What is Theonomic Positivism?

One of the classic questions in philosophy is whether a thing is right or wrong because G-d says so, or if G-d says something is right or wrong because it is.

Technically, both positions are correct. G-d is inherently good—in fact, He is goodness—so that He may be trusted above all to know what is truly good and truly bad. The fact that He is Himself goodness also means that no standard exists outside Himself. Also, He is the Creator of the reality in which things are good or bad. So a thing is good or bad, right or wrong both because G-d so declares it to be, and He declares it to be so because it is.

Okay. This language is a little clumsy, but that’s about as close as one can come to describing the truth.

However, every so often the limitations of human nature lead people to stress one or the other of these simultaneous truths, leading to their distortion. If G-d’s decrees are separated from morality and ethics—which are in fact His morality and His ethics—one gets what "higher critics" of religion term "pre-moral religion." This "religion" is nothing but empty ritual and superstition and has long been a tool to manipulate and exploit people.

The position that a thing is right or wrong merely because G-d declares it to be so and not for any rational ethical reason is termed Theonomic Positivism.

However, we are now (and for some time have been) living in an age when the opposite pole of the truth is stressed to the exclusion of its positivistic aspect. Thus, for over two hundred years G-d’s decrees have been subject to critiques based on human reason. Everything that is repugnant to the "enlightened" mind of modern man is thrown out the window. This includes not only such things as animal sacrifices and "silly" "outdated" laws regulating food and clothing, but (especially in our day) sexual morality, which have all been dismissed as primitive taboos which the human race has outgrown.

Simultaneously, while modern man rejects these things out of hand he is absolutely totalitarian on those matters where G-d’s morality (at least in seminal form) agrees with his own "rational" beliefs. Thus, while censorship of sexual vulgarity and pornography are treated as an intolerable residue of primitive superstition, anything may be censored if it can be labeled as "hate." The "enlightened" man sees no need whatsoever to justify this strange inconsistency, because to him it is not inconsistent. Censorship of the former is an indefensible reversion to outmoded pre-scientific taboos, while censorship of the latter is simply a pragmatic necessity for a good society and needs no justification whatsoever. And if you think it does, you are obviously suspect yourself.

It is because this view is so prevalent today that this website, while keeping in mind the simultaneous correctness of both positions, chooses to endorse and promote Theonomic positivism as the remedy to the particular distortion of our age. While a tyrannical "gxd" without morality may have been a terror in the past (and perhaps could be again some time in the future), we have since the days of enlightenment deism, with its belief in a "universal natural religion," been living under the tyranny of a morality without G-d. And this is even more insidious, because its perpetrators refuse to see or even consider the possibility that moral fanaticism is possible in the absence of G-d. The "priest-exploiters" of atheist myth at least had no rationalist hedges to hide behind and had to admit they were "religious fanatics." The atheist moralist is all the more dangerous because, having deposed "the Tyrant of Heaven," he cannot admit even the possibility of fanaticism in himself. In fact, he sees himself only as a liberator—even when he is censoring, oppressing, imprisoning, and even executing his opponents.

And it must indeed be admitted that the G-dless moralist is alive and well and growing more fanatical by the second. And what is even more frustrating to those of us who acknowledge G-d and His authority is that the worldview espoused by these people completely cuts the ground out from under their very claims of moralism. I mean, really . . . the world is random and meaningless? Okay, I can understand that. What I cannot understand is people saying that who then lie down in the roads and block traffic in order to force newspapers to drop all gender-specific pronouns from their want ads. Were a believer in G-d to block traffic in order to force conformity with some currently unpopular bit of Divine law, the atheist moralist would scream to high heaven about people who "impose their views on others." However, since he rejects G-d, the atheist road-blocker cannot impose anything other than his own views. And his blatant hypocrisy in justifying forcing his (admittedly) own views on the rest of the world as if they were objective truth while denying the same right to a hypothetical Creator Of All Things is precisely what makes him so vile and repulsive.

This writer would like to challenge all the atheists, all the materialists, all the people who claim the universe is random and meaningless, to put their money where their exceedingly loud mouths are. If you really believe this, then follow up by taking the only action logically consistent with your premise: sit down and do nothing but let moss grow on you until your random, meaningless lives come to their inevitable ends.

If this sounds too harsh for your moral fanaticism, then find the true G-d, learn His decrees, and block traffic to impose them. And if you’re going to resort to the old dodge about "no one can agree on which god is true," then ask yourselves why you never pause to have the same doubts about your own subjective moral hang-ups which you so confidently try to impose on the rest of us. Even if it requires a little digging, an objective G-d is still essential for right and wrong—or "justice" and "injustice" as you old hippie types like to call it—to exist. And if no such G-d exists, then neither do right and wrong (or justice and injustice), and you can do us all a favor by shutting your random, meaningless traps.

So, are human beings (and everything else) the result of random evolution with absolutely no point whatsoever? Then stop squawking about "brotherhood" and "like, racism, man!" Much less the "rights" of animals. Do you truly celebrate Copernicus and Galileo as proving that the earth is not the center of the universe? Then stop living as if it were, screaming about some non-existent "necessity" to create a "planetary society." Er . . . are you positively sure you believe that atheist, materialist claptrap you spew? Are you sure you’re not some sort of pantheist who doesn’t realize it?

Do you truly believe in science as the ultimate standard of truth? Well then wake up and smell the bunsen burner. "Justice" and "injustice" are terms that do not exist in science (and neither do "progressive" and "reactionary," terms that imply the random, meaningless universe is somehow developing teleologically). Science can never declare anything just or unjust, or even good or bad. Not even Karl Marx could name a scientist who had discovered an objective "social justice" in a test tube.

I hate to break it to you, but the non-existence of G-d does not give you leave to engage in any social engineering whatsoever. In fact, the only logical rationale for social engineering is if G-d were to command it. Neither does dismissing G-d give "rights" to animals. It merely means rights do not exist for anyone. G-d is not a myth dreamed up to "make man special." G-d is absolutely essential for any meaning whatsoever, and getting rid of Him merely renders everything in the universe completely pointless. Or it should. You seem to be very confused people!

Finally, a couple of points for the most confused people of all—those Jews who believe they can find some other rationale for Jewishness other than HaShem. First of all, the phrase letaqqen `olam (with the rest of the phrase, bemalkhut Shaqqay, usually conveniently omitted) is literally and absolutely impossible in a self-existent, random, meaningless, G-dless world. Such a world can never be "fixed" for the simple reason that, by the very nature of things, such a world can never be said to be "broken" in the first place. And secondly, for all those people who point to Churban ‘Europa’ (the Holocaust) and ask how a good G-d can possibly exist in light of such evil, the answer is very (and brutally) simple. "What kind of ridiculous question is that???" The fact is that the existence of G-d is absolutely essential for such evil to exist, for the simple reason that, otherwise, nothing can be said to be objectively evil! All eliminating G-d does is to remove any objective evil from what the Nazis (yimach shemam vezikhram!) did, and any objective guilt from their shoulders! In order for the Holocaust (or anything else) to be evil, or morally wrong, it must violate the decrees of the objectively real Creator G-d. Without such a G-d to classify certain things as evil, evil would not exist. Period.

All this being self-evident (at least it should be)—and keeping in mind the actually complex nature of the question elucidated at the beginning of this article—this writer and web page gladly take their stand for the truth of Theonomic positivism.

What about you?