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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Armstrongism

I have been reminded that to put someone down because they don't agree with my point of view is pure Armstrongism.

If you wish to call my presentation "my point of view", there might be some truth to it. But in fact, when I left the WCG, the first thing that plagued me in any search for truth, is how to recognize truth that is somehow NOT dependent on my point of view, or Paul's point of view or Jesus' point of view, but actually was truth from any perspective I wished to view it?

Can it be done? Paul himself is credited with writing that the carnal mind is enmity against God and cannot be subject to God, which presents a kind of syllogism from which to begin.

All human minds are enmity against God
I am human
My mind is enmity against God

So how would I proceed to find truth about God? Can I escape my humanness? Is there something, anything, that would allow me to somehow proceed toward one complete, consistent truth?

That was exactly the dilemma, in regard to mathematical truth, faced by mathematicians such as David Hilbert.

If the mind is subject to truth, then there should be some formal system by which we can proceed from axiomatic foundations in order to get to truth in one complete, consistent package.

Surely, the mathematicians reasoned, if we are careful and develop our line of theorems extending from axiomatic foundations with great care, we can proceed to develop a system that will simply lead us to truth and avoid human error altogether!

And then a man named Kurt Godel, in the 1930s, came along and dropped a bomb on all their hopes and dreams. he demonstrated by means of a most ingenious theorem that there simply is no way we will ever predictably develop any formal system that will lead us to truth in one complete, consistent, package.

Regarding truth, we can't get "there" from "here". There simply is no way!

In a historical parallel to this same development, at about the time of Jesus, there came a man known as rabbi Hillel. The Jews, in their attempts to adapt Torah to the various influences of the world of trade and commerce, had developed the Mishna, Gemarra, and finally the Talmud.

But the problem face by the Jews was in some ways similar to that faced by Hilbert and other mathematicians in the 1930s. The pressing issue faced by Talmudist and rabbis was, how can we know if we have properly developed the commentary of law, such that it is fully consistent with the Torah?

Hillel devised a brilliant structure of reasoning called the "seven laws". From these laws of reasoning, Hillel concluded that if the mind was disciplined, if it trained in the proper methods, the human mind could devise a system of thought that was consistent to the Torah.

But Hillel had a contemporary, who most people recognize as one called Jesus. The rabbis of the day were Pharisees. They were the "layman" representatives of the people, and they weren't exactly unpopular. Jesus even admitted that they sat in "Moses' seat". And then he proceed to blast them and call them hypocrites. He even said "But be not ye called rabbi". Now there was a real slap in the face. The rabbis had claimed themselves to be the representatives of God's law, the ones who, by patience and study, could lead the people to righteousness. Jesus said don't be called rabbi, or father, or master(Mister. Remember that?)

Now think about this. Hillel had said that by proper discipline and logic, rabbis could in fact proceeded to rightly interpret the law. Assuming that God is the sum and source of truth, that there is no contradictions to be found in God's wisdom, God would be the same as truth in mathematical formal systems, since truth is consistent with all truth.

So IF the rabbis could actually keep the law by proper reasoning, then Jesus would have to be wrong. The rabbis had every right to prosecute in the name of the law.

And if that wasn't enough, Paul came along with a real slap in the face and said that the natural, carnal mind cannot be subject to God's laws! Assuming Paul was a Pharisee, he had just disavowed the very foundations of his own beliefs!

Was Jesus and Paul right, or were the rabbis of the Pharisees right? We can now look to Godel's theorem in mathematics as the final arbiter. Jesus and Paul were right! If God is absolute truth, we can no more get to God by any formal process of thought than we can get to truth in any complete sense by any finite, rational process of thought.

In fact, the Pharisees did NOT speak the truth! They could not speak the truth in any complete, consistent sense. Yet they tried to apply the truth as they reasoned it according to law. But in John 8:33, Jesus said they were of their father, the devil.

Let's look at that. If the Pharisees were trying to establish their righteousness through law, and if all earthly law existed under the authority of Satan(Matthew 4, Luke 4), then all mechanical, finite, rational, legal attempts to arrive at truth must be of Satan.

If any person, including me, tried to establish a "special relationship" with truth or God in any absolute sense, then that person would be wrong. It cannot be done by any process of logic, reason, or legalism. It is mathematically proven to be impossible!

So how do I know that the teachings of Jesus and Paul were right? Because that is exactly what they said!

Paul pointed it out plainly in Romans 8 and 9, and repeated the idea so there would be no doubt as to what he was saying. There exists no decision procedure, no "work" that any person can perform, that will earn him "salvation"(Ephesians 2:8-10).

So how do I know I'm right? because I just told you the truth. All you have to do to prove me wrong is to simply show me a logical, rational, finite mechanical process of thought by which you can prove any special relationship at all to God.

The fact is, you simply can't do it. Therefore. I am right. And so was Jesus and Paul, even if Jesus and Paul never actually made those statements. They are true simply because they are true.

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