Tag Archives: Christianity

The Impossible; Part 5. Existence and the Story of Death to Life.

Whew! Those Impossible essays really get thick. So perhaps a rejoining to a more approachable speaking. But hold on! The ride is just getting fun.

I have been interacting through comments and replies with Dave, who writes the blog called “Big Story Guide”. Our conversation is quite wonderful, so, just as I used our conversation for the basis an earlier essay post ( See: Aphilosophy, Convention, Faith and God), I do the same here, and because this latest reply grew to such lengths (even though I think I have posted replies even longer than this one).

The reader can see our extended conversation under the comments of “Issues and Existence”. And please feel free to visit Dave’s blog “Big Story Guide”: http://bigstoryguide.wordpress.com/2-the-death-to-life-project/


We last saw our heros continuing enquiry into each other’s ideas. Dave is curious for a rendition of Lance’s ‘Big Story’, and Lance has been attempting to discover from Dave the significance for the Christian and the non-Christian in the claim of Christ Jesus. Dave (in italics)…

Your notion of “the qualitative motion of history” suggests a bigger story than The Bible tells – a story within which The Bible should be interpreted. So, when you say, “Teaching, method, apprehending or comprehending terms through a particular scheme, is the issue at the heart of the Gospels,” it seems as if you are sort of taking an aerial view of a mansion of reality/truth. You can see Christians entering through one door (scheme) on one side of the mansion while you see Hindus and others entering by other doors (schemes) on other sides of the building

The quality of history reflects an essential motion, where as history itself changes with the times. I think the Bible presents a certain correspondence with these ideas, one ironic, one conventional.

“If that is the case, what is the more faithful rendition of our story, told from that larger view?”

You have captured one of the more insightful philosophical rebuttals to some of the existentialist authors here, one that contributed, I feel, to the discarding post-modernist critiques to a particular era, and the movement beyond it. The larger view is entirely existential, that we are humans doing human things, that has no more meaning than the meaning we have of it at the time, that there is no knowing a true history, that anything anyone can say has to do only with present discursive situations. The question would be then, how could they know of this? The rebuttal is something like the accusation that the so-called existentialist (but Laruelle with his non-philosophy likewise) authors set themselves as a sort of ‘omniscient’ or ‘removed’ viewer, as if their view is not likewise conditioned by the existential situation.

But I would say that the ‘death to life’ story, as you describe it of the Bible, is no larger than what the above situation grants. To wit: How would it be possible to step out of existence so as to gain such a view? The answer is excruciatingly ironic, for the one who is ‘stepping out’ is the one who says it cannot be done.

One way to speak about it is to say there is no stepping out of existence, that there is no larger story but the story that is reflected in itself by itself, and that this reflection is based in an apparent separation.

Take for example a story book, a novel. Can the characters step out of the story in order to see the story? No, they cannot. They are determined in and by the story to be the story as it goes. It is only the reader who steps out of the story, but he does this by an interesting move. This is the historical significance of the development of the novel-type writing. The reader starts at the beginning and reads to the end. He thereby can summarize the story, talk about its characters, its plot, the development of tension, climax and such; but this telling is not the story, it is a story of a story. The real state of the reader is removed from the story but in such a way that he views the summary and discussion of the story as referring to the story itself. But his telling is not the story; it is not even a summary. It is the story of the story. This real reader misses the story by staying removed from the story, and it is this assumptive state of removal, of distance enacted by the author as well as the reader in reality, that allows the story of the story to be not the story but its summary. This state of being human corresponds with the state of reality, that which marks a quality of history to the reading of history.

Thus another way to speak about it would be to see that to live ‘in the worldly’ way is to live by separation, and with reference to your ‘Death to Life Story’, is the way ‘of death’, not dissimilar to your Big Story.

Would you say that Abraham, being after the Fall, was likewise ‘living death’? I would say no. I would say the he ‘lives’, but did not need Jesus and so was not ‘restored’ to life, but merely ‘lived in God’ but after the Fall. How did he get that way?

The same with Noah before him; …he “was a just man, perfect in his generations, Noah walked with God”. How was this so if all men live in a state of death after Adam? How did Noah “[find] grace in the eyes of The Lord”?

Further, the only thing it says of how Abraham got to know God is “Now the Lord said unto Abraham…”

And what of Moses? Did he do anything to bring God to him or chose to meet God? No. God chose him. And I would add that this is the most offensive aspect of the Bible to the reader of its stories: It could have only happened in the past since if God chose someone today, in the same way as Abraham, Noah, Moses or Jesus, it means that God has not chosen me; but where there is irony, this statement, the meaning of Moses, etc, ‘being chosen’, has no contradictory baring upon my relation with God.

I think that, as a result of your bigger-than-The-Bible-Big-Story, your interaction with the biblical figures Abraham and Jesus becomes pretty highly conceptualized. For example, Abraham experiences “a true ‘before the fall’ covenant, so to speak, with God.”

Are these three people human beings? I would say yes, they are actual human beings who ‘knew’ God. And, in that they did nothing to achieve such a relation with God, that is to say, they did not beckon favor with God, they also did not choose anything about God, at least, not any more than someone else could have; God exactly chose them. In fact, I would say, because they are ‘after the fall’ people, they could not have chosen God; nothing they could do could remove or get beyond their ‘fallen’ condition; only an act of God could do so. In fact, choosing God could only get them as far as their own ‘sinful’ condition was able, which is ‘removed from God’, offended in this state.

This is clearly anachronistic within The Bible’s story, so it would be tremendously helpful to know the bigger big story within which this Abraham event took place. Please, tell me about “the real mistake that began as the Fall.”

Sin can be seen as “the real mistake that began as the Fall.” The mistake of taking an object before God. If this is a signal of human heritage, passed down as a condition or state of being human, then as we are in sin, at some point in the past it would seem there was an original sinner.

In a way, in the story, the ‘fruit’ or ‘apple’ represents the ‘idol’ that comes to stand between Adam and God; it is the worldly object that is seen to be able to make Adam and Eve like God, knowing good and evil: ethics/universe of objects the control of which make humans ‘like God’. The mistake that unfolds in history is the progressive domination of such object, the ‘death’ that ultimately pushes God entirely out of human knowledge and experience. When such ‘worldly saturation’ occurs, then Christ returns to restore life, that is, God.

If this post-fall state is inherited by all humans, then as this is indicated by choice or free will, our state determines thus our ability to know God. This ability, founded in the ‘first significant choice’ – since if there was choice before the Fall then its significance was consistent with God’s will, where ‘everything’ would be significant, thus allowing nothing significant to be punctuated as such – thus likewise conveys the beginning of ethics, since that which is consistent with God’s will has no weight against what could be evil since such a motion in that ‘pre-fall’ state is God’s state and not so much a human state. The post Fall state of humanity, wherein choice upon good and evil resides or is established, is the entirely of what we can know, our knowing being limited by the sinful condition of knowing with choice, can be called the universe, because it consists of or is correspondent with what all humans can possibly know. So it is that Kierkegaard, in “Fear and Trembling” (I believe its this book) begins with “the universe is the ethical”.

It’s worth mentioning again that I think the question, “Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical” is an interesting one raised by the Abraham-Isaac story. But, I don’t think it is at the heart of the story. Instead, the issue of humanity’s death and the possibility of resurrection is at the heart of the story.

The question “Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical?” is Kierkegaard’s primary concern, as I have said, through all his works. This question means: Is there a way of knowing or otherwise communing with God-as-God, meaning, without the ethical doubt that injects one’s humanity in the way of God’s communication with him? In other words: is there a possibility of a God-man?

One of the things I feel like I’m missing in our conversation is how you might see the teleological suspension of the ethical being necessary to some kind of resurrection.

Resurrection, with regards to the ‘death to life story’ of the Bible, is a teleological suspension of the ethical, a breach of universal ‘right-ness’, an actual communion with God ‘as Life’, as opposed to ‘death’. Such communion or communication would not have a possibility of ‘wrong-ness’ since God is above or beyond ethics: God is God, creator of the universe, creator of choice, indetermined by choice. God is righteousness as opposed to nothing else. Hence Kierkegaard considers Abraham and Jesus.

Your questions regarding Jesus’ experiences with faith strike me as also being an interesting aside. I would find them much more compelling if I believed that Jesus represents a God-in-man issue. But, I believe that Jesus is the God-man who came to address the death of humanity through His death and resurrection.

God can only be ‘in man’ as much as man sees God as distanced, or removed, from man; but the movement is that man made that choice to remove himself from God. Hence the significant questions concerning the state of humanity is: What about you is not God? What is resurrection?

This is essential.. This is essential.

[Jesus’s] experiences with the teachability, and learnability of faith, and His personal experiences with doubt strike me as being pretty speculative (but still interesting) and less essential.

I would think these represent his humanity, and, ironically, they are entirely speculative and less essential – and it is interesting how K speaks about ‘the interesting’ as a quality of various worldly topics.


The contradiction between the God-man and the God-in-man presents the impossible situation of reality: Would you know if Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was standing right in front of you? How would you know? Would everyone know? How do you know?

Reality imposes its maxim, framed or determined by the impossible: You are not God, and, no one can have a personal audience or communion with God as God. A man, though, may have God ‘in him’, and hope to be communicating directly with God, because this is the condition of man after the Fall: He needs a redeemer, a proxy, a go-between. Faith allows for a traversing of the distance that has been created by the sin of not choosing God, or maybe better put, the sin of being able to choose God now that there is a sufficient distinction by which to make a decision. This is the post-Fall universal condition of humanity. Only those of the past can be such God-chosen people, for if I told you that God indeed has spoken to me, has chosen me, in the same way as Abraham and Moses, you would call B.S. or think I’m insane. Because reality has it that we are all equal, all of the same capacity and existential presence in the world, then if this is the case, that I commune and communicate with God as God, it means that God has chosen me and not you. This is offense. This is the evidence of sin. This is impossible.

Kierkegaard thus considers the possibility of Christ. Is it possible that God sent his Son to be here on earth, a human? If this is possible, what does it mean for humanity? Does this meaning exceptionalize meaning to certain qualifiers, such that there are ‘humans’ and then there are ‘human but also something else’? How does the exception also place me in a certain position with reference to God? Does this meaning, the exception, include all humans, regardless of how they are qualified? What does this mean? Where do I exceptionalize myself as human, but not ‘that’ human? What is God? Who is God? Where am I offended? Where do I sin? What stories do I tell myself to qualify myself in the world? What are these stories? What is blasphemy?

Can I know God as God? Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical?

For reality, the answer to these questions being the same, is impossible!
But only through faith.



Thoughts of God, the Dialectic of Faith and the Conventional Bias.

As we move into the process of constructively undoing the presumptions of method that present to us the problem-filled world of reality we all know, for which we recourse to hope, it may be well that you need not venture into that heart of darkness all alone. Otherwise, at minimum, you should see that it is only on the precipice that the abyss seems endless; we need no longer cringe back into the bliss of faith. One may proceed as in a liturgy, but where the call and response of priest and congregants are removed from any hierarchical or proper structure, the hymnal and ‘Good Book’ consigned to discourse, the priest extraneous, its voice from the outside, an unnecessary element, and the congregants likewise lose their imperative compulsion to supplicate. Neither does the arrogance of righteousness cloud the firmament of heaven.

Considered much, and ventured far from civility, it is often difficult not to speak the truth; I am sure it is with you. Bias is only mitigated through faith, so we have first to deal with situating the conventional bias.

The truth exists through the dialectic, as one is thereby placed within it. So, we should situate what is meant here by the dialectic; here I tend away from Aristotle, more toward Hegel. I call into play here an idea developed by Jean-Francois Lyotard: the differend. We might see that his is an extrapolation or possibly re-presentation, a re-iteration of what Hegel presented; yet i would go so far to say that most, what is called, Continental philosophy, if not all philosophy in general, is merely a re-presentation of the point of contention.

Lyotard’s moves and layout of the necessary reprecussions of his designation are not entirely pertinent here; this is because his project exhibits problematic limitations (which I will more thoroughly address) that can be discerned by his situating the dialectic as part of a total phrasing by which he poses the differend. Breaking with his inherent boundary, a boundary that forces significance in polemical fashion ( a differend of itself), I shall call the differend that aspect of discourse that cannot be accounted for within conventional discussion, but nevertheless is involved ironically. It is not a basis of such discussion, nor a given, nor a ‘decision’ of the like of Francois Laruelle; in fact it is the converse of the philosophical decision, and not un-akin to the non-philosophical method, so to speak. A differend is that which stands ‘in the way’ of discussion; it grants the discussion from the person that reaches out to an other in order to establish a common ground. A differend is that by which a discussion about the nature of reality and existence may take place and have credence beyond the division of labor. It is also the assumption of what is common between participants where the assumption carries no weight for the discussion due to the differend allowing for faith by its absence. A differend is a means for accounting for truth; it is a way ‘I’ can account for ‘you’ as well as you, I, as well as we, the world. Thus, complicit yet skew to Lyotard’s situation, we should see that a true dialectic occurs, not between two parties in an attempt to locate or discover truth, the process based in faith (bad faith), rather, it occurs of the first party in relation with the differend of the presented discussion, such that the differend is the only ‘thing’ that remains constant through the real scheme of negotiated truths, that which brings the discussion of two parties indeed to a common ground. In this way or effect, the differend is what likewise presents, in relief, what I have termed the conventional methodology for truth, that which supplies the ‘true object’.

“Be not discouraged” is operative. In the dialectic, we come to terms with this, for an object is an obstacle that brings in its relief the irreconcilable damages that then require the reasonable doubt for which faith is demanded, the judgement of the court.

The philosopher Bertrand Russell has given us a pretty good rendition of the issue of the ‘true object’, but I shall attempt my own. I present an object, and ask, “what is it; that thing there in front of us? How shall I define it?” Maybe I begin by describing its functions, then its characteristics. Have I succeeded in granting what, say, a chair is? The person next to me says, well, you have given me qualities of that thing there, but im not sure you have conveyed what a chair is; I know what it is, but i wish to communicate what it is. So then maybe I go to a dictionary, maybe an encyclopedia. Still, the person is not convinced. We are looking at a chair, we both call it a chair, but I have not succeeded in granting to him what a chair is, beyond an incomplete description of that thing that somehow is common between us. In fact, I can continue to describe aspects of that thing and I will never get to a complete description of it. Then, besides whether or not the thing ‘the chair’ can be described enough to grant it, there are also questions that bring into question that there is really a thing that corresponds with the label ‘chair’. For example, if I say ‘a chair has four legs’, one may ask if a table qualifies as a chair, and I could say, yeah, if I sit on it then it could be a chair. But if you don’t sit on it, can it still be a chair?

This is the situation of every object. It is not a situation of subjective, personal or individual realities, but neither is there an absolute qualifier for what a ‘chair’ is beyond knowledge. This is the idea Kant expounded upon when he concluded there is no knowable object “in-itself”, that objects exist entirely within or of knowledge. His analysis goes much further in depth, situating terms and discussing the outcomes of the apparently logical ordinances that then arise, than our discussion here requires. Yet, we should see that his analysis involves a differend that implicates at least two ‘things’, an object in-itself, the chair in our example, as well as a ‘brain’ or ‘mind’ (a subject, un-problematized) that is deduced as incapable of overcoming the epistemological wall (the object problematized); this situation, then, presents a fundamental duality, a given that then allows for its own denial, a forgetting, so as to allow his presentation. Though his effort concerned establishing a ‘better’, less superstitious, metaphysics, he succeeds ironically in perpetuating the same (see my subsequent post).

The key to breaking this epistemological nightmare, though, where what surely appears to me as a true thing is actually not so true, at least, in so much as I might want to convey it to another person, is the third party. In the third party lay the responsibility of truth, there resides truth’s criterion. It is the problem of the third party that reveals one’s orientation upon the object. Orientation concerns the differend. In contrast to the dialectic as I situate it above, but projected toward what Lyotard calls “the referent”, what can be called the object, where the thing or object is taken as self-evident, as containing aspects of itself that human beings through some method can then know as true (for example, the proposed objects of conventional dialectic and discourse in general) as well, where the subject is localized by the individual for the sake of the substantiation of the individual – in other words, where there is no deferend worth mentioning – we have then the ‘true object’. Where the situation of knowledge concerning communication is mitigated or denied for the sake of having a true thing, due to the ‘displacement’ of the individual into reality, there we also have faith.

The overlay of ideas that accounts for the dialectic of faith concerns the subject as the subject no longer is distinguished through the conventional methodology as equivocal to the individual. What then emerges through this differend is a real assertion of the priority of the individual that henceforth can be called the ‘subject-object’.

Hence; what we deal with can be understood through the following possibilities:
(1) Faith: The relation between transcendent-immanent (God) and human involving a total reality of the created universe (of objects);
(2) Faith: The relation between (1) and the subject-object, which is to say, the individual of conventional reality;
(3) The effective differend of (1) and (2).

* *

With the foregoing in mind, I begin with a quote from an ongoing discussion of comments for the previous post “Issues and Existence”:

– “For example: I discover I have terminal cancer. I have heard that God loves me, and I have heard that God is all-powerful. Given these “truths,” I can’t imagine why God would not cure me of cancer, so I ask him to cure me.
Why does a request like this not get answered with a cure 100 percent of the time?

If I understand The Bible’s rendition of our story, this world is no longer the world that God created or intended. God has a plan to restore creation, but His Death-to-Life Project moves directly through death.

So, I think a short answer to the question is that God is leading humanity on a difficult — but hopeful — route through a ruined world“.

Since the idea of faith is so tied up with Christian ideology and cosmology, I’m gonna give a list of ideas mentioned in the excerpt that I have difficulty with:

– god intends.
– god loves
– god restores creation
– god is leading humanity through a ruined world

These above statements present most poingnoantly the problem I’m treating. The statements indicate one statement. I’m going to skip over that it relies and implicates a ‘Divine Power’ (obviously), and go to what is most significant: It exactly ‘presents’ a proposed absolutely true object, God, and beckons the human being away from the world. It confirms the problems of humanity, that a human being cannot but have problems, that is, that the ‘problems’ are universal (again, a proposed ‘true object’) and so all human beings deal with problems the same way; which is to say, they have a common mode of psyche that defines humanity as such – saying this without a speck of irony. God thus ‘intends’ better for ‘all’ humanity because humanity is taken as another common true object amoung other objects of a true universe (God at the ‘top’ as creator of true objects) with absolute definitive qualities and having ‘difficulty’ being such because it is human nature in-intself, as human nature is defined by the ability to choose out of thier (problematic) sinful condition through ‘repentance’ and belief, this idea being totally misconstrewed in the idea of free will. The correspondence between these two true objects (the ‘equal’ and common true object called the human being and the true object ‘God’ that intends and tends for that humanity) must indeed be one of faith as I have described, and bridged in Christianity by belief in Jesus, instead of relieved through knowledge of what is said of him. I would suggest reading, or re-reading Nietzsche.

I would prefer to say “God is love”. If there is a heavenly or divine aspect that human beings can be involved with, it must be love. But this has nothing to do with “why God would not cure me”, except that one is involved with an orientation upon the world that requires of him (the individual), for the sense that one can have of it, to think of oneself as partial to oneself essentially, that is, as having elements of themselves that can be separate from other parts, such as, my self, what people like to call ‘ego’ (which is a most appropriate idea here), separate from God. Only through this type of denial can ‘a God’ love, and by extension or retraction, love the individual.

We can begin to situate how conventional reality lacks in irony by considering what
Slavoj Zizek has said about love:

(You can also google ‘Slavoj Zizek on love’, if the link doesn’t work.)

In listening to Zizek, one should see that how he frames his bit is the same that frames the differend with its referent, so to speak, that the universe is contained or accounted for as a totality in this framing. Thereby, if there is a ‘good’, as one might inscribe a whole universe, ‘inclusivity maxima’, where all is ‘come over’ by a total ethics, where the impetus (non-impetus?) is toward or completed, resolved, in ‘goodness’, then it is what can be understood as a ‘beginning-and-but-end’, or perhaps, a ‘creation’, and ‘good’ is the purpose or reason in a ‘returning to’ (reckoning). Love is then the proposed motion of this return. Against the ‘beginning’, as what has begun thereby separates what has set out from its beginning, and what at one time began is now separated from, Zizek says, “love is evil”.

We are situated in a world that we supposedly all know. Some people who proclaim themselves as a sort of activist, or maybe spiritual advocate for whole-ness, of a whole world, say they love the world, while others of a more pessimistic nature might say they hate the world. But these postures reflect the very position of ‘being set out’, of having the inherent ability gained by their being ‘not whole’. By the fact of the phrase, as Lyotard might put it, such sayings present the world as separated, as ‘not good’, as ‘evil’. By the sayings or assertions of position (presented presentations: representations), those seek to overcome the discrepancy involved in the having to say ‘I love…’ or ‘I hate…(the world)’. The sayings present thus a ‘longing’ that cannot be resolved – except through faith. Thus Zizek is saying “We do not love the whole world…(rather) we pick and choose what we love” through the phrases as they indicate a referent (the true object); the condition of such referent is, though, insolvent, and is thus termed expressions of the evil that resides in the world.


If ‘creation’ means its most exstistant meaning, as opposed to its existing meaning, then there is nothing to restore; rather, every moment restores what was lost through itself. This is the dialectic, the truth found within. To bring in ‘a God’ destroys so it might redeem; when one reads many Gnostic texts, we get a glimpse of how they situated this possibility in discourse. (By the way, Laruelle attempts to reiterate this meaning without reifying the Gnostic dogma or the textual form of analysis {hermeneutics}.) In most religious-type systems, such ideas typically are found in ‘secret”; this includes Judaism. The God who creates the world or universe is seen to have revolted from an earlier ‘God’ from which the ‘creator’ came. If I recall, at least in one Gnostic text, this creator-god is seen to hold the world in a lie, and proclaims upon his creation “you will have no other Gods before me”.

From another angle, if you think about it, one must ask, why would a god who created all the heavens and the earth need to make a law, to command his creation not to have any other gods?

The ‘ruined world’ must be that human situation where such a commandment is necessary. So it is that with the presentation of the commandments we have already the ruined world. But there has been no ‘progress’. There has only been the situation of the ‘one and the others’: the one, such as Moses or Jesus, who has knowledge, and the others, who need or have faith. The ones of knowledge need no faith, they know the truth; creation is manifest; creation exists. Only for those of faith does creation need to be restored, because ruination is their own, but denied for the sake of faith. The restoration never occurs because the situation is the situation of existence, not of conventional history, not of the true past toward a fulfilled future. The movement of such history is entirely of knowledge, spoken synchronously, the subject separated from the individual projected into humanity and extended as hope in time. Thus the movement of history is the movement of humanity involved in this dialectic, the discussion founded upon the responsibility of the third party, and how this is situated for meaning; there is nothing beyond this aspect. This is to say, the movement of what is beyond is ironic; so much as history is extended in time as the discrepancy and dynamic of knowledge and faith, what is beyond is beyond distinction in this way: It is contradiction in truth and paradox in meaning. It is that which contradicts while affirming that is existence, and in this way, is offensive to conventional truth: the truth is absurd. That which contradicts and is offensive to conventional faith is that we merely are meaning-making creatures; what is absurd is that this reduction allows for meaning that arises from such meaninglessness, the truth of reality in faith: the double voice.

What we can have of the differend is the distinction between knowledge and faith, instead of the relation that is revealed of knowledge and faith that tends toward a speculative metaphysics of conventional reality. The difference is located in whether all the facts are accounted for without offense or not. What is not offensive to the conventional method, the reason why metaphysics is so alluring, is that it is involved with, indeed, making progress. Whether such progress is marked by technological, scientific, economic, emotional, mental, religious or other objective genres makes no difference because they are all motions of the conventional methodology of reality, of the individual of objects, all motions posited in faith. I submit that humanity, the conglomerate or constituency of human beings, of faith is being lead nowhere. What is ‘difficulty’ is being free and alone in a hostile world, and this then beckons a faith in hope as purpose. But likewise, what is difficult is the knowledge of what is true against the multitude of faith. The one of knowledge thus is not alone in a hostile world, but free against the hostility founded through the ones of faith. His difficulty is that he knows the truth and thereby is lead; the problem then is how to come to terms with the people of faith. The problem here then, is how the differend is situated in reality. The differend has to do with absolute presentation of the situation, not so much the phrase or its existant or substantive role in context, but rather as i have said, the issue is the term.


Issues and Existence.

I subscribe to a blog called “Bigstoryguide” where he author is involved with a running commentary as he goes through the Bible. Yes, the whole Bible. His blog he calls ‘Jesus’s death to life project’. I think he just got to the New Testament.

I am not a Christian; I am not religious nor prescribe to any particular religious doctrine. I would say if there is a god then he-it-they guide and/or ‘cooperates’, not so much with me, but, more so say, ‘upon’ or ‘through’ me. I’m not much for claiming god as my homie or leader of my gang or nothing, but neither, as what could appear contrary but complimentary to religion, would i say i practice or believe any sort of spirituality; if i am spiritual it is because i am motivated to convey (in practice and speech, as writing or talking is a practice also) what I understand and understand how i might be able to convey it. God or gods, religion and spirituality are just interesting to me, and seem to suggest many significant issues with reality, life and the world, as well as their solutions. If I say I am religious or spiritual, believe in God, gods, spirit, universal energy, etc… It is in the ‘spirit’ of colloquialism for the purpose of the attempt to communicate and/or to help. In a way, one could say, it is not so much what I say I believe, but what is true of what I say.


So this blogger posted a nice piece that I use as an occasion to comment. Here is his post, with the link after:

One night during the Spanish Inquisition in Seville, a cell door swings open and The Grand Inquisitor steps into the doorway. Pausing on the threshold, he lifts his lamp into the small dungeon to cast light on the prisoner’s face. The light yreveals what he already knows. The prisoner is Jesus.

There will be no trial. In fact, The Grand Inquisitor has already made his decision. He will burn Jesus at the stake in the morning.

The verdict: What Jesus offers human beings is not enough. Although He offers Himself as the bread of life, it simply is not enough.

Thou has promised to them the bread of life, the bread of heaven; but I ask Thee again, can that bread ever equal in the sight of the weak and the vicious, the ever ungrateful human race, their daily bread on earth?

(“The Grand Inquisitor” from The Brothers Karamozov by Feodor Dostoevsky http://www.gutenberg.org/files/8578/8578-h/8578-h.htm)

John 6. Non-fictional.

A crowd of people searched and found Jesus – excited about the way He had miraculously provided bread for them. However, Jesus didn’t want to talk with them about miraculous provisions of food.

Instead, He offered Himself to them. He offered Himself as “real food” and “real drink.” Their verdict?

“This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.


I don’t think the blogger intends it, but the situation he presents here in juxtaposing the fiction and the, supposedly, non-fiction, sums up what can be called our current ‘existential situation’.

Again, as I have said in previous posts, the issue is not so much about what may be true of these stories, but how to speak of it, about its significance. The religio-mythological writ coordination of meaning, such as the (assumed) intent of the Bigstoryguide blogger, is much too dogmatic for me, too much like “…and the moral of the story is…better eat yer veggies!” As if one can merely choose to believe; as if if I just explain it to you well enough, then you will of course choose the obvious better choice. My question is: Why wouldn’t you? I mean, if all you got to do is believe and everything will be ok, why would anyone choose not to believe it? I, for one, can honestly say I have not chosen anything about what I believe, except maybe that I believe I will leave for work tomorrow 20 minutes early instead of 30. So it is that we have our existential situation. (By the way, in case you didn’t know, Dostoevsky is considered an existentialist writer, though he wrote before the term was coined.)

{ Side: Somewhat recently I saw a book, a humor book, that was called something to the effect like, ‘The Idiots Guide to Choosing a Religion’. It was great; truly funny. Similar tongue-and-cheek to a book from the 1980’s called, again, I think, “The Book of Money”, or maybe “The Money Bible”, From what I remember of it (the latter book), someone wrote this book using ‘biblical-speak’, with titled books that mimicked the actual books of the Bible, numbered chapters and versus; stories similar to the Bible stories’ content, but its was all about money. I wish I would have gotten it when I saw it. It was classic. The best chapter, which was in the book with the name and style that mimicked the book of Psalms, and was called “Money”, went something like this:

1. Money money money; oh money. Money money money money money money thou money. 2. Money money, money money. My money money money: money money money money. 3. Money. Money money money ….

Well, you get the jist. Absolutely hilarious. And the really great thing about it, the thing that struck me about it, was I wasn’t totally sure that it was meant to be a joke. As I said; Classic.

The ‘Religion’ book, though, is like a reference book, and it has every religion, sect, and cult that you can think of from the ages till now, all listed as to their qualities. Fundamental beliefs; type of pantheon, from one God, to paganism, to polytheism, to natural philosophy; benefits, such as, having an afterlife, or being forgiven, to you get to have you own universe, and ‘thumbs-down’, like, believes there is a hell, or must be willing to kill yourself, or have to wear certain clothes; practices; etcetera. Each religion and/or spiritual belief system has its own listing and even is rated, like, in a five star scale, against others. At least, again, this was my impression of it; the actual details may be slightly different. And again; I’m not totally sure that it is a joke, but I’m pretty sure it was written in good fun.

The reason I mention it is because it comes out of the idea that people can choose what they believe, like we can actually go shopping for a religion that best fits our beliefs, as if i can find one that meets most of my criteria and the rest ill just choose to believe; or, I can even choose what I want of believe because I’m not totally sure what I believe, or what it means. Well, I’m sure we can do this, but what does that really say of what we believe ? }


The issue I am going to deal with now is posed in the excerpt. Particularly how John puts it, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

Again, if I wasn’t clear, I am not advocating Christianity, or that one needs to ‘accept’ Jesus as their personal savior. But likewise, I am not taking a dig at Christian blogger dude; he likewise could no more choose not to be a Christian (I only assume he is a Christian), than he could choose to be, say, an alligator, though it is just as well that most everyone believes that there is a choice to be had. I suppose the significant idea is found in asking someone to believe she can choose to believe that she has no choice. Or even better, asking someone to not believe in what they believe. That person might then respond by saying that their belief (that is in question) has developed through a consideration of circumstances, upon choices made, and that they cannot choose to not believe what they believe because their belief is sound, and they would not want to change their belief. So then I would have to say that they have no choice in what they believe. The rebuttal then would affirm that for their present belief they have no choice because the choices made in the past have brought them to their current condition of belief, which is to say that our present situation is determined by our past choices, which is thus sound (or not sound, as the case may be with having an issue (read on; see below) but the point then for the response is that the belief that they have an issue, is sound) Well, I say, what prevented the past situations of belief from being chosen out of; at what point in time did you have a choice upon what you believe? And back: And why would I want to believe that I had or have no choice? And me again: in what way has your wants determined what you choose? So can you choose to not want what you want? The argument could go on and on, through many avenues and considerations, quite like Plato’s dialogues, but the pivotal response would inevitably arrive: Why would I want to choose out of that which has soundly brought me to my place of truth? And, why would I want to choose not to want what I want anyways?

This is the issue, isn’t it. Issues.


Here is another way of looking at it.

The question I have pondered for a long time is: why wouldn’t I choose the ‘easy’ way; I mean, why wouldn’t I choose what is healthy for me, or ‘better’ for me? Why would I choose to make things difficult on myself? Am i not intelligent and sane? Now, I don’t mean this in the sense like studying and going to school to be an engineer might be difficult. Rather, I mean why would I choose to party real hard, too hard maybe, so I am incapable of studying well enough so I could get the career of my dreams? Well, the typical thinking goes to psychology: I am just fuckt up like that, like, something is wrong with me, like I have some issues embedded in my psyche or my mind that makes or compels me to make decisions that are not to my benefit despite myself.

I propose for this situation that the individual in question could not choose because she had no choice, and Christianity, the institution, and all Religion and spirituality in general, as well as psychology, the ‘science of mind/ behavior’, so to speak, develops not only in response but out of this apparent inability. I submit that the individual was doing all she could to do what was in her best interest, that in fact, she was doing what was in her best interest the whole time ( ill address the ‘best interest’ part later). Most if not many would say, that is because she does have issues. Ok; say I believe that I have issues. I reflect upon those times, or I resent those times because I come across thoughts that I had, or now have in me that were telling me that I should make the other choice, the one that at the time I knew was the right choice but did not make. I have an issue, and then I have an issue because of the issue, so I decide to get get help with my issues. I goto therapy. Over time I come to terms with my issues and get better – or maybe I don’t.

Never mind that many would argue that one does not ‘believe’ he has issues, he merely has issues; well, who is talking about what one believes? What issues are there if one does not believe that there are issues? The issues everyone else sees, or believes they see? The issue one has in-itself, or the issue that one believes everyone else does not have? But here, this is not a matter of believing, it is a matter of what is true.

The significant question has got to be: Why could I not just choose to leave my issues behind when I realized that I had them? Why would I sit in them when I know they have caused and are causing me all sorts of problems? The answer has got to be concerning belief, and not so much of what is reality and what I chose as a subject of reality; it can not be so much about what may be true of reality as much as one is involved with it. Perhaps it can be said, it does have more to do with what I am not choosing, but not so much as my issues have not been chosen in so much as they were thrown upon me: it is because my issues are informing me exactly as to who I am, and I cannot dismiss myself from my identity, nor do i want to. And, if i want to, I cannot. Hence the problem.

So I have to ask, against what am I having the cognition that I have issues? Exactly against the idea that allows me to know that I have issues. It is not some issue in-itself, as if there is some natural, ‘non-issue’ way, and due to this, I have some issue that is making me screwed up in my choices. Perhaps a person looks out into the world and sees that his life is not a picture that he enjoys, or perhaps he just feels wrong in his own skin. Again, the question must be, how could he be any different? Against or within this question lay the pertinent answer: in the past as different choices, or the future as a result of making different choices. Indeed; if such answers ( and so the question) were not salient, would there be an issue? And what is the past and future? Only an idea against which can have ideas about how one might have issues or not. ‘Now’ is not viable; in fact people will argue against my having an issue even while they will admit it. Likewise, those pictures and feelings one has of oneself and ones life can only exist in that they take form as ‘something that I am not’. I’m sure many are thinking that this is a most ridiculous notion, merely a conceptual game – but again, a ‘game’ as opposed to what? To what is Real? I say that it is just this game that we are all playing. In truth, such issues are entirely of one’s self, not put upon him by some separate force, but exactly the force that is that person entirely and absolutely, which has no true basis as a construction of outside forces. To bring in and reiterate what I have said before; in so much as I am an individual that has real issues thrust upon me, so much do I have faith, as well, am a subject of faith, and thereby do I look to solve my issues through faith, but ironically that faith that expresses my inability to choose to exit from them.

The thing is, so much as i may have issues, when I am able to fully concede to my issue, and thus fully accept it as me, it goes away. In as much as I deny or ignore it, it remains, and if I accept it, but not that it is me, likewise it remains. This is the presumed mode or operation of modern ‘psychoanalytic’ and/or ‘encounter’ therapy; when someone realizes whatever it is that has prevented them from ‘real-izing’ the issue (which is, really, a break from their usually reality), it is a ‘breakthrough’, like they have ‘broken through’ the facade of ‘their’ reality. And also, in this very same way, this is the presumed mode of the Christian problem, expressed in the above excerpts, that is solved through ‘belief’. In truth, this is to say of either solution, which actually is the same solution, either the issue still remains, but is accepted of oneself, or the issue is gone and so needs no acceptance; either way, the effect of the issue having power over or in ones life, is proposed as belief of the problem ‘no longer an issue’.

This is so much to outline the situation of human existence.


The main problem that the excerpts shed light upon is that for most people, such a ‘breakthrough’ never occurs. (At some point I will address this issue). So far as Christ might relate to the human condition, people are unable to sufficiently understand, or believe, so to bring about a dismissal or relieving of the issue. Beyond the dogmatics of Christian religion, Christ is the figure or actual-symbol of the message that a person merely needs to fully accept, understand or otherwise come to terms with her or his situation as an existing being. In fact, one cannot merely ‘believe’, as if a choice can be made; one must actually ‘give up’ the ideal relation that establishes oneself in, as I have spoken about it, reality. Yet, within the belief of Christianity, the functioning thereof, Jesus is that element of oneself – a precipitate of sorts, of oneself ‘un-revealed’, so to speak, unto his inability – that holds the person back from making the breakthrough, which is to say, ironically, Jesus ‘fills’ in that place, aspect or otherwise resisting area of the individual that prevents one from ‘accepting the teaching’. Jesus is the bread, is the link between the ‘not being able’ and the sought after ‘wanting for’. His presence in position of interlocutor for the discrepancy is that part of oneself that is denied for the sake of having belief being effective as a belief of choice; in other words, the Christianized Jesus is choice objectified, is that boundary, that chasm, by which one may find oneself in the substantive echo, the ‘issue’ of not being able to believe well enough, such that one may then choose to believe what suits her the belief that belief is significant. Such it is that only with the presentation of Jesus do we have the situation of a “hard teaching” that no one can accept, except that one may then, for Christianity, choose to believe.

For Psychology, as it is for Christianity, one need only choose to believe. If I can choose to believe that a ‘discussion’ about the terms of my issues will allow my issue to go away, then similarly I can choose to believe in Christ, since I need only to address my issues behind not believing. But one need not choose; choosing is the problem. So it is that the problem of the apparent inability is taken as indicating course, and a method for discerning exactly where the inability resides within a psyche or mind or soul of a now real individual (one who cannot but have the inability) is drawn out through a method of finding truth; the truth is thus the way as well as the life; it is the only way to find truth, as it concerns the human life, the only life that can be for all humanity in reality. The method becomes the true method to find truth (of oneself). No more then must we choose because our inability to choose ‘the better’, the ‘not having an issue’, is found in the choice that is the method: we need not and can not choose our way out of the situation of reality that is the issue, we instead goto therapy and believe. The therapist works to draw out the issue, as a leech for the disease of the blood, by listening to the individual speak and directing the individual to possibilities within what the individual has said, possibilities that have arisen as the science of psyche has developed out of and due to the analysis of the inability to step out of the issue. At some point, hopefully, the individual ‘speaks the issue’ so to speak, and or comes upon the issue in relation to a meaning of what was being said about it, around it, or because of it. The issue thus ‘breaks through’ the ‘wall’ of the psyche that was created by the psyche itself to protect itself in the procurement of a proper reality from the issue, but it thereby effects or establishes a reality that is ‘off’. Thus the issue is responsible for reality, as reality is the issue. Like the tract responsible for ambergris, the psyche of psychology develops along with the issue such that the matter of expulsion of the issue becomes a disgustingly beautiful thing to behold, but likewise, we can be sure the functioning of the psyche will produce another issue in its procurement of reality. The truth of this method, and or the method for finding a method that works, is hardly chosen, it is taken in faith that it is true, and that its methods are real, at least. Hence the conventional bias that sublimates and or denies its basis of operation for choice and belief.

The “breakthrough” of Psychology is the “bread” of Jesus of Christianity extrapolated in time’s discourse for the incessant and persistent inability or refusal of humanity to come to terms with its own existence. It was the same in the supposed time when the Gospels were written, as it was for Dostoevsky’s time, as it continues to be for our time. Nothing has gotten better, no one has gotten closer for all the ‘progress’ we might purport. I submit, just as many believed then as now as with those doing therapy now – so it seems.


The mid-20th century notion of Existentialism, as coined by the thinker Jean-Paul Sartre, is the expression in its explaining of the condition of not being able to relinquish such an identity. The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, whom Sartre called the first existentialist, was the first (it seems) Western, or maybe also ‘modern’ thinker to come upon the point of contention in the way I am presenting it. They tell of the motion of existence, possible ways of situating existence in reality, which is to say, discourse, and the process whereby human beings come to terms with such an understanding. The proposal can be seen as ironic; people either are in bad faith, or they find themselves in a situation of ‘bad faith’; this is the process of conventional faith on one hand, and faith in doubt on the other. With reference to John (above, and please keep in mind that I am not advocating believing any type of dogmatics), when a person finds themselves in a situation of existence, they then realize the paradox of the “hard teaching”, and they become unsettled. They come to have ‘angst’ or become ‘anxious’ because the certainty of reality is failing, and this person either falls back into discourse of the real, or they fall onward in truth. If the latter, such angst leads to ‘despair’, and despair then is the harbinger of the ‘breakthrough’. Ironically, then the person finds that what they saw or knew of reality is no longer real.

And again, and to reiterate; the problem is precisely that understanding this process does nothing to bring it about; actually, understanding this process works to prevent it from occurring; for our examples, understanding how and why therapy operates, and that Christianly speaking, that our sinful nature can be solved through Christ; both resolve in a capacity for belief. The truth of the matter at hand is ‘hard to accept’, I would say ‘offensive’, so this state of innate human offense is solved conventionally by belief; this is summation of the presentation of conventional history. Understanding the issue only functions to bring it back around so it remains, and understanding this further tends to keep it cycling. This is the same problem of reality, what I have called “conventional methodology”. The means and manner by which reality is established and maintained is due to the overwhelming predominance of human beings who cannot let go of their ‘real identity’, even when it is plagued with issues that hinder ones ability to function. The recourse to this plague, this dis-ease of what is real, is to reify that the problem can only be found in what is real, namely, methods.

This is why and how the message of Christ became the institution of Christianity that allowed for Western Psychology. One merely needs then to believe; one needs only to repent; one needs to pray; one needs to confront their issues; one merely needs to get real with oneself; the real answer is always one needs to do something differently. Thus Christianity (of the West), sewed its own predominance; Catholicism let to Protestantism, because the Catholic way was not doing the trick. Protestantism lead to modern ‘philology’, as if we just need to study more and find the true meaning; this lead to the current Western philosophy, and this brought psychology. Round the time of the rebuking of supernaturalistic metaphysics, maybe circa 1750, and into the 19th century, we see a split in method. Protestantism developed all sorts of sects; Transcendentalism arose, as well as all sorts of Spiritualism, culminating in a profound polemic of Atheism and Magic, this last most significantly of the scholarly sort that seeks the truth through study, Alistar Crowley. Though this is admittedly quite a rough description of developments, all seek to reconcile that which is most insistently discrepant: the problematic real individual person.
It also is significant that the concepts of individualism, freedom and capitalism all came about at a time when the Christian sway was evidencing a profound failure: A state founded on the idea of the free and equal individual under the law, and the law as merely a device of negotiating individuals, individuals with pronounced and apparently unsolvable issues.