The people who cause us the most trouble are victims, too, driven by forces they seldom recognize.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world’s rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Therefore take to yourselves the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:12-13 MKJV)
The Hebrew mind personified the entire universe. Everything that had a name was not a thing, but a being in some sense. This was not a matter of cerebral fact, but a characterization that was far more practical than the objectivist mythology that came later. While I don’t subscribe to the fully subjectivist approach preferred by many, I can appreciate these comments about the common Western “scientific” concept of reality:
1) The universe is like a machine.
2) Matter is unconscious.
3) The laws of nature are fixed.
4)The total amount of matter and energy is fixed except at the moment of the Big Bang.
5) Nature is purposeless. Evolution has no purpose or direction.
6) Biological heredity is material.
7) Memories are stored inside your brain.
8) Your mind is inside your head.
9) Psychic phenomenon are impossible. This follows from dogma 8.
10) Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works.
It’s not that we take issue with every detail in this list, but that we make ourselves aware of the fundamental approach so that we can better understand the implications we all face every day. The biblical approach is that facts don’t matter too much, since God can remake reality at His whim, and also decide whether or not to let us be aware of those changes. All we need to know is the appearance of these things in our lives, not as a stream of historical events, but as a record of awareness. Our lives are a story, each of us with our own, and the story has a life of its own.
Thus, our pursuit of things like history and the social sciences is not viewed as dry records of facts, but as a living narrative. The narrative itself takes surprising turns as God allows various influences to alter our impression of things. I can be an analyst of the highest caliber, but if I ignore something for which God wants my attention, I’ll be telling lies. The bottom line is that existence is His story told for ineffable reasons, and we are in the story. It’s not a question of whether reality is “real” in any ultimate sense, but that we do our best to understand the part of the story God wants us to hear.
So our awareness need only be sufficient to our divine calling; we need to focus on what it takes to draw His favor in our unique contexts. This approach is highly functional. We can toss out an ocean of obsessions that plague our world because they aren’t part of our individual narrative as told by God. We are accountable directly to Him, not to some imaginary objective reality. Hint: Plato’s Allegory of the Cave was a fat lie of Satan meant to distract you from moral responsibility to your Creator.
We don’t have to understand God’s nature or all the particulars of what the various other labels signify. We need only know our responsibilities. It doesn’t matter where your mind and consciousness physically reside — as if we could know — but only that we come up with a common characterization of such things that reflect the revelation of God. Whatever gets you on the right moral path is fine with me.
And a lot of folks are convinced in various ways they are on that path, so what are we to do when their actions impinge on what God called us to do? We seek His face on a regular basis so that when that moment comes, our convictions speak loudly enough that we know what fits the context. Maybe you’ll just turn and walk away, surrendering a bit of metaphorical turf because God is relieving you of that burden. Maybe you’ll need to kill the damned fool on the spot. You won’t catch me insisting there are no cases where violence is appropriate. We can generalize up the wazoo, but I can’t decide what’s right for you, only what’s right for me in that moment. Even if I later regret what I did, that’s my problem. Life is full of risk. But it’s far better to think in terms, not of the individuals involved, but of what kind of moral forces drove them.
Take a moment to note: We operate on multiple levels. The world is worldly — by definition — so we have no trouble recognizing the worldly viewpoint. What we do at the same time is realize how that viewpoint is quite limited. That’s the whole point here; we endeavor to understand things from a moral level, too. Not the world’s impression of morality, but God’s moral character as the fabric of Creation. The worldly approach is valid in a very limited sense, but hardly answers the question of just what it is God wants us to do about the things our flesh can discern and process with mere reasoning. We need that higher moral logic of the heart-mind or we cannot possibly please Our Father.
There are all kinds of names and labels used in the social sciences, but virtually the entire field arises from the list of ten false assumptions quoted above. I use my experience studying what various people have written in pursuit of social science knowledge, but I don’t trust their conclusions most of the time. Trying to objectify these things leaves it wide open to manipulation and distraction from the individual divine calling on the moral plane. It’s better to recognize influences and personify them.
Here we run into another perverted imagery hijacked from the Bible by a bunch of flakes who serve some foul purpose. Talking of the demon of this and the demon of that makes us sound too much like some folks I’ve dealt with extensively and I want no part of their delusions. So prepare yourself for something a little different. While tacitly recognizing we are talking about demonic powers of moral darkness, I’ll tend to avoid that language and simply characterize the various influences as if they were living entities: This or that Influence leads people to act this or that way.
Sometimes I’ll use commonly accepted labels for the various influences, but sometimes I’ll have to be more creative. I’m trying to tread the fine line between wallowing in contemporary popular delusions while not wandering off into incomprehensible babble.
This will eventually turn into a book, but what gets posted here will include the usual background chatter that helps me form the frame of reference. The title of this post is the name I’ve given the project, and suggests a possible name for the resulting book.
Addenda: This proposed series turned into a much shorter work now title The Cult.