry staffers who wanted to teach the importance of controlling incontinence​. Praise be to Jesus, of course!

It’s very easy to fall down and go boom and think that it made you a better person and so, it was worth going through. But you have to fucking grow up at some point and realize that God does not intervene to cause or prevent a single thing. You are the only manifestation of God in this world and only you stand in the way of injustice and suffering. And most importantly, you and only you are responsible for your own personal growth as a human being.

At some point, folks, Theology is going to have to grow up or it will fade away. This is what should happen if it remains childish. It will still appeal however, as long as there are children to whom this sort of rhetoric makes sense. Thinking about all the implications of somebody’s god-talk is the only cure. And here, getting out into the real world to see exactly how absent God can be in it is the only way enough empathy can be generated in order for adults to be birthed from the realization.

Just a thought.

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Who’s Zooming Who?

Evangelicals, and really, Protestants of every stripe talk about the authority of scripture. They balk at the idea that the Pope is the authority of all things catholic, including scripture.

In the twist of convolution, scripture isn’t authoritative. It’s simply a book. All books are interpreted. So what the Protestant implies is that there’s only one interpretation. A quick survey of more than 30,000 Protestant denominations defeats the claim unless its only rescue is to pull a true Scotsman. Too, when saying an interpretation is authoritative, it is the interpreter one is acknowledging is the authority.

In so doing, the Protestant essentially denies the Pope cannot do what every single Protestant oddly can; authoritatively, infallibly glean the meaning of scripture. Indeed, the Protestant removes any sense of authority related to scripture in the unthoughtful statement “the Bible is authoritative”. It makes popes of everyone. What’s worse is that most every single “pope” I’ve ever talked to has never taken the time to study scripture, and when I’m lucky, I meet one who’s actually read the whole book!

Just a thought.

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Dear Evangelical:

If you believe there’s nothing we can do to earn salvation, then why do you believe we must *accept* Jesus as Lord and savior or *believe* that he’s the son of God or that he rose from the dead or is part of a Trinity, and so on?

You’re saying that “because I x, I am saved”.

I don’t think I need to tell rational folks how this misguided theology is a contradiction.

I tell you this: you are ignorant of the conflict between Paul and James, Peter, and John because they never had a conversation about faith and works like you’re proposing! They were arguing only whether a Christian had to become a Jew in order to be a Christian. Paul argued that the fruit of the law never saved anyone and only made people more damnable; he himself keeping it perfectly, easily in fact. Paul taught that simply placing trust in what Christ had done for us was what made one a Christian. Their very heated exchanges on that point had nothing to do with getting into heaven!

You arrogant peon! Do you actually think that you, a gnat, can separate yourself from God? You can offend God? You can anger God? Idiot!

I too, like Paul, am convinced that nothing can separate us from the love of God; only unlike you, I mean it. All you can do is to decide how much “Godness” you’re going to reflect, and in so doing, experience. There’s no difference that makes a different between “Godness” and “Goodness”. A person’s belief in God has nothing to do with intellectual life; as if “Here are my God-ideas and they save me” counts for anything! The particular ways some community defines itself is also irrelevant; be that the tradition of the Jew or the beliefs of the Evangelical!

Instead, do what you already know to do, which is good; because it is there in everyone’s hearts and everyone’s minds to do and participating in it changes everything for you and everyone else.

Just a thought.

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A I See It …

After years of study, this is about the only consistent and coherent Christian Theology I can extrapolate:

God is goodness.

Grace (charis) is God’s active presence in the world; God’s persuasion toward us.

Faith (pistis) is our draw to the good; our persuasion toward God.

Belief (pistis) is acting on faith.

Atonement is the experience of doing the good.

Salvation is the transforming effect of the experience of doing the good; our sacramental encounters with God.

Sanctification is the process of becoming in participating with the good.

Theosis is the eschatological end.

This makes coherent use of the terms as near as I can tell to their first century CE usage, except perhaps for “atonement” (but as I describe it, I am faithful to its original English usage, which was not הַכַּפֹּֽרֶת ha-kappōreṯ).

Note too, the above describes universal salvation through participation, which is a very old, Jewish idea; a consistent theological thread in their thinking.

For humanity, Jesus is exemplar; what humanity is like, and what God like. However he rectified things in his life and death aside from that, no one knows and we’re silly to dig in anchors of absoluteness, or salvific contingencies on getting that mystery intellectually correct.

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