Monday, December 22, 2014

Preterism's 'Logical' Conclusion

Logic map

When a conclusion is said to be "logical", it is not necessarily meant that it is correct. It just means that it makes sense based on the starting point or premise. For example; during the 2014 uproar over supposed police violence against the black community, if the premise is that "all white cops kill innocent black people", then the logical conclusions may include violent resistance from many black people...and indeed that HAS been the result to some degree.  But is the premise correct?  No.

In the same way, we can say things about the "logical conclusions" or results of preterism but it does not mean we are saying preterism is "logical".  Logic is simply the "order" of reasoning. (If A, then B; modus ponens)

Preterism's premise or starting point is what causes it to logically lead to functional atheism. This does not mean every person who adopts preterism will become an atheist, because not all preterists are following the logic of preterism's premise.

We first need to clearly understand the main premise(s) of preterism to understand why I am saying it logically leads to someone behaving/believing like an atheist.

Historical Christianity either:

  • Purposely hid preterist interpretation for over 2000 years
  • Ignorantly misunderstood basic eschatology for over 2000 years

This is the starting point for preterism. If a preterist attempts to claim that preterism was "always" the belief of Christianity, they are hard pressed to demonstrate that claim, so there can only be two possibilities as defined above.

Now, having this premise as a preterist starting point, the "logic" of NOT questioning EVERYTHING we've ever considered as "Christian" screams out to the adherent.  Any preterist who DOESN'T question everything they ever believed is not being very "logical".  Perhaps someone would say, it is a good thing for us to always question everything we believe.  Perhaps they will quote 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to "test all things".  Of course that is the biblical way, but really is that text trying to teach that we should be in constant doubt?  What about texts like 2 Thessalonians 2:15 that urge the Christian to "hold fast to the traditions taught to them" by the apostles?

Every cult or cultish "religion" begins by dismantling the accepted view. It is the ancient line:  "Surely you will not die..." (Gen 3:4). Or a more bluntly paraphrase of Gen 3:4 would be, "You misunderstood what God was saying..." (or God lied to you, or people lied to you about what God said).

After this is introduced, the person then begins to doubt what they have believed/been taught.  But guess what? Here comes the new "expert" to come tell them what God really said/meant.  How fortunate for the confused person that this new, enlightened "expert" is there to help them.  This is how preterism operates on a person.

Now the reason a logical thinker would go from preterism to atheism is because of what happens to the person's faith.  Preterism by its very nature MUST undermine Christian Faith.  Preterism MUST repeatedly tell the person that everything they ever believed/been taught was either a purposeful lie or an ignorant misunderstanding. After a while this wears on a person.  Maybe ideas like the Trinity are wrong.  Maybe the Elect were only the first-century people. Maybe everything was culminating the endpoint of AD70 and there is no more judgment, no more salvation.  Maybe we are merely food for worms upon our death. Maybe God is done with His plan.  Maybe...maybe the entire concept of God and religion is...well...a purposeful lie or an ignorant misunderstanding.  THAT is the "logical" conclusion of preterism.  But since most preterists are too afraid or too comfortable to follow the logic of preterism's premises, they will maintain a sheen of "Christianism".  Many preterists will still read the Bible.  Quote the Bible. Live their lives according to at least some precepts within the Bible. But is that "logical"?

In speaking with a preterist friend who has "logically" concluded that when he and his family die, there will be no heavenly (or hellish) realm for they and he; I asked him why he maintains moral precepts. He said it is because he gets them from the Bible.  See how illogical that is? But further he says he cannot deny that he has seen God's hand in his and other people's lives.  I pushed further. What does God have to do with a people who are supposedly outside His plan?  If the "world" is wrapped up at AD70 per the preterist interpretation, then we living today aren't part of God's "world".  To continue to worship God is like trying to heed the rules/laws and precepts of a no longer existent government (such as the Roman Empire). We might like to read about the history of the Roman Empire but its edicts and moral precepts do not apply to us.  See how this fits with the constant preterist refrain of "the Bible was not written to us".

So, instead of trying to rescue your preterist friends and family, urge them to follow it to its logical conclusions. It is like forcing a racist to either face his racism or declare and embrace it so that everyone (including himself) can clearly understand where he stands.  The best convincer of a person is they themselves.  Perhaps they will see the "logic" of their preterist premise and give it up. Or they will follow it to where it leads and we and they can be done trying to pretend they are "Christians".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow......I'm getting scared...u seem right, they seem right.....where do I go from not want to be an atheist.....but got to say Be4 preterist....I did believe in heaven.....still do....but do not believe in hell and that has nothing to do with preterism.....what is your eschatology?