Thoughts of God, the Dialectic of Faith and the Conventional Bias.

As we move into the process of constructively undoing the presumptions of method that present to us the problem-filled world of reality we all know, for which we recourse to hope, it may be well that you need not venture into that heart of darkness all alone. Otherwise, at minimum, you should see that it is only on the precipice that the abyss seems endless; we need no longer cringe back into the bliss of faith. One may proceed as in a liturgy, but where the call and response of priest and congregants are removed from any hierarchical or proper structure, the hymnal and ‘Good Book’ consigned to discourse, the priest extraneous, its voice from the outside, an unnecessary element, and the congregants likewise lose their imperative compulsion to supplicate. Neither does the arrogance of righteousness cloud the firmament of heaven.

Considered much, and ventured far from civility, it is often difficult not to speak the truth; I am sure it is with you. Bias is only mitigated through faith, so we have first to deal with situating the conventional bias.

The truth exists through the dialectic, as one is thereby placed within it. So, we should situate what is meant here by the dialectic; here I tend away from Aristotle, more toward Hegel. I call into play here an idea developed by Jean-Francois Lyotard: the differend. We might see that his is an extrapolation or possibly re-presentation, a re-iteration of what Hegel presented; yet i would go so far to say that most, what is called, Continental philosophy, if not all philosophy in general, is merely a re-presentation of the point of contention.

Lyotard’s moves and layout of the necessary reprecussions of his designation are not entirely pertinent here; this is because his project exhibits problematic limitations (which I will more thoroughly address) that can be discerned by his situating the dialectic as part of a total phrasing by which he poses the differend. Breaking with his inherent boundary, a boundary that forces significance in polemical fashion ( a differend of itself), I shall call the differend that aspect of discourse that cannot be accounted for within conventional discussion, but nevertheless is involved ironically. It is not a basis of such discussion, nor a given, nor a ‘decision’ of the like of Francois Laruelle; in fact it is the converse of the philosophical decision, and not un-akin to the non-philosophical method, so to speak. A differend is that which stands ‘in the way’ of discussion; it grants the discussion from the person that reaches out to an other in order to establish a common ground. A differend is that by which a discussion about the nature of reality and existence may take place and have credence beyond the division of labor. It is also the assumption of what is common between participants where the assumption carries no weight for the discussion due to the differend allowing for faith by its absence. A differend is a means for accounting for truth; it is a way ‘I’ can account for ‘you’ as well as you, I, as well as we, the world. Thus, complicit yet skew to Lyotard’s situation, we should see that a true dialectic occurs, not between two parties in an attempt to locate or discover truth, the process based in faith (bad faith), rather, it occurs of the first party in relation with the differend of the presented discussion, such that the differend is the only ‘thing’ that remains constant through the real scheme of negotiated truths, that which brings the discussion of two parties indeed to a common ground. In this way or effect, the differend is what likewise presents, in relief, what I have termed the conventional methodology for truth, that which supplies the ‘true object’.

“Be not discouraged” is operative. In the dialectic, we come to terms with this, for an object is an obstacle that brings in its relief the irreconcilable damages that then require the reasonable doubt for which faith is demanded, the judgement of the court.

The philosopher Bertrand Russell has given us a pretty good rendition of the issue of the ‘true object’, but I shall attempt my own. I present an object, and ask, “what is it; that thing there in front of us? How shall I define it?” Maybe I begin by describing its functions, then its characteristics. Have I succeeded in granting what, say, a chair is? The person next to me says, well, you have given me qualities of that thing there, but im not sure you have conveyed what a chair is; I know what it is, but i wish to communicate what it is. So then maybe I go to a dictionary, maybe an encyclopedia. Still, the person is not convinced. We are looking at a chair, we both call it a chair, but I have not succeeded in granting to him what a chair is, beyond an incomplete description of that thing that somehow is common between us. In fact, I can continue to describe aspects of that thing and I will never get to a complete description of it. Then, besides whether or not the thing ‘the chair’ can be described enough to grant it, there are also questions that bring into question that there is really a thing that corresponds with the label ‘chair’. For example, if I say ‘a chair has four legs’, one may ask if a table qualifies as a chair, and I could say, yeah, if I sit on it then it could be a chair. But if you don’t sit on it, can it still be a chair?

This is the situation of every object. It is not a situation of subjective, personal or individual realities, but neither is there an absolute qualifier for what a ‘chair’ is beyond knowledge. This is the idea Kant expounded upon when he concluded there is no knowable object “in-itself”, that objects exist entirely within or of knowledge. His analysis goes much further in depth, situating terms and discussing the outcomes of the apparently logical ordinances that then arise, than our discussion here requires. Yet, we should see that his analysis involves a differend that implicates at least two ‘things’, an object in-itself, the chair in our example, as well as a ‘brain’ or ‘mind’ (a subject, un-problematized) that is deduced as incapable of overcoming the epistemological wall (the object problematized); this situation, then, presents a fundamental duality, a given that then allows for its own denial, a forgetting, so as to allow his presentation. Though his effort concerned establishing a ‘better’, less superstitious, metaphysics, he succeeds ironically in perpetuating the same (see my subsequent post).

The key to breaking this epistemological nightmare, though, where what surely appears to me as a true thing is actually not so true, at least, in so much as I might want to convey it to another person, is the third party. In the third party lay the responsibility of truth, there resides truth’s criterion. It is the problem of the third party that reveals one’s orientation upon the object. Orientation concerns the differend. In contrast to the dialectic as I situate it above, but projected toward what Lyotard calls “the referent”, what can be called the object, where the thing or object is taken as self-evident, as containing aspects of itself that human beings through some method can then know as true (for example, the proposed objects of conventional dialectic and discourse in general) as well, where the subject is localized by the individual for the sake of the substantiation of the individual – in other words, where there is no deferend worth mentioning – we have then the ‘true object’. Where the situation of knowledge concerning communication is mitigated or denied for the sake of having a true thing, due to the ‘displacement’ of the individual into reality, there we also have faith.

The overlay of ideas that accounts for the dialectic of faith concerns the subject as the subject no longer is distinguished through the conventional methodology as equivocal to the individual. What then emerges through this differend is a real assertion of the priority of the individual that henceforth can be called the ‘subject-object’.

Hence; what we deal with can be understood through the following possibilities:
(1) Faith: The relation between transcendent-immanent (God) and human involving a total reality of the created universe (of objects);
(2) Faith: The relation between (1) and the subject-object, which is to say, the individual of conventional reality;
(3) The effective differend of (1) and (2).

* *

With the foregoing in mind, I begin with a quote from an ongoing discussion of comments for the previous post “Issues and Existence”:

– “For example: I discover I have terminal cancer. I have heard that God loves me, and I have heard that God is all-powerful. Given these “truths,” I can’t imagine why God would not cure me of cancer, so I ask him to cure me.
Why does a request like this not get answered with a cure 100 percent of the time?

If I understand The Bible’s rendition of our story, this world is no longer the world that God created or intended. God has a plan to restore creation, but His Death-to-Life Project moves directly through death.

So, I think a short answer to the question is that God is leading humanity on a difficult — but hopeful — route through a ruined world“.

Since the idea of faith is so tied up with Christian ideology and cosmology, I’m gonna give a list of ideas mentioned in the excerpt that I have difficulty with:

– god intends.
– god loves
– god restores creation
– god is leading humanity through a ruined world

These above statements present most poingnoantly the problem I’m treating. The statements indicate one statement. I’m going to skip over that it relies and implicates a ‘Divine Power’ (obviously), and go to what is most significant: It exactly ‘presents’ a proposed absolutely true object, God, and beckons the human being away from the world. It confirms the problems of humanity, that a human being cannot but have problems, that is, that the ‘problems’ are universal (again, a proposed ‘true object’) and so all human beings deal with problems the same way; which is to say, they have a common mode of psyche that defines humanity as such – saying this without a speck of irony. God thus ‘intends’ better for ‘all’ humanity because humanity is taken as another common true object amoung other objects of a true universe (God at the ‘top’ as creator of true objects) with absolute definitive qualities and having ‘difficulty’ being such because it is human nature in-intself, as human nature is defined by the ability to choose out of thier (problematic) sinful condition through ‘repentance’ and belief, this idea being totally misconstrewed in the idea of free will. The correspondence between these two true objects (the ‘equal’ and common true object called the human being and the true object ‘God’ that intends and tends for that humanity) must indeed be one of faith as I have described, and bridged in Christianity by belief in Jesus, instead of relieved through knowledge of what is said of him. I would suggest reading, or re-reading Nietzsche.

I would prefer to say “God is love”. If there is a heavenly or divine aspect that human beings can be involved with, it must be love. But this has nothing to do with “why God would not cure me”, except that one is involved with an orientation upon the world that requires of him (the individual), for the sense that one can have of it, to think of oneself as partial to oneself essentially, that is, as having elements of themselves that can be separate from other parts, such as, my self, what people like to call ‘ego’ (which is a most appropriate idea here), separate from God. Only through this type of denial can ‘a God’ love, and by extension or retraction, love the individual.

We can begin to situate how conventional reality lacks in irony by considering what
Slavoj Zizek has said about love:

(You can also google ‘Slavoj Zizek on love’, if the link doesn’t work.)

In listening to Zizek, one should see that how he frames his bit is the same that frames the differend with its referent, so to speak, that the universe is contained or accounted for as a totality in this framing. Thereby, if there is a ‘good’, as one might inscribe a whole universe, ‘inclusivity maxima’, where all is ‘come over’ by a total ethics, where the impetus (non-impetus?) is toward or completed, resolved, in ‘goodness’, then it is what can be understood as a ‘beginning-and-but-end’, or perhaps, a ‘creation’, and ‘good’ is the purpose or reason in a ‘returning to’ (reckoning). Love is then the proposed motion of this return. Against the ‘beginning’, as what has begun thereby separates what has set out from its beginning, and what at one time began is now separated from, Zizek says, “love is evil”.

We are situated in a world that we supposedly all know. Some people who proclaim themselves as a sort of activist, or maybe spiritual advocate for whole-ness, of a whole world, say they love the world, while others of a more pessimistic nature might say they hate the world. But these postures reflect the very position of ‘being set out’, of having the inherent ability gained by their being ‘not whole’. By the fact of the phrase, as Lyotard might put it, such sayings present the world as separated, as ‘not good’, as ‘evil’. By the sayings or assertions of position (presented presentations: representations), those seek to overcome the discrepancy involved in the having to say ‘I love…’ or ‘I hate…(the world)’. The sayings present thus a ‘longing’ that cannot be resolved – except through faith. Thus Zizek is saying “We do not love the whole world…(rather) we pick and choose what we love” through the phrases as they indicate a referent (the true object); the condition of such referent is, though, insolvent, and is thus termed expressions of the evil that resides in the world.


If ‘creation’ means its most exstistant meaning, as opposed to its existing meaning, then there is nothing to restore; rather, every moment restores what was lost through itself. This is the dialectic, the truth found within. To bring in ‘a God’ destroys so it might redeem; when one reads many Gnostic texts, we get a glimpse of how they situated this possibility in discourse. (By the way, Laruelle attempts to reiterate this meaning without reifying the Gnostic dogma or the textual form of analysis {hermeneutics}.) In most religious-type systems, such ideas typically are found in ‘secret”; this includes Judaism. The God who creates the world or universe is seen to have revolted from an earlier ‘God’ from which the ‘creator’ came. If I recall, at least in one Gnostic text, this creator-god is seen to hold the world in a lie, and proclaims upon his creation “you will have no other Gods before me”.

From another angle, if you think about it, one must ask, why would a god who created all the heavens and the earth need to make a law, to command his creation not to have any other gods?

The ‘ruined world’ must be that human situation where such a commandment is necessary. So it is that with the presentation of the commandments we have already the ruined world. But there has been no ‘progress’. There has only been the situation of the ‘one and the others’: the one, such as Moses or Jesus, who has knowledge, and the others, who need or have faith. The ones of knowledge need no faith, they know the truth; creation is manifest; creation exists. Only for those of faith does creation need to be restored, because ruination is their own, but denied for the sake of faith. The restoration never occurs because the situation is the situation of existence, not of conventional history, not of the true past toward a fulfilled future. The movement of such history is entirely of knowledge, spoken synchronously, the subject separated from the individual projected into humanity and extended as hope in time. Thus the movement of history is the movement of humanity involved in this dialectic, the discussion founded upon the responsibility of the third party, and how this is situated for meaning; there is nothing beyond this aspect. This is to say, the movement of what is beyond is ironic; so much as history is extended in time as the discrepancy and dynamic of knowledge and faith, what is beyond is beyond distinction in this way: It is contradiction in truth and paradox in meaning. It is that which contradicts while affirming that is existence, and in this way, is offensive to conventional truth: the truth is absurd. That which contradicts and is offensive to conventional faith is that we merely are meaning-making creatures; what is absurd is that this reduction allows for meaning that arises from such meaninglessness, the truth of reality in faith: the double voice.

What we can have of the differend is the distinction between knowledge and faith, instead of the relation that is revealed of knowledge and faith that tends toward a speculative metaphysics of conventional reality. The difference is located in whether all the facts are accounted for without offense or not. What is not offensive to the conventional method, the reason why metaphysics is so alluring, is that it is involved with, indeed, making progress. Whether such progress is marked by technological, scientific, economic, emotional, mental, religious or other objective genres makes no difference because they are all motions of the conventional methodology of reality, of the individual of objects, all motions posited in faith. I submit that humanity, the conglomerate or constituency of human beings, of faith is being lead nowhere. What is ‘difficulty’ is being free and alone in a hostile world, and this then beckons a faith in hope as purpose. But likewise, what is difficult is the knowledge of what is true against the multitude of faith. The one of knowledge thus is not alone in a hostile world, but free against the hostility founded through the ones of faith. His difficulty is that he knows the truth and thereby is lead; the problem then is how to come to terms with the people of faith. The problem here then, is how the differend is situated in reality. The differend has to do with absolute presentation of the situation, not so much the phrase or its existant or substantive role in context, but rather as i have said, the issue is the term.



13 thoughts on “Thoughts of God, the Dialectic of Faith and the Conventional Bias.

  1. But, to what, or to whom is a human being accountable? And for what? The word “accountable” implies a standard. It suggests that, as a human being, there is a way I should be.

    If I’m not accountable to ‘God’, to what/whom am I accountable?

    And, as a human being, for what am I accountable? (Can you be more descriptive than “being so”?)

      1. When I refer to God, I’m referring to the God of The Bible.

        I asked you what you mean when you say that human beings are accountable to being human, and you told me one thing you DON’T mean (“As different than being accountable to ‘God’.”)

        But, what DO you mean?

        Your statement, “How the ‘for’ might be situated” didn’t lead me to any more understanding. Maybe you could put together the ideas “being so” and “how the ‘for’ might be situated” in a way that might clarify your perspective on our accountability to be human.

  2. Thanks for this response.

    Is telling Grandma “God is with you” just a stop-gap because God is not really an other?

    What is it that you really want Grandma and the addict to know? What might be a genuinely humble, hopeful, and truthful approach to their situations?

    1. I wish them to know peace.
      I would only address them to that avenue.
      So if peace was not found there, I would suggest that whatever idea they had of peace, the problem of not attaining it may not be a problem of finding peace, but how peace is situated of themselves, that it is this situation that is the root of their problem ( of not finding peace).
      That in fact it may be that they are looking for peace that is the problem, that perhaps the way to peace is to move in the other direction, for then their idea of peace may be disrupted enough that then a true peace might be found. But it also may be that their struggle for peace is, ironically, the way to peace. That peace is not struggling, only they are.

      For… “it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life”.

      All human beings fall but under one maxim, that they are human, and thus accountable only to their being so. There is no other.

      And, ironically – hence the issue presented with “the hard teaching”. And this has to do with the question of whether or not any communication is taking place, as well as a person’s role in existence given such possibilities.

      1. What do you mean when you say that human beings are only accountable to being human? (I wouldn’t think we could be anything other than human.)

      2. I think that’s what I just asked you. What do you mean when you say that human beings are accountable to being human?

  3. Please, allow the (fictional) man in the example to remain in the conversation.

    “I have cancer. I’m not trying to say anything at all about how all human beings deal with problems. And, I’m not trying to say anything about a common mode of psyche that defines all of humanity. I’m saying I want to be cured.

    “I’ve heard there is an all-powerful god who loves me. Is this true? If it is, then I will ask this god to cure me. If it is not, what does that mean for me?”

    1. Faith makes true.

      If I doubt that there is a God, it is only because I already have an idea of God. I cannot remove it. If it was removed then there would be no doubting.

      This formulation takes place entirely within discourse.

      It is just as easy to pose: if one had not heard that there was a God who loved him, would he still have gotten cancer?

      These situations exhibit themselves. The manner by which terms are formulated is contained in the scheme by which the person comes to be in that very situation.

      In so much as I move about the scheme of ‘true objects’, then I can remove ‘god’ through doubting. Or I can ‘have’ god through choosing to believe.

      1. Of course, I would not go to my dying grandmother, a devout catholic, and debate with her or say that Jesus will not be there to welcome her to heaven. I would tell her ‘God is with you’.

        Likewise, If there was a drug addict for whom no treatment centers were working to keep him off drugs, tell him or her that there is no hope – well actually, that is a lie; I would tell him exactly that his situation is hopeless, unless he humbles himself to some idea of a higher power, that any idea that is not human or a thing of this universe will do.

        But these are not the issue in my exposition. Such an idea is but a stop-gap.

        If, on the other hand, someone is having trouble with coming to terms with life, someone who is otherwise not close to dying, or desperately not searching – while i may begin with the God approach, if this fails, i would be remiss in telling them to humble themselves, and to re-approach their belief. For such an re-approaching is merely arrogance in disguise.

        Arrogance, as I would have it, is a presumption of the individual separated from him or her self, a ‘house divided unto itself’, a self presumed a segregate from the world, or true object, for the sake of a transcendent.

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