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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Paradise Recovered

James here. I received a letter some time back from a Andie Becker. I wish to share an excerpt of this letter here on this blog.....

12/03/2009

Hello.

My name is Andie Redwine, and I am the writer and producer for a new film coming out in 2010 called Paradise Recovered. I was born and raised in the Worldwide Church of God and left at the age of 18. This website was amazingly helpful at assisting me in understanding what had happened to me in the group. Ed Mentell was incredibly helpful as I have spent ten years gathering research, doing some personal healing, and writing a script that I think can be universally helpful to people who have been abused by religious groups.

I am not sure what cast of characters exist on this site these days, as I have not honestly had the time to check the site in over a year, and I am not sure if there are still listservs that people are in. We are starting to assemble some test audiences, and I thought that it might be interesting to have a few of the contributors of this board look over our film and give some feedback.

This isn't an anti-faith film, but it is a pro-freedom film. That is, some choose faith in the film and some do not, and no one is condemned for either choice. But we'd like your opinions on it, and honestly, I made the film to pay back the incredible debt that I owe to people like Ed Mentell and the late John Trechek.

See the trailer here: www.paradiserecovered.com

Idolatry

Okay, you know this one, right? Second commandment, Exodus 20:4-5. No need to quote it.

That would include any icon, any image created by man, any conceptual framework of knowledge created by man that claims to represent God.

Can we actually choose such a system by any method of human reason? No, not only from the viewpoint of the second commandment, but it is now a mathematical theorem that there exists no process of axiomatic formal reasoning by which we may predictable develop ANY SYSTEM at all that can represent God?

We can know, therefore, as a matter of mathematical proofs, that we not only should not or "shall not", but in fact we CAN NOT create any human made system that represents God in truth!

Which brings us to the question which the Pharisees asked Jesus: "Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?"

Who was Caesar? A self proclaimed god-king, the "Son of God" as recognized by Roman tradition.

How did Jesus respond? he asked for a coin and then asked "Whose image is on this coin?"
Is there a law regarding images? We just referred to it, above. Is it therefore lawful to pay taxes to any system that claims authority over men in the name of God?

Obviously, the answer is "NO!".

Let's look at it another way: First commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me".

All, right, just for argument, which is the one true god? Give me a definition, one that stands up to all logical examination. You will find it impossible to give such a definition. We are left with one logical conclusion, therefore., which is summed up in the second commandment! Nothing created in the "image of God", nothing created by the hands of man, by the iconic concepts of man, by any structure created by man. If you can't define it, there is no reason whatever for me to bow down to it.

And now, thanks to Godel's theorem, we have mathematical proof that no such system can ever be developed! Godel's theorem is merely the mathematical recognition of the second commandment. If you can prove there IS such a system that demands our obedience, you've got me, but you can't. You have no way of proving it. Therefore, to "have no other gods before me" is to be free of all human systems of power and authority, and that would include churches that claim to represent the "true God".

We are left, therefore, with the logic of Jesus' statement in Matthew 24:23. Don't follow any man who says "here is Christ, or there".

Ayn Rand, in the person of the fictional character, Howard Roark, had this marvelous statement which Roark presented at his trial:

"Thousands of years ago, the first man discovered how to make fire. he was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light. He was considered an evildoer who had dealt with a demon mankind dreaded."

"That man, the unsubmissive and first, stands in the opening chapter of every legend mankind has recorded about its beginning....Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received--hatred. The great creators-the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors--stood alone against the men of their time".

Ayn Rand said there is no God, even though she did refer favorably to the idea of God a few times in "The Fountainhead".

If you claim to follow God, you must follow truth, and if you follow truth, you cannot bow to the whims and false gods of men. If you follow anything less than truth, you follow idols. If you even follow the collective concepts of men for ANY reason other than proven truth, you practice idolatry. No "borrowed vision", no "second-handers".

And what was HWA, other than a flim flam, con man, scam artist, liar and worse? He was an idol, created by men as a "bridge" to God. Of course, he encouraged the bridge, but he, like all men who claim to represent something higher than themselves, are idols.

So what is the truth? If you look for it within ANY collective concept of men, whether of government, religion, or even the bible itself, you will be wrong.

John 14:17; "Even the spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive". Truth is not a "given". It is not any process of rational thought which we can organize and structure and place other men under our control. It is not subject to the power of men, as Godel' theorem now tells us. The "world" cannot receive it.

Matthew 7:14: "because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it". Not "choose it". FIND IT.

There is only one possible truth you can derive from that. You are free from men! Even more, if you "bow down" to any concept, any icon chosen among men, you commit idolatry.

If ANY "church of God" or "church of Christ", or whatever title, claims it represents the truth, we now know it is a mathematical impossibility to make such a claim! There never was such a system. Even assuming that Israel was actually chosen to fulfill such a requirement, we know even from biblical statements that the people could not live up to it.

You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Simple stuff. The truth is, no power of man has the right to control you unless you harm another. The only power of the state is "vengeance", and that vengeance is only enforced AFTER the people themselves seek other alternatives.

Simple, simple, simple.

From Ayn Rand:

"It's only a matter of discovering the lever. If you learn how to rule one man's soul, you can get the rest of mankind. It's the soul, peter, the soul. Not whips or swords or fire or guns. That's why the Caesars, the Attilas, the Napoleons were fools and did not last. We will. The soul, Peter, is that which can't be ruled. It must be broken. Drive a wedge in, get your fingers on it--and the man is yours. You won't need a whip--he'll bring it to you and ask to be whipped. Set him in reverse--and his own mechanism will do your work for you. Use him against himself. Want to know how it's done?....Make man feel small. Make him feel guilty. Kill his aspiration and his integrity..The worst among you gropes for an ideal in his own twisted way. Kill integrity by internal corruption. Use it against itself. Direct it toward a goal destructive of all integrity. Preach selflessness. Tell man that he must live for others. Tell men that altruism is the ideal...Since the Supreme Ideal is beyond his grasp, he gives up eventually all ideals, all aspiration, all sense of personal value....To preserve one's integrity is a hard battle. Why preserve that which one knows to be corrupt already?...Kill man's sense of values. Kill his capacity to recognize greatness or achieve it. Great men can't be ruled. We don't want any great men....Where there's service, there's someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master."


"And if any man says to you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe it not".

Friday, February 19, 2010

What is "Freedom"?

Right off the bat, I don't think anyone can really define freedom. Questeruk posed an interesting dilemma, when I stated that "freedom is the absence of absolute knowledge". Questeruk then stated that God is both absolute and free.

I found this response interesting because that is what Ernest Martin said when I discussed the matter with him.

Ernest Martin was a brilliant man, but there were three basic flaws in his conclusion:
1.We can't prove there is a God
2.We have great difficulty in defining "absolute"
3.We have the same problem with "freedom".

This leads to yet another problem: how can anything be both "absolute" and "free"?

If it is absolute, the very absolute itself would provide a limit to what could be done beyond that absolute. If it were free to select otherwise, the limitation of choice itself would not be absolute.

Dr. Martin responded to me then that freedom is like a length of rope or "tether" to which we are bound. To the extent we can move within the length of that tether, we are free, but we are NOT free to move beyond the length of that tether.

I said, "That's all well and good, but now tell me how long the tether is. Can you define the limits?"

There was a man named Georg Cantor who once believed that God would reveal himself to Cantor if he, Cantor, studied into the nature of infinity and was able to offer definitions.

The problem was, Cantor began to realize not only infinity, but an infinity of infinities! Even worse, in trying to list all "real numbers" by the use of a diagonal method, he showed that it was impossible to do so. The list would always remain incomplete.

A "real" number corresponds to what is also called "irrational numbers", like "pi" the square root of 2, 3, etc.

The Euclidean line is said to contain an infinity of points, each corresponding to a number within the infinite continuum. One problem: where is the point corresponding to "pi", and the square root of 2, etc? Not only did there appear to be gaps in the Euclidean line, but the number of gaps seemed to be infinite.

Pythagoras was rather disturbed by this fact when one of his students showed there was a problem with his theorem, A squared plus B squared equals C squared.

Pythagoras's student said, "Sir, what if 'C squared' is '2'? What is the square root of 2?" Legend has it that Pythagoras had the student drowned to keep his mouth shut.

So, in the most formal system of proofs we have, there doesn't seem to exist a process that contains all the other facts within that process which is non-contradictory, or which can be summed up in a "rational" statement(the ratio between two numbers).

So, it seems impossible to define "absolute" as a point beyond which human knowledge cannot go, which would appear to show that we are "free' to choose among an infinite set of alternatives which we can define. But then, if we can't define those alternatives, we cannot choose among them.

Among all the infinity of alternatives, therefore, we can't define "God", because "God" would therefore be the sum of those alternatives. We can't even list all real numbers, much less define God! Any attempt to define God would naturally result in the infinity of alternatives we see around us today.

You can't define a procedure to get from "here" to "God", because you would first have to define limits as to what God is, and that would place God within the measurements of calculus, since calculus seeks to define the number of steps or "decisions" approaching a limit.

Of course, algorithms follow this process by which we define decisions or decision procedures to "terminate" at a certain limit or goal. Regarding truth as one complete, consistent system of thought, might be a useful idea of either "God" or "absolute", but Alan Turing demonstrated there is simply no way by which a computation can prove all such truth(s), as did Godel's theorem.

If you seek to define 'freedom' therefore, you must define it strictly within the context of human definitions. It cannot in any sense be applied to God, since there is no evidence of the existence of God.

That, basically is what Paul told us. If there exists a God, any decisions procedures by which we may hope to get "there" would be completely subject to that God and with "God's" knowledge.

If there is such a decision procedure, that procedure is programmable, which means it can be reduced to human concepts and ideas, which means that "God" is therefore either created by, or creatable by, human ideas. It would necessarily mean that "God" is less than man.

On the other hand, to believe in God is to believe that there does exist knowledge and truth that transcends the knowledge of men. That, in essence, is what Godel's theorem tells us: truth transcends theoremhood. Truth exists as a context of completeness and consistency beyond the power of humans to regulate or measure in one system.

Does truth exist in such a complete and consistent form? If it does, we can't get there from here.
Does God exist as the sum of truth? If "He" does, we can't get there from here.

Paul's statements in Romans 8 and 9 are fully consistent with that fact.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

No One Has "Spirit of Christ?"

Corky continues to privde excellent fodder for a bit of intellectual cud chewing.

Does anyone today have "the spirit of Christ", of the "Holy Spirit"? Even if there is a chance they did, it would be impossible to prove, so the argument would be similar to the atheist's argument concerning God. Since there's no evidence of such a being, we can safely conclude that no one possesses any spirit of God, or spirit of Christ, or Holy Spirit today.

Corky brings up a solid point regarding Romans 8:7 Might as well quote it to get into the "spirit" of things.

"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be".

And Corky quotes the next compelling statement: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his".

But who exactly is Paul referring to here? Who is "ye"? The qualifying statement here is "IF so be that the spirit of God dwell in you".

Notice also just below that in Romans 8:11: But IF the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you..."

Qualifying statements that lack definition. Paul refers to "IF" and then refers to "WE", as he writes about the "spirit of God" or the "spirit of Christ".

How would we even begin to possibly identify these people? IF the natural mind is enmity against God, what possible process would we use to know who is the "we" to whom Paul refers?
If you took my word for it, how would you know I was telling you the truth? If I took your word for it, how would I know for sure, since our natural minds are enmity against God? How could I possibly prove that "you" somehow have knowledge that "I" don't possess?

Corky gives pretty much the correct answer: you can't know. There is no way of knowing. And even if someone told you truly that he had the "spirit of Christ", it would be meaningless to you in any certain, definable terms.

If you follow Paul's argument from this point and you believe he's going to say, it's a matter of free will choice, you will be disappointed, because in verse 20 he begins:

"For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope."

Notice then that Paul refers to "ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the spirit..."

Paul writes of a group having "firstfruits of the spirit", and Corky seems to agree in principle with this by saying that if anyone claims to have the "spirit of Christ' he's a liar. I'll agree with that, except to say that, from any possible proof he might offer, he's VERY PROBABLY a liar.

Of course, if he told me, "I have the Holy Spirit, and you must follow me", I could say with authority, "You're a liar".

This is so because, as Corky pointed out in quoting Romans 8:9, the big word is IF. And how do we know who is in possession of this "spirit"?

Well, Paul gets to his big "gotcha!" in Romans 8:29-30:

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be comformed to the image of his son...."

So how do you know if "so be that his spirit dwell in you"? You don;t, since God seems to be the only one who makes the choice.

Paul closes off all avenues. First he says the natural mind is enmity against God and cannot be subject to God's laws, and then he takes it to the conclusion that God foreknows, predestines, calls, and glorifies his children. And to top it off, he knew who they were from the very beginning(Ephesians 1:4).

So, where is the "free will" or freedom in that? There is only one possible freedom that can be gained from it. You are free from the proposed religions of all humans. Paul's logic completely cancels all possibility, not only of you knowing by your process of reason which is the true church, but even if you could, God already knows who they are! Consequently, as Corky points out, you must be free of all religions!

In other words, any choice you make will simply be your choice, and that's the very best you can say about it. If you get a bunch of people to agree with you and they give you a lot of money, I applaud your salesmanship, but I'm not going to be following you, because I know better.

Paul declares this freedom from men in Romans 8:33: "Who can lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth".

Who ARE God's elect? Nobody knows! Nobody CAN know! Therefore, it is perfectly reasonable, by any standard you wish, to say, "I am born of God", and no government can say otherwise!
You're free from men and from the governments and religions of men!

You think not? Prove to me there is no God. You can't! I can't prove there is one, so, all I have to do is say I believe in God, and you cannot say other wise except by legalizing your authority with the force of arms, "mobocracy".

I am not bound to any humanly organized religion because Paul says it's impossible to know which is the true religion, and God does the choosing anyway. Jesus says if any man says "Here is Christ, or there, believe it not", so I don't have to accept anybody's statement that s/he represents God.

1 Corinthians 7;23: "ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men"
1 Corinthians 9:19: "For though I be free from all men..."

1 Corinthians 10:29: "...why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?"

Colossians 2:8 "beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ".

"After Christ"? What did he teach? Not to follow any man who said "here is Christ". No point in it, because you couldn't prove it if he did serve Christ.

Col. 2:16: let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, of of the sabbath days".

Oh, and here's one for the "nice" people: "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind".

Col 3:3: "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God".

Dead? No law can punish a dead man, neither human law nor God's law. That's total habeas corpus. No law can "have the body".

In terms of liberty, freedom, and free will, there is only one correct choice you can make: freedom from men, freedom from the ideas of men, freedom from the religions of men, and freedom from the governments of men.

How do you choose freedom from "God's will" when you can't even prove there is a God?

Answer me that.

Corky's Excellent Points

Again, I'm not picking on Corky, but pointing out that he actually does elevate the whole discussion to a level wothy of dialogue. And his points are excellent. Good, well reasoned responses to get folks to reach for that higher level of understanding.

Of course he and I don't agree, but that's what intelligent discussion is all about. It's about growth, learning, dialogue and sharing.
The points Corky makes that really intrigues me is in regard to government and law. For example, he points out that the Sadducees urged the people to submit to Roman law, not to revolt, but to have patience, that the "zealots" were the ones that usually caused trouble.

In fact, the Sadducees were not well thought of by the general population of Israel. They were considered the Quislings of the Roman government, puppets who ruled simply by the permission of the Roman Empire.

Even worse were the publicans, or tax collectors, who were generally lumped together with "sinners" in the New testament. Jesus associated with "publicans and sinners".

In fact, Jesus told his followers in Matthew 18 that, if a person didn't want to settle matters within the peaceful and non-vengeful treatment of the church or community, that person was to be shunned as a "gentile or tax collector". Not much of a statement in support of Sadducee government.

Pharisees, on the other hand, in spite of their general legislative popularity, were condemned as "Hypocrites!". Jesus said to call no man rabbi, and rabbis were Pharisees. Even though they sat in Moses' seat, they were not to be called "rabbi' or "master". In fact, Jesus accused them of "taking away the key of knowledge" from the people. Pharisees said that certain among them, with proper training and discipline, could understand and define the law of God. Jesus said they were pretentious, that the "key of knowledge" was as much the property of the people as of the Pharisees, and Paul completely insulted them by saying that the natural mind cannot be subject to God's laws, period.

The Sadducees were eliminated finally by the Pharisees, who waged "jihad" against the Roman Empire, only to see themselves scattered to the winds yet again. As Corky pointed out, the zealots gained absolutely nothing.

Why? because they believed something that simply wasn't true. They were NOT God's appointed representatives to establish God's kingdom on earth. It was impossible for any human to claim that right.

And, neither are the "Christians" of today given that right, when you get down to it. If no natural mind can be subject to God, then it logically follows that no "natural" kingdom of God on earth can be established by human will. Can't be done!

There is no "true church of God' organized by any human, nor can there be. To assume there is, one would have to assume that his/her natural mind is the exception to the rule of Romans 8:7.

"I know Paul says that the natural mind cannot be subject to God's law, but my mind is the exception, and I can decide otherwise". Yeah, right. That's pretty much the same attitude attributed to "Lucifer" in the Old Testament. "I will ascend into heaven, I will establish my will..." It's also pretty much what the Pharisees stated, with the very best of intentions. They believed that their minds, with proper training and discipline, actually could be subject to God's law, and they would represent God faithfully to the people. Jesus called them hypocrites, and Paul said it couldn't be done. And so did Kurt Godel about 1900 years later.

Corky's conclusions are correct except for one important point: the bible already pointed these things out.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thanks, Corky

Corky, you bring out good statements and scriptures worth examination.

First, Romans 10. First, we see that Paul is addressing himself specifically to Israel, as he does also in Romans 11. "They have zeal of God, but not according to knowledge".

That in itself is an interesting statement. They had the law, they had knowledge of what was expected of them, and they obviously had dedication, but not, apparently, knowledge. Jesus allegedly made a similar statement in Matthew 11:13.

In verse 6-8, this same scripture is also used by Jews to show that the "word of God" is among them, and that they have the right to follow the precepts of that government. In fact, there is an ancient legend among Talmudist Jews that at one point, they were undecided on what was the truth of a particular matter, so they put it to a vote. The majority ruled, based on a lack of clear scriptural guidance, the majority ruled. God, however, came down and told them that in this case, the minority was actually correct. But the Talmudist said that God was "out of order" and quoted from Deuteronomy 30:11-13. They had the law, they were charged with the obedience and upkeep of that law, and it was not for God to constantly interfere with his own creation.

According to the legend, God said "my children have defeated me", and returned to his own place.

This, in essence is the same scripture which Paul uses, yet applies it to the life of Jesus, of which the Jews claimed no knowledge.
Verse 19: "Did not Israel know?" They certainly knew the law. It was right there before them, yet history shows that they continually added to the law and created a class of "masters" called Rabbis, who taught according to the oral traditions given to Moses.

Was the message there? Paul says yes it was, but Israel apparently didn't get it.

Corky, you argue there was a choice, yet following into Romans 11, we see that there was no choice. Israel didn't believe in anything having to do with Jesus. By choice?

Romans 11:7: "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded".

Election? Those who were born as Isaac was, those born of the promise, foreknown, predestined, called, and chosen, as I examined earlier. Free choice? Apparently not to Israel.

And yet we see this in Romans 11:26: "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob".

And of course we have Romans 11:32 "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all".

So we see as a continuation of Romans 10 nothing about Jews going to hell, nor anything about them being able to freely "choose Christ".

So now we look at John 3;15-19. What was Israel all about? LAW. Law brings "wrath" as Paul wrote. So if people believed in Jesus and his life, they were free from "condemnation", from judgement and the authority imposed by men. That is the entire essence of freedom from law by simply accepting that we are "born of God".

let's forget about the religious mumbo jumbo and mystery BS. As we see from John 1:12-13, if you are "born of God", then you are not born of the will of men. No man can judge or condemn n you, as you are Innocent of all charges. or as Paul said in Romans 8:33: "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth".

The biblical margin I have refers that back to Isaiah 50:8, which says that in any accusation, the accused has the right to face his accuser, and God is on the side of the ACCUSED, not the accuser. In other words, by accepting your "birth of God" by the acceptance of Jesus, you can claim you are not subject to the judgement of men.

That creates a very practical application in terms of law. If you believe in Jesus, then you believe that Jesus came "not to condemn, but that the world through him might be saved".

So, in terms of law, what is gained by this belief? Freedom from "mea culpa", the enforced confession of guilt, the right against self incrimination, the right to claim your freedom before men. The right to live free.

"But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought of God".

If you go before the laws of men, therefore, you can claim to have been free of the imposed obligations of law. You are not condemned. This is the example Paul gave in quoting from the OT, "cursed is he that hangeth on a tree".

So, what is it exactly that you're choosing? To live freely before men, to declare that you are innocent until proven guilty, and that no government of man can determine your guilt by its own accusation. That is the essence of OT law and its protections, not just for Israel, but for all, the 'stranger within thy gates".

As Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas pointed out, mea culpa belongs between man and his God. It is a confession that cannot be extracted from free men by the state. That, you see, is truth.

The deception and confusion of Christianity is the idea that we can choose strict and legalistic methods to condemn our neighbor, to judge him according to collective efforts, but that is not given, either by Jesus or Paul who taught us not to practice an "eye for an eye". The judgement of "wrath" is reserved ONLY for the state, and the state, as we see, is controlled by Satan(Matthew 4, Luke 4).

Jesus actually challenged the collective birthright promise to Israel when he told Nicodemus "ye must be born again(from above)".

By that choice, you may "see the kingdom of God". And who, exactly, are those people? As we see in John 3:8, no one has a way of identifying them, which means, there is no legal authority of man to claim jurisdiction over those "born again". If you are "born of God", you are not born of "the will of men(John 1:13)", which means that your choices and your life exists OUTSIDE the collective jurisdiction of the "will of men".

Does the U.S. Constitution recognize this? of course it does. Simply look at the First Amendment. To "believe on Jesus" is simply to believe that you are NOT under condemnation of God, and if not under condemnation of God, certainly no government of man can condemn you unless you actually harm another, and that person must accuse you, not the government.

That is the basis and foundation of common law. As I remember, you stress John 3;19: Obviously, if any man is Innocent and has harmed no other, then that man, under BOTH Old and New Testament, has the right to face his accuser with the full vindication of God(Isaiah 54:17). That means anybody and everybody who chooses this freedom and this lifestyle.

So, Corky, you mention Titus 1:13: "This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith."

What faith? A human concept of religion that is by its very nature limited? A religion that seeks to curse or condemn those who don't believe as it does? Not at all. A belief that men are free to live within simple guidelines of love, as James writes, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world(James 1:27)".

HWA said we had to keep certain tenets of the law, and by those tenets, we concluded we were 'elect', yet Paul clearly and repeatedly wrote that those 'elect' were one and the same as those born of promise to Abraham, as Isaac was(Gal. 4;28), and that it was simply impossible to make such a choice for ourselves(Romans 9:16-22).

Consequently, the only way to "follow Christ" is to claim freedom from the authority structures, ALL authority structures, of men. "Presumption of innocence".

Titus 2:15: These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. let no man despise thee."

What things? How about verse 14; "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from ALL iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works".

God works? How about James 1:27? And yet, we see from Ephesians 2;8-10, that works do not earn us any special 'elect" place. Nothing earns us "salvation". It's a free gift.

So, what "authority" would a "government of God' have? Presumption of innocence before men, also known from common law and identified by Chief Justice Edward Coke of England as "due process of law".

How do we know that? because the US Supreme Court, in "Miranda vs Arizona", footnote 27, acknowledged that this right against self incrimination in our 5th Amendment has its analogue in the bible. In fact, that is the very essence of the New Testament, that all humans are free from the condemnation of men.

Can I speak that with authority? Of course I can. Anyone can. "We hold these truths to be self evident..."

And, Corky, as you pointed out, of course Jesus told us not to follow others who came in the nbame of Christ, since he told us to follow him. But in words attributed to Jesus himself, what happens if we follow him and seek to obey the law? Matthew 10:34-38.

What is the whole essence of Jesus teaching? he came not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. Saved from what? Well, sin. And what is sin? lawbreaking. And since he died innocently having broken no law, he became the example of freedom before the law, for every person on this earth.

It's all about freedom.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Corky's Response, Part 2

I'm not picking on Corky personally, but on the assumptions and arguments which he makes, based on general assumptions rather than proofs.

For example, can we prove, by any physical method known, that there exists a decision procedure such that we can get from "here" to "God" in a proven fashion?

No, there is not, and since there is not, any attempt to try and organize according to "God's will" results in confusion and enslavement to religious ideas. This is fully consistent with Romans 8:7.

I've stated it enough, and with no challengers.

I've also put it in other language. If we could create a decision procedure to get to God, that decision procedure would be subject to language, meaning it is also subject to algorithms and programming. Corky has presented the general "christian" argument that Paul says we can make a decision to "please God" by our efforts at being "born again".

In fact, Paul didn't say that. If he had, then there would be no confusion within Christianity, since all definitions could be reduced to finite, logical, rational processes, thus eliminating any confusion whatever regarding God. This is plainly shown false by Romans 8:7.

Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert presented a paper on the relationship between the mind and the complexities of the brain, and concluded that the brain itself contained so many levels, and capacity for 'framing" reality that the mind could not represent the workings of the brain due to its complexity, at that time, anyway.

That is also called the Church-Turing thesis, which states that the brain is nothing more than a computer subject to physical laws, and which may ultimately be mapped, but since the mapping process is subject to Godel's theorem, it will never contain a consistent complete framework of the brain's complexity.

That is, we can't know our own mind, because we can't understand how it works. or even more simply, the "software" of our mind cannot reach into the "hardware" of our brain and alter its programming.

The reason why that is so is because the "software" of the mind operates BECAUSE the "hardware" of the brain works as it does. The 'software' performs because the 'hardware' drives it.

Paul makes some interesting statements paralleling this point in Romans 7:14, RSV:

"We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin.
"I DO NOT UNDERSTAND MY OWN ACTIONS".

So, we have Paul here saying that the functions of his own physical brain could not be understood by the examination of his mind. Not so different from the conclusions of Minsky and Papert.

Verse 21: "So I find it to be law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.
"I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members".

Paul quite simply said he couldn't keep the law. he said he had a carnal mind, "sold under sin".
Corky implied that Paul taught we could make choices to keep the law, while Paul admitted that he, Paul, could not obey it. He couldn't obey it because the mind is incapable of reaching into the brain and altering its main drives. The "law" of the brain works at odds with the 'law' of the mind, and as Paul plainly admitted he couldn't understand his actions.

Is this a reason that men should be held in condemnation to "sin"? Of course not. If the mind cannot freely choose to perfectly keep the law in a moral fashion, then one could simply be "dead to the law", free from the penalty.

As I wrote earlier, it is impossible for the mind to define truth. We simply can't do it. Even assuming, therefore, that we COULD control our brains and never break any laws, we could not ever know in advance if the decisions we make will avoid "evil" results(Church's theorem).

Paul clearly admitted this, simply by examining his brain by using his conscious mind, and realizing that there was another level over which he simply had no control because he could not understand it.

So, first of all, we can;t ever define truth in one package of decisions(Godel's theorem), and second, we can't know the overall results of the decisions we actually DO make(Church's theorem).

Douglas Hofstadter, in the book Godel, Escher, Bach, describes it this way:"...it is perfectly obvious that a computer can be instructed to print out a sequence of illogical statements--or for variety's sake, a batch of statements having random truth values. Yet in following such instructions, a computer would not be making any mistakes! On the contrary, it would only be a mistake if the computer printed out something other than the statements it had been instructed to print.. This illustrates how faultless functioning on one level may underlie symbol manipulation on a higher level--and the goals of the higher level may be completely unrelated to the propagation of truth."

This, said Hofstadter, may be compared to "an incorrect belief held in the software of the mind, supported by the faultlessly functioning brain".

The brain, by physical, "carnal" standards, functions "faultlessly", yet will produce flawed concepts of truth, resulting in infinite interpretations of truth. And the mind simply cannot access that function to re-program the brain to drive toward truth, because the mind itself cannot define truth!

"There is no reason to believe that a computer's faultlessly functioning hardware could not support high level symbolic behavior which would represent such complex states as confusion, forgetting, or appreciation of beauty. It would require that there exist massive sub-systems interacting with each other according to a complex 'logic'. The overt behavior could appear either rational or irrational; but underneath it would be the performance of reliable, logical hardware".

So, as Paul simply stated, "I do not understand my actions".

Corky attempt to have his cake and eat it too. He proclaims that Paul is flawed because Christianity is confused. How? because Paul allegedly stated that we must somehow choose by "freewill" to somehow overcome the complexity of our mind and organize systems according to "God's truth". Corky is using the flawed premise of Christianity to demonstrate that the premise of Paul is also flawed, while Paul has directly contradicted the premise of Christianity., and so did Jesus in John 6:44 and Matthew 24:23.

"No man can come to me unless the Father draw him..." Quite simply, and consistent with the developments of metamathematics, there exists no decision procedure by which we may get from "here" to "God".

Christianity, therefore, represents confusion precisely because it teaches that we CAN make such decisions. In actual fact, we cannot.

Corky's Response

I noticed Corky's response in the article "The God Factory" and i will challenge him on his conclusions.

Corky states "What Paul was teaching was the renewing of the mind, the "born again" thing.

The assumption Corky makes, which Paul does not, is that we can, by some process of our own choosing, be "born again". A flawed assumption at the best. Corky does what most people do when attempting to respond "about" something. If I can lead people to conclude that a specific point is made without actually pointing directly to the statement or its philosophical premises, then I can convince people that I have come to the proper conclusion.

First off, let me agree with Corky that there ,most likely was no Adam and Eve, and no "fall" in a magical Garden of Eden. However, dopes that make the philosophical conclusions Paul draws false? Not at all. There are many examples of Narcissism in which psychologists draw perfectly legitimate conclusions regarding the concept of Narcissism, yet we know there most likely never was a Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection.

Corky would be correct IF Paul had stated that being "born again" actually did lie within the power of our human choice, simply because, as i pointed out in the article regarding Turing, Godel, and Church, any attempt by any human mind to define truth will lead to an infinity if undecidable propositions, which means that any attempt to "decide" which is the true religion will result in thousands of undecidable ideas about Christianity, as we see today.

Therefore, Corky's conclusions "about" Paul's teachings is flawed because he ignores the central statement which Paul makes: the natural mind is enmity against God and cannot be subject to God, which, in itself, points to the obvious conclusion that all human attempts to represent God will result in exactly what we see today, over 38,000 versions of Christianity.

Corky has a bad habit of throwing in general ideas. "The idea is". Whose idea? he doesn't say. That's like the expression 'they say'. Who is "they"?

There is no "they", and there is no human "idea" that can act as authority, for the very simple reason that the natural mind is enmity against God. Does that mean Paul's premise is flawed? Not at all. Does it mean that Christianity is flawed? Obviously, since Christianity assumes that we CAN make "freewill" choices as to what is "God's truth".

As Corky writes: "The natural mind was not subject to the law of God, but the born from above mind was".

The question that immediately presents itself is: what is a "born from above" mind? Who knows? I can't define it, and neither can any other human to the satisfaction of giving a worthwhile answer. The term, therefore, is meaningless from any human definition, and any attempt to define it will produce the "confusion of Christianity" as Corky says.

Corky writes, "Therefore, you have to die and be 'born again'. To be 'in Christ' instead of 'in Adam'.

Is there a flawed conclusion in this? Not at all, since from a purely legal perspective, you would be free from law, which means you are free from the power of human laws that would attempt to punish you of its own power. There are no laws against a dead man. Does this mean you suddenly have the power to know truth? Of course not, nor does Paul say it does. he merely says there is no condemnation to those who follow Christ. Not only a sound but of reasoning, but quite useful in terms of the application of human law.

Corky quotes from the bible: "In Adam, all die, In Christ shall all be made alive".

Again, let's examine this purely from the standpoint of law. The penalty of sin(lawbreaking) is death. Therefore, by the act of one innocent man who was killed and declared it the right of all men to be presumed Innocent, then within that concept, all men will be made alive. Dead to the law, since law cannot punish a dead man. Alive by the recognition that we can not be held responsible simply by the power of law.

Corky further writes: "It all depends on if you are 'in Adam' as 'the natural man' or 'in Christ' as the 'spiritual man'."

Depends on whose conclusions?" By what human standards? By what authority? Name such an authority. You can't. None exists. Therefore, I am "free in Christ" because I say I'm free in Christ. Now suppose I say I'm free with no need of Christ or any religion. That would be equally valid, since Jesus himself told us in Matthew 24;23 not to follow any person who said "here is Christ". That is, we are free from the penalty of law, period, without a proper accuser.

"Just a bunch of hocus pocus since there never was an Adam and Eve in the magical garden...no 'fall'...etc".

I'm fine with that, since I believe it's purely a myth invented by Persian influences.

Corky writes: All this talking around it with quotes from Jesus and Paul is just adding to the confusion that Christianity already is".

I'm not "talking around" it, Corky. You are. I've directly shown that statements made by Paul and Jesus are fully consistent with logic. You have rather sloppily presented arguments "around" ideas taught by people who claim to represent Christ, when there is no possible evidence of such representation.

IF the natural mind is enmity against God and cannot be subject to God, what is the result? Exactly what we see today, showing that Paul's statement is consistent with reality.

And if the natural mind cannot be subject to God, then there is logically no reason to follow any person who claims to represent Christ, which is what Jesus said in Matthew 24:23. Simple, direct logic, Corky, and you insist in "talking around it", not me.

Logically, since there exists no authority to represent God, as we see plainly and logically from statements made by Paul, then there needs to be no "confusing Christianity" since there's no need to follow any religion.

prove me wrong, Corky. And do it by actual logic, not simply implications and insinuations.

Redemption of the Body

In "Corky's" response in the comments section, he shows a keen insight into what I've been getting at in this whole process.

Jewish law had little to nothing to do with a "soul" that was immortal, to be "saved, by a "higher" doctrine as in traditional Christianity, but with the human body, the human mind, here and now, as we relate to this world around us.

The human body IS a "soul", or at least that was the general assumption of the Jews.

Within the concept of law, the "redemption of the body" was the all important aspect of Jewish law. The "kingdom of God" was an earthly kingdom, to be established in obedience to God, representing all the people of the world.

There is no biblical evidence that Jesus changed that idea into a mystery religion of immortal souls to be saved and taken to heaven, or December 25th as a holy day of his birth, or of Easter, etc..

The teaching was merely about law, how we relate to it, what it means to us, here and now, and how we can claim it for ourselves on this earth. The total reversal of the idea of Jewish birthright was challenged right out of the gate by both Paul and Jesus, who told Nicodemus that unless a man is "born again" or "born from above", he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Contrary to the general assumptions of traditional Christianity, this concept merely challenged the power of worldly government to control any human who chose to be "born of God".

Dominic Crosson, for example, points out that a "son of God" by the usual standards, was a god-king who ruled over empires, born of a family of gods chosen to rule. Yet in John 1:12-13, we see a complete reversal of this process:

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe n his name:
"Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God".

When you compare this to what Jesus allegedly told Nicodemus, this is complete freedom from ALL human power structures, including the birthright of Israel itself. You are "born of God" and therefore outside the will of man, simply by your choice!

But if you're born of God by free choice, how does that square with Paul's teaching in Romans 8:29-30? It should be easily resolved. While any of us can make the claim to be 'elect" or specially born of God, no human authority can say otherwise, because the ultimate choice lies with God! There can be no human authority that can represent such a power or control us in "God's name", yet each of us, as individuals, can claim the freedom of "sons of God" with none having the right or authority to challenge it! That's individual sovereignty!

What this means, quite simply, is that we have the right to challenge all human authority systems in "God's name". Not only that, but every state constitution within the United States recognizes that fact!

While the mystery religions try to elevate Jesus into some kind of "Mithraized" divinity, the story itself merely tells of a man born of the humblest circumstances who, as Paul said, "thought it not robbery to be equal with God".

The story is merely of a common man who claimed nothing that wasn't claimed by all Jews who declared themselves to be the sons of God by virtue of the promise to Abraham. In fact, no man can make that claim for himself exclusively, as no one except God knows who that person is, as Paul plainly stated. The main difference, of course, is that it was offered to all humankind as an individual right to freedom before the law.

Let's say Pilate wasn't the benign servant of the people that the bible indicates. What it DOES indicate, and the point repeatedly made, is that a man was put to death for whom no crime could be attributed. When Jesus refused to answer his accusers, that was an ancient law recognized as the right against self incrimination. Israel recognized it, and Rome recognized it as the right to face the accuser(Acts 25:16). There was also the right to be informed of the crime accused of committing(Acts 25:27).

Rome also recognized a form of habeas corpus for Roman citizens as Acts 2:27-28 shows. These were all principles of law as recognized by both Jews and Rome(Isaiah 50:8, Isaiah 54:17).

The story is very simple, and need not require any "spiritual" justification to give it authority. Jesus was innocent, and the law put him to death with no justification. Therefore, he paid for no "sin" of his own, since 'sin' is defined as breaking the law(1 John 3:4).

Therefore, in the simplest possible fashion, of you were "born of God", you were no longer subject to god-kings who only claimed that distinction, but you had the right to claim that same sovereignty! You had the presumption of innocence with God's vindication( Isaiah 54;17), the right to face your accuser with God's guarantee of protection(Isaiah 50:8), which we recognize in law today as the presumption of innocence!

The "kingdom of God" can be invoked, any time, any place, anywhere a person so chooses! We see this in Matthew 18:15-18, and in 1 Corinthians 6. Jesus pointed out in Matthew 18 that "whatever you(two or three of you) bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose will be loosed in heaven". That is the complete legal authority of ANY two or three people to agree among themselves!

What does our U.S. Constitution tell us? No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. And what is due process of law? It is defined as law which traces to common law, "lawful judgement of peers", rights that pre-existed the Constitution, as defined from Magna Carta. Historian Max DiMont points out that it was the Puritans and Quakers who took the principles of Magna Carta and "Hebraized" them, making them apply to all persons, not just Barons or leaders in government.

"Lawful judgement of peers" goes back to ancient times in the bible itself, guaranteeing the accused the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a legitimate accuser, not a paid advocate of government!

Jesus taught these things, said he would return, and did not return. Dies that make the principle itself false? Or does it mean that we now have the responsibility for ourselves to discover these principles and act on them as free individuals?

Jesus told the Jews of his day, "the kingdom of God is within you". As Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas said, mea culpa(I am guilty) lies between a man and his God. It is a confession that cannot be extracted by any earthly power.

Corky has touched on a profound idea here, and the "redemption of the body" lies within your choice, my choice, and of any human who wishes for justice, mercy, and judgement on this earth.

The will and the power lies within you. Use it wisely.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Flood? Garden of Eden?

James sent me a copy of an email from a Muslim friend, regarding the flood and Noah. James recommends I might comment on it.

To me, such stories are mythology, just as the stories of Hercules, Zeus, and Narcissus are mythologies in Greek society. They start us off in a certain direction and seek to make us understand why a civilization believes as it does.

A study of the Masonic literature, especially Morals And Dogma, written by Albert Pike and published in 1871, reveals interesting tidbits about the development of Jewish history.

"The dominant system among the Jews after their captivity was that of the Pharoschim or Pharisees. Whether their name was derived from that of the Parsees, or followers of Zoroaster, or from some other source, it is certain that they had borrowed much of their doctrine from the Persians. Like them they claimed to have the exclusive and mysterious knowledge, unknown to the mass....They styled themselves interpreters; a name indicating their claim to the exclusive possession of the true meaning of the Holy Writings, by virtue of the oral tradition which Moses had received on Mt Sinai..."

If you put that in context with Jesus' constant condemnation of their control of the law, of their claiming themselves as representatives of the people, it begins to make sense, "teaching for commandments the doctrines of men".

The book tells of the Ormuzd, of whom Mithras is chief. Then you gradually see the development of the Thoughts of Ormuzd, the IDEAS which he conceived before proceeding to the creation of all things. The IDEAS are supposed to be superior to men. They are, wrote Pike, "the tutelary genii,", protecting all men from the fall to the regeneration.

Ahriman was the dragon, whom we recognize as Satan or the serpent-tempter. After 3000 years, Ormuzd had created the material world in six periods. According to the story, Ormuzd and Ahriman concurred in the creation of man. When the first man and woman had been created, Ahriman tempted and seduced them, bringing evil. These doctrines, writes Pike were "sparingly borrowed by the Pharisee Jews".

But Pike also points out that the people who accepted the message of Jesus were neither Pharisees or Sadducees, but the humble, common people.

If we look at the teachings of Jesus and his condemnation of the Pharisees, it would not be absurd to think he also condemned the mythology of Zoroastrianism that accompanied Pharisee thought. The "interpreters" as they styled themselves, the keepers of the secrets, or what later became known as Cabala, was condemned by Jesus, who said they were preventing the people from entering the "kingdom of God" there, at that time.

With the teachings of Paul, a former Pharisee who then completely challenged the whole concept that any human mind could be subject to God, the doctrines of "mystery religions" was challenged, only to be gradually resurrected by Constantine.

The oral traditions of the Pharisees took the form of Mishna, Gemarra, and Talmud, which is the chief work that Rabbis today study. It might surprise you to know, however, that it was the Babylonian Talmud that is highly regarded among Jews, the document beginning in Babylon after the captivity, embracing Persian religion, and further spreading from Babylon to embrace the world with its interpretations regarding money, usury, laws, banking, and legislation that "explains" the commandments given at Sinai.

Writes Pike: "The sources of...the Kabalistic doctrines, are the books of Jezirah and Sohar, the foremer drawn up in the second century, and the latter a little later; but containing materials much older than themselves. In their most characteristic elements, they go back to the time of the exile. In them, as in the teachings of Zoroaster, everything that exists emanated from a source of infinite light....With the idea so expressed is connected the pantheism of India. The King of Light, the ANCIENT, is ALL THAT IS".

And of course you can read about the blending of religions under Constantine with Krishna, Indian and Persian religions blending with mystery religions that became what we know as Christianity today.

But it is these traditions of men that both Jesus and Paul, and the disciples, challenged.

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world...(Colossians 2:8)".

"neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions..."

The mythology that found its way into the Old testament was placed there by the evolution of the Jewish culture in captivity, after the Oral tradition" of Moses, the "traditions of men" condemned by Jesus who taught that all people have the right to be heard, to know the law, and to be protected by that law.

Leavening of the Pharisees And Truth

When I was in the marines, I became a baker, and later a baking instructor. I liked this for two reasons: first it avoided the militaristic BS that the "grunts" had to endure, and second, bakers had nice little ways of getting even with officers who had to eat the baker's food preparations. I passed on this wisdom to my students when I became an instructor.

Two things about leavening:
1.It will expand within a loaf until it consumes all available fuel
2. Salt acts to retard the growth of leavening

So, as a baker, when I see Jesus telling his followers "ye are the salt of the earth", I see individuals who act to retard the growth of power and general BS.

I find this relationship between leaven and truth to be quite interesting today. For example, in a book by Rudy Rucker called Mind Tools: The Five levels of Mathematical Reality, Rucker explores the relationship between mathematics and truth, and comes to interesting conclusions paralleling the biblical teachings regarding leaven. Here is a statement I found interesting, toward the back of the book:

"Higher properties--such as truth, beauty, or virtue--are prospective. There is no fixed rule or token by which you can recognize the true or the beautiful or the good: these human ideals are not computable. Nor is there any kind of program or attitude that will enable any individual person or school to produce all truth or all beauty or all goodness. Our highest goals are not to be exhausted by the logical working out of any single system."

Let's look at that last statement. It does have a solid connection to the idea of "leavening" in the bible. If any single system continues to grow and grow, and claim to represent truth, whether it is biblical truth, or a god-king who claims his word is truth and cannot be questioned, or any system whatever that seeks to extend itself until it controls all activity, will be false.

We can be certain that such a system will be false. Alonzo Church, who studied Godel's theorem, developed the theorem telling us that no simple yes or no answers can be given for important questions. Godel's theorem tels us that no logical program can hope, even in the limit, to answer all the questions. As Rucker writes:

"After the work of (Alan) Turing, Church, and Godel, the old dream of capturing all truth in a finite logical net can be seen to be thoroughly bankrupt. Turing's analysis of computation suggests that every finitely given logical system(including human beings) is subject to the theorems of Godel and Church. Godel's theorem tells us that no programmatic method can generate all truth; while Church's theorem tells us that we are unable to predict the consequences of the programs that we do devise."

Therefore, if "God" and "truth" are the same, we can be certain that no single religious or logical concept of man can fully represent either one!

No government can represent all truth, and no religion can fully represent God, which strongly suggests that neither church nor state are legitimate authorities over the human mind!

Is that bad? Should we despair because we can never develop such a system? Rucker suggests this to be a reason for joy!

"A world where there is no Godel's theorem would be a world where every property is listable--for any kind of human activity, there would be a programmatic description of how to carry it out[which, after all, is what religions and governments have proposed to do for centuries]. In such a world, it would be possible to learn a hard and fast formula for 'how to be an artist' or 'how to be a scientist'. It would just be a matter of learning the tricks of the trade....Our world is endlessly more complicated than any finite program or any finite set of rules. You're free, and you're really alive, and there's no telling what you'll think of next, nor is there any reason you shouldn't kick over the traces and start a new life at any time".

In history, we see Jesus constantly condemning the "leaven of the Pharisees". And what were the Pharisees doing? Well, constantly condemning and judging those who didn't wash according to tradition, who didn't observe specific rules and formal laws established for standards of "righteousness". In short, they were pretentious.

Not only were they pretentious, but Jesus said they "shut up the kingdom of heaven" and they "take away the key of knowledge" to the people. In short, they taught that it was possible, by observing "programmatic" laws, rules, and rituals, to be "sinless".

In fact, that problem came to a head when Rabbi Hillel, a contemporary of Jesus, stated that, by the process known as his "Seven Laws", it would be possible for humans to establish proper guidelines for obedience to God, that the human mind, in fact, CAN be "subject to God', provided it follows proper procedures and disciplines, or in other words, providing it establishes rote, programmable, finite and rational processes of thought.

Yet that is exactly the process Jesus condemned when he quoted fro Isaiah "In vain do ye worship me, teaching for commandments the doctrines of men". In more modern terms, the Pharisees were creating statutory legislation by which the people could be ruled. It was that very process of statutory legislation that Jesus condemned among the lawyers in Luke 11:52, by saying they "take away the key of knowledge" from the people.

And in fact, that is what Paul directly challenged in Romans 8:7. he told the people that the natural mind, my mind, your mind, is enmity against God and cannot be subject to God. In fact, Paul's statement is mathematically correct! There can be no single system of human thought, in any method of rote or repetition, to represent truth!

That also parallels the statement of Claude Shannon when he developed information theory. The more a message is repeated, the less information it contains. In other words, the more any culture strictly obeys certain rules and rituals because they are convinced those rules and rituals come from some unquestionable source, the less they are able to adapt to change.

That is exactly the same question we face today, in regard to the U.S. Constitution. is it a "living document", or should we follow the "original intent" of the founders?

Believe it or not, when Kurt Godel was studying for citizenship in the U.S., he declared that the laws of the Constitution would lead to dictatorship!

As Godel was preparing fore his citizenship test, a judge mentioned that "wasn't it wonderful that there will be no Hitler in this country?" To which Godel responded that in fact the laws of this country, as written, would very well lead to a dictatorship or tyranny. Fortunately, his friend Einstein, who knew of Godel's misgivings, accompanied Godel to the test, and quickly diverted the conversation away from Godel's findings.

But what led to Godel's conclusions? Palle Yourgrau, in a book titled A World Without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Godel And Einstein, writes:

"Years later, asked for a legal analogy for his incompleteness theorem, he would comment that a country that depended entirely upon the formal letter of its laws might well find itself defenseless against a crisis that had not, and could not have been foreseen in its legal code. The analogue of his incompleteness theorem, applied to the law, would guarantee that for any legal code, even if intended to be fully explicit and complete, there would always be judgements 'undecided' by the letter of the law".

When you think about it, that is exactly what we are considering regarding Constitutional law today, and was the battle between Jesus and the Pharisees of that time. Can truth be found by any process of finite, programmed, rote law? Jesus and Paul said no, it cannot. The Pharisees said yes, it can. Today, we alternate between "originalism" and "living law". But you will notice that either interpretation, as in the days of the Pharisees, is said to be decided by those who are "experts" in the law.

But there are no such experts, because no single human mind or system can contain all truth!

So again, Jesus and Paul were correct! And from that perspective, so are the atheists today!
There simply exists no "God" that can be contained as a "higher" process of human thought!
There is you, and there is me, and there is our right and obligation to consider others as we consider ourselves.

That, said Jesus, and correctly, is the truthful basis of all law and all commandments.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The God Factory

I bring attention to Al Dexter's essay again because, while it is an excellent primer and a good beginning, his statement that the bible is a farce is not proven from the article.

In fact, he demonstrates by his conclusions that Paul was telling the truth, as far as truth can be proven.

From The God Factory, we can see that:
1.People will believe what they choose to believe
2.They will build religions based on those beliefs
3.Those beliefs will amount to a "factory" that produces over 38,000 versions of God within Christianity, at the last general estimate.

Does that prove Paul wrong? No, in fact, Paul seems to have anticipated exactly that process, and offered a system of thought that would have made Occam proud.

What is this principle of "parsimony" offered by Occam? If two or more(or in this case 38,000) theories are in competition, the one theory that takes all into account, makes sense of them, and fits into a logical framework, will probably be the truth.

Or, as I remember from the fictional character Sherlock Holmes, if we eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, will be the truth.

In eliminating the impossible, the first choice is, does God exist? Whatever views we offer, no matter how capable or complex, the conclusions we reach will only reflect our personal ideas regarding evidence.

We are therefore left with the conclusions above: people will believe what they choose to believe, based on the evidence and experience that formed their beliefs, which further means that it is impossible to determine whether or not there actually is a God.

Based on all likely evidence, therefore, we come to one conclusion whether there is or is not a God: In either case, such existence is not dependent on either our choice or our beliefs.

Whatever "is", simply "is", which leads me to Ayn Rand's basic definition of reality, for "Ex-Android's" benefit. In her book, Philosophy: Who Needs It, Ayn Rand points out that reality consists of two aspects: the metaphysical and the 'man-made'.

The metaphysical, said Rand, simply is. It exists, and we are part of it. The 'man-made', however, consists of human ideas and interpretations as we apply out ideas to reality, and that 'man-made' aspect of reality is always subject to the choices we make as we try to understand it.

We are therefore Left with the conclusion reached by Ayn Rand and with Occam: whatever choices we make in regard to reality, there is no way to test those ideas to prove or disprove the existence of God.

If there is a God, therefore, we are left with the conclusion given by Paul in Romans 8:7. The natural mind is enmity against God and cannot be subject to God, which will result in exactly the same result as if there is no God at all.

Therefore, in either case, God or no God, we are left with one beginning point: If God exists, his/her/its/their existence cannot be dependent on our choices or beliefs in any meaningful sense.

That, in fact, is what Paul said, and also squares with the statement of Jesus in John 6:44 and Matthew 24:23.

When i realized this back in 1974, my parents each quoted a scripture, quite accidentally, that combined to create an "epiphany' in my own mind. My father quoted from Romans 8:29-30, and my mother quoted from Galatians 3:29.

We know basically what these scriptures say if we're ex-WCG, but what if the two scriptures actually referred to the same phenomenon? What if all those who were "Christ's" were not only the children of the promise, but what if they were also foreknown, predestined, chosen, and called?

In other words, what if this is the deal God made with Abraham:

"Abraham, if you do as I ask, you will have a son. This I guarantee. But you will also have other children, born as Isaac, children that I will specifically foreknow and preselect. Each of these children will be born into this promise I make to you, and each of them will be my special choice, my selection, and you will be the father of all these children by promise, just as you are the father of Isaac by promise".

So, putting Romans 8:29-30 and Galatians 3:29 together, we come up with this conclusion:

If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed(as Isaac was), and heirs according to the promise(as Isaac was), and you will be foreknown(as Isaac was), predestined(as Isaac was), called and chosen(as Isaac was).

Basically this is what Paul said in Galatians 4:28: "Now we brethren, as Isaac was, are children of the promise".

That is Occam at his finest! People can do as they wish, believe as they wish, experiment as they wish, and none of that will alter the deal made between God and Abraham.

In fact, Paul describes that process in Romans 9: 7-22.

"Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, 'In Isaac shall thy seed be called'.
"That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted for the seed".

What promise? "At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son". Paul leaves no doubt as to what "promise" he is referring to.
Verse 11: "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to the election might stand, not of works but of him that calleth".

From that point, Paul continues to point out that it is simply impossible to become one of those "born of promise" by your own choice. In verses `16-22, Paul goes to great length to show it simply cannot be done.

Further, in Galatians 3:17, Paul points out that the promise came 430 years before the law, so the law, the covenant made with Israel at Sinai, cannot "disannul" it. In other words, the promise stands regardless of the law.

Whoever these "children of the promise" are, their personal choices do not affect the nature of God's deal with Abraham in any way.

What if that is not true? Well, your choices will result in the kind of confusion of religions we see today.

What if it IS true? Same result! Therefore, Occam's razor is satisfied! So is Ayn Rand's philosophy, and all religion is discredited. No necessity of following any person who says "here is Christ".

In either case, God or no God, same result. Prove me wrong.