The Saved, The Damned

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Society / Social Epistemology / Religion /
@ K. 2004 06 03

Mission: to examine binary judgments, the Procrustean Bed of either/or choices

This piece was originally written as Meta-differences Across Time for Macroinformation.

Today I initiate this file, calling it “religion” merely because the meta-differences I shall focus on here relate I believe more directly to theology … religion than to “art,” “science,” or “society”: some of the other categories for my macroinformation examples.

I’ll begin with an example directly related to conventional theology as familiar in the Occident (a major theme of mine my whole life): Judgment Day.

The damned don’t dare recognize themselves:
all their social sight is set on existential deceit:
mistaking themselves for the Saved.

The Christian calendar is divided into two parts (divisions equal difference, difference equals information, derivatives of difference render macroinformation …): Before Christ and Years of Our Lord: BC, AD: translate back to Latin if you like. Existence is divided into two parts: Time and Eternity (In Hinduism, Buddhism too). In Christianity (generally, of course) it is understood that some “day” God will judge all: thereafter all will be sorted into the sheep and the goats, into Heaven and Hell, the Saved and the Damned, the Right and the Wrong …

I was trained in a church labeled “Presbyterian” by a Sunday School teacher who made no bones about being a Calvinist: and one of the Elect to boot. Since then I have run across any number of sects and adherents of sects who believe (or at least claim to believe) that the vast majority are Damned; only the very few are Saved.

At I have written about how my love of jazz was formed in relation to the theology I was being force-fed: jazz was for the cognoscenti, the esthetic elect, only a few have Soul … “We” were forced to live among Squares … (These mojos related to a kind of marvelous reverse racism: the color of your skin gave you a leg up or an extreme handicap in the delicate matter of maturing your Soul: it wasn’t that a Pagan couldn’t get into Heaven; it was that it was extremely difficult, improbable to impossible: therefore, those pale-faces among us (like Benny Goodman or Dave Brubeck) who displayed such an abundance of Soul (for me) were very special indeed: like Plato wandering Heaven among ordinary Christians.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if those of my readers who were raised in some minority sect (such as Protestants once were) didn’t display some analogous feeling of Chosenness. Heck, look at the Jews! We got nothin’: the short end of the stick. (Therefore:) We must be due for all the pie from now on.

I hope the above fleshes out my opening bald symmetries. Time to get back to baldness. Some day, after Judgment Day, it will be clear who was right and who was wrong. Who was right? Look up. (There they all are, right in front of you, in Heaven! Who was wrong? Look down. (Etc.) The Pope may not be infallible but God is. So there. There can be no mistakes in Heaven!

So answer me one question.

How come Christians waste time having opinions and judgments prior to Judgment Day?

How much macroinformation is in the abundant fact that judgments and opinions are as common as sand?

Uh oh, isn’t that two questions? Make it three: How can we possibly know whether to trust Newton or Einstein, to vote for the Liberal or the Conservative, without knowing first who’ll be in Heaven and who in Hell? If we follow a devil, how can we be Elect? note

What profiteth it a man to win the award,
to get the promotion, to be elected president …
if there are none in the electorate not whores of Babylon?

St. Paul attacked Reason as unreliable. Who could disagree? Yet wasn’t he reasoning with us as he did so? shouldn’t the proper Pauline disciple just opt for the earliest possible lobotomy? shouldn’t Christians keep their children out of Sunday School as well as out of school? shouldn’t Language itself be repudiated?

How shall we reason when our rational credit is no good?

What if there’s a Judgment Day in which we’re all bankrupt?

Today we take each other’s checks. Tomorrow either of our checks may bounce. After the Passion, how good is the Temple’s credit? After Galileo, how good is the Church’s?

After the Scopes Trial, how good is ours? After pk, the universities are all bankrupt: but the bankruptcy hasn’t yet been acknowledged by a quorum. (How would one ever get a job if one squinted even ever-so-much at the monopolies of licensing?)

If you think light’s velocity is finite, you should see truth’s. It can barely crawl.


God is infallible, no mistakes in heaven:

If we can’t trust our own judgment in life, why should we trust God’s even when we see Him in person? How do we know he’s God, we who are so easy to fool? And if we could know he’s God, how would we know he’s right? We can’t. We just have to take His word for it.

If we just have to take His word for it at Judgment, why shouldn’t we take the Pope’s word for things now?

Why don’t you just take my word for everything?

2012 03 20 Of course there potentially is a good way to make decisions: science, were humans honest or smart enough to be capable of it. But there are prerequisites: not just honest, not just intelligence, but humility. No human group will voluntarily admit that everything they’ve done up until now involves cheating at the highest political level.
We insist on assuming, wrongly, that it was the other guys who sabotaged the messengers, not us.

Cosmology Etc.

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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