Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Christians Don't Know What Reality They Exist in

Josh Brisby at The Reformed Oasis is one confused fellow. He recently posted his xenophobic, emotional, and statist "two cents" on illegal immigration.

But who cares about illegal immigration here? This is an anti-afterlife blog! All illegal immigration issues aside, Josh said something rather, shall we say, delusional. Check out the insanity:

Although I am first and foremost a citizen of heaven, I am blessed to live in the United States of America.


Pay extra close attention to the first half of that sentence: "...I am first and foremost a citizen of heaven..."

Excuse me? Since when did this guy go up to heaven and begin blogging from the right hand side of Jesus Christ? I will be so bold as to argue:

"No Josh. First and foremost -indeed exclusively- you are a citizen of the human race on planet Earth, and according to the majority of Christian's views, you don't even know if you will end up in heaven or hell yet (that is, if there was an afterlife, which there isn't). So what you said is premature and delusional on at least two levels."

The part that's really insane is that I get the feeling that Josh isn't any more whacked out than the typical Christian. Why do I get the feeling that millions of Christians in North America alone would proudly echo Josh's claim that, "...I am first and foremost a citizen of heaven..." while they are as yet sitting on their ass on planet Earth?

To use an illegal immigration example, it's like a native Ecuadorian riding a northbound train through central Mexico and telling his companions, "I am first and foremost a citizen of Canada." No, on second thought, it’s even worse than that. The afterlife is a whole other dimension entirely. Using material-based examples, I guess the best analogy I could give would be a native Ecuadorian riding a northbound train through central Mexico and telling his companions, "I am first and foremost a citizen of Mars." Even then, the analogy isn't bold enough to match the insanity of claiming, while on material Earth, to be first and foremost a citizen of an immaterial extra-dimensional realm where one must first expire in this realm in order to join the next.

But the problems with Josh's statement continue. If Josh is first and foremost a citizen of heaven, then is he in the United States illegally? He says he is blessed to "live" in the United States. But so are illegal aliens! Does heaven accept dual citizenship? Does the United States recognize Josh's heaven citizenship as well? Is there an extradition treaty? I think not.

In the United States, if you are born here, you are automatically a citizen. I assume Josh was born in the United States. So how did Josh get citizenship to heaven? Did he apply yet? Was his application accepted? How did he apply, by signing up at Raptureletters.com? Or maybe by attempting suicide? For all Josh knows, he could be a future citizen of Hell. Is Josh truly insane, or did he just forget to think things through logically (in other words, stupid)? I think both. He is suffering from the cognitive dissonance of a Christoid strain of afterlife-ism.

It's times like this that make me wish that pro-afterlifers could somehow discover firsthand after their death that there was no afterlife. Sadly, that can never happen, because they will in fact be dead, and they will be no more existent than they were before they were conceived. But on second thought, maybe the fact that they will never discover their own error in belief makes it that much funnier of a joke.

16 comments:

BlackSun said...

Poor Josh, what a moron. And a political imbecile as well. Aaron, good to have you back!

Aaron Kinney said...

Thanks BlackSun! Yeah, I had a two week hiatus due to school and social obligations. I missed my bloggy-blog!

breakerslion said...

Josh believes he is "saved". I believe that Josh has his head, virtually speaking, up his ass. Who is right, and who has the burden of proof?

Paul C. Quillman said...

Well, that was...interesting. However you seem to have no understanding of the Biblical concept "citizenship of heaven". It is, in fact, a metaphor. The point of this concept is that, as Christians, we are to remember that we are here on this earth for a period of time, and then, at the end of our journey, we will be in heaven. And, at the end of time we will reside in the "new heaven and new earth". So it seems that you, and not Josh Brisby.

Maybe you should do a little research before you comment on philosophies that you obviously have little (or no) knowledge of.
Paul C. Quillman

Paul C. Quillman said...

Well, that was...interesting. However you seem to have no understanding of the Biblical concept "citizenship of heaven". It is, in fact, a metaphor. The point of this concept is that, as Christians, we are to remember that we are here on this earth for a period of time, and then, at the end of our journey, we will be in heaven. And, at the end of time we will reside in the "new heaven and new earth". So it seems that you, and not Josh Brisby.

Maybe you should do a little research before you comment on philosophies that you obviously have little (or no) knowledge of.
Paul C. Quillman

Francois Tremblay said...

Paul C. Quillman : Bla bla bla, fart fart.

Aaron Kinney said...

Well, that was...interesting. However you seem to have no understanding of the Biblical concept "citizenship of heaven". It is, in fact, a metaphor. The point of this concept is that, as Christians, we are to remember that we are here on this earth for a period of time, and then, at the end of our journey, we will be in heaven. And, at the end of time we will reside in the "new heaven and new earth". So it seems that you, and not Josh Brisby.

Me, and not Josh Brisby, what? That was not a complete sentence.

Metaphorical or not, his statement fails, especially when considered in the context of the topic of his post (illegal immigration). Regardless, his statement tried to subordinate the citizenry he has in this reality with citizenry he MAY have in the future.

And to be more technical, you are incorrect about your metaphor claim. A metaphor does not involve only a switch of present and future tense, but a switching of situations with different specifics yet similar interactions or principles. So if anything, the statement "citizen of heaven" is not a metaphor, but a figure of speech, and a misleading one at that.

My "Ecuadorian on a train" statement was a metaphor. "Citizen of heaven" is not.

Where the fuck else do you have a figure of speech where the only difference is a switch from possible-future to present tense, unless that figure of speech was implying certainty that the future condition had been met? Example: If I were to be playing a game of skill and I said "oh, I GOT this!" it would be merely a flip of the tense. Instead of saying "I may have this" or "I will have this," I am saying "I got this" which is, as I said earlier, merely implying certainty of obtaining the goal. In the "Citizen of heaven" figure of speech, it implies that one is certain he is already in possession of the objective of being accepted into heaven.

Not very Christian-like.

Maybe you should do a little research before you comment on philosophies that you obviously have little (or no) knowledge of.

Maybe you should figure out the difference between a metaphor and a figure of speech.

Actually, I do have a decent understanding of Christianity. I was a Christian for most of my life, and a rather active one. And I remember when I was a Christian that 1) we do not know whether we will end up in heaven OR hell, and 2) we are not there yet. I remember many a sermon where the preacher said that our goal or desire was to get to heaven. So if anything, Josh's statement should say:

"I consider myself first and foremost an *aspiring* citizen of heaven."

But then it would be hardly relevant to his immigration post (as if it was in the first place). And as a figure of speech, it isnt relevant either. Yet it appears to be relevant since it can easily be taken literally by even Christian readers.

So Josh's statement still fails whether it is a figure of speech, an attempted metaphor, or a literal statement. Yet any Christian will read it and instantly agree on any -and even all- of these 3 levels.

breakerslion said...

Although I do not believe in this, you Jesus eaters are supposed to.

"Sin of pride."

Don't number yourself in the make-believe kingdom until the imaginary judgment day.

Paul C. Quillman said...

Aaron
Me, and not Josh Brisby, what? That was not a complete sentence.

Paul
Sorry for not finishing the sentence. I was distracted a the moment. The sentence should read:

So it seems that you, and not Josh Brisby are incorrect.

Aaron
And to be more technical, you are incorrect about your metaphor claim.

Paul
OK, fine it is a figure of speach. However, you are still missing the point.


Aaron
In the "Citizen of heaven" figure of speech, it implies that one is certain he is already in possession of the objective of being accepted into heaven.

Not very Christian-like.

Paul
Again you misunderstand the point. Based on what you said you were taught in church I can see how you would draw that conclusion, however Scripture is very clear that we can know we are saved, and that we will one day be in heaven. It is not an issue of pride, although can be abused as such, rather it is issue of believing what Scripture says. Specifically 2 things
1) God is soverign
2) Works are the evidence of faith.

Aaron Kinney said...

however Scripture is very clear that we can know we are saved, and that we will one day be in heaven. It is not an issue of pride, although can be abused as such, rather it is issue of believing what Scripture says.

Ok Mr. Quillman, can you please direct me to the appropriate Bible verse(s) that tell us that we can "know" that we are saved?

Paul C. Quillman said...

Aaron,
I will be happy to. I do have a full plate for the next couple of days, but will probably have sufficient time to get that list to you this weekend.

Paul

Aaron Kinney said...

I am looking forward to it!

I recall Matthew 13:10-15 where Jesus says that he speaks in parables so that people will not understand him and not be healed by him.

Josh Brisby said...

Aaron,

Below I have copied and pasted what I responded to you on my site. I have included it here for others to see as well.

Aaron,

Again, welcome to The Reformed Oasis. Please refrain from any kind of foul language, even the kind "society" deems "acceptable," such as when you said "why the hell...". Again, we accept respectful dialogue here. In the future, disrespectful dialogue and foul language will be deleted.

Let me address your response.

You said that I gave an argument from ignorance. But when I asked you to account for morality in your worldview, I never said "Christian theism is true because atheism is not true." I of course believe that Christian theism CAN account for these things, but I was merely asking you to account for them. I have been waiting for a very long time to hear how you can begin to account for morality, and I'm still waiting.

Apparently you do not hold as strongly as you once did to the philosophy of Ayn Rand (which most philosopher's consider a philosopher in diapers). But now you want to hold to "axiomatic self-interest" and say it is the ultimate presupposition, so to speak. But you fail to realize that Christians don't become Christians merely to avoid hell. By God's grace, He opens our eyes to realize that Christ has crown rights, and we have been violating them.

In fact, the Christian theistic worldview is *diametrically opposed* to the notion of axiomatic self-interest. I need Christ for my sin-sick soul, because I am a selfish person, and I am selfish to the core. But how dare I violate God's Law, and how dare I live contrary to His standard. In salvation, God opens our eyes to see that His ways are right and just, and we owe Him our allegiance as our Creator.

You see Aaron, I would be just like you if it weren't for God's saving grace. I call you today to repent of your sins. Stop living selfishly for yourself and live for Christ. He reigns over you and you live in His borders, under His sovereignty. But if you want to live in His Kingdom and not submit to His rules then you are an illegal immigrant. You will be dealt with.

The ways of Christ are right and just. We owe God our obedience and love, and He deserves the highest honor. It is wrong and evil for us to live selfishly. Repent of your wickedness. Be warned:

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done." To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. (Romans 2:5-8)
(See also Luke 19:11-27)

*Here is what I posted on the illegal immigration response*:

Aaron,

Obviously you feel strongly about this issue. Let me say some things.

(1) Welcome to The Reformed Oasis.

(2) At The Reformed Oasis, we accept cordial and respectful dialogue/debate on issues.

(3) You are entitled to your opinion that my two cents were not worth the copper they were stamped on. But when you say I know nothing of morality, I think that Christian theists have quite sufficiently shown that it is the atheist worldview which knows nothing of morality and cannot account for it. But I digress.

Thank you for your thoughts, and I am honored that you would consider this blog entry worth blogging about on your own site.

Sincerely,
Josh Brisby

P.S.-->To Aaron and others, if you wish to debate, please bring your thoughts to my site and I will do so there. All are welcome to debate me.

Aaron Kinney said...

Hey Josh thanx for the reply, I will soon be over at your blog to address your response. :)

Paul C. Quillman said...

Aaron,
Sorry I have not posted sooner. My weekend spilled into the week. However I spent quite a bit of time considering the issue of knowing that we are saved and knowing that we are going to heaven.

First, no one "feels" saved all of the time. Even those who have been Christians for many years (even decades) have doubts. It is part of being human. There are essentially two reasons we fall into doubt:
1) We have fallen into some sin, and have caused the doubt ourselves. The doubt may or may not instantly evaporate upon confession. It may actually take time for that to happen.
2) God has allowed us to doubt, for the purpose of causing us to run to Him.

The point I make here is that doubt is not sin, it is human. And I do not know an honest Christian who has not had doubt.

Now to the question how can we know that we are going to heaven. Theologians have termed this "Assurance of Salvation". So just how can we know we are saved, and going to heaven?

About 400 years ago (give or take) a group of theologians met at Westminster Abby in England. They met to discuss a wide range of theological topics. Out of that discussion came the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. The WCF Larger Catchesim asks the question in this way:

Are all believers, assured at all times, of thier current and future salvation? (OK So I updated the language a bit. I find the kings english a bit wordy.)

And answers the question in this way:

Assurance of grace and salvation are not required for faith [1], believers may wait long before they have the assurance of their salvation [2], and even after they are assured, they may go through seasons of doubt, through disaster, sin, or temptation [3], however, they are never left without the Spirit of God which keeps them from utter dispare of their salvation. [4]

For each section of this Q/A, I am providing the Scripture proofs below, using the English Standard Version of the Bible. Again, I'm not a fan of James, and the ESV is regarded as a more faithful translation, and much easier to read:

[1] Ephesians 1:13 In him [Jesus] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit

[2] Isaiah 50:10 Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

Psalm 88:1 A Song. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. To the choirmaster: according to Mahalath Leannoth. A Maskil of Heman the Ezrahite. O LORD, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you.
2 Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry!
3 For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength,
5 like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.
6 You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep.
7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah.
8 You have caused my companions to shun me; you have made me a horror to them. I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
9 my eye grows dim through sorrow. Every day I call upon you, O LORD; I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah.
11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
12 Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
13 But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me?
15 Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
16 Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me.
17 They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together.
18 You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.

[3]Psa 77:1 To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of Asaph. I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.
2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.
3 When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah.
4 You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5 I consider the days of old, the years long ago.
6 I said, "Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart." Then my spirit made a diligent search:
7 "Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?
8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?" Selah.
10 Then I said, "I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High."
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.

Song of Solomon 5:2 I slept, but my heart was awake. A sound! My beloved is knocking. "Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is wet with dew, my locks with the drops of the night."
3 I had put off my garment; how could I put it on? I had bathed my feet; how could I soil them?
4 My beloved put his hand to the latch, and my heart was thrilled within me.
5 I arose to open to my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, on the handles of the bolt.
6 I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone. My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer.

Psa 51:8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

Psa 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psa 22:1 To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

[4] 1John 3:9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.

Psa 73:15 If I had said, "I will speak thus," I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

Psa 73:23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.

Isa 54:7 For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you.
8 In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you," says the LORD, your Redeemer.
9 "This is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you.
10 For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Aaron, if you need me to go into this more, please let me know. I used the WCF because it has been the historic position of the church.

Emma said...

Can I just say Aaron, I very much enjoyed reading your blog and arguments with Josh and Paul lol, it made me laugh, especially the *aspiring* citizen of heaven bit hahaha, keep up the good writing.