A New Renaissance: Some Thoughts on Academic Profundity [Jacques Futon]

Dr. Futon

[This essay is from the late Jacques Futon, Assistant Chair of Ideational Recursivity in Philosophical Discourse. Enjoy. Or..Not.]

As I stroll through academic publications, perambulating their propositions, I am often driven to mystical wonder as I try to mine the riches of their profound insights. Men like David Hume have, for instance, shown that our belief in cause and effect is itself the effect of a causal process, viz. Our observation of an event following another event. The idea is profound, much too complex for a simpleton like myself, but here is my formulation of his theory of the origin of cause and effect: It is the natural effect of a causal process. I have yet to comprehend the depths of this, but I will hopefully make some progress in this paradox.

I don’t know, however, if I can speak with the same certainty about my studies in the writings of Nietzsche. He plumbs the fathomless depths of the human psyche in such a manner as to debilitate any who seek to understand, or clarify any misunderstanding, of his philosophical apparatuses. The reader might think that I am speaking figuratively of this great sage, but this is by no means the case! It is the undeniable truth, says Nietzsche, that those who use logical argumentation against his materialistic ontology are physiologically deformed, psychologically weak, and morally perverse. The genius of these infallible declarations is that they fully disarm any of the weaker masses from daring to approach or, as it were, reproach this Ubermensch!

Oh the riches of unthinkably profound thoughts one finds in academia! Time fails me, but I could mention philosopher after philosopher. From the pantheist who says “All is ONE!” and endeavors to explain this to me and another man (other than himself), to the philosophers who say “All is Many!” and so annihilates the meaning of difference by making it the overarching ontological category to which all things belong, I am at a loss for words! How does one begin to plumb these labyrinthine abysses of thought? Such dark-brilliance, expressed with such clouded clarity, is nearly equally matched by quasi-academics in the public sphere.

For instance, one man, a strict materialist, when presented with a valid and sound argument concerning the substantial difference between mind and body showed his rapier wit by replying: “Just because two things are different does not mean that they aren’t the same.” The Christian who argued soundly couldn’t reply, presumably this was due to his being overwhelmed by this masterful dialectician’s skill. The moderator was also speechless, and understandably so!

I have heard of yet another wizard of wisdom who sat across from a Christian fellow, and defended a rather unorthodox doctrine which he maintained was found in Scripture, which alone is infallibly true and so must be accepted by all professors of the Christian faith. [To this, let the reader understand, I offer a hearty Amen and Amen!] The Christian agreed that Scripture alone is infallibly true and so set forth a decisive and incisive deduction from the Scriptures proving his case to be true. And his opponent, a man much more skilled in the art of argumentation replied thus: “Just because an argument is biblical does not mean that it is true.” Soberly, quietly, the Christian sat perturbed, trying to reconcile this divine revelation spoken from the lips of his opponent. But little did he know that such statements are too rich, too complex for the average man to dissect and examine. [Oh Christian brother! You have fallen to that pernicious old ideology that somehow thinks validity and soundness are the necessary constituents of a good argument. If only you knew that nothing is certainly true! If only you knew that all propositions are only likely given such and such parameters of thought! If only you quit your pursuit of the knowledge of God and humbly joined the conversation of these new mystics of whom I now speak!]

Where, pray tell, do these men gain such impenetrable excavations of the deep things of God? This is a mystery yet, and I hope to scratch its surface at some point before I die and (possibly) awake in the hereafter. Nonetheless, let me engage in an experimental retroduction and so penetrate the impenetrable. Firstly, let us begin by establishing our axiom of departure, viz. “Truth is ascertainable by any human means, but not by divine revelation.”

[Here the reader may suspect me of actually believing this to be the case, but this is due to his unfamiliarity with the science of heuristicism. Our axiom is only a heuristic principle that will aid us in reconstructing the essential philosophical method found in the above-mentioned accidental manifestations of it. But more of this later, brethren.]

This is a necessary step for many reasons, but it is sufficient for us to now remark that such an axiom effectively removes metaphysical, ethical, and epistemological categories that only barb the way from ignorance to enlightenment. Secondly, therefore, we assert that what we have is not knowledge (in the biblical sense), but metaphysical, ethical, and epistemological data. Thirdly, therefore, we assert that as knowledge is never given to us (but only data are given to us) we alone are responsible for the regimentation of data into clusters of categories which then serve to rule over the minds of men.

[Again, this heuristic must not be taken literalistically. Although, it is true enough to say that data are given to us. We must not ask "By whom are data given to man?" as though "giving" required a "giver." Rather, the subject is always passive in his reception of data, and data has no giver, although it is, definitionally and experientially, always given.]

Fourthly, and lastly, we assert that because of the preceding three assertions, no man is in any position to tell another what is true or false, less beneficial or more beneficial, or even right or wrong – we are all simply speaking our “hearts” to one another and, therefore, should be cautious not to wound one another.

This last point is most important and should be defended with vigor and, if necessary, with all the zeal of drink-besodden medieval Turk hastily pursuing the defenders of Christendom! Consider this, my friends, to be an admonition whose necessity is occasioned by the ignorant chandala masses, and one that we freer sorts must keep in mind during times of peace when we begin to mingle with the despised of our respective lands. It is understandable that times of peace, indeed an unnatural state of affairs for us, would nearly kill us with boredom had we not the lower caste to show mock congeniality and condescending kindness. Yet we must always maintain our difference from them, particularly in the matters outlined above.

[Although I have been using these harsh words, let the reader understand that I am doing so out of necessity. There is no heuristic principle that does not bear on one's behavior. Please attribute my rudeness, or harshness, of speech to this and not to anything essential to my character!]


The Reality of Spiritual Warfare – Orthodoxy vs. Heresy (Mark 1:21-28)

Spiritsword[I preached on Mark 1:21-28 yesterday. If you're interested, you can download or stream the sermon here. The following is an excerpt from the sermon. Soli Deo Gloria :)]

Charismatics often look to passages such as this in order to justify elaborate theories, really speculations, about how a Christian minister ought to cast out a demon. Yet if we see only the erratic and violent behavior of the unclean spirit, we miss the greater point at issue: The battle fought here is between Christ the Word and the unclean spirit who tries to command and control Christ through spoken words.

As one bible commentator notes, “possibly the naming of Jesus is an attempt to gain the advantage by uttering his true name in the midst of the approaching supernatural confrontation.” There is a real confrontation between the Word incarnate and this unclean spirit: Christ has come to preach the Gospel, and the demon is trying to oppose and suppress the preaching of the Gospel.

Paul says as much about spiritual warfare to Timothy when he says that “in the later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.” (1st Tim 4:1) That is to say, the conflict is between Truth and error. The Truth saves and sanctifies those who are saved. Hence, the Scriptures tell us that the truth will set you free. And our Lord prays “Sanctify them in the Truth.” Sound doctrine sets a man free from idolatrous notions of who God is, from false thoughts about himself and the remainder of God’s creation, and from slavery to sin, death, and the devil. Inversely, false doctrines, the doctrines of demons, as Paul tells Timothy, have ethical/moral effects in the life of the person who believes them. Those who follow false doctrines, for instance, have abandoned the faith, the Lord in whom they once professed to believe. And this following of false doctrines works itself out in things as practical and common as whether or not one gets married or eats certain kinds of food.

Let us not look for the spectacle of exorcisms made popular by movies and the charismatic movement. It is the Truth who is attacked by the unclean spirit in this passage. And it is the Truth who overcomes and destroys the unclean spirit.


If Evolution is True, then Truth Doesn’t Matter [An Excerpt]

monkeyfacepalmI’m currently researching a variety of subjects for my thesis paper. Today I came across a great little paper title The Darwinian Assault Upon Language by Bryce J. Christensen. What follows is an excerpt from the paper, which you can download in its entirety here.

If embracing truth and rejecting error is in any sense a moral challenge, then Darwin’s fears concerning his loss of appreciation for poetry deserve more than passing attention even among scientists. Indeed, a Darwinian explanation of language appears vulnerable to a second fundamental objection: namely, that it renders impossible any real search for truth, including scientific truth. For Darwinian evolutionists, language originated as simply one more biological strategy to enhance survival and reproductive success. Note the emphasis on the usefulness of language in tool-making and “productivity” among modern linguists who subscribe to evolutionary doctrine. But if language is simply a tool for enhancing reproductive success, then questions of truth simply disappear. The question then becomes not–as it was for Darwin and his Victorian contemporaries–whether evolutionary theory is true, but simply whether those who espouse or accept it enjoy reproductive success over those who reject it on religious or philosophic grounds, or out of sheer ignorance.

Philosophizing is an Act of Worship [Gordon H. Clark]

Gordon H. Clark

Gordon H. Clark

“An ancient philosopher with a mathematical mind asserted that the circle was the most beautiful of all figures. At any rate, the beauty of philosophy is its circularity, for one may begin at any point and by constantly making progress return to the same point again. In the meantime, he will have made the circuit of things seen and things unseen, and he will have discovered some of the beauty of both.The universe, with its vast astronomy, with its thinking reed, with the history and politics of nations, is God’s handiwork and has been excellently well made. At least, so the Christian believes. But how can one know that it is beautiful unless thought is expended, unless time is taken to examine it, unless the purpose of its darker hues and the lines of its actors are understood? After an artist produces his piece, the public gains appreciation only by seeing how each stroke of the brush, or each line of the poem, fits the whole. A work of art is an integrated whole; it is not a disjointed aggregation of unrelated things; and knowledge and appreciation depend on an understanding of the plan according to which it was formed. No doubt the public fails fully to appreciate and fully to understand the genius of the artist; but it seems irrational, tragic, inconceivable that an omnipotent artist should let his fairest flower be born to blush unseen and waste its sweetness on the desert air. In other words, philosophizing is an act of worship.”

-A Christian View of Men and Things.