Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Theology Of The Three

No, I'm not going to talk about the Trinity today, but rather the theology of the three year old.  In this case the theology is appallingly bad AND appallingly common.  Perhaps I should be proud of my little boy's creative mind, to have independently developed one of the most popular heresies of our age at the tender age of three.  But I think not, I simply corrected him.

It goes rather like this:
Little Boy:  Does something very contrary to the rules governing him
Jehu:  Why did you do ?
Little Boy:  Because that is how Jesus/God made me

Interesting set of implicit premises here---that the natural state is in some way good, or at least not that bad, and that my inclination must therefore be right, or at least not that wrong.

I see this all the time from folks that want to argue as Christians contra the authority of Scripture (or the authority of Tradition even moreso).  Sometimes from them it might draw a response of---well, my natural man inclination wants to slug you right now, would THAT be ok?  But from one's child, the response is a gentle but firm correction.

There is a temptation to toss this back in the face of the next theological liberal who makes a similar argument in my presence, with the prepared counterbattery fire should they say something to the effect of
'From the mouthes of babes' of
It is telling that you consider as the height of wisdom.
Prepared counterbattery fire is, in my experience, the best response to snark---rarely will you encounter someone capable of impromptu 'counter-counterbattery fire', with the exception of perhaps a stand-up comic.


Anonymous said...

Scripture just doesn't work for me. Not in a strict sense. I mean how am I suppose to apply "no sex before marriage" to the current mating marketplace. That's a recipe for failure, even if you want to start a family.

Jehu said...

The solution to that problem is to marry relatively early. I agree that it is hard, that's why you're supposed to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Yeah, you're going to fail, but you ARE required to at least try. How hard do you have to try? Well, for that I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that God makes that call, and He is FAR more merciful than I. The bad news is that He is also infinitely more difficult to bullshit than I am.

Anonymous said...


I don't get how one goes from "I believe in God" to "I believe in the bible." It seems there is no reason for this beyond tradition, tradition that could easily change in another culture.

I'm not entirely sure how one is suppose to marry early. Nobody marries early anymore. Especially among women in my social group. Even the relationships are problematic given how much I moved around in my 20s for career. Then finally there is the issue that divorce risk is much higher if you marry early. Lastly, if I married early I was a much worse man back then and I don't think I could have attracted a good mate, but then I would have been stuck with them for life.

Waiting has, simply put, been a good move for me.

Jehu said...

Christians throughout history have believed in the Bible as an accurate and profitable testimony of the faith. They've only differed really on the relative weight to give Scripture and Tradition.
Pretty much all of them are unanimous in that sex outside marriage is a mortal sin.
Are/were most of them mortal sinners in this regard?
Yeah, probably, especially if you use the Sermon on the Mount convention on adultery
(this convention is, essentially, if you would take her assuming you had the Game and social position of, say, King David, you've already had adultery with her).
But you do have to try, becuase if you don't even try, how is it that you love God?
You'll find that marrying early is a lot more feasible than you think. I've seen a lot of 18-19 year old marriages among homeschoolers that seem to be doing fine. The divorce risk when you marry a female virgin is a LOT lower (see the Social Pathologist for this).
But let's face it, Faith requires us often to make sacrifices regarding things we think we want.

Anonymous said...


There is an assumption here that just because I believe in God I should be a Christian. Even if I accept many tenants of Christian believe, that does not mean I have to accept everything in the Bible if I don't believe the Bible is the direct word of God. I may not even need to accept Jesus, the whole holy trinity concept was never really central to my search for God.

Perhaps that makes me not "Christian", but then so what. I've wrestled a long time with the idea of there being a God and objective morality. I've come to terms to that. But at no point did that lead me to the idea that I know what that morality should be. Nor that any particular religion has some 100% claim on it. Believing in an objective truth and knowing it are two different things. Even if one has faith in God that doesn't tell you exactly what morals to have faith in.

So morality is basically some synthesis of reason, felt/emotional conscious, and humility/deference to tradition. The latter two are strengthened by my faith in God, which also allows me to hold and weigh all three together.

I was not a homeschooler. And among hundreds of people I knew there were zero marriages at 18-19. This world your describing is so far from my own its almost as if it doesn't exist. And if it does exist I was certainly never exposed to it by my parents, which is the only way an 18 year old would really be exposed to anything. Though the entire concept never occurred to me I don't think it would have been a good idea at the time because I was neither ready to pick out the right bride nor be a good husband.

Jehu said...

Of course I feel that if you believe in God, you should be a Christian. Actually, you can drop the first half of the conditional. If I didn't feel that Christianity was the faith most congruent to human experience of the Divine, I wouldn't be one.

If you're arguing from a functionally pagan perspective, which it appears you are, then I suggest early marriage to a virgin woman because of two things:
1. Virgin brides have much much lower rates of divorce and,
2. The more of her 'firsts' you possess, the more tightly she will be bound emotionally to you. This is true to some extent of men as well, but much moreso for women.

Of course I suppose you could do what I did, which is to marry a significantly younger woman than yourself, but that's not the way to bet when talking about large numbersof people.

Anonymous said...


Eh, that's not really an argument I can use.

1) I'm not sure this would have been true in my case. My community and culture doesn't marry that early. And I was not a catch. I was a nerdy unattractive beta male with zero game from a poor family and I had no money. Exactly what kind of mate would I have attracted? I doubt even a poor dumb fundie chick would have been interested, and even so what kind of genes would I have been giving my children then? And how would we have related over a lifetime?

And how would the logistics of this attraction have worked. Nobody around me would have been looking for marriage. Would I have needed to move to some fundie religious community? Then how long would it take to find a girl, court her, wed her? Am I to put my whole education and career on hold while doing this?

Doing things the way I did I was able to get a solid career and experiences that made me attractive to women. I also got more experience with women so I was able to learn game, get over oneitis, and become a better judge of women. The quality and quantity of women I have to choose from now is much greater. I think this path will give me a better wife that I'm more likely to get along with and less likely to break up with.

2) This is true, but its also true that it leads to oneitis and a lack of game. I had zero functional ability with women at 18. It took lots of experience to overcome my beta ways. If I went into marriage as beta as I was I would at best have been my wife's bitch and at worse gotten divorce raped.

Jehu said...

The only people I recommend get married are those who are serious Christians in the present society in the US. Having a serious Christian (NOT Churchian) community around you will give you some serious structural alpha.
From a Christian perspective, by acting as you (and let's be honest, as I as well) acted during our 20s, you put yourself in fairly dire spiritual peril. If you want to use the approach I've described, you need to start laying the groundwork for it early, honestly probably as early as 12 years of age or thereabouts. Finding, developing comfort and some attraction, and courting a suitable wife needs to be placed very high on your list of priorities.

Or I suppose you could do like some of my Indian colleagues (many of whom are Christian btw), and get an arranged marriage. I suspect such marriages will become a lot more common in the next 20-30 years or so.

Oh, and on 2), I'm NOT talking about YOUR firsts, but HERS. Having given her her first gives you pretty significant structural alpha in your relationship as well. Thus the danger of oneitis is on HER side, not yours.
BTW, all of the homeschool kids that I've seen married thus far seem to have a fairly realistic view of male-female relationships (this is to say, the attractiveness of the female partner and the status of the male partner don't appear to be in any way out of synch---the ones I've seen appear in the 80s in terms of percentiles on both counts).

Felipe Monteiro de Carvalho said...

> I don't get how one goes from "I believe in God" to "I believe in the
> bible." It seems there is no reason for this beyond tradition, tradition
> that could easily change in another culture.

I think that the transition is part of a larger process of becoming a Christian. First one needs to take the steps out of the imoral secular world into partial Christianity, and I think that it goes like this for people in our western modern world:

1> First you will hear in the imoral secular world the rules to be a happy and successful person (or at least it was like that in my High Scholl in Brazil): Drink a lot, have sex with as many women as possible, be rich, use drugs, etc. So you attempt to follow those things and figure out that you are not the happy winner like they promissed that you would be, but instead you are miserable. Those things at most make you dizzy, make you forget, but in the end they don't satisfy and you need an each time stronger dose to feel something.

2> You are aware that conservative Christians do offer a whole alternative world view, way to be and in general a whole and completely different approach to what is the correct way of being and what brings happyness.

3> The holy spirit touches you

So with those 3 things in place you decide that the imoral secularism is not for you and you definetively need to try something different. But not just anything different: You make the first step into a conservative Christian church (I recommend any Church which believes seriously that the Bible is the literal truth from God).

At this point you start joining the service, talk to people that, go to bible study meetings, make friends, etc. In the beginning it might be a little shocking as people there actually believe everything from the Bible, even parts which you rationally rule out as impossible. But if they are well versed in the scriptures they will tell you that it is normal that for unbelievers the scripture is madness:

1 Corinthians 1:18

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

So some time (I'd say 6 months is enough) of participating in a conservative Church and studying the Bible will be enough to convince a person that:

1> There is no true morality outside christianism. Secularists are imoral, ruthless and mean, and they don't care about the damage they do when they attack other people. I am yet to see real, reliably, care about what people feal outside christianism.

2> The opposite of 1 is all of the wonderful people that you meet in the Church.

3> That the word of God is wonderful: The more you read of it the more you get convinced that everything in it is good, that everything in it points to the great plan of what God wants for your life and that everything in it is true. That there is nothing objectionable about it and that you are actually prepared to live by its rules as you know them very well and that it fits perfectly for the human soul. Even if you sometimes wish for something different from what the Bible says it is good, the truth is that God makes those things out of reach for our best.

And add to that some more work of the Holy Spirit and done! You just made the entire process right from Atheism towards conservative Christianity in 6 months!

Or at least that's how it worked for me =)

And I think that that's how it went for a lot of other people too. I was not very successful in the modern western model of how to be: Didn't have luck with women and neither did I ever use drugs. But I know of a very high profile case: A Brazilian rock-star (Rodolfo Abrantes) which was the extreme example of the well succeeded modern western: He had all of it: Drugs, sex and rock&roll. But he similarly concluded that he was miserable and that the modern secularist western world is a huge lie and he dropped it all for Christ.

Anonymous said...

One can go through all that and not end up Christian. Jews reject secularism, sex, drugs, and rock & roll too. So do most religions in their own way. Going from accepting religion to accepting Christianity wholesale is not something I've come around to yet.

Anonymous said...

What I'm hearing is that my parents should have raised me differently and I should have had different circumstance and perhaps even genes in order for it all to work. Start at 12? There was zero religion in my life at 12.

Jehu said...

Like myself, you must play the hand you presently have, not the one perhaps that you should have had.
But be assured I'm stacking the deck as best I can for my little ones.

Felipe Monteiro de Carvalho said...

I think that you should just try it. Go to a conservative Christian church and see if it works for you. If it doesn't, it is not mandatory, you can always give up and stop going. If you don't go you will never know if this is really the correct path.

I don't know where you live, so it is hard to give more concrete instructions as to the nearest conservative Church from your house. But make sure not to go to a liberal church as those are only pseudo-christians. Some examples of conservative churchs:


About Judaism: It is virtually restricted to ethnical jews, so I'd say that it doesn't count on the discussion for most people. But it should be noted that Christianity does come from Judaism and both share the Old Testament, and the morality in both is indeed almost the same. But when it comes to the other religions, no, they are completely different. It is just that most people don't know much about them.

Felipe Monteiro de Carvalho said...

Aha, now I realise that this blog has a catholic underpinning, so I don't want to be disrespectful. You can add Catholic to my list of recommended churches =)

I am Presbiterian, so that's why I recommended it first, but my wife is Catholic.

Jehu said...

I'm not Catholic---I'm actually a very conservative Quaker. But I have a great deal of sympathy for the Catholic church, and the Pope in particular.
Truth be known, I suspect the Pope gets a more friendly hearing from conservative Protestants like myself than he does from most of his own flock.
But my Catholic sympathies are pretty inevitable when you think about it---the chain works like this
I recognize the authority of Scripture, but I recognize that everyone who interprets that 'software' is themselves running on corrupted hardware.
Therefore a strong weight has to be given to Tradition, because although they make mistakes, they don't usually make the SAME mistakes as you are inclined towards. Anything supported by nearly every era or opposed by same should be given tremendous weight.
Most of the Church's traditions were compiled under Catholicism (or Orthodoxy).
So the opinion of Catholic Tradition should be given a strong (although not unlimited) amount of deference).