Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

I am amazed at the eagerness with which some attack the very things they depend on. I know individuals who will argue until they are blue in the face that rationality is based on a purely illusory construction, and that real knowledge can never be reached. As a consequence, they argue, no one should ever contend that their view over any issue is necessarily the right view because such knowledge is impossible. Everybody just has their own “community” with its own set of values, and truth apparently is a product of those communities, so that there is no real right or wrong. Blah blah blah blah blah blah.

What gets me is the disdain and condescension with which the same individuals will then chide you for not agreeing with them on this issue. They ask you, How can you be so antequated? How can you hold to such an exclusivistic frame of mind? What right have you to claim that you know the truth about this issue or that? How dare you! You must be from a red state!

I wonder if it ever occurs to these guys that if they were to be consistent in their inclusivism, their relativism, then they would have to make room for me and my exclusivism, my absolutism. The one thing that relativists cannot tolerate is intolerance. Absolutism is absolutely, always, and unarguably false. Even though real truth and falsity are just illusory. And no one person can claim to know any better than any other. Except maybe the relativist. Aaarrrggh! Wake up and smell the hypocrisy!

More often than not, such platitudes (uttered by those eschewing platitudes) are offered by young men and women who love to attack the wealthy and successful for being wealthy and successful. People with resources are necessarily evil because of their resourcefulness. The ironic thing is that those righteously indignant individuals have never considered to what extent their own education (which taught them to think this way) has been subsidized one way or another through the wealth of the wealthy. In fact, one way or another, their very livelihood is dependent on the resourcefulness of the resourceful. But they trek merrily along, crusading against the hand that feeds them, like one on a quest for truth, justice, and well, any other way than whatever is American. Except that the only truth they can argue for sure is that truth either doesn’t exist or it is unknowable. Except maybe to them, or at least their college professors.

Which brings me to the Christian protester. I happen to be one, in a sense. But I protest those things which are contrary to the standard that is held before me. Man cannot live by bread alone, but lives instead by the revelation of God’s mind to him. Man is sustained by the speaking of God. This implies that a.) such speech is possible and can be perceived by Man, and that b.) Man is at least enabled by God to receive this self-disclosure and can live by it. I live by this rule and believe that I can know the mind of God. Little else would give me peace in this crazy world we’re in. So wherever I find men living contrary to that which God has said, sure I will protest. Even if it means running into the house of God and turning over tables and chasing out salesmen with a whip. What goes on in there matters to me too much to sit idly by and say, Oh well, that’s just “their path.”

But when someone turns around and begins to distance himself or herself from the very disclosure of God’s mind upon which he or she depends, there’s just nowhere good to go. You can only go downhill from there. Take a moral issue, for example. Just pick one. What does the Bible say about it? And I don’t mean what does your Sunday School teacher or favorite author say the Bible says about it. I also dont’ mean go find a single proof text to cling to and oversimplify the issue. I mean what does the Bible, taken in its entirety and taking into consideration its natural inherent diversity over centuries of its development, say about that issue? Once you have responsibly worked to the bottom of that, then hold on to what you find there. That’s bedrock. You can live on that.

Men were not meant to live in water, they were meant to live on land. An appreciation for the complexity of most moral and social issues is a good thing, and not enough people have it (certainly not enough Christians). But there is a bottom line somewhere, and you can find that line in God’s disclosure of Himself to you. We have a revealed faith, one that does not depend on what social mores or norms are hip at the current time. Don’t turn around and say that the very thing that gives you knowledge of the transendent mind of God cannot be trusted simply because it was written a long time ago, by specific communities. Dont’ bite the hand that feeds you. You’ll end up starving in the end.


3 Responses to “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”

  1. Mike Morrell Says:

    Neil, you are absolutely wrong. Bwa-ha-ha-ha! But seriously…who are you talking to? Those of us who live in your intentional community don’t reject written revelation as “outmoded.” People in your school certainly don’t. Are you targeting “ emerging ” folks? Surely not; they aren’t merely mimicking a sophmoric cariciture of postmodern disgust. And I can’t imagine you even running across any mainline church modernist liberals, the only creatures left on the planet who would hold to such claims.

    So…excepting Bishop Spong, just who are you aiming at?

  2. Neil Says:

    Actually I rub brains with all sorts through books and the internet. There aren’t many “worldviews” I haven’t at least tried to take an honest look into at some point or another.

    I see traces of this in large numbers of folks, primarily academics. The whole debate about the reliability of knowledge is at the bottom of half the movies and books cranked out these days. I believe that the issue has bled over into the parlance of even some evangelicals. And yes, many of the emergent/postmoderns have written statements that to me smack of this problem.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    ‘Don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ is NOT from the Bible and it is an ungodly saying. I say, BITE the hand that feeds you if it offers poison! Sorry for my intrusion on your discussion, whatever it is about.

    Pastor Don Milton

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