Dark Brightness

Bleak Theology: Hopeful Science

Rule 34 in the church.

Today I had one of those lovely social issues. There is a Christmas party coming up, and I was invited, as were my children, and a partner.

I’m single. I have no partner. I know a bunch of women, but I do not have a romantic relationship. I’ve got to get a project out the door that day and I will take my co author with me to the party. But we are friends. And we are aware others will read it differently.

Elspeth wrote this, and she is a Lady. She is describing how eros has become the only definition of love. We can not have friends, and we cannot have duty and honour. For everything now follows rule 34.

When Jesus began His earthly ministry, he quickly set about turning the established religious order on its head. Not by dismantling the law as the people knew it, but by showing them what it looks like to embrace the spirit of the law as well as the letter. He demonstrated love in action.Later, Paul’s epistles outline the practical side of loving one another: in the church, in the home, in society. Reading carefully, we see that there is little there about feelings. It’s all about our responsibility, and no where does he give credence to our emotions. Loving God was about obedience to His word. Loving people was about restraining my own selfish desires in order to do what’s best for them and what pleases God.

Somewhere along the way, we began to embrace a definition of love that is warm and fuzzy, what makes us feel good. Sex, power, pride, personal affirmation, empathy. This new definition infiltrated the church as well, and we have a picture of love that is far removed from anything to be found in Scripture.

Rule 34 implies that everything can be reduced to its sexual value. Now, the geeks among us know that this flows into the free spread of information — the internet sees both censorship and copyright as damage and routes around it. And the dark side of this culture exists: which is why Stross wrote a novel named after the rule.

Aha! Stross’s chief protagonist is one Liz Kavanagh, a washed-up detective inspector in the Edinburgh police force. Kavanagh has been relegated to running the Rule 34 squad, a not-so-crack unit of nerds and geeks assigned to monitoring weird internet trends in the hope of spotting various criminal activities. Kavanagh and her squad are neck-deep in hardcore porn, copycat murders and cutting-edge cybercrime, and the story Stross weaves from all these big ideas makes for a top-quality crime thriller.

The boss just came stomping out of her office like a yeti on crack. You just manage to get the spreadsheet back up as she storms past you to abuse some other poor soul. But you can feel the spreadsheet sapping your will to live with every passing second. On second thoughts, the makers can’t bankrupt capitalist society soon enough as far as you’re concerned. You might give that Stross book a go

Read the book, by the way, only if you have a very strong sense of humour and a stronger stomach. Stross uses the nameless horrors of Lovecroft to make jokes in his Laundry world. Do not show them to HR, except at an exit interview, they are not as much unsafe as toxic at work.

But back to Elspeth’s point. The objectification of all argument into something sexual is vectored to us via the charming painted ladies from the slut feminist movement. As they are the intellectual children of a menage a trois between Gramsician socialism, Freudianism and Sociobiology they reduce everything to genes and genitalia. Their celebration of artifice resonated with an tendency that has always existed among the more stupid theologians to consider going against nature as being highly spiritual.

Combine this with an over emphasis on feelings, the promises of God (without considering the full nature of the gospel) and you have another version of Gnosticism.

And it is popular. Because Gnosticism, with its emphasis on the esoteric, makes one feel especially righteous while simultaneously removing any limits or boundaries on your actions. You are pure, so all your actions are pure. Particularly mass murder… as fanatics from the Sicarri to Hamas demonstrate.

Consider this:

Most Pentecostal history books date the historic Pentecostal revival of the Latter Rain movement to 1948 and attribute its geographical origin to North Battleford, Canada. Its beginning was explosive among the Pentecostals and like a wild fire spread quickly throughout North America and many places around the world.

    The movement was characterised by many healings and miraculous phenomena . . . There was an emphasis on spiritual gifts which were to be received by the laying on of hands.
    Leaders felt that God was giving the Church, in these last days, great insight into the mind of God by prophetic revelation and manifestations. With the outburst of the revival the ministry of an apostle and a prophet was elevated to the rank of an “office”. “The ministries were not restricted to penetrating the mysteries within the Bible but included the unveiling of people’s lives and heart.”

    The Latter Rain Movement had a notorious reputation for imparting an assortment of strange teachings. The origin of these teachings, which have no thread of Scriptural foundation except where the Scriptures have been applied out of context, can be traced beyond any reasonable doubt to the occult. These teachings are invariably accompanied by what seems to be supernatural manifestations, which when examined, are characteristically descriptive of the occult. There is evidence that with the Latter Rain revival came a blaze of subjective theology that centred on man, his senses, imagination and intuition above the objective and scriptural knowledge of truth.

    This new emphasis started a paradigm shift. The initial paradigm, an orthodox perspective of Christ shifted or changed, caused Christians to be receptive to subjective impressions of Christ, experiences and ideas. To maintain the interest of followers, new ideas and new revelations were (and are) continually in the making.

    Most people who have had any history in Pentecostalism at all have been influenced at some time in their lives by the Latter Rain Movement. There have been many sincere people who felt they were part of the move of God for the Last Days and were earnestly partaking of the fruit that was offered. Since 1948 the Latter Rain influence has permeated the churches, Bible Colleges, evangelism and Christian television broadcasting networks. The overall magnitude of its influence makes it more difficult to warn of the inherent dangers that are involved.

    As a result of the Latter Rain influence in the Christian Church two basic streams of thought exist side by side. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish the one from the other. Like the tares and wheat they have grown up together. Only through God’s written Word can a true separation be discerned. The first stream is “Gnostic” thought – the inspiration of many masquerading as apostles and prophets. The second is “Christian orthodoxy” thought based on the Holy Scriptures. It is the Gnostic stream of thought that divides the Christian Church into a dichotomy.

We are not commanded to be credulous. Instead, we are told to be crafty. To be innocent, but wise.

And we are warned that many false prophets will perform signs and wonders. They are not a test of God’s approval.

The obedience of the congregation, the holiness of the congregation, the good works we do — in short, the fruits or products of our lives are the true tests.

Not our feelings. We cannot and should not be reduced to being mere beasts. We are more than our lusts. As Lewis said, we should cherish and bless the body, we get our bodies into more trouble than our bodies get us into.

The church is not a rock concert. It is not an orgy. And we should not use our feelings as justification for making it appear that way. Let those outside try to corrupt us: we should be the light that finds fault, the bleach that cleanses and the salt that preserves. And if we work by feelings alone, we will not be that which we ought.