Author Archives: The Christian Egoist

Bootstrap

"There is no such thing as duty. If you know that a thing is right, you want to do it. If you don't want to do it—it isn't right. If it's right and you don't want to do it—you don't know what right is and you're not a man."

- We The Living, Ayn Rand

 

This quote could come across as extremely subjective to the modern reader who is convinced of the Kantian (and Gnostic-like) dichotomy between the objective (what is right) and the subjective (what one wants). Most people - especially Christians - nowadays, want to stress the objectivity of what is right (e.g. "It's right whether you want to do it or not"), while many post-modern types would rather stress the subjective element (e.g. "It's right for you, if you want to do it"). But Rand is saying something here which neither party is capable of comprehending: that it is right for the subject to want to do what is right (and wrong if he doesn't!).

The one who wants to stress the objectivity of morality is correct to do so: whatever is right, is right, whether someone wants to do it or not. The post-modern subjective insistence that one's desire is what determines what is right is blatantly false. But simply correcting the subjectivist is not enough. The idea behind morality is for the subject (i.e. the individual) to conform to the objective (i.e. what is right). To affirm the objective while maintaining a dichotomy between it and the subject is just as disastrous to morality as denying the objective, all together.

Dutiful Men or Obedient Pets?

Duty is the attempt to conform to objective morality by the sheer movement of one's will, by-passing one's own mind and affections. It usually has a connotation of being 'hard-core' and 'dedicated' -- as if those who follow duty are taking morality more seriously than those who do not. The duty mindset says "do it, regardless of whether you like it or not". But what does this translate into besides "do it, regardless of whether you are fully convinced of it or not"? Wouldn't it be more "hardcore" to do the hard work of becoming fully convinced of what is right -- so that you want to do it? Any dog can follow commands -- and that is what the 'duty-driven' have reduced themselves to: obedient, mindless animals. They aren't being 'strong-willed' men (as the motto "pull yourself up by the boot-straps" is intended to imply). They are being weak-minded (or no-minded), compliant little pets.

How to be a Moral Man

The duty-driven, far from being 'serious about morality', are actually desperate to excuse themselves from the most essential (and toughest!) aspects of morality. To be a man (rather than an animal), one must use his mind to become rationally convinced of what is right, and then discipline his values (i.e. his desires) so that they accurately correspond to the value of that which he has discovered to be right. The will, then, naturally follows suit. Skipping over rational conviction and re-ordering of values is no less than the lazy attempt to excuse one's self from the most demanding aspects of true morality. A man (or woman) - who is not a mere beast - should want to discover what is right, and should always love that which they discover to be right. If you don't care about what is right, or - worse - if you know what is right but do not value it accordingly, then you are twisted, and have much deeper problems than outward obedience.

The Death in Duty

To insist that being so twisted is acceptable, and even a virtue, is to plunge one's self head-long down a very destructive path. To ignore or diminish such essential attributes of man as his mind and his values, in order to preserve some stoic concept of 'duty', is to view man as a sub-human cog in a machine of 'obedience'. Obedience to who? How do you know who to obey, when, and to what extent? Don't ask such questions -- it will lead to the dirty activity of your mind and obscure your will's mission to be dutiful. Obey to what end? For what reason? Why should you obey? Don't ask such questions -- it will lead to analysis of your values and get in the way of your will's mission to be dutiful. Such is the nature of the path of 'duty' for those who will take it seriously -- and what other end could become of such dutiful man-beasts, but utter self-subjugation to the loudest, or strongest, or biggest master they are capable of finding? The truly duty-driven man is desperate to be commanded; to be enslaved. It is not his life which he wishes to live -- that kind of life is impossible to a slave or a pet. He wants to wipe out the essence of his own life (his mind and values), and simply become an extension of the mind and values of another. He wants to be the living dead.

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Abortion

"Non-thinking is an act of annihilation, a wish to negate existence, an attempt to wipe out reality. But existence exists; reality is not to be wiped out, it will merely wipe out the wiper." - Ayn Rand

Rand's Bloody Evasion

With her scrupulous devotion to reason above all in every other issue, I remember being astounded when I discovered that Ayn Rand was pro-abortion -- and even more astounded when I discovered that this brilliant woman, and her stunning philosophy, justified abortion on the dubiously shaky premises to be recounted below. Ordinarily one would refer to the nonsense below as 'fallacies', but there are certain contexts in which such sterile speech would communicate a contemptible sort of distanced neutrality. Therefore, I do not merely refer to the arguments for abortion which are touted by Objectivists (and many others) as "fallacious", but as stupid - and evil. When you are dealing with such a weighty subject, with such grave consequences, and with such outright intellectual evasion, emotive language cannot but be used.

Below, you will find the stupid arguments set forth by Objectivists in support of abortion. In seeing the effort they exert in order to remain 'non-thinking' on this issue, you will see the damnable attempts to annihilate reality in general, and individuals in particular, with their bloody evasions. And though they may succeed (momentarily) at annihilating the latter, the former - as Ms. Rand put it - "is not to be wiped out, it will merely wipe out the wiper". Beware, evasive Objectivists, lest in your efforts to wipe out members of the human race, you end up being wiped out by the Ultimate Reality you so evasively fear.

Changing The Subject: A 'Women's Right to Choose'

"Of course a woman has the right to choose! She can choose to go to McDonald's or to go to Burger King... Oh! you're talking about killing a baby? Well that's a different topic. No one has the right to do that!"

-Matt Marino

Abortion has no more to do with 'a woman's right to choose' than robbery has to do with 'a thief's right to life'. In spite of what the media would have you believe, people who oppose abortion do not do so because of some desire to enslave women -- and the fact that so many believe otherwise is flat-out ridiculous. Anti-abortion advocates are not anti-women; they are anti-murder.  

Women have every right that men have; which is to say that they have every legitimate individual right. Just like men, women are free to do exactly as they please, so long as they do not violate the rights of another individual. What pro-abortion advocates need to realize is that, just as there is no such thing as a "right" to the service or property of another individual, so also there is no such thing as a "right" to end an innocent individual's life -- no matter how convenient such a "right" might seem.

To say that abortion is about "a woman's right to choose" is like saying that slavery was about "a white man's right to industry". No one would accept such a ridiculous changing of the subject in respect to slavery -- and for the same reasons, no one should abide such blatant duplicity in the modern debate about abortion. The essential issue in the abortion debate is not about "women's rights", but about the nature and rights of that which is being 'aborted'; i.e. the nature and rights of the unborn.

Definition By Non-Essentials

So what is the nature of that which is being aborted? If you ask an Objectivist, you will hear that it is "a parasite", a "lump of tissue", a "part of the mother's body", or "a potential - but not actual - human". In other words, you'll get a lot of varied answers depending on how deep of a hole - and in which direction - the Objectivist wishes to dig himself.

It can't be "a part of the mother's body" - it has it's own unique DNA. So, it is something other than the mother's body, living inside of the mother's body. "Aha! It's a parasite". A 'parasite' which (in most cases) she willingly received. But what species is this 'parasite'? Is it a tapeworm? A frog? A giraffe? What species is it? Oh, it's human! "Well, no. Not an actual human -- just a potential one".

Such is the line of "reasoning" one will typically experience in a conversation with an Objectivist. But now, what in the world does it mean to be "potentially human, but not actually human"!? Well, implicitly, it means that there are certain conditions to humanity which must be met in order for this thing to pass from potentially human to an actual human. And here we will see the definitions by non-essentials.

What are the differences between the supposed "potential human" in the womb and the actual human outside of the womb? Well, I suppose that gives you the first answer: Location. In the womb vs. out of the womb. What else, though? A perusal through Objectivist literature on the matter will show emphases on age, stage of development, abilities, and - brace yourself: "social context". Before examining the ironically ludicrous implications of that last qualifier, consider all the others (and any potential differences which could be listed) between the "potential human" in the womb and the actual human outside of the womb. Is location, or age, or stage of development, or any other difference which could be listed essential to humanity? Remember, that is the Objectivist's claim: that the difference - whatever it may be - is so essential to humanity that apart from having that attribute, one is not a human.

Is this not a classic case of what Ayn Rand would call a "definition by non-essentials"? Human DNA is essential to being a human. Location is not. Being a fully integrated organism (as opposed to being part of an organism) with it's own unique DNA structure is essential to being a human. Age is not. Stage of development is not. Ability is not. And "social context" most definitely is not -- but that has to do more with the "Objectivists" subjective theory of rights, to be discussed below.

The thing being "aborted" is of the human species - and is therefore human. It is an individual being with it's own unique DNA - and is therefore not a "part" of the mother's body like a toenail, hair follicle, or unfertilized egg; in other words, it is an individual human being. And, this human being which is being "aborted" is alive -- which means that it is not being "aborted". It is being killed. Abortion is therefore the act of killing a live human being -- and it should always be spoken of as such. To speak of it in any other fashion is cowardly and dishonest evasion, through and through.

The Objectivist's Subjective Theory of Rights

Once the Objectivist is pushed to admitting that it is a live human being (and many will honestly admit to that much), the question then becomes whether or not this live human being possesses the individual right to life. Before exploring their reasoning though, I want to stress that this is the only proper progression of debating them (or anyone else) on this issue. The "pro-abortion" advocate must be pressed to admit that they are advocating for the killing of a live human being. Make sure that they admit to that and own it -- and let them then do the squirming necessary to attempt to justify depriving this live human being of the right to life. And now, let the squirming begin:

"[Rights] apply only to human beings living and acting as individuals in a social context—not to embryos or fetuses in the womb. ....The fetus cannot know or interact with the world outside the womb in any meaningful way. It is not an individual member of society"  - TOS Abortion Article

So, "interacting with the world in a meaningful way" and being in a "social context" is essential for individual rights? Does this mean that a man who lives alone in the woods does not have the right to life; that a random sniper could morally (and legally) take him out for the fun of it, because he is not "interacting with the world in a meaningful way" or participating in a "social context"? Is the Objectivist implying here that individual rights are based in social interaction; that the social status of a human being can determine his individual status? If I didn't know any better, I'd think they were begging to be carted off back to Soviet Russia with that talk!

But this isn't just a lapse in speech or judgement on the part of a few intellectual Objectivists. This is the inevitable result of their desperate attempts to evade Realism in their theory of moral rights:

"Rights are not implanted by God in zygotes at conception, nor are they innate possessions or properties of human beings. Rights are factual requirements of human survival and flourishing in society." -TOS Abortion Article

The first sentence is the Objectivist's caricature of the doctrine of Realism as applied to individual rights. The second is their attempt to have objective (i.e. real) individual rights apart from Realism; i.e. it is their attempt to have their cake and eat it too. It is all too clear though, in the abortion issue, that those 'factual requirements' are only for some human survival and flourishing; but not all -- which means that the Objectivist has his wiggle room to assert that some humans (namely, those in the womb) do not have those rights. What the Objectivist fails to see though, is that if there is wiggle room in their theory of rights for their pet issue (abortion), then there is plenty of room for every other pet issue which can be imagined. 

A full critique of the Objectivist theory of rights must be saved for another day, but for now it is sufficient to see that their evasion on the metaphysical level with the doctrine of Realism leads directly to their bloody evasions with the issue of abortion. If individual rights come from "social context" or "meaningful interaction with others" or from any grounds other than an individual's humanity; then there is no such thing as individual rights. If rights are not "intrinsic" to the individual human, then they are added to him by society (and can just as easily be taken away). If individual rights are not a metaphysical reality (i.e. if they are not objectively the case - whether any subject or group of subjects recognizes them or not), then they are a complete and total subjective farce!

As we observe the spectacle of millions of innocent humans being slaughtered for convenience under the guise of "choice", and as we observe that slaughter being applauded by cowardly, evasive, psuedo-intellectuals who call themselves "Objective" while spewing forth some of the most hideously subjective nonsense on the intellectual field, beware of the potential blood on your hands, due to philosophical evasions you may be entertaining. Ideas matter - because reality matters. Do not claim love for humanity, or love for the unborn, if you do not love the truth in all of reality.

Table

What is it that makes a coffee table and a kitchen table both tables? What is it that makes a Golden Retriever and a German Shepherd both dogs? What is it that makes you and I both human? Table, dog, human: these are all concepts used to unite many particular things into singular categories. But what are those concepts based on? What is it that makes it proper to classify a German Shepherd and a Golden Retriever as dogs, while excluding a squid from that same category?

This is the "age-old" philosophical conundrum known as "the problem of universals" ("universal" being the term which refers to concepts such as table, dog, and human) -- but what you will see very shortly is that there is not really any problem at all - and there never should have been.

The Battle: Realism vs. Nominalism

Historically, this "problem" of why we classify things the ways that we do has caused a philosophical rift between two camps: that of realism and that of nominalismRealism holds that the similarities between particular objects are part of objective reality; that there is some real 'dog-like' essence to both Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds. In contrast, nominalism holds that those 'similarities' are only nominal -- in name only; that our classification of Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds into the category of dog is based, not in real similarities between the two, but in our subjective and pragmatic decision to classify them as such. 

When it is broken down like that, it seems pretty obvious which position is the most conducive to objectivity. When simply stated as it is above, realism is the only rational option -- and nominalism is basically synonymous with subjectivism. Unfortunately though, there have been some very annoying and distracting ideas attributed to realism which have given it a far less attractive rap -- and those distracting ideas have arisen because of a failure to distinguish between three very different issues.

Three Separate Issues

When dealing with this topic of universals, there are three separate issues which have historically not been treated as separate -- and thus have led to mass confusion.

Issue #1: Metaphysical or Not? The first (and most foundational) issue to be addressed in this debate is that of whether or not the universal (essence, or similar attribute) is metaphysical, or not. That is to say that we must determine whether 'dogness' or 'man-ness' is part of metaphysical (objective) reality -- or whether is it only part of our subjective understanding of that reality. Realism says that universals are metaphysical. Nominalsim says that they are notThis issue is the essence of realism.

Issue #2: Metaphysical NatureIf, as the realist claims, universals are metaphysical, then they must have some sort of metaphysical nature. Are these universals 'perfect forms up in heaven' (Plato's theory), 'attributes intrinsic to particular things' (Aristotle's theory), or 'ideas in the mind of God' (Augustine's theory)? Or, are they something else which has not been discovered yet!? The point here is to understand that the issue of their metaphysical nature is not the same as the issue of whether or not they are metaphysical, per se. If Plato's theory that there is a perfect table up in heaven is false, this doesn't mean that his idea that 'table-ness' is metaphysical in some way is also false.

Issue #3: Epistemological Discovery. These universals, or concepts, are things which we use everyday in our reasoning about all of reality. If universals are metaphysical, we must ask ourselves how we come to discover them. How do we discover the metaphysical similarities between German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers, in order to arrive at the concept of dog being applied to both? Is it because we are remembering that similarity from a past life (Plato's theory), or is it by some other form of passive intuition (Aristotle's - and many others' - theory), or is it be some other means altogether!? I'll answer this one below, but the point here - as with Issue #2, above - is that this is a separate issue from the issue of whether or not the universals are metaphysical. Plato and Aristotle and every other philosopher since then can be (and many are) completely wrong about issues #2 and #3, but right about issue #1.

The idea that universals are metaphysical (i.e. real) does not in any way demand that there is a perfect dog or table up in heaven (Plato); nor does it demand that the only way to discover those universals is by some mystical experience or passive intuition (Plato, Aristotle, and many others). In other words, realism, properly defined and understood, only refers to the first issue: whether or not universals are metaphysical. Any given realist may have varying theories about the second and third issues (which will be either true of false), but those will be varieties of realism -- not realism, per se.

Missing this extremely obvious point is the only reason for the rabid rejection of realism by nominalists -- and surprisingly by Objectivists and Christians, alike. I'll leave the Christian aversion to realism for another day. Right now, I want to discuss the Objectivist 'response' to realism -- if you can call it that. 

Objectivism's 'Response' to Realism (or 'Intrinsicism')

Objectivism, as an explicitly held philosophical system, begins with issue #3 (from above), and views everything else in metaphysics and epistemology through that lense. This is likely because Ayn Rand absolutely dominated every other philosophical thinker on that issue; on the issue of how we discover similarities between particular things in order to form universals or concepts in our minds. This was done in her theory of 'concept formation' which gives a remarkable account and defense of how we form various concepts based on sense perception.

Rather than believing that man discovers universals by mystical intuition or remembrance of past life experiences, Ayn Rand held that man discovers universal attributes and forms concepts through a process of abstraction (this theory is detailed in her 'Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology'). Thus, her theory of Issue #3 from above; her theory of discovering universals and forming concepts is rationally superior to that of Plato, Aristotle, and many others, who believed that universals were discovered in some way apart from reason. 

However, as noted above, that issue of discovery is a very separate issue from the issue of whether or not universals are metaphysical -- or real (part of reality). Rand, Peikoff, and Objectivist thinkers in general have all confused this third issue of universal discovery and concept formation to be the end all and be all of the topic of universals in general -- when in reality, it is a mere sub-topic of the actual issue: whether or not universals are metaphysical. So Rand rejected realism based on non-essential ideas attributed to it -- and then, likely because of wanting to sound "pro-reality", she renamed that which she was denouncing: changing 'realism' to 'intrinsicism'. Since traditional realists (or 'intrisicists' to her) have been wrong on that third issue, Objectivists presume that realism is wrong in general -- without ever pausing to consider the alternatives or the implications. Believing themselves to have 'solved the problem' between realism and nominalism, they have really just taken positions on both sides in the attempt to have some sort of third option -- but there is no third option.

Real or Not: There is No Alternative

Rand's theory of concept formation was great at describing how we discover similarities between things -- but notice that it is about discovering something (i.e similarity) in reality. Regardless of how we discover them (and I think Rand is right about how we do), are the similarities between a Golden Retriever and a German Shepherd real or not? Are those attributes of dogs which make them dogs and not caterpillars, real or not? If they are real, then they objectively are - apart from any subjective discovery of them. If they are not real, then there is no objective basis for our classification of them into such categories.

In OPAR (Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand), on page 143, Peikoff criticizes nominalism because, in it "there is no metaphysical basis for classification". Well, does Objectivism hold that there is a metaphysical basis for classification or not? If yes, welcome to realism! If no, welcome to nominalism. But those are the only two options. Either attributes like 'redness', 'man-ness', 'dog-ness', 'table-ness', etc... are objectively part of metaphysical reality, or they are subjective figments of our imaginations. Either reality is what is is "in itself", apart from any subject, or reality is not objective at all. The 'Objectivist' cannot have it both ways here. Either universals are real (i.e. objective ), or they are not real (i.e. subjective ). There is no third option.

No amount of changing the subject (by focusing on issue #3 from above), and no amount of fear about what the answer to issue #2 might be (the Objectivists is naturally afraid of the idea of non-physical reality) will change the fact that objectivity demands metaphysical realism. And now the Objectivist will have to choose: Will he embrace metaphysical realism as the only metaphysical foundation for an objective worldview, or will he - for the sake of protecting sacred cows in his worldview - forsake objectivity altogether and dive headlong into nominalism. Consciously or sub-consciously, everyone will do either one or the other. Which will you do?

ATHENSVJERUSALEM

"What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?"

-Tertullian

In its modern usage, this quote means: "What does Philosophy have to do with Scripture?" "What does reason have to do with Christianity?" "What does objective reality have to do with God and His people?" The answer:... Everything.

Why the Dichotomy?

What is it that makes Christians think that there is some sort of necessary dichotomy between these things? If objective reality has nothing to do with God, then God is not objectively real. If reason (i.e. truth) has nothing to do with Christianity, then Christianity is not true. If Philosophy (i.e. foundational ideas about reality) has nothing to do with Scripture, then Scripture has nothing to do with reality. If Athens has nothing to do with Jerusalem, then Jerusalem is just a Middle-Eastern version of the North Pole.

If you really want to know why so many force such a dichotomy, you need only to listen to their repetitive bromides: "You can't build a ladder of reason to God", "We shouldn't attempt autonomous reason, independent from God", "We should follow God's Word, not 'Greek speculative thinking'", etc... All of this assumes that reason or knowledge which does not come from Scripture is necessarily not knowledge revealed by God; that the attempt to obtain any knowledge about God outside of Scripture is the attempt to "autonomously" reason our way to God; that 'secular' knowledge (knowledge discovered by non-Christians, like in Athens -- or discovered outside of Scripture) is second-class truth, at best - and "mere speculation" at worst. But where does this assumption -- that God's revelation of Himself, and knowledge about Him, is exclusively contained in Scripture -- come from? Certainly not the Bible!

"because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

-Romans 1:19-20

Notice first, where this knowledge about God outside of Scripture is coming from: it is coming from God. "He made it evident to them".

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and their expanse is telling of the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words where their voice is not heard. Their sound has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world"

-Psalm 19:1-4

Who created the heavens and causes them to do all of this proclaiming, speech, and revelation? Not man, God.

So, this "autonomous reason"; this knowledge of God outside of Scripture; where is it coming from: from God or from man? The verses above make the answer crystal clear: God is revealing Himself outside of Scripture -- which means that this knowledge outside of Scripture is also revelation. It is what theologians refer to as "General Revelation".

General and Specific Revelation

General Revelation refers to any true knowledge of God outside of Scripture, and Specific Revelation refers to true knowledge of God which is contained in Scripture. General Revelation is general, primarily in respect to its audience (everyone) and its content (knowledge about God's existence, essence and attributes). Specific Revelation is likewise specific, primarily in respect to its audience (the Church) and its content (many particular details about God's relationship to His people and His dealings with the world). Notice that both are revelation.

 At this point, the insecure Christian may concede that both are revelation, but he is hasty to insist that, in the event of any disagreement between the two, Scripture (or Specific Revelation) should always be given the priority over Philosophy (or General Revelation), "because it is more clear", he might say.

But I would suggest that there is a fundamental confusion in this mind-set which must be dealt with, and it has to do with a failure to distinguish between the object and the subject. "Disagreement between the two" -- two what? Disagreement between God's various means of revealing Himself (the object)? OR, disagreement between someone's particular understanding (subject) of what God has revealed in the two?

You had better not mean the former - that would imply that God is contradicting Himself in His revelation. If you mean the latter, then the question should not be "whose opinion should we go with: the pastor or the philosopher?" -- that is wildly subjective and evil. The questions should be "which position (if either) is true -- and what mistakes have been made in the other position to give rise to this disagreement?"

The Pastor vs. The Philosopher

For example: If a pastor is quoting Hebrews and claiming that faith should replace reason, and a philosopher is explaining that faith cannot lead to truth - only reason can, your first instinct should not be to side with the pastor (or the philosopher, for that matter). Remember, God is revealing truth both in and out of Scripture -- and no one person is guaranteed to get it right, in either case! So, your first instinct, rather, should be to ask "which is objectively true?" [Now, to answer that, you will need to have a pretty good idea of what truth is, and how to identify it (i.e. epistemology) - but that is a separate topic.] Once you've determined which is objectively true (in this case, the philosopher), then you can move on to question what mistake the pastor might have made which brought him to his error. [For the answer on what mistake the pastor has made regarding faith in this instance, see my post: Faith: The Fruit of Reason]

The point is that the object, God's revelation of Himself (no matter the form) is not the same as the subject's understanding of that revelation. Therefore, we should permit no disagreement between the different forms of God's revelation, because God does not contradict Himself. If we think there is a disagreement, the problem is with us, and our current understanding of it -- not with God and either of His forms of revelation.

One Final Point

There is much else which needs to be said on this topic (including an explanation of how both forms of revelation hold different sorts of priority over each other), but that will have to wait. However, there is one thing which must be grasped from the above.

The Christian (and particularly the Pastor and the Theologian) is concerned with knowing all of God's truth accurately, and glorifying Him to the max with all that He is revealing about Himself. Therefore, though there can be many non-Christian philosophers, there should not be many (if any) non-philosophic Christians. The degree to which a Christian is dealing with and spreading ideas about God is the degree to which he must be dedicated to accurately understanding all of the ideas being revealed about God, in both forms of revelation. How will one exult in the glory of God as revealed in Scripture if he is not convinced that God exists outside of Scripture? How will one trust a particular promise of God in Scripture without being convinced of the absolute impossibility of God to contradict Himself outside of Scripture? How can the God of Scripture be fully enjoyed apart from a full understanding of His "invisible attributes, eternal power, and His divine nature" as revealed certainly outside of Scripture? How can Jerusalem (the Church) enjoy and glorify God in everything, if they exclude Athens (the rest of reality) from that enjoyment and that glory?

Related Posts & Pages

There is No Such Thing as Scripture "Apart" From Philosophy

The "Christian" Fairytale

Epistemology

The Christian Intellectual

 

I-am

"These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed" -2 Thess 1:9-10

Enjoy worshiping the Egoist God today, who is coming again to be glorified by His saints and to be marveled at among all who have believed.

invictus
INVICTUS
Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
  For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.
-William Ernest Henley
Romans 8:37
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I-am

"Now, Father, glorify Me together with yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was . . . . I desire that those whom you have given Me may be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory" - Jesus, on His way to the Cross. (Jn 17)

Enjoy worshiping the Egoist God today, who's earnest expectation on the way to the Cross was that He would be glorified.

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This article was originally written for YoungCons. It can be viewed on their site, here
blind eye

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” - Proverbs 29:18

There is no doubt that ‘Conservatism’ is perishing, in many respects, across the cultural and political landscape in America, but there doesn’t seem to be any honest attempt to discover why it is perishing - and more importantly, what can be done about it. The conservative powers that be continue on in their blind stupor with the same worn talking points, the same failed strategies, and the same aimless passions -- like sailors on a sinking ship who refuse to acknowledge the water licking at their heels, in the desperate hope that not seeing it will make it not real. But now is not the time for fantasies - we need to face reality. The ship is sunk. It is time to rebuild, and the first step to be taken is to honestly evaluate what went wrong to begin with.

Let us start by asking what exactly it is that Conservatives wish to conserve in the first place. What is the aim of Conservatism? What are its goals, its motives, its vision? An honest survey of the modern landscape will tell you that Conservatives have no vision. The only goal (if it can even be called that) of the modern Conservative seems to be: to oppose the Liberals. What is a Conservative? He is one who opposes Liberalism. What, then, would a Conservative be apart from Liberalism? Who knows?

Don’t get me wrong. Opposing Liberalism (as it is today) is vitally important. It must be opposed. And it must be replaced. The trick is that it can only be opposed by that which should replace it. Conservatives agree that Liberalism is evil, but none of them seem to be able to define the good which should replace it -- and only the good can destroy what is evil. To be sure, there are some prominent (though varied) approximations of ‘the good’ among conservatives today, but loosely held approximations will never suffice against an enemy with passionate (though twisted) convictions. These approximations are like ‘blind visions’ leading the way of Conservatives today. The are going somewhere, but no one knows where, or why -- and they are trying to fight an enemy which knows with absolute certainty where it wants to go, and why it should go there. If Conservatives (or anyone, for that matter) ever hopes to be effective in opposing the Liberal vision for America, they must first reject the false (and blind) Conservative visions of America in order to grasp the real thing. Let us evaluate some of these faulty visions of Conservatism in order to expose them for the blind guides that they are. The first is Tradition.

Tradition

Many Conservatives see their duty as one which involves conserving traditions -- particularly (if they’re of the healthier variety) the traditions associated with the founding of America as a nation. This typically involves reverence for the founding documents (the Constitution and Declaration of Independence), as well as, often, admiration for the founders, themselves. The Founders were indeed some of the wisest and bravest men in political history -- and our founding documents are, without contest, the greatest known to man. But we must ask ourselves what was so great about these men and the documents upon which they founded this great country?

They may have had good and interesting character; they might have had sharp intellects and keen writing ability, but none of these things (or even all of them together) guarantees such a great political foundation as that which we have inherited. The wisdom of the Founders was their ability to see and understand certain fundamental principles; their bravery was their dedication to fight for those principles, regardless of the costs; and the greatness of their documents was the extent to which they expounded on and applied those principles to the nation.

The principles which they held, and which they labored to instill into America’s founding, were the elements which made them great -- which is to say that it wasn’t really about them to begin with; it is about the principles. And therein lies the problem with tradition: a principle cannot be transmitted via tradition. This is because a principle, in order to be grasped with the conviction necessary to unleash it’s greatness, must be adopted by an individual based on his own rational assessment of it -- and nothing is more detrimental to an individual’s ability to think on his own - i.e. to develop his own convictions - than the thought that he must blindly accept the convictions of those who came before him.

“The plea to preserve “tradition” as such, can appeal only to those who have given up or to those who never intended to achieve anything in life. It is a plea that appeals to the worst elements in men and rejects the best: it appeals to fear, sloth, cowardice, conformity, self-doubt—and rejects creativeness, originality, courage, independence, self-reliance. It is an outrageous plea to address to human beings anywhere, but particularly outrageous here, in America, the country based on the principle that man must stand on his own feet, live by his own judgment, and move constantly forward as a productive, creative innovator.

The argument that we must respect “tradition” as such, respect it merely because it is a “tradition,” means that we must accept the values other men have chosen, merely because other men have chosen them—with the necessary implication of: who are we to change them? The affront to a man’s self-esteem, in such an argument, and the profound contempt for man’s nature are obvious.”

“Conservatism: An Obituary,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 198

The Founders, themselves, rebelled against centuries of “tradition” in order to act on their own convictions. The thought that their political progeny would fossilize their actions with dead tradition, rather than emulate their courageous intellectual independence, would surely have them spinning in their graves. If we truly admire the founders, and wish to follow in their true greatness, than we ought to reject tradition, as such, and become passionately obsessed with seeing - and being convicted by - true and enduring principles. We should stand courageously on our own independent judgement as we analyze reality with intense scrutiny in order to be convinced ourselves of what is true, and good, and right; in order to fight to restore America as the greatest country on earth.

The country needs a vision - a vision which not only opposes the Liberal utopia, but which decimates it with the power of the superiority of reality. Such a vision cannot be seen second-handed, through the actions of the men of old - however valiant those men and their actions may have been. The only vision which will save America is the vision of eternal principles, grasped by individual men with their own independent convictions.

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I-am

"For My name's sake I defer My anger, for the sake of My praise I restrain it for you that I may not cut you off .. For My own sake, for My own sake, I do it, for how should My name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another" -Isaiah 48:9-11

Enjoy worshiping the Egoist God today, who does everything (including extending mercy to His people) for His own sake. 

He cannot be any clearer.