Reality relinquished: Trump as the Ultimate Reference Point

Posted by

My good friend Jerry (Grumpy1180) has another fine post available at his new site, Grumpy’s Grumblings. Here is an excerpt. You can access the full post at the link I’ve provided at the bottom. Thanks Jerry!

No finite point has meaning without an infinite reference point.” – Jean Paul Sartre

The Sartre quote above served as a premise for a book written more than a generation ago by one of evangelicalism’s most revered scholars. In He Is There and He Is Not Silent, the second book in a trilogy, Francis Schaeffer wrote of the need for an infinite reference point in each of the following realms: metaphysics, morality, and epistemology.

As the renowned French philosopher Sartre understood—but never embraced—apart from some kind of infinite reference point, everything within our finite existence lacks measurable significance. Apart from such an infinite measuring rod, all becomes relative, contingent.

For religious folks, the infinite reference point has historically been God. While perceptions of God varied widely, His—or Its—existence and revelation were accepted—though not commonly understood—as the touchstone for comprehending metaphysics, morality, and epistemology.

End of An Era

For the majority of America’s white evangelicals, that millennia-long era is over. While the gradual decline began long before, the rapid move toward absolute abandonment began with evangelicals’ enthusiastic embrace of Donald J. Trump, first as presidential candidate and then as replacement deity.

The assault on the nation’s Capitol on January 6, 2021, by a violent, riotous mob—many of them carrying signs proclaiming both their “Christian” identity and their worshipful loyalty to Donald Trump—made clear the collapse of American evangelicalism as the tipping point in the impending collapse of the United States as a democratic republic. White evangelicals’ willingness to exchange The Infinite Reference Point for a finite reference point was bound to result in the kind of chaos and violence recently seen in our nation’s Capitol.

White evangelicals’ willingness to exchange The Infinite Reference Point for a finite reference point was bound to result in the kind of chaos and violence recently seen in our nation’s Capitol.

Donald Trump As Evangelicals’ New Reference Point

While few white evangelicals would admit it—to others or even to themselves—most have chosen Donald Trump over the God of the Bible as their ultimate reference point. That hundreds of them would attack the nation’s seat of government and seek to murder many high-level officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, at the behest of their new messiah—and that nearly half of all Republicans approve of such behavior, reveals their new allegiance to their new reference point: Donald Trump.

To continue reading, here is the link: Grumpy’s Grumblings

23 comments

  1. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    In a way, I couldn’t be any happier – meaning: the mask has come off!! … “For the majority of America’s white evangelicals, that millennia-long era is over. While the gradual decline began long before, the rapid move toward absolute abandonment began with evangelicals’ enthusiastic embrace of Donald J. Trump, first as presidential candidate and then as replacement deity.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Since many of them are so found of picking selected texts from the Bible, let’s just refer to Exodus 32:8 and using the New American Standard Bible say unto them:
      “They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a cast metal calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’”…….
      Just saying, that’s all

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It does appear that that is actually happening Roger. He’s losing everything on the way out-social media, the banks, the corporations. Everyone is dropping him like a ton of bricks. My only question: why the hell did it take so long?

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Now there Jeff is ‘the thing’.
        When one of series of ‘Tipping Points’ is reached. The time at which a certain set of circumstances which have been continuing without being reconciled or worked through by the established processes of a nation.
        These are myriad; depending on the state of the nation, and the duration of the issue, although other factors will come into play, sometimes external, sometimes natural. Always complex and above all, being the most important factor always with the consent of a proportion of the population.
        And that proportion of the population jealously guards its privileges, codifies them, smears them in legends and myths. Demonises those against them and virulently assails anyone group its feels it can influence; in the USA’s case this would be commercial targets and politicians.
        Thus as long as the campaigns were verbal and the cousin social media both commercial and political would be ever mindful of this vociferous wing, along with its implied threat of violence.
        As we know this started with The Culture Wars of the late 1970s & 1980s and has continued to be played out since, each side growing more divided as the landscape grew heated and scorched.
        The Right set the wildfire smouldering when they were unable to accept that ‘One of Those People’ could get into the Whitehouse for two terms. How could ‘their’ politicians let them down? Those they chose a marionette who would dance to their tune and made that tune loud. Then in their fury their marionette would pulled off centre stage, and there came a wave of petulant denial, and the rest is still raw in the memory.
        Where they fell down and made a classic error, was the majority of the nation, be it people, corporations, politicians, organisation saw a mob of violent, ugly, rabid extremists on the march intent on some drunken, blind, frantic, hopeless attempt to ‘seize power’.
        And there was A Tipping Point laid bare for all to see just what was going on. It was not Trump, a creature of little ability, character or intellect but his true Paymasters, the very heart & soul of the loudest part of his support; ugly and violent. There was the fearful alternative, these were the ones who could be running America if left to carry on. No matter how fanciful some might see it, that was the image and as we know Image counts. That was what Trump was representing.
        And America, which is basically founded on a low level conservativism which in turn relies on Stability and a Rickety kind of Consensus drew back in horror. Repelled by the festering probability that Trump like a political Typhoid Mary had been carrying in his fetid, ravening approach. Here was it for all to see, the nation had someone with all the skill and charm of a bar room drunken boor whose team have just lost the game.
        They saw The Reality which had been there since the 2016 campaign. This was not some ‘controversial’ ‘outspoken’ ‘maverick’ of the normal kind the USA had grown used to. This was a thing of Straw and Thistles all tied up with barbed wire, created by that part of the population who demanded that their portion of The White Race with a whole baggage of hypocrisies and intolerances remain ever supreme in in the USA, at any price (just so long as they didn’t have to pay it).
        And there you have it. Whether this is the End of a Nightmare as the GOP tears itself apart into a lesser force, or whether this is another step along the road is yet to be seen.
        One thing the Right should bear in mind. Each action has a reaction, they are not the only ones with strong beliefs. They will not be the first group of Intolerant Hypocrites who perished in a fire they started.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Roger, your understanding of America always impresses me. I only wish that the low information souls who blindly follow the con man would have just a little bit of intellectual curiosity. Not a lot. Just a little.
        But, unfortunately, they only read what they want to read. It merely reinforces that what they’ve been taught and what they’re told by authoritarian politicians, social media, and far right talk show hosts.
        You mentioned the fact that one of ‘those people’ actually had the nerve to win an election. I’ve always said Roger, that January 20, 2009 was the beginning of the insurrection we just now witnessed. Not the actual beginning because it’s been festering for years. But that date is what drove them all crazy. How dare a black man and his nice family occupy “our White House?” Thus, you see more Confederate Flags than ever, and other racist memes. They found a despicable man to be their standard bearer for the hate that they’ve been harboring for a long time. And now, we wait Roger. We wait until a new president and his African-American Vice-president get sworn in. That’s right, another bi-racial ticket leading our country. And that, my friend, is another tipping point for these fools. I shudder to think what awaits us Roger. Keep the positive feelings coming!!

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Thank you Jeff.
        It’s a salutary and at times odd feeling to witness American history unfold through a European prism and see the very broad parallels. The smaller details are different but the overall picture of battles for being at the top and always the surge of The Mob.
        Always The Crowds, ignorant, angry, fearful and feral. The Founding Fathers worried about this did they not? Hence the Electoral College, which sadly backfired, proving no human solution is ever perfect.
        There are the forces at work which are common through the Nations of the World. Maybe, just maybe the time has come for the American Experiment to be over and the states will drift apart into separate nations, and groups of nations. If so let us hope it will be through a quasi-legal process, in which Washington and the President remain but in a reduced and symbolic state.
        The only problem there is. What do we do about the vast national army and ‘the nuclear missile sites’?
        Wishing you a safe journey.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Well Roger, your theory of the American Experiment being over might be correct. We shall see how the next several months pan out for the new administration. We don’t know what exactly will happen to the Mad King once he’s gone. The hard core followers are extremely militant and angry. I fear violence and mayhem. But, you just never know about our crazy little country over here, right? Thanks again Roger for your insights. Greatly appreciated!

        Liked by 2 people

      6. I shall keep my fingers crossed for you Jeff.
        The best case scenario is that the whole Right tears itself apart in finger-pointing and recriminations under the pressure from the majority and most of it slips back to the centre.
        (The UK Left-wing does it all the time, it’s why we are never in effective government for extended periods)

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Yes, I agree Roger. Journalist Thomas Friedman expressed exactly those feelings on an interview last night with Brian Williams. He hopes the party fractures, with one group basically becoming the moderate/center/right, and the other group being the whacko crazy Trumpist crowd. Maybe even another party forms altogether. We can only hope!!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Third parties only prosper in first-past-the-post democratic systems when they appeal across the board.
        I think we can safely say that any group which centres around Trump or the unholy heir would not have universal appeal. It will them be down to some balanced, responsible (but probably tough skinned and ruthless) Old School Republican to haul back the ‘lost sheep’ into the fold.
        Meanwhile NSA, FBI….it’s open season guys!

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Jeff, I highly doubt the “Mad King” is going to fade into oblivion. Unless he’s (finally) brought to justice for his many less-than-legal wheelings and dealings, I fear he will remain an ugly force for unrest in our nation for many years to come.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. I fear that too Nan. A lot depends on what legal jeopardy he’s really going to be in. We’ve heard all about the State of New York having lots of stuff waiting to drop. I’m still skeptical, frankly, that anything at all will ever happen to him. I hope I’m wrong. If anyone should serve some jail time, it’s him and his grifter family.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s