Thursday, 29 November 2007

The Scarlet Harlot?


Holy Muddah Church - the one with corporate headquarters in Rome, Italy - is once again demonstrating how out of touch it is with the twenty-first century. This time it's over a book and a movie.

The Golden Compass is about to hit the big screens, based on the first book in Philip Pullman's amazing Sci-Fantasy trilogy for children.

Disclaimer: I'm respectful of Catholicism as a rule, and not only because Jared Olar gives me a swift kick when I have a relapse. It's suffered from constant misrepresentation at the hands of bigots. Some of the finest Christian scholars today are Catholic, and they're scrupulously honest with their research. Many Protestant objections are based on sheer historical ignorance. That said, it's unfortunate that the Enlightenment seems to have passed by the control freaks of the Catholic League.

I resisted reading Pullman for years, largely because my nephew recommended it so highly. Said nephew is a lecturer in economics, and one of those people I try not to engage in frequent conversation with 'cos the blighter makes me sound subnormal by comparison. Beside, what would an economist know about good fiction? Pullman's atheism was also another reason to avoid the series: being preached at by a militant atheist is every bit as irksome as a purple-shrouded bishop or a raving televangelist.

But I weakened at the start of the this month. Exams were over and I was looking for something to unwind with. Armed with a copy of Northern Lights (published in America as The Golden Compass) I collapsed into an armchair and started to read. I was hooked within minutes.

Pullman draws partly on the ideas in Milton's Paradise Lost to spin an incredible yarn about a renewed attempt to topple (the false) God off his throne, a sequel to the rebellion that saw Lucifer cast down, set in parallel worlds as well as our own. It's this that has brought down the wrath of Rome, and the sacred scarlet knickers have been well and truly knotted as a result. Only militant Catholics seem to be screaming and tossing toys out of the crib at this stage, though I wouldn't be surprised if one of the reactionary hacks in Cincinnati writes something inane in the GN.

I'm no atheist, as I keep trying to convince Bob Thiel, but I'd certainly recommend Pullman to anyone who loves provocative Sci-Fi. It's an excellent tale and, hey, it's written for kids, so it's not going to be too much of a mission for the average adult reader. I'll definitely be seeing the film when it's released. Will it corrupt minors? Less so, I expect, than many Sunday School Bible lessons.

But back to the Roman (or more properly, US Catholic) reaction. How much more credibility would "the Magisterium" have if it saw the Pullman books and film as a chance to dialog with postmodernism rather than indulge in prissy chest-pounding? If the church - any church - wants to look tired and frumpy, this is the way to do it. Catholics have been advised to stay away from the movie (which avoids the religious references so as not to cause offense), and the books are being removed from libraries in some parochial schools. Mother Church wants to censor the thinking of the faithful, but doesn't seem to have factored in the news that the Middle Ages have now passed. South Park, The DaVinci Code - it doesn't take much to set off the keening wails from the defenders of the faith. Surely there are weightier issues to obsess over?

Support freedom of thought, and indulge in a little yourself. See the movie, and try the books.

Related link: His Blasphemous Materials in the Irish Independent.

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

"...being preached at by a militant atheist is every bit as irksome as a purple-shrouded vicar or a raving televangelist..."

Yes, it's agonizing to have preached at you that leprechauns don't exist due to lack of evidence over one who smugly assures you that something ~must~ exist even without evidence.

I thought the books were good to...up until the last book. I grew weary. Word on the street is that Hollywood is downplaying the whole anti-god theme of the books...so as not to scare away the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe crowd.

Paul

Bamboo_bends said...

Kate Bush wrote two new songs for the movie.

I'm not a fan of Nicole Kidman (can we stretch that face of hers anymore in plastic surgery?) but I plan to see this when it comes out.

I loved the Harry Potter series.

Narnia put me to sleep. But even that was a good lesson in how much "magic belief" is in Christianity.

It got me thinking about all the blood rites of Christianity. Creepy when you really think about it. I'm sure that's not the effect CS Lewis was aiming for though.

Anonymous said...

"I loved the Harry Potter series."

Harmless entertainment. No different than Moses and Pharoah duking it out with wands and snakes.

I bought a Harry Potter Wand and it works just as well as anything In WCG ever did.

Anonymous said...

Narnia made me look more closely at the closet. Bummer, just a closet!

B. Brogaard said...

You're no atheist, Gavin? Then what are you? It seems rather obvious to me that a person is either a believer or is not a believer. Anyway, I'll read the books and see the movie. I enjoy this site very much.

I remain your unbelieving friend,
B. Brogaard

Anonymous said...

People that want to ban books and movies like Harry Potter or the Golden Compass should remember that they are just books!!! You *can* choose not to watch or read.


They should read "Catcher in the Rye."

Just like the nazis, commies, religious fanatics, and folks trying to control the education system. They want to control what you do and do not read, see, and think.

b. brogaard said: "You're no atheist, Gavin? Then what are you? It seems rather obvious to me that a person is either a believer or is not a believer. Anyway, I'll read the books and see the movie. I enjoy this site very much."

Ms. Brogaard, I would have thought that the things you experienced in your life would have left room for shades of gray. That all or nothing stuff is for extremists. Is there no room for skepticism?

Tom said...

To All

My inbox has been flooded with emails from AW, that I have not relied to. I wonder who is persecuting me in this way?

Tom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Tom,

Perhaps spam or a virus. Since you are a vista admin, you should have some idea the risk you put yourself at from putting your email out in public. If someone from here is acting childish, they should be ashamed of themselves.

Also Tom, "Persecution" is a little strong.

Anonymous said...

Tom is being persecuted for the faith via e-mail bombardment? What suffering! Even the Apostle Paul would blanch at such ill treatment!



Paul

Tom said...

>>>Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, which premiered in London last night, has angered the Catholic Church, which regards it as a pernicious attack by a militant atheist.<<<

I don't understand why sensible people get agitated when self style atheists aver that God doesn't exist. The bible clearly states that, "Only the fool has said in his heart, there is no God." It is impossible to have sensible discussion with a fool.

However, sometimes it might necessary, in the interest of impressionable souls, to use reason to uproot their twisted opinions before they begin to grow in the hearts of the simple. But apart from these odd occasions, atheists should be ignored or Christians should use divine laughter to ridicule them. For God says, "Because I have called and you refused....I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh."

Anonymous said...

Tom said: "But apart from these odd occasions, atheists should be ignored or Christians should use divine laughter to ridicule them. For God says, "Because I have called and you refused....I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh."

Laughing at a disaster and mocking someone's fear.


hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Corky said...

Tom says,
The bible clearly states that, "Only the fool has said in his heart, there is no God." It is impossible to have sensible discussion with a fool.

However, sometimes it might necessary, in the interest of impressionable souls, to use reason to uproot their twisted opinions before they begin to grow in the hearts of the simple.


Depends on how "simple" you want to be, as a simpleton?

And, "reason" is an interesting word from someone who believes that an invisible being poofed everything into existence from nothing and men used to live 930 years back in the bronze age (there is no stone age in the bible . . . oops!).

Then there are the legalistic types that believe Abraham kept the laws and commandments before they even existed when it plainly says that his wife, Sarai, was also his sister . . . oops!

And blood sacrifices, wow, only the Jews knew to sacrifice animals to their god, no one else ever would have thought of that, I bet.

Except everybody did think of it and had been doing it for thousands of years before any Jews even existed . . . oops!

Yep, there's a god alright and he exists and his name is, "The Holy Bible". For that is what men worship and men invented it themselves.

Byker Bob said...

I know a lot of very sincere Catholics who try to do the right thing in their lives. I know that in WCG we learned to trash everyone who believed a bit differently from ourselves, but most Catholics are just trying to live their lives as best they can, and some are aware of the fact that others have labeled them as being the great whore of Revelation.

We also used to trash people for getting into paganism every Christmas or Easter season. However, Christians around the world are not even thinking about Saturnalia, or Sol Invictus as they give honor to the birth of the being whom they consider to be their savior. If anything, they might look at their trees, and consider the Bible references comparing Jesus to a tree, or living branch.

We were so blind in our accusations of others, and our questioning of their sincerity. I look forward to the day when all can be healed of prejudices, legalism, and judgementalism, and to learn to esteem others as being better than ourselves.

BB

Anonymous said...

NZDT, it is precisely because I have gone through so many things, especially as a dedicated believer years ago, and have learned so much since, that I still call myself an avowed unbeliever at this time. I do not say there CANNOT be a god/creator/spirit entity - whatever. To do so, I would have to know everything there is to know about anything anywhere in the universe(s) - and obviously, I don't. But so must honest believers say the same thing about their belief in a god. If this is a "gray" area, then so be it - but it all seems pretty clear to me at present. If I'm proven wrong outside the pages of the flawed, humanly authored bible of the Christians or any other "holy" book, I'll gladly admit my error.

Your friend,
B. Brogaard

Bamboo_bends said...

Tom said...
My inbox has been flooded with emails from AW, that I have not relied to. I wonder who is persecuting me in this way?




I can't imagine a bigger waste of time!

Anonymous said...

B. Brogaard said...

NZDT, it is precisely because I have gone through so many things, especially as a dedicated believer years ago,....... I'll gladly admit my error.

Your friend,
B. Brogaard


Here's an error. NZDT stands for New Zealand Daylight Time, not a person's initials. Thought you might like to know.

Anonymous said...

"The bible clearly states that, "Only the fool has said in his heart, there is no God." It is impossible to have sensible discussion with a fool."

The Bible also says it's true because it says so.

Since there is no sensible discussion with us fools, we now expect to have heard the last from you Tom. Or are you going to disobey the Bible and keep posting?

Anonymous said...

There is also the problem with:

"God does not see as a man sees..."

"There is a way that seems right to a man..."

"Answer a fool according to his folly...or not."

"My ways are not your ways.."

"The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked..."

and so on.

We tend to assume the person who is first to quote the verse is the one who is on the right side of the principle being delineated. When in fact, these verses can only be used to tell people to stop questioning and do as they are told by the person who gets to quote them first. We still never know who is right.

Thus "every one did what was right in their own eyes.."

Robert said...

>>>I know a lot of very sincere Catholics who try to do the right thing in their lives.

There is part of us that likes to do what is holy and right and part of us that is evil. Positive and negative.

It is not so important that we are good but what is important is what we are doing is good (Mitvah).

When a person becomes right he becomes terribly wrong. When people get good, life gets bad. Who created crusades, the inquisition, horrors of the holocaust? All the horrors of life came from people who were good. People thought they were doing good, who were right.

We don't want to be good. When we are not good we become nice. When we do wrong we become nice.

Eating from the tree of knowledge created a mixture of good and evil. There is no good without a little evil in it. And no evil without a little good in it.

Even when we do want to do wrong there is a little bit of good in the motivation.

We need to make the world with all of its evils, into a home for
God, to make the lowest of worlds into the highest of worlds. We have to see the invisible then everything is possible. If we do not see the invisible good we will not accomplish anything.

If we want to become healthy within ourselves we have to separate the good from the bad, train our eye to look past the surface to see the good. Must not throw out the baby with the bath water.

When we see the invisible (good) we can accomplish the impossible.

In the end of days the gentiles will bring Jews back to the Torah.

(Based on the teachings of Rabbi Manis Friedman: See the Invisible)

Robert said...

At the minute I have been stuck on Darrell W Conder's site reading through some of the debates going back and forth.

I always had problems myself with Jesus sacrifice if I am honest because when reading the Old Testament we read that God forgives the sins of the sinner (but this was before Jesus sacrifice).

Are we saying God forgave sins in the Old covenant without Christ's sacrifice?

And how on earth can Abraham, Moses, and David be saved (without even hearing the name of Jesus?) They knew God as they understood Him to be Yahweh.

Anonymous said...

"Are we saying God forgave sins in the Old covenant without Christ's sacrifice?"

Sure. No one in the OT ever heard of Jesus nor did they anticipate a Jesus who would be the kind of Messiah they were looking for, which is why they rejected him.

Actually we are saying the Temple Priestcraft forgave the sins, for a price and for the loyalty it would take to keep the Temple going.

The NT says, "without the shedding of blood, there is NO forgiveness of sins." Why not? Just say "I forgive you." No muss, no fuss, no blood and the wildlife lives.

If you are reading Darrell Condor, (a email buddy) you are learning a lot about the origins of the story. Darrell is every minister's worst nightmare...in a good way...depending.

Gavin said...

Betty, thanks for your comments. In case anyone here hasn't made the connection, Betty was personally acquainted with the Armstrongs, and is author of DARE TO THINK FOR YOURSELF, which contains some fascinating material on WCG under Herb and Ted, as well as Betty's journey away from belief in God. The book is available on Amazon. Well worth checking out.

Gavin

Tom said...

Corky said:

>>>And, "reason" is an interesting word from someone who believes that an invisible being poofed everything into existence from nothing and men used to live 930 years back in the bronze age (there is no stone age in the bible . . . oops!).<<<

What is invisible to you might be visible to other people. For the Holy Bible says: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." So because you are blind don't assume everyone else is.

Also, there are lots of invisible things that you no doubt believe exist, though you can't see them. For instance, you believe in what is called gravity, but you have never seen it; you believe in air, but you have never seen it; you believe in magnetism, but you have never seen it. And there are many more invisible things that you believe exist, which you have never seen and will never see.

So your idiotic assertion that Christians are foolish to believe in an invisible God, but you are wise to believe in the existence of invisible elements, is tantamount to insanity gone mad.

Anonymous said...

Tom said: " is tantamount to insanity gone mad."

Doesn't get more insanier than that!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps one of the differences between the invisible forces of gravity and the invisible force of God is that I can tell when I drop something on my foot.

minimalist said...

Robert said...

"I always had problems myself with ..(Christian)(Human)sacrifice"

Like many ancients, the Mayans were really into human sacrifice - until the 'civilized' Spanish came along with the 'Good News' of ....Human Sacrifice.

Stingerski said...

Tom, I hate to break your "persecution" bubble. But you are not being "persecuted" for your hypocritical religious beliefs. You're being "persecuted" because you don't have enuf common sense NOT to reveal that you are a Vista Sys Admin. :-)

OTOH, since my religious beliefs tell me that you are nothing but a chain yanker and are pulling everybody's pud here, you may actually think "Vista" describes that nice view from your sukkah booth you get every year. Of course, since you have also revealed yourself as belonging to that part time, pick & choose law keeping crowd, I doubt you even know what such a booth is. Motel 6 will do you just fine.

Anyway, for those who have no idea what Vista is, it can be summarized as Microsoft's new operating system that :

- costs 3 times what Win XP does,
- takes twice the computer resources to run it,
- is no faster than XP,
- and is more full of holes than Tom's head is.

So, if anybody out there wants to join with Tom and get in on his persecution party, the easiest way to do this is to drop XP and buy yourself a copy of Vista. And if you REALLY are in the mood for some "godly" persecution have Tom come over and administer it for you. :-)

Anonymous said...

"And there are many more invisible things that you believe exist, which you have never seen and will never see."

But those things you listed, such as air and magnetism, are a part of reality. We can't see air but we can measure it and define it. We can provide evidence that it exists. The same with gravity and magnetism. However, an invisible creature that does not exist within the bounds of reality that we cannot meausure or define is something completely different. Why would anyone find it strange than many people do not believe in the existence of such a being? I don't think you would believe in ogres or trolls, would you? No, of course not. We have several reasons for doubting their existence but the main reason is that there is no evidence of their existence, and I would imagine that this is the main reason you do not believe in ogres and trolls. So why is it such a stretch when a person, based on that same reasoning, does not believe in God when there is no more evidence of his existence than there is for ogres and trolls?



Paul

Anonymous said...

Paul,

You and Corky are a little disingenuous with your ogres / trolls, and leprechauns arguments.

I'll use Dark Matter as an example. Science can neither see, detect, measure, or describe what dark matter is or confirm that it exists but it is assumed is must be there in order for other theories to work.

Believers (at least the honest ones) cannot specify where, how, what, how tall, etc, etc, God is but he must exist in order for their beliefs to be true.

Atheists believe in abiogenesis despite no proof whatsoever that life can come from non-life and evolution despite that fact that there is no actual proof that one species can spawn another. It is assumed that both have taken place in order for the theory to work.

I've been all over talk origins (and others) as well as the other side, and including my own education.

I'd bet that when the facts are finally known (and I truly hope to live long enough to know for sure), we'll find that the currently held beliefs on both sides of this will go the way of the flat earth and earth as the center of the universe people.

Tom said...

>>>Perhaps one of the differences between the invisible forces of gravity and the invisible force of God is that I can tell when I drop something on my foot.<<<

But you can't say who or what has caused you to drop it, can you?

Tom said...

Stingerski said...

>>>OTOH, since my religious beliefs tell me that you are nothing but a chain yanker and are pulling everybody's pud here, you may actually think "Vista" describes that nice view from your sukkah booth you get every year.<<<

When WCG was shipwrecked, in order to save themselves, many former members have clung to various pieces of wreckage, and have become fixated on them. You are clinging to booth and law, others to the calendar, a small minority to tithing and Bill Dankinbring to the holy days.

One former WCG member who attended my local congregation, is now so fixated on recalculating the dates of the Holy Days, that every former member he meets, his opening remarks are, "You are keeping the Passover on the wrong day," or some such nonsense. The man is completely insane.

If you were able get ashore and cast adrift the wreckage you are clinging to, you might begin to learn how to prepare for that rest, where no waters beat upon the shore.

Anonymous said...

Yeah the Inquisition was historical nonsense.

Anonymous said...

'I'll use Dark Matter as an example. Science can neither see, detect, measure, or describe what dark matter is or confirm that it exists but it is assumed is must be there in order for other theories to work."

But Dark Matter lies within the framework of reality. It isn't a supernatural force. It's just another piece of the universe, like atoms. And I might add that God is not required to explain anything in this universe.


"Believers (at least the honest ones) cannot specify where, how, what, how tall, etc, etc, God is but he must exist in order for their beliefs to be true."

Isn't that a bit backward? God must be true in order that their belief in God must be true? Shouldn't it be the other way around? God's existence will decide whether a person believes in him or not? This is the key point here. Christians have belief first, and either disregard the lack of evidence or make up evidence afterwards. This is not rational thinking. Imagine if I decided to believe that DNA was composed of a string of sulfur atoms instead of nucleotides. What would you think if I told you that DNA had to be composed of sulfur atoms in order to validate my belief?? You would think I am mad! And you would think me even more "insanier" if I went around disregarding any evidence to the contrary and refusing to provide any evidence for my belief. The difference between you and me is that you believe without evidence, while I must have evidence in order to formulate a belief. Also, if I am given evidence to the contrary, I will shift my view accordingly while you will not. And why not? Well, your belief is not based on evidence in the first place so why bother with evidence at any point? It's useless to you.

"Atheists believe in abiogenesis despite no proof whatsoever that life can come from non-life and evolution despite that fact that there is no actual proof that one species can spawn another."

If you've read all the information at talkorigins (as opposed to skimming a few articles, all the while thinking that it is impossible anyway and God said he created everything so that is that and so these articles must be a bunch of bull) and still cling to the unsubstantiated belief that everything was supernaturally popped into existence, then you are simply closing your eyes and clamping your hands over your ears. Any evidence that refutes your unsubstantiated belief system is rejected out of hand.


Paul

Anonymous said...

Paul said: "But Dark Matter lies within the framework of reality. It isn't a supernatural force. It's just another piece of the universe, like atoms. And I might add that God is not required to explain anything in this universe"

It does? How? Science *assumes* it exists in order for their theory to work, it doesn't have any proof. It came as a result of when astronomers calculated the amount of mass the universe must contain and then when they measured how much is out there they came up far short and voila, we have "Dark Matter" to fill the gap.

Paul said: "Isn't that a bit backward? God must be true in order that their belief in God must be true? Shouldn't it be the other way around? God's existence will decide whether a person believes in him or not? This is the key point here. Christians have belief first, and either disregard the lack of evidence or make up evidence afterwards."

That is what both fundamentalist christians *and* evolutionists do. Evolutionists state that it must have happened and discard any evidence that goes against the theory. So both are wrong.

Paul said: "If you've read all the information at talkorigins (as opposed to skimming a few articles, all the while thinking that it is impossible anyway and God said he created everything so that is that and so these articles must be a bunch of bull) and still cling to the unsubstantiated belief that everything was supernaturally popped into existence, then you are simply closing your eyes and clamping your hands over your ears. Any evidence that refutes your unsubstantiated belief system is rejected out of hand."

Incorrect Paul, I do not run around with my hands over my ears and eyes...quite frankly you are insulting. In order for me to believe that abiogenesis is fact, I would need to see it demonstrated, in order for me to believe in macro-evolution, I would need *complete* proof that one species can evolve into another. Not a series of guesswork and theories based on assumptions and stretches beyond the scientifically provable.

I believe in God for the reasons I mentioned before, that does not mean I am not open to a beginning that began other than "Let there be light."

You have traded one unproven system of beliefs for another, accomplishing not much more than ridding yourself of armstrongism.

Anonymous said...

"In order for me to believe that abiogenesis is fact, I would need to see it demonstrated..."


But when it comes to the existence of God, you will accept far, far, less. In fact, you will accept occurances that can very well happen without God. Why is that?

"...in order for me to believe in macro-evolution, I would need *complete* proof that one species can evolve into another."

Ah, *complete* proof for evolution but you don't need *any* proof for the existence of God. Hypocrite.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Breaking Story:

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI strongly criticized atheism in a major document released Friday, saying it had led to some of the "greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice" ever known.

Judas Priest and Jesus H. Christ! (That's what all my Catholica friends used to say...)

Pots and kettles, Pots and kettles.

Anonymous said...

"Evolutionists state that it must have happened and discard any evidence that goes against the theory."

Really? Do evolutionists, in fact, did Darwin, come up with a theory based on ~no observations~ (whether they be right or wrong) and ~no evidence~ (whether true or not) to suppor their theory (whether true or not)? No, they didn't. Darwin FIRST made observations and THEN made constructed a theory based on those observations. This is the way understanding reality works, by the way. Also, when evolutionists, hell, all scientists for the most part run into contrary evidence, they do not discard it. They evaluate it and shift their view.

This is completely opposite to Believers, who FIRST assume there is a supernatural deity without a shred of evidence of observations to base it on. THEN they set about trying to create a platform of observations (answered prayer), and yes, they do disregard any evidence that is contrary to their belief.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Short video:

Christians are Delusional.

http://www.whydoesgodhateamputees.com/video7.htm

Anonymous said...

Paul said: "Ah, *complete* proof for evolution but you don't need *any* proof for the existence of God."

I gave you my proof, unfortunately, it only is proof to the recipient, me. I wish it were otherwise.

Paul judgeth: "Hypocrite."

Ah, here we go, the atheist version of Saint Tom the Perfect, patron saint of know-it-alls.

For your information, Darwin himself stated that the fossil record (lack thereof) was one of the biggest proofs against his theory, he expected that as more fossils would be found, transitional forms would be found. (They have not)

He also stated the eyeball argument you probably are already aware of, turns out there are eyeballs going down to what you would call some of the simplest life forms.

Then of course you have the asexual to sexual to asexual problem again. Impossible.

Before you call me a hypocrite and point fingers like Saint Tom the Perfect, perhaps you should hold off until / if science has proven that life can spontaneously exist without outside help and then evolve into ever more complex life forms.

The natural order of things is to fall apart, not together.

Anonymous said...

I call you a hypocrite because on one hand you demand what you call *complete* proof even though there are literally hundreds of books and published papers from a variety of branches of science all supporting the theory with factual evidence....and yet when it comes to God, you demand nothing more than a vanishing fever and swelling, and a few other subjective experiences. You don't think that is the slightest bit hypocritcal?? Think about it.

Are you sure that you are thinking critically with an open mind? Are you sure that your rejection of evolution is not tainted by your religious beliefs?

I believed in God all of my life, for the most part. The last few years I was a devout COG'er, a Pharisee of the Pharisees. And despite a few problems here and there, I like the God of the Bible. Even the OT one. My kind of guy in some respects. And as far as my mindset goes, I like the fantastic. I love to read and dream about things and places that never were/are. Point being, I am all for the existence of a diety. It would make life much more interesting, and it would go along way to answering a lot of questions. But I cannot find a credible shred of evidence for a god, any god. And that is what I base my view on. Not wishful thinking and self-deception.

Paul

Stingerski said...

Tom saith:

You are clinging to booth and law, others to the calendar, a small minority to tithing and Bill Dankinbring to the holy days.

You have that exactly bassackwards, Tom. I haven't been to an ACOG Jewish fest since 1994. Nor do I regard the Bible as anything special for me to take any cues from -- including all the Jewish law that YOU still cling too. Well, part-time anyway, as it suits you in your picking & choosing.

And, I would say, since you just can't give up on the idea that you must belong to the purest of the "pure" ACOG sects, the flotsam and wreckage is all yours.

When the history of religion for the 20th Century is finally written, Armstrongism will hardly warrant a half page. And your little cult won't even merit a footnote.

Anonymous said...

"If I [Jesus] bear witness of myself, my witness is not true." (John 5:31)

"I [Jesus] am one that bear witness of myself..." (John 8:18)


Still waiting for an explanation....

la la la la la la tee dum

Athought4theday said...

If, in fact, God exists, wouldn't that be the singular most important fact in the history of man, and in terms of relevance to mankind? Isn't it, therefore, something to which you would want to at least keep an open mind, or even be actively seeking?

Byker Bob said...

To the anonymous cat that keeps quoting the conflicting verses from Jesus, why don't you quote a whole verse?

John 8:18 properly reads: I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.

Were you trying to see if anyone here would even be interested in cracking open their Bible, or something?

In the other verse you quoted, reading the surrounding verses, we find that Jesus had John the Baptist witnessing for him, also.

So, in both cases you have others vouching for Jesus. Where is the conflict?

Anyone can raise doubts if they only quote half a verse, or lift a verse from proper context.

BB

Anonymous said...

"Isn't it, therefore, something to which you would want to at least keep an open mind..."


I do. If the evidence presents itself, I'll believe.


"...or even be actively seeking?"

I may as well actively seek leprechauns.


Paul

Anonymous said...

BB You're right. It was insanity gone mad...:)

I just figured none of us were going to convince the rest of us whether or not God exisited. Like Schrödinger's Cat, he does and doesn't until we look I suppose.

Kscribe said...

Frankly, I don't give a damn if there is a God or not. Really, why care? If there is a God, he/she or it can go to hell for malfeasance in managing mankind. Maybe even bought up on child abuse charges!

Kscribe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Ah Paul! You trivialize! Even if you rely on mythology, how does what leprechauns do compare to what God does for humanity? The existence of leprechauns is irrelevant to humanity, or at least vastly less relevant.

Note to Kscribe: I don't believe I want to stand next to you. Lightening is not noted necessarily for being very accurate in its trajectory! I assume you are trying to wean people from Armstrongism through your excellent site. If you speak ill of God, you're going to spook them before they even visit! They'll assume the devil is working through you.

Douglas Becker said...

That which has been made most clear here is that Tom is a predator and attempting to make those who turn from evil prey per Isaiah 59:15.

Also reference Matthew 7:15 where Jesus also highlights predators of this type.

Bamboo_bends said...
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Bamboo_bends said...

Anonymous said...

There is also the problem with:

"God does not see as a man sees..."

"There is a way that seems right to a man..."

"Answer a fool according to his folly...or not."

"My ways are not your ways.."

"The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked..."

and so on.

The last religious "truism" you mention about the heart I find most irksome. And nearly all churches use it.

They never tell their people that in those days people thought the organ of intellect was the heart, not the brain.

In our day we think of the heart
as the metaphorical seat of intuition, conscience, truth etc.
And this is the very thing their flocks turn away from when embracing those faiths.

We need more people trusting their heart, not less.

Anonymous said...

Official website for Gavin's movie with trailers and more info:


goldencompass.com

Anonymous said...

Ooops! That compass was in error. Try this official website for Gavin's movie with trailers, a better compass and more info:

Golden CompassMovie.com

Tom said...

Kscribe said...

>>>Frankly, I don't give a damn if there is a God or not. Really, why care?<<<

One day you will care, and you will rue the day you spoke without understanding.

>>>If there is a God, he/she or it can go to hell for malfeasance in managing mankind.<<<

Many other people have jumped to he same ill logical conclusion as you, because they think that their sense of justice is the same as God's. They tend to argue, if I were God, I would end all suffering. Yet these same people do nothing to help those who live next door or even in the wider community, especially if the afflicted are from a different ethnic group and don't subscribe to their political, economic and social philosophy.

In reality, you are asking God to do what you are unwilling to do. If you were using all your available time and resources to help the poor, the sick and the afflicted, then, your sincere concern for the sufferings of others might be evident. But if you are just shouting that God doesn't exist because he isn't doing what want, then, you are obviously in the vice of Satan.

Douglas Becker said...

the vice of Satan

What an amusing idea -- a device to hold objects while you work on them and we should not be ignorant of Satan's devices [although Tom seems to be, even though he uses them constantly].

Beware of Tom as a predator, for he goes forth as a roaring lion [or more like "lyin'"] seeking whom he may devour.

Anonymous said...

Paul said: "I do. If the evidence presents itself, I'll believe."

Fair enough.

I'll do the same for abiogenesis and evolution.

Anonymous said...

As a public service kind of thingy, I'd like to point out that green leprechauns (or any other color, as I believe in affirmative action) do not have the potential to be evaluating your life and determining the nature of your eternity! Doesn't this at least make you want to maintain a modicum of open-mindedness?

Anonymous said...

"Doesn't this at least make you want to maintain a modicum of open-mindedness?"

There is as much evidence in favor of God as there is for leprechauns. So maintaining an open mind (which I do...evidence based)for God is no different than keeping an open mind for leprechauns. I could also include every other mythological being. Why God?

The "nature of my eternity" is based on the unsubstantiated idea that we will live on beyond death which in turn is based on the assumption that there is a God. Since there is no evidence for God or the afterlife, then worrying about the supposed hereafter is no different than worrying about if Cthullu will rise from the sea and destroy my hometown.

But let's say I was worried about my condition after death. Keeping an open mind about Jehovah and Jesus doesn't even begin to solve the problem. There are other Gods that control one's condition in the afterlife, such as Allah. Therefore, I would need to keep an open mind for practically every deity ever created. It's silly.

Paul

Anonymous said...

There is a collection of influential people, known as the "ascended masters". These people were all proponents of revolutionary philosophy, and transformed history. However, if you examine the teachings of each, the only one who actually claimed to have been sent by God, and who actually centered his message on himself, is Jesus Christ. Buddha certainly did not claim that the only way to the father was through himself, Buddha. Neither did Mohammed.

It might be erroneous to consider Allah a different or separate God from YHWH, since Allah is the name the sons of Ishmael use for their supreme being. I will grant you that the followers of Allah do have a slightly different take on things, but we're talking about a variance of degrees here. YHWH was a "war god", just as Allah is perceived today.

Don't know what to say, Paul. I'd hate to see you left out on some good things, as you seem like one of the good guys. Sometimes if you are looking for something, that's what you find. The level of intelligence your posts suggest would seem to indicate that you probably aren't one of the people who consciously rejects knowledge, or blocks it out. Sometimes I even think we could use a couple of leprechauns, although legend has it that, like genies, they play tricks.

Jared Olar said...

Hi Gavin:

For the past month or so my attention has been diverted from matters Armstrongian to things that actually matter (mom's funeral, raising children, hugging and kissing wife, stuff like that), so I've not popped by here for a while. I figured you'd probably have something to say about the "Golden Compass" brouhaha, though, and you didn't disappoint.

I've not read the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, though from what I hear the first book and probably the second are pretty good. I hear a lot of displeasure with the literary merits of the second and third books, though -- if what I'd heard is true, the trilogy apparently collapses into, well, being lectured at by an atheist. I don't think I'll bother reading the books or seeing the movie -- for a Miltonian-inspired subversive/blasphemous retelling of the War in Heaven, I think Brust and Zelazny's To Reign in Hell (1984) did a decent job, whereas the reviews of Pullman's books indicate that he sacrificed his plot, characters, and story for the sake of the message he is preaching. And as a Christian parent, I'll not be taking my kids to see "The Golden Compass" either, which has in any case been panned by most movie critics.