The Nature of Faith

In my “Review: The Path is Very Long” I made some claims about Radix Fidem that some of my readers might question whether or not they are accurate portrayals. Fortunately, Catacomb Resident published “Academic Faith” only a few hours after I published that review. Perhaps it was even a response to my post, who knows. It is well-timed regardless, and supports much of I claimed.

Catacomb Resident — Academic Faith
This blog tends to be academic in approach. However, it’s an academic approach to faith in Christ.

This is an interesting claim. I don’t dispute it, per se, it’s just interesting. I could probably say the same thing about what I do here: an academic approach to faith in Christ.

As I stated in my previous post, I agree with quite a bit of what Catacomb Resident and the Radix Fidem group teaches, much of the substance and philosophy, but (as I will clarify below) I disagree that it is valid Christianity. Consequently, I treat it the same way I would treat the work of a Mormon or like that of the agnostic Bart Erhman: valuable academic scholarship, but not Christian.

Catacomb Resident — Academic Faith
As a reminder, “faith” refers to your feudal submission to Jesus as Lord. A synonym is “commitment”. Properly, the word “religion” means your response to grace and election. It’s the sum of human activities that express your faith in Christ. The term “salvation” points to the collective results of seeking peace with God in His terms. Creation itself is fundamentally tribal and feudal; religion should be the same.

This is a pretty typical Radix Fidem claim, an excellent summary.

Defining “feudal submission” as commitment to Jesus as Lord, “works” as expressions of faith, and “salvation” as peace with God (if defined as logically equivalent to salvation from death and sin) is just Protestantism wrapped up in slightly different terminology. Even Evangelical Christianity embraces Covenant theology, so that isn’t a particularly unusual part.

However, the rest of the claims are less compatible. Everything is viewed as if the nature of God himself is properly viewed in terms of an earthly form of government, that of the feudal lord of the Ancient Near East. Scripture does not deductively teach this, though Catacomb Resident and others certainly draw inductive inferences towards this conclusion. The idea that creation itself is fundamentally tribal and feudal is almost purely speculative, so the conclusion that religion should also be does not logically follow.

So much for academic faith.

Catacomb Resident — Academic Faith
The process means subjecting your flesh to His Holy Spirit. Faith is not in your head; that’s where religion resides. Faith is in your heart, so your heart must rule over your head, and thus, the rest of your fleshly existence. There is no clinical explanation for this. The best I can offer is the statement that your heart is the seat of your will, your ability to make a commitment, of exercising faith. To state that it is separate from the intellect is usually enough for most people to recognize it and begin the internal process of shifting their consciousness into their hearts.

And here we delve immediately into the fundamental error of Radix Fidem. It’s the one thing that is purely non-Christian. It is the one primary thing that has to be fixed before Radix Fidem can be truly useful to the average Christian.

Catacomb Resident is clearly placing the flesh at opposite ends from the spirit. He is distinguishing between the ‘head’ and the ‘heart’ as if thinking (of fleshly origin) and having faith (of spiritual origin) are different things that can be separated. He explicitly states that your will—of the heart and spirit—is separate from your intellect—of the head and mind.

As an academic issue, we are forced to conclude that this philosophy of the division of self does not come from the Hebrews, but from Greek philosophy (e.g. its conception of ‘soul’) and from the later centuries of the early church. It is not found in the ancient Hebrews, Jesus, Paul, the other apostles, the very early church, nor even in the recent Assyrians who retained the Ancient Near East practices.

The separation of thinking/flesh from the spiritual/heart is a distinctly Western concept and, as we’ll see, Catacomb Resident relies on the language of the West to describe it.

Let’s review, again, what I wrote in “Traditions of Men.”

Traditions of Men
The first indication of a problem comes from George M. Lamsa, a Semitic Assyrian raised in a local religious community that spoke Aramaic (as did Jesus) and lived in a manner quite similar to those who lived in the Ancient Near East at the time of Christ. Lamsa specialized in the study of [ancient] Hebrew idioms. In “Idioms of the Bible Explained”, he explained that the phrase “pure in heart” in Matthew 5:8 is idiomatic for being pure in mind. How can this be? How can someone so close to the original culture and language equate “heart” idiomatically with “mind,” when [Radix Fidem members] are claiming that the heart excludes the mind and intellect, which they claim is irredeemably fallen.

As an academic issue, that’s a piece of the modern evidence. It comes from a culture much closer to the 1st century culture than the one that Radix Fidem purports to emulate, except the former militates against the authenticity of the latter. To use modern lingo, Radix Fidem is LARPing.

Now let’s examine the most ancient of the possible evidence: the Hebrew Shema. There we find critical evidence against Radix Fidem’s anachronistic view. Here is what I wrote in “Traditions of Men:”

The heart in the Hebrew world was not as [Radix Fidem] describes, and this fact is straightforward and obvious. Why? Because the ‘heart’ is central to the most important, most quoted, and most well-understood passage of scripture used by all Hebrews of the Ancient Near East: the Shema Yisrael. If the traditions of Hebrews of the Ancient Near East feudalism were what we should be following, then we should follow their strongest tradition.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NIV)
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

The Shema is so important that three gospels recorded Jesus’ conversation with a teacher of the law where they declare it to be the greatest of God’s commandments.

Matthew 22:37 (REV)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

Luke 10:27 (REV)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.

Mark 12:29-30 (REV)

Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone, and so you are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Note that the mind is not mentioned in Deuteronomy, but just as with Aramaic-speaking Lamsa, both Jesus and the teacher of the law confirm that the addition of “mind” alongside “heart”, and “soul”, is a correct quotation. So is leaving out strength. Jesus freely associates both the heart and mind together. This is not a mistake, but is fundamental to reality.

The heart was the center of both feelings and emotions as well as knowledge and the comprehension and understanding of the mind. The heart was the core of being, and so encompassed the entirety of what it meant to be a living person.

It is not only incorrect to say that the intellect is somehow opposite or otherwise opposed to faith, it is incorrect to say that the heart and mind are not one-in-the-same. Catacomb Resident’s claim is so far from fundamental reality that he couldn’t concoct a belief that is farther from reality than the one he is promoting here. His view is flatly contradicted by the words of Jesus himself.

So much for academic faith.

In English, a language strongly subject to Western influences, the word faith can take on the meaning of a religious belief that is not based on evidence and proof. The term “blind faith” and “mystery” both capture this sense, the latter of which is used by many denominations to ‘explain’ doctrines which cannot be explained. When Radix Fidem teaches about finding the truth of God, its deemphasis on relying on the mind reflects this incredibly common Western mode of religious thinking. Blind, unthinking faith is virtuous and pure, while the use of logic and reason is heresy.

But this Western understanding of faith is foreign to an Ancient Near East culture.

A Hebrew who put his faith in God was putting his faith in his feudal Lord, upon which he had full and complete confidence rooted in the knowledge of God. There was nothing blind or mysterious about that faith, indeed, it was completely justified. I’m reminded of this rarely mentioned Old Testament story:

Judges 17:6-13
In those days there was no king in Israel, every man did what was right in his own eyes. There was a young man out of Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite; and he lived there. The man departed out of the city, out of Bethlehem in Judah, to live where he could find a place, and he came to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah as he traveled.  Micah said to him, “Where did you come from?” And he said to him, “I am a Levite of Bethlehem in Judah and I am looking for a place to live.” Micah said to him, “Dwell with me and be to me a father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver per year, a suit of clothing and your food.” So the Levite went in. So the Levite was content to dwell with the man, and the young man was to him as one of his sons. So Micah installed the Levite, and the young man became his priest and was in the house of Micah. Then Micah said, “Now know I that Yahweh will do good to me, since I have a Levite to be my priest.”

Micah’s faith was concrete. There was nothing mystical (mysterious) about this expression of faith. He had his own priest—by mutual consent—and he was at peace with God. His faith and deeds cohered completely with his understanding of God and God’s promises. His faith was justified.

Radix Fidem has an anachronistically modern view of faith.

Catacomb Resident — Academic Faith
Your flesh is your biggest enemy, always seeking to cooperate with Satan. It is his chief ally in our lives, and that includes your intellect and emotions. Move your conscious soul into your heart, where the Lord reigns.

Let’s share a few definitions:

This is what Radix Fidem teaches: that the flesh is evil and that the essential spiritual truths are found through mystical means after (or because of) the rejection of the flesh. Read again what Catacomb Resident wrote:

Catacomb Resident — Academic Faith
Your flesh is your biggest enemy, always seeking to cooperate with Satan. It is his chief ally in our lives, and that includes your intellect and emotions. Move your conscious soul into your heart, where the Lord reigns.

One’s heart includes the intellect and emotions, so the admonition here is irrational. But more importantly is that this false claim is based on a gnostic premise, a rejection of physical realities.

Catacomb Resident — Academic Faith
In this, we are taking up the divine moral agenda of our Creator. There are creatures far above our level who serve Him, and some don’t serve very well. They have a measure of free will, so to speak. At some point, one of His heavenly servants objected and argued about the terms of his service. God banished him from the heavenly courts to a place the Bible calls “the Abyss” or, in our terms, the Dungeon.

That servant became the Dungeon Master, a role that includes being a prosecutor of humans. It allows him to engage in espionage to tempt humans to be unfaithful. We accepted his temptation, which meant putting on prison garb (mortal flesh) and entering his dungeon. That’s this world, constrained by time and space.

The Bible calls Satan ‘The Adversary.’

Catacomb Resident — Academic Faith
The whole point in letting this happen was something beyond our comprehension…

First, Catacomb Resident was quick to note that the human intellect is garbage, of minimal use. Even if it is true that we can’t understand the finer points of how Satan operates, that doesn’t mean that there is an inherent problem with our intellect. Catacomb Resident could have described the intellect and the understanding of how Satan operates as orthogonal to each other, but instead he puts them on a collision course because his prior theological commitments demand it.

Second, see how, above, I didn’t disagree with what Catacomb Resident’s description of Satan, his fall, and his role as the Adversary? That’s because scripture itself describes that. Catacomb Resident colors it in non-biblical language, but I could cite book, chapter, and verse that says the same thing. I don’t need any additional extra-biblical references. But not so the rest of the paragraph by Catacomb Resident:

Catacomb Resident — Academic Faith
…but it includes us having a chance to rejoin God’s side in this debate while we are stuck in this dungeon. The Bible uses the language of glorifying Christ; the glory of Christ is primarily in how well His servants can appropriate His blessings. When we embrace the privileges of Covenant behavior and all the blessings that come with it, that is His glory.

Did you catch that? He views earth as a dungeon in which we are stuck with Satan.

Sound familiar? Catacomb Resident views salvation as an escape from the bounds of the dungeon that is life on earth. Salvation is found in a spiritual connection, where flesh ties detract from it.

This may sound like standard Christian teaching, except that standard Christian teaching comes to this conclusion without pitting all of created matter against us, as if the create created by God were the pure opposite of God, instead of being, by default, amoral in nature or even of creation reflecting the image of its creator.

Catacomb Resident’s theology teaches that Christ came to give us the means to appropriate blessings, and that those blessings are associated with our deeds. In doing so it veers subtly into works-righteousness. Recall how he defined salvation:

Catacomb Resident — Academic Faith
 The term “salvation” points to the collective results of seeking peace with God in His terms.

Salvation as described here is not merely achieving peace with God, but is the collective results of seeking peace with God. Catacomb Resident may talk about election and predestination, but his own words betray an underlying works-righteousness by the seeker seeking and by the collective.

Catacomb Resident — Academic Faith
Showing our aplomb with typical human worldly obsessions, shrugging off attacks designed to rile us on the same level of the flesh as drives everyone else — that is how we glorify our Savior.

1 Peter teaches us that in our obedience to Christ—after we are saved—in the midst of suffering, we glorify him, but this has nothing to do with achieving salvation, that is, obedience does not allow us to achieve peace with God. Only Christ achieved that, on the cross. That is faith, and it includes loving God with all your heart, soul, strength, and your mind. That is the nature of faith. If you reject loving God with your mind, then you are rejecting faith that Jesus told you to have.

2 Comments

  1. professorGBFMtm

    ”This is a pretty typical Radix Fidem claim, an excellent summary.

    Defining “feudal submission” as commitment to Jesus as Lord, “works” as expressions of faith, and “salvation” as peace with God (if defined as logically equivalent to salvation from death and sin) is just Protestantism wrapped up in slightly different terminology. Even Evangelical Christianity embraces Covenant theology, so that isn’t a particularly unusual part.”

    This is similar to why I find the ”red pill” of ”loudmouth ”leader” chumps” in the sphere to be so funny as they think that revolving their life around craping on women is somehow the very opposite of ”goddess-worship”-when they are still in ”goddess-worship” mode it’s just now they see the ”goddess” as not fulfilling their ”goddess” role as their all giving them genie. This just makes me thankful that I never conflated Christianity with women or the cult of sex like ”red pill” leaders did and still do as RPChristians(TM). Then some of the same say ”” Christianity” got cucked” in the 4th/5th century, yeah by similar trendy and want to be seen as ”cool” MEN who cared nothing for JESUS &his cross i.e. the atonement it provided by way of JESUS physical death, but what pretending they did care for it, could get them instead.IOTW blue, fed, or red are still of the same mind i.e. in ”goddess-worshipping” mode as GBFM & MOD have said for years.

    Also:

    ”1 Peter teaches us that in our obedience to Christ—after we are saved—in the midst of suffering, we glorify him, but this has nothing to do with achieving salvation, that is, obedience does not allow us to achieve peace with God. Only Christ achieved that, on the cross. That is faith, and it includes loving God with all your heart, soul, strength, and your mind. That is the nature of faith. If you reject loving God with your mind, then you are rejecting faith that Jesus told you to have.”

    If only ”RPChristians” believed that instead of their cultural lust-filled fertility goddess worshipping.

    1. Derek L. Ramsey

      The fact is that the Bible pays very little heed to the topic at all, except for the one verse when it is speaking of two faithful Christian believers. When it comes to abnormal situations, such as that of marriage to an unbeliever, the mode of instruction switches to enduring suffering.

      Even if BtM was correct, the very start of the Red Pill constitutes a false focus. But of course that stance is clearly delusional. Red Pilled men talk about that topic over and over again long—years or decades—after they have taken the Red Pill.

      Many Red Pilled men have made it very clear that even if they achieved every other Red Pill goal except that one, it would be unacceptable. I know because I’ve asked. I believe, perhaps, only cameron (if I recall correctly), was willing to consider otherwise. That’s a tiny sample.

      Fixing this dysfunction is one of, if not the greatest, goal of the Red Pill. This is very, very obviously the case. This topic is discussed far more than, say, suffering for Christ and glorification after death (as per here). Not only is the relationship between the husband and wife not a focus, but if a commenter is dumb enough to suggest that friendship between a man and a woman is valuable, or even possible, they’ll be subject to ridicule.

      This is what, for example, Scott had to offer, and the moment that he starting having other kinds of problems that the Red Pill might in theory be helpful in addressing, his posts were deleted, other references to him censored, and he vanished. The Red Pill has little else to offer a man in trouble, other than the elusive promise of a good night’s sleep.

      Recently a man on Sigma Frame—Riuoku—went on a date and he asked for advice. A lot of people weighed in, giving conflicting advice and making predictions. I wonder what happened with that. Does anyone know if there been any follow-through? A quick search indicates that Riuoku has not posted any updates. I wonder if the disliked “Malcom Reynolds” will prove to be the one with the correct prediction.

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