Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Disaster of Sacrifice as the Ultimate Moral Standard – Part 4

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 22, 2017

The following is the final part of a four-part series.
Taken from John Immel’s fourth session at the 2016 Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny
~ Edited by Andy Young

Click here for part oneClick here for part twoClick here for part three
(Links to the archived files are found below)


What we have seen over the course of the last 3 sessions is that the oldest of all worldly ideas is that man is effectively a sacrificial animal. The primary intellectual shapers of modern Christianity as we have seen have their roots deep in Platonism, the metastasized version of Platonism found in Augustine, and then the further metastasization in Calvin. The secular iteration of that is Immanuel Kant who put the final nails in the coffin of any self-interest at any point at any time, and he did it such that even secular people could arrive at the exact same conclusion.

Now this becomes very important in the modern age. I opened this whole series talking about how in America we are facing a new Dark Age. The reason that sacrifice is so central to tyranny is directly related to this observation:

The Gospel According to John Immel, chapter 3:1-3

  1. All people act logically from their assumptions.
  2. It does not matter how inconsistent the ideas or insane the rationale. They will act until that logic is fulfilled.
  3. Therefore, when you see masses of people taking the same destructive actions, if you find the assumptions, you will find the cause.

Consider once again the five pillars of tyranny. (slide 2) All tyrannies use some variation of these arguments.  This is why altruism is so central to tyranny. Notice how the branches of all of these sub-arguments are tied to altruism.

Incompetent Masses – How many times have you heard the preacher say, “No man is an island”? What he really means is that no man in my church has the right to his own ideas. He is demanding that you abandon your own rational judgment.

Dictated Good – The preacher says, “We believe in servant-leadership.” What he really means is, “My qualification for being in charge is telling you what to think.” He believes that his judgment is “the good” and it is his right to tell you what that good is.

Universal Guilt – “You are proud.” What the preacher really means is, “You are morally corrupt. You are taking part in humanity’s original sin. You are displaying Adam’s heritage.” What they are really saying is since you are universally guilty you can’t get away from Adam’s original sin.

Collective Conformity – “You are rebellious,” says the preacher, but what he really means is, “I have the moral right to dictate the content of your life. You have no moral right to resist my authority.” Rebellion is an appeal to political power. Any time someone says you are rebellious, what they are really saying is that you are defying my government right. He is compelling you to collectively conform.

Abolition of Ambition – “You are arrogant,” the preacher says, but what he really means is, “I don’t like your confidence. You have no business being confident because you really have no ability.”

So you can begin to see how this altruism, self-sacrifice, man as a sacrificial animal ties all of this together. This is why this is so fantastically destructive.

Here is in broad terms how collectivism cascades down to the smallest subset. Any time you see someone making an appeal to the “greater good” what they are doing is appealing to the moral standard of altruism to ultimately drive individuals into one of these subsets. Collectivism in the broadest terms encompasses statism. In other words, as an individual your first moral requirement is to the state. The society is a subset of the state depending on common cultural expectations. The tribe is effectively genetic commonality and the political code derived from that. Community encompasses things such as denominations, sects, or the local Calvinist tyrant.

Here is the problem. How can you resist any monstrosity that compels you into any of these things if you must sacrifice your judgment? Under the premise of self-sacrifice, on what moral grounds can you resist government? By what moral standard can you say, “I disagree?” There is none!


Sacrifice is destroying America!

Sacrifice is destroying a free society at its root.
The political leader stands up and says, “Muslims have the right to come to the United States, keep their ideology, and that ideology vows the destruction of America as such.” How can you object?

This is obviously a rhetorical question, because the answer is you can’t. To demand security is to be “selfish”. To demand your own self-interest is to be “selfish”…and therefore morally disqualified. The only moral standard is to sacrifice your security, and consequences be damned. As a committed altruist, you must destroy your values, your goals, your ambitions, your contentment, your LIFE! You have no other choice but to stand idly by, mute in the face of all ideological monstrosity and allow the invasion of your country.

Sacrifice corrupts government.
When it is morally correct to demand sacrifice, it becomes socially correct to compel people to sacrifice. The federal register is filling up with laws that are aimed specifically at compelling people to sacrifice for the “greater good.” For example, Obamacare. It is not about healthcare. It has nothing to do with getting people to a doctor. Obamacare is little more than the government committing armed robbery in the name of morality. Obamacare is a systematic seizing of money from the healthy merely because they are healthy.

At the moment we are a nation stymied by the charge of “selfishness.” In the political sphere, the greatest criticism that anyone can render is that you are selfish. It is effective because it is immediately disqualifying. It doesn’t matter what you are advocating. It doesn’t matter if it’s a better policy. The moment somebody tags with, “you’re selfish,” the discussion is over.

Free people are being browbeat into accepting any treatment, any hostility, any destruction, and any exploitation all in the name of self-sacrifice.

Sacrifice destroys the meaning of words.
Listen to just about any sportscast and you will hear an announcer praise an athlete for his great “unselfish” play. For example, if LeBron James has an opportunity to go for a basket and instead passes the ball to a teammate he is being “unselfish”.

LeBron James

That is objectively ridiculous. LeBron James is probably, next to Michael Jordan, one of the greatest players to ever play the game and one of the most prolific scorers. When LeBron James avoids scoring a basket he is actually penalizing his team because statistically speaking, the ball will probably go through the hoop. It is not unselfishness that’s at issue. It is a failure of conceptual understanding. It is rationally correct for the best scorers to consistently try to score.   So attributing a pass to “unselfishness” is a corruption of words.

But in our culture everything has become an issue of sacrifice. Listen to how often individual actions are being defined as sacrifices. Listen to how often we as a nation qualify our positions with, “I don’t get anything out of this.” Listen to how many times you hear the words, “give back”. Listen to how many times the word sacrifice appears near the word community.

Sacrifice destroys achievement.
Achievement is the product of individuals pursuing their own goals, persevering through obstacles, thinking through the flaws to overcome all challenges and finally arrive at a destination, outcome, or final product. Achievement is the long process of man pursuing values over time, making choices about alternatives in a particular succession until finally refined into the desired outcome. This is why productivity and perseverance are virtues.

Charles Kettering

This process I just described brought about the Write brothers’ first flight, Nikola Tesla’s three-phase electric power, his induction motor, his alternating current, and many, many more achievements. It brought about Charles Kettering’s electric starter motor, car lights, leaded gasoline, and advancements in air conditioning among many achievements.

And yet most people, if they know of these achievements at all, trivialize the achievements because unless these men gave away their money they cannot be moral. By contrast, people will venerate Mother Theresa for her vows of poverty while dismissing the fact that her life of sacrificial giving is only possible because someone achieved air flight, induction motors, electric car starters, advancement in air conditioning, and many more achievements.

Mother Theresa can’t feed anyone…EVER…because Mother Theresa doesn’t create anything.

On the other hand, the farmer had to achieve growing a crop. The trucking company had to achieve getting the food from the farm to someone who would process the raw goods into consumable products. Shipping companies had to achieve the creation of ocean-traveling boats. A thousands achievements from a thousand people pursuing their own values had to occur before Mother Theresa could ever pat someone on the hand and give away food she never aspired to create. Yet her vows of poverty, her “sacrifice”, is held up as the moral ideal.

“Welcome to McDonald’s, may I have your submission, please?”

In a world of achievement where achievement is a virtue, the Mother Theresas of the world, the men and women who live off the abilities of others, would be seen for what they are; freeloading slackers.

This is true of all Calvinist preachers living off the public dole. The only way they make a mortgage payment, or feed their kids, or even buy their first John Piper book is because the people in the pews create real achievements six days out of seven.

You people out there still attending those Calvinist churches, if you ever figure out that the men behind the Plexiglas podium have no right to your money, most of the preachers will starve to death because they aren’t qualified for a job at McDonald’s. You can’t run a McDonald’s chanting, “Submit to authority.” That is the sum of their managerial skills. But I will say that in an achievement-based society, the John Pipers and Kevin DeYoungs of the world (et al) would do a lot less damage if they were limited to saying, “would you like fries with that?”

Sacrifice destroys marriages.
Sacrifice gives Calvinist thugs the moral power to perpetrate their tyranny.

I want to talk about these two together because they go hand in hand. Most people encounter Calvinist thuggery in the middle of a marriage problem. You have serious problems in your marriage and you go to the pastor in an effort to try and get some help. You get to the pastor and the next thing you realize is that you’re “proud”, you’re “arrogant”, and you’re not “sacrificing”. That is almost the universal response.

Then you make the mistake of assuming that your opinion matters on the subject. And the more you decide to defend yourself they more they are convinced of your pride and arrogance.   The truth of the matter is by the time you get to counseling, your marriage is probably already over because the underlying problems have already run their course.

Why do Christians get married? The unromantic answer is, sex. However, once the sex thing begins to ebb and flow and they get past the emotion of it, people finally figure out that sex drive and libido is directly tied to your own sense of self-worth and personal values. The problem is that you’ve been going to a church now for however long that tells you that you can have no value. It’s a death spiral from the outset.

Here is what the ideal would look like. You look in a mirror and you choose four or five things that you really value about who you are. It doesn’t matter what they are. Everyone has their own set of things that they value about themselves. These are your highest values and aspirations. Then when you come to another person and you see those values reflected back in your face it is almost impossible to resist the attraction because you see yourself reflected back. And you know as well as I do that the greatest relationships that you have ever observed happen as a result of having the greatest number of values reflected back.

But here is the problem. You came to the marriage relationship in Christianity believing that sacrifice was the highest ideal, but you have no relationship because you have no values to share. You have nothing in common. Then you have been sitting in the pew for who knows how long, and now you have an endless negotiation on who has sacrificed the most.

The problem is that what you sacrifice is an individual value. The other person in the relationship doesn’t care whether you destroy it or not. All your time in the relationship is spent giving up more and more until eventually you have nothing left. This is why so many marriages, after about 20 years or so of this kind of a relationship, one of the partners finally says, “I’m dead. I have nothing left for you.” The internal emotional pain is so great that they really are dying. But is it any wonder. You have been doing exactly what you have been taught. You have been slowly killing yourself.

Now because of Calvin and Kant, pain has been elevated to a moral primary. But the reality is that pain is a signal that something is wrong. Pain is your signal that there is a problem, and the goal is to get rid of the pain.

At the root of this is an absolute sense of the moral right of your own existence. This is what you can never have in a Calvinist church. This is why Calvinism destroys marriages because it undermines at the root the very people that are involved in the marriage.

As for friends, and this is something that I think really trips people up, you have known some of these people for years and years. Suddenly you are in the middle of what you consider to be a fight for your life and you go to your friends, and you realize that now you don’t have any friends. This is salt on open wounds, because you’re confused. You really honestly believed that these people had your back. No, they would sell you out in a minute for pastoral approval. Now you are stuck because you have so atrophied your sense of self and achievement that you cannot project into the future your own existence. That is probably one of the loneliest places to be in the world.

But I’m going to tell you the truth; you have no one to blame but yourself. You let somebody tell you that your existence was contingent on the approval of other people.

I’m going to cite an excerpt from my book, Blight in the Vineyard. This is from the chapter “Interpersonal Train Wreck”.

Now pause and digest the system dynamic I just laid out in detail and take inventory of the cause of your emotional upheaval. This is why you feel so utterly betrayed and so deeply wounded. This is why you ache with despair that will not go away. You offered the sum of self, and people presumed the moral right to accept or reject the deepest parts of you and call their actions “spiritual.”  They spent your relationship like dollar bills in the pastoral g-string on a private authority lap dance.

No one can sustain this kind of utter personal rejection. No one can sustain others using unearned intimacy to fill out their Christian authenticity balance sheet. So when you rightly complained about the mistreatment, they were brazen in defense, “Forgive me IF I sinned against you, but since I am the authority in this interaction, I can say this conflict really exists because YOU are the problem.”

Sacrifice is the fulcrum of this control.

Here’s the real meaning of the doctrine of self-sacrifice: You are not entitled to your mind, you are not entitled to your ideas, you are not entitled to your own aspirations, goals, or desires. If self-sacrifice is your moral standard, how can you object to any idea? The fact is you have forfeited your right to any personal opinion. You have no moral right to resist the preacher, no matter how atrocious, how grotesque his demands.

Forget the pastoral fictional monopoly on sound doctrine. Forget that they have any authority to dictate any outcome. The minute someone committed to reformed theology say the words, “I think…”, they are disqualified. Your impotence does not come from their authority. You impotence comes from the fact that you don’t value your own existence. If you don’t think that it is morally correct to defend you, then why on earth would anyone else defend you?

This is why most of you have such a terrible time escaping the church that is destroying your soul.

One thing you need to understand, the one thing that men who are committed to authority can never tolerate is the appearance of any dissention. So the only thing they can do is to make effort to segregate you from everything else.

So how do we escape the coming Dark Age? 

It is often said that men will not sacrifice, but as we have seen, sacrifice as the highest moral standard is in human history. We have seen throughout human history that men will sacrifice endlessly. We have seen that men will suffer enormous pains in the name of sacrifice. In National Socialist Germany the German people sacrificed their minds, their time, their production, and their existence to the state.

Indeed the problem of human existence is not the willingness to sacrifice. History proves over and over that men will abundantly sacrifice. What men will not do is stand against the moral monstrosity of sacrifice.

Hanna Arendt

After World War II, Hanna Arendt dug into the roots of tyranny and totalitarian regimes and wrote a lot about the subject.

And just as the law in civilized countries assumes that the voice of conscience tells everybody, “Thou shalt not kill,” even though man’s natural desires and inclinations may at times be murderous, so the law of Hitler’s land demanded that the voice of conscience tell everybody, “Thou shalt kill,” although the organizers of the massacres knew full well that murder is against the normal desires and inclinations of most people. Evil in the Third Reich had lost the quality by which most people recognize it – the quality of temptation. Many Germans and many Nazis, probably an overwhelming majority of them, must have been tempted not to murder, not to rob, not to let their neighbors go off to their doom (for that the Jews were transported to their doom they knew, of course, even though many of them may not have known the gruesome details), and not to become accomplices in these crimes by benefiting from them. But, God knows, they had learned how to resist temptation.

         Hanna Arendt, Eichmann if Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, 1963

And this is exactly what we see playing out in the church- church leaders perpetrating all manner of evil, and the congregation sitting idly by resisting the temptation to object. And what the church does in their buildings is a harbinger of what is to come in American culture. Christians like the idea that America is a “Christian nation”. That’s a problem, because historically, Christian nations have let the blood flow deep and thick in the name of sacrifice.

There has always been an uneasy relationship between the church and the Constitution. Christians love to claim the Constitution when it serves the purpose of religious freedom, but they reject the root constitutional premise. The Constitution presumes that man is an end in himself. The sole purpose of government is to defend the individual in the pursuit of his life, his liberty, and his happiness.

The American Constitution has an implied moral standard: that individual men are entitled to their own lives. Individual men dispose of their lives for their own sake and for their own pleasures. But dare to suggest that man is an end to himself and church people will start chanting “SACRIFICE, SACRIFICE, SACRIFICE!” with all the fervor of the Thuggee cult just before the high priest strangles the latest offering to Kali.

Gospel According to John Immel 7:17
”Sacrifice as the highest moral ideal is the lynch pin of the coming Protestant Dark Age.”

America was the freest, happiest, most prosperous nation in the world because it led the world in individualism. America stands at a precipice. Behind us is the excellent history of liberty, individualism, freedom, values, success, and prosperity. The cliff in front of us falls off into the abyss of sacrifice and injustice and bloodshed and destruction.

Americans are now turning their liberties and freedoms over to the primordial disaster of sacrifice. This does not bode well. Every nation that has walked this path has willingly walked lockstep behind a dictator into mass destruction.

America, if you want to escape the coming Dark Age, be the first people in history to find the courage to resist the temptation of sacrifice.

~ John

John Immel 2016 Session 4 Archive Video (YouTube) Audio Only (mp3)

The Disaster of Sacrifice as the Ultimate Moral Standard – Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 18, 2017

The following is part two of a four-part series.
Taken from John Immel’s second session at the 2016 Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny
~ Edited by Andy Young

Click here for part oneClick here for part three
(Links to the archived files are found below)


I left us with a cliffhanger – Augustine’s flaw in his doctrine.

I’m not going to tell you what that is in this session!

I know, I’m a mean speaker. But before we can get to Augustine’s flaw, I have to dig into this right here, as represented by the chart at the right. I discussed this at length last year at TANC 2015, and effectively I’ve been already talking about this in some fashion for the last five years. This is the order of hierarchy within philosophy.

Now when I say “philosophy,” I really want you to start thinking in terms of here is how man integrates his mind. The foundation is metaphysics. The next level up is epistemology; how man knows what he knows. Notice how epistemology is the largest area of study in the whole construct, because it deals with how man integrates his world. From that understanding we arrive at action in accord with “good.” This is ethics. And so the question we really need to ask is what is ethics? What is human moral action? Since we’re talking about sacrifice as the highest moral ideal, we need to get into this question – what is sacrifice?

Let me ask you this. When someone demands that you sacrifice for the “greater good”, or the local church, what exactly are they asking you to do? Perhaps some of you may answer:

  • Give money
  • Give what you have produced
  • Give of your time
  • Give of your efforts

Here is the real root of what they are asking – sacrifice is the destruction of something. What is being destroyed?

Something of value!

When they ask you to sacrifice to the local church they ask you to give money. That money really represents your personal heartbeats, your personal intellectual efforts, your personal physical efforts. Human production is distilled into money, and that becomes a medium of exchange. So when somebody says they want you to sacrifice, they are asking you to get rid of it on your own behalf, to destroy value.

So the next question is, what are values?

Values are that which one acts to gain or keep.

So let’s break this down. There are two conditions for the concept of values to be possible.   First of all, values presupposes a value-er; an entity or being to whom the object is of value. This means that value requires a certain kind of entity; a being capable of generating action toward a goal or an end. This is very important, particularly in light of what I talked about last year regarding determinism. In a determinist world there can be no such concept as value because a determined entity has to self-oriented/goal-oriented action.   A determined entity cannot have values.

Second of all, in order for the concept of values to be possible, values presupposes an alternative. This means that different outcomes are possible and that the entity’s actions make the difference. As an entity, whatever outcome I bring upon myself is directly related to my actions. A thing is outside the concept of values if action is irrelevant. If you are guaranteed to have or not to have something regardless of action toward or away from that thing, then it cannot be a value.

So the next logical question is what entities fulfill these requirements? The answer is, living organisms; the only beings capable of goal-directed action. Living organisms are confronted with a fundamental alternative.  A living organism must act in accord with its nature to sustain its life. A living organism is not a passive reactor to its environment. A living organism is driven by a singular goal; the perpetuation of its life. By contrast, inanimate matter does not. It exists regardless of its action; it takes no action. Material matter might change form, buts its existence is perpetual independent of any action.

So value implies alternative, and here is the fundamental alternative in the universe: existence or non-existence; life or death. This alternative can only apply to living beings. The existence of inanimate matter is un-conditional. The existence of living beings is conditional, specifically on their pursuit of values to sustain their life. Life requires a specific course of action because living organisms are constantly confronted with life or death.

Ponder that for a moment because this is crucial to what comes next.

A living entity must take action in accord with its nature to survive, therefore life is a certain kind of motion. Death by contrast is stillness. Death is the state where action stops. To achieve death, just stop moving; stop eating, drinking, anything. You’ll get death just as fast as you possibly can.

Next question: How do living beings sustain their life? They seek to acquire things that are valuable. Only entities that must act to acquire specific things to sustain their existence can be said to hold values. Water is valuable because it is a component of life. Air is valuable because it is a component of life. Food is valuable because it is a component of life. Living things seek things out because those things sustain life.

Life makes the concept Value possible

The progression goes like this:

                Life → Values → GOOD

  • That which furthers an organism’s life is the GOOD.
  • That which undermines life is the EVIL.

All living organisms act towards their goals. Most organisms take their actions based on instinct. Man by contrast is a being of volitional conceptual consciousness. Man has no built-in standard of values. He is not guided by instincts. He has no automatic code of survival. Indeed, he has no automatic sense of self-preservation. Babies would die almost immediately if not cared for. How much of parenting is dedicated just to keep kids from killing themselves? Man does not come out of the womb ready to engage the world in which he lives. He needs a very specific set of ideas to make that happen.

Also notice that man does not automatically value life as such. Probably one of the greatest examples of this is Islam. Islam is based on the predicate assumption that men will destroy themselves in the name of Allah. And you can find that same mindset applied to Calvin’s doctrine. How many people in churches are willing to destroy their own lives in service to these higher concepts? They don’t specifically value their lives as such.

It is crucial to understand that learning to love and value life as such, and human life in particular as well as your own life, is an achievement. It is a philosophical achievement that has a very specific set of ideas in place. So man must choose to value life in general, and to be successful he must value his life in particular. So for man to live he must identify the correct values and then choose to follow those values.

And so here is man’s root need for morality. Morality is the proper code of values to sustain human life. Man needs ethics to live. He needs to have way to put what he knows into action to know how to successfully live. This is a crucial development in human history. We have already addressed the fact that historically man has not understood this point. It took Western culture almost 1,700 years to even get within a hint of this concept.

Man requires that he chooses his values to live, which means he chooses between moral action and immoral action. Moral action is that which sustains and facilitates his life. Immoral action is that which is going to kill him. Now those actions have context and much more development behind them, but the point is to understand why man needs a moral code.

Man’s Life/Man’s Character

Life → Values → GOOD → Morality → Ethics → Character

Morality is the standard that facilitates life. Ethics is the moral code. And when a man persists in consistently taking value-driven actions, that is what shapes his character.

And with this in mind you can begin to understand why Augustine and Calvin’s doctrines are so fundamentally hostile to human existence. You can begin to grasp why I have said at every TANC session that Calvinism is the single-most disastrous body of doctrine ever perpetrated on man. The single abiding standard in Calvin’s doctrine is the death of human existence. Calvin’s repudiation of human value is absolute. This is why sacrifice, continued and on-going sacrifice, is so central to Calvin’s doctrine. Calvin hates man’s existence as such and has created a full philosophical statement to facilitate man’s destruction.

So now we can answer the question that I asked at the beginning; what is sacrifice? Sacrifice is the destruction of values. And this should be a big “Ah Hah!” moment:

  • To demand sacrifice is to demand non-existence
  • To demand sacrifice is to demand death

Having said all that, I close this segment with these two questions:

How is there any benevolence in sacrifice?
And how have human being been so duped into believing there is virtue in death?

…To be continued

John Immel 2016 Session 2 Archive Video (YouTube)  Audio Only (mp3)

The Disaster of Sacrifice as the Ultimate Moral Standard – Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 17, 2017

The following is part one of a four-part series.
Taken from John Immel’s first session at the 2016 Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny
~ Edited by Andy Young

Click here for part twoClick here for part three
(Links to the archived files are found below)


We get to talk about philosophy!

The Gospel According to John Immel, chapter 3:1-3

  1. All people act logically from their assumptions.
  2. It does not matter how inconsistent the ideas or insane the rationale. They will act until that logic is fulfilled.
  3. Therefore, when you see masses of people taking the same destructive actions, if you find the assumptions, you will find the cause.

Here is the fundamental premise that I’m trying to bring to light. People act consistently from their body of ideas. They will fulfill that logical conclusion. They cannot escape it because human beings are designed to integrate their concepts from the most basic premises all the way to the highest concepts.

This explanation is best captured in the diagram at the right. My claim to fame within TANC Ministries is to discuss the roots of tyranny. Where does tyranny come from, and why does it exist? This is my contribution to philosophy. I’ve identified five pillars which are the basis for all tyranny. I’ve arranged them into a spider web because I want you to understand that they are all inter-connected. These are not stand-alone events: universal guilt, incompetent masses, collective conformity, abolition of ambition, and dictated good.

In all tyrannies, you will find these fundamental doctrines (and I don’t care if the tyranny is communist, socialist, or Calvinist) behind the arguments that people use to sustain such tyranny.

Man organizes his ideas in a hierarchy.   I laid this out consistently in both the 2012 and 2013 TANC conferences – find the assumption and you will find the cause. One of the most challenging things I think people have when they are evaluating the content of ideas is learning to see root principles; learning to see what is at the bottom of what everyone is thinking.

To do that you have to learn to think philosophically. All men organize their ideas into a cohesive whole, and that science is called philosophy. Now they might not be aware of it, it may not be explicit, but all men have an integration of their ideas. In the world of philosophy that process goes by these sub-divisions or disciplines:

Disciplines of Philosophy

– Metaphysics

– Epistemology

– Ethics

– Politics

– Aesthetics (art)

The nature of existence is metaphysics. How man knows what he knows is called epistemology. How we value what we know is ethics. (The bulk of this series will involve the discussion of ethics) How we interact with people is politics. And how man creatively reflects his existence back to himself is called aesthetics or art.

This series of discussions will focus on the central ethical assumption of the Western world, indeed, the whole world:

Gospel According to John Immel 7:17
”Sacrifice as the highest moral ideal is the lynch pin of the coming Protestant Dark Age.”

Ponder that for a minute.

You can see that I crossed out the word “Protestant”, and I did that, not to minimize Calvinist Christianity’s role in the coming Dark Age, but to emphasize that Western culture is heading towards a collapse. The Western world is committing ideological treason to the ideas that brought liberty and light to the whole world. The Western world’s central philosophical betrayal is the renewed embrace of the primary ethic of sacrifice. Twenty-first century man has decided to abandon the power of individualism a replace it with the primordial ethics of shamens, tribal warlords, and despots.

There is no small irony that in the Western slide into self-destruction, Christianity is paving the way with Augustinian and Calvinist doctrines from ages past that have already proved what they will create. They have already proved that the ideas taken to their logical conclusion will create death, poverty, suffering, and darkness.

It is ironic because Christians like to pretend they are ethical innovators. They love to talk about being separate from the world, and that being “worldly” is the same as being evil, that as Christians they have unique and transforming ideas. Christianity likes to pretend that it originated all the good ideas, and only the bad ideas exist in the world. Christians like to think that self-sacrifice is a wholly unique Christian concept that started when Jesus hung on the cross. They like to think that the world is committed to selfishness and ego, and individuals engaging in self-interest are “worldly.”

But like most myths, when studied beyond the surface it becomes clear that Christianity regularly steals its ideas from other sources. It becomes clear that Christianity repackages worldly ideas and presents them in its own name. For example: taking over Sunday as a day of divine service (it was originally a Greco-Roman holiday dedicated to Zeus); taking over a pagan winter festival and decorating trees and calling it “Christmas”; and probably amongst the most egregious rip-offs in history is the ex-appropriation of Jewish scriptures as the source of Christian authority all the while persecuting and killing the very people to whom the documents were written.

So here is the myth revealed: Christianity did not invent sacrifice for the “greater good”. Indeed, the oldest of all worldly ideas is sacrifice as the highest moral standard. The oldest moral standard known to man, practiced in all cultures and in all continents, is the foundational premise that man must sacrifice himself, must sacrifice his self-interest for the gods, for the tribe, for the people, for the king, for the nation, and the “greater good.”

For the whole of human history, it has been presumed that man is a sacrificial animal. Don’t be deceived that because we don’t see virgins tied to alters and priests holding bloody knives that we in the twenty-first century are more enlightened. We are not. Indeed, the nature of sacrifice today is more pervasive, more destructive, and more vicious. In ages past a sacrifice was done to receive a favor from the gods. It was expected that the destruction of one value would provide something of greater value. Today it is presumed that to receive any benefit from a sacrifice disqualifies the action. Today we sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice alone.

The result is the modern man is offered two existential options:

Sadism – sacrifice enforced as the hands of others
Masochism – self-inflicted sacrifice

Sacrifice is destroying America!

  • Sacrifice is destroying a free society at the root
  • Sacrifice corrupts government
  • Sacrifice destroys achievement
  • Sacrifice destroys the meaning of words
  • Sacrifice destroys marriages
  • Sacrifice gives Calvinist thugs the moral power to perpetrate their tyranny.

But before we trip too far down that path I want to give you a sense of history.

Sumerians – 3500 BCE
From the land of Ur, kings were gods, and the people were created to serve the gods. Fertility was the most sought-after boon from the gods. To acquire these boons people gave sacrifices. There were sacrifices of animals, and there were sacrifices of grain, and there were sacrifices of people. There belief was that the sacrifice of people made it possible to follow the king into the after-life. If was also a common practice for women to sacrifice themselves to follow their husbands into the after-life.

Hindu Vedas – 1700 BCE to 1100 BCE
The belief that the Vedas are divinely inspired documents without human authors. Within these scriptures they detail human sacrifice. Some scholars say that human sacrifice was continued in Bengal in the ancient world through the 19th century. The Thuggee cult that was dramatized in the film, Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom was real. They followed Kali, the goddess of destruction, and it is believed they killed somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 million people!

Shang Dynasty – 1523 BCE to 1050 BCE
The Chinese culture was dominated by ancestor worship. When a man died he passed into the “upper regions.” These ancestors had the power to impact the lives of descendants back down on earth. To inspire these ancestors to act on their behalf, people on earth gave sacrifices – animals, food, grain, wine, and other men. It was believed than man’s abasement before the spirits by offering these sacrifices would show the correct humility so that they might be worthy of good fortune. When the kings died, it was common practice to slaughter members of his elite guard and bury them in the tombs to guard the Shang kings in the after-life.

Abraham (Abram) – 1700 BCE
Now consider the geographical region of these first three civilizations: Mesopotamia (Middle East), India, and China. The Bible in the book of Genesis tells about a man named Abram who came from this very same general region, Ur of the Chaldeans.

“Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there.” ~ Genesis 11:31

“After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.” ~ Genesis 22:1-3

There are two things I want you to see from these passages. First, notice where Abraham and his whole family is from; Ur, the land of the Sumerians. Second, notice that Abraham never considers the command to sacrifice Isaac to be something unusual.   The chances are that he was not the first man to believe that some god somewhere told him to sacrifice his child.

This is very important. Abraham would have been amidst a pantheon of gods. In his culture, everywhere he looked there was a god. And he has this personal God of his own called “Yehowah” (Jehovah) who isn’t know to too many people, if anybody other than Abraham. His household knows Him simply because they have seen Abraham prosper because of Him. So this obscure God says to this man, “Go kill your kid,” – there’s nothing abnormal here to Abraham’s mind.

It is crucial that you understand that at no point in history is sacrifice as a concept unique. Let that sink in for a moment.

Pythagoreans – 570 BCE
I did a full analysis on the Pythagoreans and their impact on Western thought at the 2013 TANC Conference. But a brief review is in order. Their abiding and enduring impact begins with their contributions to music and mathematics. However their greater impact on Western culture is metaphysical. What they offer is profound and unique.

The Pythagoreans celebrate sunrise.

“Man has two parts, a high part and a low part. The low part is the body, the high part the soul. These two are in eternal conflict with each other. The soul is akin to God, to another dimension. Once, it was a god-like creature, inhabiting another, superior, spiritual world. But it sinned. And the result was it fell from grace. And as punishment was included in the body on this earth. The body is therefore the prison, the tomb of the soul. And we are destined, each of us, to go through a series of “reincarnations”. At the end of our earthly span, our soul goes back to the other world, and it gets the appropriate reward or punishment (depending upon its behavior), and then it comes around again, what they call the “wheel of birth.” Sometimes it comes up in another human body, sometimes in an animal body. It lives out its cycle…until…the soul can escape from this body and earth permanently, reunite once and for all with God, and thereby achieve true happiness and salvation…

“How do you [get to it]?…purification…you have to live a good life…an ascetic life…[but] the Pythagoreans at their most ascetic are frenzied hedonists in comparison to the Christians that are yet to come…”

“…to be free of the flesh is man’s highest ethical ideal.”

You can hear the echoes of later Christian doctrine all over this. Here is what the Pythagoreans did. For the first time there was formal concept of man divided against himself – that man was actually two things; spiritual and material. The spiritual was good and the material was functionally evil. They are the developers of human depravity in Western thought.

Most cultures prior to this accepted that the gods were to be revered and their domains were set apart, but it was assumed that man had a right to engage or interact with the gods on some level. The divine was not specifically hostile to man as such, and man by definition could beseech the gods and get boons from them. The Pythagorean premise begins the separation between the material and the spiritual.

Now to my knowledge the Pythagoreans do not participate in human sacrifice in the literal meaning, but they introduce what amounts to a “living death.” For the first time in philosophical history, the presumption is that this stuff (body, matter) that we inhabit is somehow functionally and morally wrong.


Plato to Plotinus to Augustine

Plotinus

I detailed the is a previous conference, but I never get tired of pointing this out. Augustine’s theological pedigree is rooted in Plato’s philosophy via the neo-platonist Plotinus. Plato’s The Republic basically says this: Lesser men are driven by their passions and not fit to rule themselves. Lesser men must subordinate themselves (a.k.a. sacrifice) their base nature to the Philosopher Kings. This is the appropriate order of the world.

Those intellectuals who have the ability to formulate a full philosophical statement, as Plato did, are the ones with the most intellectual power. It is very difficult for people to be philosophical and intellectual innovators. One percent of one percent of one percent of one percent of people in world history will every try to do such a thing. Most people uncritically adopt philosophical statements from whomever they are learning.

Plotinus picks up ideas from the Pythagoreans, the Cynics, and the Stoics who all believed in the soul/body dichotomy, a doctrine which metastasizes as it develops throughout history. While the Pythagoreans would have been considered raving hedonists by comparison, by the time we get to the Cynics, their commitment to the destruction of the body is transcendent. And this is what Plotinus picks up on. By the time we get to Plotinus, he is determined to philosophically eradicate the material world as such, and that specifically means the body.

Plotinus drops all vestiges of the humanist element in Plato’s philosophy. What I mean by that is while Platos’s ideas were wrong, he still held that humanity had virtue. He believed man had value and he still advocated for the betterment of man, but Plato’s was not a religious position even though it had religious elements. But by the time we get to Plotinus, the religious element of spirit-good/matter-evil had reached a peak.

Plotinus probably would have faded into oblivion had it not been for Augustine. Augustine uses Plotinus’ anti-material metaphysic and weaves the Pythagorean’s soul/body dichotomy into Christianity. Augustine said that the nature of man’s sacrifice is individual. This is important. Up until Augustine, men didn’t really consider themselves individuals. They might have identified that they were sole people, but they were always part of something larger. Their nationalities mattered, their participation in the tribe mattered, they conceptualized themselves in the collective mindset. Augustine is the first philosopher to introduce individuality and more importantly, a morbid introspection. Most of you are very keen on doing self-analysis and looking inside and then finding your flaws. This is Augustine’s heritage.

He metastasizes the Pythagorean concept of asceticism and turns it on human life as such. Life qua life is the greatest threat to define existence. The whole of this theology has a singular aim; to make man’s life unlivable and make death the moral ideal.

So now here is the problem. Augustine’s doctrine becomes the de facto standard of Christian orthodoxy for effectively the next thousand years. He stands intellectually unopposed.   There is no legitimate intellectual resistance to Augustine’s doctrine until St. Thomas Aquinas. The reason he is so successful at this is because his doctrine is both heresy and treason to oppose. In other words, it is backed by government power.

The logical conclusion of a doctrine that condemns is called asceticism. Asceticism is the soul/body dichotomy – the intentional destruction of the evil material world put into practice. It is no longer a theory. The kind of asceticism the worked its way across Europe was the practice of trying to incrementally destroy the body. Consider the lengths to which they went to destroy the body: staring into the sun until blind so as not to lust after women, sitting on rocks until their legs wasted away, drinking dirty laundry water.

So Christian Europe basically decides that the apostle Paul’s metaphor to beat his body into submission is to be taken literally. Asceticism was the social ideal during the Dark Ages. The problem is, you can’t really practice asceticism because it will kill you, yet the cultural heroes were all ascetics. They are individually self-destructive but they are held up as a moral ideal. They are venerated even though you don’t really do what they do.

This is the mind set of the European Dark Ages. The Dark Ages are dark in principle because the ideas behind the societal action are dark in principle. If your metaphysics is dark, man can’t know anything because his epistemology, what he knows, his mind, is dark. If his mind is dark, by definition he seeks out darkness. He values darkness. He seeks to destroy. And that means his politics, how he interacts with people, is by definition destructive. Notice the progression. You start with the Augustinian premise of original sin and self-destruction, man is materially and fundamentally evil, it results in a logical conclusion.

Four hundred years after Jesus came preaching life in the covenants of promise, Christianity becomes a cult of death that rules the world with a nihilistic iron fist. But for all of the destruction that Augustine’s ideas created he had one flaw in his theology. He left one avenue of self-interest in his doctrine. That flaw left the world one last glimmer of hope, one last place for man to escape the destruction of human sacrifice. That flaw would remain in human thought for about a thousand years.

…To be continued

John Immel 2016 Session 1 Archive Video (YouTube)  Audio Only (mp3)

2016 TANC Conference Archives Completed!

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on September 12, 2016

John Immel on Liberty as an Achievement

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on September 9, 2016

This clip is from John Immel’s 2nd session at the 2016 Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny.  John is commenting on the uniqueness of liberty as an achievement and what separates western thought from the rest of the world.

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