Monday, 21 January 2008

The Good News

I like The Good News.

No, really!

Although I'm not a subscriber, the occasional copy of UCG's flagship magazine comes my way. The Good News is a pleasure to handle, has a great design and layout, and a thoroughly professional appearance. In these categories the GN is simply streets ahead of LCG's Tomorrow's World.

The person who deserves the credit is Shaun Venish, a freelance illustrator and graphic designer who graduated from Ambassador College (Pasadena) in 1990 (that's him in creative pose). This guy is good.

But content-wise it's another story.

The Jan-Feb GN belies the slick design with the same tired old ideology that failed thirty years ago in WCG.

For starters the political content is far from subtle. Political content? Sure, what else would you call Melvin Rhodes' imperious articles, or the weltanschau that underlies the World News & Trends section? Objectivity? Fresh thinking? An international perspective? A willingness to challenge comfortable assumptions?

Not a sign of it. This stuff is only marginally less one-eyed than Flurry's Trumpet.

And then there's Paul Luecke's article called Help Your Child Refute Evolution in the current issue.

WCG did a nice little number on the creation/evolution thing once, in fact it was one of the draw-cards that attracted me to The Plain Truth in the first place. Sadly it was all nonsense. I've written about this elsewhere, so won't bore you with those comments here.

Luecke (whose credentials on this subject are not immediately obvious) won't have read it of course, but the US National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine have released a new book called Science, Evolution, and Creationism. It's tone, according to New Scientist, is not confrontational; rather the book draws attention to those many believers "who do not interpret creation stories literally, and do not view evolution as counter to their faith."

"The authors focus on why understanding evolution is critical to agriculture, medicine and specifically to tackling viruses such as SARS and HIV. They also stress that if Americans do not have a basic scientific literacy, which must include evolution, the nation will not be able to compete in the global knowledge economy."

Which is a thoroughly sane position. The creationism advocated by the GN (and its sponsoring church) is far more dangerous than any of the "bad news" dreamed up in the tormented imaginations of wooden-minded editors and columnists. Children need protecting from the pseudo-science of creationism, not the bogey man of evolution.

"There's nothing wrong
with a 5th Grade understanding of God

... as long as you're in the 5th Grade."
From the movie "For the Bible Tells Me So."


The Good News
: great form, shame about the substance.

46 comments:

Questeruk said...

Gavin writes:-

“WCG did a nice little number on the creation/evolution thing once, in fact it was one of the draw-cards that attracted me to The Plain Truth in the first place. Sadly it was all nonsense. I've written about this elsewhere, so won't bore you with those comments here.”

Hi Gavin, I have just re-read your article that you referenced. Surely you are completely using the ‘straw man’ argument. You mention the so called ‘Gap Theory’, believed by the original WCG amongst others, but then go on to demolish the ‘Young Earth’ idea of a 6000 year universe. Yes, fine – that is easy to demolish, it doesn’t stand up to scientific evidence – what’s new? But that isn’t answering your original statements, which were talking about the ‘old earth’ theology. Probably most people on this forum who believe in God don’t believe the universe is 6000 years old.

The 6000 year old universe has nothing to do with what the old WCG believed. As you said, the ‘old earth’ idea didn’t originate with HWA – what did you expect? That it has been around prior to WCG doesn’t diminish its credibility! Having stated that WCG believed the ‘old earth’ creationist belief, all your arguments are directed against the ‘young earth’ idea.

The so called ‘gap theory’ can allow for a ‘big bang’, whatever GTA may have said. Of course popularity for the ‘big bang’ itself comes and goes – potentially this idea is under a certain amount of threat at the moment, as scientific ideas progress, but in itself the ‘gap theory’ and ‘big bang’ is completely compatible. The idea that all geological ages were somehow formed by Noah’s flood has no part in the ‘old earth’ view of things, nor would dinosaurs and men dwelling together be a part of it.

I think those three points were about the only points you had in your article. You are quite a talented writer, but sorry, not impressed by this effort.

Tired Skeptic said...

Always in a rush to hurry God along....

From the Good News article:

Explain why evolution is so popular today. Go through Romans 1:18-32 and explain how the underlying motivation is that people—even many highly educated people—simply don't want there to be a God.

That seems to be the core of the article: People believe in evolution because they don't want God to prevent them from being homosexuals.

Many probably think that silly, but think again: Herbert Armstrong was not just a racist, a narcissist and a false prophet, he was a homophobe. Roderick Meredith is also one of those who wanted to portray himself as a "man's man", which, if you think about, sort of creates its own problems as is obvious in "The Shocking Truth about Queer Men" he wrote in The Plain Truth in the early Sixties, along with his embarrassing false prophecies, sure to happen now, because they didn't happen then.

It should be pointed out that there are millions of heterosexual evolutionists of which many are scientists, experts in their field. The true reason that the Armstrongists of the spit-off Church Corporate want so desperately for evolution to just go away may very well be failed prophecies -- they don't want to admit that because they do not want to retain the One True God in their knowledge, God has given them over to a reprobate mind of screwy distorted perceptions from a ministry rampantly replete with alcoholics and the mentally ill as well as the downright rebellious.

It should be noted that the church of gods is always in a rush: They want Jesus Christ to RETURN NOW, just after the 3 1/2 years of the Great Tribulation coming REAL SOON NOW. The church of gods must have death, doom, destruction, devastation in a world gone mad so that their false prophecies can be fulfilled. What they don't seem to realize is that if they get their way, the whole reason for their cult will disappear and they'll be out of job, but that doesn't seem to be deter them because they are all so very short-sighted, or maybe blind would be the right term. Roderick Meredith is going blind, which seems fitting given the judgment of the Apostle Paul against the false prophet Elymas.

The other thing about all this is that it is apparent that God takes His time. Science does know that the earth itself is over 4 billion years old and life did not appear for about 2 billion years of that. It is apparent that God follows His own proverbs to "Gather little by little" instead of doing everything all at once, outside of the Big Bang. The church of gods is all about rushing God and making Jesus come back much sooner that God's plan has in store for the earth.

In about 50,000 years, the earth will travel through the Oort Cloud and there will be great darkness, the sun and moon will appear as if they are covered with sackcloth and meteorites will fall from the sky. In 500 million years, the oceans will be boiled away. In 5 billion years, the earth will be burned up in molten heat from the sun going Red Dwarf. This is all Scriptural and Biblical. It's just that it doesn't at all follow the Armstrongists' time frame: They'll all be dead before any of this happens and they won't get to see their self-righteous revenge plied upon the enemies they've carved out for themselves who don't even know of their existence. Really, it's so frustrating when you hate someone and they don't even acknowledge your existence! And so it is with all these non homosexual evolutionists who don't even have the slightest awareness of the Armstrongist Intelligent Design Creatonists.

God, the Father, Creator is beyond understanding, His Wonderful Works beyond comprehension. It is the Glory of God to hide a thing, and the glory of princes to find out just what the heck marvelous thing God has done.

Unfortunately, there are those very few here without a lot of intelligence but do have a lot of testosterone poisoned belligerence without a sense of humor who have not one shred of original thinking who become angry and full of brutal feelings of revenge when they do not have the slightest conception of the principle of parody.

Questeruk said...

Tired Skeptic said...

“Explain why evolution is so popular today. Go through Romans 1:18-32 and explain how the underlying motivation is that people—even many highly educated people—simply don't want there to be a God.

That seems to be the core of the article: People believe in evolution because they don't want God to prevent them from being homosexuals”.

I suppose you read what you want to read into these verses. While homosexuality is mentioned, the whole point of the verses to me comes across as once you leave God out of the picture, everyone comes to their own conclusions, and many will go into ways that are unsociable – including murder, deceit, untrustworthy, without mercy etc.

Taking this to mean that you must be a Creationist or you will become homosexual is a fairly stupid reading of these verses. While Tired Skeptic may think these verses say that, fortunately the Good News article doesn’t present it that way at all.

Tired Skeptic said...

While Tired Skeptic may think these verses say that, fortunately the Good News article doesn’t present it that way at all.

No, indeed, I don't think the Scripture says that at all, but I do believe that the church of gods does tend to interpret the Scripture that way as an explanation of why there are homosexual atheists. That is the standard Armstrongist view: Reject God and you become a homosexual -- and they come to this conclusion by the context of the verse [even the women burned...].

Besides, the whole thing was a parody anyway, with just maybe a hint of sardonic truth.

PC said...

I've decided evolution was the most reasonable way,
To deal with "creation", what can I say?
But though I've been married for years,
I've fallen prey to the worst of my fears,
For today I've suddenly turned gay!

Corky said...

From the GN article:
Explain why evolution is so popular today. Go through Romans 1:18-32 and explain how the underlying motivation is that people—even many highly educated people—simply don't want there to be a God. They don't want to believe that a higher power has authority over how they should live and what they should do. They want to feel free to do what they wish without the guilt of having to answer to a Creator.

I have found this to be entirely untrue (a damn lie). In fact, people do want to believe in a higher power and they do want to be told what to do, when to do, how to do etc. It's the sheep instinct thing.

Therefore, people hang on to the beliefs of an invisible being in the sky with everything they have.

It doesn't matter how many facts are presented to the contrary either, they simply want to believe and they are going to believe, regardless.

It takes quite an imagination to beleive in demons and demon possession, fallen devils and a spook in the sky who raped a virgin 2,000 years ago - but that's all harmless nonsense, right?

A child outgrows the need for a human father to tell them what to do, say, act and behave but I wonder if man will ever outgrow the need for an invisible daddy in the sky who does the same thing.

Anonymous said...

What a blessing it is to know that if you embrace evolution, the sexual orientation with which you were born changes. My goodness, we certainly wouldn't want that to happen! I thank the UCG and their fine magazine for the spirit of public service which pervades their outreach. Now thousands, if not millions of people will be able to avoid homosexuality if they will only call their local UCG minister, who has all the answers!

Neotherm said...

The emphasis in such articles as Luecke's is on logic and argumentation. That never convinced anyone of anything. If such an approach could resolve the issue, there would no longer be a debate between atheists and those who believe in God. The issue would have already been settled.

I believe in God and I believe I have some grasp of the findings of cosmology that support this. But someone else can look at these same findings and conclude otherwise.

(For instance, at one time the Anthropic Principle was an unassailable argument for a Creator. But the atheists redefined this by postulating, without any evidence or reason to deduce this, the existence of limitless numbers of universes that happened by random chance and the universe where there are observers is naturally the universe that has parameters that would give rise to observers. And if one challenges this and says prove that there are limitless numbers of universes, the atheist will respond "Prove that there are not!")

Such a debate can never be resolved on a purely physical level because it involves human will and subjectivity. Not only can I not change the atheistic viewpoint, I cannot really understand it. Oh, I can understand the material arguments and the data - I just can't understand the human will behind it.

By analogy, it is like two people who are presented with a desert tray at a restaurant. I choose a chocolate eclair and the other guy chooses and hockey puck. As I watch him gnaw, I decide that I will never understand by relying on logic and argumentation why a chocolate eclair seems so unreasonable to him. That's just the way things are.

Since I am a Christian, I will rely on the Epistles of Paul. There are people that God has given over to a reprobate mind. My guess is that this means that God no longer interacts with them in a persuasive way, because that is futile, and that their personal eschatology is sealed.

I believe the understanding that God exists is a consequence of something quite mystical that is termed in the Bible "a calling". This is actually the pivotal element in the debate but something that must naturally be set aside when the spiritual dimension is excluded.

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

"And so it is with all these non homosexual evolutionists who don't even have the slightest awareness of the Armstrongist Intelligent Design Creatonists"

Good grief! What in the world does taking it in the bum (or giving it) have to do Armstrongism or creation/evolution? Is your lil dangling idol all you can think about?

I was in that stupid church for 20 years, and I never heard as much about gays as I did from TV, newspapers, and most of all, gay's themselves! Give us all a break with the sex sh*# already!

Jared Olar said...

For instance, at one time the Anthropic Principle was an unassailable argument for a Creator. But the atheists redefined this by postulating, without any evidence or reason to deduce this, the existence of limitless numbers of universes that happened by random chance and the universe where there are observers is naturally the universe that has parameters that would give rise to observers.

In other words, it's back to the old "solution" proposed by the adherents of Ptolemaic geocentrism. Can't make geocentrism fit the scientific evidence supporting a heliocentric solar system? Just add epicycles. Don't want to accept the evidence supporting the Anthropic Principle? Just add universes.

As Dinesh D'Souza has observed (quoting some other writer whose name I forget), anyone who can believe in multiple universes should have no difficulty at all believing in the existence of heaven, hell, angels, and demons.

a spook in the sky who raped a virgin 2,000 years ago

I've heard of many religions that posit the existence of demons and demon possession, but I've never heard of any religion that believes in a spirit being who raped a virgin 2,000 years ago. Perhaps that religon exists in one of the infinite number of parallel universes that certain alleged scientists propose.

Corky said...

Not only a virgin but an engaged virgin who just happened to have a mother who was also a virgin. "Immaculate Conception" I believe they call it . . .

Jared Olar said...

No, the mother of the Virgin Mary was not a virgin. She was married, and was, according to legend, barren for many years until God healed Mary's parents of their infertility, enabling Mary to be conceived. The conception was natural, but immaculate, in that God prevented Mary from being conceived in original sin.

Also, Mary was not an engaged virgin -- she was a betrothed virgin. Ancient Jewish betrothal was not "engagement," and could only be broken through a formal divorce. Jewish marriage consisted of two ceremonies: the Kiddushin and the Nissuin, the Betrothal and the Marriage Supper. A man and woman were espoused at the betrothal, but their marriage was not consummated until the wedding supper. No sexual relations were permitted until the wedding supper. Thus there was nothing out of the ordinary about Mary being betrothed but still a virgin. That's the way it was done back then.

Finally, Mary voluntarily agreeing to bear the Messiah, who would be conceived mysteriously by the Holy Spirit without sexual relations, is not exactly being raped by a spirit being.

Corky said...

Jared Olar said...
No, the mother of the Virgin Mary was not a virgin. She was married, and was, according to legend, barren for many years until God healed Mary's parents of their infertility, enabling Mary to be conceived. The conception was natural, but immaculate, in that God prevented Mary from being conceived in original sin.

Scripture please. I don't remember reading about this in the Bible at all

Just more made up horse pucky.

Jared Olar said...

What difference would it make if I quote a scripture text for you, Corky? The Christian scriptures are all "made up horse pucky" to you, so why should it matter whether the made up horse pucky is mentioned in the Bible or rather is attested in extra-biblical Christian tradition? Besides, my point isn't to convince you or anyone, but to correct your misstatements of the doctrines of the Virginal Conception of Christ and the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Anonymous said...

"What difference would it make if I quote a scripture text for you, Corky"

Corky might not care but I'd like to see the theological gymnastics you have to do to show that out of the bible.

You'll have to do better than "according to legend"

Anonymous said...

or did you mean according to legion

Jared Olar said...

Corky might not care but I'd like to see the theological gymnastics you have to do to show that out of the bible.

You'll have to do better than "according to legend"

or did you mean according to legion


Ha. Clever.

Well, since you say you're curious . . . . There really aren't any theological gymnastics needed to show the biblical basis for the Immaculate Conception. The key text, as in all Marian doctrines, is the story of the Annunciation, in which Gabriel addresses Mary as "kecharitomene," "full of grace," someone on whom God's special favor and love uniquely rests. In all of scripture, no other mere creature is given such favor and honor by God. This traditionally has been taken to encompass the manner in which God brought her into existence. As great care was taken by God to prepare the Tabernacle in the wilderness, God would take great care to prepare the Ark of the Covenant and the Temple in whom the Incarnate Word would dwell. Later, in Rev. 11-12, there is an allegorical vision of the Ark of the Covenant and the Temple in heaven which is immediately followed by a great sign in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun who gives birth to a man child. The recurring Woman-and-Child motif of Scripture begins in Gen. 3, where God promises Eve, the women, a male descendant who would crush the Serpent's head, undoing the harm done to creation by the sin of Adam and Eve. Just as Christ is presented in scripture as the Second Adam, bringing in a new creation, so His mother is interpreted as the Second Eve. As Eve is the mother of all living, so Mary becomes the mother of all who enjoy eternal life. And as Eve was created free from sin, so it is held that the Second Eve was created free from sin, that is, was "immaculately" conceived. For it is impossible that the holy God would restore creation without eliminating sin from the new heavens and new earth.

That's it in a nutshell. Call it theological gymnastics if you like, but it's all right in line with biblical themes, from Genesis to Revelation.

Gavin said...

To respond to Questeruk's points, the Gap Theory is simply a modification of the 6000 year version of creationism. It shares the view that humanity is a mere 6000 years old, but by interpretative sleight of hand makes the "pre-Adamic world" much older.

Clearly human life goes back more than 6000 years. The Gap Theory just bought a little time for literalist-type apologists. The whole idea crashes and burns when we understand the late background to Genesis 1 & 2. Ever wonder why there are so few references to Adam & Eve prior to the NT?

The Gap Theory is cut creatively (so to speak) from the same cloth as other forms of creationism. What evidence is there in its favor? None, just fast-and-loose speculation based on wishful thinking. They fall together. It's lazy apologetics, and indefensible on both scientific and theological grounds.

Neotherm said...

Gavin:

You wrote: "The whole idea crashes and burns when we understand the late background to Genesis 1 & 2."

I am not a gap theory enthusiast, but what are you referring to here.

-- Neo

Corky said...

Let's get this straight folks, the universe came into being 13-14 billion years ago. The earth only about 4.5 billion years ago.

The first lifeforms on earth were not what we see today and today'a lifeforms did not even exist at that time of about 2.5 billion years ago.

Not only that, but life has been almost totally annihilated twice since that time.

Three times, at least, has the lifeforms on this planet changed - almost completely.

Three (or 4) creations? Get real people.

And Jared, give it up with the succulent virgins that only God desires. You are beginning to sound more foolish than the Muslims and their 72 heavenly virgins awaiting them.

Jared Olar said...

And Jared, give it up with the succulent virgins that only God desires. You are beginning to sound more foolish than the Muslims and their 72 heavenly virgins awaiting them.

I suppose I should have expected such unwarranted sexualisation from someone who can't tell the difference between rape and voluntary cooperation with the divine will.

By the way, I think you meant 72 raisins.

tkach's $wiss banker said...

After reading the UCG's evolution article, I see their planned move to TEXAS as a very necessary step. They'll enjoy living in Dallas - the epicenter of the Bible Belt.

Anonymous said...

“I suppose I should have expected such unwarranted sexualisation from someone who can't tell the difference between rape and voluntary cooperation with the divine will.”

The problem isn’t with Corky’s interpretation at all. The problem is with the story itself.

Just to back up a bit, the Virgin Birth and deification of Mary are late add ons to the Jesus story. The oldest of the Biblical writings make no mention of such things because there was initially no reason to have them in. It’s there, like so many things, because of later day politics. Our earliest Gospel indicates Mary had other children, Jesus had a normal childhood, Jesus was unremarkable until the start of his adult ministry, Mary thought he was nuts, Jesus was hung on a tree and did not rise in any way, shape or form. Reconcile that.

Finally, it is not overt ‘sexualisation’ to characterize the Virgin Birth as rape. What possible choice did Mary have? It fits nearly every legal definition. My view is that this is the stupid part of the story and it should be ignored. As told, dogma such as this simply enforces the idea that God creates people as automatons for purposes. Mary is made without sin from someone without sin the gymnastics goes. This entirely undermines the special place of Christ as the sole sacrifice for sin and makes him simply an end product of a process in which he has limited free will.

Again, the problem is in the text, some of which is so laughable that it simply enables atheists such as Corky. It would be best to drop the concepts of literalism and inerrancy, both in the text itself and anyone’s extra-dogma.

Stick to the be attitudes. The rest of it is a theme park.

Mark Lax

Anonymous said...

Max said:
>>'Jesus was hung on a tree and did not rise in any way, shape or form>

..His impalement on a Roman stake ensured that he well and truly died
..The tomb was guarded by a detachment of Roman soldiers. Neglect of duty could mean death
It was officially sealed (cf Daniel 6:17) - to tamper with an Imperial seal incurred severe penalty
..The massive stone 'lid' was rolled away, the seal broken
..The grave-clothes included 100lbs of spices etc, cementing the 'bandages' together
..Jesus passed through the grave clothes, leaving them undisturbed - and empty
..The head wrapping was separate, retaining its shape (No 'Turin Shroud' here!)
..The tomb was empty, and didn't therefore become a 'shrine' for the apostles
..The Jews' attempts to explain his disappearance confirm the tomb was empty
..The authorities were unable to produce the body of Jesus
..It was impossible, given the guard, for the disciples to have 'stolen' his body
..The risen Jesus appeared to many, including a group of over 500 - most still alive when Paul wrote
..Initially the disciples disbelieved he was alive. They were transformed within days from cowardice to boldness
..The resurrection is the persistent theme of early evangelism

James

Tom Mahon said...

Dixon Cartwright identifies what he believes to be the core problem in cog-land(see the commentary on his web site), which he poses in the form of a question thus: "The problem, rather, is how do we learn to live with each other when we disagree with each other?"

Well, Dixon is asking us to solve an impossible problem, without being completely deceitful. For experience teaches us that human beings hate any form of criticism, however helpful it is.

Therefore, to maintain some semblance of "peace," people who live together in disagreement simply flatter one other. For they know the moment they tell the other people what they truly think of them, they will become their enemies for life. If most bosses ask their employees for an honest opinion of them, they will never be given one, especially if those employees are hoping for promotion, a new car, a trip abroad or some other benefit. Hence, all human relationships are based on mutual deception, as the bible clearly teaches.

In addition, the prophet Amos was inspired to ask the emphatic, rhetorical question: "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" to teach us the impossibility of what Dixon is now urging the people in cog-land to strive for. Unless, of course, Dixon is arguing that being duplicitous and deceitful are vices that ought to become virtues.

Tragically, this is the kind of nonsense that is taught in every walk of life. I see it every day in colleges, business seminars, management meetings, conference, etc., etc. And when I speak out against it, I become very unpopular. But then, I am not seeking popularity, but the truth.

SmilinJackSprat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SmilinJackSprat said...

There is a passage in Isaiah that would seem, at least in the King James and its derivative versions, to insist that anything not in conformity with Torah is darkness, the light never dawns on it (8:20). This concept is corroborated throughout the Torah, e.g. Deut. 13 and 30.

Since the fossil record is unquestionably true, then either the Torah is compatible with the fossil record or the Bible isn't trustworthy.

It is absurd to force the geological record to conform to naive notions about what the Creation account seems to say in translation. Either the Hebrew creation account and the fossil record are in agreement or Genesis is wrong -- because the record preserved in the planet itself cannot lie.

Prior to 1300 years ago, long before modern scientific discovery, scholars knew from the Hebrew Torah alone that (1) the universe was ancient, that (2) mankind had lived on the earth for ages prior to Adam, that (3) the Genesis creation of Adam was completely spiritual (the addition of a neshama, or "soul"), and (4) that the evenings and mornings described in Genesis were precisely like the nights and days we know today.

What they didn't know was how this could be explained scientifically. So they put the matter aside, knowing that scientific advances would eventually explain Genesis. When Dr. Einstein discovered Relativity we finally had our answers. Amazing, is it not, that Genesis is fully aware of, and completely dependent upon, the concept of Relativity?

One conclusion that can be drawn from this is that Science and Scripture explain each other -- and when there is a conflict, the error is far too often a matter of misunderstanding Scripture.

Arguing that Creation must conform to preconceived notions of Religionists is another way of insisting that God must conform, retroactively no less, to the ignorance of arrogant pseudo-religious knuckleheads, in order to bring the universe into being THEIR way.

We might need a new vocabulary to properly explain how Torah is illumined by scientific discovery, given the huge emotional revulsion the word, evolution, has acquired since Darwin published his quite innocent observations.

We would do well to acknowledge at least two accurate sources of knowledge: Torah and Nature (Science). There's nothing wrong with either -- even when a combination of the two reveals a universe that's billions of earth years old, and the appearance of modern homo-sapiens about 130,000 years prior to Adam's miraculous acquisition of a human soul.

tkach's $wiss banker said...

SmilinJackSprat said...

"..knowing that scientific advances would eventually explain Genesis."

Don't you just love Dixie-Science ?

Why don't the world's scientists "get it" ?

When are they going to realize that the Southern U.S. Bible Thumpers have all the answers.

Byker Bob said...

Tom,

You certainly have a distorted vision of how people can and do work together on a daily basis, in spite of their disagreements.

Personally, I have usually welcomed constructive criticism, as it is often a form of valuable education, especially when it comes from an individual whom I respect. And, I don't believe that I'm an exception on this, as I've seen many others profit by the same process, and have discussed the process with them.

The problem, in the ACOGs is that this and other processes and dealings amongst humans are not given a chance to work, as "government from the top down" is practiced, and the natural processes are trumped and subverted by some Hitlerian type know-it-all who wants everybody to believe that his ideas derive directly from Jesus Christ.

For a typical person immersed in an ACOG, government from the top down would be the only model with which they were familiar. I don't know Dixon's work history, but I suspect that if he'd been in the corporate environment at all, he'd be familiar with the concepts of compromise, concensus building, and responsibility to a board of directors which is completely independent from the actual management structure of the corportation itself.

The obstacle to unifying the ACOGs is the tremendous ego of the leaders of the splinter groups, each of whom believes in government from the top down, with self at the top. None of these so-called leaders had as much concern for the main body or entity as they did for their own authority. Had they had sufficient concern for the membership at large, or were truly motivated by the Holy Spirit, or even common business sense, they would most certainly have found constructive ways to deal with and possibly resolve their differences. But, they're just men who studied under a guru who gave them a bad concept of government, and a horrible example of ego. To understand why the second generation of leaders is such an abyssimal failure, you have to scrutinize the original, from whom they learned.

BB

Anonymous said...

Tom preacheth at length: "Therefore, to maintain some semblance of "peace," people who live together in disagreement simply flatter one other. For they know the moment they tell the other people what they truly think of them, they will become their enemies for life. If most bosses ask their employees for an honest opinion of them, they will never be given one, especially if those employees are hoping for promotion, a new car, a trip abroad or some other benefit. Hence, all human relationships are based on mutual deception, as the bible clearly teaches."

"In addition, the prophet Amos was inspired to ask the emphatic, rhetorical question: "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" to teach us the impossibility of what Dixon is now urging the people in cog-land to strive for. Unless, of course, Dixon is arguing that being duplicitous and deceitful are vices that ought to become virtues."

"Tragically, this is the kind of nonsense that is taught in every walk of life. I see it every day in colleges, business seminars, management meetings, conference, etc., etc. And when I speak out against it, I become very unpopular. But then, I am not seeking popularity, but the truth."


Tom, As usual you cannot see the forest because of the trees. There are right ways and wrong ways to provide opinions and / or criticism of friends, family, colleagues, and supervisors. You have the erroneous opinion that people go around blowing smoke up each other's asses all day long. Each situation should be approached individually and the tactic used chosen appropriately. From your behavior here, your modus operandi is always the same...and consequently often brings out a similar type of response in kind. There are a variety of books, seminars, and other resources that you can draw upon to learn how to better relate to your fellow man, offer up constructive criticism, and also learn how to receive it and apply it to yourself. These are skills we all have to use every day. It isn't about being popular Tom, it is all about being effective. If your methods have the effect of making you hugely unpopular, it is time to examine your method and approach. If you were one of my resources you would get a couple of counseling sessions with me and if I did not see any progress I would regrettably have to let you go, for the good of the team. I've only had to let a few people go over the eleven years I have been in my area of business...I have found that most people can be salvaged with a little encouragement and mentoring.

Yesterday was MLK's birthday and among his best quotes is this gem: "There are none so dangerous as the willfully ignorant and the conscientiously stupid."

Do be that type of person Tom, you would be surprised at the ways your life can be enriched by simply changing your approach to people and life in general.

Anonymous said...

Correction to the last parapraph in my last post: That should be "Don't" be that type of person.

Sorry.

Tom Mahon said...

Byker Bob said...

>>>You certainly have a distorted vision of how people can and do work together on a daily basis, in spite of their disagreements.<<<

You call it work together, but in reality, it is how they plot together to promote their mutual interest.

>>>Personally, I have usually welcomed constructive criticism, as it is often a form of valuable education, especially when it comes from an individual whom I respect.<<<

"I have usually," connotes that you don't always welcome it, especially when it comes from an individual you don't respect. Yet, the person you don't respect might be your most honest critic.

BTW, if it is factual, all criticism is constructive.

Now I Know Why I AM Gay!!!!!!!!!!!!!! said...

Now I understand why I am gay! I believe in some parts of evolution! Thanks UCG for clearing all that up for me. Now I know it was not my mother or detachment from my father. I can rest easier knowing that a few thousand children of UCG have been saved from becoming gay! PTL! Only problem is UCG is filled with a lot of gays. Do they believe in evolution? Just one more reason why following ANYTHING that is preached by a COG minister is absolutely worthless. Time to go put on my pink shirt and white socks.

Jared Olar said...

The problem isn’t with Corky’s interpretation at all. The problem is with the story itself.

No, the story says what it says, but Corky's "interpretation" of the story doesn't have any relation to what the story says.

Just to back up a bit, the Virgin Birth and deification of Mary are late add ons to the Jesus story.

What deification of Mary? Christianity holds that she is creature, not Creator. And how do you know the story of the Virgin Birth is a late add-on?

The oldest of the Biblical writings make no mention of such things because there was initially no reason to have them in.

I would say that strictly speaking your statement is correct, but not in the manner that you intend. Those earliest of New Testament writings do not mention the Virgin Birth, as there was no reason to include it in them. It wasn't necessary or relevant to the authors' intent. This explanation accounts for the absence of the Virgin Birth story just as well as the conspiracy theory that the story was invented later.

Our earliest Gospel

You presumably mean Mark, which is speculated to be the oldest because it is the shortest and doesn't include nativity and infancy narratives, and because it lacks the "Thou art Peter" episode.

indicates Mary had other children,

No Gospel mentions Mary having any children besides Jesus. Only Jesus is ever called "son of Mary" in the New Testament. Many believe she had other children, but that is only speculation, unattested in the New Testament and not supported by any ancient Christian texts.

Mary thought he was nuts,

Possibly. Some of His relatives probably thought so, and Mary was with them on one occasion, but it's a bit of a stretch to affirm with confidence that she agreed with their opinion. That's going further than the text can take us.

Jesus was hung on a tree and did not rise in any way, shape or form.

On the contrary, all four Gospels insist that after His crucifixion, He rose from the dead.

Finally, it is not overt ‘sexualisation’ to characterize the Virgin Birth as rape.

Sure it is. The story says there was no sexual activity or contact of any kind, and says Mary humbly agreed to God's will for her. Where there is consent, there cannot be rape. Also, Corky talked of "succulent" virgins. If that's not sexualisation, what is?

What possible choice did Mary have?

The same choice we all have.

It fits nearly every legal definition.

Must be some pretty interesting law books you've been reading.

As told, dogma such as this simply enforces the idea that God creates people as automatons for purposes.

How is a person endowed with the ability to resist evil successfully and embrace good consistently an "automaton"? Does a person have free will only if he chooses to do evil some or most of the time? Does a person who always chooses the good not really have free will?

Or, if there are negative consequences for choosing evil, does that mean we don't really have any choice?

Mary is made without sin from

Better, "by."

someone without sin

I.e., God. Mary's parents are not held to have been immaculately conceived or to have never sinned.

the gymnastics goes. This entirely undermines the special place of Christ as the sole sacrifice for sin

Nonsense. If God wills that the Messiah's mother be sinless, how does that undermine Christ's uniqueness as God Incarnate (something Mary is not, nor did she die for mankind's sins)? The whole point of Christianity is that God intends to eradicate all sin and restore human nature to it original goodness. If God chose to begin Christ's redemption by preparing His Son's mother in such a way that, in view of the merit of Him who would be her son, she would be sinless -- as Christianity says we all are to become if we will be saved -- how does it make Christ any less the sole sacrifice for sin?

and makes him simply an end product of a process in which he has limited free will.

Again, having the ability to always conquer temptation and never sin is not a limit on free will. It's those who cannot say no to evil, or who can only say yes to good on an intermittent basis, who have impaired and weakened free will.

Corky said...

Jared Olar said...
No Gospel mentions Mary having any children besides Jesus. Only Jesus is ever called "son of Mary" in the New Testament. Many believe she had other children, but that is only speculation, unattested in the New Testament and not supported by any ancient Christian texts.

Mar 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
Mar 6:4 But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

Mat 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
Mat 13:56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?

And many more examples of Jesus having brothers and sisters. Get real Jared, that perpetual virgin crap is a pagan myth.

Stingerski said...

Corky said:

And many more examples of Jesus having brothers and sisters. Get real Jared, that perpetual virgin crap is a pagan myth.

Actually Corky, it's even worse. I was raised Catholic and the RCC puts Mary on a pedestal above all other folks, except Jesus himself.

For example, the RCC teaches that Mary was bodily "assumed" into heaven, just as Jesus was. They even have a "holy day of obligation" on August 15th for the occasion. (The "obligation" is -- be there at Mass, or else hell fire when you die).

But still, this all begs the question: if Isaiah 7 is literally true, then Mary was the 2nd person in history to "experience" a virgin birth, something Christians in general don't like to talk about, because nobody remembers the runner up. And thus the RCC has elevated this "Blessed Virgin Mary" myth all out of proportion to reality.

Anonymous said...

Off topic here, but I just noticed on The Journal's site that Sharon Brown, wife of former long-time WCG minister Frank Brown died of cancer on Christmas Day at age 63. I would like to express my sympathy to Frank, their daughters and other members of the family. Frank, originally from England, was at various times the Financial Director in Pasadena, and the Director of the WCG's efforts in both Great Britain and in Canada. As I recall, Sharon's family was from the Houston, Texas area.

Bamboo_bends said...

SmilinJackSprat said...

Arguing that Creation must conform to preconceived notions of Religionists is another way of insisting that God must conform, retroactively no less, to the ignorance of arrogant pseudo-religious knuckleheads, in order to bring the universe into being THEIR way.


In most circles this is known as an idol or a false god...and the texts are indeed often called "sacred"....


We might need a new vocabulary to properly explain how Torah is illumined by scientific discovery, given the huge emotional revulsion the word, evolution, has acquired since Darwin published his quite innocent observations.


When I was a kid, I assumed Adam and Eve were cavemen. And Fred Flintstone was one his descendents. It wasn't until I got older than "I Learned" cave men were not real....

I think the real problem is religion looks at evolution as an explanation of origin, rather than a process (a mathmatically proven one at that - at least in the software world).


We would do well to acknowledge at least two accurate sources of knowledge: Torah and Nature

There's only one source of knowledge, nature. Torah is just a collection of observations men have had about each other, God and nature. The beauty of the scientific method is that, unlike religion, Science is open to being proved wrong.


(Science). There's nothing wrong with either -- even when a combination of the two reveals a universe that's billions of earth years old, and the appearance of modern homo-sapiens about 130,000 years prior to Adam's miraculous acquisition of a human soul.


Appearance? Placement? Colonization? Gene-splicing of an existing terrestial hominid equiping it for language and symbolic thought?

Something happened that defies the geologic times scales of natural evolution.

Neotherm said...

I am not sure what Dixon Cartwright is talking about. The various XCOGs are simply Armstrongite clones. They do not disagree in religious philosphy, they only differ in the personalities that haunt their leadership class. This is a clear demonstration of what causes all the factionalism and intamural hostility. It is nothing substantive rooted in belief. It clearly reveals what is important to these people -- the cult of personality.

Odd that Tom Mahon would make much of the fact that people do not like criticism. The Armstrongite leadership, beginning with HWA himself, were peoplel who could never be criticized under any circumstances or "off with your head."

-- Neo

Tom Mahon said...

Anonymous said...

>>>Off topic here, but I just noticed on The Journal's site that Sharon Brown, wife of former long-time WCG minister Frank Brown died of cancer on Christmas Day at age 63.<<<

Sad news indeed! Yes, her husband was Regional Director of WCG, UK, from 1975 until early 1985. He was relocated to Canada later that year. His position taken was by Les McCullough, who was relocated from South Africa.

Sharon was very quite, always well dressed and appeared very dignified.

Sadly, cancer has claimed the lives of many WCG women, and it doesn't appear that anyone has asked, why?

Anonymous said...

Tom asketh: "Sadly, cancer has claimed the lives of many WCG women, and it doesn't appear that anyone has asked, why?"

Tom,

Cancer happens to both MEN and WOMEN in and out of the WCG the same way that colds, intestinal blockages, diabetes, baldness, halitosis happen. Good things happen to people as well. It is part of life, what we eat, where we live, how much exercise we get, our mental state, and plain old dumb luck.

My father, like you, still thinks that herbie walked on water yet he has both diabetes and prostate cancer so don't go off half cocked about how not being part of whatever it is you think people need to belong to is the culprit.

It does rain on the just and unjust after all, doesn't it?

Byker Bob said...

Hey Tom,

If you know of a church that we can join where there is no cancer, people are healed of Downs' Syndrome and have their amputated limbs regenerated, snakebites and scorpion stings are harmless, and everybody is financially blessed, please do share.

It's difficult sometimes to thrash these things out. Miracles might well be happening today, but I've never found a group in which they happen so consistently that you could actually point your finger and say, "Why, it's so obvious! There's God's Church!"

I don't know precisely how many generations following Jesus enjoyed miracles, but the miracles certainly seem to have become less a hallmark of Christianity by the dawn of the Dark Ages.

When the Pharisees told Jesus that he cast out demons by the power of Beelzebub, He explained to them the sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and then sent them back to their own priests for verification that demons were cast out by the power of God. So, apparently, even the Jewish rabbis of Jesus time were able to cast out demons, which would indeed have constituted a miracle.

BB

Tom Mahon said...

Charlie said...

Tom>>>"Sadly, cancer has claimed the lives of many WCG women, and it doesn't appear that anyone has asked, why?"<<<<

>>>Cancer happens to both MEN and WOMEN in and out of the WCG the same way that colds, intestinal blockages, diabetes, baldness, halitosis happen. Good things happen to people as well.<<<

Are these the reasons why women that fear God die of cancer?

Anonymous said...

Tom,

What? I don't get your question. My point is that things happen to people...all types of people.

Perhaps you will be kind enough to explain to us why women who fear God, die of cancer. I am all ears.

Stingerski said...

Hey Tom,

Who cares, in your case, what Charlie said?

What you need to explain is why you won't answer my question to you:

Why is it your "divine" right to switch your beliefs, from Protestantism to your present Armstrongology, yet you afford no such right to others to do so?

Please answer the question, Tom, before you mouth off to anyone here again.

Because if you don't, like your own self-righteousness, I'll be on you like stink on your sh!t. (I learned this tactic while in Armstrong's Worldweird.)

Shitty Armstrongism. Fit for the outhouse of religions. And every time you "contribute" here you help fill the pot.

Anonymous said...

I still want to hear his explanation on why women that fear God die of cancer.