Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The Christmas Conundrum


I'm seriously conflicted when it comes to Xmas. All that sentimental schmaltz and lethal doses of Helen Steiner Rice-type verse. Then there's the cheesy religious kitsch, hideous mangers, smirking cherubs and politicians trying to sound magnanimous. If I had to choose a tolerable Xmas carol it'd probably be the one about Snoopy and the Red Baron.

But who can complain about family get-togethers and doing nice things for little kids? All year long responsible parents repeat the "no" message; no you can't put that in the trolley, no you had ice-cream yesterday, no you can't have that just because it's advertised on TV, no you're not old enough for a cellphone, no we're not stopping by at McDonalds today.

Then, once a year they give themselves permission to be indulgent and splurge on the little people. But those same parents do it largely under cover of a seedy old guy called Santa, just so their offspring don't get the idea that they've suddenly dropped their adult guard. Gotta love it!

But for those of us who have fled from the Xmas-free dominion of Herb and his flunkies, the question remains - what about the pagan connection? For some like Bob Thiel it's a no-brainer: "...since “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) true Christians realize that Christmas celebrations are not okay as far as God is concerned."
Which is where Paul Kroll's article comes in. The latest issue of WCG's Christian Odyssey has the usual mix of the good, the bad and the ugly, but Kroll, to his credit, takes the Yuletide bull by its horns and talks about those pagan connections. Yes, concedes Paul, the early Christians did indeed borrow freely, but...

And it's the but bit that makes his bells jingle. Check it out.

Not that I'd normally recommend CO (and certainly wouldn't recommend the tedious Feazell article on this subject in the same issue), but hey, even a stopped clock tells the truth twice a day.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm celebrating Christmas for the first time in over 40 years. But I am celebrating just the pagan part of it. The pagan part is lovely.

A number of years ago I started keeping Valentines day. Again a purely pagan holiday, not really pagan, but there is NO Christian connection to Valentines day.

Purely pagan.

I like Valentines day. For that matter I like St. Patrick's day and I've also come to appreciate
Halloween. Implicit in Halloween is an awareness of the dead. Again there are no Christian overtones in Halloween.

All of this is stuff is very pagan, but our society is loaded with pagan traditions. Just loaded.

And the pagan's got somethings right where Christianity is totally hosed.

Did you know that sacrifices are pagan in origin. That there was not sojourn in Egypt, there was no Moses, there was no exodus, and there was no Passover.

The custom of sacrifices in early Israel was taken from the Canaanites. Jeremiah says that God did not tell Israel to sacrifice. They chose to do it because the people around them did it.

God apparently did not like sacrifices, but He didn't say no either. He allowed this gross pagan practice.

So Passover is loaded with Pagan practices. Just like Christmas.

I refuse to do the "Christian" stuff at Christmas. The pagan is better.

Actually the good church fathers couldn't stop the people from celebrating Saturnalia, so they made the holiday one of their own.

Much like what the UCG ministry did with the remnant of the WCG that broke away. The UCG church fathers took control of the movement and made it their own.

Some things never change.

SmilinJackSprat said...

As I read the instructions, God forbids Israel to live Pagan, but nowhere demands that Pagans live the Israelite culture. The goose has one lifestyle, and the gander another. If Paganism floats your boat, then in a free society, by all means, enjoy!

Personally, I let the Biblical viewpoint color my grasp of life on earth, so I'll address your comment from that perspective.

The Hebrew Scriptures record sacrifices at least as early as Cain and Abel, so it should come as no surprise that Canaanites practiced animal sacrifices, however...

As soon as Noah left the ark he set up an altar for animal sacrifices; shortly after that he cursed Canaan for unspeakable conduct. And you're saying Israel learned of sacrifices from the people of Canaan? From where did Noah inherit the tradition? Why would Israel seek the wisdom of Canaan over that of Noah, particularly when she was in the process of annihilating the peoples of Canaan?

The practice of sacrificing animals, including sheep, prior to Moses, is as ancient as humanity. To observe that Pagans made animal sacrifices prior to Moses only confirms their shared origin with the rest of us. Prior to acquiring their negative religious identity, pagans were simply rural folk, countrymen, and there is no Biblical command against country living.

For me, the best of all that you wrote was your claim that Moses never lived. I find that quite an inspiration. Others claim that Joshua and David never lived either -- and even that Jesus never lived.

I would love to reach that exalted status -- to personally be so much bigger than life that scholars of the future, intimidated by such greatness, should eventually feel it necessary to cut me down to non-existence. I'm not that great, not remotely, but I could certainly wish that I were.

If you enjoy a Pagan lifestyle, then live it joyfully, with pride. But it makes little sense to extrapolate, from the enjoyment of Pagan echoes in American society, a disbelief in the Bible account of man's early history. After all, there is no encouragement in the Bible for combining Biblical and Pagan lifestyles. We did that on our own. There is still no reason to throw out baby with bathwater.

Paul Kroll's benign analysis of Christianity's Pagan adaptations isn't about returning to a Biblically pristine lifestyle; it's simply about accentuating the positive in a much-less-than-perfect world.

DennisDiehl said...

Huge topic, many perspectives. The Literalist Church looses big time if they pursue it too far trying to prove Jesus is the reason for the season.

I enjoy the season from the pagan "Sun of God" perspective with Dec. 25th being the birth of the SUN and another cycle of the Sun's journey with it's 12 buddies in the zodiac through the one year cycle of birth, taking away the darkness of the world, the summer ministry, the fall betrayal and back to the grave from the 21st to the 24th to once again be brought forth by Virgo and born.

The literalist Christian view based on no knowledge of Gospel Midrash is an annoying apologetic but each to their own these days.

I'm a neo pagan so I have to keep it or I get a visit from the Solar Priest who docks me 10% and takes away my Santa Claus cookies.

DennisDiehl said...

Yes, the idea of Moses raising up a bronze serpent on a stick so the snake bitten, God punished, Israelites could be saved was a reflection of a pagan snake cult, of which there were many, and not the smooth transition from El to Yhvh one would think.

I know Moses didn't read the no killing thing on the tablets after killing 3000 "neighbors" for the Golden Calf incident, but he also seems to have not read other parts of it about graven images of crawly things...

However, I am of the persuasion that the Penteteuch was not Moses authored to begin with and came later by the Priests in captivity to spin a fantastic history for an obscure people.

Stingerski said...

Well Dennis, don't you realize that Moses only did that snake thingy so "prophecy" could later be fulfilled? You know, all that jazz that some writer (probably Matthew) conveniently stuffed his account with, about Jesus being "lifted up."

Of course, most good Christians want the analogy to stop right there for, ahem, obvious reasons.

DennisDiehl said...

Hey Sting,

Yes, kinda like feeling the need to stop the "Righteous Lot" story about his protecting the Angel visitors from the village people, (it's a hospitality story) shortly before he offers his daughters who have never known a man, to the crowd to "do with as you please."

Of course, the entire gay townsfolk said..."ewwwwwwwwwwwww, a woman.....no no no"!

(It's not a story of gayness)

By these standards, I believe I will certainly be among the heroes of Hebrews 11 :)

Anonymous said...

This will be my 10th or 11th Christmas and I freely admit to loving the holiday more and more each year. I really couldn't give a rat's a$$ about the pagan origins. To me it *is* all about Christ (since I still believe), giving to charity, spending tine with family, and giving my kids the special items I wouldn't normally give, make, or buy them. Aside from that, the decorations are beautiful and there is a special air about the community during this season.

With respect to the days I used to keep in the WCG, I always found it odd celebrating the "Fall Festival" or Spring Holy Days when south of the equator the 'brethren' had the seasons the other way around. Perhaps Moses wasn't aware of a round earth.

Anyway for those of you that care: Merry Christmas! Happy Solstice!

I guess Boxing Day is also coming up for those that are members of the Queen's realm.

DennisDiehl said...

Don't worry if you can't keep the Xmas story straight. Many in Jesus time couldn't keep the circumstances of his birth straight either.

John 7:

Still others asked, "How can the Christ come from Galilee? (LIKE LUKE SAYS) 42Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family and from Bethlehem, (AS MATTHEW SAYS) where David lived?" 43Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. (DIVIDED OVER WHERE HE CAME FROM) 44Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him."

So it seems, to many, Jesus was a Samaritan and born of the devil (Nice way to say illegitimate) or the "son of Mary" as more kindly put elsewhere.

In Mark, Mary and his Jesus brothers come to get him becasue they think he is insane. Mark's Mary forgot all about the miraculous birth and promise of her son evidently. (Mark has no birth story and Matthew and Luke's can be excised and not disturb the original text.) They were added.

Someone then inserts John 8, the story of the woman taken in Adultery..as a way to for Jesus to say "you all have problems, leave my mom alone", and then goes on to go ballistic and call the Sons of Abraham, Children of your father the devil...It got nasty. Not a nice exchange of views in scripture.

Add to this Matthew's geneology including the four women, Rahab, a harlot, Jezeebel the evil bitch, Ruth the gentile crawl in bed with boaz woman and Bathsheba, illegit birth giver of Solomon and the message that God works through loose women no matter what you think is loud and clear. By the time the geneology gets to Mary, they got the message to quit asking about Mary's morals or where Jesus really came from.

Of course, no Geneology works linking Jesus to David if Joseph was not the literal father. Trying to prove two conflicting things at once has gotten "Matthew "in trouble.

But who cares? It's like four people telling what happened at an accident scene of course!

Matthew It was two colts and charriot from Bethlehem

Luke It was one colt and a fruit cart from Nazareth

John It was two chariots and that bastard from somewhere but we can't know.

Mark What accident?

danny said...

And once again the mind control of the demonic herbert w. armstrong is causing confusion.

Christmas is what you want it to be. Just as Christ himself said, as a man thinketh in his heart so he is. Paul followed up and told us, "all things are lawful to us," he also said, "to the jew i am a jew, to the roman i became a roman."

Herbert W. Armstrong was a sick,pathetic greedy old man. As he stands before our Lord one day he will have to answer for his Christ but Jewish first attitude.

Let me bottom line it for for you. John 3:16! Nothing else matters. No holidays,tithing,unclean meat,fasts,spokesman clubs,2nd,third or even 4th marriages.

GOD LOVES YOU! HE HAS ALREADY DEMONSTRATED THAT LOVE BY DYING FOR YOU! TODAY HE STANDS READY TO WASH AWAY ARMSTRONG,ORAL ROBERTS,BENNY HINN,PAUL CROUCH,BILLY GRAHAM,JOHN HAGEE AND ANY MAN WHO PLACES HIMSELF BETWEEN YOU AND JESUS CHRIST!

IF YOU ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOUR REST IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT HE WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO SLIP LEST YOU DASH YOUR FOOT AGAINST AN ARMSTRONG.

ENJOY YOUR FRREDOM IN CHRIST AND REMEMBER THE ONLY ORDER GIVEN TO CHRISTIANS FROM THE JERUSALEM CHURCH, "IN REGARDS TO THE MATTER OF CIRCUMCISSION, WE MADE NO SUCH COMMAND. OUR ONLY DECREE IS FOR YOU TO ABSTAIN FROM THINGS OFFERED TO IDOLS,BLOOD AND FORNICATION, AND TO REMEMBER THE POOR ALWAYS. IF YOU DO THESE THINGS YOU WILL DO WELL!"

MERRY CHRISTAMAS TO ALL!

DennisDiehl said...

Danny said:

"Paul followed up and told us, "all things are lawful to us,"

But don't forget the second part of that, "all things are not expedient or appropriate to a purpose....I will not be brought under the power of any."

he also said, "to the jew i am a jew, to the roman i became a roman."

Paul had such busy holiday schedules kissing ass in Jesus. So many Jews, so many impressions I am Jewish, So many Romans...so many impressions I am gentile..So many under the law...so many laws to pretend to keep. So many not under the law...so many laws to break." :)

Corky said...

SmilinJackSprat said...

As soon as Noah left the ark he set up an altar for animal sacrifices; shortly after that he cursed Canaan for unspeakable conduct. And you're saying Israel learned of sacrifices from the people of Canaan? From where did Noah inherit the tradition?

Remember those passages in Genesis that say Abraham came from "Ur of the Chaldees"?

Well, the Chaldeans didn't settle in Ur until about 900 BC. So, Genesis could not have been written until after that time. This was about 400 years after the time of Moses, so Moses didn't write Genesis.

I think the critics and scholars are correct when they say the OT was written during and after the Babylonian exile.

Anonymous said...

"I'm celebrating Christmas for the first time in over 40 years. But I am celebrating just the pagan part of it. The pagan part is lovely."

And so am I! My pagan tree is lovely in the living room and I have tacky blinking lights strung everywhere! Have a Merry Solstice/Yule!

Paul

He Who Brought The Abomination of Desolation said...

I've been doing Christmas for 15 years now. It is now my favorite time of year.

I was also the one that initiated Christmas decoration in the once holy Ambassador Auditorium. It started out first with a nativity scene between the candelabras in then advanced a year or so later with a tree and lighted garland down the stairwells.

Of course the Armstrongites had a coronary and claimed that I brought the abomination of desolation into the once holy "House of god".

Who gives a rat's ass about the pagan connections (other than loony Armstrognite worshippers), every single distinction of the Hebrew nation was drawn and redeemed from the pagan nations around them.

We started a tradition years ago when someone gave us a hug fat piggy bank. We named it Herbie. We put a large wreath around his neck and place him under the Christmas tree. What better place to put a big fat unclean animal than under a pagan Christmas tree! We wanted to keep old Herb as the center of attention right where he always wanted to be.

So Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, Happy Saturnalia! Gotta go and light my yule log in the fire place and get the mistletoe hung up. Fa La La La......

DennisDiehl said...

"As soon as Noah left the ark he set up an altar for animal sacrifices; .... From where did Noah inherit the tradition?"

Genesis 6:19 that God gave to Noah: “And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring TWO of EVERY sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female”

Oops I mean...
“You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth” (Genesis 7:2-3,"

God had a memory lapse. First he said two but that left no steaks or sacrifices so then it was upgraded to two unclean and seven clean so there would be sacrifices and food for all.

Christmas on the ark was no fun for the goose and Passover was a disaster for the lambs and the mint. It was not until Easter usurped Passover that the pigs got it in the neck.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a paper on the pagan origins of the Jewish Holydays is in order?

Now really, if you had to spend the weekend with a pagan or a fundamentalist Christian, which one would you REALLY prefer?

Anonymous said...

Well, the Chaldeans didn't settle in Ur until about 900 BC. So, Genesis could not have been written until "after that time. This was about 400 years after the time of Moses, so Moses didn't write Genesis.

I think the critics and scholars are correct when they say the OT was written during and after the Babylonian exile."

Oh come on Corky. Ya, until they dig up some old relic predating 900 BC., or what ever, and are forced to adjust their "scholarship."

I work with scholars every day. Trust me, they are often proud arrogant snots that never admit when they are wrong, no matter how much 'evidence' runs counter to their's. They have their agenda every bit as much as Christians and hArmstrong & Co. have their's. In 100 yrs. only the true thinkers will have stood out. The rest will be discarded with their bloated theories.

DennisDiehl said...

My mistake on "go outside and see comet holmes" last night. It disappeard in about twenty minutes and I found out this am it was a spent rocket venting fuel over SC. :)

DennisDiehl said...

Wisdom of the Goddess

Eleven people were hanging on a rope under a helicopter, ten men and
one woman.

The rope was not strong enough to carry them all, so they
decided that one had to leave, because otherwise they were all going
to fall.

They weren't able to name that person, until the woman gave a
very touching speech.
She said that she would voluntarily let go of the rope, because, as a
woman, she was used to giving up everything for her husband and kids or
for men in general, and was used to always making sacrifices with
little in return.

As soon as she finished her speech, all the men started clapping.

See why it needs to be Goddess worship and not the Priesthood!

Robert said...

This year will be 16 years since my last Xmas celebration. How the years have gone by!

This year the only gifts I bought was a box of chocolates which my parents got last week during Channakah! They should be grateful since that is more than they got during the last 16 years!

They have missed out on birthday and Xmas presents for the last 16 years and for that matter, so have I!

Putting aside my lust for free gifts, I do not agree with Xmas not only because of the religious arguments of which there are many but also from the complete falseness of the day.

Having to put up with people that you usually spend all year avoiding... thanks to good old Herb, he saved me 16 years of buying presents and having a valid excuse to stay home while the rest of my family visit the grandparents.

But I must admit the lights are pretty!

Tom said...

Corky said:

>>>I think the critics and scholars are correct when they say the OT was written during and after the Babylonian exile.<<<

So what book was it that Josiah found in the temple before the exile?

After typing an incoherent and illogical post, I often wonder if you and some of the other biblical illiterates that post here, usually walk away from keyboard displaying sign of an intellectual limp.

Tom said...

Anonymous said...

>>>I'm celebrating Christmas for the first time in over 40 years. But I am celebrating just the pagan part of it. The pagan part is lovely.<<<

A dog returning to his own vomit and a sow, that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire, finds it lovely, as well! So you are in good company, you may be pleased to learn!

Tom said...

Charlie said...

>>>This will be my 10th or 11th Christmas and I freely admit to loving the holiday more and more each year.<<<

"For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

For it has happened unto to them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned turned again to his own vomit...etc."

The only redeeming phrase is, "and overcome." If you have not been overcome, but have just slipped into celebrating x'mas on the odd occasion, just to please the children, they may be hope for. But 10 years of returning to your own vomit, would suggests a permanent returned to a disgusting and vile form of behaviour.

Byker Bob said...

Well, heckfire. The Apostle Paul tells us not to be judging one another on the keeping of days, so what do the ACOGs do? Most ignore this important new covenant scripture, and do judge their former brethren on the keeping of days! Especially the ones who call themselves Philadelphian (brotherly love).

Why how spiritual, and Christian of them!

BB

Anonymous said...

Come on Tom, give all that self-righteous vitriol a rest already; or go someplace else for crying out loud. Consider us warned if you feel that's your mission here, but cool it with caustic finger wagging. You're not God and we aren't your little kids.

Your trying to make a square peg fit into your OT round hole. It's a NEW covenant, NOT like the one He gave our fathers! Stop it with the brow beatings Mr. accuser!

Anonymous said...

"...thanks to good old Herb, he saved me 16 years of buying presents and having a valid excuse to stay home while the rest of my family visit the grandparents."

Yes, so much better to pay 10-20% of your yearly income keeping the double breasted parasites behind the podium fed while keeping away from the rest of the family. The WCG story in a nutshell. Give us your money and forsake your family.


Paul

Anonymous said...

"So you are in good company, you may be pleased to learn!"

Once again, I have to ask, why would he be "pleased to learn?"

Paul

Anonymous said...

"So you are in good company, you may be pleased to learn!"

Once again, I have to ask, why would he be "pleased to learn?"

Paul

minimalist said...

Will C.O. ever have this article ?

'Confronting the Christ Myth'
by Paul Kroll

WHY is it that Christians can't even come up with a year for the birth of their godman ? What does this say about his historicity ?

WHY do NT books that made the canonical cut quote Apocryphal books that didn't make the "inspired" cut ?

Anonymous said...

"The Apostle Paul tells us not to be judging one another on the keeping of days..."

Bob, your early exit from the WCG deprived you of some very inventive scripture twisting: That scripture means that we aren't to judge one another in HOW we keep the Holy Days, not judging those who keep heathen days. At least, that is what I learned at the feet of GTA and Dart.

Paul

Anonymous said...

One of the closing statements in the booklet "The Plain Truth About Christmas" was something to the effect of: why not put that money into God's work istead.

Very clever marketing, transforming Christmas in our minds as an observance so utterly abominable and heathen, despised in God's eyes, that it would keep us out of Herbert's kingdom forever.

Anonymous said...

Saint Tom saith: "The only redeeming phrase is, "and overcome." If you have not been overcome, but have just slipped into celebrating x'mas on the odd occasion, just to please the children, they may be hope for. But 10 years of returning to your own vomit, would suggests a permanent returned to a disgusting and vile form of behaviour."

So be it.

In a purely financial satisfaction sense, I get a far, far greater return on my investment at Christmas time in terms of smiling faces and good will than I ever did from Herbie and the WCG in all the years I tithed.

In a spiritual sense I come out of the holiday season feeling uplifted whereas leaving the feast after 8 days of doom and gloom services mixed in with metaphors about lions and lambs always left me feeling drained spiritually and financially.

Tom, to continue to believe what armstrong taught can result in total lunacy. Evidence the most recent statements attributed to Rod and Pack. Some of your articles on your website reflect a man that already has developed total apathy, at best, and likely something far worse for your fellow man. I would recommend you take a long hard look in the mirror.

Corky said...

Tom says,

"So what book was it that Josiah found in the temple before the exile?"

How do you know he found one if the OT was written during and after the exile? How do you know that there even was a temple before the exile?

The so-called second temple could very well really only be the first temple, because Solomon's temple has never been found. It may have never even existed.

Anonymous said...

How convenient for the priesthood to return from exile and find in a destroyed temple an intact copy of the books of Moses. The only one know to exist! They then read the
books to their fellow countrymen and none of them ever heard any of what was read before.

Now all of the people have to pay 10% to support the priesthood, and follow the teaching and authority of priests. But they are Gods chosen people with a rich history so it is worth it.

The most likely scenario is that while in exile, the learned elders concocted a scheme to write and "discover" the "books of Moses" and thereby set themselves and their heirs up for life.

But no one would be that greedy as to make up a religion, now would they?? And God would surely stop them if they ever tried now wouldn't he?? Yeah right!!!

Old testament = hoax.
New testament = hoax.
All for the acquisition of money for the priests!!

Way too many errors and contradictions to be inspired and written by a God.

Thomas Munson

Stingerski said...

Righteous Lot.

Yeah, I never quite knew how that was supposed to work, Dennis. Here is a guy who is willing to sacrifice his virgin daughters to the mob outside -- and Peter calls him "righteous."

Hmmmm. Maybe in reality those "angels" were so afraid of the mob that we missed the best part of the story. Which never got written, of course.

DennisDiehl said...

Hi Sting...

Yes, the Lot tale is a middle eastern hospitality story and has nothing to do with the whole gay town wanting to be gay with Angels.

In that culture, strangers in town were a threat to the tribe. Could be spies and such. So to put a man in his place and warn him not to mess with the clan's town, you treated him like a woman if only symbolically.

Lot's dilemma was that they sought safety and hospitality under his roof and to let this happen to them would reflect badly on him. Solution? Take my daughers..they are just property anyway, and my good name as a good host is more important than their virginity or mental health.

You have to wonder what kind of a piece of sh... lot was, but that is a common question one has to ask of several OT father types and how they treat their kids.

"Hey Isaac...wanna go take a hike to the Mtns with daddy and make a sacrifice to El? Oh don't give that a thought...we'll figure something out..." :(

Kscribe said...

Tom,
Uncle Herbies holy days where also pagan. Did you know that? Watch and learn Homer!
Gods Pagan Holy Day's

Bamboo_bends said...

Paul said...

Yes, so much better to pay 10-20% of your yearly income keeping the double breasted parasites behind the podium fed


ROTFL!!! What a great turn of phrase! "double breasted parasites"...I'm gonna steal that one!



while keeping away from the rest of the family. The WCG story in a nutshell. Give us your money and forsake your family.


..and friends! This sadly is the real legacy of Herbert Armstrong, broken relationships in the name of "the work"!

But its not too late! All my fellow wallowing pigs and dogs can send those Christmas cards with those regurgitated cliche's (its called rendering custom unto whom custom is due...Tom) to relatives and old friends and maybe make up for lost time!

As for Tom...if you send me an address I'll buy you a DVD set of Joseph Campbell's series on Myths and you might just get a clue.

You know if you substitute "peasant" or "country folk" for "pagan" which is the real meaning of the word, all this pagan talk sounds horribly elitist.

Its like saying you hate Elvis or something.

Thank you very much!!!

Kscribe said...

Gavin,

Can we all pitch in together here and buy Tom a "Submissive Jesus Prayer Answering Talking Head?" He sounds like he needs some prayers answered!
Submissive Jesus Prayer Answering Talking Head?

Byker Bob said...

Well, I just can't help myself any longer, and am about to cut loose with a long cherished BBism: Tom, you must always remember, there is the power of positive thinking, but, there is also the power of suppository thinking!

BB

Tom said...

Bamboo bends said:

>>>But its not too late! All my fellow wallowing pigs and dogs can send those Christmas cards with those regurgitated cliche's (its called rendering custom unto whom custom is due...Tom) to relatives and old friends and maybe make up for lost time!<<<

It must be very embarrassing having to explain to them your change of behaviour. But then, you can take a pig out of the gutter, but you can't take gutter out of the pig!

Tom said...

byker bob said:

>>>Tom, you must always remember, there is the power of positive thinking, but, there is also the power of suppository thinking!<<<

What does this have to do with people celebrating x'mas, who once believe it was a pagan festival?

Tom said...

Thomas Munson said:

>>>How convenient for the priesthood to return from exile and find in a destroyed temple an intact copy of the books of Moses.<<<

I will bow to your superior wisdom, but I can't find a reference of the priests finding a book of the law in the destroyed temple, after returning from the 70 year exile.

Anyway, there is evidence that books of the law were taken to Babylon by captives. For it was by reading the book of Jeremiah, that Daniel learned about the duration of the captivity.

>>>They then read the books to their fellow countrymen and none of them ever heard any of what was read before.<<<

Why does this appear surprising or doubtful to you? The captivity lasted 70 years. Anyone over the age of 10 at the time of the captivity, would have been probably dead by the time of Cyrus' proclamation for the rebuilding of the temple. And as the captives were probably not allowed to practice their religion in Babylon, they would have been undoubtedly ignorant of the law of God, apart from what they may have heard from those who were long dead.

Of course being associated with The Pack of Lies may have dulled your senses and undermined your capacity to be rational.

Anonymous said...

Saint Tom saith: "It must be very embarrassing having to explain to them your change of behaviour. But then, you can take a pig out of the gutter, but you can't take gutter out of the pig!"

On the contrary Tom, my relatives and friends were overjoyed...and that is an understatement.

What *was* embarassing, was 26 years of trying to explain armstrongism to people.


Bykey Bob said: "Well, I just can't help myself any longer, and am about to cut loose with a long cherished BBism: Tom, you must always remember, there is the power of positive thinking, but, there is also the power of suppository thinking!"

My father has a good saying for folks like Tom. They suffer from a mind debilitating disease called "Optical Rectumitis". I'm sure you can figure out exactly what that means.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that Tom seems to operate with pious conviction in a marginally small box.

Anonymous said...

Tom... Read 2 Chronicles 34.

The story describes a "discovery" of the book of the law of the lord given by Moses in a destroyed temple by a member of the priesthood. It was being repaired by workmen but somehow it was the priest that found it. Hmmm...

Then it was taken and read to the same king who had began his reign of terror at the age of 8. This was the only copy at that time. The King then consulted a prophetess, who gave him a false prophesy, by the way. You know... the usual bible contradiction stuff they never brought up at church.

The king then gathered all the people with the priests and Levites by his side and read the books to all the people. They had never heard what was said before, and the priesthood was from then forward backed by the book and the king.

Now I may have been wrong in the earlier posting about the timing of it being after an exile, I don't know. But my memory served me correctly about the main story line though.

Thomas Munson

Anonymous said...

Tom daid:

"Of course being associated with The Pack of Lies may have dulled your senses and undermined your capacity to be rational."


I feel so honored to be on the receiving end of one of your righteous and godly judgements, but really, all I care to say in response is:

Whatever!!!

Thomas Munson

Tom said...

Thomas Munson said:

>>>Now I may have been wrong in the earlier posting about the timing of it being after an exile,<<<

Sadly, you were and are wrong. This was my question to Corky: "So what book was it that Josiah found in the temple before the exile?" And of course, Corky didn't have the decency to admit that he was also wrong. But, then, anyone with such a sobriquet is bound to have his head stuck in a bottle.

However, the events you referred to took place during the reign of King Josiah, which was years before the exile.

I am tempted to ask, what was your role with the Pack of Lies?

Corky said...

Tom,

Your mind may have slipped a CoG. It was Hilkiah who found the book of the law, not Josiah.

But, it doesn't matter because the account was written after the exile during the time of Ezra (I Chron. 4:17).

You might look up Hilkiah too. He is found in 1&2 Chron., 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemia, Isaiah and Jeremiah.

By the names of his sons, you can tell that it is the same Hilkiah.

It all points to Ezra the scribe as the author of the Pentateuch.

Jordan Potter said...

WHY do NT books that made the canonical cut quote Apocryphal books that didn't make the "inspired" cut ?

Perhaps for the same reason NT books quote pagan Greek poets?

Remember those passages in Genesis that say Abraham came from "Ur of the Chaldees"?

Well, the Chaldeans didn't settle in Ur until about 900 BC. So, Genesis could not have been written until after that time. This was about 400 years after the time of Moses, so Moses didn't write Genesis.


Maybe the Chaldeans didn't settle in one of the cities named Ur until about 900 B.C. It depends on how we interpret the archaeological evidence, and it also depends on which "Ur" we're talking about -- the one in Sumer, the one in northern Mesopotamia, or the one in Syria. There's never been any evidence that "Ur of the Chaldees" is the Sumerian Ur, even though that hypothesis has unduly acquired the status of established fact.

Jared Olar said...

Your mind may have slipped a CoG. It was Hilkiah who found the book of the law, not Josiah.

Josiah ordered the Temple to be cleansed and rededicated, and as they were obeying his order they found the scroll of the Torah.

The hypothesis that Pentateuch is entirely post-exilic never had many adherents and has fallen out of favor.

But, it doesn't matter because the account was written after the exile during the time of Ezra (I Chron. 4:17).

More likely is that the events were written during the reign of Josiah, in the form of royal annals and chronicles. From the royal annals and other earlier sources, the account in Kings and Chronicles was compiled.

You might look up Hilkiah too. He is found in 1&2 Chron., 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemia, Isaiah and Jeremiah.

Hilkiah the High Priest lived in the latter 600s B.C. There is no reference to him in Isaiah, but he appears in several passages and genealogies in the other books you cite. Ezra was one of his descendants. His role in preserving and editing the Torah is generally accepted, I think.

Corky said...

2Ki 25:27 And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison;

So, these books were written during or after the exile and does include Isaiah because Isaiah 37 and 2 Kings 19 are identical.

Which goes to show that Isaiah's prophecy of the exile was written after the fact.

Jared Olar said...

So, these books were written during or after the exile and does include Isaiah because Isaiah 37 and 2 Kings 19 are identical.

Sorry, I missed the part where you mentioned where is Hilkiah the High Priest mentioned in the Book of Isaiah.

The fact that a few chapters drawn from Judah's chronicles during the reign of Hezekiah (not Josiah, the king reigning during the lifetime of Hilkiah the High Priest) separate the first half of Isaiah from the the second half of Isaiah does nothing to establish that the entirety of Isaiah is post-exilic. For all we know, those chapters were included in the Isaianic corpus prior to the exile. For all we know, Isaiah was the one who wrote those chapters, which then were incorporated into the books of Kings.

Which goes to show that Isaiah's prophecy of the exile was written after the fact.

It's hypothetically possible that Isaiah's prophecy of the exile was written after the fact, but there isn't any proof of that hypothesis.

Jared Olar said...

By the way, the UCG made it into an AP story about how some Christians don't celebrate Christmas (leaving aside the fact that most Christians do not regard Armstrongism as a form of Christianity, of course):

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gq7KQubcoZYlyDvdQtL1eVU3fEzQD8TGMBAO0

Jared Olar said...

Sorry, the URL got cut off. Let's try that again:

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gq7KQubcoZYlyDvd
QtL1eVU3fEzQD8TGMBAO0

(There's a carriage return after the "Dvd", so if you copy-past that address, be sure to remove the carriage return.)

Here are some excerpts from the story:

Religion Today
By TOM BREEN

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — As Christmas draws near, Pastor John Foster won't be decorating a tree, shopping for last-minute gifts or working on a holiday sermon for his flock. After all, it's been 50 years since Christmas was anything more than a day of the week to him.

He's one of very few American Christians who follow what used to be the norm in many Protestant denominations — rejecting the celebration of Christmas on religious grounds.

"People don't think of it this way, but it's really a secular holiday," said Foster, a Princeton-based pastor in the United Church of God. He last celebrated Christmas when he was 8.

.....

"Some somehow observe the day," wrote Boston Puritan Samuel Sewall on Christmas Day 1685, "but are vexed, I believe, that the body of people profane it, and blessed be God no authority yet compels them to keep it."

Some 322 years later, Sewall might be surprised to see his congregation — today known as Old South Church — proudly displaying a decorated Christmas tree outside the church.

[NOTE: Surprised, yeah -- and appalled. Rev. Sewall would probably also be surprised, and probably appalled, to find his church head by someone named "Nancy Taylor.]

"We think it's cheerful and seasonal," said Nancy Taylor, senior minister of Old South, one of America's most venerable congregations, counting among its past worshippers not only Sewall but Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Adams.

......

"In America, the saying is that the minister follows the people, the people don't follow the minister," Restad said. "This was more of a sociological change than a religious one. The home and the marketplace had more sway than the church."

That's partly why Christians like the United Church of God reject the holiday: They say divine instruction, rather than culture and society, should determine whether the holiday is appropriate.

"It's common knowledge that Christmas and its customs have nothing to do with the Bible," said Clyde Kilough, president of the United Church of God, which has branches all over the world. "The theological question is quite simple: Is it acceptable to God for humans to choose to worship him by adopting paganism's most popular celebrations and calling them Christian?"

....

Corky said...

Jared says,

"It's hypothetically possible that Isaiah's prophecy of the exile was written after the fact, but there isn't any proof of that hypothesis."

It's more than hypothetically possible because humans can't foretell the future to any great degree of accuracy.

Now, a god might be able to time travel to the future and make an accurate prophecy but if he did then the future has already happened in the past and that's impossible.

That's why time travel is impossible and why the future is called the future.

If one were able to time travel to the future - there would be nothing there, because the future hasn't happened yet.

Therefore, accurate prophecies in the Bible were written after the fact. Prophecies in the Bible that were written before the events described have not happened and can never happen except maybe by coincidence.

Only one way could exist for a god to make an accurate prophecy and that is to cause it to happen the way the prophecy describes. In that case though, there is no free will and everything is predestined.

And, in that case, it follows that we don't have any choice in whether we are believers or non-believers or in anything else for that matter. So, why worry about it? "Que Sera Sera".

Jared Olar said...

It's more than hypothetically possible because humans can't foretell the future to any great degree of accuracy.

Not without supernatural assistance, that is.

Now, a god might be able to time travel to the future and make an accurate prophecy but if he did then the future has already happened in the past and that's impossible.

Yes, a god could hypothetically do that. God, however, doesn't have to time travel to the future for Him to know the future, since He inhabits eternity and exists outside and above the time stream -- He experiences all of time, past, present, and future, as one moment.


Prophecies in the Bible that were written before the events described have not happened and can never happen except maybe by coincidence.

Well, all agree that Micah was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Oh yeah, I forgot, Jesus wasn't really born in Bethlehem, assuming He existed at all.

As for the "coincidence" explanation, well, there sure have been an awful lot of "coincidences."

Only one way could exist for a god to make an accurate prophecy and that is to cause it to happen the way the prophecy describes. In that case though, there is no free will and everything is predestined.

Well, certainly if the material world is all there is, then there is no free will and everything is predetermined. But it doesn't follow that free will is incompatible with God arranging things so that His prophecies will be fulfilled, any more than my scheduling a birthday party next week and putting the time and place in the invitations cancels out the free will of those who come to celebrate. Their foreknowledge of what would occur doesn't impinge on or lessen their decision-making abilities at all.

Corky said...

Jared says,
"Well, all agree that Micah was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Oh yeah, I forgot, Jesus wasn't really born in Bethlehem, assuming He existed at all."

Verses written by Micah apparently caused Matthew to believe that Jesus' birth was predicted to occur in the town of Bethlehem. However, Micah may not have been referring to a town, but a person, the head of a clan from whom would come a great leader who would save his people from the Assyrians. Here are the Micah verses:


"Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting....And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land....and they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword..." (Micah 5:1-6)