Post-Modern Hermeneutic Taught At A Wesleyan University

“One can very well hear God’s voice through Scripture just fine without the AHA, but you will never understand Scripture as it actually is if you think the meaning you see in it is ‘in there.’ Meaning is not ‘in’ a text. Meaning is a function of the way words are used by readers. The meaning of the Bible is not in the Bible. It is in the reader of the Bible.

If the reader of the Bible reads the words with the assumptions of common Christian faith, they will read it as Scripture. They will read it Christianly. If a person reads it with their denominational assumptions, they will read it and see the teachings of their denominations. And if one reads it in terms of the assumptions of the original contexts of each text, then one will read in it in terms of what it actually and originally meant.”

Wesleyan University Professor (WUP)

1.) WUP has given us a text in which, according to his own testimony, has no meaning in it. There is no meaning in this text. The only meaning in the text that WUP has given us here is a meaning of how I, the reader, use the words. Though it should be kept in mind that given WUP ‘s understanding, WUP has not really given us any meaning but only words in which we bring meaning.

So given that reality, the meaning I, the sovereign reader, find in this text is that “there is a need to pick up some Hairspray for Cinco-De-Maya day festival, condoms for party favors, hair glue for that stand up finish, and horses for pool dipping excuses.”

Now, of course, everyone thinks that silly but there is a point that I am making here and that is that in order for WUP’s postmodern interpretive process to get off the ground he is assuming what he denies to be the case. He is assuming some kind of static meaning in what he writes that is decipherable and yet he wants to deny that same static meaning to be found in other texts.

Second, on this score, clearly, as an author trying to communicate with a reader, WUP  would not want someone to do such interpretive damage to what he has written and yet that is a legitimate outcome according to his hermeneutic. Once the author is dead, there are no limits on where the sovereign reader can take a text.

2.) WUP denies that there is meaning in the text but still insists that God’s voice can be heard in Scripture. Clearly, the question is, “How.” Whatever voice of whatever god that WUP is hearing in the text is a God and a voice that has no connection to God as the author of the text. The advocacy of hearing God’s voice through Scripture in such a theory can only be the hearing of a completely objectively unknowable god. WUP has given us the mystical hearing of god’s voice that one might find in the writings of Meister Eckhart.

3.) Note that WUP still writes about “understanding Scripture as it actually is,” as if the text of Scripture has some stable objective meaning that can be appealed to. And yet such a statement is in clear contradiction to everything else WUP writes in these two paragraphs. If meaning is what the reader invents and has no correlation to any authorial intent then there is no understanding Scripture as it actually is because there is no Scripture that objectively is apart from a plethora of potentially differing sovereign readers.

4.) For all I’ve said so far, it must be conceded that meaning is not isolated to the text. In order for meaning to be realized, there has to be a confluence of the author’s intent w/ the reader’s understanding. The text does have objective meaning but if the subject who is reading the text never arrives at that meaning, meaning has not been achieved for the subject and remains dormant in the text and unrealized in the reader.

5.) It is curious that WUP would admit that “Meaning is a function of the way words are used by readers,” and yet not simultaneously realize that meaning also is a function of the way words are used by writers. Still, we have to realize that for WUP, the author is dead.

6.) WUP tells us that we must get to the assumptions of the original contexts in order to get to what was actually and originally meant. This is either subterfuge or ignorance on WUP ‘s part for it it simply is the case that according to WUP’s own paradigm it is impossible to get to the assumptions of the original contexts since it is only by means of texts that have no inherent meaning that one can explore the assumptions of the original contexts. If only texts can give original contexts and if no text has meaning that the reader does not bring then how can original contexts give us assumptions that informed texts?

7.) Note that for WUP that God as the author has completely disappeared. One can read the text w/ Christian assumptions and so come up w/ Christian meaning. One can read the text with Denominational assumptions and so come up w/ denominational meanings. And in a contradictory voice (see #6) WUP writes that one can read the text with originalist assumptions and come up w/ originalist meanings. However, what WUP never says is that the text can be read w/ God’s assumptions and so one can come up with God’s meaning of the text.

8.) Now having said all this, I would insist that arriving at God’s meaning in the text is not a “science.” I do think that arriving at God’s meaning in the text can at times be as much intuitive as it is following some kind of 10 step method. However, in order for the intuitive to work our intuitions have to be trained by an ordered process. Much like before an acclaimed artist can break the boundaries of his art, thus creating true masterpieces, so the Maestro Biblical interpreter will break the boundaries of his circumscribing methodologies and discover truths in God’s word that others will never see because he follows intuition that was formed by years of ordered process.

WUP wants to skip all the ordered processes and go straight to the Masterpiece. This is like thinking that a 5-year-old just beginning to learn the violin will create some masterpiece.

WUP ’s methodology is going to give us a generation of men in the pulpit that are just as dangerous as he is.

With Apologies to the Old Under-Dog Theme & Wally Cox

  • When heretics in this world appear
    and break God’s law which they should fear
    and frighten all who see or hear
    the cry goes up to end the smear

    For

    Junk-yard dog!
    Junk-yard dog!
    Junk-yard dog!
    Junk-yard dog!

    Speed of lightning,
    Roar of thunder
    Shreds who rip God’s name asunder

    Junk-yard dog!
    Junk-yard dog!

    When Churches support the Marxist creed

    From each according to their seed
    to each according to their need
    to challenge this wrong with blinding speed

    Comes

    Junk-yard dog!
    Junk-yard dog!
    Junk-yard dog!
    Junk-yard dog!

    Speed of lightning,
    Roar of thunder
    Shreds who rip God’s name asunderJunk-yard dog!
    Junk-yard dog!

    His body is full of small buckshot
    His meals consist of rust and rot
    His home is an old junk car lot

    But Marxists fear they could get caught

    By

    Junk-yard dog!

    Junk-yard dog!
    Junk-yard dog!
    Junk-yard dog!Speed of lightning,
    Roar of thunder
    Shreds who rip God’s name asunder

    Junk-yard dog!
    Junk-yard dog!

A Few Words on Utopia, Dystopia, and R2K

Utopians believe that we need only follow our own internal compasses to be perfect. They believe this because they believe that man is basically good. They have no doctrine of the fall and believe that if man has any deficiencies they are the deficiencies that come from being in bad environments.

Christians, on the contrary, believe that man is basically sinful and understand that if man is left to “only follow his internal compass to be perfect” the result will be mass dystopia. For the Christian, any advance (individually or societally) will only come via regeneration and trusting in Christ which leads to an ongoing and continual death of the self.

This is why Christians expect there to be societal and cultural advances when genuine Reformation arrives, and concomitantly it is why Christians laugh at the idea of Revival where there is no attendant moral improvement on the social order.

If we were to make this very practical we would note that this is the difference between R2K Christianity and Biblical Reformed Christianity. R2K envisions Reformation as only impacting individuals whereas Biblical Christianity envisions Reformation impacting social orders precisely because Reformation has impacted individuals. This is only one witness to how errant R2K is as a bastard form of Christianity.

In the end, interestingly enough the R2K crowds are dystopian also. They are not dystopian because they believe that man is basically good. They affirm that man is fallen. R2K is a dystopian faith because it cordones the impact of Christianity away from the public square. Because R2K refuses to allow Christian nations, or Christendom, or Christian culture, the only thing left is non-Christian nations, Pagandom, and non-Christian culture. This follows from the Van Tillian insistence that there is no neutrality. R2K desires what they call a “common realm,” but a realm that is common is inescapably at the same time a realm that is neutral and as that is not possible the advocacy of R2K for a common realm is advocacy for dystopia.

Of course when R2K advocates for this common/neutral realm that is not shaped by Christianity what R2K is doing is creating a vacuum that will be filled either by some god that opposes the God of the Bible or by oligarchs who would ascend to the most high and give us a Great Reset and a New World Order. R2K “Christianity” is a religion of defeat and surrender. They know that and they promulgate it so has to be consistent with their defeatist Amillennial eschatology. Amillennialism requires defeat in the end and R2K has given us a theology that will create what it anticipates.

Ibrahim X. Kendi’s Antiracist Discrimination Examined

“The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
 

Ibram X. Kendi

1.) Steve Sailer rightly notes here that given this quote by Kendi that, “the essence of CRT is oppression of whites.”

2.) Notice also this quote perfectly encapsulates both Herbert Marcuse’s “Repressive Tolerance,” and the currently popular idea of equity. Anti-racist discrimination can embrace “tolerance” except for people who practiced discrimination in the past. For those people and their “rights” it is intolerance (Repressive Tolerance) that is to be practiced. Likewise, “equity” is the notion that people who were discriminated against in the past by previous generations need extra help to catch back up to where those who are the descendants of those previous generations now are because of how their forefathers discriminated against them. In pursuance of that, the descendants of those discriminated against in the past receive special advantages and help that the descendants of those who discriminated against them in the past don’t receive.

3.) Of course, all this is posited on the fact that people were uniquely discriminated against in the past. Perhaps there is no doubt that Blacks and others were discriminated against but does that mean that they as a people group have been uniquely discriminated against? A look at the sum of history would demonstrate that at one time or another all people groups have been discriminated against.  Then there is the reality that Black people were discriminated against by their own people when they were captured and used as a form of currency when being sold into slavery. Sure, discrimination has existed but no discrimination is unique to any people group that has ever existed.

4.) It must be said that any White person who embraces this idea has a death wish for both them and their posterity. For a white person to accept this idea is to proclaim that at their heart they are a masochistic and therefore mentally unbalanced person. No people group, in the face of contrived and tenuous reasoning shackles themselves and their progeny to the whims of a weak victim class who can only thrive by creating an environment of false guilt wherein they can flourish. I suppose Whites who will embrace this idea deserve to die out.

5.) Who gets to determine when the present anti-racist discriminations are now equal to past racist discriminations so that all discrimination can be eliminated and how is that assessed? Excuse me if I have my doubts that the White man will ever be able to pay for all of his past putative discriminations even if the White man decided to play along.

Allan Bloom on Education… Rev. McAtee on Allan Bloom

“Every educational system has a moral goal that it tries to attain and that informs its curriculum. It wants to produce a certain kind of human being. This intention is more or less explicit, more or less a result of reflection; but even the neutral subjects, like reading and writing and arithmetic, take their place in a vision of the educated person. In some nations, the goal was the pious person, in others the warlike, in others the industrious. Always important is the political regime, which needs citizens who are in accord with its fundamental principle. Aristocracies want gentlemen, oligarchies men who respect and pursue money, and democracies lovers of equality. Democratic education, whether it admits it or not, wants and needs to produce men and women who have the tastes, knowledge, and character supportive of a democratic regime. Over the history of our republic, there have obviously been changes of opinion as to what kind of man is best for our regime… This education has evolved in the last half-century from the education of democratic man to the education of the democratic personality.

The palpable difference between these two can easily be found in the changed understanding of what it means to be an American. The old view was that, by recognizing and accepting man’s natural rights, men found a fundamental basis of unity and sameness. Class, race, religion, national origin, or culture all disappear or become dim when bathed in the light of natural rights, which give men common interests and make them truly brothers. The immigrant had to put behind him the claims of the Old World in favor of a new and easily acquired education. This did not necessarily mean abandoning old daily habits or religions, but it did mean subordinating them to new principles. There was a tendency, if not a necessity, to homogenize nature itself.

The recent education of openness has rejected all that. It pays no attention to natural rights or the historical origins of our regime, which are now thought to have been essentially flawed and regressive. It is progressive and forward-looking. It does not demand fundamental agreement or the abandonment of old or new beliefs in favor of the natural ones. It is open to all kinds of men, all kinds of lifestyles, all ideologies. There is no enemy other than the man who is not open to everything. But when there are no shared goals or vision of the public good, is the social contract any longer possible?”

Allan Bloom
The Closing of the American Mind – 26-27

A few notes to consider

1.) Though Bloom doesn’t use the word to describe what he is getting at what he is telling us is that education is hopelessly religious. He gets close to saying this toward the end when he notes,

“This did not necessarily mean abandoning old daily habits or religions, but it did mean subordinating them to new principles.”

If people are subordinating their old religions to new principles what is really going on is that they are subordianting their old religion to a new religion. This reality that education is hopelessly religious reminds us that the whole idea that government (nee – public) schools can avoid routinely violating the establishment clause is a myth. All schooling is based upon and descends from some religion. One simply cannot educate apart from religious indoctrination. On cannot produce a certain kind of human being apart from that human being being animated by some religion.

2.) Bloom tell us that the idea of “neutral subjects” is a myth. As neutrality is a myth so the idea of neutral subjects in education is a myth. Every subject will serve the end of some god, some religion, and some theology.

3.) With the two above we already have enough to ask ourselves … “Are we satisfied with the kind of man/woman that our educational students are spitting out?” If we answer that in the negative then we also have to say that we are not satisfied with the state religion that we are supporting. If we are not satisfied then we have to make some hard decisions about our children’s education. Dare we leave our children in these government schools if we don’t like what we see in the people of the broader culture?

Christians especially need to get their children out of government schools because these religious centers we call schools are not only destroying the little Christianity our children may have had going in but they are making it nearly impossible for our children to ever have Christian faith. This is true from grade school through University and beyond.

The Churches (Denominations) have been especially dismal here with their refusal to identified what Bloom identifies above as well as the implications I am teasing out here. The Churches, by their unwillingness to call for a emptying of government schools are now complicit in this crime against the God of the Bible as well as their children.

5.) Bloom’s whole idea of “natural rights” was always a chimera — always completely subjective.  Only God has natural rights. Man’s rights are not natural, instead defined and determined by God and only then in the light of a previous duty. Public education has been anti-Christ for a very long time now.

6.) At the end of the quote above Bloom writes,

“There is no enemy other than the man who is not open to everything. But when there are no shared goals or vision of the public good, is the social contract any longer possible?”

Bloom was both right and wrong here. Bloom was correct in noting that the ethic of our time is the ethic of absolute licentiousness. Each man must be allowed to do what is right in his own eyes. No one must say that any behavior or lifestyle choice is wrong except to say it is wrong to say that some behavior or lifestyle choices are wrong.

However, Bloom is wrong when he says there is no shared vision. The shared vision is chaos and if one disagrees with chaos then one is an offender of the public good.

We will say though, in the end Bloom is correct again to imply that no social contract is left possible. A social order can not long be maintained based upon the shared goals or vision of the public good defined by a shared anarchy. However, for those who never believed in the social contract theory this may not be a bad thing in the long run, though in the short run it could get pretty ugly.