Non-Neutrality: A Personal Testimony [Pt. 5]

trepa[Read Pts. 1, 23, & 4]

Underground Philosophizing

I pretended to be sold on the utopia the reprobate philosopher promised me. But I wasn’t. No amount of will-power could keep me from facing the problem of meaninglessness. No amount of fleeting and sinful pleasures could fully suppress the voice of God thundering in my conscience, either, as it declared: You are guilty. You are shameful. You are an adulterer, a fornicator, a thief, a drunkard. But I continued to make progress in my corruption, finding myself even more fully immersed in drugs and alcohol and reckless living.

I soon replaced Adderall and Oxycontin with cocaine and Xanax. I barely showered or slept. I became gaunt and vagabondish, catching up on sleep during the day after having been up all night binging on cocaine with strangers who loved me so long as I had money for drugs. Despite my chronic asthma, I was smoking three packs of cigarettes a night. And despite my complete disillusionment with philosophers, philosophy, and the evangelical atheism of bottom-tier “thinkers” like Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens – I would travel to work in New Jersey, through Manhattan, back to the Bronx with a copy of Deleuze and Guattari, or Frued, or Jung, or Derrida hoping to get something out of them.

I was attracted and repulsed, at the same time, by these writers. For on the one hand, they praised the virtues of their supposed freedom to think, say, and do whatever they wanted. Yet on the other hand, they had their own dogmatic assumptions about what kinds of thoughts, words, and deeds were acceptable, legitimate, and morally correct. I was attracted to them because of their will to create meaning where none existed. I was repulsed by their observable subservience to rules they had no control over. I was repulsed, moreover, because these men claimed to be heirs to Friedrich Nietzsche, the philosopher who more than any other clearly understood the consequences of rejecting the Christian system of truth and so, in light of that crystal clear understand, went insane, hugged a horse, and died a madman.

Cowards and hypocrites! I pontificated in the margins of their writings. Idiots! I preached under my breath as I read their treatises on the subway. I failed to see the irony of my moral indignation. I was blinded to the reality that I was still, even with the explicit rejection of my Creator, operating as one made in the divine image. I was filled with moral outrage. I was engaging in rational discourse. I was looking for a way to alleviate the cognitive dissonance created by my concrete experience of objective moral values, and my recognition of the objective nature of the laws of logic and mathematics, and my own desire to abandon those truths altogether.

I worked to get paid. I got paid in order to purchase drugs and alcohol. I got wasted in order to shut my mind off. I shut my mind off in order to delve more deeply into sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. And my conscience would still not shut off. You are guilty. You have abandoned your family. You are a hypocrite, just like the men you attack in your notes.

Picture this, then, if you would. A grown man guzzling Vodka from a tumbler, whose throat is numb from the sinus drip of consumed cocaine, sitting down in the middle of an apartment party, unable to remove his guilt of being a deadbeat dad and adulterer, and beginning to weep almost uncontrollably. This is the picture of an atheist who knew that something was not quite right with the life he had chosen. This is the picture of a man who was clearly living in violation of the law of God etched deeply into the very fabric of his being, and who yet refused to turn back to God.

I woke up in places surrounded by people I could not remember. I found myself in bed with people whose faces and names I may possibly never be able to conjure up. I found myself surrounded by upended beer and vodka bottles, empty baggies of cocaine, halved straws, vomit, and in some cases comatose women softly gripping glass bottles once filled with snortable heroin.

A Logical Conundrum

Whereas my former conundrum had to do with the problem of unity and diversity, the logical problem I faced at this time was simple: Upon what basis do any philosophers either assert p or deny p? If one asserts p on the basis of some prior proposition p1, then p1 is logically prior to p. p1 is necessary, whereas p is not. But if p1 is necessary, if it is a proposition more foundational than which no other proposition may be thought, then how could I know this to be the case? I had to believe it to be the case.

Now disregarding my former outspoken and hypocritical hatred of ever believing anything without evidence, assume that p is true. What does this imply about knowledge? It implies that knowledge is not a human construct but an objective reality that pre-exists human minds in general, my mind in particular, and transcends space and time. A proposition is a thought, a bearer of meaning. If, therefore, there is some bearer of meaning that pre-exists my thinking it, or anyone else’s thinking it, then it follows that there is a mind to whom this thought belongs. This mind cannot learn, for his thought is the foundation of all subsequently deduced truths. This mind, moreover, cannot be altered, for his thought, being the foundation of all subsequently deduced truths would contain within itself all other propositions.

If there is knowledge, in other words, then there is a system of knowledge, for any assertion p depends upon a previous assertion p1. And if there is a p1 from which all truths may be subsequently deduced, then there is a mind to which this assertion/thought/proposition/bearer-of-meaning belongs. This mind is immaterial, transcendent, universal, unalterable, omniscient and, by implication, omnipotent.

So if there is a single true proposition, then that proposition is either (a.)the first axiom in a system of propositions or (b.)a part of a system of propositions ultimately dependent upon a first axiom. If there was knowledge, then there was, of a necessity, an immaterial, transcendent, universal, unalterable, omniscient and, by implication, omnipotent mind.

Needless to say, this annoyed me to no end.

-h.

[Continued in Pt. 6]

Studies in Mark [Pt. 11]

clockity[I had the opportunity to preach from Mark 3:7-12 last week, so I thought I’d share the audio here. If you’d like to follow the notes in their entirety, you can download the pdf here. Below, I’ve posted a short section of the sermon. I hope and pray you are edified by it.

Soli Deo Gloria

-h.]

Christ Gave Himself Up For Us

…there are unbelievers who claim that our Lord’s life was taken away from him before he even had a chance to know what was going on. Their claim? Jesus was a wandering apocalyptic, doom-and-gloom preacher who unintentionally ended up getting crucified for defying the Romans. Contrary to such nonsense, Scripture reveals that our Lord knows exactly what is occurring. He chose to do the will of the Father, to live and die for his church, to send the Holy Spirit after he had resurrected and ascended back to the Father. The Pharisees cannot kill him, the people seeking healing cannot crush him to death accidentally, and the demons cannot crush him purposefully.

His hour has not yet come.

This is no mere street preacher. This is not a man who is unaware of the fact that the devil and his angels are turning up wherever he is and seeking desperately to kill him before he goes to the cross. This is the God-Man, Yahweh in the flesh. He is in control. He is Sovereignly upholding the universe in all of its meticulous detail as he travels to the cross to die at the hour the Father has determined. And this should be no wonder, for our Lord in Mark 10:45 declares explicitly that he came to give his life as a ransom for many. In Mark’s Gospel our Lord speaks clearly of his authority to lay down his own life, as clearly as he does in John’s Gospel. This is central to the Gospel message:

Christ gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age (Gal 1:4).

Christ…loved me and gave his life for me (Gal 2:20).

Christ loved us and gave himself up for us (Eph 5:2).

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph 5:25).

The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11).

I, says Christ, lay down my life for the sheep (John 10:15).

He gave his life for sinners, for us whom he now deems his friends and brethren – his elect people, the object of his and the Father’s love, now filled with the Holy Spirit who is our counselor and teacher.

[p.2]

The Problem of Adam [Pts. 1 & 2]

Abstract Adam

Abstract Adam

My last two articles against annihilationism have demonstrated the logical incoherence of the annihilationist conception of death. I am currently writing more logical criticisms of the annihilationist error, but I may postpone publishing them for some time.

Here are the articles:

The Problem of Adam [Pt. 1]

The Problem of Adam [Pt. 2]

Hopefully you will find them beneficial.

Soli Deo Gloria

-h.

Hitler Was and Wasn’t a Christian? – A Comedy in Three Acts

who-caresAct 1: A Common Apologetics Scenario

Atheist: [Condescendingly] Hitler was a Christian.

Christian: [Unfazed] No, he wasn’t. At least not according to the Bible’s definition of what a Christian is.

Atheist: [Smugly.] He called himself a Christian. He was baptized as a Roman Catholic. He was a Christian.

Christian: [Sighingly] That doesn’t mean he was a Christian. Calling yourself a Christian, but then believing and living in opposition to the Christian faith pretty much proves you are not a Christian.

Atheist: [Mockingly] So I guess he wasn’t a “real” Christian, huh?

Christian: Nope. Hitler was most certainly NOT a Christian.

Act 2: The Scotsman Arrives

Atheist: [Scornfully] You know you just committed the No True Scotsman fallacy, right?

Christian: How so?

Atheist: Well, when I proved from historical facts that he was a Christian, you went on to state that he was not a Christian because he failed to meet certain criteria you seem to have pulled outta thin air.

Christian: [Annoyedly] I didn’t pull the criteria out of thin air. I can show you the Scriptures’ teac –

Atheist: [Mockingly] The Scriptures’ teaching? Really? According to whose interpretation? Yours? The Roman Catholics? The Jehovah’s Witnesses? What is the teaching of the Bible? What you  say it is? Who defines what it means to be a Christian? You? C’mon.

Christian: The Bible is actually really clear about who is and is not a Christian.

Atheist: [Looking down his nose] The Bible isn’t clear about anything, you fool. It is a mess of contradictions. You can interpret it any way you want.

Christian: [Confusedly] Really? You think tha –

Atheist: pffffff.

Act 3: Nobody is a Christian & Hitler’s Religion Doesn’t Matter, AKA The Boomerang

Christian: [Curiously] I’m confused.

Atheist: You would be.

Christian: [Annoyedly] Seriously. I’m confused.

Atheist: Okay. Fine. What is confusing to you about the fact that Hitler was a Christian?

Christian: Well, that would be a bad thing for me, wouldn’t it? If Hitler were a Christian…right?

Atheist: Yes. Don’t you think so? You are a Christian, are you not?

Christian: Well, that’s the thing. If what you’re saying is true, then I don’t know if I am.

Atheist: Stahp.

Christian: I’m just thinking through the logical implications of what you said.

Atheist: [Derisively] Logic. Right. Tell me about your great findings in logic. I’m all ears.

Christian: Alright, sure.

Atheist: Fine. Go on.

Christian: Well you said that the Bible is not clear about anything.

Atheist: It obvisouly is NOT.

Christian: And you said that anyone can interpret it however he or she wants…

Atheist: Common sense 101: Books don’t interpret themselves. Where’s this great logical treasure you promised? hmmm?

Christian: Relax. I’m getting there.

Atheist: pfffffffffffffff. whatever. Go on.

Christian: Well, if the Bible does not speak clear about any doctrine, then there is no correct definition of what Christianity is, nor is there a correct definition of what a Christian is. And if Christianity is, according to you, in the eye of the beholder, then anything can be called Christian. Not only this, but anyone can be called a Christian. This means that calling a system of beliefs “Christian” is meaningless, seeing as no one can define what Christianity is –

Atheist: BUT –

Christian: Please, let me finish. As I was saying, on your view that Christianity is whatever people make it out to be, and that a Christian is whatever anyone says a Christian is – identifying Hitler as Christian is not an objective fact but a subjective opinion. Not only this, but it ultimately doesn’t matter. It has no sting, since Hitler’s beliefs cannot be representative of the Christian faith, seeing as there is no representative set of doctrines we can call the doctrines of the Christian faith.

So if Hitler shouted “I AM A CHRISTIAN!” this would be completely irrelevant, seeing as there is nothing you can point to and say “That is Christianity.” All of his morally atrocious behaviors, moreover, can be ascribed to his “Christian” faith and that would be irrelevant, for there would be no “Christian faith” to which it corresponded other than the one he subjectively concocted.

Not only this, but he could be the vile, racist murderer he was, call himself a Christian, be identified as a Christian by you and others, and even this would be irrelevant, since he would not be acting in contradiction to what the Bible objectively teaches about how a Christian should behave.

Atheist: But…

Christian: No, no, no. Please, let me finish. See, if you insist on calling Hitler a Christian, and insist on doing so in order to make some sort of moral critique of the Christian faith, then this implies that you have a definite understanding of what Christianity is. But from what you’ve said, any claim that “Christianity is X” or “Christianity teaches X” is subjective.

So  given your own assertions about Christianity and what it means to be Christian – namely that all of these things are subjectively defined – I can say, with your heartfelt agreement, that Hitler was most certainly NOT a Christian.

amiright?

Atheist: [crickets]]

fin.