Friday, 31 August 2007

Genesis Genetics

Bob Thiel breathlessly announces: "AW Questions Historical Validity of Genesis" following the previous post.

The truth is that I usually give Bob a harder time than he gives me, so I'm not particularly worried - even if he infers (yet again) that I'm an atheist. "Sticks and stones..."

But I'm fascinated to know what Bob, committed as he is to the historical accuracy of Genesis, makes of the genetic modification technique practiced by Jacob in Genesis 30. Jacob has been repeatedly stiffed by Laban, the uncle from hell. He works seven years for the right to marry Rachel, but Laban sneaks in her sister Leah under cover of bridal burka. Next morning, after consummation, Jacob finally thinks to lift the veil and discovers the awful truth. Another seven years are required among the sheep before he can pay Laban off for his dearly intended.

Time passes. Jacob strikes a deal with his father-in-law. He will return home with his wives and children, and all the striped, spotted and speckled livestock from Laban's flocks will be his. Again, Laban tries to pull a swift one, but Jacob has learned some smarts of his own:

Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the rods. He set the rods that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, the flocks bred in front of the rods, and so the flocks produced young that were striped, speckled, and spotted. (Genesis 30: 37-39)

Wow! How simple! Obviously Gregor Mendel, despite being a priest, never read this chapter.

And just in case there's any doubt, here's verses 41-42:

Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob laid the rods in the troughs before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed among the rods, but for the feeble of the flock he did not lay them there; so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.

Yes brethren, here is God's own inspired agricultural science.

Actually, this is called "sympathetic magic" (HarperCollins Study Bible.)

The point is that, according to Genesis, it worked.

Except that it couldn't and didn't.

And yet here it is, inspired, God-breathed and inerrant from old Moses himself. Remember, this is historically valid stuff.

Note to Bob: please explain.

77 comments:

Anonymous said...

I suspect AW is a source of an occasional forays into a bigger world of Theology for LCG members who read it. Evidently it makes Bob a bit nervous and can't resist calling Gavin and us all nothing but ignorant and fallen away 第七十课 老舍习武练拳's.

Did not find your reference to genetics ala Israel but did find Bob's final proof of Genesis being found China. I wonder if he would consider the final proof of Jesus in India?

Oh well, I am an AW'er, what the 第七十课 老舍习武练拳 do I know..:)

Questeruk said...

Gavin, the point of this account is surely that Jacob was relying on God to reward him if that is what God wants to do. That’s what the Bible says was Jacob’s comment on the event.

Jacob tells Labon in Gen 30v31 ‘You shall not give me any thing’, and sets things up the worst for himself by removing all the spotted etc sheep, leaving just white. Left to themselves this would produce very few non-white sheep.

While he did set up the rods etc, and also was selective in his breeding, Jacob does not claim anything he does to be the reason for the sheep breeding the way they did.

Labon clearly had changed his terms and conditions a number of times over the years, and this shows through in the summary in Gen 31, where Jacob gives all the credit to God, not to some clever breeding scheme, which as Gavin rightly points out just of itself would not work.

Gen 31:7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.
Gen 31:8 If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bore speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstreaked shall be thy hire; then bore all the cattle ringstreaked.
Gen 31:9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.

Jacob is giving God the credit – whatever Laban tried, God made sure it did not work. This surely is the lesson of a literal reading of this section of Genesis.

Corky said...

"Jacob is giving God the credit – whatever Laban tried, God made sure it did not work. This surely is the lesson of a literal reading of this section of Genesis."

I would say the literal reading of this section would be that God causes sympathetic magic to work (even though sorcery is against his own law). I wonder why Jacob didn't just pray about it instead of invoking the spirit world and practicing witchcraft.

Kind of reminds me of the great power Balaam possessed or the witch of Endor. I guess we should take "Crossing Over With John Edwards" more seriously.
Mu-hahahahahahahahaha-haaa

Anonymous said...

"...and Laban lifted up the veil and behold and gad zooks, she was spotted, speckled and striped. For in this day, knew he that he himself had been had. And Jacob laughed off his ass..."

Genesis somewhere....

Respectfully Anonymous said...

I wonder if using the poplar, almond and plane (sycamore?) limbs added some type of element to the water (like tales of brewer's yeast or Vitamin E increasing the likelihood of producing a male offspring) which caused speckled and straked to mate but was somehow offputting to the plain cattle, sheep and goats? It appears that Jacob actually put the rods in the water--some type of transference of sap or chemical in combination with the water--might he know something we don't know or have forgotten? Any close-to-the-soil types willing to take several seasons to test this hypothesis?

Anonymous said...

We cannot prove that this did not happen, of course, but who would ever believe it? But, if it’s true that streaked goats and lambs were born, it certainly couldn’t have happened because their parents were looking at streaked tree branches as they mated.

The editors of the New American Bible seem to be admitting that. Here’s what they say in a footnote:

"Jacob's stratagem was based on the widespread notion among simple people that visual stimuli can have prenatal effects on the offspring of breeding animals."

The Genesis writer’s explanation of the birth of streaked goats and lambs may have made perfect sense to him, for he could not have known anything about the science of genetics. However, if the writer was inspired by a God to record and explain this event, that God evidently either didn’t understand genetics, or else it didn’t care whether generations of Bible readers would have a childish notion of pre-natal influences. Either way, the Bible contains blatantly false teaching.

You might notice that modern animal breeders probably have not found this method, though Biblical, to work for them, or they'd be doing it and calling them "Jacob's Cattle" and selling them for a much higher price. They would make a great combo with Ezekiel Bread.

Larry said...

How do you know it didnt work. Were you there? Have you personally tried it?

Anonymous said...

Putting a bar of soap under your bottom sheet on your bed works to quiet restless legs so much so that doctors recommnend it.
Why? No one knows but it always works.
Not everything is explainable in todays world although we are just snobby enough to think science has every answer.

Anonymous said...

There are, indeed, certain factors which can become prenatal influences, and which can determine to some degree the physical characteristics of the progeny. Though it is surely very unlikely that an external image can be transmitted through the visual apparatus to the brain and thence in some way as a signal to the DNA structure to specify certain characteristics to be triggered in the embryo, it is nevertheless true that certain chemicals can and do have a significant prenatal influence if they can reach the embryo or, prior to conception, the DNA in the germ cells. It is possible that certain chemicals in the wood of these trees - peeled rods of which were actually in the water which the flocks came to drink - were capable somehow of affecting the animals. If nothing else, water treated thus may have served as an aphrodisiac and fertility promoter among the cattle [and other animals]. At least one such chemical substance found in these trees has been used for such a purpose in both ancient and modern times.

Further, whether or not the sense of sight can actually 'mark' the embryo in some way, there is no doubt that what one sees may have a strong effect on certain physiologic mechanisms on his body. The phenomenon of blushing, the nauseous reactions produced by viewing gruesome sights, and the effect of pornographic pictures in stimulating the sexual apparatus are typical cases in point. The mere sight of the striped rods may have served simply as an aphrodisiac to the cattle when they came to drink. This in fact seems indicates by verse 38, in which the word translated 'conceive' in the King James Version [in heat, NIV] is actually the Hebrew yacham, meaning to be hot [i.e., to be in heat]. That is, the verse may be read:

'And he set the rods which he peeled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should become hot [or '''in heat'''] when they came to drink.' In some way not understood (but apparently confirmed by many practical animal raisers since), the sight of white-streaked rods seems to stimulate these animals to sexual activity...

Also:
pious legend? Not necessarily, says Israeli Botanist Yehuda Feliks. Writing in a monumental new set of reference books called the Encyclopedia Judaica, Feliks identifies Jacob's secret as a keen perception of the laws of heredity. (The peeled branches were just window dressing.) Jacob apparently knew from a dream that the hybrids (white sheep and black goats that carried recessive genes of "spottedness") matured sexually earlier than the pure monochromes in the flock. He mated the hybrids, and their recessive genes emerged to produce a maximum of spotted offspring in each generation. He set aside the pure monochromes, unbred, as Laban's share.

Anonymous said...

While we are at it, let's also discuss how it was that Alice was able to fall down the rabbit hole. Is there a scientific explanation?

Let us also explore the possibility of setting up some experimnents to recreate Gandalf's seemingly magical production of fire. Is there a scientific explanation?

I think a careful consideration of these historical and literal events (verified from the tomes Alice in Wonderland and The Hobbit) may unearth a scientific explanation.

Paul

Paul

Anonymous said...

"Not everything is explainable in todays world although we are just snobby enough to think science has every answer."

Who is "we?" It certainly isn't the scientific community, who have never purported to have the answer for everything. However, science has revealed a good many things about the world around us, much more than praying or sacrificing to imaginary beings ever has.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Larry said...
How do you know it didnt work. Were you there? Have you personally tried it?

I confess I did. When I was in WCG I built a cradle out of this stuff following the Bible formula exactly. The cradle was striped and somewhat annoying to lay in, but hey, this is science so no one argued with me.

I used the poplar, almond and sycamore limbs. I always came to the cradle to drink the water I kept within. I noticed it added the taste of brewer's yeast or Vitamin E increasing the likelihood of producing a male offspring which eventually blessed me with two boys even though they were born speckled and streaked.

I actually put the rods in the water--some type of transference of sap or chemical in combination with the water--because I knew something no one else don't knows and you all long ago forgot.

Just for good measure, I buried sliced potatoes in the yard and sure enough they were born, striped and speckled, but without warts.

I have since bred them but got only girls which are useless for work on the plantation, so I am considering trading them for a new load of poplar, almond and sycamore. I think if I soak the girls in the brew, I can change them to spotted and speckled males, which is always better than guuuuuuuurls, Biblically speaking :)

Anonymous said...

The theory (of an account that is purely fictional)of a chemical causing the coat patterns is an impossibility. Even if the particular gene could be mutated in such a way to still function and produce a different coat color scheme, there is no way the mutation could be passed on to the sperm which would be ejaculated in the time frame given. You see, they drank and mated then and there. It's impossible without supernatural intervention.

Of course, it's all fiction. You people understand this, right? Right?

Paul

Anonymous said...

Please remember the genetics of Genesis is brought to you by the same people who brought the science of adulteress finding..

It may be me, but I suspect the terms "holy water" and "dust from the tabernacle floor" as opposed from the mens room near the Pool of Siloam lends itself to magical thinking.....

Numbers 5:17-31

"Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water....." This passage describes the action that a husband could take if he suspected that his wife had engaged in an adulterous relationship. He would take her to the tabernacle, where the priest would make a magical drink consisting of holy water and sweepings from the tabernacle floor. He would have the woman drink the water while he recited a curse on her. The curse would state that her abdomen would swell and her thigh waste away if she had committed adultery.

In that era when medical treatment was almost unknown, the treatment would probably have resulted in her death. If she were pregnant at this time, the curse would certainly induce an abortion. There was no similar magical test that a woman could require her husband to take if she suspected him of adultery.

You gotta love Israelite Priests and guys!

Corky said...

Must've been "hell" to pay when Jacob couldn't come up with a lamb "without spot or blemish" to sacrifice to Yahweh, huh?

Maybe he had some solid white sticks for his spotted and streaked sheep to look at while they copulated.

How utterly ridiculous . . .

Anonymous said...

so what's with pronouncing a curse on the accused woman to see if she is guilty? Is that like "boo..made you jump..ha"

If God makes these rules up for Priests, I suspect He is the Demiurge who wasn't quite up snuff on the "he who is without sin" stuff of life.

Bamboo_bends said...

The telling difference between Bob Thiel's blog and Gavin's AW, is the lack of any place to put readers comments on Bob's COGWriter blog.

Bob's pronouncements are expected to be unchallenged and accepted as true. Kind of like Meredith huh?

Armstrongism never did tolerate a different point of view.

But I'm sure there's Chinese characters for that. Maybe the characters 暴君?

Anonymous said...

Bob Thiel uses AW as his filter and then comments on what pleases him behind the Wall of Cogwriter.

His recent Chinese confirmation of the literal Genesis story was one of the most ridulous overreachings he has attempted. I'm sure LCGers are out there just amazed at the Chinese connection...and letting out one big "whew, for a minute there, we thought AW was going to confuse us on the literal truth of Genesis."

Questeruk said...

I realize the majority reading here consider the Bible as one big fairy tale. Discussing Gavins ‘query’ on the sheep really should then be of no interest to such people – you can make your own rules up in fairy tales, so not a lot of point in contributing? For the rest:-

With sheep, white is dominant over all other patterns. This means that when a lamb is carrying even one white pattern gene, then the fleece of the animal will be totally white.

It then follows when Jacob moved the spotted sheep to a separate location for himself, they are not going to produce any white sheep, as this dominant gene is not anywhere in that flock.(And even if they did, the particular lamb would be removed back to Laban’s flock).

Laban’s sheep, on the other hand, will continue to produce a certain proportion of spotted sheep, as the recessive gene is still being passed on, and will keep appearing. However, as each time a spotted sheep appears, it is transferred to Jacob’s flock; the gene will tend to decease in Laban’s flock, but would still be there.

A little speculation on these rods. Laban had tricked Jacob before – was Jacob now also helping nature a bit. The two flocks were separate, but were using the same watering spot? This is a likely possibility.

Was Jacob selecting the best of Labon’s ewes when they were coming into heat, (he was looking Laban’s sheep} tethering them to the rods at the water hole, and when Jacob’s sons brought his own spotted sheep along, the selected ewes were there and available.

The poorer lambs would not get this treatment. Not surprising then if there was a sudden increase in spotted sheep from the best of Laban’s ewes. As the gene wasn’t dominant, only some of the sheep would be spotted, and Jacob could still feel this was from God, especially as the idea seems to have come in a dream.

Neotherm said...

God will at times require some token of obedience -- like washing your skin three times in the Jordan River in order to receive healing from leprosy. This is not medical science just like this account of the Jacob's livestock is not agricultural science. Nor is it sympathetic magic.

For some people, even a tiny act of obedience is an afflicting, difficult and extraordinary achievement. (I speak from experience.) So God may give them something very simple to do in order to build a capacity to obey -- something that may even seem nonsensical to the analytical Western mind. But the very nonsensical or symbolic nature of it leads us to the conclusion that the real cause is elsewhere.

Does this simple act of obedience amount to causality? In a sense it does. God my use it as a secondary cause. So the text of Genesis clearly identiifes what Jacob was doing with the tree branches as a cause. And it was a cause in this context and probably never again in any other context.

It is like asking the question: "If God knows the future, why are we to pray?" And the answer is that God takes our free will into consideration and grants to us what C.S. Lewis called
"the dignity of causality." He could do it all himself directly but confers upon us a participatory role.

-- Neo

DennisDiehl said...

Well one of you explains it as good genetics understanding on Jacob's part and the other of you explains it as the reward for simply doing whatever one is told, no matter how dumb. Guess you'll have to work that out between you.

" Discussing Gavins ‘query’ on the sheep really should then be of no interest to such people – you can make your own rules up in fairy tales, so not a lot of point in contributing?"

We have every right to discuss, question, notice, rethink and draw new conclusions on what has been spoonfed to us as truth since children. "Such people" as us promote thinking and growing out of ideas that hurt people because they are not true or were never meant to drag over into the 21st Century. If it weren't for "such people" as us, we'd still be residing in the Fourth Century under the mandatory leadership of less than stable church fathers types experiencing a theocracy.

There is no indication in the text whether the use of the rods was commanded by God or if it was Jacob's own idea so we at least don't have to think God came up with this.

I think this whole thing could have been avoided if years earlier, God had said.."psssst....Jacob...don't marry her without looking at her first! It's not who you think! Lets face it, Laban is shoving his not so desireable daughter off on you first." I guess this would have been too easy. Obviously Jacob should have checked to see if he was getting what he was told, however, how a man fails to do this before taking the bride of his dreams is beyond me. I think the first time I ever thought "what the hell?" was in conjunction with "behold it was Leah."

Sounds more like a story of getting even to me. "You gave me your inferior daughter by deception and deceived me out of your beautiful daughter, when I was signing on, so I'll deceive you out of your nice animals as I sign out."

From the story we learn that you can have multiple wives, and the use of divination was ok to learn your are doing well with your flocks and your son in law needs to not leave. Add to this the fact that Jacob was basically screwing his father in law out any hope for a quality herd, no matter how it seems he did it, and we have another hero of faith to look up to.

Maybe it's a payback story, not one on inspired genetics in cattle raising. In this case, Jacob gets the last laugh.

At least we can agree that the OT probably understands genetics in the same kind of way it understands astronomy, weather and
the value of women?

Bamboo_bends said...

Questeruk said:

I realize the majority reading here consider the Bible as one big fairy tale.


Ya mean a book with talking donkeys and snakes?

Why is it that if you don't think every word of the bible is literal fact and history, you get accused of thinking its a book for children? What facet of your faith is so threatened by humans who wrote the books?

DennisDiehl said...

Speaking of Fairy tales...

"If only we had meat to
eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the
cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at"
(Num. 11:5).

If the people wanted meat to eat, why they didn't slaughter
some of their enormous flocks and herds from which they obtained their constant supply of animals to incinerate on Yahweh's altar is anyone's guess, but people in biblical times didn't seem to react to situations in logical, sensible ways.

The "chosen ones" wanted meat, and so they complained to their god Yahweh, who was so angry at them for their latest rebellion that he promised to send them so much meat that it would come out their nostrils. Seems you just can't get a balanced answer out of a jealous God. Not a rebelious thing to want something besides soggy bread ad naseum.


"And there went forth a wind from Yahweh and brought quails FROM THE
SEA, and let them fall by the camp, about A DAY'S JOURNEY on this side and A DAY'S JOURNEY on the other side, ROUND ABOUT THE CAMP, and about TWO CUBITS
above the face of the earth" (vs:31-32).

So here we have a pile of sea quail piled about a yard high extending out about 20 miles in two directions.

All math aside and based on the "Quailculations" of Joseph Wheless and Farrell Till, it works out to every square mile of the area covered with quails would have contained 1,155,404,800 quails. And there were 1250 square miles covered with three feet of quails!

We're talking about over 1.1 trillion quails. That would have averaged out to more than 385,000 quails for every man, woman, child, and infant in the Israelite
horde, and for the 3 million Israelites to have consumed that many quails in a month, each person would have had to eat 12,833 quails per day. No wonder
Yahweh said that the Israelites would have meat coming out of their nostrils!

And...you have 36 hours to do this, no refrigeration, rotting flesh in desert heat and a God that is terribly concerned about the camp of the chosen ones remaining holy and clean, and I think we have the makings of a fairy tale.

But..not to worry...the God who gets really angry with them not being happy with a resin like glop of heavenly goop finally blows...

"33 But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. 34 Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved other food."

So see it all works out and the rabble died by plague from YHWH and not starvation at all!

This will teach them not to want to go back to Egypt when they can be out in the waste howling wilderness having all this fun! :)

Questeruk said...

Bamboo_bends said...
’Why is it that if you don't think every word of the bible is literal fact and history, you get accused of thinking its a book for children?’

My comment was aimed at such helpful postings as:-

‘While we are at it, let's also discuss how it was that Alice was able to fall down the rabbit hole. Is there a scientific explanation?’

‘The theory (of an account that is purely fictional)of a chemical causing the coat patterns is an impossibility……Of course, it's all fiction. You people understand this, right? Right?’

Obviously, as Dennis said ‘We have every right to discuss, question, notice, rethink and draw new conclusions’. I would fully agree with that.

I was referring to people thinking the bible is a book for children when they liken it to Alice in Wonderland. What other conclusion can you draw from such comments?

MalheurMadam said...

Obviously none of you have spent any time in the American West and are familiar with "cattle guards." I don't know how animals see this pattern, which is so simple, but they will not pass over even stripes painted on a highway. Very, very clever Jacob! City people...

Anonymous said...

That's very true! You don't even have to invest in those trap your feet cow thingys in the ground. For true!

Perhaps the stripes were more a stop sign so they wouldn't overshoot the watering hole, than a way to get the genetics right.

Or maybe cattle back in olden times had to be told it was ok to stop and breed sooz they'd not commit cow fornification and be unfit for sacrifice. Stuff like that.

Anonymous said...

...however I don't thing we're talking about whether Cattle can see stripes. We're discussing if seeing them produces striped, speckled or spotted offspring.

The question really is...if we show cows pictures of George W. Bush...do they become mad cows and give birth to even madder cows?

Anonymous said...

orrrrrrrrrrr...if you made them breed in front of a picture of Mr. Pack...would they turn back into sheep?

If you showed them a pic of Gerald Flurry...would they breed flurriously?

Come on ..help me out here!

If you showed them a pic of Gavin...would their offspring be "gavinizing" to look at?

Ok, well whatever you breed..have a good labor day...

Questeruk said...

Come off it Dennis, don’t get so ultra literal in your old age!

For a start, if the whole area was literally three feet high with quails, where was the space to ‘spread them abroad round about the camp’ (presumably to dry them in the sun, to preserve them for later eating).

Yes, in places there would have been heaps, presumably as high as two cubits. That doesn’t mean that every inch of ground was covered, and to that depth.

Obviously there was a lot of quails, but your figures are completely suspect. For a start who decides a day’s journey is 20 miles? Did the Israelites cover the whole area to check this out? Was it in the shape of a square, a circle, or maybe a rectangle? (Makes a difference to the calculation). How would they manage to go so far to check if they were wading through quails up to their waists? (That would cut down their walking speed no end!!).

Taking the Bible literally doesn’t mean you check out of reality. How would you describe a mass of birds covering a large area, sometimes even piled three feet deep?

Byker Bob said...

I sincerely wish my mother had been gazing at chocolate milk while pregnant with me. I could have been born black, and could be a much more proficient blues guitarist!

BB

DennisDiehl said...

http://sol.sci.uop.edu/~jfalward/Quails_Till.htm

Here you go Questeruk...you can read Till and Wheless on the topic. Josephus seems to have given the help on "a days journe" etc. But it's all there to ponder.

DennisDiehl said...

and aside from the math, the "fact" that God kills them off with plague is disconcerting after going to all that quail gathering trouble. That's just what it says

and hey! I'm only 57 punk! ha

MalheurMadam said...

I think you miss the point. It isn't because they saw the rods and therefore received a genetic blueprint. Jacob cleverly used this device to separate out the spotted, ringed and straked, or whatever the hell was the terminology (I haven't read the Bible for many, many years), and deliberately so increased his herd. I'd do the same thing. Science triumphs over superstition every day. It helps to be smart and imaginative and clearly Jacob was. He was also hypocritical, clearly. If Leah were such an ugly dog, why did he have most of his kids with her and all that implies? Somehow men lose their smarts when they focus on the wrong organ.

Jordan Potter said...

The point is that, according to Genesis, it worked.

Or rather, according to one interpretation of Genesis, it worked. The text does not actually say Jacob's striped rods caused the change -- that is merely possible language that has been supplied by a translator. What the author of Genesis thought had happened, or what Jacob may have thought had happened, and what actually happened, aren't necessarily the same thing.

But then the object of the game here is to exclude a priori any interpretations that are in agreement with the doctrine of biblical inerrancy, and admit only interpretations that lead one to conclude that the Scriptures teach error.

DennisDiehl said...

I think I have more a problem with God letting them fill their teeth with meat and then killing the complaining bastards and naming the place..."this is where I killed the complainers over the we're tired manna issue."

Be nice if it had been named.
"This is where I fed my chosen ones good protein for their long journey upon which I have set them."

:)

DennisDiehl said...

"But then the object of the game here is to exclude a priori any interpretations that are in agreement with the doctrine of biblical inerrancy"

That's correct, on my part at least, because that's the whole issue I grew up accepting as a given. The Bible is true because it says it is.

Yet after soaking in the book for 40 years, I can't help seeing what I and countless others, see and no longer dismiss it as my problem.

Inerrancy is a rather late in the game gift bequethed by Evangelicals and such. The Westernization of the Bible and it's literization by the Church, has made it into some monster it was never meant to be...to me.

Was Paul wrong when he said "Time is short and they that have wives be as if they had none..." or that forgetting about relationships was what should be done, and people should be like him which is best of all? How many lives did the Apostle Paul ruin with his advice which we now take as some part of an inerrant text? In the inerrant text, Paul gets to say, "oops, my mistake...oh well..I fought a good fight..see ya..."

While the story is really a spoof on Peter who Luke and Paul rather hated, did Annanias and Sapphira, when taken literally deserve to die for keeping money that was theirs after all?

The problem with the inerrant text is that is contains horrific stories that are errors in human/minister/church behaviors and because the text is inerrant, people don't question them and they just must be at fault for not understanding God well enough yet.

But yes, without a feel for the errors and terrors of the Bible, people can be lead down the garden path easily and made to feel it's their fault for noticing it's full of broken glass and the church got their shoes.

Anonymous said...

"Taking the Bible literally doesn’t mean you check out of reality."

If you believe it, you do, for:

Animals don't talk.

Dead people don't come back to life, especially those that have been dead for three days.

Man was not made from a lump of clay via divine fiat.

Anyone else care to add to the list?
The fact of the matter is, if you take the Bible literally, and honestly believe that what is written actually happened, you must divorce yourself from rational thinking, and more importantly, reality.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Frankly, citing this example as a proof of incorrect science in the Bible is quite reaching considering the Book is filled with recorded miracles and events that defy any scientific explanation. I mean, it's impossible for a blind man to recieve site if somebody spits in his eyes, so rack up another reason the Bible is incorrect!

Why single out this passage? Let's get to the crux of the matter: Christ obviously couldn't have performed any of His miracles because they contradict science. You may as well post this so we are without doubt as to your beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Anon sarcastically said, "Christ obviously couldn't have performed any of His miracles because they contradict science."

To me, that's a side issue, or a piece of a larger puzzle related to the many problems fitting the pieces of the Bible together if you want to consider it literally and as God's inerrant word.

Oh, and by the way, I see Alice in Wonderland as a book for adults.

But I digress. I wanted to ask just how Mr Meredith could gush about being healed of warts upon entering AC, when warts are known to often simply spontaneously disappear.

And speaking of healings(or, non-healings) what would cause Mr Meredith to laugh about his first wife's skin cancer and call it "just a skin condition"? After all, it ended up killing her. Why wouldn't he get her all the medical help he could for her? And yet, he got surgery for himself for something non life threatening.

Oh, yeah. What a guy.

And another "what a guy", a minister in Living, choked his daughter(a good friend of mine)up against a wall and then threw her across the room for "rejecting the Truth"

Amazing, the attitudes of the spawn of HWA's destructive cult.

Bamboo_bends said...

Questeruk said My comment was aimed at such helpful postings as:-

‘While we are at it, let's also discuss how it was that Alice was able to fall down the rabbit hole. Is there a scientific explanation?’
{some text snipped for brevity}

I was referring to people thinking the bible is a book for children when they liken it to Alice in Wonderland. What other conclusion can you draw from such comments?


Alice in Wonderland is a book very much like the Bible, it continues to fascinate people with its enimgas. And probably infuriates literalists for the same reasons.

Wikipedia lists these themes in Alice in Wonderland:
* Games, learning the rules
* Nonsense
* Logic/illogic, including asymmetrical logic
* Knowledge
* Identity
* Meaning
* Death
* Order/disorder, including creating order in an unruly world
* Madness
* Growing up/perils of childhood
* Education
* Change

In the spirit of Alice, did you know questeruk is an anagram of
"Queer Tusk"?

Curiouser and curiouser.....

Funny what you can get out of text when you pay attention to details.

A friend once nicknamed the WCG, the Cheshire Cat. Always has a great big grin then one day....it simply goes.....POOF!....and vanishes.

Bamboo_bends said...

Anonymous said...

To me, that's a side issue, or a piece of a larger puzzle related to the many problems fitting the pieces of the Bible together if you want to consider it literally and as God's inerrant word.

Oh, and by the way, I see Alice in Wonderland as a book for adults.


As do I.

Some say its a satire of British Aristocracy and the silly way they program the masses.

The Wizard of OZ was all about 1930's banking, banks foreclosing on small farmers, and US Federal Gov't.



But I digress. I wanted to ask just how Mr Meredith could gush about being healed of warts upon entering AC, when warts are known to often simply spontaneously disappear.


A friend at AC told me about Meredith's Wart Healing ability. I had two warts that I could not get rid of for the life of me for over 2 years. I got anoitted by him for them, and they went away 2 weeks later.

Spontaneous healing or divine? I really dont' give a crap as long as they are gone.

And I am not a fan of Meredith or his doctrines. I think he's an egotistical idiot who's brain is stuck in an endless loop.

But some humans have gifts of healing, and its got nothing to do with a "true religion". That's the general M.O. of religion, take natural human gifts, say you need them to use them, and that they come from the Church, and then make you pay money to keep God happy so you can have what you always had in the first place.

There isn't one "spiritual" thing in the WCG that doesn't happen in any other church, or outside any church.

Its just one of those things God empowers humans with to help others. And Meredith's gift seems curiously narrowly limited to warts. He doesn't seem to have a whole lot of success with any other ailment. He's missed his calling in dermatology! There may be some divine humor at work there, I don't know. But I know what I witnessed and the warts never came back.

Rod's the man to see if you got warts. But I wouldn't get my religion from him.

Anonymous said...

"I mean, it's impossible for a blind man to recieve site if somebody spits in his eyes, so rack up another reason the Bible is incorrect!'

That's exactly right. Do you take Alice in Wonderland literally? No, you don't. It's fantastical fantasy. So why take the Bible, which is also fantastical fantasy, literally? Why one and not the other?

Paul
(Frodo Lives! No really, I believe that Frodo really lived and really cast a magic ring into a fiery mountain. It's all true! I have a book that describes it all in great detail!)

Jordan Potter said...

Frankly, citing this example as a proof of incorrect science in the Bible is quite reaching considering the Book is filled with recorded miracles and events that defy any scientific explanation. I mean, it's impossible for a blind man to recieve site if somebody spits in his eyes, so rack up another reason the Bible is incorrect!

Exactly. In this universe that the Almighty God has made, the episode recounted in Gen. 30-31 is hardly impossible, certainly not for God. But Gavin has latched onto this episode, insisting that because the Scripture record Jacob's actions and and describe what happened to Laban's flocks, therefore it is saying that Jacob's actions not only worked, but that according to the Bible they should work every time. But it just doesn't follow that because something miraculous happened a certain way, the same miracle should happen the same way each and every time. Nor does it follow that if the Bible describes behavior it is necessarily endorsing it, any more than the Bible's description of Rachel's theft of her father's tutelary idols means we are to believe that stealing a man's idols will really rob him of the good luck the man thinks the idols bring him, as Rachel apparently believed.

Anonymous said...

"In this universe that the Almighty God has made, the episode recounted in Gen. 30-31 is hardly impossible, certainly not for God."

This is the kind of apologetic that never allows for any questioning or exploration of a text that tells a tale outside of real human experience. A god could do anything it wishes and humans cannot question if it did happen.

God "can" stop the earth from rotating so Joshua can have a few extra hours of kill time. He "can" keep oceans from slopping out of their basin when it stops, and he can even keep humans from noticing this planetary event. Enquiring minds however wish to know if it really happened or could in real life.

There can be three hours of darkness at Jesus death and again, God can make it so that no one on the planet notices it in real history.

Reminds me of what some say about fossils. "Satan put them there to test our faith.." Well, I suppose he could do that if he existed.....

The point is that inquiring humans always loose to "the God that can." It's how people can be controlled and made to believe the unbelievable.

DennisDiehl said...

"Nor does it follow that if the Bible describes behavior it is necessarily endorsing it,"

The Bible endorsed Peter's alleged killing of two church members to put "great fear into all the church." Not a word about, "Peter, what the hell were you thinking." No thought for family wondering why they didn't come home from "that church" and certainly no inquiry by Romans who we are asked to believe just don't care about such killings. We're just supposed to get the point that if the Apostles strike you down for withholding your shekels, it's fine as long as it has the appropriate effect on the living members.

Boring I know, but the story is a spoof on Peter by Luke, mocking this so called Apostle (Gal 1-2) in their eyes who said he'd do one thing (never forsake Jesus) and doing another, striking a couple who said they'd do one thing (give x amount) and did something eles.

It had nothing to do with Church members and everything to do with Peter who Luke and Paul felt was not qualified to over anything. To them there was no difference in a Judas who betrayed and a Peter who denied. Church politics more than anything.

Something to consider is that there is much goin on in a text that escapes succeeding generations of believers who are trained to not see the orignal point or that the original point has been lost long ago. Perhaps "and great fear fell upon the church" was an addition to give a story that made no sense (missing the politic of Peter's disqualification from leadership) some meaning for the established church warming commoners not to renig on the Holy Spirit, or else, and really needing Peter to be readmitted to the fold of ongoing church history.

The second ending of John, ch. 21, which reinstates Peter as a good guy again after the entire book of John labels Peter no better than Judas serves the same function. It undoes for the community of believers the bad rap Peter was taking for denying Jesus and the flack his buddies gave him over being anything again in the church. This is how real humans react to real circumstances or at least how competing communities of believers retore their fallen leaders in print.

The story behind the text is always more interesting than the sunday school version.

Anonymous said...

My god! After all these years in, then out, of "the church" have you nothing better to do than continue the endless rambling, nitpicking, quibbling, one-upmanship, sophomoric observations? Does it really still have that much power over you? I thought this would be interesting. B-O-R-I-N-G!! Put this book and this organization in its proper perspective and get on with your lives! Your close friends and family will appreciate it - and so will you once you get over the compulsion!

Been There, Done That, Never Going Back

Anonymous said...

"Does it really still have that much power over you?"

Millions of people on this planet are delusional. The believe in imaginary beings, and direct their lives in accordance with the instructions of these imagined beings. In many cases, people die. Wars even get started due to this delusion. These people are a hinderance to the future of the human race. Don't you think that the normal people have, as fellow humans, the moral obligation to try to help these people out of this delusion so than man can focus solely on solving the problems that have always plagued us instead of waiting for Jesus to fix it or to fix it by killing unbelievers?

Paul

Anonymous said...

"Been There, Done That, Never Going Back"

well you came here one last time...so you are almost but not quite over it. Everyone processes experiences differently and over different lengths of time.

Is that too sophomoric for you?

Anonymous said...

The description offered in Genesis seems to have more to do with making cattle guards to force the desired husbandry results than with any kind of "sympathetic magic".

The striped, spotted and speckled are more likely to produce striped, spotted and speckled if they are kept together during breeding.

If you keep those which are not striped, spotted and speckled to breed with only those which are, results are also predictable: striped, spotted and speckled.

If you want results, consider cattle guards, even if you have to make them out of saplings.

It is a smart strategy under the circumstances.

Anonymous said...

"Put this book and this organization in its proper perspective and get on with your lives! Your close friends and family will appreciate it - and so will you once you get over the compulsion!"

Cheers: Go where everybody knows your name.

Go home.

And stay off the Internet.

Your family misses you nearly as much as when you were in the Worldwide Church of God.

DennisDiehl said...

"My God" is probably right, at least with the idea tha at some point letting it go is better.

AW has been making a nice transition from not so much about WCG/COG experiences and personality issues, which seem now to have played themselves out, to topics more theological and Biblical. The later is more interesting to me personally and probably always will be.

However, with so many backgrounds and according to the poll almost 90% are Bible literalists still who read this blog, I've probably said all I can, from my "been there done that" perspective to be interesting or at least give us some food for thought. The same few seem to comment and we can almost read each others minds by now. Actually we probably do talk at each other more than to each other.

So to avoid verbosity, rambling and whatever I do when I feel this terrible urge to show the other side of the coin that most of us never got to experience much, I'll just wrap it up for me.

Thank you so much Gavin for all you have done and do by having made this forum available to process this experience. We can chat email if you wish. It's been healing for me and allowed me to clarify my thinking warts and all. I'm not the same person I was when I first stuck my neck out as a former WCG minister and signed on. I've put that back into perspective and realize how much of my Dutch Presbyterian roots I repressed participating in WCG, which I thought was right and I guess I had to be there.

Anyone wants to email me, feel free. DennisCDiehl@aol.com Always enjoy a good freebie cell phone chat after 7 EST too. I can give you a cell number by email if you wish. Now experience tells me no one will get in touch..ha.

I consider all of your friends in the transition and wish every one of you the very best for the rest of this journey...It's been a trip.

"Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit attrocities" -- Voltaire

Stinger said...

This was told to me by an old shaman-ette years ago:

Take 9 new beans and rub them over your wart. Then go and bury those beans in a location you must never return to. After 9 days the wart will go away. But if one returns or crosses over that location the wart will come back.

And my wart did go away. Until I entered "God's true" Church!!

Hmmmm. I wonder what the lesson here is? Maybe what I REALLY needed was one of 'em bronze serpents to bow down to instead.

Gavin said...

Dennis, I fully understand the need to drop out of the loop for a while and refocus. There are few ex-COG commentators who can pass the 5 year mark without burnout. Remember David Covington? Gary Scott is the latest in a long line, and I had to do the same for six months after pulling the original AW site. You really need to be a bit compulsive to throw time and energy at something you get a lot of flak over.

But I think there's something positive in playing the role of the little kid in "The Emperor's New Clothes." I hear some folk say it's like beating your head against a brick wall, but I can't agree with that.

What is interesting about this blog is the difference in "demographic" between the small group of people who feel comfortable regularly posting comments here and the much larger group who read it (and vote in the polls). I keep thinking back to my final months in WCG - very defensive indeed, but when the "right moment" came, all the things I was in denial over came back and helped me restructure my life. Those troubling facts were like floating mines, and eventually - despite myself - they hit their mark.

I really appreciate the input you've made, and I know lots of others do too.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Douglas Becker said...

The above e-mail looks so much like most of the 500 spam e-mails I received this past week....

The experience with Herbert Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God is one which makes no sense to a normal person with empathy. Over and over again, a person will attempt to make sense out of a situation which makes no sense at all. What needs to be acknowledged first is that the experiences are beyond the comprehension of most normal people because they cannot grasp that the sociopath has no empathy whatsoever. No behavior is accompanied with any empathy for others; neither is it accompanied with any guilt whatsoever.

What cannot and should not be ignored is the research of Dr. Robert Hare. When he was sharing his data with his adviser, his adviser thought that the brainwave patterns of psychopaths were faked: "These are not human brainwaves" he said.

People like Herbert Armstrong and many of his cronies are alien with different brainwaves than the rest of humanity, and, in that sense are not human. When each of us attempts to cope with such "beings" it must be recognized that we are not dealing with humans, but aliens which we cannot really comprehend because our own feelings, emotions, conscience and our self-imposed limitations to prevent negative behaviors we perceive to harm others. Our feelings, empathy and emotions get in the way of understanding the psychopath.

A psychopath’s lack of empathy means their actions are unconstrained. Regardless of whom they hurt in the process they are left without guilt. They not only don't care, they are uninhibited by emotional baggage by the harm they do to others. No remorse is forthcoming when you exist in the absence of empathy. Empathy is the emotion that generates the feelings of guilt. No empathy, no guilt. When you relate to others with an assumption that they will not do an act because of the corresponding sense of guilt that you believe will accompany it, you need to think twice.

After contact with a psychopath, your mind marches on with its quest to make sense of it all. When the relationship ends, your mind has the desire to understand, learn and grow from the experience. Your emotions contribute to this life changing experience from a personal standpoint as well as from your the psychopath's position. Your mind’s discovery process includes how you feel, how they feel and how to adjust for your future.

Once your mind completes its full investigation and reaches the same conclusion it drifts into the future. You have successfully closed that chapter. This mental closure is necessary in order to build other, more appropriate, relationships.

Unfortunately, many do not reach mental closure and they find themselves dwelling in the past. This dwelling might be your mind’s way of attempting to make some sense of a situation that may make no sense at all. The “what ifs” continually bombard your mind taking it down dead end roads. Over and over you find yourself where you started – no closure in sight.

Behaviors are driven by desire. Desires can be wrapped or unwrapped in emotion. Some dwellers on this earth were not born with emotional wrapping. Without wrapping their behaviors are out of sorts with those finely wrapped in emotion. This absence allows them to move on without mental closure. They are purely desire driven with no sense of loss.

You on the other hand have a great sense of loss. This sense dictates how you feel and predicts how they feel to provide you with some reasoning for your next move. Problem is your next move will have little effect on a psychopath you encounter, if they have no emotional attachment then, now or ever. They simply move on, and you simply don’t.

The psychopath is a a desire center in absence of empathy, which is why he [or she] did not call, verbally demeaned you, demonstrated no interest in your feelings, blamed you for everything, was self promoting, required approval in every move you made, isolated you from your friends and family, had you waiting on them and gave back nothing, constantly tried to change you with no adjustments on their part, exploded inappropriately, accused you of things you did not do. Their fan club was out of touch with who they really are and they always leave you with your own list of mean spirited behaviors they exhibited.

This forum and others has helped many people explore their world in a quest of discovery. Most of it is centered on "why?" and sometimes "how?". To come to understand that you simply never mattered to the psychopath and what he did to you was mostly collateral damage is a painful realization. Working through that realization takes great time and some small effort. We all want to adapt because we want to make sense of our experiences, but since the behavior of a psychopath makes no sense in the human realm, there is no rational conclusion anyone can come to using feelings, emotions and empathy.

Each of us, in this self-discovery, must achieve a higher realm: Data, logic and facts, all gained dispassionately and objectively. In this particular case, Herbert Armstrong never cared, he had no empathy and for all the collateral damage he did with his visionary approaches embodying no foresight or real planning, he simply had no guilt. He never even knew most of the people in the church who loved him. He was incapable of love and caring. He used people's feelings to manipulate them to get what he wanted: Money, power, and, especially, prestige. He wanted to be somebody. He was supported in his quest by people who he believed were nothings. He sought out Kings and Prime Ministers as befitting his lofty position as the Prime Minister End Apostle of our time. In the end, his lack of planning led to chaos and he left a mess for others to clean up after him, as he always did. He never thought it was his problem -- it was always ours.

It takes time to process this, but the sooner we all come to the conclusion that we have something he could never have, and that it is an advantage to us, in spite of all its pitfalls, the better off we will be.

Psychopaths are nothing -- empty selves looking for a mirror to see who they are. Those of us who have empathy don't need them and they are beneath us.

Psychopaths are not even human.

And we are.

Anonymous said...

"Anyone wants to email me, feel free. DennisCDiehl@aol.com Always enjoy a good freebie cell phone chat after 7 EST too. I can give you a cell number by email if you wish. Now experience tells me no one will get in touch..ha."

Hi Dennis,

I come by AW only occasionally. When I do it is always good to see your name. I've enjoyed reading your posts.

Those of us with the WCG experience share a great deal. May God help us all heal and may we work to help one another heal.

At times I need to let it ALL go; I have to stay away from anything that has to do with the old WCG and the current Churches of God.

I have to stay away from any and all fundamentalist Christianity.

That is the only way I can heal. It is the only way I can remember and discover anew what is normal. I am in the midst of one of those times...

Do take care. :)

Anonymous said...

This is Been There, Done That responding one last time only because of the vituperative language from people who are supposedly here to help people with this painful transition and healing process.

I am anonymous because I am protecting the names of those whose responsibility it is to reveal themselves. Personally, I am a very open person. And I am quite sure you would be very interested in who I was (I do not say "am" because I really am not that person any more).

But, just for the record, I was an evangelist's wife, a three-year AC student, and left long before "the split" and others began leaving. It was a very difficult and brave thing to do, but I had to answer to my conscience.

I lost my husband, my income, my status, my friends, my home, my identity and ultimately my children, the unkindest cut of all - all in the name of God. Believe me I suffered! I had truly loved the church and the people I had come to know so well. But if I didn't believe - and I didn't - then it was time to go into a cave and examine everything for myself, be true to myself, and "work out my own salvation with fear and trembling." I might add blood, sweat and tears - lots and lots and oceans of tears!

I really was a True Believer. I had to confront this "god person" about all the things I had seen, been taught, believed and it was a fearful exercise, let me tell you! I had to put the Bible in perspective, which led to a greater appreciation for it as history, mythology, allegory, poetry - but not the word of God, whoever "god" is. Whatever people want him to be, that's who. Nothing or no one is more anthropomorphized!

I am now an atheist I suppose, perhaps a pantheist, though I don't need a title. And I don't need support but I do offer it at other, more appropriate places now that nearly 30 years have passed and I am so over it. I know in the very depth of my being how very hard it is to leave something which so captured your idealism and soul, then totally raped your innocence and spirit. It's a wonder any of us survived, much less went on to thrive. In that spirit I came to this site.

If God is Love and you believe in God, then there is something definitely lacking in many of these posts. I am reminded of this: and they, comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

I fail to see how hairsplitting, endless argument over trivia, counting the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin and the like helps to "heal" anyone. I also fail to see how this squares with Christ's teachings, which I still believe are phenomenal. I believe an examination will reveal a word or too about this activity to which I object.

And, just for the record also, I only visited and posted just that once, because an old acquaintance thought I might enjoy the site. I didn't. I left the sandbox decades ago and I suggest that there is a great big, wonderful world of other, more meaningful things to learn and do, and energies to explore. It's only scary at first and it is very rewarding. Know thyself, the first step toward wisdom.

As for neglecting my family for the church, that is something I never did and one of the many reasons I left because I believe family comes first. I did everything in my power to advocate that as a minster's wife for the people of the church over whom I had any influence whatsoever. And I set an example.

I am pleased to say that all of my now grown and married children are healing also and none of them are affiliated with any schits or splisms of what was WCG, although their father still is. I think we are a rather amazing group of females. You are entitled to your own opinion, of course.

I wish you all well and I truly mean that.

~Carol

Douglas Becker said...

It would be all so much more simple if everyone could understand that what we suffered was not a religious experience, but merely an encounter with yet another psychopath.

Once you know their trick, they are all boringly the same down to the detail level.

Minimalist said...

A more recent example of myth overlayed on an actual location and historical setting is the "inspired" Book of Mormon.

Shows how a pack of fantastical lies can flow from narcissistic religious fanatics .

And, as an added bonus, just like Muhammad, Joseph Smith & "Bring-'em Young" got all kinds of access to plenty of young chicks - one of the side perks of being a prophet.

Anonymous said...

"It would be all so much more simple if everyone could understand that what we suffered was not a religious experience, but merely an encounter with yet another psychopath.

Once you know their trick, they are all boringly the same down to the detail level."

I could not disagree more!!!

What those in Sabbath keeping and Sunday keeping fundamentalist groups suffer is due to what the New Testament and Old Testament teaches.

These books set the rules and they allow a group of men to rule over and control people.

People believe they are compelled to obey; they believe they must obey these men because that it is what the "word of God" teaches.

That is what caused the Dark Ages.
That is what caused the murder of millions of innocents.

It was only when society stopped believing that the Western world emerged from the Dark Ages.

Douglas Becker said...

I could not disagree more!!!

It is because psychopaths are not well understood.

Interestingly enough, you go on to prove the point.

Anonymous said...

"That is because psychopaths are not well understood. Interestingly enough, you go on to prove the point."

You use the term "psychopath" to broadly. Governments and business are often dominated by this type of personality.

Today they like to call themselves "compassionate conservatives".

To stop/control them one must change the political and legal system.

That is why our Democracy was created.

Even with political and legal protections, there is on going effort to take away our freedoms.

Herbert W. Armstrong was a good Republican...

Anonymous said...

"I am pleased to say that all of my now grown and married children are healing also and none of them are affiliated with any schits or splisms of what was WCG, although their father still is."

That's great that your children are now free, and I hope everything is well with you. A very inspiring story you have.

Paul

Questeruk said...

If 1% to 2% of the population is in the category ‘psychopath’, that is a gigantic number, e.g. up to 6 million in the USA alone!

With that number surely it’s not good enough just to classify them as ‘aliens’ and ‘non-humans’.

Can you seriously say that ‘psychopaths are not even human’, and disregard such an apparently large segment of ‘humanity’?

Douglas Becker said...

Herbert W. Armstrong was a good Republican...

I have noted often that the ministers of the various church of gods are Republicans and dog owners. It represents a mind set which is a result of being dominated and manipulated by a psychopath for so long.

You are correct, of course, when you point out that there are psychopaths embedded in our government and legal system. One only need look at "Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work" by Dr. Robert Hare and Dr. Paul Babiak to extend the known range of the psychopath to business, academia and religion as well. In fact, the video "The Corporation" posits the notion that corporations themselves fill the requirements of the Psychopathic Check List (PCL) well enough to qualify as Psychopaths as not having empathy and having no conscience. Anyone conversant with "Moral Mazes" by Robert Jackall will have a responsive chord struck.

More to the point, it is now clear that Herbert Armstrong was a psychopath and under Occam's Razor it is the simplest / best explanation for the observable phenomena of the church of gods: Chaos and the destruction of people's lives. For some time I was personally ambivalent about the topic because Herbert Armstrong had a substantial vocabulary whereas most psychopaths studied do not. A high vocabulary develops the higher functions of the cortex and masks some of the symptomatic behavior of the psychopath. Nevertheless, his lack of empathy was well documented, his penchant for playing games is obvious and his incest, divorce, false prophecies, his manipulations and machinations make his lack of conscience clear enough.

There are consequences of the sort that we see above in the postings to this particular off topic topic:

- I lost my husband
- [I lost] my income
- [I lost] my status
- [I lost] my friends
- [I lost] my home
- [I lost] my identity
- ultimately - [I lost] my children
- I suffered!
- it was time to go into a cave and examine everything for myself, be true to myself, and "work out my own salvation with fear and trembling."
- I might add blood, sweat and tears - lots and lots and oceans of tears!
- [I had] to leave something which so captured your idealism and soul, then totally raped your innocence and spirit.
- It's a wonder any of us survived

This is not an atypical example of the response to the workings of a psychopath. Psychopaths ruin lives. Most often, psychopaths ruin lives financially, yet another symptom of the involvement of a psychopath. Everyone suffers tragically.

Psychopaths are attracted to rapid change. It gives them the opportunity to hide in the chaos. They don't do so well in stable environments because they are more difficult to manipulate. It is to the advantage of the psychopath to destabilize people's lives to better manipulate them to play games.

Hare and Babiak posit ways of dealing with psychopaths as follows: 1) stay off their radar; 2) make certain that you work hard, are above reproach and build a solid reputation. Unfortunately, this advice is too simplistic to deal with psychopaths effectively.

Derived from long experience there are limited ways to deal with psychopaths:

1) kill them off [or let them die] -- not an option in most cases;
2) Overpower them with excessive force and bind their powers so they can't be used;
3) Stay off their radar and don't make yourself a person of interest;
4) Never -- and I mean NEVER -- fall for the proposition that you can get something for nothing;
5) When you feel defensive or are on the verge of apologizing for nothing you did wrong, be suspicious and don't yield to the temptation;
6) Build a team to counter the psychopath [this worked well for the coxcult project];
7) Be above reproach by working harder and smarter, achieving an impeccable reputation;
8) Make it in the interest of the psychopath to go bother someone else;
9) Find ways of making yourself very unattractive as a target to the psychopath;
10) Expose them for all you are worth [bad in the short term, good in the long term];
11) Follow process and don't be tempted to take shortcuts;
12) Reject crap immediately and openly each and every time it pops up without apology;
13) Never try to outwit the psychopath: They will take it as a challenge to play games with you;
14) Turn the tables and learn the weaknesses of the psychopath and use their weaknesses against them;
15) Say no.

As for the last one, that is a suggestion from John B at the Painful Truth. However, you should be aware that the psychopath is smart enough that he might not have the predicted response of anger. It is just as likely that he will make you a laughingstock. One of the strategies of a psychopath is to flood you with question and for every question you feel forced to answer, there will be 100 more immediately, so you will be completely swamped. Remember that the psychopath will keep you defensive and on overload when he decides to activate his manipulations.

As for #14, be aware that the weaknesses that most psychopaths share is that they are usually terrible with follow up, particularly when boring work is involved. They like to take shortcuts. They trust in their own ability to triumph over others in every single situation. They seldom have the ability to remain consistent [their thoughts are formed independently in different regions of the brain and are self-conflicting]. They hate anything that appears boring to them. Most of all, they hate being exposed. I once observed a rather violent reaction to my snide remark to a psychopath that he "get in touch with his inner psychopath". Such a suggestion is supremely aggravating to a psychopath.

Be aware that when you are a target that is a potential threat, the first thing a psychopath will do is work behind the scenes to ruin your reputation by betraying you to the highest and widest audience possible.

Never trust a psychopath.

Never be vulnerable to a psychopath.

Never let a psychopath use your empathy against you, nor fall prey of wanting to be reasonable and make sense by rationalizing and trying to understand what the psychopath is feeling or trying to do. It is a useless endeavor. These strategies will only bring harm to you.

When it comes to psychopaths, we are all at war with them. There can be no surrender and they take no prisoners. They ruin people. It is all a game to them.

Expected responses: Disdain. Contempt. Slander. Trivialization. Factless attacks.

It's all to be expected: The one to two percent of the population would rather remain anonymous. [In prison, 40%. In business, who can say? Above the supervisor level, more than 50% likely, given that a corporation is itself a psychopath.] Worse are those who cannot be detected easily: The psychopath by day: The CEO that pollutes the land, water, air and minds of the people without it bothering his conscience one bit, and then goes home to recycle. It is a result of a very unhealthy practice: Compartmentalization. Much more harm is possible because there aren't the typical profiles associated with the PCL, since after dark they become normal people again. Mostly. Sometimes.

Psychopaths aren't the only danger, of course. Non psychopathic narcissists do a lot of collateral damage because they do not care. Narcissistic sources are damaging because they must fulfill the obnoxious needs of a narcissist by victimizing other people to get them. Alcoholics and drug abusers create damage and chaos, not to mention commit manslaughter on many occasions as opportunity arises. And the mentally ill are often problematic without intending to be so.

All of these problems and more are extant in the church of gods. Objectively recognizing it and dispassionately abandoning being victimized as quickly as possible is the only effective way to ever heal.

And remember these wise words lest you are tempted to seek out becoming a victim again as many people do: "Go and sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you".

Douglas Becker said...

With that number surely it’s not good enough just to classify them as ‘aliens’ and ‘non-humans’.

Pray, do tell, what would be better?

Anyway, there are as many or more illegal aliens in this country, many from Mexico and others from Canada.

Come to think of it though, some of them are psychopaths. I should know. My son-in-law was a "coyote".

Douglas Becker said...

Can you seriously say that ‘psychopaths are not even human’, and disregard such an apparently large segment of ‘humanity’?

Don't blame me. Blame Dr. Robert Hare for his darned study of psychopaths as documented in "Without Conscience".

Questeruk said...

Douglas Becker said...
Don't blame me. Blame Dr. Robert Hare for his darned study of psychopaths as documented in "Without Conscience".

I am not blaming you in any way. Certainly the description of a psychopath I could fit to a number of people, both in and outside the churches of God.

My point was if there really is this high a percentage of psychopaths around (and I am not saying there isn’t – I don’t know - as you said Dr Hare did the study, not me or you), are there any studies that indicate a psychopath can be cured – can a psychopath reform? After all if the best advice is to avoid them, there is a whole lot of people to avoid.

Anyone that considers they are a Christian would also ask the question has such a person a future, or are they somehow doomed from birth?

I am only asking the questions, (and I do actually mean them sincerely incidentally). I haven’t read the book, but probably will buy it and give it a read.

Anonymous said...

Hi Doug,

"All of these problems and more are extant in the church of gods. Objectively recognizing it and dispassionately abandoning being victimized as quickly as possible is the only effective way to ever heal."

You and Job are saying much the same things...

Job 21:7-13 "Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?
(8) Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes.
(9) Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.
(10) Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf.
(11) They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance.
(12) They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.
(13) They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.

You are absolutely right, you have to leave a culture and an organization that perpetuates abuse. You can not stay there and be normal.

And once you're on your own; you can still worship, you can still keep Sabbath, you can still keep Holy Days, and you can still do good to your fellow man and woman.

It is OK to be alone...

Gospel of Thomas (49) "Jesus said, 'Congratulations to those who are alone and chosen, for you will find the kingdom. For you have come from it, and you will return there again.'"

Douglas Becker said...

are there any studies that indicate a psychopath can be cured – can a psychopath reform?

There isn't a lot of hope in this regard. Psychopaths don't want to change. There's no incentive. They like things just the way they are.

My personal experience is that I worked hard for an employee who worked for me when I was a manager. He admitted to me that he went out and beat up other men severely and that he had never been caught, mostly because the men feared him so much. He had been a winner of high school regional wrestling championship. I worked with him to develop his vocabulary and worked to get him off of alcohol because he was an alcoholic. After 18 months of work and what looked to be some progress, he couldn't resist temptation any longer and reverted. He once told me, "It's so easy". What he meant was that it was easy to assess people and manipulate them. In the aftermath, he did rather nasty things to me and I lost my job partly as a result of having any contact with him. It was a very painful but useful lesson.

Less useful were the lessons I learned with my encounter with a psychopath in the Worldwide Church of God who made it to the front page of the Seattle Times with his scams. Charming and rotten to the core. One man in church said he would follow him to the grave and afterward followed him into a church he founded based on the WCG.

Then the psychopath who murdered people in the Bellevue, Washington Church of God -- fortunately imprisoned, but not before he ruined the lives of teens in the church who were also convicted of murder later on. One of the teens wanted to join him in prison. Many people suffered for a lot of years. And get this, Chuck actually showed me his loaded revolver in the rented hall after Sabbath Services. The interesting thing was, that as in most cases with the psychopath, he said at one point, "she made me do it" after he had killed the church member because she wouldn't consider marrying him.

The bottom line is that it just isn't worth trying to reform them and they will end up doing you damage if you try to.

Such people are not doomed from birth. There are three factors involved and the critical stage of life is adolescence. There must be a trauma.

As for whether they have a future and can make it into The Kingdom of God -- if we are to believe Scripture -- that would be an open question. The Bible clearly shows that we should deny the power of God. However, Scripturally speaking, if we look at Satan the Devil as the ultimate psychopath, as evil as they come, the answer might well be not to our liking. Liars will not be admitted into the Kingdom of God, based on Revelation 22. Some psychopaths are also "dogs" as described in Revelation and they certainly won't make it.

Beyond an initial expressed desire to repent, the long term motives must be considered because, with a psychopath, it will be the easiest path of resistance that they will follow -- and remember, these people are easily bored.

People find it hard to believe they have a psychopath in their midst. Sometimes it is because of family ties, as it was with the case of the psychopath attending the CCg at one point. No one wanted to deal with it, even after I warned the local elder about the situation. The psychopath always manages to make it 'inconvenient' for people to deal with him. And by the way, I'm not referring to the leader of the CCg: That's a separate issue.

As a final note, four years back or so, I quickly noted a young psychopath attending United in Tacoma. He quickly had the minister's ear and they were best buddies, even though, if you listened to what he said and saw what he did, it would be totally inappropriate behavior. He kept talking about helping his kid he had out of wedlock, how he was looking for his next job [he was a telemarketer at the time]. After I left the scene, it wasn't clear what damage he did to the teens in church with whom he had made friends. I tried to warn folks, but they liked him and my protests fell on deaf ears. It's amazing how the psychopath has more credibility than the ones who tell the truth, but then, fools only listen to what they want to hear.

After all that is said and done, people are fascinated by psychopaths and many people see them as sympathetic figures. And after all that is said and done, it would not be inappropriate to treat them like one would treat a Cobra.

Douglas Becker said...

It is OK to be alone...

But, but, but!

In Genesis it says that it is not good for man to be alone!

[I'm just being ironic here.]

Yes, that's right: Proverbs says that a wife is a blessing from the Lord.

The blessing being keeping him humble by telling him all the things that are wrong with him.

So much for the perfecting of the saints!

Douglas Becker said...

It can now be revealed:

John B has just posted my article for the 10th anniversary of the Painful Truth on the
Contempt
page.

It is similar to what we have been discussing here on the off topic topic of psychopaths.

Anonymous said...

Douglas said:

"One of the strategies of a psychopath is to flood you with question and for every question you feel forced to answer, there will be 100 more immediately, so you will be completely swamped. Remember that the psychopath will keep you defensive and on overload when he decides to activate his manipulations."

I ran over & over into this same psychopathic type (in this case a female) over on the Alumni fourm. She would never answer any question directly - except with another question of her own. We could not even get this sick mind to agree that, by following Ron Dart that she was also following GTA (Dart was his water boy), and ultimately, the Herbster himself.

Anonymous said...

I've had my run ins with that same person, but feel as if you might be misdiagnosing here.

The mere asking of questions doth not alone make a psychopath. Often a child will bury you in questions. Socrates, and the Socratic method involved the asking of a series of questions to lead one to a greater truth.

To diagnose accurately requires years of study and actual practice.

Anonymous said...

"I've had my run ins with that same person, but feel as if you might be misdiagnosing here."

Perhaps. But when you see the same pattern post after post it begins to give away one's sickenss. In her case she never contributed a single original thought to that forum. Her only purpose just like a psychopath was to get people riled up and she never answered a single honest question. The fact that she follows Ron Dart says it all, another true narcissist in the spirit of Armstrong.

Douglas Becker said...

It doesn't take a genius or years of professional training to identify the behavior of a psychopath, but it does take some seasoning to differentiate among several different disorders which actually include a spectrum ranging from bipolar disease and schizophrenia [people with mental illnesses can act irrationally leaving people with the impression they are sociopaths, but are not], alcoholics, drug abusers and narcissists.

While it is useful to have the Psychopathic Checklist, it is not necessary to have to assess the kinds of inappropriate behaviors which need to be addressed in a particular manner.

If we can't identify the collective destructive behaviors of individuals we encounter and must rely upon experts [most of the time we would have to pay, or would not consider being hired by us, or worse, hired by the psychopath (using our resources) against us], then we are helpless victims, useless sitting ducks.

Many times, you can identify objectionable behavior and formulate the appropriate response. It is helpful to get in the ballpark with diagnostic tools to make wise selections, but it isn't always necessary to have an excruciatingly detailed clinical analysis by qualified experts.

In fact, if that were the case, a lot of people will just die before the specific label can be attached to the person creating the havoc.

It is useless to listen to people who tell you that you cannot know without experts to tell you and you can't take action.

Haven't we had all too much of that in the Worldwide Church of God under Herbert Arsetrom who convinced us he was the expert, to look to him, when he was indeed the source of the problem?

Douglas Becker said...

It should be noted that the latest technique that Dr. Hare and Dr. Babiak use to determine psychopaths in the business environment is the PCL which is derived by interviewing people who know the subject.

In effect, people around the psychopath identify him to the researchers -- so the people pretty much identify the psychopath themselves.