a response to the dilemma of Maladaptive Inverted Hermeneutics
To have an apologetic method is to have a relationship with the truth. One cannot argue a simple statement, such as that, “Christ is Lord,” without first presupposing definition to these words. To be Lord, must mean something specific. More to the point, to proclaim this idea to an audience, is to have an expectation that the audience will understand the specific meaning of your words. Thusly, to speak of Christ, there must be a definite understanding to whom we are referring. The truth presupposes that certain things are factual. To say that something is factual here, is to refer to those ideas as the basis for significant actions and ideas to spring from.
When we speak of the Bible through the lense of testifying to its truth, it is called Apologetics. But calling it Apologetics doesn’t make it Apologetics. The reality is that many people who have come to speak on behalf of the Gospel, have come to the podium without an understanding of the gospel as a truth worthy of defense. For them, the Gospel is not The Truth for humanity, but rather a truth for the individual. To this end, to speak as a witness to the universality of the Gospel’s power is too official a format for the subject of truth. To many Christians, Apologetics has become merely the practice of sharing a personal, but ultimately subjective experience. This is a decidedly humanistic way of approaching the significance and sincerity with which the Gospel narrative commands to be shared. The witness of the scriptures is not to be treated as a casual experience of a significant set of personal revelations about Jesus. Instead it is to be treated as the testimony of a witness to the power of God unto salvation.
To this end, Apologetics is not merely a sharing of the Gospel. It is a defense of the actuality of God’s hand in human history and his intent for a significant and loving relationship with his creation. This type of defense is of significant importance. It is not a musing of ideals or idle speculation, but is meant to be a thoughtful exposition on the philosophical supremacy of the revelation of Scripture in a grounded and liveable reality. When Paul claims in Romans, “I am not ashamed.” This is not meant to be a personal proclamation to paul’s social network or a narcissistic humanist rant about one’s self esteem. Instead, Paul presents, before a watching world, the legal testimony of a learned individual, spoken in the courtroom of philosophy.
The early twenty-first century has seen this concept marginalized in favor of a court of public opinion. Universal truth has become something which cannot be testified about. Its significance has become seen as something which is neither universal, nor measurable. And through the years, this impotent view of reality has pervaded the space of Christians circles as well. Whereas the first century church exploded onto the scene, viewing Truth as the winner of a competition between the myriads of philosophical mindsets freely flowing about the syncretic culture that was Rome, it did so in such a way as to force Rome to view the Christians as a physical threat. Christianity today may garner unfavorable glances and gossips, but in the realm of truth, it has become popularly laughed off as being an archaic belief of the uneducated masses. This is a direct result of the parishioners of Christendom having allowed a redefinition of the terms of engagement with The Truth. Instead of returning the Gospel’s fight to the courtroom of reason, they have largely been content to box their once prolific belief system into a non offensive and benign “sincerely held belief,” so they may carve out a small metaphorical plot of land that is peace loving and benevolent, amidst a sea of competing ideas.
This is not the brazen Christianity that once led Christians to be slaughtered at a particularly gruesome time in human history. Those ancient Christians lay in stark contrast to today’s impotent Christianity as the majority of popular Christians in America would have easily made the choice to avoid the Roman gladiatorial games. The digital footprint of Christianity today implies that many would have no difficulty with Caesar as Lord of the physical world and Jesus as Lord of the spiritual world. Followers of Christ in the first century would be saddened and appalled. This is because they believed Jesus to be Lord over both and often died because of it. By the compelling nature of Christ’s status as the great reconciler of all things unto himself, Christians proclaimed, in full view of the thinking man, in every nation they could reach, that Jesus is the one true Lord of all. They did this in the footsteps of their savior, Jesus of Nazareth, who walked the same path. It is clear, that Jesus believed his own words and interpretations of God’s will to perfect and to supercede the authority of the Scriptures. He even called himself God and claimed that he is, and was, greater than the greatest Jewish Patriarch, Abraham. This was not stated as an opinion or a personal belief. Jesus stated these things, directly, succinctly and in a fashion in which could be understood by his audience. To this end, he was held accountable for his words, publically and legally.
To stand with Jesus, is to stand before Pontius Pilate and to give an account of the Truth, knowing that this truth might end in death. Therefore, any Apologetic method should reasonably be built with this in mind. Unfortunately, American Cultural Christianity strays off the mark left by Jesus and his early followers. Rather than build an apologetic method for defending the veracity of the Gospels, using the tactics revealed in scripture, methods have been built upon a Humanistic Enlightenment framework. This presents a major difficulty in giving Christian testimony. In Chapter 13 of Nancy Pearcey’s work, Total Truth, she proffers this conclusion,
“The only way the church can establish genuine credibility with nonbelievers is by showing them something they cannot explain or duplicate through their own natural, pragmatic methods-something they can explain only by invoking the supernatural.”
If the purpose of Apologetics is to defend the faith as philosophically viable and supreme above all other worldviews, and therefore worthy of embracing, pursuing and ultimately dying for, then how can we present that truth as tacitly similar to the truths of those we are sharing it with?
To this end, we need to have an understanding of our truth as grounded in confirmed revelation, practiced in our day to day living and easily understood as set apart from the other truths vying for allegiance. But having this understanding, is not enough. Other ideas calling themselves truths, exist in the same philosophical landscape as God’s truth, pulling the dysfunctional hearts of men as carnival barkers, distracting God’s creation away from his specific voice. This is an effective method of distraction for a creation that was compelled to sin by seeing how ripe and tasty a simple piece of fruit appeared. But God is not without his methods for presenting truth in a way that can speak in louder tones than these sideshow attractions. Historically, God has dealt with these distractions by presenting himself as an inversion of these abnormalities. Our Apologetic method should follow God’s own practices, inverting the Apologetic method of the world’s calls so that God’s unique voice will stand out amongst the din. In seeking to understand the dilemma in presenting God’s truth to the masses, let us consider Jesus and Pontius Pilate.
Quid Est Veritas
Pontius Pilate, standing in front of the Messiah, posed the question, “what is truth?” This question was one of rhetoric rather than a true thirst for knowledge. Pilate would have understood the severity of the circumstances which pervaded his everyday existence. He grasped the political balance of tenuous relations between the ever increasing zealotry of a nationalistic Judaism and a Roman territory seeking to hold power. Because of this, Pilate’s thought on the man standing before him would need to be decidedly pragmatic. The Jewish authorities sought to involve him as a judge in the matter of the man before him but they did not understand who Pilate was. The supposed Jewish heresies Jesus of Nazareth had been spouting may have ruffled the feathers of those concerned with more esoteric matters, but they were of no importance when measured against the political hands gripping Pilate. Christ spoke of truth. Truth was not relevant to Pilate unless that truth was empirical. If It didn’t touch the tension of his world, it had no place in his day to day of riots and rumours.
But Jesus did offer truth. He offered a truth which was not empirical but tacitly defied empiricism, instead holding that the truth which could be perceived was merely a shell to the ideals which made it measurable. He proffered the idea that those who understood this were part of a kingdom which had no borders and that those who lived there worshipped in the form of truth and spirit rather than taxes and a bent knee.
A New Kingdom
Curiously, Christ offered a new kind of kingdom. The kingdom of Christ was not interested in power. It was interested in ushering in a metaphysical understanding of one’s place in creation. This truth was structured with Christ at its center, not demanding to be king, but claiming kingship on the laurels of his eternal nature. It was a kingdom based on the propositional truths of the universe and one which didn’t need Jesus to claim his kingship, but simply recognized this to be the way that things were. To this end, all who lived in its philosophical territories and served in its fealty bowed before Christ without having to be broken before him. They would do this willingly. His sovereign reign was the defining narrative for his subjects. This truth was not a truth but the Truth. Christ would usher this truth into our existence. He did not care what man served on an earthly throne using force or bribery to bring allegiance to their name. Those who knew the truth would know the Truth and they would serve God fiercely, regardless of the man on the throne. This is truth. For a soldier working his way through the ranks of roman rule, this was not a threat. It was in point of fact a sort of lunacy; a perverted and inverted delusion at best. This supposed Christ was harming himself and the old Jewish superstitions, but he was of little concern to the empire of Rome.
Pilate was, at the heart of it, a man who had lost his connection to the idealism which Christ presented. Christ was a fool in this world. He spouted idealistic musings, drunk on the promise of a theocratic Israel. To Pilate, Jesus gave people a misguided hope at best, all while alleviating the political tensions by calling for peace. In contrast, Pilate was a worldly man; weathered by his Roman campaigns and the type of political pressures that over time redefine strong soldiers into petrified monuments to the lost battles of this forsaken world. Christ testified to the beauty of a loving God and in doing so, he pleased the masses. Pilate was a learned man. He believed in facts and had been educated in blood and iron. He could not afford to please any man. He was tasked by his superiors with being strong, an extension of the strong hand of the Roman Empire. On the surface, they could not have been more different. Their worlds were disconnected; Christ’s a mere tangent of the grounded reality of Rome.
Only Time Will Tell
If you asked Pontius Pilate which story would still be forming two thousand years later, he would have been wrong. Fast forward two thousand years and the story of those who follow Christ is still being told day to day. Roman rule has been traded, if not completely obscured, by Christianity. It would seem that the kingdom of Truth, with a lovable lunatic from Nazareth as it’s king, was much more relevant than a learned and worldly soldier could have predicted. As Christians, we understand and devote our lives to this truth and this king. We have been taught that the resilience of the carpenter from Bethlehem is the definition of truth. The nature of this truth, personified in its king, is life altering for all those who encounter it. Jesus turns people toward wholeness. He connects people to God by showing them a truth which is not primarily empirical at its core, but instead based upon the veracity of God’s own character. His truth is not merely evidence of underlying principles but is instead the underlying principle.
Framing the Problem
Though Christianity itself has outlasted Rome, the ideology of Pontius Pilate never died out. The hard life of a soldier undoubtedly played a hand in Pilate’s loss of connection to the truth but his journey to disregarding it is a story which predated him and continues to be told. This is in stark contrast to Christ’s very presence, which was an affront to the lie that truth is not relevant. Christ’s presence in real time and real space was a war effort. It was an open act of aggression on the battleground of the mind. When people come to a saving knowledge of Christ, they are forced each time to reconcile what his nature is. He phrases himself in such a way as to demand a conclusion to his identity and what he means for our existence. Is he the only way to God? Is he our creator? Is he God? You cannot come to Christ half-heartedly. You must ask yourself how he fits into your day to day life. How is Christ relevant? How is truth relevant? Christ presents both questions as being one and the same. The reconciliation of these concepts has resonated throughout history and continues to this day. Is it any wonder then, that Pilate’s ironic answer in the form of question, has proved to have its own staying power in the discussion.
The Scales Fall Off
For the apologist, the question posed by Pontius Pilate is a continual source of difficulty. The question of truth’s relevance has been pedantically delivered again and again with new ways to echo Pilate’s sentiment that truth is not relevant. This is a particularly bleak obstacle to overcome for the apologist as Pilate had not only fully given himself over to this train of thought, but he did this with the best personification of truth he could possibly have at his disposal in Christ Jesus. He was so disconnected from the truth that he could not recognize it standing in front of him. Any argument for truth given by a believer in Christ needs to factor that Pilate’s sentiments were unhindered by the presence of personified truth.
That said, God called his Apostle out of Time to the forefront of the battle from the other side of this argument. From the ranks of those who would betray the truth personified came the most treacherous of the religious right. After an encounter with the truth of Christ on the road to Damascus, God revealed the Truth to him about himself; that Saul, in persecuting Christ, was in fact persecuting God. This brought Saul to the other side of the battle. Now called Paul, he fought for Christ’s relevance with a fierce determination which echoed a battle cry that continues to be a source of strength for propositional truth to this day. In Colossians he decries the Godhood of Christ by forcing the gnostics to reconcile Christ’s pre-existent nature. In Romans, he expounds on the presence of a law, written on humanities heart, that can convict or defend our actions on the Day of Judgement. In Ephesians, he explains the proper relationship between the Church and calls them to strict adherence of the spirit and truth of Christ. Paul is not alone in his understanding that Christ is the truth. Every disciple speaks boldly and repeatedly to this fact and in doing so, their words cemented the very Gospel itself. This is the message of the sacred Scriptures.
The Devil Hides
The majority of the works of Paul, as well as several of the Disciples’ works, are targeted attacks on the idea that truth is relative at best and is a non-existent at worst. The early church fought against these attacks with a resolve befitting their savior. The infant church had been birthed into a syncretic society who based its concept of truth on its own ability to observe nature. As Paul points out, in the opening of Romans, this led observant men and women to an ultimately inverted outworking of reality. They structured their lives around worship of gods who didn’t exist and the created rather than the created. Paul judges all men in Romans, but the truly insidious nature of this misjudgement by God’s prime creation is most painfully felt amongst believers. John’s gospel and his epistles called for a strict understanding of what had been taught as he watched the predicted wolves in sheep’s clothing creep amongst the flock of young believers. These false prophets called for law without mercy, love without accountability, men without their fallen state and Jesus without his historicity. The responsibility of the church has always been to weed these men and their inversion of God’s truth out from among his people. But Instead of exorcising them, the church has often held them philosophically captive, and used them for their methods and charisma. This is especially prevalent in the early church of Rome as sincere and beloved church Fathers, such as Tertullian, would argue for the methodization of pagan tactics to bring about an ease of spiritual growth for once and new pagan converts. This is especially telling in the case of Tertullian who would later convert to the heretical Montanism. Indeed many important developments in Christendom, happened by accosting and implementing pagan ideologies, practices or simple Hellenistic thought. Over time, these mechanisms became so ingrained in the machine of the body that their relevance, if any, became hard to distinguish from the revelation of Scripture . The Church began to look like the nations surrounding it. Though reformations and splits have taken place over the centuries to rectify this tragedy, the truth remains that the church continues to flirt with a return to Egypt from whence it came. This is of course exactly what was predicted by Christ and his Apostles and will continue to polarize into a coming apostasy. The sad reality is that since the church came out of a proverbial Egypt, it has always sought to point to Egypt, struggled with reasoning like Egyptian and wearing their proverbial garb. It has never been uniformly true to its own vows and the watching world knows it and looks on in disgust.
What is Qualia?
Experience can be a tricky thing. Two people can know that a fire engine is red, but red can mean different things to those same two people. To this end, there is a measure of truth which can be known and communicated between two people, but is not objectively true beyond that personal experience. Two people see one red fire engine, both recognizing that it is red, but one would call that red, “red hot,” while the other might find that red to be a “happy red.” Verifiably, the only corroborable fact is that both people are experiencing the same “red,” in different ways. Qualia is a term that Philosophers have used to describe the measurement of a perception which can only be known introspectively, but still be revealed and affirmed through communication. In this case, the perception of Red. This is to say that every interaction has a qualia of experience which can be felt sincerely, understood and then communicated. Due to the introspective nature of qualia, the general application of that qualia is limited to the perceiver and therefore problematic for general application. Put in simple terms, if any one person’s idea of the qualia of Red became known as the authoritative definition of Red, it would become difficult, at best to have Red things and impossible at worst. Therefore, qualia is not a good foundation for understanding the universal qualities of a thing. In qualia, an objective universal truth is unattainable without a measureable outside force confirming that an experience is demonstrably the same as an observation and therefore a factual conclusion. This is why math and physics play such a profound role in scientific progress. They are demonstrably accurate and seemingly universal and therefore can be reasonably relied on. Nevertheless, mankind has a brain which seems to consistently beg the question, “Is the truth of an object what one experiences, or what one can observe and corroborate?” To this end, there has been much debate, centering around the Truth and where it becomes a fact and where it starts being an opinion. As much as qualia cannot be a reasonable foundation for truth, often, it is a reasonable starting point for filtering what a universal truth is.
God the observer
Christians have an easy reconciliation for the dilemma of truth’s identity. The Scripture demands that Christians understand ultimate truth as being measured, not by man’s senses, but rather by God’s revelations. To this end, man does not need to bear the burden of sifting through the multitude of relevant qualia on any given subject or asking phenomenological questions. For Christians, a disparity exists between the perception of men and the truth of God as a matter of presupposition. Revealed as being a result of the Fall of Man in Genesis, men have an inverted view of the relationship of the qualia of experiences, viewing experiences to be greater than the universal truth. As stated by Paul, this leads to the usurping and ultimate replacement of the Truth itself. Man has apologized for his perception of the truth from the moment he was first questioned in Eden. The default argument for Man has been to deflect and project his own blame onto God. Ever since that moment, God has been actively pursuing mankind in counter intuitive defense of the pre-Eden truths. God calls those who have accepted their faulty condition and his new narrative to new eyes upon the truth. These new eyes have a refracted view, which affirms God to be the lone determiner of Truth. He makes this happen by using an inverted defense of the original truth in the upside down world in which man operates. For argument’s sake, we will refer to this method as an Inverted Apologetic.
An Inverted Apologetic, as it applies to Christian theology/philosophy, is a defense of established Christian truths, which accepts a disparity between the Qualia of truth as a perception of experiences related to an object and truth as a property of an object. This can be expressed as Qt<Qe. In another language, someone with this ideology might believe that the idea of Truth is less important than the experience of a truth. In real terms, a person who believes this might believe that the objective color of red is not as important as the feeling that red evokes. Therefore, to call something, “Red,” isn’t as important as feeling that something is, “Red.” This is a counter biblical view of Truth. Red is Red because God created Red to not be any other color. The word for Red may change, but the idea of Red is present and authoritative in real time and space, regardless of how one might experience it or express it. Therefore, an inverted apologetic would also recognize the presence of this inappropriate philosophical understanding and attempt to return that understanding to the presupposition that the Qualia of Truth is more important than the experience of that truth. This could be expressed as Qt>Qe.
the advent of Qt<Qe
The presence of Qt<Qe in perception is predicated in philosophy by the lack of a rational unified perspective on life’s struggles and mankind’s place within the greater echelon of the cosmos, space and time. Notable Christian theologian Francis Schaeffer describes the complete lack of hope due to a non-cohesive and impotent worldview as being below the line of despair. Thus Schaeffer concludes that the ultimate result of this is a philosophical nihilism or a complete hopelessness.
The rise of Maladaptive Inverted Hermeneutics
The result of residing below the line of despair is a complete lack of stability through thesis or antithesis. This leaves humanity with only one plausible means of attaining philosophical solvency, or rising above the line of despair. They must depend on themselves to find solace. Indeed, this has been the conclusion of many philosophers and was, tho positively phrased, the conclusion of the enlightenment movement which began with Descartes. There came to be a philosophical divide between what was sacred and secular and this radically altered the way humanity could tell its own biography. Without a fundamental understanding of truth that is reasonable and adequate, men are left having to replace what Paul says they innately know, with something impersonal, inadequate and meaningless. To operate from this basis comes at a cost to the psyche of an individual.
In order to survive, the individual must either recognize their own inability to achieve coherence and embrace the idea that they cannot partake in an adequate and meaningful, unified worldview, or reject that such a truth is attainable at all. Those who own their inability to partake but recognize the standard of coherence are in danger of self destruction. By owning the standard and sacrificing oneself to that standard, an act of sacrifice might achieve coherence in the face of losing one’s life. However, an acceptance and dwelling on this inability to achieve the standard might lead to such drastic acts as suicide.
I would humbly suggest that may have found a third option. In Philosophy, there is a term called Hermeneutics. It is a term which mostly refers to the methods by which one interprets something. This is often used in conjunction with Biblical methods of interpretation but can be applied in a much larger sense. A hermeneutic method encompasses the ideology which informs one’s perceptions. In the case of those residing below Schaeffer’s line of despair, their hermeneutic method includes the presupposition that all truth is derived from self and what one may experience. To this end, the qualia of truth is less than the qualia of experience.
When this happens, a person must develop new psychosocial skillsets to adapt to an increasingly unreasonable environment. Erikson’s stages of development describe the process of moving through life both existentially and physically, as well as the dangers that can happen when people progress too quickly without having been fully developed. It posits that behaviors which are maladaptive in nature are part of a string of behaviors which have been compounded through a person’s life, due to the inability to resolve certain philosophical questions or crisis about one’s identity, before advancing to a new stage of development. In this way, religion and theology is similar. Even with the language of Christianity or a Christian consensus on which to operate, if the presuppositions of Christ are left behind in development, the outcome can become maladaptive and ultimately fatal for one’s faith and even those around them.
It is therefore unsurprising that the New Testament warns early church leaders to guard against an unstable foundation for truth as well as the rapid acceptance of leadership in spiritual growth.
Those who have not been guarded will often develop a maladaptive inverted hermeneutic, or a way of defining life that is the inverse of God’s truth and does not serve their needs on a psychosocial, or spiritual level. MIH(maladaptive inverted hermeneutics) is essentially a rejection of the ability of truth to inform an experience. This can be expressed as Qt<Qe. Truth becomes the experience, or more succinctly, perception of the experience. As the predicator for MIH is being below the line of despair, the base ideology is always that there is no meaningful truth. Since truth no longer has a value of perception in the loss of thesis and antithesis, this can be expressed as Qe=t.
The principle of philosophical alethic inversion
MIH has a first principle of a lack of meaningful truth. As such, every perception of truth, which in fact is functionally equal to having truth, is instead replaced with merely the quality of experience. However, this is not simply a postmodern experience. Postmodernism can be expressed as Qt=Qe. The qualia or perception of experience has been confused with the perception of truth itself. This philosophical mindset is a precursor to Schaeffer’s line of despair. In MIH, truth itself is not only replaced by experience but is actively worked against. Therefore, a negative or opposing force against truth is silently present in the mindset of Qe=t. This inversion of the truth, though possibly subconscious is specific in that its reactions to truth as a property of an object or idea is directly challenged and inverted to appear the opposite of its nature. This maladaptation allows those operating below the line of despair to operate with a significant amount of adaptation by replacing their perceptions of experiences and denying that those experiences are true. Philosophically, suffering becomes pleasure and thus a manageable experience because it is no longer a quantifiable experience with any bearing on meaningful reality. Indeed, this tactic has been used for centuries in mystic traditions, such as buddhism, which teaches their adherents to understand the sensory inputs as a mere perception, and to view oneself as not truly existing in a meaningful sense.
The inverse is of course that pleasure becomes suffering. Paradoxes like this are always easier overlooked as their qualitativeness is always positive in reality from below the line of despair. For instance, it is reasonable to rationalize that you are not hungry when you are in fact starving(operating below the line of despair), thereby creating an inverted hermeneutic about hunger and by extension food. However, if you were unable to leave that inverted perception behind when you are not starving(operating above the line of despair), so that your mind said you were starving when in actuality you are not, this would be a much more manageable reality than if you were actually starving. This is because your body would not truly be being starved, though your mind might perceive it that way. Though this too would surely have negative consequence, it would be more easily lived within.
Thusly a phenomenon is present among those with MIH. This is that a necessary antithesis is implied in every Quale of experience. Those with MIH may not believe in truth, but all of their experiences using MIH actually argue against Qt as if it still has a presence that is authoritative in their lives.
Examples of MIH
Therefore MIH on an individual level occurs when a perception argues that truth does not exist by replacing established constructs with an individual’s antithesis. This can play itself out as God becoming the devil, or good transposed to evil. MIH is a non respecter of perceived dualities as qualitative properties of truth. This seems to be best perceived where MIH is an active philosophy in the individual.
Implications of MIH
With social constructs based upon thesis, antithesis and synthesis being the makeup for most societies, the presence of MIH can be incredibly destructive. This is due to the fact that MIH creates a localized phenomenon in the individual that pairs its qualia of experience with necessitated antithesis to qualia of truth. Since thesis, antithesis and synthesis are based upon an understanding that truth can be reasonably known and therefore authoritative in practicality, the idea that truth is in no way authoritative undermines institutions built upon this common thread. Therefore, if an individual with MIH perceived anything as good in a society, he would innately invert this into a negative connotation with disregard for the long term effects.This is true for any system which upholds a greater ethic, be it law or government, God or the state.
This is not to say that there is immediate degradation for standards, as there are mitigated circumstances at play once truth as a reality is an impossibility. Namely, the immediate effects on one’s qualia of experience may serve to buffer the degradation. Specifically pain and other experiences which have immediate physical tie-ins may be particularly effective in creating inhibition or a semblance of order for one whose world knows no truth.
In a system where antithesis, thesis and synthesis are no longer relevant, it is no wonder that MIH has even outmoded postmodern subjectivity. This inversion of the truth, though perhaps subconscious, is specific in that its reactions to truth as a property of an object or idea is directly challenged and inverted to appear the opposite of its nature. Therefore in MIH, there is no room for Qt. In other words, it is not that all truths are equal, but that there is no truth at all. This maladaptation often presents itself as the synthesis in Hegel’s dialectical approach. Unfortunately, with an underlying enlightenment-humanism as its foundation, it lacks the critical fortitude to withstand the requirements of a practical everyday worldview. Christianity needs a core that is larger than human reason. In point of fact, both Marx and Darwin were able to draw decidedly unchristian applications from this dialectical approach. As time moves forward, more MIH lends to more improper synthesis. Sexuality, for instance, has heterosexuality being perceived as the thesis, where homosexuality (especially in view of the church) is viewed as the antithesis. The maladaptive inverted hermeneutic has started to create a new synthesis, that there is no sexuality at all except what one experiences. One might call this asexual(complete lack of sexuality) by one extreme where another might call this pansexual(complete lack of sexual boundaries) by another. The natural outworking of postmodern subjectivity and its philosophical humanistic counterpart is that they eventually outmode themselves by removing the need for any authoritative truth due to the presence of a wholly impotent qualia of truth.
Today’s MIH in western society
In the early 2000’s, we can already see the presence of a popular and cultural mass maladaptive inverted hermeneutic. The phenomenon of popular culture through the medium of the internet makes it possible for instant transmission, reception and even to some degree production(though often without a physical product). This creates the perfect ingredients for MIH to exist as the lack of the need for an institution to transmit information removes the captive audience to conventional reception of information and the presence of immediate realization in art combine to make high critique an outmoded concept. It also mirrors the fact that maladaptive inverted hermeneutics do not allow for the production of any truth, just as the internet and cloud production produce virtual products rather than physical products that have quantitative attributes. Suddenly, through the wonders of technology, the tenacity of voice is more important than the quality of that voice. Herein lies the key for MIH, in that philosophically, MIH is at its best a mechanism of survival. Thusly, the institutions, which have been able to survive on the laurels of a closed system of fame as the titans of information, have become no match for the hungry and deprived, starving and feral nature of the maladaptive inverted hermeneutic. The maladaptive will outlast, without any substantial threat, an institution which is resting, fat and lazy on the laurels of its own impressive achievements. The virtual environment, with its instantaneous method of information disbursement and degradation of high critique has not only given MIH a voice, but it has also popularized it. This is largely due to the ease, speed, saturation and uniqueness of the popular voice of MIH. Every proponent of MIH is a dynamic survivor and everything he says is ultimately present solely for its help within his own philosophy to help him survive. This is in sharp contrast to the self-righteous rhetoric of conventional wisdom which has been passed down from generation to generation with the exact same intonation and words each time. Adding technology as a platform, it is not difficult to infer how the ethic of working hard to survive is replaced by the ease of digital computation, the ethic of relational maintenance through personal investment and hospitality is replaced by the standard of social networking, a coded way of reductionalizing relationships into a series of likes, posts and tweets. It is an incredibly telling truth that unfriending someone on a social network is akin to defriending someone in the “real’ world. Across the board there is replacement of Qe=Qt to Qe=t or at its best Qe>Qt. This is true in the most extreme ways on a macroscale as well as on a microscale.
A stark example of the large scale MIH already present is the way in which information itself is viewed. Information used to be a means to be productive, and was passed in such a way to make that transfer conducive to productivity. In the early 2000’s, the education system, the main vehicle by which information secured transmission and reception, is still thought to be the main means by which productivity is accomplished. Information is power and information is found in schools. Schools give you the information you need to be productive. However, productivity was judged by a product. This was a measurable object or resource that re-contributed to society’s melting pot of information. This was a measurable quantitative product which determined status and income. In other words, it had value. However, technology has allowed us to produce a macro-soft productivity wherein there is no actual physical product. A song produced by an artist is released from its measurable form once it achieves digital distribution and its value becomes immeasurable and largely uncontainable(attempts to measure and contain it notwithstanding). Therefore, music piracy in philosophy becomes, by example, the releasing of the value of information and product. In short, at one point, we worked for quantitative and measurable values. This has all been changed by technology which unleashes the ability to work for qualitative and immeasurable values. Value is being equalized by technology into a state of qualitativeness. This is a rather large example of a form of institutionalized maladaptive inverted hermeneutic. On its surface and on a microscale, this may seem a minor argument with no bearing on the overall reality unfolding, but on a macro level it means that products have no value and therefore the quality of expression is becoming an increasingly mute point. In a world where a high schooler’s blog is reasonably seen as the same quantitatively as his teacher’s, there are alarming implications. Especially when his teacher and himself reside below the line of despair and at their base level believe in nothing and subconsciously work against truth. If allowed to persist, the nature of maladaptive inverted hermeneutics is ultimately destructive and its presence is already present and even accelerated by technology.
Who are we
Whether we as a universal humankind are fully in a state of MIH is debateable. However, biblically speaking, the fact that this time is coming to the world and the church is not. This time is marked by a complete inversive understanding of value which in turn lacks authority but has lasting and incredibly damaging implications. The Bible alludes to a coming apostasy within the church. It does so with the knowledge that the world’s philosophical economy is already maligned as active participants in the demonic patronage of Satan. The nature of apostasy is not merely the implication of a church which is deceived but rather a charge which claims to be for God but is actually operating in the polar opposite capacity. At its base level, this is a textbook inverted hermeneutic.
What we have done
The churches typical reaction to this coming apostasy is to institutionalize passion for God. To put it simply, the church finds methods of sharing the gospel that address the public through the already established methods present. This is unsurprising as the church’s history is founded in Judaism which at its first premise held a relational distance from those surrounding it. In order to enter Jewish culture, you had to assume its attributes. We also know that imposition of the philosophical modernism was struggled with from the church’s inception as early as Peter and the Judaizers. But is this method effective? By the time of Christ, the method of Jewish qualia of truth had already begun to destroy itself. The Jewish government was ripe with corruption, even in the more progressive Pharisees, leading it to buy witnesses against Jesus. From the modernist progressive interpretation of the Pharisees came a decidedly post modern answer to their problem of Jesus. As leading authorities in their time, they had both power and money and had established for themselves a good deal of fame by the time Jesus came into the picture. Jesus presented a challenge to this. But why were they so eager to kill him? If Jesus was meeting the Jewish leaders on the level of philosophical modernism, his approach should have been acceptable and profitable for them. The Jewish Messiah would have an invaluable market value. He could have been their puppet, or at very least, they could have ridden his coattails to an even higher level of fame. As God’s chosen people, and the heads of God’s chosen people, the coming of a messiah would have brought them even more power. But Christ clearly had a different idea. Christ would consistently challenge every convention they had, to the point of their exhaustion, until they killed him. The religious authority, once born out of the progression of Moses’ leading had eventually altered into a much different reality. Where once there was progression, there became complacency, and Christ would ultimately push that complacency to a place of no hope. The presence of Christ would force the Sanhedrin, the Pharisees and Sadducees to focus on God or drop below the line of despair. Upon dropping below the line of despair and slipping into a state of panic and subjective interpretations, their method for regaining their presence above this line was to create a maladaptive inverted hermeneutic. They would confidently tear their clothes and cry blasphemy at the idea that Jesus was the Messiah. This is because their view was completely reversed and Jesus of Nazareth had become the devil to them. What had Jesus done to insight such disdain?
God and refraction
The Bible states time and time again that God uses things which men find to be wise to make fools of them. In the principle of refraction, light is taken through a lense, bent and either focused or dispersed in order to create a desired image. This same principle is used in telescopes in order to see long distances as well as in glasses in order to correct vision which is blurry. God has proven to use a similar tactic when meeting those who would consider themselves to be wise in the extreme. His tactic is simply to, philosophically, refract their arguments to either focus them or make them philosophically blurry. He does this best and specifically in the very personhood of Christ, who in his very earthly presence is an affront to the qualia of experience. For God, a virgin can give birth. A bush can light on fire without being burned. A man who is dead can raise from the dead. Water can be walked upon. Spilling of blood gives life. A mortal can live eternally. Repeatedly, we see universally throughout scripture a particular method of revelation wherein God chooses to invert the convention of perceived reality. This inversion ultimately returns mankind back to a proper philosophical view. One which is coherent, powerful, adequate and meaningful in his practical world.
an Inverted Apologetic
Rather than approach mankind on the terms of his conventional wisdom, we see God approach mankind with an inversed rationale from his own debased mind. This however has rarely been the case of the church or its cousins the jews. The church has fought for a philosophically modern apologetic attitude which paints Christ as the establisher of God’s kingdom within a decidedly Christian framework. that is to say that the church as a first principle goes back to its jewish roots in establishing as a first principle ideologies which exist at their base above the line of despair. To understand this, you must first understand soteriology and the Jews unique understanding of God. To put it simply, the Jews believe that they are innately connected to God. Their need for a messiah for salvation is not the same as a decidedly western view of salvation. By nature of having God as an inseparable first principle, who provides for all needs and claims ownership, the Jewish nation can never truly achieve a maladaptive inverted hermeneutic as they cannot truly fall below the line of despair.
There is of course one caveat to this in the presence of the outright rejection of that God and the replacement of that God for their own personal godhood. For the normal jew, not only would this not be a real concern but it would be outside of their frame of reference as the presence of God was insured regularly through safeguards in culture laid in place by moses. However, by the time of Jesus, there had not been a prophet for around four hundred years and the Jews had undergone much oppression. Though the everyday Jew would still turn to God in their time of need through the religious authorities, who would the religious authorities turn to? This need to balance the power equation and needs of the people cast an incredible weight on the Jewish leaders which eventually led them to compromise their faith in God and to conspire with the authorities of the land. Essentially, they dropped their nationalistic/modernist pro-God movement for a more postmodern survivalist mentality. The presence of Jesus among them, and a lack of allegiance to him forced them to choose between maladaptive inversion rather than self loathing or sacrifice.
Less than a hundred years after Christ had risen, the church was already facing similar issues within its government and within three hundred years of his resurrection would already be turned into several different factions at war with each other on the issue of political powers, distributions of lands, funds and doctrines. These things would continue to ale the church through divisions, schisms, blood feuds and all out wars. Where once Christians showed the truth of who Christ was by the method of meaningful and Godly love, it became the pattern to show who he was by his power. Rather than take the methodology of God in revelation and as Christ in manifestation by altering their perception of truth, the church continues to this day to establish a machine which benefits those that sit at its top. Christ, however, used an inverted apologetic on humanity. A methodology which at its heart was so simple as to make him the start of a revolution he never actually started, but had always aimed to bring about.
A Modest Conclusion
If the Visible Church is to follow in Christ’s footsteps, it needs to give the world an authoritative uniqueness in regard to the truth. It has to regain the boldness of the early martyrs and apologists who boldly proclaimed Christ as The Truth for all, without allowing their fears of public shaming, loss of status or imminent death sway them. Methods of following Christ which replace God’s revelation with humanistic prime narratives ultimately erode with enough pressure. The stories of too many sincere Christians have ended with their intentions ultimately being destroyed by their method’s lack of ability to produce a distinct and compelling Christ-led narrative for a non-believer to follow. Psychology, Sociology and even Theology can be powerful tools in teaching who God is, but they are all theoretical when weighed against the standards which God set for apologizing his gospel message. The scriptures teach us to disciple each other through our Christian hope, which is ultimately a sharing of how God set himself apart as Holy and worthy of the praise of mankind, culminating in our overall salvation from our sins. It is precisely this holiness which is missing from the narrative of so many churches and would be apologists. God, through subjective humanistic rationalization has become holy, only as a matter of method, and not essence. The truth of his holiness can, no longer, reasonably be understood as The Truth. His innate essential holiness has been reduced to the feeling that comes from being in his presence and being made in his image. This has diminished God to less than he is. For someone who only views God as holy due to the feeling he perceives, God is no different than that person’s perceptions. Man becomes the eye by which God comes into focus and revelation is left out of any substantial understanding of God’s character. With such a cavalcade of different perceptions in the sea of diverse human beings, the idea of God and the holiness of his character become marginalized to one voice amongst the masses. Man cannot be a starting point for our testimony. He is to small. Our apologetic method cannot be rooted in humanistic and pagan methods. Our Apologetic method must be rooted in God’s revelation, through Scripture. It must be distinctly set apart to reflect God’s holiness. When God wished to show man that he was unique to his people, he inverted the method by which they proclaimed truth. God’s truths are found in a blazing bush that doesn’t burn, in an ark that couldn’t hold an infinite being, on a criminal’s cross that gives life. As we seek to testify to what we have learned from and about him, let us build Method’s which call truth seekers to listen for a small voice amongst a crowded room, fisher’s to catch men instead of fish and for those to gain their lives by actively losing them. As the world has hated the truth and inverted it for their purpose, let our apologetic be an inversion of what men find to be wise so that they may find our God.
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