Net “Neutrality”? Not – Part 2
Rev. Steve Schlissel - April 13, 2019
Riffing on a theme discussed in the previous post, let me add a brief word about epistemology. Broadly, epistemology is concerned with the field of knowledge, but we may reduce it for our purposes to theories concerning fact, facts or fact-ness. Our concern here is to note that, however much any given theory of fact may differ from other theories, each theory may be seen to possess a peculiar “shape.” Further, man’s nature as an image-bearer of God, will lead him to endeavor toward consistency (to a greater or lesser degree) with that shape or pattern which characterizes his beliefs about knowledge and fact.
For example, some have supposed second-born children to be disposed toward the notion that many things cannot be known. For our purpose, it is zero importance whether such a theory holds water. I cite it only to illustrate how we are not surprised when a person with a “no one can know” viewpoint is found defaulting to it again and again as he is faced with epistemological challenges. Men employ the patterns, we “roll with the shapes” we have customarily employed, and we employed them initially because we believed them to be “true” and reliable—whether they were evidence-based or not.
The largest division in epistemology occurs between those who acknowledge every fact to be a God-created fact (or providentially ‘backed-fact’), on the one hand, and those who deny that same proposition (that every truth is God’s truth). When we examine how these starkly contrasting worldviews engage with “the facts” around them, we will see theists engaged in a knowledge enterprise which is always growing in terms of, and self-correcting to maintain, an entire world of fact which is internally coherent and consistent with what is known about God.
Unbelievers—at this and every other point—have a problem. They too wish to have internal consistency as well as systematic coherence between what is already known and, let us say, “about to be known.” But apart from a single “Constant,” one present before all fact, during the discovery of facts, and the same after the facts became known, there entered the insurmountable difficulty of all knowledge becoming subjective, relative, tentative and therefore, not properly knowledge. This difficulty may also be thought of as the need of a place for a “knower” to stand. Even the Greeks unashamedly knelt before this inescapable epistemological demand by postulating a god, one who might be utterly unknown, except for the fact that, unless such a god is first hypothesized—even as an impersonal “limiting concept”—then knowledge of anything else becomes at best, a dice shoot. It’s sort of, “Here we are looking at the ascending stories of an apartment building. Even though we see only from, say, the third floor up, we know that the ground floors are there, being necessarily implied by what we do see.
Dr. Van Til spoke of our God as “the indispensable presupposition of all intelligible predication.” When He is acknowledged, confessed, embraced, the result is the Western scientific tradition. On the other hand, the denial of God does not allow for a consistent and coherent view of the world, what we find in it and what we do with it. The same needs abide but we assign get busy assigning to surrogates the roles and functions knowledge, if it is not merely “science so-called,” needs, things which sanity accords to the One True God.
The Christian position is that every fact is a God-created fact. The anti-Christian position is that the Christian position makes science impossible. Why? Did Newton find it so? Pascal, or anyone who laid the foundations of modern science? No, of course not. But modern unbelieving science, having forced itself into a consistency dictated by the shape of its first premises, now finds the very suggestion—even one three orders removed—that a God has anything to do with what is—why, we see its representatives shout, cry, and become generally hysterical and unmanageable, even catatonic, perhaps screaming that “any trace of God is a betrayal of science.” That, of course, is utter nonsense, but it is a particular kind of nonsense, one born of the shape of modern epistemology which sees each fact arriving raw, naked, disconnected, abstract, autonomous from every other fact, and yet, at the same time, wholly at the mercy of autonomous man, completely dependent upon man for its own meaning. Amazingly, though this obnoxious conceit called modern science has hoisted itself on successive petards, it refuses to acknowledge one, lacking the grace and the humility which, along with the Lord, they’ve locked out of their playground.
We live in an age of accelerated epistemological self-consciousness. That means it is an age in which our fundamental premise—whether it is of faith or of unbelief—plays such a large role in our lives that it becomes impossible to hide.
What American Christians have refused to recognize or grapple with for at least 50 years is that the epistemological divide has grown almost entirely one-sidedly, i.e., from the side of unbelief. Unbelief has carved out an ever-widening swathe of life until it stands today unashamedly dictating to all that mention, acknowledgment and reverence for the True God must be confined to personal thoughts, or buildings which they have graciously allowed (for now) to be used for our chosen superstition. The more sobering truth Christians have about a half-hour to recognize is that the gaps have grown with their full consent and leave.
For more than one hundred years, this was a republic in which the public spaces were reserved for collaboration, instruction, efforts and labor predicated on the belief that God granted us all both our dignity and our rights and our national opportunities. However, today all public spaces have been designated for cooperative enterprises predicated upon atheism. That these dogs managed to define things so as to blame division on the Christians, Christian culpability exists in passive form; the action was, and is, in their court. But any way it is sliced, freedom of religion has been transformed into a monstrous notion better described as an inherent right of all Americans to be freed from religion.
Be all this as it may, I have thus far touched only upon epistemological shapes as seen in large and in medium formats. But I intended at the start to treat of only one, and that an itty-bitty one.
First: remember that “the Left” is best thought of NOT as a political designation but rather a religious one. In heart and soul, it is unbelief, and that not benign. In its essence it is anti-Christianity.
Second, remember A) that Christianity (in its most mature, ambitious form, that is, Reformed Christianity) seeks to understand everything as it stands in relation to God, first, then to all else in accordance with His revelation and Law. The Christian enterprise, therefore, is the task of reconstructing, insofar as each is enabled, placed and equipped, the entire cosmos so that it may all function as God designed it, parts and whole. He moves toward this lofty goal incrementally, by the Spirit, to shepherd what has been entrusted to him toward the goals set by its King, the Alpha and Omega. For from Him, through Him and to Him are all things. Amen. And remember B) that anti-Christianity sees itself engaged in an equally ambitious task, but one directed toward the wresting of the entirety from God, and placed instead under autonomous man, who will confer upon it all whatever meaning and value man decides and decrees it may have.
Therefore, in the nature of the case, and third, man’s engagement with reality is predicated upon the deception that there has been no predetermination of anything by God, all things that exist, therefore, exist without any meaning UNTIL meaning and definition are conferred upon them by MAN. Thus, the Christian seeks to understand God’s intentions, while autonomous man concerns himself not beyond his own. This necessarily means that, for the disbeliever, all things are essentially distinct from their meaning and definition and value, which are conferred by sovereign man as he wills.
This is the key to the recurring shape encountered from Leftists today in seemingly endless variety.
Coordinate with this pomposity is a method which rejects all other voices as competitive threats. Whatever prior generations thought or believed may be interesting or cute, but authority belongs to this generation alone (because it has made the most progress in achieving autonomy and the removal of God). Thus, only experts, educated in the hallowed halls of atheistic academia, may be consulted regarding points of view on identity or essence or value. That every individual and every society throughout all the world and through all ages believed marriage could ONLY occur between a man and a woman, meant absolutely nothing to—notice, it was not to “a few ne’er do wells hiding in an opium den,” but to five of the hallowed inhabitants of the hallowed SUPREME Court of the Land of the no longer free. And with their stupid, insane determination came the martial power of government to use the sword and diverse punishments upon any who dare refuse to go along with their asinine folly. And when that occurred—until today—no Christian body has stood to say, “Phooey on you and go to Hell, we will NOT be enlisted in a war against God or His definitions.” (Cf. gliberals response to Trump’s 11/16 victory. Only one side has soldiers in this battle.)
If you know how to find the pattern, you’ll see it everywhere. Like in assertions by the Left that any body that finds itself in the USA is a lawful heir to and beneficiary of all Constitutional rights and protections. As if we never distinguished between reality and pretense, between legitimacy and criminality. But the Left makes no such distinction. All people are available to them in their rhetoric as de facto citizens if that serves their purpose. Why? Because qualities and valuations are conferred by the New Authority as they will. There was no necessary stigma applying to illegal immigrants because their preferred narrative didn’t call for it—and their epistemology permitted ubiquitous postulating of this, that, him, her and the other altogether apart and distinct from any qualities or attributes which heretofore may have been recognized as sufficiently distinguishing to merit different treatment. Man couldn’t marry men because one of the parties had to be female. Definition: Banished. With the wave of an arrogant tongue, damned rhetoric is imagined sufficient to make a damn lie into truth.
I’ll leave you to work this out a bit to discover how it explains, why you cannot reason with a Leftist. The roots are much deeper than reason vs. emotion. Just list any and all contemporary issues, every instance of Leftist madness, and you can see the freewheeling hand of a mind that believes there is no necessary connection between any entity and reality, unless it is a rhetorical one officially imposed by the anti-Christian party. You will also see why what’s fish for us ain’t necessarily fish for them. Many of their definitions come with time and other limitations which may be unspecified, unspoken, even for years. But when it’s convenient for them, they’ll tell you, “Oh, that was then, this is now.”
I will leave you also to soberly consider how no society—not any, not one—could exist or continue to exist when views so antithetical are imagined to be equally entitled to protection—even honor, while they violently vie for the power, prestige and right to define—EVERYTHING. How much less when it is only one side violently vying, while the other is too busy looking for the remote or dreaming that reading something like this on Facebook and saying, “Tsk Tsk,” is equal to the moment. Christian leaders, one after another, are failing their God and His people, to the man, by their cowardly refusal to call it, not as Schlissel sees it, but as it is. And this last sentiment is evidence based. Read through it again.