Scripture From Hell

   

In 2011 one of the very best real-life horror stories was published. It was The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt, a splendidly written narrative about the widespread dissemination of Epicureanism, one of the most destructive forces ever to be unleashed upon the planet. To many consumed by the virtues of modernism, the philosophy was not only a revelation but a delightfully engaging one as shared through the extraordinarily celebrated De Rerum Natura by the Roman poet Lucretius.

The religion that the Epicurean ferociously despises is an important instrument in the hands of the Romanist potentate, the administrater of the authoritative hegemony even today. It is true, religion is indeed so often mind-numbingly oppressive and horrifyingly lethal. What is the real force of the Epicurean ideal so firmly entrenched in the mainstream psyche?

Greenblatt does a terrific job of taking a good portion of his book to list all the things Epicureanism hath wrought. I thought I'd make a page with all of them itemized, and include my own response to each. Greenblatt himself elaborates on each I definitely invite you to delve into his work and read those also.

 

   

The items that comprise Epicureanism, the reigning philosophy of the present age
(From The Swerve, in the chapter "The Way Things Are," pages 182-202)
Thoughts about each item
 

 

Everything is made of invisible particles. How does the Epicurean know this if the particles are invisible? It may be said in antiquity they did not have the aid of observational devices we now have, such as microscopes for us to now see them. The problem then is that they aren't invisible after all. The Epicurean may further say the subatomic particles are invisible, but now we're back to the first question. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle may then be cited, but then if no one is able to know the location of the smallest particles, how can the Epicurean?
   
The elementary particles of matter "the seeds of things" are eternal. How can one know this if one does not exist for the length of eternity to observe that this is the case? This claim cannot be established by the standard protocol of scientific experimentation. It is instead a matter of faith, a theme that will run through this analysis and one I'm certain is not new. It is also not new that foolish thinkers dismiss claims of faith by appealing to a science which is not science at all but faith. It also does not mean matters of faith are untrue, it just means people often make silly claims like this one without fully understanding its substance, verity, or origin.
   
The elementary particles are infinite in number but limited in shape and size. To make the claim of something being infinite is quite audacious. Indeed no less audacious is the claim, "God is infinite," but there is an aspect of reliable and comprehendible meaning in that statement. We are faced with a choice, really: "Particles are infinite" or "God is infinite." Yes, certainly we may include "Nothing is infinite." Still, which is the most reasonable?
   
All particles are in motion in an infinite void. Another claim about the nature of infinity. Also, how does the Epicurean know they all are in motion? Are there none which are inert? How does he/she know? And what about this: doesn't the principle of inertia require some physical force to initiate motion? What caused that?
   
The universe has no creator or designer. This is the typical atheist's claim, again extraordinarily audacious. It is axiomatic: you would have to be all-seeing and all-knowing, attributes usually associated with some kind of beyond-the-natural being with such ability, to know that there is no such being. But then that obviously doesn't make sense. Perhaps the Epicurean by getting right to it insisting "God is a fairy tale" is as omniscient as his/her statement must imply and we should agree with him/her.
   
Everything comes into being as a result of a swerve. (Swerve: declinatio, inclinatio, clinamen enough to set off a ceaseless chain of random collisions of minute particles.) Where in the world did the swerve come from? What scientific experiment determined that? I'm not against science, and of course I'm not against matters of faith, but again usually those who make these claims do so in the name of something "scientific" and revile those who say they believe in something like God based on faith. The fact is, this claim is only a claim of faith. The question, is there good reason to believe it?
   
The swerve is the source of free will. There is certainly a lot to unpack here, especially when we get into the realm of free will. This requires much further exploration, but the idea is because particles are always in motion, presumably randomly considering the following item, then the things we decide may be purely up to us, we are inevitably part of the swerve. Hmm, I wonder, can we refuse to be part of the swerve if we want? If not, then do we really have free will according to this philosophy?
   
Nature ceaselessly experiments. One of the most reasonable arguments against the Epicurean position is simple: Someone must direct nature. It cannot be a something because now we're back to this thing nature. It must be a mind and therefore a someone. Stuff does not direct stuff. Often we here it as "Evolution did this" or "Evolution did that." Why? How do you know?
   
The universe was not created for or about humans. Who told the Epicurean this? How can he/she be so sure? It sounds like the Epicurean is just as religiously dogmatic as the religious dogmatists he/she reviles. What the Epicurean is really asserting here is this: Each of us is just a meaningless blip in the vastness of space and matter and time, nothing more. Considering the intricate construction of the human mind, body, and yes, soul, this is ludicrous. Christianity holds that a supernatural being formed each of us in His image and that He created the universe as a temporal residence just for us.
   
Humans are not unique. Aren't we humans quite distinct in classification from other life forms, with different even much more advanced attributes than anything else? This appears quite obvious, but again, the materialist often responds with statements like, "Humans and daffodils share 35% DNA," as if this means anything other than the absurdity of trying to detract from the fact that humans are indeed quite unique in some significant measure. But again, the main point is that we are unique and we have been put here for a divine purpose this was addressed just above.
   
Human society began not in Golden Age of tranquility and plenty, but in a primitive battle for survival. No argument here, if all you are considering is man after The Fall. Expelled from the Garden of Eden (a concept the Epicurean granted rejects), life was full of murder, theft, deceit, and corruption. It is this way today.
   
The soul dies. And many prominent religions, most notably the Western ones, say it doesn't. Which is which, and how do you know? Christianity asserts an authoritative figure like Jesus says the soul does not die. Epicurus is considered the authority that it does. Who has the best credentials here?
   
There is no afterlife. See just above.
   
Death is nothing to us. I don't believe for a second the one who says "Doesn't matter to me when I die. It's all good." I believe if you looked deep into the heart of an Epicurean, you would see ravaging fear. He/she may well respond, "I will never know because my atoms will simply be spread about wherever, I will never know anyway." But I do think they are concerned about that right now, and much of that is that "truth" means anything happening now is really of no value. What difference does anything we do or achieve make? To be honest, that kind of person scares me.
   
All organized religions are superstitious delusions. Some are, that is true. But are all?
   
Religions are invariably cruel. Some definitely are, but all? The reason Epicureans feel they are cruel, though, is they consider them to be unnecessarily deceptive. "Why are you always browbeat with 'God' when there isn't one? That's just mean." Add to this the ruthless expectations of the enrobed officers, brutal! But the truth is all behavior systems have such expectations, even Epicureanism! And since it makes so many dogmatic claims about religion, it too is a religion! I should add that Christianity also makes this assertion, yet doesn't leave the hearer to the utter despair of the prospect of incessant law enforcement proceedings. It offers real freedom from the bondage through the shed of blood of Christ who served as the penalty for each of our sinfulness the very thing that brought about the cruelty of just condemnation to begin with!
   
There are no angels, demons, or ghosts. And the Epicurean has himself/herself peered into the beyond to note these things aren't there. Another statement of faith.
   
The highest goal of human life is the enhancement of pleasure and the reduction of pain. This sounds so noble, but perfectly reasonable for those who have joined Cain and are eternally and infinitely distant from God's presence. In the Kingdom there are a number of items far greater than the Epicurean's selfish desires. Those are love, charity, peace, joy, and vibrant companionship with the Father. These may only come from a God who pours out His mercy and grace with His life.
   
The greatest obstacle to pleasure is not pain; it is delusion. Truer words were never spoken. But the delusion is Epicureanism, not the supernatural. A life filled with the precepts of Epicureanism brings hopelessness, loneliness, desperation all covered by a smug and smiley pretense of sickening pride that valiantly tries to show the world that the Epicurean is above it all, is smarter than everyone else, is definitely not guilty of the worst crime of all: to believe in a superstition. Little does he/she realize that the claims of Epicureanism are just as superstitious as the religions they disdain, and to refuse to acknowledge that is one of the worst delusions of all.
   
Understanding the nature of things generates deep wonder. More quite true words. But this only makes sense in terms of worshipping a God who made it all to enjoy. Otherwise what kind of wonder may one have at random atoms zipping all about smashing into each other unless there is some divine rhyme and reason to it all?
   

   

I don't think for a second that I'm the first to address these issues. Indeed much of Greenblatt's work is to elucidate the ways people through the ages have confronted the precepts of Epicureanism and struggled to answer them. The fields of ecclesia, academia, and beyond are strewn with the minds so many who have failed. I myself risk the same thing a reader may come upon this site with no real communion with God or knowledge of Scripture, and is unwittingly seduced by the creed that has already captivated billions of people through history.

It is the conclusive assertion of this author that this pervasive and entrenched mentality was propelled into the mainstream psyche as a deliberative initiative of the legacy of the first human sacrificer, the ecclesiastical branch of which is the Roman Catholic Church. Rome does a brilliant job of convincing its devotees that the Institution is about upholding the mantle of this thing "God," but it actually does the opposite. It drives people away with a story and spectacle arranged to give them just enough warm fuzzies to keep the coffers full, but actually keeps them in a state of oppressive darkness relegating "God" to the world of fairy tales, ultimately enslaving them in a prison of hopelessness and loneliness.

What is most sorrowful is just as much as an individual rejects the God Who Is Very Real, he/she stubbornly refuses to take at least a modest amount of time and energy to think carefully about the claims he/she makes about these things. If you press an Epicurean on these things you'll eventually get stares, bewilderment, and aggravation along with a smattering of equally senseless remarks that get more absurd as you converse. Indeed, ultimately it is most sorrowful because they strive so hard to keep their calcified pride intact to remain so far from The One Who Is Full Joy.

It is even more distressing to see him/her turn from loathing a religious body like the Roman Catholic Church for its priest scandals and refusal to allow women priests or lighten up on abortion and homosexuality, to defending it for its renowned charity work or some other notorious endearing feature  much because they know some Catholics (or has himself/herself been one!) and sympathize with it, especially in light of the established truth that Rome is merely the current manifestation of Cain's legacy set in motion to codify human sacrifice practices through law violation provocations and law enforcement responses. The fiercely buttressed disquisition that is Epicurean thought is a tremendously effective tool in keeping the reprobate in the fold.

This is the World System at work, and the more distant an individual is from Christ and the Kingdom, the more appeal Epicureanism has as an alternative. It does indeed require a small step toward Him, 180 degrees in the other direction. Jesus was and is a real Person in real reality, and He spoke with the most authority anyone ever spoke on the planet putting people like Epicurus and Lucretius to shame. This is quite easy to see, most prominently in the fifth chapter of John's gospel. When one believes on Him, he/she has life. You may like the idea of slavering for all-pleasure-all-the-time and no-pain-none-of-the-time, but without the One Who Made You, you might as well just be dead.

Sadly some Epicureans are perfectly happy with that.

 

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"Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has not come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself. And He has given Him authority to judge because He is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out - those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. By Myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and My judgment is just, for I seek not to please Myself but Him who sent Me."

- John 5:24-30

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This page was originally posted by David Beck at yourownjesus.net on February 25, 2019