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 3

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 20, 2017

The following is part three of a four-part series.
Taken from John Immel’s third 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 four
(Links to the archived files are found below)


So I left us with a cliffhanger two sessions ago. So let’s start the discussion of the greatest philosophical villains in human history. Do you remember the question? Augustine had a central flaw in his doctrine. Now when I said that, of course the question is when someone says “flaw” they assume that to mean “wrong”. But what I am saying is that Augustine was actually fantastically consistent with his doctrine. He would not have considered this a flaw. However, it turned out to be a flaw because it opened the door later for other people to step in and challenge his root assumptions.

That flaw gave the world one last glimmer of hope; one last place for man to escape the destruction of human sacrifice. If you are an American Christian in the twenty-first century, and in particular within a reformed school with reformed teachers, 90% of what is taught is Augustine, which means 90% of what you believe is Plato. Augustine condemned every expression of human existence, every pleasure, every aspiration, every value.   But Augustine left one thing for man to desire – the desire to go to Heaven!

Here is why this is important. For all of the sacrifice that Augustine is trying to lay on human existence, for all of the self-imposed destruction that Augustine is after, he still allows for this highest virtue (going to Heaven) and he says that all of these things that you sacrifice will ultimately impact on some level the ability to get to Heaven. Augustine is not at all consistent in this assertion, but it’s there. The vestige of this possibility is there.

Now here is what this means in practicality. There is still a relationship between action and outcome, so moral action can produce a moral outcome. In Susan Dohse’s session yesterday she was talking about how the church got into the middle of marriage. It was fascinating listening to the old thinkers basically point out that if you were in marriage and you still abstained you could gain for yourself a better salvation by virtue of this sacrifice. This is exactly the concept I am telling you persisted within Augustinian thought. The successive thinkers still believed that there was some form of moral action that man could take that would produce this given outcome. In other words, man could have values and he could choose those values and get a given outcome.

Now this is crucial because this little shred of possible benefit to human existence actually keeps the door open just enough that by the time we get to the 14th and 15th century we have man in pursuit of a different understanding of his own existence. We have man realizing that he can take actions that benefit his life.

That little itty bitty crack starts to get wider that by the time we get to St. Thomas Aquinas we have the re-institutionalization of reason, and so now we have the first formal presentation of Aristotle which is effectively man-centered/earth-centered (much to the chagrin of the Catholics). So here is St. Thomas Aquinas who ultimately lays the theological foundation that makes it possible for man to have his own existence. That was around 1250.

Fast-forward a few years and we finally get to the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment.

Now here’s the thing. The Age of Reason and the Enlightenment might have been successful – there were so many advances in human prosperity, human development, human understanding from effectively the 16th century to the 18th century that the church may never have recovered. They church knew it was on the verge of being laughed out of existence.

Now were are introduced to the first villains.

John Calvin’s doctrine closed the door on human self-interest as such. His doctrine of double-imputed depravity and the corollary doctrine of progressive sanctification eliminates even a trace of self-interest in God’s salvation plan.

Calvin was clear, man can have to trace, no hint, no breath of good inside him. Any aspiration to any value, any good, is proof-positive of total depravity. That’s his logic.   So man is even morally condemned for wanting to want to go to Heaven. Philosophically speaking, John Calvin made it morally an existential liability separating the moral from the practical absolutely.

So with Augustine there was a vestige of moral practicality. He could aspire to go to Heaven. Whether God would elect him was another issue, but man could at least wish. But in Calvin, even the desire to go to Heaven was proof of moral corruption.

Immanuel Kant


Immanuel Kant

In the course of human history, John Calvin’s work becomes the defining expression of Christianity in the 16th century. And it is my contention that without his philosophical systems saturating the whole of European thought, Immanuel Kant would have remained a fussy little Puritan in Königsberg, Prussia. I will lay Kant’s success at Calvin’s feet.

Without Calvin’s specific brand of total depravity drilled into the minds of European thinkers I submit that intellectuals would not have been theologically predisposed to accepting Immanuel Kant’s premise. In a moment you will see why I say that.

In the 2014 TANC Conference I explained how man climbed out of the primordial ooze of Augustinian thought, through Aristotle to the likes of men such as John Locke. By the time we get to the 17th century philosophers are aware that they need a new start. They need to throw off Augustinian metaphysical and epistemological framework. They know that mysticism and dogmatism wreck everything is touches. Revelation does not work as an epistemological standard. Faith was merely government-enforced superstitions. Dogmatism was really despotism. Despotism lead to oppression and poverty.

This new method of understanding the world was called reason, thus the Age of Reason. The Enlightenment was the full cultural acceptance of the Aristotelian premise. The fundamentals of the Enlightenment were:

  • The world is rational
  • Man is rational
  • The universe is benevolent
  • Man can understand the world and master its secrets

Metaphysically this meant man was competent to understand his own world. This was revolutionary.   So then politically, men were born free and no longer predestined to servitude. Serfdom dies, slavery takes a mortal blow, man challenges the traditional bastions of power, and people start restraining religious tyrants and mystic despots.

I have already said this repeatedly. Liberty and freedom as you and I understand it is a philosophical achievement. It is not an accident. Which means you cannot couple liberty and freedom with the doctrines of the Dark Ages (read Augustine and Calvin). They are antithetical to one another.

By the 18th century the church, both Protestant and Catholic, knew that it was in great danger of being laughed out of existence. The church needed a “savior”, and his name wasn’t Jesus. His name was Immanuel Kant. Consider the following citation of Kant’s:

“I cannot even make the assumption – as the practical interests of morality require – of God, freedom, and immortality, if I do not deprive speculative reason of its pretensions to transcendent insight.

For to arrive at these, it must make use of principles which, in fact, extend only to the objects of possible experience, and which cannot be applied to objects beyond this sphere without converting them into phenomena, and thus rendering the practical extension of pure reason impossible. I must therefore abolish knowledge to make room for belief.

~ Preface to Second Edition, Critique of Practical Reason , B XXX

Kant is rough reading, and he is so intentionally with the aim to make you loose confidence in your ability to understand. Let me attempt to translate this for you.

The practical interests of morality require the belief in God. But I cannot even make the assumption of God, freedom, and immortality if I do not deprive reason of it’s pretensions to transcendent insight (read omniscience).

For to arrive at God, freedom, and immortality, reason must make use of principles. Principles can only extend to the objects of possible experience. Reason cannot be applied to objects beyond this sphere – to things in transcendent dimensions – without reducing the things of the transcendent into the realm of possible experience. Or said another way, reason deals with reality, not mystical worlds. Because reason is “limited” to reality, and by existence “pure” reason – reason attached to nothing, limited by nothing, is impossible.

To make it possible for men to once again have religion, I will abolish knowledge to make room for belief.

His whole point here is, because reason is attached to the material world it cannot possibly be omniscient, and because it can’t be omniscient it can’t know God, but without God we don’t have morality. Therefore Kant said it was his goal to destroy reason for the sake of religion. And he actually did a pretty good job.

Kant was a genius. In the world of philosophy, the comprehensive nature of what he did is probably only paralleled by Plato and Aristotle. So he is no lightweight. I am not qualified to discuss the full scope of Kant’s thought. I’m not even going to try. It would be very tedious and would take us weeks to get through. For the sake of this discussion I am only going to give you a summary of what he taught.

The real world is unknowable and reality doesn’t exit. Man makes up his own reality.

Huh? Who would believe that? Well, pretty much the whole Western world. Let me give that in more detail. Man cannot know what Kant calls the “nominal world”. The nominal world is the “real world”. Kant describes this realm as things in themselves, for a whole list of reasons that we won’t discuss. By contrast man does know what Kant calls the “phenomenal world”. Reason knows this world because he makes it up, and he knows this phenomenal world through a whole series of processes that is also beyond the scope of this discussion. His logic goes like this:

Because man has eyes he can’t see things in themselves. Because man has ears he can’t hear the nominal world. Because he has skin he can’t feel. Because he has a tongue he can’t taste. Because he has a mind he can’t know anything.

Kant’s progression of thought goes like this:

Metaphysics – The world is divided between the nominal and the phenomenal
→ Epistemology – Because man has no access to the nominal world, man has no true knowledge.

With this in mind, knowing how all of these ideas integrate, what do you suppose Kant’s ethics are? Here is Kant’s argument. Since man can’t know the nominal world, the “real world”, he most certainly can’t know his real self. So man’s phenomenal self has a moral duty to a set of moral commands. He calls the source of morality the categorical imperative, a non-mythical, non-earthly set of commands.

So here’s a question. If the commands don’t come from heaven and they don’t come from earth, where do they come from? They come from man’s perfectly nominal self, a self which he can’t know. Dizzying, right? Don’t worry about it, the only thing that matters is that man performs his duty to the categorical imperative.

How does man act on this categorical imperative? This is a challenge, because Kant thinks man’s will is handicapped. Kant has his own brand of bondage of the will. You theology aficionados should know that the bondage of the will is the doctrine central to Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation.

“…for the will stands at the crossroads halfway between its a priori principle which is formal (nominal world) and its posteriori incentive which is material (phenomenal world)”

Basically what Kant is saying is your will stands nowhere. That’s his point. Your will is ineffective because it is in neither place.   His solution to the will being nowhere, on how it’s handicapped, is what he calls duty. Here’s how it goes. Because the will can’t really do anything because it doesn’t sit anywhere, man has to have a method by which he can take action, and he calls that duty.

“Thus the first proposition of morality is that to have genuine moral worth an action must be done from duty. The second proposition is an action done from duty does not have its moral worth in the purpose which is to be achieved through it but in the maxim whereby it is determined. Its moral value therefore does not depend on the realization of the object of the action but merely on the principle of the volition by which the action is done irrespective of the objects of the faculty of desire…

…The third principle as a consequence of the two preceding I would express as follows: duty is the moral necessity to do an action from respect for law.”

~ Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals

 That’s a very wordy way of saying that the only choice you have is to take action on this thing called duty. That action has no intrinsic moral worth. It doesn’t matter what the outcome is. In fact the outcome is antithetical to its moral value.

Now remember what I told you John Calvin did. John Calvin separated morality from practicality. Immanuel Kant has just created the secular version of the exact same concept. Kant is saying that there is no relationship between morality and action. They are hostile to one another. But, O, it gets worse!

“…The submission of [man’s] will to a law without the intervention of another influence on [his] mind…is a far more worthy purpose of man’s existence…the supreme condition to which the private purposes of man must for the most part defer.”

~ Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals

Man’s highest purpose is to be done in accordance with law because it is his duty to act and for no other reason. He doesn’t need a reason because reason is irrelevant to moral action. So now we have a problem. Man cannot know reality, the judgment of his mind is irrelevant, and man’s will to act is morally impotent. How then can man be sure he is taking moral action?

“It is a duty to preserve one’s life, and moreover everyone has a direct inclination to do so. But for that reason the often anxious care which most men take of it has no intrinsic worth, and the maxim of doing so has no moral import. They preserve their lives according to duty but not from duty. But if adversities and hopeless sorrow completely take away the relish for life, if an unfortunate man, strong in soul, is indignant rather than despondent or dejected over his fate and wishes for death, and yet preserves his life without loving it and from neither inclination nor fear but from duty, then his maxim has moral import.”

~ Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals

Your moral value is only apparent if you are in pain. What Kant is really saying is man’s inclination to preserve his life has no moral value, but if a man who is faced with all manner of suffering decides it would be better to die and still chooses the duty to preserve his life, then that man has moral worth. The only way to know if man is doing a moral action is if acting out of duty creates pain.

Think about that for a minute.

Kant’s version of sacrifice then is absolute. He even outdid Calvin in this regard. Calvin said there is no moral action, period. Kant specifically says that moral action is only accomplished by suffering.

Duty = Morality = Soul-crushing PAIN

The result of such ethics is the politics of Sadism. That is the only thing available to you in your own existence. Notice that this places sacrifice as the highest philosophical principle. Human sacrifice is done for the sake of human sacrifice in pain.

By way of comparison, consider the following:

“That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the invisible things of God as though they were clearly perceptible in those things which have actually happened”

“He deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross.”

~ Martin Luther, The Heidelberg Disputation, Theses 19 and 20

It should be apparent that Kant’s philosophy is the secular version of the exact same body of doctrine that was being rejected out of hand by the intellectual world. Now the intellectuals in Europe and America suddenly have the ability to have the exact same sacrificial doctrine with a legitimate secular twist. We don’t have to claim it was God telling us it’s our job to sacrifice, we can now find an acceptable secular reason why people must sacrifice. And why must we sacrifice? Because our political powers require that they have authority and control over the masses.

Let’s evaluate. Life requires the pursuit of values, but duty requires that man receive no values to any action. Proof of moral action = PAIN. Therefore the ideal moral state is total moral dissipation; total non-value; a total state of self-imposed ongoing agony. Man’s desire must collide with his duty. Man must rebel against his desires. Man must feel pain in the conflict.

Kant’s philosophy is a perfect secular overlay of Calvin’s doctrine. Kant requires that you desire to live at the highest possible level of love and happiness and achievement but relish every wound that strikes those down. Kant is advocating a slow, leisurely, prolonged death by sado-masochism. Kant is advocating self-sacrifice as an end in itself.

Now most people don’t know this background to this next word – altruism. When most people think of altruism they think of generosity. This word altruism was coined by a man named August Compte to describe man’s proper relationship to other men. In Utopia, all men would sacrifice their interest to all other men. Here is the problem, when people hear “altruism,” they think of love, empathy, humanity, or generosity, but this is a profound error.

Altruism really means that man’s first a primary reason for existence is the benefit of other men. His first mortgage on his life is paid to every other person he sees. You don’t have the right to draw breath because somebody else draws breath. Notice that this is not kindness or generosity. It is not kindness or generosity to give $5 to a homeless man. Why? Because the homeless man is entitles to your $5. And for you to be truly moral, you must suffer when you give that $5. You don’t give it to him because it makes you feel good. You don’t give it to him because you’ll go to Heaven. You don’t give it to him for any other reason than you are going to suffer because you gave him the $5 he was entitled to.

It is not humane for a doctor to heal the sick. The sick have the right to his knowledge just because they exist and just because they are sick. And to be truly moral, the doctor should heal the other people while those he loves, the people he values, suffer.

It is not love for a man to dedicate himself to his wife. He must hold all men as equal value, and he must sacrifice his wife’s well-being if he gains pleasure from that well-being. The bottom line for most marriages is that it is my duty to love you even if I don’t love you.

So let’s cut to the chase. Under altruism, man is the property of all other men. Property is the right to exercise power; to dispose of, to keep, to the exclusion of other interests. So if you are the property of other men, then politically they are morally correct to use force against you to dispose of you however they see fit.

This is the secular version that sanctions the ability of people to “raise awareness” about some cause and then compel other people to do what they want them to do. If you moral obligation is sacrifice, and you are the property of other men, then you have no moral right to what you can do, make, be, whatever, it doesn’t matter. Your sole purpose and function in this lifetime is for the disposition of other people. And if some people refuse to sacrifice it is moral for men to kill the selfish people.

How can murder be moral? Under Kant it’s actually very simple. (Actually, this is true under both Calvin and Kant’s moral framework.) As long as the tyrant does not want to kill people, and he does so at no personal gain, and for the benefit of other people, it is moral to kill 7 million Jews. The moral standard basically says you can do any action as long as you don’t enjoy it, indeed if you suffer from it and you do it on behalf of other people it doesn’t matter what you do next.

Here is why this has become so important. Most men couldn’t express their ideas in terms of metaphysics and epistemology. They don’t know what that means, and they don’t care. Most people encounter a philosophical system at the point of ethics. Yet their ethics implies a pre-supposed metaphysical and epistemological framework. That is how they get sucked into the problem.

Most people encounter Calvinism at the moral point. They go to church and are told what is good and moral and what is evil. Eventually they realize that why things are good and bad are directly related to specific metaphysical and epistemological presumptions. Then they go to the pastors, and the pastors assume it is their right to compel them to any given action. It is all consistent through the entire progression.

That’s where we are in American history. And now you understand why I said before that man’s moral choice is either:

Sadism – sacrifice enforced at the hands of others

Masochism – self-inflicted sacrifice.

Here’s what Calvin and Kant really created. Morality is man’s executioner. There is an absolute breach between morality and action. Man can never ever ever ever hold a value. Man must sacrifice his values in the most painful means possible, which means that Kant closed the door on human value with ruthless precision. It is for this achievement that Kant is the true destroyer of humanity, and altruism is the evil that saturates American Christian churches.

…To be continued.


John Immel 2016 Session 3 Archive Video (YouTube) Audio Only (mp3)

Click here for part oneClick here for part twoClick here for part four

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 History of Western Philosophy and Its Societal Impact on the Church – Part 8

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on February 15, 2017

The following is the final part of an eight-part series.
Taken from John Immel’s third session
at the 2013 Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny
~ Edited by Andy Young

Click here for part one
Click here for part two
Click here for part three
Click here for part four
Click here for part five
Click here for part six
Click here for part seven

john immelThe Concept of the “Common Good”

The “common good” is a collectivist myth designed to achieve the outcome of subordinating the individual to the majority. The collective well-being is the supreme measure of ethics. The phrase implies that if the individual acts for the “good” of the group, the individual is taking moral action. Notice the equation; action for the group = morality. However, there are three primary problems with the concept of the “common good”

1. It is deception.
By definition, “common” is a synonym for a generalization, and by definition a generalization does not have a specific definition. So when a person speaks of the “common good”, they are appointing themselves the spokesman for some loosely defined group. In conversation, the “common good” is used to refer to the good of the public or the community or society or the tribe. However, each of these words is merely a poor label for the intangible sum of individual interaction. The point is, such “groups” do not really exist.

  • “The public”: an adjective describing individual conduct exposed to general view.
  • “The community”: little more that the interaction of individual people in close proximity.
  • “Society”: The aggregate actions of many “sub-groups” within a geographic location.
  • “The Tribe”: A “group” based on genetic similarities. A religious denomination is merely a tribal preoccupation shifted from genetic pedigree to doctrinal pedigree.

So the thing that is “common” is not really common at all. There is no “thing” that is the direct recipient of good, because there is no specific object to receive the “good”. The work you do doesn’t benefit the good of the group, it benefits the good of individuals within the group.

The purpose of the deception is to conceal the root presumption that the collective stands supreme to its individual members, for the “common good” is really the good of the group at the expense of the individual members. Or said another way, the individual is a sacrificial animal to the will of the collective. Any individual who is perceived as a threat to the survival of the group must be sacrificed.

Every time I hear somebody talk about altruism and the “common good”, the conceit in this means that if my life is to be sacrificed to you, the necessary presumption is that your life in turn should be sacrificed to me. I own your life by default, and you think that’s morality? You think that’s just and good? So we’re reduced to moral cannibalism?

2. It poses as morality
The “common good” is really a moral subterfuge because it is an indefinable, elastic concept that can be shaped to apply to any outcome for any political whim. Since the group is elastic based on momentary standards of inclusion, the definition of “good” constantly changes. There is really no constant “yardstick” of measurement but rather a thick syrup that clouds the eyes and ears of its victims and makes them abandon morality rather than cling to it.

The “common good” inspires people to lay down values in service to a select few who claim to be spokesmen for the majority. We see this in political conversation all the time. The outcome is that the spokesmen have a moral blank check that every individual is obligated to cash.

You wonder why you hear stories of molestation coming out of church groups and Christian universities and missionary organizations, where the leadership and authority specifically tried to conceal the crimes against the children and members and students. This is the moral blank check that parents are supposed to cash in behalf of the child who was molested. This is EVIL, fundamental evil!

3. It masquerades as good.
If taken literally, the error within the expression “common good” itself becomes glaringly obvious. When people advocate for the “common good”, they think they are saying the “good” of all individuals admitted to the group. Or maybe if they paused to consider more deeply, they are saying the “good” of the majority. This doesn’t yet sound too scandalous because “good” is what is done numerically for the greatest amount of individuals. People do a loose moral calculus and decide that the greater the sum, the more moral the action.

But here is the result of that rationale: moral action is quantifiable by statistical outcome. If morality is nothing more than statistics then it is a trivial exercise to justify the Holocost. Stalin created a famine and killed 7 million people, but by the standard of the “common good” his actions are “moral” because the mathematical formula benefits 100 million faithful communists. The “common good” is used to justify taking enormous sums of money from individuals in order to pay for other people’s medical care, or whatever your favorite government program happens to be.

 

Having identified the three problems with the notion of “common” good, let us examine how this is all used at the root of tyranny.

We now know that the “common good” does not exist because the concepts of group do not exist, and they are never the recipient of any action. Only individuals receive good. Only individuals receive value. It is a false morality designed to subordinate all people to the collective, but who defines the collective?

At the root of all collectivist organizations there is usually only one person holding the yardstick of group inclusion. This person surrounds himself with a gang to defend against any interloper. He is the voice of the people, the voice of community, the voice of society, the voice of the tribe, the voice of the church.

big_brother_1984What people fail to grasp is the “good” of the people is really subterfuge to justify the violation of individual rights. The function of this expression is designed to violate individual rights, and when you violate individual rights you are really abolishing all rights. Groups do not have rights. When you tell me I must subordinate my rights to the group, the group does not gain them by proxy. They have been forfeited.

If there is no such thing as “rights”, the thug, surrounded by his gang, is free to use force (government) to achieve whatever outcome they fancy.The collectivist thug is at once empowered to force people to conform to the collective and shielded against all outcomes. It doesn’t matter what happens next.

This is why you have the brutal absurdity of Soviet Russia. The USSR was built in service to the “common good”, yet the only people who prospered were the tiny gang who surrounded the bloodiest despot in history, Joseph Stalin. The rest of the population lived in sub-human misery for almost three generations.

This is why you have the mystical tyranny of the medieval Catholic church. The Catholic church portrayed itself as the greatest proponent of human good on the planet, yet from effectively 600AD to almost 1500 AD the church leadership lived a comparatively lavish lifestyle, and the serfs existed generation after generation in squalor.

In the modern age, think of any social program that is said and done for “the people,” for “the society,” for “the community”. Now define exactly what the program does; give money for college, pay for medicine, feed the hungry. If you look at the actual event, only a select number of individuals actually receive the benefit, and all of the authority (force) is invested in a bureaucrat whose sole function is to weed out those who never receive the “good”.

Some of you are squirming because I have placed “community” in the same pot of condemnation. You long for community. You conceptualize your local church as a community. You think this is a social ideal. You think that the community does good. And you like the fact that you vicariously participate in the moral reputation, the prestige, of the group. You want the prestige plus you long for an inter-personal connection, and you yearn to find friends and have “relationships.” You pine for an indescribable thing that is a cross between a Norman Rockwell painting and the television sitcom, “Cheers”, where everybody knows your name. For the life of you, you struggle to see how this is the same seedbed of evil that I have been talking about.

Unfortunately, I am about to tell you that Santa Clause does not exist.

Look closely at the real social dynamic of your community. The connectedness, the relationships that you seek is really the exchange of individual value on an inter-personal level. You long to live in Mayberry R.F.D., filled with “Aunt Beas” baking apple pies waiting on the porch, never once realizing that the safety and security and fraternity that you want cannot happen if the highest moral standard is sacrifice of personal desires and personal values for the “common good.”

The price of admission to the community is the very self that you must surrender for public consumption. Think about that. To participate in community means that you must get rid of the very thing that makes you unique. This is why most communities (read “churches”) are petty, and gossipy, and back-stabbing, and cliquey. Everyone in the community is constantly vying for some piece of the “common good.” In the end, you realize that the mindless hoards sitting in the pews are there to graze over you like a buffet table.

Now let’s back up to the 10,000-foot view. Now you can see why metaphysics and epistemology are so important. Now you can see how everything revolves around a specific body of ideas that begins with Thales and evolves all the way down to the Cynics and the Stoics, formalized and systematized by Plato, and eventually shape Augustine, Calvin, and Luther. Inasmuch as you continue to accept their premises, you will continue to achieve the same outcome.

If you think the Neo Calvinists are ugly now, you wait and see what happens when you give them just an ounce of civil authority. There will be bloodshed. I know you think that’s scandalous, I get that. It may not even be the guys in the pulpits right this minute. But if you let this construct get hold of civil government, if you have the marriage of faith and force, they will make John Calvin look like a choir boy and Geneva look like a day at the beach. Make no mistake, at the root of this doctrine lie death and destruction.

When you separate man from his mind and his mind from reality, the only thing he has left to deal with another man is a club. The moment we have a club in our hands we are no longer offering an argument. And these guys don’t offer arguments. They have to bail on the conversation every single time they are pressed on the points of their doctrine. They must punt into the grand “mystery” of God. They don’t have a choice.

Once they are finally confronted with the dead end of their logic, all they can do next is attack and posture and threaten. Inasmuch as you fear that retaliation and extortion, you will willingly shut your mouth. This is why you see such enormous fear coming out of the pews. The discernment blogs and survivor blogs start discussing how they were treated. Everybody online is anonymous, not because they are trying to be deceitful, but because they are terrified!

They have accepted the premise.

What made me specifically so dangerous to them is that I rejected the premise. And that will make you dangerous. When you reject the premise, they will become terrified of you. They do not have the power, and if they ever get close to civil government, resist them with all of your might!

All collectivist cultures are tyrannies.

The philosophy of collectivism claims that there is a mystical, supernatural, social organism that embodies the highest moral values. Of course, only a few elite people with special insight can fully grasp this truth. Somehow they have access to special source knowledge that transcends the average man’s mind. Average men are incompetent, helpless, mindless creatures, depraved and unworthy of social interactions. So they must be purified to serve the collective organism.

Men cannot deal with other men voluntarily because they have no peaceful means to settle disputes. They have no means to act as contractual beings because they are metaphysically incapable of doing good. Human salvation always boils down to an elite clique endowed with some mystical insight, and that insight qualifies them to rule men. They are dictators of an omnipotent, benevolent state, doing what is best for the “common good.”

All collectivist ideologies hold the same political assumption. All collectivist doctrines seek the exact same end – subjugation of the individual. Man must be chained to the collective. Man is property of the state. Statism is always implemented by force.

The measure of social slavery is directly proportional to how much the slogan of “common good” is embraced. Conversely, the measure of civil liberty is directly proportional to how much the same slogan is overtly rejected. Our Founding Fathers rejected this notion of “common good”. They recognized that the legitimate role of government was specifically to defend the individual and his life, his liberty, and his pursuit of happiness. These are notions contrary to “common good.”

It is an easy slogan to reject because there is no such thing as a generalized good, because only individuals receive values. As soon as you realize it is a hoax it becomes a matter of course to refuse to pay homage to the fraud. Good is not being done. The reality is that people are enslaved to the fancies of others. No man has a moral obligation to subjugation to another man.

 

The Longing for Revival

We erroneously believe that a return to God will naturally be a return to morality. A return to morality is really a return to a belief in divine extortion. When morality is the product of divine command, the fight becomes about which divine we follow. What the Platonist/Augustian/Calvinsit version of Christianity has shown is that it has nothing to offer as a counter to militant ideologies.

Their first test was Islam. The eastern church showed itself impotent to stop the ideological tide of Islam. Christianity had so gutted the intellectual rigor of intellectual thought, that when confronted with a totally irrational ideology based on war, it could offer no counter.

Of course, Protestants like to push these things off as “those dastardly Catholics.” But Protestants have not fared any better. The Southern Presbyterian Church was in the forefront of slavery within the United States. Of course, Presbyterianism has a direct pedigree line with ties to the reformed tradition.

The reformed tradition’s next test would be National Socialist Germany. It failed miserably. Lutheran churches, with almost no exception, joined “the party” and remained committed to National Socialism until the collapse of the Third Reich.

Christianity has shown itself impotent to offer any intellectual defense against Marxism, National Socialism, and Islam, and that’s just in the modern day.

But they cannot lay claim to mere impotence. It isn’t “God’s will.” Christianity has with far too much consistency been connected to the tyranny. This is not a new observation.

james-madison“7. Because experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”

~ James Madison, “A Memorial in Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments”, 1786

 

“In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection of his own.”

Thomas Jefferson SAR Picture~ Thomas Jefferson

 

“Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth”

~ Thomas Jefferson

 

“I could never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an atheist, which I can never be, or rather his religion was demonism. If ever a man worshipped a false god!”

~ Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Adams, April 1823

 

Here is the absolute conclusion of all we have studied in this series. For anyone with intellectual integrity, these things should be fully and entirely unacceptable. This should compel you to evaluate the content of Christianity for what it has said for the whole of its history. It is not an accident that the same tyranny abetted by the church has occurred over and over and over.

And now, having heard where all this is rooted, you are without excuse. Now you have seen where the core of Protestant doctrine comes from. The intellectual pedigree goes as far back as Heraclitus and the Pythagoreans. It finds its full philosophic formation in Plato, it is welded into Christian thinking by Augustine, and it is put into practice by Luther and Calvin – from Augustine to Luther to Calvin to the Synod of Dort to the Westminster Confessions to the Puritans to the local pastor pounding the pulpit.

The dots are all connected, and now it rests on you to resist the disaster.

~ John


Click here for part one
Click here for part two
Click here for part three
Click here for part four
Click here for part five
Click here for part six
Click here for part seven

The History of Western Philosophy and Its Societal Impact on the Church – Part 7

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on February 14, 2017

The following is part seven of an eight-part series.
Taken from John Immel’s thirsdsession at the 2013 Conference on Gospel Discernment and Spiritual Tyranny
~ Edited by Andy Young

Click here for part one
Click here for part two
Click here for part three
Click here for part four
Click here for part five
Click here for part six
Click here for part eight

john immelWe have hammered pretty hard the notion of people being personally responsible for the intellectual content of their minds. As a man who has been pretty much talking to the air about this very subject for the last twenty years of his life because I couldn’t get anybody to pay attention, it is very easy to become cynical about how people respond to this information. I suspect some of the cynicism is warranted, because no matter how many times I start up this conversation I am usually confronted with the deer in the headlights look from people.

However, what I have learned is that mostly the reason is due to the fact that people have never been exposed to any counter-argument. They are usually more dumbfounded that someone actually has the audacity to suggest that there is something implicitly wrong with reformation doctrine- not that it is something of an aberration or that a few stray teachers didn’t seem to get it right, but that reformation doctrine is fundamentally wrong.

During these lectures I have had the opportunity to talk to some people who have traveled the same path and arrived at very similar intellectual conclusions. I find them to be endlessly engaged, and I find that to be enormously gratifying, to find others people who have begun to do similar work, have started to see the big picture and have arrived at the same conclusions. The piece of the puzzle that was lacking was actually the framework of the puzzle itself. It was a commitment to say no, these ideas are morally evil. There is a root problem with this doctrine that corrupts it without end.

This is a very longwinded way of saying I am encouraged at the potential that is out there. In discussing the notion of tyranny, it has always relied on men who fear resisting it. Tyranny can only persist when good men do nothing. But good demands of you to fundamentally believe in your moral virtue. If you cannot believe in your own virtue, then you can never ever fight what is evil. This is perhaps the motivation of tyranny to promote the willful self-destruction of man, to keep good men in a constant state of devaluing their own virtue so as to not have the motivation to resist.

This is why I advocate endlessly for your own rational motivation, your own specific commitment to your rational faculties. In all that TANC Ministries is trying to accomplish, I loathe the idea that it ends up becoming one more cult of personality. I recognize that people like Paul Dohse and myself are very strong personalities. And it would be very easy for people to trade my personality and the force of my ability as an individual with any of the popular teachers who currently dominate the scene of reformed orthodoxy. I would rather wreck my own reputation on your behalf than for you to follow me simply because you trust me specifically.

I want you to trust the conclusions of your own rational mind.

The ultimate goal is for you to carry the fight on your own.

The beauty of Western culture is that it is ultimately the source of freedom and liberty. In the previous five articles I covered approximately 500 years worth of the evolution of Western thought. It is essentially a masters level course on philosophy crammed into a little more than 8,000 words.

The person I neglected to bring into the discussion is Aristotle. His ability to identify the laws of logic is the only thing that comes close to rivaling Plato. Inasmuch as Plato organized a collectivist ruling dictatorship, Aristotle is essential for the liberties of man. He is the first person to give a systematic presentation on why man specifically is qualified to operate successfully on the earth.

In part one we considered the following quote by Sun Tzu.

“All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what they cannot see is the strategy out of which victory has evolved.” ~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War

He was making the observation that it was the underlying strategy that allowed him to win. Men could see the tactics, but they couldn’t understand the function whereby those tactics were employed. This is essentially what we are now being confronted with. The reason tyranny has been so successful at sweeping across the globe is because it has drilled down to the same fundamental elements.

Because man is a rational being in need of a way to integrate his ideas, it is how those ideas go together that defines how he organizes his political life. Political life is nothing more than how individuals interact. We tend to think of politics in terms of the elaborate game that happens in governments between parties and the endless quest for social power. Yet what happens in the grand halls of government is nothing more than the logical conclusions of ideas, and then those men decide that everyone else should live by those sets of ideas.

Here is the central fight of all political philosophy. The whole of human existence has focused around the question of who owns man. The leading consensus, the predominant assumption, the conclusion of the vast percentage of human intellectual content has been focused on man is the property of the state.

My job in this series was to discuss the societal impact of the development of Western thought. I have put off revealing to you the ultimate impact until now because I was more interested in laying the foundation of how we get to that resulting impact. Once we identify how we get to societal impact, it is actually very simple for individuals to start understanding what is actually happening in society.

So the question is then if man is property of the state, what is the moral justification for some to use force against others? What have we just studied? What were the root presumptions throughout history? Man is incompetent. His senses are invalid. There are a select few who have some form of enlightenment from some extra-worldly source. Such enlightenment then makes them alone qualified to use force over others.

The underlying question historically within Christianity has universally revolved around why “they”, whoever those leaders happen to be, are specifically authorized to define truth. Augustine justified this very end using the same exact assumptions I just mentioned. The sheep are stupid, the sheep are incompetent, the sheep cannot organize their own lives, and more importantly, they should be compelled to do what is good.

Slide2I need to introduce you to yet one more philosophical concept. Any doctrine that services the notion that man is the property of the state is know as collectivism. The systems illustrated in the figure at the right are all manifestations of collectivism. In these systems, the dominant presumption is that your life is to be placed at the disposal of some collective. The collective will is the standard of moral value. The goal is always that man must be chained to the collective. And I do mean chained. Man is property of the state, to subordinate the individual to the collective will.

How do they do this?

Slide3This is my contribution to philosophy. I have identified five fundamental elements of all collectivist doctrines that are designed to produce tyranny. The reason I have organized this as a web is because I want you to understand that this is not linear. All of these elements are interdependent and to not necessarily follow in a progression. There is a dynamic tension between all the arguments. Some arguments that you hear will have facets of each of these categories. Let’s look at each one of these more closely.

Incompetent Masses
The underlying conclusion throughout all the thinkers we have studied has been that man’s senses or his ability to reason were fundamentally flawed. Man could not understand the world in which he lived. This is the bedrock of incompetence. If you separate man from his mind, man from his body, and man from reality, there is no other place for man to live. So if you presume that man is incompetent then you set the groundwork for the next concept.

Universal Guilt
This is a tool designed to drive you to accept your own incompetence. All men are guilty of moral depravity so that no one can advocate a moral standard. If you will accept guilt, a universal guilt, a guilt for no crime whatsoever, a guilt for nothing more than for simply being an incompetent human, you will accept the standard that you are morally incapable of running your own life. This is the death knell of all individualism. If you cannot presume your own moral good then the only thing left is…

Dictated Good
Because man is guilty and incompetent to carry out the important actions, he necessarily needs someone to save him from himself. This is why there has always been a separation between the willing elite and the general masses. This is where the class society comes from. There has always been the presumption that the “true philosopher” had a special access to truth.

The only function of determinism in all of its forms has been to create a class society. If everything is determined, there is no intellectual argument. You cannot persuade me, because whoever I am is nothing more than the outcome of that determinism.  Yet this is what sets up select men as the driving force of all political organization. The catch phrase these days among all various forms of Christianity is “God is Sovereign.” This is nothing more than another variation on determinism. If God is “sovereign”, then the very fact that certain men are in positions of authority is evidence of their right to run your life.

But the problem is, man is not a collective being.

He is a contractual being. This is how man successfully operates with other men. Look at all of your successful social interaction, and the quality that makes them successful is men freely engaging in a mutual exchange of value for value. This poses a problem for collectivism.

Abolition of Ambition
Because man is by nature an individual and not a collective being, he must be talked out of individual action. He must be persuaded that any action done independent of group sanction is the height of moral failing. This is why, within all collectivist doctrines, ambition is synonymous with sin.

The true definition of ambition is to see a value and then organizing an effort to achieve that value. In every effort as a contractual being, man organizes a value that he has and persuades another that he wants that value.

Consider the scope of the charge that God gave to Adam. Be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth! The scope of Adam’s existence was the earth, and we sit here and worry about how we are going to pay for new tires for the car. God has always been driving man towards his own individual best. So pursuing ambition is not sin. How we break contracts in the pursuit is how we get to sin. Covetousness is not sin because we want something. Ambition becomes covetousness when our means of obtaining value results in broken contracts in our mutual exchange of value with others.

Once you have been talked out of ambition you have arrived at…

Collective Conformity
This is the end game. This is where the full force of government is brought to bear for the sole purpose of creating a neutered humanity without complexion, or variation, or distinction. This outcome is held out as an ethical ideal and forced into existence at all costs.

In collective conformity, the group is prime. The collective must then define what is authentic “groupness”. It defines the parameters for group inclusion. This is where you get concepts such as “tribalism”. Where we see this most dramatically in the modern age and current culture is the concept of “political correctness”. You are fundamentally immoral if you do not conduct your life in a certain way, if you do not speak a certain way, if you do not hold to a specific set of values.

In the church, this presents itself this way: “Who has the most correct doctrine”, and the yardstick of inclusion is some form of orthodoxy. They hold up that yardstick, and they must pass that yardstick over every individual.

But what happens when someone no longer measures up?

Consider, you attended a church for 15 years or more of your life, you committed enormous amounts of time and resources to that church where everybody hugged and kissed you and told you how wonderful you are. But then you had a conflict, and you got kicked out on your butt. Suddenly you looked around and said, “Where are all my friends?”

Here’s what happened. The whole time you were there, they were holding up that yardstick, and as long as you measured up you were one of them. But the moment they could hold up that yardstick and say, “you are no longer one of us,” they had no other choice but to exclude you from the group. Because everything was about the collective.

Utopian Presitge
All arguments are in service to the collective reputation. Notice what the outcome is at the center of the web of these five elements. How many times have you heard a preacher talk about the reputation of the church? The argument is that individual action will impact the prestige of his “local collective.” This is the presumption of Utopian Prestige.

I have always been a little confused how it is that if  man is so morally corrupt how such a great God could ever be concerned that man’s actions would tarnish His reputation. There is no more spectacular conceit. Yet with stunning consistency, Neo Calvinists are obsessed with God’s reputation. In reality, the only way man’s actions could ever affect God’s reputation is if man is God’s equal!

Chew on that one for a while.

Collectivism always seeks some utopian ideal that is never achievable- the Marxist workers’ paradise, Hitler’s Third Reich, the Muslim perception of “Allah”. Every collectivist culture is always driving towards this idea that if we had this perfect thing, whatever that happens to be, and everybody focused all of their pursuits towards that one end, the prestige of that would be so enormously great that it would compel everyone else to fall down before it on their knees.

statism mandatoryWell, it compels everyone to fall to their knees, but with their hands behind their back and a bullet to the back of the head.

The National Socialists of Germany went to war on two fronts for the prestige of the “fatherland”.  Alexander the Great conquered nations for his collectivist/statist will. Stalin killed 7 million people in his Workers’ Paradise due to man-made famines, all for the prestige of the Soviet Union.

And what do we hear now? How often in American parlance do you here people say, the world doesn’t like America; that there is something wrong with our reputation in the world? It is always about prestige.

What did the people in the land of Shinar say to themselves? “Let us make a name for ourselves.” What was the mark of that prestige? “We will build a tower to reach unto the heavens.” It was a collectivist ideal, and every resource of human ability was focused into the achievement of that ideal. But they could never get to the heavens. There was never any practical end to that outcome.

Once you know the elements of collectivism and the outcomes to which they are in service it becomes stunningly easier and easier to recognize it all around you. Have this chart in front of you the next time you listen to the news, I don’t care what source, it doesn’t matter, and in less than a half hour your will be sitting there in stunned amazement.

Watch any television drama, which is entertainment, which is nothing more than an artistic expression. These elements are even easier to see in art because art is the most condensed version of a society’s value statement. It is the result of a full philosophical statement boiled down into a picture. And without fail, the greatest villain in most television shows ends up being the one who is successful. This is the manifestation of the abolition of achievement.

These are all reflections of our cultural expectations. They are all designed to drive us towards some collective conformity. Any true individuality is always explained in terms of exploitation, and everything is about sacrifice to the collective.

…To be continued


Click here for part one
Click here for part two
Click here for part three
Click here for part four
Click here for part five
Click here for part six

Click here for part eight
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