Monday, November 24, 2008

Pecca fortiter!

(The scene: a well-furnished living room and kitchen in a middle-class suburban house. The kitchen counter is the place where things get dramatic. A well-built man in his mid-forties with a handsomely cleft chin walks in dressed in clerics.  He has a very self-satisfied smile on his face. Let's call him Pastor Bob.)

Pastor Bob: Yoo hoo! Anyone home?

(A young female voice answers from somewhere upstairs: "I'll be done in a minute. I'm busy covering my naked underage body with whip cream. Please, help yourself to some milk and cookies on the kitchen counter.")

Pastor Bob: Okey dokey. Will do! (saunters over to counter. He's floating on air, until... Chris Hansen with a very stern look on his face appears behind the Kitchen Counter.)

Hansen: So, what's going on, Father?

Pastor Bob: Excuse me? I am no priest. I am a Lutheran Minister. You can call me Pastor Bob.

Hansen: Well, Pastor Bob, why don't you take a seat right over there. (points to a stool at the Counter)

Pastor Bob: So, you're Chris Hansen, right?

Hansen: Yes, so you've seen this show?

Pastor Bob: Hey, yeah. Big fan. So, I suppose that you're taping "Revenge of To Catch a Predator" right now, eh?

Hansen: You're a big fan? Why then would you try to seduce a thirteen-year-old girl online if you are such a fan of a show that tries to enforce the law against creeps like you. 

Pastor Bob: The law? Who needs the law when you have grace? Simul justus et peccator!

Hansen: But you are supposed to be a man of God, sir.  With all due respect, sir, you strike me as shameless, genuinely shameless. You come in here dressed in your clerics to deflower an innocent girl in the most depraved manner conceivable, and not once have you even turned your head down in shame.  No, you actually seem proud.

Pastor Bob: No, not proud. Just honest. Yes, I am a man of God, sir, but I am also a totally depraved sinner. I am, as Luther would say, a ripe piece of shit. Sorry 'bout that word, but you can bleep it out.

Chris Hansen: This just blows my mind. This is beyond comprehension. You are more concerned about a four-letter-word than the fact that you came here with the intent to commit statutory rape? Shouldn't a minister make some effort to set a moral example?

Pastor Bob: What? And give his flock the idea that we can earn our way to heaven. No, sir, that's a most blasphemous Pelaganiasm, and I will have none of that, sir. 

Hansen: Then shouldn't a pastor like yourself show that he is one of the elect by acting like one?

Pastor Bob: That's just Calvinist hypocrisy, sir. Look, sir, we all sin, and we all deserve the hottest spot of everlasting hellfire, but--

Hansen: Whoa, wait a minute, here! Are you telling me that all sin is as evil as your attempt to (pages through the transcript)...  You told our decoy this and I quote: "Then after rimming, I can show you how the reverse piledriver is done."  This is sick, twisted, and you are telling me that everyone is perverted as you are? This is just outrageous.

Pastor Bob: Yes, but God's Ways are not our ways, and that outrages man's pride. Every one of our deviations from God's Law is a perversion, sir. You lying to me just now is a perversion.

Hansen: Lying?

Pastor Bob: I was led to believe that I would have an enjoyable evening of really wild, rough sex with a young, svelte teenager. That was obviously a lie.

Hansen: Well, we lied to get sick individuals like you off the streets.

Pastor Bob: And because it's Sweeps Week. Sex sells, ya know, especially scandalous sex with (does air quotes) "men of God". You should be thanking me.

Hansen:   You are free to leave, Pastor Bob.

Pastor Bob: You just don't understand forensic justification.

Hansen: I said you are free to leave, sir!

Pastor Bob: See, we are declared righteous even though--

Hansen: Go, damn you, go!

(Pastor Bob exits, whereupon he is immediately pounced on by three police officers, who arrest him and read him his Miranda rights. As he is hauled off, he is heard yelling, "I may be a perverted piece of shit, but at least I am a snow-covered piece of shit!  Sola fide! Sola gratia! Sola scriptura!")

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I thought I lost this

Gee, I thought I had lost this. When I quit MySpace this past January, I joined its mighty rival, thinking it would be less morally repulsive. Well, when the powers that be erased my weblog because I dared to post a denunciation of onanism, I discovered that facebook is fascist, and fascism is, well, very morally repulsive. But I wasn't about to leave facebook, and so my moral purity--if I ever had any, that is--was out the window. So, I figured, not that I had lost all claim to sanctimony, I would rejoin MySpace, which, for all its culture-corroding decadence, at least allows me to inveigh against it, however hypocritically. Anyway, when the jackbooted cyber thugs at facebook voided my entire weblog, I thought I had lost the piece below. Well, it finally turned up in some hitherto forgotten corner of iMac's labrynthian memory, and I post it here just to give Mark Zuckerberg the middle finger. I will post it on my facebook site, as well, and see what happens.

[One of the most ridiculed teachings of the Catholic Church is her condemnation of masturbation as a very grave sin. Most of my friends simply refuse to take it seriously, preferring to guffaw at such exemplary bits of irreverent wit as, "Everytime you masturbate, God kills a kitten." Even many Catholic priests are embarrassed by the teaching. I can tell that most priests really don't like my confessing my sins of onanism. Some have even told me that if masturbation is a sin, it can only be venial. Yeah, telling a Catholic, especially one educated by Jesuits, that a certain sin is venial is de facto an invitation to sin boldly. I admit to my everlasting shame that masturbation is a besetting sin of mine, and it would be very convenient for me to join with the world and just dismiss this particular Church teaching as a bit of laughably exaggerated Puritanism. I cannot. I refuse to think of masturbation as anything less than a very grave sin that can very well send my soul to hell. Yet, I continue to do it. Fine, I am a rank hypocrite, but hypocrites, even though they are damnable wretches, at the very least acknowledge the truth, and the truth is that masturbation kills the soul.

Masturbation tells the soul that the sexual climax is for the sake of selfish gratification and, thus, replaces what is supposed to be the zenith of self-surrendering love with the nadir of a horny fix. Not only that, masturbation tells the soul that this fix is the zenith; the fix becomes the pearl for which the merchant will sell all he has simply to buy. A person who is addicted to onanism will not be a truly loving companion. He will be a disgusting lech who will not see love as a gift to accept but as an opportunity to exploit. Masturbation is the addictive lie that says that love is nothing more than egoism, and such a lie is wicked indeed.

Yes, the act of masturbation is not as evil as, say, murder, torture, etc. As a lie, it is not as wicked as, for instance, lying an entire nation into an unjust war in Iraq. Masturbation is, compared to those other atrocities, a very small thing, of course, but, as Aristotle once wrote, a small error can eventually grow to vast proportions. This is what I attempted to show in my weblog post from May 15, 2006, included below. After having written this post, I thought of this variant of that sniggering witticism above: "Everytime you masturbate, Satan enriches another exploiting pornographer." Masturbation is evil, and I do not want to do it anymore.--PSR]

Last night I saw the British Channel 4 report of the 2004 Darren James AIDS Scare that shut down the porn industry (only temporarily, unfortunately). It is a rather gruesome piece. Richard Sanders uses the Darren James disaster as an opportunity to investigate the more perverse aspects of the porn industry. Of course, all of the porn industry is a perversion and a grievous affront to God and man, but what is called "gonzo porn" is especially twisted. In "gonzo porn" all pretenses of romance and even eroticism give way to outright humiliation, cruelty, and torture. And women consent to this degrading pain because it is an easy way to get lots of money.

Apparently, all this is legal. True, occasionally a gonza producer gets snagged by an obscenity charge (which he in turn proudly and defiantly trumpets as a triumph), but obscenity these days apparently does not include depictions of women getting hammered in the rectum by two phalli. No, in America apparently our precious freedoms, for which the radical Muslims supposedly hate us, extends even to this disgusting vomit.

But that's just my own idiosyncratic aesthetic sensibility, which should not be allowed in any way to influence public law. Fine. Let's shut down the porn industry not because some like me believes it is moral rot that gives American Freedom a very putrid smell. Let's shut down the porn industry because as the Darren James fiasco shows beyond doubt or quibble, it is a clear and present danger to the public health. Darren James gave AIDS to at least three young women, and the extreme promiscuity of the typical porn "actor" can not only very easily (that's obvious) facilitate but also accelerate the spreading of AIDS and other vicious STDs. Surely, every one with a brain will agree that the production of mastubatory aids for dirty old men and fratboys is not worth the risk of spreading fatal diseases.

But, of course, outlawing the porn industry will only drive it underground, where it will be even less subject to monitoring than it now is and, will, hence, be even more dangerous to the Public Health. The porn industry will exist, outlawed or no, because fratboys and middle-aged perverts rule the market, and they don't have brains.

So, porn remains legal. Not only that, it is the expression of one of our freedoms that is now being defended in Iraq. Great. Well, I suppose if the gratified ejaculations of fratboys and middle-aged perverts is worth the spiritual and physical corruption of beautiful young women, then it might as well be worth mayhem and bloodshed as well. Onanism is hardly an innocuous activity. There is a reason why the Catholic Church has always declared it to be a very grave sin.

I must admit that I hate our "freedoms". I hate our "freedoms" because, well, because I have a brain, and I use it. Does this make me a terrorist?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is Allah of the Koran the God of the Bible?

Now, many Bible-thumping Protestants would answer this question with a thunderous no, and this is not surprising. Bible-thumping Protestants as a general rule do not have any theology apart from Biblical Revelation, and for most Bible-thumping Protestants (not all, of course) it is simply impossible that someone can know the true God by something other than the Bible.

Unfortunately, some Catholics agree with their separated Bible-thumping brethren on this matter. This is unfortunate because to say that Muslims worship a god different from the True God directly contradicts official Catholic teaching as articulated clearly in §841 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."

Now, this paragraph is controversial for reasons other than its declaration that the Muslims adore the True God. Not a few Protestants will say that this paragraph asserts that Muslims are saved as Muslims. It is not the purpose of this brief essay to explain why this is untrue. Suffice it to say that inclusion in the plan of salvation does not mean salvation. The plan of salvation included Judas, but I don't think anyone (except for the apocatastasists) would say he was saved.

It is the purpose of this essay to show why §841 is right to say that the Muslims acknowledge the True God. But before I show this, I must put up a few proleptic disclaimers. I am not saying that Islam is a true religion. It is not. It started out as a Christological heresy, and a Christological heresy it remains. I am not saying that the Koran is not hostile to the Christian faith. It is. I am not saying that Christians should not try to convert Muslims to the truth of the Word made Flesh, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God and the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. No, Christians should do everything we can to evangelize Muslims because Islam's denial of the true nature of Jesus of Nazareth is a lie, and lies are evil and must be done away with. Nevertheless, just because Islam promotes a most pernicious lie about our Lord and Saviour does not mean that everything about Islam is a lie.

Many who claim that Islam worships a different god make the following argument: Islam denies the Trinity. We know that the True God is the Trinity. Islam's god is not a trinity and, hence, cannot be the True God.

The Biblical Warrant that the proponents of this argument use is 1 John 2:23: "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father." The Koran clearly, unequivocally, and repeatedly says that Allah has no son, and if that is not an outright denial of the son, what else could be? Ergo, if 1 John 2:23 means anything at all, it must mean that Islam hath not the Father, and since John 17:3 tells us that the Father is the only true God, there is no other conclusion to be had but that the sonless Allah cannot be the true God, must indeed be a false god.

Now, the argument, as forcefully tidy as it seems to be, has a big problem, that being Romans 10:1-4:

Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Paul here is talking about the Jews who have rejected Christ and, hence, the Son. Yet, Paul assures us that these Jews have a zeal for God, the true God. Now, this contradicts the above interpretation of 1 John 2:23. Ergo, one interpretation must go, since we know that scripture does not contradict scripture. St. Paul is abundantly clear: The Jews, despite their rejection of Christ, still acknowledge the true God. Therefore, 1 John 2:23 cannot mean that rejection of the Son is rejection of the true God. We must look for another interpretation, one that comports with Romans 10:1-4, and the key to this harmonious interpretation is, I would suggest. John 14:6:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Rejection of the Son means only the inability to reach the Father, but that does not imply a denial that God is God. One need not be able to reach any given object to acknowledge its reality. I know that the moon which orbits around our earth is the true moon, but there is no way I can get there without becoming an astronaut, but, alas, in my youth I foolishly rejected astronaut studies. In fact, I denied them. And you know what they say, "Whosoever denieth astronaut studies, the same hath not the moon." So, I have not the moon, but I still acknowledge the true moon.

The tragedy of the Jews is that they know the true God and love Him but have denied the only means possible to reach the object of all their hopes, yearnings, and love. This is the true and profoundly sad meaning of 1 John 2:23, and it applies just as poignantly to the Muslims.

The argument that the denial of the trinity involves the denial of the true God, therefore, confuses theology with soteriology. The denial of the son blocks the path of salvation. It does not change one's knowledge into fiction. That would be absurd. St. Paul says in Romans 1:19-20 that true knowledge of God can be had through natural reason alone. It is clear that this knowledge cannot include knowledge that God is triune for that cannot be known through the unaided intellect. The Trinity can only be known through Biblical Revelation.

Those who deny that Allah is the true God may concede that natural knowledge of God is possible but hasten to add that this knowledge remains true so long as there is an excusable ignorance of divine revelation. Once one is told about the trinity, then he has no excuse. If he denies the trinity after being told the truth, then he is denying the true nature of the True God and is, therefore, denying God. But, again, this implies that the natural knowledge of God was really never true knowledge because it can be falsified by rejecting additional knowledge. This is like saying that a student's knowledge of arithmetic never really was true because he dismisses Number Theory as poppycock. Once you know something, you know it regardless of your eagerness or refusal to learn more. The Unknown God of the Athenians remains the True God of Creation, regardless whether or no the denizens of Athens went on to accept the trinity.

Islam, for all its evil heresies (and they are evil), acknowledges the God of creation. What other God can that be except the One True God whom Christians worship? If we say that Allah is a false God, then we say that the knowledge of God that Paul says nature gives us is false knowledge, and this implies, of course, that God's creation cannot be the source of real truth. Creation becomes an illusion, and the Christian faith becomes nothing other than a gnostic sect in which the only true knowers are those who understand the Bible according to their own idiosyncratic interpretations. Surely the God of the universe is more universal than this.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Letter to University City's Finest

[More than four years later I am still waiting for a response.--PSR]

June 21, 2004

To the Police Department of University City, Missouri:

Is it ever right to disobey the law? One of your officers Saturday morning (June 19, 2004) told me, "Never." Thereupon, I asked her whether or not the few Germans who defied the Law of Nazi Germany and sheltered Jews were right to do so. To my astonishment she said that she would never say it is right to disobey any law and proceeded to call re-inforcements. Are you that threatened by pointed questions? And why is it so damn hard for you to acknowledge that it is right to disobey the law when the law is evil as it most certainly was in Germany during the Nazi Regime? Anyway, when her re-inforcement came, I asked him the same question. He gave the same answer, whereupon I asked him if slaves were right to run away and thereby defy the law of the Southern States before the Civil War. He said that was in the past and that he was talking about right now and the future. But there are two problems with that clarification: 1) it shows an ignorance of my question for I asked, "is it EVER right to disobey the law," and, hence, the question does not have any time limits, and 2) the officer in his clarification ignores completely the question of evil laws, presumably thinking that this problem is forever in the past.

Apparently, the female officer, who is black, heard my example of slaves' disobeying the law by running away from their masters. That got her very angry. She told me that I was insane for asking these "racial questions" and threatened to send me to Metro Psych. When I tried to tell her that my questions had to do with the postive law and justice and not with race, she simply threatened me with mace and told me to leave U. City or else I would be hauled off to Metro Psych. So, I continued walking down Delmar which I was doing anyway.

This just confirmed for me that you officers are nothing but stupid thugs. And anyone who can't admit that people who defied German Law to protect fellow human beings or slaves who defied American Law by escaping unmerited and cruel bondage were absolutely right to do so has clearly made the Law of Men into some kind of a god. It is frightening that you cops actually think like this. Very frightening. Are you surprised that you are often called fascists? You certainly think like them.

Monday, November 10, 2008

C. I. Scofield and the New Law

C. I. Scofield is the guy most responsible for the spread of the Rapture Heresy in this country. In 1909 Scofield came out with his reference Bible, which was the Left Behind phenomenon of that time. So many fundamentalists and evangelicals used that Bible so often that they forgot when the Bible stopped and Scofield's notes began. I still cannot understand and probably never will understand why Protestants need to have Bible with study notes, anyway. Do not Protestants believe that scripture interprets itself? If that is the case, then the Bible already has its own study notes, and Protestants do not need the notes supplied by an R.C. Sproul or a Hank Hanegraff. They certainly could have done without the notes of C.I. Scofield, which started Protestants believing that Ezechiel prophesied Cold War Geopolitics of the late Twentieth Century and have really fucked up our Policy towards the Middle East. As readers of this weblog know, I am opposed to both abortion and contraception. Therefore, I can only wish that Scofield's parents had contracted a Josephite Marriage. Below is an old essay I wrote on just one of Scofield's very perverse notes:

C. I. Scofield has this note to the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:

"Having announced the kingdom of heaven as "at hand," the King, in Mt. v.-vii., declares the principles of the kingdom. The Sermon on the Mount has a twofold application: (1) Literally to the kingdom. In this sense it gives the divine constitution for the righteous government of the earth. Whenever the kingdom of heaven is established on earth it will be according to that constitution which may be regarded as an explanation of the word "righteousness" as used by the prophets in describing the kingdom (e.g. Isa. xi. 4,5;xxxii.1; Dan. ix. 4). In this sense the Sermon on the Mount is pure law, and transfers the offence from the overt act to the motive (Mt. v.21,22,27,28). Here lies the deeper reason why the Jews rejected the kingdom. They had reduced "righteousness" to mere ceremonialism, and the Old Testament idea of the kingdom to a mere affair of outward splendour and power. They were never rebuked for expecting a visible and powerful kingdom, but the words of the prophets should have prepared them to expect also that only the poor in spirit and the meek could share in it (e.g. Isa xi. 4). The seventy-second Psalm, which was universally received by them as a description of the kingdom, was full of this. For these reasons the Sermon on the Mount in its primary implication gives neither the privilege nor the duty of the Church [emphasis mine]. These are found in the Epistles. Under the law of the kingdom, for example, no one may hope for forgiveness who has not first forgiven (Mt vi. 12, 14, 15). Under grace the Christian is exhorted to forgive because he is already forgiven (Eph. iv. 30-32). [The King James Study Bible, Reference Edition Edited by C. I. Scofield, pp. 999-1000]"

The dispensationalist version of the Gospel goes like this. Christ came to offer the Earthly Kingdom of a Millennial Reign to the Jews, but the Jews rejected Him. So, Christ turned to the Gentiles and inaugurated what dispensationalists call the "Church Age". That's the age we are in now. It is not the Kingdom. The Kingdom for dispensationalists can be ONLY the Millennial Reign by Christ on earth. No, the "Church Age" is actually a parenthesis in prophetic history, and it will end when Christ secretly raptures the Church (understood, of course, in the Protestant sense as the assembly of all believers--only those who believe in salvation sola fide, obviously). After the rapture prophetic history starts again, we have the final tribulation, Armageddon, and, then, finally, the Millennial Reign.

So, the whole Christian Faith thing was really only Christ's Plan B, an afterthought, actually. No, the big plan was and remains the Millennial Kingdom. Therefore, Christ's longest and most detailed sermon cannot be understood as being intended for Christians. No, it has to be Christ's detailed instructions for the Final Jewish Kingdom.

Scofield's actual argument for this is very revealing. He basically argues that this sermon cannot be binding on Christians because it has the character of pure law. All good Christians have known since Luther that the Gospel has freed Christians from the law.

But then what the deuce do you do with Christ's announcement of the New Law in the Sermon of the Mount? Well, Luther's answer was just to focus on Paul, or, rather, on his interpretation of Paul. That worked somewhat, but it was kinda hard to ignore the Sermon on the Mount. Well, it was also kinda hard to ignore Christ's vision of the last judgment (Matthew 25:31-46) in which the lambs go to heaven because of what they did and the goats go to hell because of what they failed to do. Clearly, Christ's own words clearly meant that the law and good works were still very important, despite what Luther thought Paul said.

The dispensationalist system enters the scene and finally makes the New Testament safe for Lutheran Soteriology. Yes, Christ thought the law was very, very important, but when he was talking about the law, he was specifically talking about His Thousand Year Reign on earth which the Jews rejected. Because the Jews rejected the Kingdom, we're still in the Church Age until the Rapture, and, therefore, the Beatitudes, though really beautiful suggestions, are not binding on us.

The same applies to Matthew 25:31-46. Christ was here referring to those gentiles who will give aid to the righteous Jews during the final tribulation and after the rapture, i.e. after the "Church Age". Therefore, it is not binding for today's Christian. To be sure, the Christian may receive it as a beautiful suggestion but, nevertheless, can rest assured that his failure to feed the poor, clothe the naked, and comfort the afflicted won't jeopardize his salvation. In the "Church Age" Lutheran Soteriology applies: he is saved by faith and by faith alone.

In sum, the dispensationalist scheme by placing the application of key New Testament passages beyond the Protestant Age renders them harmless to Protestant Theology. Clever, ain't it? If Christ contradicts the doctrine of sola fide just say he was not talking to us but to Jews. The only price you have to pay is a foreign policy that actually encourages tribulation-triggering instability in the Middle East. For when it is clear that the world will go down into a final conflagration of war, mass famine, disease, etc., Christ will have no choice but to rapture His church and restart the prophetic clock.

Well, there is also this small snag. Scofield tells us that the blueprint for the "Church" is found in the Epistles. Well, these include, of course, the Epistle of James. Whereas the Protestants can pretty well read almost every other epistle with Lutheran specs, James has always caused them to avert their eyes completely. The bright light that James sheds on the continued importance of the law and good works is too glaring for even the darkest of Protestant shades. One would think that Scofield or some other dispensationalist would transfer the entire epistle to the post-trib age, but neither Scofield nor any other dispensationalist I know of does this. I guess that means that even in the "Church Age" "a man is justified by works and not by faith alone." Damn. The Dispensationalist doesn't completely get rid of Catholic Soteriology, and yet we still have to endure an utterly insane Middle East policy. What a gip, man!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nietzsche, Morality, and Eternity

[I re-post this for the benefit of certain nihilists with whom I have been corresponding of late.--PSR]

The following essay is addressed to a woman and was in response to one of her posts on her weblog. The post was about Nietzsche's theory of morality. The woman claimed that Nietzsche asserted that all morality is a result of group think. I refuted this claim and wrote other things as well. It may be of some interest to my readers, or not.

Okay, zur Sache, as the Krauts say. First off, it is wrong to claim that Nietzsche proposed that morality is always the product of group think, if by "group" you mean the unwashed, knuckle-scraping masses of the "herd". For Nietzsche there are two categories of morality, the one of "good and bad" and the other of "good and evil". The former is the morality of the strong and is by Nietzsche's lights the healthy, life-affirming morality. The latter is the morality of the weak, which is according to Nietzsche based not upon love, as its proponents claim, but upon vindictive resentment against the strong. This is what Nietzsche calls "slave morality" and that is what would be according to him the morality of the "herd" and not the former morality of the aristocratic lords or simply the strong.

Now, it is crucial to understand that Nietzsche's critique of morality is not a critique of morality as such. In fact, he regards morality or values as indispensable for any thriving culture. A culture that has no values will fall victim to decadence and nihilism. Nihilism is the idea that nothing in life is of value. If nothing in life is of value, then suicide is the only reasonable answer. What is true on an individual level is also true on the cultural: A culture that falls victim to nihilism will have no reason to sustain itself and will die out. Nietzsche's entire project was to come up with a new set of values that would counter the nihilism he saw threatening to snuff out his beloved European culture.

Nietzsche argued vehemently that the Christian faith was directly responsible for this grave nihilistic threat. To understand why he thought so, we must understand his analysis of slave morality. Slave morality is a reaction of the weak against the strong. The weak are weak precisely because they can't retaliate against the strong when the strong rape and pillage them. So, the weak literally make a virtue out of their pathetic lot and declare that they don't strike back not because they can't but because they are the ones who are truly good and moral, and the raping and pillaging aristocratic lords are not just bad; they are evil.

But the strong will get their comeuppance. Just not in this life. In the next life, and in that life they will be consigned to the lowest depth of sulphurous hell, and the weak will see this gruesome spectacle and rejoice because the revenge which they could not accomplish in this life will be achieved spectacularly in the next. Thus, Nietszche regards all the Christian claims about love to be bogus. All Christian morality is predicated upon a final eschatological payback for the noble blond beast. This is a morality not of love but revenge.

But these Christian values did produce a thriving culture for even though it was at bottom a religion of resentment against the powerful, it at the very least had a conception of a mighty jealous God that gave the Christian Age a purpose and a sense of meaning. But the Christian Faith had within itself the seeds of its own destruction: its insistence that liberation comes through truth, which, of course, meant that Christians had a moral obligation to uncover the truth. This obligation to the truth produced modern science, and modern science in turn showed the truth to be this: that the Christian Faith is a silly myth and that there is no God. God is dead.

But even though modern science had unmasked the Christian Faith as just another hollow ideology, Christian values still formed the basis of the modern West, and this is where the nihilistic crisis kicks in. Society in the modern west is based upon values which are in turned based upon something that modern science has shown to be simply nothing. Hence, the modern west values nothing. The only thing to do is to scrap the Christian Faith entirely and start afresh with a new set of values, one that will place the ultimate value on life in this world instead of life in some non-existent next. This is the project that Nietzsche terms Die Umwertung aller Werte, the transvaluation of all values.

Okay, fine, but this transvaluation cannot be effected simply by an attack on the Christian Faith. It cannot even be effected by replacing the Christian Faith with some new philosophy of life. What must be done first and foremost is a radical uprooting of everything Christian, but this is much harder than at first impression. One cannot just merely get rid of the creed, the Bible, various pious devotions etc., one must go to the heart of the matter, and for Nietzsche the heart of the matter is actually not so much the Christian faith but the very idea that this world can be understood only by another world in the beyond, and this could be the Christian Heaven or the Platonic Realm of Forms. As long as this world is understood as a mere anticipation of or an imperfect participation in some eternal otherworldly realm, then this world is subordinate to nothingness and is, hence, robbed of its value. Nietzsche's war on the Christian Faith is ultimately a war against the Platonic tradition of metaphysics. Not only that, his war is against the very notion of understanding our world in the light of eternity.

Philosophers throughout the centuries have taken recourse to some notion of eternity because without it it is impossible to formulate general truths. If something is true, then it must be true always and everywhere. But if we look around ourselves, there is nothing that is eternal. Everything we experience with our five senses is particular and is subject to change, decay, and death, and yet our minds still formulate general truth claims about the world. If the Nietzschean project will work at all, it must rid us of this nasty ingrained habit of implicitly comparing this world of change to some unreal world of eternity. As long as we have this comparison, however implicit, we devalue the world in which we live and will hence fall victim to nihilism. To really affirm the only life we have, we must, therefore, radically alter our thought. We can no longer think about eternal Being in whatever form but about ever-changing Becoming. Only such a radical transformation of thinking will rid the world of this nihilistic claptrap about eternal Being and yield a truly life-affirming philosophy of Becoming.

But Nietzsche himself could not dispense with eternity. Simply because he had to make general formulations of truth himself. To rid the mind of all concepts of eternity is to rob the mind of coherence and, therewith, the ability to affirm anything at all, much less the glorious rapings and pillaging of the noble Blond Beast. Nietzsche could have suggested that we all get lobotomies so that we can forget we are intelligent human beings and act like noble brutes, but he did not. He prized knowledge and philosophy too much to castrate himself intellectually. So, he came up with another solution: if eternity cannot be rid of, then let's rob it from the gods and bring it down to earth. Let's make eternity part of our very lives. And presto! We have the doctrine of the eternal recurrence of the same!

This doctrine teaches that you must will everything that happens in your life to recur in exactly the same manner throughout all of eternity. By doing so, you are using eternity no longer to judge the world as inferior and thereby to condemn it but to affirm and celebrate it. Pretty neat solution, actually. Nietzsche could not rid man of his need for eternity and so he subordinates it to the service of affirming this life and in doing so finally gets his revenge on Plato. Whereas Plato enslaved this world to eternity, Nietzsche has put eternity under the yoke of man's life-affirming will. Or has he?

Nietzsche's doctrine of the eternal recurrence of the same robs man of the ability to say no. He must affirm everything in his life even atrocities such as murder, rape, preventive war, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and the like. So what, Nietzche might respond, this life is all there is und Nichts au├čerdem!. If you are going to truly value it, you cannot make comparisons between it and a world that does not exist. The only standard of life is this life, and you might as well say yes to it eternally because that is the only thing that will satisfy this ineradicable eternity craving man has.

Fine, but this ineradicable craving for eternity is in man precisely because he is unable to will the eternal recurrence of the same for everything. If he actually had the ability to make eternity bend to his will, then he certainly would not will an eternity of each and every happening of his earthly life. Even the Blond Beast would want at least an eternity of his best pillagings and not those in which the other lords caught him, tied him to a tree, covered him with honey, and then let big ants loose on him. Man wants, if not the good, then at least the pleasant, and that is why he will always say no to the being covered with honey and ants. No man is able psychologically to say yes everything in his life because not everything in his life is pleasant. If we could discipline ourselves to say an eternal yes to everything that happens to us, then we would lose entirely are motivation to seek the pleasurable and avoid the pain. This is hardly an affirmation of life. This is a numbing of ourselves to the point where we would be as insensitive and as dumb and as inhuman as rocks.

But there is an even more fundamental objection to this teaching. Man simply cannot will eternity, and any one who acts like he does is considered insane (including Nietzsche--cf. his notorious "I'd rather be a Basel Professor than God" letter to Burckhardt). Nietzsche merely shows with this stupid idea that not only can he not dispense with eternity, he also cannot dispense with the power of God for obviously God is the only being powerful enough to will anything for all of eternity. Just as Kant killed off God in his first critique only to need Him to make his moral theory work, Nietzsche kills off God to rescue us from otherworldly nihilism only to need His power to make sense of an atheistic chaos. Nietzsche's whole project merely serves to confirm Dostoevski's famous dictum: "If there is no God, I am God." Of course, such a statement is absurd, and that's the point. Without God we are doomed to absurdity, and no amount of wanna-be superhuman will can extricate us from it.

Now in answer to your question put to your readers, I say that Nietzsche has not shown that our morality is simply a result of self-interest and the evolutionary urge to survive. Nietzsche himself says that one morality, the morality that he attacks as a slave morality, the morality that has prevailed in the west for the last two millennia, is not merely the result of self-interest and a Darwinian struggle for life. No, it is also the result of an intelligent being's inability to think without a notion of eternity. Brute animals don't need eternity to eat, sleep, copulate, and excrete, but man does more than brute animals. He reasons, and as long as he reasons, eternity will haunt him and force him to wonder why. Nietzsche tried his best to destroy this wonder. He failed, and this wonder prevails, and we continue to wonder why we think about eternity and from whence these thoughts come. Our temporal science cannot exhaust such questions for that would be as absurd as a stream draining an ocean. Modern science can only explain itself in the light of eternity and not vice versa. The wonder will never be extinguished, and this means that faith will never be as well.

Jeffrey by Paul Rudnick or why I am considered a homophobe

More than a decade ago, in the spring of 1996, I had a very bit part in a production of Paul Rudnick's Jeffrey at the Metcalf Student Experimental Theatre on the vast SIU-E campus. Jeffrey is a rather irreverent (and actually very witty) play about one gay man's dating problems during the late 'Eighties when the AIDS epidemic hit the New York City gay scene especially hard. It is by Catholic standards morally offensive, and my bit part was hardly innocent. I played the protagonist's father, and in a dream sequence I try with my wife to get our son to engage us in phone sex. Actually, my delivery was pretty good. I got a lot of big laughs, but that just made my sin all the blacker. I did eventually confess my participation in this play as a sin and have vowed never to be in such a morally compromising play again, however overpowering my lust for the stage may be. I like any actor love the stage and have been willing to do almost anything (okay, fine, that "almost" is disingenuous) to show off on stage. Actors are whores.

Because I had such a small role, during hell week and the nights of the performance, I spent most of my time in the green room with the other bit parts and cameos. I forgot how precisely I whiled away the time there. I didn't get along with the rest of the cast that well. They thought me a rather stiff snob, and they gave me every reason to want to be a stiff snob. For instance, they all poo-pooed William Shakespeare, one of them going so far as to say that people say they like Shakespeare merely to be thought educated. There is no way that anyone can like Shakespeare. Well, there is no way that an SIU-E rube can appreciate Shakespeare, I very much wanted to say but did not. I kept it to myself and tried to console myself with happy memories of Derek Jacobi's Hamlet.

But I did have a revelation while working on this production. One particular line near the end of the play puzzled me. One of the final scenes in the play takes place in Central Park during the Gay Pride Parade. The scene opens with an epitome of an Italian Mama somewhat imperiously trying to find her way in all the confusing dinof the festivities. She is very loud and garrulous and, as all mothers are, effusive in her pride for her son.

In what is supposed to be half a laughline and half a statement ofthe play's true agendum, she boldly asserts, "I'm so proud of my preoperative transsexual lesbian son!" A preoperative transsexual lesbian is a man about to undergo a sex change so that he (she--whatever) can live a life of a lesbian.

A short time later in that same scene the son tells a television reporter that he and his group are "going to ride on a flatbed truck, for all the world to see!" to which the Mother adds this puzzling explanation: "Because we are proud of who and what we are!" So, I asked the actress who played the Italian Mama what I thought to be the obvious question: "How the deuce can you be proud of what you are when you are about to undergo very serious surgery for the sake of changing what you are?" This mother's son obviously was not proud of what he was. Otherwise, he would not be about to avail himself of modern surgery to escape his male body.

The actress made dagger eyes at me. She did make a response, and I am sorry to report that I have since forgotten what she said, but if my memory serves, she made it clear to me that she found the very question offensive. I remember shortly thereafter recounting this exchange to a good friend of mine who has allowed me to describe her to others as "bisexual witch". She told me that she would find the question offensive as well. By the way, this same woman would jealously defend the academic freedom of Princeton's Peter Singer to say that a pig has more worth than a newborn infant, but it's impolite to dare challenge GLBT propaganda. Go figure. (I put this slap at my good friend in here on the off chance that she will read this. I still consider her a very dear friend, but on this she needs to be called out on the carpet).

The reason why my question would offend those who think everything with the GLBT world is kosher is that it assumes that nature is a component of our whatness. The proponents of the GLBT world like other liberals want freedom from nature. If you want to defy nature by having sterile sex deliberately for gratification, go right ahead, that is your right because we have been liberated from the prison of nature. If you feel like you are a woman even though you have a membrum viri, then by all means cut it off because nature is just an accidental accesory. Nature has no part in determining what you are. Modern gnosis now gives you the power to determine what you are in the confines of your own mind. You become your own Demiurge.

This then was my revelation. The GLBT movement is premised upon a gnostic hostility to nature. The reaction that I received from my question was all I needed to recognize yet another form of the dreary old gnostic hatred of God's creation.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cherche la femme!

Recently, as some of my readers may know, a young woman chastised me for voting at all. Voting, she said, simply legitimated an absurdity we pretend to call a meaningful democracy. Well, I fell in love instantaneously (she looks really good in a bikini as well as being politically astute) and swore that I would be true to my new one and only true love by doing what the Sunni zealots in Iraq did and abstain from the polls. Well, my sense of civic duty got the better of me. You can take the boy out of civics class, but, apparently, you can't take the civics class out of the boy. Grade school indoctrination is indelible like a tattoo. So, I voted and now my only true love will spurn me as yet another gullible fool of the Military Industrial Wall Street Complex. Woe is me!

And my fellow archconservative Catholics will scream at me because I voted for an infanticidal maniac. No, I did not vote for Mr. Obama. He's actually not an infanticidal maniac. That's just his secular decadent infidel cover according to the principle of Taqiyya. He's really a filthy Arab, hellbent upon subjugating this good Christian nation to the horrors of dhimmitude, but to do so he must first impose Sharia Law, which will not just kick abortion back to the states but will outlaw it outright, and this is what all good Christians are obligated to desire. So, good Christians who really think Obama is a closet radical Muslim must vote for him.

No, I voted for Cynthia McKinney. Only because another very beautiful young woman likes her. Okay, well, Noam Chomsky did vote for her as well, and I can't deny his influence, of course. But I did what I did primarily to score some brownie points with this very alluring female. Look, the presidential election in Illinois was called as soon as Obama announced his candidacy way back in 2007. Calvinist pre-destination may not apply to salvation, but it sure does to the Illinois electoral votes. So, I made a cynical calculation: if my vote does not matter in the big scheme of things, then I might as well use my vote to impress some chic, eh?

Of course, if McKinney had even a snowball's chance in hell of winning, I would not have voted for her. Simply because she is an infanticidal maniac like Mr. Obama. But both of the viable candidates are sick demented fucks who advocate outright murder. McCain gets his jollies singing paeans to preventive war, a neo-con euphemism for cold-blooded murder and Obama thinks its fine and dandy to let born babies completely outside the womb die. If I have to vote for a monster, then, well, the least I can do is vote for one who simply cannot win.

Of course, the woman whose bewitching blandishments beckoned me to cast my vote for this infanticidal maniac and thereby cast my soul into hell wants McKinney to win. Her vote is quixotic, mine is cynical, and she will read this, be offended by my cynicism, and I will not even gain that one thing that I hoped my vote would get. No, my vote will get me nothing but scorn, outrage, and, if I don't confess it soon, everlasting fire and brimstone; trying to impress a woman, however alluring she may be, is unfortunately not a valid proportional reason for voting for an infanticidal maniac. So, my vote was simply an absurd naught. But, then again, so is the notion of American Democracy.