Paul's Passing Thoughts

Is All Truth God’s Truth? And How Does the Question Relate to Spiritual Abuse?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 12, 2012

There is a thinking crisis in our culture that is greatly compounded in the church because faith is often a license for subjectivity; an inability to think coupled with an attitude that pragmatism is the antithesis of spirituality. Especially in Reformed circles, knowing things and being solution oriented =’s “arrogance.”

Propositions are judged by how good they sound, or how logical they sound, or if the hearing thereof incites a stimulating chemical reaction in the brain that we seem to like.

All truth is God’s truth; is that true? No. However, the following is true: that truism has led many to destruction. Why? Because it assumes truth is the same as facts, and it doesn’t understand that all teaching is a process of propositions that lead to a conclusion. And, logic always yields the same results.

“Dr. John Doe has said many valid things here; I would only disagree with this point or that point.”

Facts and truth are two different things. Facts are usually passive and an elementary part of a larger schema. 2+2=4 is a fact, and a tree is a fact, but unlike truth, they are morally neutral and can rarely take you anyplace by themselves. Truth has a moral aspect, and usually has a purpose in mind. Jesus Christ is not merely a fact, though His existence is certainly factual—He is “The Truth.” He is the epitome of all that is good and gives life.

When the serpent deceived Eve in the garden, he used facts to take her to a rejection of the truth. The fact that Eve was not going to die on the spot after eating the apple was a fact. Satan presented many facts to Jesus when he tempted Him in the wilderness, but the goal wasn’t truth. Does that make the facts God’s truth? Hardly.

True facts that lead to untruth are not God’s truth, because God’s truth always equals life and has that end in mind. Sub truth, or facts, are only as true as what they yield whether life or death. When ill motives are attached to a fact, it is still fact, but it isn’t truth because the fact was used for ill intent. Truth has a moral qualification.

It is not a good idea to sit under the tutelage of Satan because he espouses facts that are undeniable—his facts never lead to truth, he is “the father of lies.”

“Satan has said many valid things here. I agree that Psalms 9:11,12 states that the angels will bear Jesus up. However, I disagree with his suggestion that Jesus should have jumped off the temple pinnacle.”

Really? That’s nice.

Secondly, each proposition that builds up to the conclusion needs to be evaluated. Sub points need to be true and they need to fit together logically to affirm the conclusion. When we have some disagreement on a point in a message or teaching, the possible application of it for another conclusion should be irrelevant. It needs to be judged according to its proposition and contribution to the conclusion at hand. Not all incorrect propositions on the way to a conclusion do irreparable damage to the conclusion, but it’s rare.

Thirdly, Philosophy forms logic which always leads to the same results. All “truth” teachers have a philosophy. All teaching seeks to lead you to a conclusion. Conclusions form logic and lead to action. Hence, “….the student will be like his teacher.”

Philosophy is metaphysics (what we believe about reality and being), epistemology (the theory of how we come to know what we know, or how we obtain knowledge), ethics (the moral application of what we know), and politics (how we use what we know to relate to others, or how we communicate it). The first two elements of philosophy always determine ethics and politics. Often, behavior reveals the philosophy: “….by their fruits you will know them.”

This is exactly why we categorize teachers and reject all that they say out of hand because once their philosophy is revealed, we know where the logic will always take us. Even if some of what they say is factual, the conclusions they want to take you to are based on the philosophy. Therefore, their factual stepping stones are only relevant to the truth or error that is the goal, and for all practical purposes, the same value is placed on the propositions leading to the conclusion. Hence, the biblical prescription for those who have errant philosophy: “AVOID THEM,” and, “Do not allow them into your home or bid them God’s speed.”

Therefore, facts that are part of a conclusion that is a lie have no moral value and are not truth, but part of a deception.

This is the folly of sitting under the teachings of people with errant philosophy, or even greeting them: even the facts that they present are intended to lead to untruthful conclusions. So no, all truth is not God’s truth. God’s truth always has a good ending. Scripture states plainly to completely avoid anyone with errant philosophy.

How you would then glean what is “good” from their teachings while “leaving what’s bad on the shelf,” or “eat the chicken and throw away the bones” is a mystery to me. God forbids that the chicken is even in our house and disallows the use of our shelves.

What does this all have to do with the war against spiritual abuse in the blogosphere? Well, there is a reason it is beginning to look like the Jerry Springer show more and more every day. Even though the Christian culture of our day is primarily framed with two gospels that are radically different, nobody is required to state their philosophy. Spiritual abuse blogs are fraught with Christian mystics, Gnostics, and proponents of progressive justification.

As I have confronted some of these bloggers in regard to their abhorrent psychobabble solutions for spiritual abuse, at least one informed me that the Bible (what the Apostle Paul called “the mind of Christ”) is “not enough” to fully address the problem. And let there be no doubt: what you read out there is a gargantuan volley of propositions from a myriad of philosophical camps followed by massive chatter that evaluates the propositions.

If the Apostle John said that greeting a person with errant philosophy was to also partake in their sin—then it is no less for propositions—factual or otherwise.

Do I think there is an endgame to all of this “all truth is God’s truth” business? Yes. I think it is a ploy to keep us at the feet of those with errant philosophy because there are some “facts” in their teachings that can be added to the “wider field of knowledge.” But those facts can’t help us who strive for truth because the usage of those facts are in a context leading to bad conclusions.

And I think that’s the crux. It creates conduits between ill philosophies and good philosophies. There isn’t the wide separation God calls for.

Whatever is used to endorse error is not God’s truth, even if it is factual. The moral goal is not the same. It may be a fact, but it’s not God’s truth.

Propositions are only as good as the conclusions and results that they always produce. And that qualifies the propositions as either endorsing truth or not endorsing truth. And only TRUTH sets us free from spiritual abuse.

paul

Advertisements

29 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Joe said, on September 13, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Paul,

    I do not know what you mean by “See Police.”

    Argo,

    I do not wish to be misunderstood, so let me clarify. My argument is not that other philosophies can teach us something per se. What I am saying is that there are things about humans in how we act, think, behave and respond that for all intents and purposes, universally true. Because these things about humans are true, it does not matter who learns these things about humans or why they get there. If they are true, they are by definition correct, and thus we have learned something. Furthermore, just because something is not in the bible does not make it untrue. The Bible is silent on many aspects of science, history, mathematics, and engineering. And while I believe it covers in basic principle all aspects of the human condition, it is NOT an exhaustive manual on how people behave in detail every specific situation.

    I used my example of the 5 stages of grief because it was simply the first relatively simple and neutral example that came to my mind. The Bible does talk about grief. It does talk about sadness. It talks about denial. It talks about anger. It talks about bargaining. It talks about acceptance. HOWEVER, it does not anywhere relate all of these things back to grief and how they are all connected in any way, shape, or form. That is something that we can ONLY learn by observing people who are grieving. We must study how people think and behave, which is the very definition of psychology. If I replace the Buddhist in my example with a Christian, they would come to the exact same conclusion, that there are 5 stages of grief. This is the point I am trying to get across. If it is true, then it is true for all people, in all places, and all times. it is otherwise false. This truth however, that people grieve in stages, is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Paul’s argument from what he is written is that this makes it false, and that we can learn this from the Bible. The fact is, we didn’t learn it from the Bible, we learned it from psychology.

    I also do want to point out, that in these instances I am not talking about things that have an eternal value. In other words, these things that psychology teaches us cannot get us to heaven. They cannot save our souls. That truth is very plainly and exhaustively spelled out in the Bible. Just because something does not have eternal value though, does not mean that it cannot be good and useful. While our primary focus must be on God and eternity, it is not our only focus. We still live in a present world with fallen mankind, some redeemed, some not. We must still relate to these people and learn how to relate to them. In principle, all of this is taught in the Bible. We must love one another. The question then becomes, how do we love one another? The Bible speaks a lot on this, but again, it does not cover in detail every specific situation which may arise.

    Paul’s arguments in this suffer from a problem similar to a fallacy of division (he assumes that if the outcome or purpose of the outcome is unbiblical that everything that goes into getting to that conclusion is also unbiblical) and also suffers from something similar to an appeal to authority. He is assuming that something is categorically wrong based completely on who it is that is saying it. As I’ve said many times, I agree with quite a bit of what Paul has said in several posts, but I believe his reasoning here to be severely flawed.

    Furthermore, I do want to address this statement: Joe said–“Your assumption seems to be that an ungodly person cannot in any way, shape, or form contribute information, new or old, that can help people better understand how people think and behave and why.”

    Paul said–“It’s nice to be properly understood–that is exactly what I am saying.”

    The only thing that I can gather from this statement is that I would have to suspect Paul has a very low regard for anybody who is not a Christian, and I would suspect also Christians who do not share his exact philosophy of Christianity. With the above statement, what I hear and what I can promise a non-Christian would hear is this: “You are are stupid, having nothing to contribute to this world, and I have no time for the likes of you.” While I highly doubt this is what Paul would actually say to somebody, this is the only real conclusion I can draw from these statements. There is no love whatsoever in it. No grace, no room for error, no humbleness, no humility. I would suspect that if you said something like this to a non-Christian, they would never listen to a word you said, no matter how right you may be. You would have completely killed your entire witness by essentially insulting their intelligence and claiming that they have nothing to contribute (essentially they are worthless). This is why I am challenging Paul to rethink his positions here. I am NOT asking him to look at the Bible more lowly or to think that Christ is not the only real hope we have for salvation. Neither am I asking him to consider anything that is works based religion, or even to agree with all psychology has to offer. I am asking him to have more respect for his fellow man, because his comments make me think he has little to none.

    Like

    • paulspassingthoughts said, on September 13, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      Joe,

      That’s sociology, not psychology. Socially is a science that depends on the empirical, not the intuitive–huge difference.

      Like

  2. Argo said, on September 13, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Hi joe ,
    Thanks for your response. I hope that you saw that I was in fact agreeing with you. I liked your responses and thought you made excellent points. I get wordy, so just wanted to be sure I made that clear. Thanks!

    Like

  3. Bridget said, on September 13, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Paul –
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology

    You seem to have a different meaning of psychology?

    Just like the fact that there are helpful and not so helpful “Christian” and secular counselors, the same holds true for psycologists, MDs, dentists, psychiatrists. The abuse or misuse toward another human being comes from the lack of integrity in the person, not from the field one practices. The integrity issue should be much improved if one IS a Christian.

    You appear to have something against the science of psycology and/or psychiatry?

    Like

    • paulspassingthoughts said, on September 13, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      Bridget,

      First, it’s Origin:
      < Greek, combining form of psȳchḗ breath, spirit, soul, mind; akin to psȳ́chein to blow ( see psykter).

      With suffix "ology" which makes it the study of spirit and soul. There is only one authority on that area of study: the Bible.

      I am not sure why the very definition of the word doesn't end the argument.

      Like

  4. Joe said, on September 13, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    From Dictionary.com:

    psy·chol·o·gy   /saɪˈkɒlədʒi/ Show Spelled[sahy-kol-uh-jee] Show IPA
    noun, plural psy·chol·o·gies.
    1. the science of the mind or of mental states and processes.
    2. the science of human and animal behavior.
    3. the sum or characteristics of the mental states and processes of a person or class of persons, or of the mental states and processes involved in a field of activity: the psychology of a soldier; the psychology of politics.

    Psychology is not the study of the spirit and soul as you suggest. It is the study of the mind, thinking, and behaviour. Your definition is wrong.

    Like

    • paulspassingthoughts said, on September 13, 2012 at 5:14 PM

      Joe,

      Then why did Sigmund Freud use mind altering drugs to test theories? And which of the 200 different theories do you agree with? And when people go to a Psychiatrist, do they know which of the four primary underlying assumptions about man that they function by? No. And why do theologians, primarily of the Reformed camp, reject the only clinical/counseling approach in Psychiatry that had proven results?

      Like

  5. Argo said, on September 13, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Paul,

    How is the Bible the final authority on anything? Why do we assume that the Bible is intended by God to be the final authority? Isn’t God Himself the final authority?

    Not trying to be argumentative, just don’t really understand where you’re coming from here. Sorry if I’m not getting it.

    Like

    • paulspassingthoughts said, on September 13, 2012 at 9:11 PM

      Argo and Bridget,
      Based on what Scripture states about itself, I believe it is the final authority on two things as specifically stated by it: 1. Life. and 2. godliness. Hence, I reject all other sources that claim to speak authoritatively to those issues. Their is really no argument here at all–my view on this is very narrow. It is what it is. I know its extremely narrow, but this is simply the position that I hold to.

      ….and love and kisses to everybody. This is what is great about America. It’s nothing personal. If others aren’t persuaded by my argument–I still think they have a right to what they believe and I respect that. And btw, let me add that I do reject psychology in totality and on all levels. And let me add that it even drives Susan nuts. When we were first dating, she was seeing a “Christian Psychologist.” Woe! really, it’s a wonder we got married–there were definitely fireworks.

      Nevertheless, it is time, I think, to post up on my position in detail. I am just throwing comments around here and there, and it is just creating more questions than answers. I will work on it in the morning.

      Like

  6. Bridget said, on September 13, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Paul –

    I am not arguing. I am sorry if you feel that way. I am trying to understand your perspective on psychology and/or psychiatry. You said:

    “First, it’s Origin:
    < Greek, combining form of psȳchḗ breath, spirit, soul, mind; akin to psȳ́chein to blow ( see psykter).

    With suffix "ology" which makes it the study of spirit and soul. There is only one authority on that area of study: the Bible.

    I am not sure why the very definition of the word doesn't end the argument."

    It seems to me that the Greek definition combined mind with spirit and soul. You left "mind" out when you termed it "the study if the spirit and soul." Wasn't it common to combine spirit, soul, and mind in ancient thinking?

    The mind, as it is studied today, is considered an organ that can undergo massive problems and brokenness, just as any other organ or body part can. We have learned much since the Greeks and more since Freud. Why are you assessing psychology through the lens of Freud and an ancient definition of the word which is not what we understand the word to mean today. We now know so much more about the body, including the mind (which IMO is a good thing). Don't you think we should use that knowledge to help people?

    It does not solve the problem of sin in a man's life, nor can a man be saved by psychology, but they could be helped with psychology/ psychiatry so that they can receive and understand the Good News. A person's mind could also be healed in any way God chooses to heal it. I just don't see ruling out the people who have studied the way the body and mind work. They aren't claiming to have the answer to our spiritual needs. They only have an answer for that if they are a Christian as well and present the Good News.

    Like

    • paulspassingthoughts said, on September 13, 2012 at 9:12 PM

      Argo and Bridget,
      Based on what Scripture states about itself, I believe it is the final authority on two things as specifically stated by it: 1. Life. and 2. godliness. Hence, I reject all other sources that claim to speak authoritatively to those issues. Their is really no argument here at all–my view on this is very narrow. It is what it is. I know its extremely narrow, but this is simply the position that I hold to.

      ….and love and kisses to everybody. This is what is great about America. It’s nothing personal. If others aren’t persuaded by my argument–I still think they have a right to what they believe and I respect that. And btw, let me add that I do reject psychology in totality and on all levels. And let me add that it even drives Susan nuts. When we were first dating, she was seeing a “Christian Psychologist.” Woe! really, it’s a wonder we got married–there were definitely fireworks.

      Nevertheless, it is time, I think, to post up on my position in detail. I am just throwing comments around here and there, and it is just creating more questions than answers. I will work on it tomorrow and hopefully have it posted by the afternoon.

      Like

  7. Argo said, on September 13, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Bridget,
    I must agree with you. I have a friend I’ve known for decades who is a text book narcissist. I mean in the clinical, objective psychiatric sense. I’ve been studying it quite a bit and the psychiatric experts not only describe this person toam utter perfect T, but they all admit that the problem is ultimately incurable, and can only be mitigated by serious psychotherapy and medication. I am a Christian, but I agree. There is little help for this man in the bible as far as I can see. Especially since he has rejected God, and only speaks to God insofar as to use him in his narcissistic way. This man needs psychiatric help, not biblical counseling.

    Like

  8. lydia said, on September 13, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    Argo, I have been studying Narcissism and Anti Social personality disorder (which is more common than we think and the name gives off the wrong impression as they are usually very charming and not anti social as we tend to think of it). These two traits often are blended in one person and the lines are blurry.

    It is incredible to me in my studies that RARELY do these types change. And the reason this blows my mind is that one would think with all the wounded in their wake, broken relationships, etc, they would get a clue. They don’t care. They really don’t. They just go find another supplier for their needs. It is as if it is demonic and many you will find using Jesus for their own advancement, power and influence and as in a cover for being a “good person”.

    I am starting to wonder if Calvinism attracts these types?

    Like

  9. Joe said, on September 14, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Paul,

    I have more I would like to comment on and respond to with regards to all of these topics, but I will be traveling and staying with friends over the weekend, so I may not have an opportunity to comment or respond for a few days. Even before I comment further, I would like to post in a comment what my own philosophy/beliefs are. I remember you mentioning that you thought bloggers should do this more often, and I agree with you on this. So I will do that with my next opportunity before addressing your comments and blog posts, some things I disagree with, other things I do agree with. I feel that that way at least you would have a better idea of where I am coming from in terms in my philosophy. For now, I will have to let let the conversation rest and come back to it if I have a chance this weekend, or at the start of next week. Good afternoon and good weekend.

    Like

  10. Bridget said, on September 15, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    Lydia –

    “I am starting to wonder if Calvinism attracts these types?”

    I have often wondered that same thing over the past year. Scripture becomes a “tool” to gain what they desire.

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: