Thursday, 15 January 2009

I Believe: Commentary by Dennis Diehl

"Looking over the shoulders of the hundreds of hard working, dedicated, self sacrificing biologists who spend years enduring the harsh conditions in the field to observe evolution in action inspires admiration in us real scientists. This is in sharp contrast with Creationists who sit in their comfortable homes and write drivel about subjects they have never studied and do not understand."

Donald Prothero:
Evolution-What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters


My journey, while irrelevant to others, has been significant to me. I am not the same person I was at 14 when both science and religion fascinated me. For better or worse, I heard the call of science but succumbed to the lure of religion to answer all my questions. I have to live with that decision and trust that there was a reason for all that has transpired since I chose to follow the Biblical path, as understood at the time by the Worldwide Church of God, and not the path of observation and science.

If I had the opportunity to do it over, which I don't, I would have opted for science and discovery rather than religion and the promotion of mythologies over realities.

I remember in high school taking a geology and earth science course because "I had to." Now I realize that was the science that was calling me and yet at the time, I was reading "The Plain Truth" which I now know was neither plain nor true. I grew up soaking in a rather strict Reformed Dutch environment, in a small church I loved and is still the source of my closest friends. The die seemed to be cast for me to follow my emotional self rather than my inquiring self. Or maybe the inquiry was just in the wrong place.

I have changed little since I was a little kid with dinosaur books galore and who often went to spend a day at the library rather than go play hockey on the bays of Lake Ontario. I did plenty of that, but I'd rather had been in the library at times. I used to spend hours, when at Ambassador College, in the Fuller Seminary Library. Guess I missed the good books!

I remember sitting in first year Bible class where we spent a semester "studying" The Genesis Flood. Whitcomb and Morris was the source of the information I was given to show how the Bible matched up with true science and the Bible tells the truth. It does not. The Genesis Flood was bullshit, excuse me, less than satisfying, and the literal story of Genesis, including how hominids arrived on the planet, was mythology at its best. I got my topic explained to me in the reverse order of its truth. I know that now, and of course, did not know that then. I also remember mentally arguing with Garner Ted's "A Theory for the Birds," and "A Whale of a Tale," but of course, keeping on because I thought the Wonderful World Tomorrow was just around the corner and the Book of Revelation was true somehow along with the rest of it. Probably a bit God haunted myself as a kid.

At any rate, what's the point? Simply, on AW we all have our shared background, our journey and where we have, for the moment ended up. It has intrigued me that as far as I know, I am the only former full time minister who has moved on who comments on AW by name. I knew hundreds of ministers and have yet to hear or see any of them step up to the plate and tell their story of disappointment, change and lessons learned. I know you are out there. I am appreciative of the ones who keep in touch like Vic Kubik, but not the ones who won't write back. Speaking of Vic, there is no one in the WCG or it's splinters who has such a practical, "how can I help you" approach and life work as Vic.* I congratulate him for practicing the Sermon on the Mount...

At any rate, it seems we all are on different locations on what, to me, is the same path in life... understanding. That's all I want in life. I want to understand origins and meaning. That's all I want and I have taken this path since WCG.

Others of us don't know what to believe or have either simply moved into a simple replacement for the WCG past that mimics it, such as into another splinter rendition, or have moved back to what, perhaps, we have grown up with and feels good again. I have done neither. I can't and have been labeled as "atheist" for that.

I prefer "seeker" but in the final analysis, I don't do labels much.

But for the record, what have I come to believe? I know, who cares? No one. But I'd still like to put it down on in writing for my own benefit of simply stating what it is I feel to be true for me. It's the present truth not the plain truth.

Since I have made myself an expert at what I don't believe, through ten years of study and thought, let's start with that.

Literally:

I don't believe the Bible is literally true, "God-Breathed" or inerrant.
I don't believe serpents and donkeys can talk... ever.
I don't believe in Satan or millions of demons as portrayed by religion
I don't believe in angels, based on way too many experiences
I don't believe many of the accounts of Old Testament exploits of the Israelites are true.
I don't believe the first 11 Chapters of Genesis are literally true or tell us anything about origins, geology or reality in the history of humankind.
I don't believe God, as portrayed in the Bible, is anywhere near how a real God would be.
I don't believe the Old Testament portrays a consistent picture of monotheism nor do I believe the Israelites, including Abraham and Moses were monotheists.
I don't believe the story of Jesus birth, life and death are unique in the history of the world.
I don't believe the Gospel Accounts are eyewitness accounts or harmonious in their portrayal of events.
I don't believe anyone had a clue about the birth circumstances of Jesus and the authors of Matthew and Luke had a need to make one up based on OT scripture and not facts.
I don't believe they chose the same OT scriptures to tell a consistent story.
I don't believe the Apostles, as portrayed in the NT, agreed with each other nor had a common faith and view of who and what Jesus was or was meant to be.
I don't believe Jesus ever intended to start a church.
I don't believe there ever was one true church, consistent in thought, word, practice and deed from the beginning.
I don't believe there is one true church to find.
I don't believe Paul was a team player nor that his gospel was the same as that of the direct students of Jesus, if that story is true.
I don't believe Paul wrote everything he is said to have written.
I don't believe the Book of Revelation has relevance anymore and is a failed first century "prophecy.''
I don't believe human beings should invest their life energy in those who use the Book of Revelation, which seems to need them to reveal it, to motivate others in fear, compliance and adherence to cultic behaviors and outcomes.
I don't believe a lot of things...

Theologically: (and this is tough with my background to put down.)

I don't believer in atonement by execution
I don't believe we bear any sin as a result of any Adam and Eve antics.
I don't believe in being piously convicted about anything yet marginally informed about everything.
I don't believe Jesus died the worst death of any human being ever. (Perhaps being burned alive and dying over months, by Israeli phosphorus bombs gets close.)
I don't believe in chosen people leaving others unchosen.
I don't believe (or understand)? why the weekend inconvenience of Jesus "death and ultimate sacrifice" is real if shortly after you get to come back better than ever.
I don't believe human beings are defective in a way that can be remedied by religion.
I don't believe the heart of man is mostly "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." It depends on who you hang with.
I don't believe without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. ("I forgive you" will do just fine).
I don't believe any God is three gods, or three gods revealed as one god, and is still not polytheistic in nature.
I don't believe in hell as punishment either by annihilation or eternal death.
I don't believe dunking, sprinkling or dabbing humans with water changes them.
I don't believe I have met a lot of humans have changed by being dunked, sprinkled or dabbed.
And I don't believe in a lot of other things I sincerely used to believe.

What do I believe literally?

I do believe humans are hairless, evolved hominids that arrived by the process of millions of years of evolution and suffering the right genetic glitches, can grow a tail or total body hair like we used to have.
I believe the earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old.
I believe Creationists are dishonest and in denial.
I believe you will never find Noah's Ark on any mountain where an elephant would fall to it's death trying to descend or a kangaroo would know how to get back to Australia, and no other place, from.
I believe the Discovery Channel and National Geographic Specials are more informative than the plain, present, current, restored, living, united, reconstituted, upheld, redacted, methodical, congregational, catholic, universal, united or revisited truth ever was.
I believe human beings can act out "prophecy" and attract evil to themselves and the planet and yet still get no Second Coming for all their trouble.
I believe most ministers I know teach one thing and believe another in their hearts.
I believe that most religious authorities, including Bible characters, prophets, priests and kings, suffer from delusions, illusions, imbalances and in some cases, outright mental illnesses.
I believe we have allowed the mentally unstable or ill to lead us down the wrong path.
I believe I have to take personal responsibility for having allowed that to happen.
I believe there are many very sincere balanced people in religion who just want to know the truth.
I believe the ego motivates many to an unreasonable and inaccurate view of themselves.
I believe these types of religious, and in some cases "God haunted" individuals, can rise to high positions in the world of religion.
I believe there are some reading this just itching to wish death upon me for not believing what they believe.
I believe we are all entitled to believe what we want or need to believe based on our own life experience, needs and ability or desire to look or not look outside the box we came in.
I believe it does not matter what I believe.
I believe if I understand, then things are as they are and if I don't understand, then things are still as they are.

What do I believe Spiritually?

I believe we are all one small part of the same one big thing.
I believe we became conscious and self aware for some reason I don't yet understand.
I believe I was born right the first time.
I believe whoever, or whatever God is, he/she/it is benevolent.
I believe that life is amazing and our true origins are incredible
I believe I have always been very, very sincere in what I believed or do believe.
I believe everything will be ok.

What do you believe?


* Kubik is founder of Lifenets, perhaps the only Church of God independent charity. The photograph shows one of Lifenets' projects.

103 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find it not surprising that these "reformed agnostics" still spend a surprising amount of time on these blogs wrestling with others, which is really just wrestling with their own spiritual component that is inherent in all humans.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading Prothero right now and it is a great book- very accessible to the scientific layman.

I also would like to point out a recent review, available to the public on the status of Kreationism and "Intelligent" Design and the dishonest history of both.

http://www.biochemj.org/bj/417/bj4170029.htm

If the link doesn't work, let me know.


As Shermer states in Prothero's book:

"It (evolution) happened. Deal with it."



Paul Ray

Dennis said...

"I find it not surprising that these "reformed agnostics" still spend a surprising amount of time on these blogs wrestling with others, which is really just wrestling with their own spiritual component that is inherent in all humans."

Nice label.Why not address it to me directly instead of sounding like you have an audience? You bet your life it's wrestling with our own spiritual component.

I have no problem with being a recent hominid on the scene with a spiritual component. I can tell you it would never find contentment in fundamentalism or the COG splinters, however.

I think you'll find that a more genuine spirituality comes from those that seek than from those that spend their entire lives yelling at others about what they think they have found.

Rob said...

I have followed Dennis Diehl's writings for some time and I find it remarkable how much my own journey has followed his.

I can pretty much agree with all of the points in his list of beliefs and non-beliefs.

I was not a minister. But I was an AC/AU graduate, I did give both sermons and sermonettes and was probably on my way to being ordained if it had not been for the events of the mid-90s.

Just a few weeks ago an old friend from AC and WCG was in town and I had dinner with her and her partner. It was great fun to discover that we had both left our fundamentalist beliefs and shared similar perspectives on many things.

My community is quite different now and I don't spend much time with old WCG friends so it always nice to discover those that have been on a similar journey.

And there are a few of out there.

(I was both pleased and shocked when I came across a profile for former PT writer Keith Stump the other day).

Byker Bob said...

It is not always a case of writers attempting to convince or wrestle with self when we see various personal paths shared here. Growth, or our individual states of advancement, are often an ongoing process. Sharing with one another is beneficial to growth. Iron sharpeneth iron.

I certainly have my own opinions of honesty and accountability these days, as well as a firm grasp as to how to correctly apply objective thinking. For me, the two lynchpins on which these concepts are hung would be 1) Sincerity with God, and 2) Sincerity with self. The relative order of those two is flexible and varies with the particular issues being considered.

I think there are some nuggets in Dennis' post. There are also some points he made with which my own experiences would tend to disagree. From Dennis' description, he started out at the opposite end of the spectrum from myself. My interest in science and logic was dominant and largely immunized me from the Armstrongism of my parents, so I ended up leaving the group in 1975 when Dennis was just entering his productive years in the WCG ministry. But, life's experiences set us to walking towards, and now past one another from those opposite poles. The important detail is that both of us are free from a certain despicable and toxic cult. Dennis is taking remedial courses in science, while I'm taking remedial courses in Jesus. The whole is the sum of both parts.

I believe that most non-believers would would agree with the statement that even if Jesus never existed (I bite my tongue as I even write those words), He certainly should have!

BB

Anonymous said...

Dennis said "I believe we became conscious and self aware for some reason I don't yet understand"

Evolution is blind chance there is no reason.
As a yet cog member I enjoy your posts, many of the things you say have made me realise my experience has been perhaps unique I have always thought for myself, sought council, then decided what to do. there are many things In scripture which I find hard to understand maybe what you say is right, I'm still searching, after 40 yrs :-)

Leonardo said...

Dennis wrote in his commentary:
"At any rate, it seems we all are on different locations on what, to me, is the same path in life... understanding. That's all I want in life. I want to understand origins and meaning. That's all I want and I have taken this path since WCG."


Amen to that, Dennis.

I think your words speak, ultimately, for all Homo Sapiens across all cultures during all ages - for the unrelenting desire to understand, to make sense out of our observations and experiences in life is what it's all about.

And in the final analysis, virtually ALL the real life-promoting progress made in this world is made by true seekers - not by arrogant, intellectually lazy folks who chose the easy path of mythical fundamentalist religion to explain everything.

Just last weekend I got an email from someone who just heard yet another anti-evolution sermon in a UCG church service. The minister used a video from Ken Hamm's website called "Answers in Genesis" - not exactly the best source for accurate information on the subject of origins - once again predicting the imminent "collapse of Darwinism."

What the speaker apparently didn’t understand is that religionists have been predicting this demise for about 150 years now – and all the while the ACTUAL results of history has been that the evidence for Darwin's essential explanations have been increasing exponentially.

I know of another former WCG pastor – Dan Samson – who has spoken out about his transition from becoming a Bible-thumping fundamentalist minister to a more sound-minded approach to understanding life and origins. In fact, he has written a book called “God and Evolution? The Implications of Darwin's Theory for Fundamentalism, the Bible and the Meaning of Life.”

Here’s the Amazon link to it:

http://www.amazon.com/God-Evolution-Daniel-J-Samson/dp/0977604446/sr=8-3/qid=1165008009/ref=pd_bbs_3/002-4940917-4597615?ie=UTF8&s=books

You might find it interesting in that it seems to parallel your path out of Armstrongism.

Rev.KScribe said...

As for myself, I am amazed and shocked by the comments the current cog'ers use to defend Armstrong over on YouTube.

There seems to be a great denial that Herb was an incestuous old bastard and false prophet. Give them evidence from the biblical or circumstantial point and they still defend him as if he was a god!

These mis-guided folks chose to remain in ignorant bliss rather than follow evidence which is contrary to their version of the "truth." With the reality of hard evidence the cry grows louder!

The ministry of the various splits will never give up pushing Herb and his version of the bible. Armstrong's name is what gives them the authority to teach to those who are in denial. For the ministry it is a pay check. For the member it is fear as the motivator.

My hat is off for all those who have overcome the effects of Armstrong'ism or are in the process of doing so. Even after wasting decades in the Armstrong cult, many can and do live a fulfilling life.

I wish that for all!

Sargent said...

Dennis, you've done it again. Somehow you got hold of the talks that I've been having with myself to try and figure out what I believe and what I don't.

What ever God there is wouldn't be the bloodthirsty irrational being portrayed in the scriptures. If we're here as the result of his devices, and he wants us to behave in a particular manner,he had a responsibility to make it absolutely and unmistakably clear. The Bible fails in that regard.

There! You made me said it for the world to see. I hope you're proud of yourself.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I believe also and what I believe is that you are wrong about much of this. Faith seems lacking in your writing and without faith we can't please God. None of us are the same person we were at 14 and that is a good thing....

Bamboo_bends said...

Dennis Diehl wrote: I believe human beings can act out "prophecy" and attract evil to themselves and the planet and yet still get no Second Coming for all their trouble.

And I believe God will let us clean up the mess for allowing it!


I believe most ministers I know teach one thing and believe another in their hearts.


...it might shatter their faith!!!
What kind of faith is that?


I believe that most religious authorities, including Bible characters, prophets, priests and kings, suffer from delusions, illusions, imbalances and in some cases, outright mental illnesses.

And some of them are highly functional people flying around in Gulf stream Jets!


I believe we have allowed the mentally unstable or ill to lead us down the wrong path.


They're all on TV too! Russel Crowe in the movie A Beautiful Mind, expressed a thought I have always wondered about.....and it became his characters road to mental recovery.......just because you hear voices, doesn't mean you have to do what they say!

Real mental illness has a huge poisonous dose of narcissism mixed into it, so that the individual feels they are special to God!

What did GTA tell his female victims? "Its okay, I am important to God's plan!"

Anonymous said...

Dennis Diehl through his many essays and postings has challenged me to think about the bible and religion with greater intensity than my UCG minister. His personal journey he has shared,in addition with his introspection has been touching.

Dennis, I need to tell you that you have been honest.I have never said that to a paid minister, because I no longer believe they are honest.

I always look forward to your postings, please continue to challenge us. I still believe but am more cautious.

LF

kiwi said...

Hi Dennis,
Perhaps the one thing today that all members of the former Armstrong WCG have in common, regardless of our individual choices, is a sense of puzzlement as to why everyone else can’t now see things the way we see them, however that might be.
For example, to my puzzlement I have good friends remaining in today’s WCG – why are they still there, in a flip-flop organisation? I have friends who are loyal members of one of the clone “splits” - why are they still in a stick-in-the-mud organisation? Yet others have allied themselves with a 'meatier' split - they can't understand why everyone doesn't want to be there, being fed meat and not milk. Yet they are still stunted by blind loyalty which they cannot admit.
I know of others who now have no faith, agnostic or atheist – why has man's antics made them grumpy with God?
In other words, in my case, why doesn’t everyone have the "good sense" to be as I am: an independent believer?
Or, in your case, why doesn't everyone have the "good sense" to be as you are: [you fill in the description as it fits]?
In a forum like this, unless we happen to encounter someone whose views echo ours, we are all at worst just talking past each other, or at best attempting to find allies or make converts to our current way of thinking (self-affirmation).
Aren't we? ;-)

Questeruk said...

I believe your last four points:-


“I believe whoever, or whatever God is, he/she/it is benevolent.
I believe that life is amazing and our true origins are incredible
I believe I have always been very, very sincere in what I believed or do believe.
I believe everything will be ok.”


However I don’t believe that anyone that disagrees with you is dishonest and in denial.

It’s all too easy to toss out accusations like that, when most people that contribute to this board are actually trying to find their own way forward, regardless of the path that it may take them.

We need to allow for individual differences.

Neotherm said...

What I have read here is trite agnostcism. And I can assure you that the idea that "Everyhing is OK" is not true.

--Neo

larry said...

Wow, Dennis, what a post! I actually agree with you on some of the beliefs and disbeliefs. It must have taken quite a soul-searching to admit some of these things to yourself and to others.

When I was young, I was confronted with a similar choice, science or religion, but chose BOTH. I have come to see that there is not nearly as much conflict between the two as many think. In fact, the opposite is true.

Take for instance the "Genesis Flood", which you believe never happened. It can be readily explained by a comet impact (and resulting tsunami) in the ocean. The probable impact site (with a date) for the cataclysm described in Genesis has already been located off the coast of Madagascar.

One of the greatest conundrums faced by those who reject the idea of a spirit realm is the presence of good and evil in the world. I do believe that evil exists (having dealt with it firsthand) and this is not easily explained by National Geographic and the Discovery Channel.

Anonymous said...

Well, shoot. Isn't anyone interested in what Russ Miller might have to say?

His website, www.creationministries.org has a lot of good information refuting Darwinism.

Ned Flanders said...

"Well, shoot. Isn't anyone interested in what Russ Miller might have to say?"

Apologetic creationist twaddle? No, not interested at all.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dennis, Thanks for writing.

What do I believe?
You are born.
You grow and do a lot of things that seem right at the time.
You pass into the unknown.

It's that darn part in the middle that's tough.

Corky said...

Dennis, I more or less agree with you and all you have said here.

However, I disagree that God is "benevolent". I see no evidence of that - there is more evidence that God is a malignant monster.

Since I don't believe that a god of any kind exists anyway, there would be no sense arguing the point though.

Dennis said...

As noted:

"However I don’t believe that anyone that disagrees with you is dishonest and in denial.

It’s all too easy to toss out accusations like that, when most people that contribute to this board are actually trying to find their own way forward, regardless of the path that it may take them.

We need to allow for individual differences."

Of course, that's part of what I said.

I would recommend, "Evolution..What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters" to see how Creationists and Intelligent Design teachers think and how evolution really works.

Perhaps I was misunderstood in that. When I said "dishonest and in denial" I was speaking of Creationist Teachers such as Ken Hamm, Duane Gish and others who, repeat outdated and disproven concepts and examples year after year. Gish is noted for being put in a corner one night and changing the topic only to repeat his story the next night somewhere else, which is not true about whatever science he won't look into.

It's the teachers, who won't consider good evidence or new evidence of which I speak.

It's like having been a minister in WCG and seeing that every "new" understanding had to to come from God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, HWA. Crazy. The first three I have no way of knowing what they want and the fourth, well... There is no "new understanding" there is just finally understanding what was always true. Evolution is true. It's true and I won't even say, "to me." It's true with or without me understanding it's true.

Larry said:

Take for instance the "Genesis Flood", which you believe never happened. It can be readily explained by a comet impact (and resulting tsunami) in the ocean. The probable impact site (with a date) for the cataclysm described in Genesis has already been located off the coast of Madagascar."

Uh huh. What's the date? Did Duane Gish or Ken Hamm tell you this?

Corky said:

"However, I disagree that God is "benevolent". I see no evidence of that - there is more evidence that God is a malignant monster."

I guess I'm thinking or hoping ultimately in the sense that humans aren't divided into sheep and goats and thrown into hell or made to live eternally religious lives in heaven singing "holy holy holy day and night forever."

"God" as portrayed by most major faiths is the monster you speak of and many see this played out in the very books that try to convince it's all some kind of ultimate love.

It's not love to punish hungry and thirsty people shoved out into the desert for "complaining." It's stupid. Give them a drink and some food and don't say you'll do it so much they will have their fill until they vomit out manna from their mouths and nose for their lack of faith. That is just human anger at getting caught letting people down and shifting the blame.

Dennis said...

Kiwi said:

"In a forum like this, unless we happen to encounter someone whose views echo ours, we are all at worst just talking past each other, or at best attempting to find allies or make converts to our current way of thinking (self-affirmation).
Aren't we? ;-)"

Absolutely. Birds of feather and all that :)

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to believe anymore.

Eddby

Byker Bob said...

Corky,

Malignant monster? Good grief, it sounds as if you are still allowing the WCG concept of God to dominate your thoughts.

BB

Jim Butler said...

First, I appreciate Dennis' honesty. It has been my observation that he is always honest in what he writes. For me honesty is the most important trait. (perhaps a close second behind true love) Some confuse speaking the truth with honesty, whatever "position" we take on an issue.

Often, one can speak the truth, and for that person, it is not being honest.

Sargent said:

"What ever God there is wouldn't be the bloodthirsty irrational being portrayed in the scriptures. If we're here as the result of his devices, and he wants us to behave in a particular manner,he had a responsibility to make it absolutely and unmistakably clear. The Bible fails in that regard."

My comments:

These comments, I believe, get at the core of many honest people's difficulty with believing the God of the Bible and the Bible itself.

It is true, the Bible fails miserably in the areas mentioned above.

Many Christians, and many in the Church of God would not agree with my comment immediately above.

Does the Bible make certain things clear? Of course. Has God made his plan and how he is caring it out clear? Absolutely not.

Although the Church of God understands some of God's plan in a way that mainstream Christianity does not (the holy days picture the plan) the Church of God has not elaborated on, and many in the Church of God have not thought deeply about, how important and significant this one teaching is.

If understood deeply, and none of us can understand it as deeply as God does, it changes much of our perspective.

Much could be said about this one teaching.

God has not made many things clear. That is his perogative, and to my knowledge, he did not ask for input from any of us.

Is that frustrating at times? I think it is. Sometimes it is excruciatingly frustrating.

It is his plan. Not ours.

The many teachings of Christianity(including in the Church of God) and other religions that are at odds with the truth do not reflect the mind of God.

God will see his plan through.

Mankind has much to be humble about.

Jim

Anonymous said...

So basically, what Dennis has done is transferred his "faith" in God to "faith" in science. We all have a built-in need to worship something, and if it isn't the God of the Bible, then it will be another type of god, person, object or idea.

I too grew up in the WCG from the age of 3 and divorced myself from the cult 12 years ago, at the age of 41. I am a Christian who works with scientists (who are mostly atheists) and while I do not necessarily believe that everything in the Bible literally happened exactly the way it is written in scripture, I do believe the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God and that salvation is by grace alone by faith alone in Jesus Christ.

I can assure you that the "hard-working, dedicated, self-sacrificing" biologists/ scientists are no less unbalanced and mentally ill than the Creationists Dennis poo-poo's. Some of them are stubborn, wacko nut-job workaholics who do not even take care of their basic needs (such as bathing, eating, sleeping, going home to their wives/families, etc.) but all of the world should "worship" them because they are so incredibly intelligent and bring the world so much knowledge...

HOGWASH!

I believe:

* In the core essential doctrines of Christianity, the most important one being that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

* It doesn't matter whether or not you believe that every nit-picky detail of the stories in the Bible are true or untrue.

* That there is most certainly a devil and demons who also believe in God and tremble in fear, as the scriptures tell us.

* It takes MORE faith to believe there is no God, than to believe He exists.

* God has a purpose for all of mankind and uses everything and everyone in His creation to reflect His glory; in fact, I am in awe of the work & discoveries that scientists -- especially the atheists -- have made because they only continue to strengthen my faith that God is real.

* I believe that judgment day will come, and everything will NOT be "okay" for the unbelievers who have worked so diligently and so hard trying to strengthen their faith in themselves and convince the rest of the world that there is no God and no devil.

LOL.

Anonymous said...

"One of the greatest conundrums faced by those who reject the idea of a spirit realm is the presence of good and evil in the world."

Isn't a conundrum to me. Folks are just folks, that's all. Some people choose to be nice, and some choose to be mean and stupid. There is no supernatural element in human behavior.



Paul Ray

larry said...

Dennis,
May 10, 2807 BC. According to archeologist Bruce Masse. Google it. You may also refer to the NY times article:

http://www.nytimes.com
/2006/11/14/science/14WAVE.html

Anon o6:01,

I truly believe that God's wrath will not be taken out on people (like Dennis) who have serious doubts, and express them. After all, God made us the way we are, and faith really comes from God anyway. He will not condemn those who lack what He didn't provide.

No, God's Wrath (and it is and will be great) is reserved for those who derive pleasure from seeing and/or causing the misery and suffering of others. These are the ones for which there can be no redemption. Their minds and thinking are perverted beyond repair, and the only solution is to put them out of their own self-inflicted misery.

Remember, God is above all things, merciful.

larry said...

Paul, you have apparently not confronted genuine evil. It is not just "folks being folks". It is a desire to hurt and destroy that transcends rationality. It is not natural.

Anonymous said...

"So basically, what Dennis has done is transferred his "faith" in God to "faith" in science.."

You don't need "faith" to make observations and collect data. You don't need "faith" to analyze data. You don't need "faith" to draw conclusions from the data. The scientific method isn't a worship system, nor is the body of knowledge that science (not religion) has produced. In fact, from your view, you too put your "faith" in science when you switch off your alarm clock, turn on the lights, brush your teeth, wash your face, blow-dry your hair, swallow your vitamin, brew your coffee on your stove, turn on your TV, fry your saltpork, turn off your lights, and get in your car. Unlike the rest of us though, you pick and choose which parts of science you'll "accept" and which parts you'll disregard as lies and a satanic faith system. Of course, all the parts you choose to accept are the ones you can't live without, or the ones that allow you to live in comfort.

"..and while I do not necessarily believe that everything in the Bible literally happened exactly the way it is written in scripture, I do believe the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God..."

How can you believe the Bible is inerrant and infallible while admitting that it contains error?? And how do you decide which portions of the Bible are to be taken literally and which are not?


"It takes MORE faith to believe there is no God, than to believe He exists."

No it doesn't. It doesn't take any faith at all to disbelieve in something that doesn't exist. It doesn't take any effort at all. Tell me, do you need MORE faith to believe that there are no leprechauns than to believe that they exist?


Paul Ray (A scientist who, while a workaholic, bathes regularly, eats well, sleeps as much as possible, and spends as much time with his family as he can.)

Anonymous said...

"Paul, you have apparently not confronted genuine evil...It is a desire to hurt and destroy that transcends rationality. It is not natural."

I didn't say it was rational. Only that there isn't a supernatural element to it. Some people like to hurt other people. Some may be sadistic, cruel, and even insane. But there is no imp behind their shoulder, causing this behavior. It may not be "natural" behavior as far as civilized society goes, but it isn't supernatural.

But blaming human behavior on invisible beings isn't such a large leap when you attribute everything else to imaginary beings. I guess it is only logical.

Paul Ray

Dennis said...

Neil Shubin who wrote "Your Inner Fish" and Donald Prothero of "Evolution-What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters" are hardly wacho and nutcases. Any field has its share of course.

I will be spending the evening at both a reception and lecture this evening with Dr. Prothero. I'll let you know if he drools and babbles incoherently.

Anonymous said...

Actually Larry I did read of that Comet strike theory and it's very interesting. Anything like that could account for flood traditions for sure.

It would not however, match the story as told in the Bible about Noah and building the ark. It does not make the migration of polar bears and kangaroos to the middle east any more palatible nor the idea that the worlds mountains were covered by water after forty days and nights of rain possible.

Everyone and everything would have sufficated at 28,000 feet I believe.

It also implies that God directed a comet at the earth which seems to happen periodically anyway and may also account for the features called Carolina Bays here in SC and stretching all the way to Canada from NW to SE. That may have accounted for the loss of most ice age megafauna in North America as well as the demise of the Clovis Culture 12,900 years ago or so. Or not.

Cool stuff.

The explosion of Thera, in Greece, responsible for the demise of the Minoans of Crete and no doubt well felt in the middle east 3800 years ago may also be reflected in the stories of the the time.

If Yellowstone blows someday, well, the hominids are goig to have a tough time of it for a very long time. :)

SmilinJackSprat said...

What a pity that Dennis's beautiful Jewish soul got waylaid by Armstrongism before it found its way home. Not that every Jew, or even every synagogue, has all the answers. Quite to the contrary. It's that every Jew and every synagogue worth its salt would respect, even honor, the questions. Only those who agree with everything, or fear to disagree, are suspect there. Einsteins cannot develop under the crushing deterrent of dogma.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is,

Dennis:

Good on ya mate!

This is by far one of the best post
WCG commentaries I have ever read
and mirrors many of my own experiences.

Thanks,
Gene Hughes

Anonymous said...

Most importantly Dennis, do you believe you COULD be wrong? That's what you should have ended with.

Dennis said...

UPDATE:
I just returned from the lecture, Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters.

I can report that Dr. Donald Prothero does not drool, and said more in two hours about the reality of evolution of all life, including yours truly, than Garner Ted ever said in 40 years

It was a Whale of a tale and great theory on the origins of birds.

Anon asked:

"Most importantly Dennis, do you believe you COULD be wrong? That's what you should have ended with."

I believe, for me, I am more correct in what I personally believe about the things that are important to me than I was in the past. I don't like "shoulds" and "musts" much anymore.

It's not a matter of could I be wrong. It's not right and wrong. It's a process. Ideas and understanding evolves just as everything else does. I am further along in what, for me, is a more accurate understanding of those things that mean much to me...origins and meaning.

I am much more comfortable with my understanding of origins now than ever in my life. I am glad I soaked in religion so I can more see more clearly where I or it was wrong. Meaning? How can one ever feel they have found the real meaning of anything? We can think we have but that also does not mean we have found it. And I suspect that meaning is whatever we assign it to be along the way rather than some prize under a rock we just have to be lucky enough to pick up and find.

I was very inspired by this presentation this evening. I also agonize over the path not taken. I will the rest of my life.

I did finish 16 chapters of The Church Member Bill of Rights-Where Churches Go Wrong and Why It Matters, today however :)

Dennis said...

PS

Larry, that was my comment to you on Thera, and your comment on the Comet and Madagascar by the way.

I did not mean it to be annon.

Den

Bamboo_bends said...

In the immortal words of Martin Luther.....

"I believe I'll have another beer!"

larry said...

Actually Dennis, a comet strike at the correct angle and location would have inundated the entire KNOWN world of the Middle East where the story was recorded. It also would have caused earthquakes and could very well have caused rain that lasted several weeks.

It could not have covered the entire land mass of the planet with water because there just isn't enough water on the planet to do that. We tend to interpret this based on our understanding of Earth, but those people thought the Earth was flat. It would certainly have seemed to those people that the entire Earth was covered, because it probably was as far as they could see.

Such a cataclysm would have affected the entire planet and would have been mentioned in the histories of ancient civilizations, and this is what we find. It was not necessary that kangaroos, elephants, and polar bears be on board the ark because they lived in areas that were not completely inundated.

Two interesting points to make: 1)Noah was forewarned. There is really no way that he could have known this was coming. This suggests supernatural involvement.
2)This was such a devastating event that most of mankind recorded it in some way. Mankind's memory tends to be quite poor. Witness the legions of holocaust deniers already extant. And evidence of disasters vanishes quickly. We now have to send out archeologists to try to find evidence of World War I! And it is not easy.

Byker Bob said...

I don't generally like to quote Bible verses here, because doing so usually causes people to mock. But, I'm going to make an exception in this case, because up to a certain point, Jesus agrees with some of what Dennis has shared, and with some things that Paul Ray, Corky, PH, and others have written from time to time.

Luke 17:20-21 "Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The Kingdom of God does not come with observation, nor will they say 'See here!', or 'See there!' For indeed, the Kingdom of God is within you.""

My take on this is that Jesus was actually warning people way back then that you're not going to detect the spiritual using physical methods. He knew this was going to end up being a technique which people would try, witness its failure, and then use the very predictable result as an excuse not to believe.

BB

Wealthy WCG Leaders said...

"I don't believer in atonement by execution"

Yes, Christianity revived this unfortunate ancient superstition. Imagine how strange Christianity must be to Hindus & Buddists. Even Muslims don't buy into the human-sacrifice part of Christianity and say there is "no evidence of the crucifixion" -- they are right here but should go further and admit that there's no evidence for Jesus' existence in the first place !

Dennis said...

BB said:

"The Kingdom of God does not come with observation, nor will they say 'See here!', or 'See there!' For indeed, the Kingdom of God is within you."

Yes Bob, I believe this in some way. It is the gnostic view and is the view of Jesus teachings as portaryed in The Book of Thomas etc. It doesn't mean, imo, "I Jesus, am the KOG, I am right here in your midst." Evangelicals love that one. It is the shallow version of what "God is in you" no doubt really was meant to mean.

I figure God IS in us, in some meaning, because she knew it was the last place we would look. :)

Larry, I can go with the event. That's science. There are many such events on an active planet and in an active universe. I don't believe in the need to explain it theologically or credit it to a Deity clueing a lone righteous human, 1 of 1 worldwide evidently, of "Incoming!"

Thanks all for your comments. At Dr. Prothero's lecture last night I came to believe one painful reality for myself. I didn't work hard enough when I was a kid to follow my interests and passion with regard to paleontology and archaeology. I had no real mentors to give me a vision for the future of it. I simply did not work hard enough and I'd say even in theology if that was my goal. Literalist and mere Bible readers make lousy theologians.

It was the 60's and I let the Bible and especially Revelation and the NT "time is short" stuff fooled me into complacency or at least the idea that I had to be a part of THAT as a minister to help people get through.

I guess it seemed like ultimate truth as opposed to just human stuff. Argh! The caretaker overtook the kid with all the dinosaur and Indian Books.

Creationists don't work hard enough to sustain credibility in such things. They don't get into the field, they don't look at the real fossils, they don't have the credible people to make credible presentations and like the Church, had no way to impliment change when the need to change was staring them in the face.

Science is open ended in that it has to change when new information sticks em in the eye. Literalist churches are a closed system that MUST stay the same and prove that what, in fact, was only ever meant as a mythological way of explaining the unknown, is literally true.

The problem is that much NT theology is based on the OT stories of creation, Adam and Eve, Talking Snakes and Two Trees reserved only for the gods being literally true.

Jesus was the Second Adam. Actually Cain was.

Eve sinned so women can't speak in church. Actually there is no connection.

Women are to obey me because women come from men and not men from women. Uh..no.

And the biggie. We all are sinners and cosigned to damnation because of Adam's literal sin. (Original Sin) Uh no. You can't literally be at fault for something that never literally happened, and besides, later in the book it says a man shall not be held accountable for the sins of the father, so there you go.

Anyway, thanks for the comments. Maybe my function is simply to help others think clear of the ties that bind badly and this whole ridiculous experience has some meaning after all.

Anonymous said...

Well, B-B, this begs the question, if you cannot fathom "spiritual" things via the physical, then just how can you understand that realm? Most Christians here would probably say it takes a "Come to Jesus" attitude. But didn't Jesus say that you can't come to him, unless the Father draws you?

So, if any of that is true, this means that we are back to the old WCG teaching that only a few are "called" now. The rest of us atheists, agnostics and deists will have our "chance" in some future world.

So, how did you go from being an agnostic to a Christian? What sort of "drawing" did you receive that most of the rest of us never have yet? I do not ask that flippantly. But, as I read the Bible, that has to be the method of your "election." You can't just decide one day that you're going to give this Jesus stuff a tryout.

-Stingerski

Anonymous said...

"Nice label.Why not address it to me directly instead of sounding like you have an audience? You bet your life it's wrestling with our own spiritual component.

I have no problem with being a recent hominid on the scene with a spiritual component. I can tell you it would never find contentment in fundamentalism or the COG splinters, however.

I think you'll find that a more genuine spirituality comes from those that seek than from those that spend their entire lives yelling at others about what they think they have found."


Well I do have an audience, just like you have an audience for your "I Believe" commentary. You are correct in that you will not find spiritual contentment in any COG. I don't disagree with you there.

I know this is a snapshot of what you believe right now. Thanks for sharing. Faith and science aren't mutually exclusive, however. Science, i.e. the universe, points me to a higher power, an architect if you will. I also believe that the Bible is the recorded progressive revelation of who God is.

while I can't prove this, I also believe that many former COG members turned agnostics are that way because of a reaction to being hoodwinked for so long under the false prophet, meglamaniacal leader HWA and his cronies. When you come to realize that your reality is not real at all (like the Matrix), you tend to want to stay with things that you can prove to yourself. But even science can't prove many things in life- the bigger things in my opinion. Why? Because the root of all things physical (i.e. scientific) is spiritual. Because, I believe, it all comes from God.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Robert Thiel says on his recent posting.

"As one exposed to a fair amount of the worlds’ education, I would simply state here that most who claim evolution as truth simply have not studied into it enough. Two articles of related interest may include Is God’s Existence Logical? and Is Evolution Probable..."

Obviously you are reading AW Bob. I would suggest you read the opening quote of Donald Prothero again.

"Looking over the shoulders of the hundreds of hard working, dedicated, self sacrificing biologists who spend years enduring the harsh conditions in the field to observe evolution in action inspires admiration in us real scientists. This is in sharp contrast with Creationists who sit in their comfortable homes and write drivel about subjects they have never studied and do not understand."

When you can refute all of current scientific investigation into the fossil record..fish, amphibian, reptile, mammal and primate, then you can tell us all that magic and miracles trump observation every time.

I can't prove what I can't see anymore than I can prove that what others say in the Bible happened to them or who spoke to them and told them whatever they wanted to tell me about God. I can loook at rocks however and see relationships. People of faith only base most of their beliefs on hearsay and not observation.

I would suggest a good read of
Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters along with Neil Shubin's You're Inner Fish. If you want to talk credentials, I would strongly suggest you not ask these men theirs.

Church of God pubications on science are simplistic, selective,tenth hand, mostly outdated and always pushing the answer to foregone conclusions that just can't be changed.

Religion is interested in sameness and keeping the old old story in place. Good, hard fought science works with the present truth and is always willing to move on when proven false, or it would not be science. Those in science not willing to move on or who hold cherished false conclusions end up out in the cold eventually.

The church has often had to yield and adjust to good science. To date, I know of no time good science has had to suck it up and admit that church mythologies really really are true.

Anonymous said...

"...just returned from the lecture, Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters."


And I'm drooling with envy. Maybe he'll come up a bit north and I can catch him.


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul Ray:

You said:
< You don't need "faith" to make observations...>

LOL! As an atheist, you BELIEVE there is no god, thus you have "faith" in your physical observations & proof that what you believe is true.

Your personal BELIEFS are the same as "faith." And it takes FAITH in your own human abilities to be the atheist that you claim you are.

You continue:
< You don't need "faith" to analyze data. You don't need "faith" to draw conclusions from the data.>

But you need FAITH or the ability to believe that your analytical skills and brain-power will not fail you.

Human beings operate on FAITH (in something) every day! Everytime you stop and go at a traffic light or stop sign, you trust (or have faith) that others around you will obey the traffic laws the same as you.

When you wake up in the morning, you trust (or have faith) that you still have eyes to see, air to breath and freedom to move around and operate as you choose.

< How can you believe the Bible is inerrant and infallible while admitting that it contains error? >

I never said that! I believe that the concepts in the Bible (a.k.a. the book of life) are accurate and true, but I am not entirely convinced that all of the nit-picky LITERAL details of the stories in the Bible are true - considering there are so many different translations and interpretations of the Bible. The entire Bible is about Christ and Him crucified, and serves as a tool for believers to strengthen our faith and hope in Him for His plan of salvation.

What do you have to look forward to? Obviously, you believe that you evolved and that life just randomly happened, and that when your life is over you will just cease to exist, and that will be it! How sad and how morbid...

< It doesn't take any faith at all to disbelieve in something that doesn't exist. >

Okay, so this statement is about as contradictory as it gets! Since "faith" IS the same as BELIEF, you just admitted that you BELIEVE that God does not exist. That's FAITH, dude!!!! And it takes a lot MORE faith to believe the way you do. :) Note, I did not say *effort* - I said FAITH!

FYI, it takes no EFFORT for me at all, to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord!!!!

< It doesn't take any effort at all. Tell me, do you need MORE faith to believe that there are no leprechauns than to believe that they exist? >

Since I believe (or have FAITH) that leprechauns do not exist, then this point is moot. :)

< Paul Ray (A scientist who, while a workaholic, bathes regularly, eats well, sleeps as much as possible, and spends as much time with his family as he can.) >

Well, nice to meet you, Paul! And whew! I'm so relieved to hear that you approach your workaholism with such moderation. :)

Again, "faith" is the same as what you believe and has nothing to do with "effort." There are many different brands of "faith" and that includes atheism.

For your convenience, I have listed the definition of "belief" from dictionary.com:
be⋅lief   /bɪˈlif/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [bi-leef] Show IPA Pronunciation

–noun 1. something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.
3. confidence; FAITH; trust: a child's belief in his parents.
4. a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.

--CLA

Jared Olar said...

You can find out what I believe by consulting the classical orthodox Christian creeds, the Roman Catechism of Trent, and the modern Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

Jared Olar said...
You can find out what I believe by consulting the classical orthodox Christian creeds, the Roman Catechism of Trent, and the modern Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Oh come on...just write them in a concise list and send it in.

larry said...

One does not have to be a prophet OR even religious to figure out that mankind is headed for destruction, and could take the Earth with him. This seems more obvious every day, even to non-believers. And they are terrified.

This makes Christ's prophecy of Matthew 24 all the more poignant and impressive!

Den said...

Jared

That last comment wasn't 'spose to be annon. Glitching here.

I wrote "I believe" because writing it down and committing to my own words publically helps me know i mean it. I could refer anyone, and do sometimes, to a list of books that , sadly and of course, to quote Doc T, few if any will read because they know it is not in line with what they want to hear.

Others here haven't said "I believe" either but take shots at what those who have have said. And that's pretty typical too.

Since we all share a common background, I'd like to just see a short list of what you believe and don't necessarily mean just that God is a trinity, Jesus is God etc, I'd like to see what you believe that reflects the genuinely Catholic as we know it perspectives. You know, heaven, hell, Mary, Pope, evolution, creation etc...Rubber hitting road stuff

Or not as you wish. I believe you have the right to not do that too..ha.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dennis:

Lake of Bays Ontario - a beautiful place - not many kms from where I live.

Just a few lines to say I enjoy your writings - Despite what others may say or think, I 'hear' your acceptance of 'where they are at' & encouragement to others to be as 'authentic as possible' and stay open to growth & change-

Thank you for your generosity of spirit & your courage to 'put it out there' -

Former WCGer

Dennis said...

"Lake of Bays Ontario - a beautiful place - not many kms from where I live."

Canada ah, eh, how do you spell "a" :)

I remember standing on the Pier at Charlotte in Rochester, wind a howling in spring about to throw my non working, out of date, sat on some shelf for years "Thanks for Your Service" WCG watch, into the Lake that I had been given a few months earlier. I thought it a fitting place for the memory. Then I chickened out thinking, "well they won't know how I feel if I do that." So I sent it back to Church Adminstration.

They prolly gave it to the next guy down the list. It's probably on the wrist of some Surprised God Blogger by now.

Anonymous said...

CLA-

No, it isn't faith. It isn't belief. It's acceptance of reality.

I have never understood why believers go to such lengths to equivocate the rejection of imaginary beings with faith and belief. I think the rationality of some really scares them, or at least makes them feel foolish in some way, so to compensate, they just convince themselves that others are just subscribing to a different type of belief system, to bring them down to their level.


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

Belief. Faith. Most scientists / theologians / meter-maids agree. Four out of five dentists surveyed say...


I would be interested to know how many of you out there are willing to resist the temptation of faith or 'belief' whether it be science or theology (or a mix of the two) and consider only that which can be 100% confirmed as fact to be truth?

There are a bunch of definitions being bandied about in this thread so let me add two:

Truth: a verified or indisputable *fact*, proposition, principle, or the like (Pasted from Dictionary.com)

OK, fine, what is fact?

Fact: something known to exist or to have happened: Space travel is now a fact. A truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true (Pasted from dictionary.com)

Wasting time on belief or faith is not a profitable venture. Things are or are not, something can be demonstrated or it cannot.

Anything that does not fall 100% into the two definitions listed above does not yet merit truth or fact status and therefore should not be presented as such until that criteria is met.

Anonymous said...

Lussneheide scribes...

I believe for every drop of rain that falls,
A flower grows,
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night,
A candle glows.
I believe for everyone who goes astray,
Someone will come to show the way.
I believe,
I believe.

I believe above the storm the smallest prayer,
Will still be heard.
I believe that someone in the great somewhere,
Hears every word.
Every time I hear a new born baby cry,
Or touch a leaf or see the sky.
Then I know why,
I believe.

Every time I hear a new born baby cry,
Or touch a leaf or see the sky.
Then I know why,
I believe.

Anonymous said...

"What a pity that Dennis's beautiful Jewish soul got waylaid by Armstrongism before it found its way home."

Eh? What are you smoking, Jack? Dennis is Dutch........

"It's that every Jew and every synagogue worth its salt would respect, even honor, the questions. Only those who agree with everything, or fear to disagree, are suspect there."

Gnostic churches claim the same thing, although their practice of theory has a tendency to be spotty, I find.

"I figure God IS in us, in some meaning, because she knew it was the last place we would look. :)"

Spot on, Dennis. This is also where panentheism agrees quite comfortably with a gnostic perspective, as does the verse Bob quoted. That he interprets it in a different way is neither right nor wrong, but it is the god that Bob has created.

"Jesus was the Second Adam. Actually Cain was."

Seth, actually, Dennis. Depending upon which mythological cosmogony you prefer.

Allow me to chime in with the others and say, this is the best you've written yet, Dennis.

Rachael said...

"Looking over the shoulders of the hundreds of hard working, dedicated, self sacrificing biologists who spend years enduring the harsh conditions in the field to observe evolution in action inspires admiration in us real scientists. This is in sharp contrast with Creationists who sit in their comfortable homes and write drivel about subjects they have never studied and do not understand."

If you start your post with a comment like this - you are deliberately insulting the people you seem to want to try to convince. Maybe a lot of creationists do write drivel, but if you really want to talk to them explain why they should listen to you first. Insulting them defeats your purpose.

Also I happened across this link the other day:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/3512686/Children-are-born-believers-in-God-academic-claims.html

Obviously this will be interpreted differently by those who believe in God or don't believe in God. But I think that there is a God and He programmed us to believe.

Byker Bob said...

Stinger,

God does have to call you or draw you. He's got the keys to all of our minds. I don't know what to say other than you, probably better than anyone else on this blog, know what my attitude was up until about a year and a half ago. I don't claim to be any kind of Biblical figure and I certainly don't see myself as some kind of special or prophetic character. However, I do find identity as a disciple of Jesus. I have no desire to attract any kind of following, either.

One of the archetypical ways in which God calls people is that He bushwacks some who are on a contrary course, like Apostle Paul. Paul had his "road to Damascas" experience. You might say I had my "road to Lake Pleasant" experience, although in my case there were no paranormal phenomena. Believe me, I was an unlikely and unwilling character, and this has all turned my life upside down.

I'm certain that this scares people who have known me long term on all of these dissident or recovery sites. If something of this nature can happen to me, I believe it can happen to anyone. Fact is, I sincerely hope it does happen for more folks, because it is just so awesome.

BB

Dennis said...

"Maybe a lot of creationists do write drivel, but if you really want to talk to them explain why they should listen to you first. Insulting them defeats your purpose."

That quote was Dr. Protero's not mine and was in the context of his discussion with people who do not do their homework and are not qualified to inform others on how things are as they have never studied the field.

He was discussing how often those who insist on using "DR" use it as if having a doctorate in one small field qualifies them to comment on all others, which of course is silly. He has found many "Drs" in the creationist realm who try to tell him about dinosaurs and paleontology, geology and a few others, , which is what he is a Dr. of when they might have a doctorate in chemistry or in one case, English.

Anyone has the freedom to study what a man in a specific field of study has to say about the field he has studied. It is not accurate to say any one who has a doctorate can inform others outside the area of that particular education.

Theologians should stick to theology and paleo-embriologists promise to stay out of Theology. Yet how often do those in theology wander into fields they are not expert in but feel they can explain because they know what the Bible says. Hear it all the time around here on the radio.

"Don't know much Biology and I don't have to,..but I do know about the Bible and God says he made women from a man's rib." end of topic.

This is why American students have returned to the bottom of the sciences in ranking in the world next to Turkey and Uzbekistan, both Muslim countries. It corresponds with the resurgence of the "lets put a creationist teaching disquised as ID in the school or teach both to be fair."

With that mentality we now will be teaching Chemistry and Alchemy, Quantum Physics and Magic, Astronomy and Astrology and Neurology and Phrenology, to be fair.. argh.

Questeruk said...

Charlie said...

“Truth: a verified or indisputable *fact*, proposition, principle, or the like.

Fact: something known to exist or to have happened: Space travel is now a fact. A truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true.”



Ok – let’s try a few.

‘Big Bang’ – We know the universe exists – but how did it get here? Is Big Bang ‘something known to have happened?’

Life coming from non-life. We know life exists. But life coming from non-life goes against all rules of hygiene, and medical infection control. Is it ‘A verified or indisputable fact’ that non-life started to live?

Evolution of life. There is a myriad of life existing. There are also fossils of many other forms of life. Did it evolve? Is this something ‘known to have happened?’.

God, or a ‘Higher Power’. The vast majority of humans throughout the world believe is some form of ‘higher power’. Is this a ‘verified or indisputable’ fact?

Using Charlie’s criteria, all four of the above suddenly are on a ‘level playing field’.

At the end of the day, we all have to weigh up imperfect evidence, and make the best choice we can, from the facts available.

And being individuals and differing as to which facts we are comfortable with, the choices will vary.

Dennis said...

Just for the record, Donald Prothero is professor of geology at Occidental College in LA, lecturer in geobiology at California Institude of Technology in Pasadena. A fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Paleontological Society and the Linnean Society of London. He is on the board of skeptic magazine and Funded by the Guggenheim and National Science Foundation. He received the outstanding paleontoligist award for a man under 40 in 1991. He is published in over 200 journals and has 22 books on the topic of evolution. He is also called upon by the Discovery Channel and National Geolgraphic for programs in his field including the recent series on Living with Dinosaurs.

He knows all about the God of the gaps and flood geology which really does not exist on the planet. Great lecture on why the Grand Canyon is not a Noah's flood feature.

However, he does not teach the Bible and considers that a whole other field, though he taught himself greek and hebrew to read the scriptures in the original when in college so he could see for himself what they said. He knows well the origins of the canon and church history especially in the realm of it's denial of and persecuting of those so inclined towards science in times past, for which the Church (Catholic) has had to apologize.

Ok, all done. Great responses here..thanks

Anonymous said...

I can assure you that the "hard-working, dedicated, self-sacrificing" biologists/ scientists are no less unbalanced and mentally ill than the Creationists Dennis poo-poo's. Some of them are stubborn, wacko nut-job workaholics who do not even take care of their basic needs (such as bathing, eating, sleeping, going home to their wives/families, etc.) but all of the world should "worship" them because they are so incredibly intelligent and bring the world so much knowledge...



When you find out the real reason why many people want to reject the Bible and believe in unproven theories like evolution, that is when many of these unwashed, so-called "scientists" start to look really dirty.

LOL

Anonymous said...

Some of them are stubborn, wacko nut-job workaholics who do not even take care of their basic needs (such as bathing, eating, sleeping, going home to their wives/families, etc.) but all of the world should "worship" them because they are so incredibly intelligent and bring the world so much knowledge...

HOGWASH!




Regarding your call for "HOGWASH" to clean up the evilutionists, there is no detergent powerful enough to get those pigs clean.

Eventually the truth comes out and makes them "come clean" about their old mistakes, lies, and deliberate frauds (such as Java Man, Piltdown Man, Nebraska Man, Neanderthal Man, Rhodesian Man, Taung African Man, Peking Man, etc.), but then they just make up new mistakes, lies, and deliberate frauds to keep the game going.

There can always be a new "missing link" of the day to replace the old ones that turn out to be mistakes, lies, and deliberate frauds.

I have always thought of true science as a wonderful thing, but there have always been dishonest con-artists like the evilutionists who try to attach themselves to it, and make it look bad, and give it a bad reputation.

- - -

Nebraska Man example: Someone finds a strange tooth and shows it to some clueless story teller who arbitrarily declares that it must be millions of years old and from a missing link. A lawyer at a Monkey Trial uses it as indisputable proof of evolution. People with wild imaginations then create a furry, hunchy character together with illustrations of its wife and kids. Since there is diddly else in the fossil record, it quickly makes it to the top of the evolutionary charts. Then, it turns out that the tooth was actually from a wild pig. Next, of course, it turns out that the Nebraska Man was from a bunch of godless idiots.

LOL some more.

Bamboo_bends said...

Anonymous Wealthy WCG Leaders said...

Yes, Christianity revived this unfortunate ancient superstition. Imagine how strange Christianity must be to Hindus....


I had a dinner last summer with a Hindu couple at a wine tasting party on my street.

The jovial Hindu had no problem with the Christian trinitarian Godhead, he simply viewed it as a Christian glimpse of Hindu idea of avatars of God. "Its very much like Shiva and Ganesh you know..."

Dennis said...

"Then, it turns out that the tooth was actually from a wild pig. Next, of course, it turns out that the Nebraska Man was from a bunch of godless idiots."

It was a peccary tooth unrelated to a pig and peccary teeth when worn look very human. It was science that corrected the issue and even the people in the dept of the arrogant guy who pushed his lone idea through told him he was wrong.

Neanderthal, Peking and Taung Child are bonified hominid species and well established. Piltdown was a hoax meant by one man to move human origins to England for the glory of England and he was found out by his peers, not theologians. Your example are a hundred years or more out of date.

Your posting shows the ignorance of the fossil record and the stories behind them typical of creationists who are easily swayed by emotion and threatened by good science

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all your posts over the past few years, Dennis.

Anonymous said...

Mr Bends -

Your new icon got me to think back, and I never recall seeing a deacon or other ministerial lieutenant with a badge -- or if I did, I never looked at what it said. But, I remember when whole chickens at the supermarket came with Chicken Inspector badges.

On to another aside, when my brother was in primary school, he told me that a friend heard the word deacon, but thought it was a mild epithet. He apparently went around the schoolyard, upbraiding fellow tots with, "What a deacon!"

Anonymous said...

Questeruk:

My point was that if something cannot be 100% proven / verifiable, it should not be presented as fact...Just a possibility.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dennis for you honesty. I value that.

Concerning the Sermon on the Mount it does reflect the behavior of a certain minister you mentioned - NOW- I would agree that he is doing good works. However, perhaps a good thing would be for him to have some honesty and apologize to the many he deeply hurt by his WWCG behavior and ations. But, one can say perhaps by his fruit he did learn and that is a precious thing I support.

Adele

Corky said...

Byker Bob said...
Corky,

Malignant monster? Good grief, it sounds as if you are still allowing the WCG concept of God to dominate your thoughts.


Who created viruses Bob? Who created germs, bacteria and parasites?

What kind of mind does it take to invent polio or Alzheimers or cancer?

What kind of a mind creates Tyannasaurus Rex or the Raptors?

What kind of mind orders genocide by his followers?

Don't blame it on "the fall" either - because before the fall in @ 4,000 BC the Indians were already suffering in America for at least 4,000 years before Adam's sin and the Clovis people were already 2,000 extinct.

Since Genesis is proved wrong from all kinds of sciences, where does that leave the new testament which is totally dependent on Genesis being literally true?

Wealthy WCG Leaders said...

Bamboo_bends said...
Anonymous Wealthy WCG Leaders said...

Yes, Christianity revived this unfortunate ancient superstition. Imagine how strange Christianity must be to Hindus....

I had a dinner last summer with a Hindu couple at a wine tasting party on my street.

The jovial Hindu had no problem with the Christian trinitarian Godhead, he simply viewed it as a Christian glimpse of Hindu idea of avatars of God. "Its very much like Shiva and Ganesh you know..."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I work for a Hindu, he thinks us Christians are Nutz, I said excuse me, I don't go for that bunk anymore either.

Bible thumpers like Larry, Byker Bob, Questeruk should ponder why their religious-nut cousins, the Muslims, reject the crucifixion as unhistorical. Why couldn't Christian apologists refute this "heresy" way back in the 7th century ? Why couldn't they cite the Muslims reliable historical accounts ? Because there were none except for the non historical "Gospels" - the first of which - Mark - was a colossal fraud with stories taken from the Homeric Epics and applied to "Jesus". The following gospels then copied Mark (not a good sign)except John who was just plain stoned when he wrote his rambling gnostic ravings.

Anonymous said...

"I have always thought of true science as a wonderful thing..."

You wouldn't know "true science" if it bit you on the arse. Accepting the existence of a magical being for which you have no evidence for absolutely requires that you throw the scientific method on the compost heap, and thus "true science."



"...but there have always been dishonest con-artists like the evilutionists who try to attach themselves to it, and make it look bad, and give it a bad reputation."

As opposed to every one of the major spokesmen for Kreationism who are dishonest con-artists who, in retrospect, don't need to lift a finger to give Kreationism a bad reputation. It does that on its own, thank you very much.

Have you actually studied the fossil record, or just the Kreationist version of the fossil record?


Paul Ray

Byker Bob said...

I believe that:

1) Even if there were no such thing as sin, man's treatment (au naturel) of fellow man would cry out for a better standard of behavior.

2) The incredible contrast between third world nations and the wealthy, modern, developed ones, begs a fairer or more unified system of distribution of wealth.

3) Whether or not spiritual sin and redemption were to exist, man acknowledges crime and penitence (jails are aka penitentiaries), perhaps one of the invisible principles of God embedded within man's psyche.

4) The only way it would be possible to elliminate the cycle of retaliation and revenge amongst humans is through a universal and compulsory system of forgiveness.

5) All of the above point towards the need for a transformation of man's heart or mind. This is not something at which we can be totally successful on our own.

6) Some people want to retain their own automomy to the extent that they are willing to sacrifice anything which is promised beyond the normal human lifespan.

BB

Anonymous said...

Dennis said...

Neanderthal, Peking and Taung Child are bonified hominid species and well established. Piltdown was a hoax meant by one man to move human origins to England for the glory of England and he was found out by his peers, not theologians. Your example are a hundred years or more out of date.



Dennis,

YOU are about "a hundred years or more out of date."


NEANDERTHAL MAN was fully human. He was NOT half-ape half-man. Back in 1872 Dr. Virchow, a biologist, examined the remains of Neanderthal Man and found that some of the peculiar bone structures had nothing to do with evolution at all, but rather with disease. The oddly shaped skulls and leg bones were due to a sever case of rickets, a nutritional deficiency that results in skeletal deformities. A Nature magazine article from 1970 reported that every Neanderthal child's skull that had been studied showed signs that are comparable to severe cases of rickets. A Time magazine article from 1971 pointed out that the half-ape half-man idea of Neanderthal Man was completely unfounded.


TAUNG AFRICAN MAN was completely ape. Discovered in 1924, it turned out to be the skull of a young ape.


PEKING MAN was completely monkey and somebody's lunch. Some people bash in a monkey's skull to eat the brains out, and that is what the bashed-in Peking Man's skull turned out to be.


P.S. I don't see how your opposition to God is supposedly helping anyone.

Den said...

adele said:

"However, perhaps a good thing would be for him to have some honesty and apologize to the many he deeply hurt by his WWCG behavior and ations. But, one can say perhaps by his fruit he did learn and that is a precious thing I support."

Most don't know the hurt they have caused. If I have ever at any time caused pain through ingnorance or thinking that I was supposed to be a certain way and say certain things, I deeply apologize.

Anonymous said...

You wouldn't know "true science" if it bit you on the arse.

Have you actually studied the fossil record, or just the Kreationist version of the fossil record?

Paul Ray



Paul Ray,

True science leads to technical innovations like some of the wonderful American automobiles. The evilutionist's so-called "science" is just a trick to justify immorality and give "funny boys" a pain in the arse. It is your own falsely so-called "science" of evilution that is biting people on the arse. Ha ha ha ...

As for your word games like, "Have you actually studied the fossil record?" they sound about the same as your other word games where you ask things like, "Have you ever heard of Galatians?"

The fossil record has never supported the theory of evilution. There were NEVER ANY true intermediate species. That is why the theory of evilution itself has had to evolve. Evilutionists still using ancient mistakes, lies, and deliberate frauds in school textbooks to promote evilution can only go on for so long. Ha ha ha ...


P.S. I hope this is not too strong for the tender-skinned skeptics here, or for Gavin who seemed to be really hoping to get away from the truth of God.

Anonymous said...

"the Indians were already suffering in America for at least 4,000 years

Hey! Watch it, Corkster! They were just living their lives, and didn't really start "suffering" till the Europeans came along and started forcing African (Egyptian) aboriginal gods down their throats.

(African gods had a practical place, in the deserts of Africa. Transplanting those gods to the forests and plains of North America --- not so much useful.)

"except John who was just plain stoned when he wrote his rambling gnostic ravings."

Apparently so was Moses. And some science fiction writers. Doesn't mean you can't enjoy the story --- so long as you never forget where to draw the line, between reality, and fiction.

"man's treatment (au naturel) of fellow man would cry out for a better standard of behavior."

What about the ethic of reciprocity Bob? What about mirror neurons Bob?

You may require a self-created god to see these things, but that doesn't mean your self-created god is right for anyone else --- but yourself.

Stop trying to fit all other humans into the mold that your god insists upon, and start focusing on trying to fit into that mold yourself.

Anonymous said...

"P.S. I hope this is not too strong for the tender-skinned skeptics here, or for Gavin who seemed to be really hoping to get away from the truth of God."

Awwwwww, Tom.

If only you hadn't misspelled "evolution", ya mighta been a contender.......

Anonymous said...

"True science leads to technical innovations like some of the wonderful American automobiles."

And if "true science" used the method of "science" used by Kreationists , then we probably wouldn't have the technology we have today.

"The evilutionist's so-called "science" is just a trick to justify immorality and give "funny boys" a pain in the arse."



What is the difference between "true science" and "evilution science?" And you are right, you know. Darwin made all of this up just to ensure that homosexuals would have a legitimate reason to engage in sodomy. It's all a big conspiracy.


"It is your own falsely so-called "science" of evilution that is biting people on the arse. Ha ha ha ..."

Yes, the same science that brought us wacky things like antibiotics for resistant strains. Or treating cancer. Yep, it's all false.


"The fossil record has never supported the theory of evilution. There were NEVER ANY true intermediate species..."


That's a pretty hefty charge. Can you demonstrate this for us, using the fossil record? What I mean is, can you go through the fossil record (not the Kreationist fossil record)and explain to us how it doesn't support evolution? And then can you tell us what those fossils, if they aren't transitional species, are supposed to be?

"Evilutionists still using ancient mistakes, lies, and deliberate frauds in school textbooks to promote evilution can only go on for so long. Ha ha ha ..."

We'll see about that. You retards have had to go underground, your terminology "evolving" from "Creationism" to "Creation Science" to Intelligent Design" to "Teach the Controversy" to "Teach the Strengths and Weaknessess" as your psychotic cause keeps getting pimp-slapped in the courts.


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

Thick-skinned anonymous 01:29:

You may be closely related to the Neandertals but recent genetic studies show that the rest of us are "only distant relatives".

See, for example:

100,000 Year-old DNA Sequence Allows New Look At Neandertal's Genetic Diversity

The key quote is:

"The Neandertal sequence from Scladina confirms that Neandertals and modern humans were only distant relatives..."

Hope this is not too strong for the tender-skinned creationists here.

Anonymous said...

For the reality-challenged:


What is Science?


http://sandwalk.blogspot.com 2009/01/what-is-science.html


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

Yes, the same science that brought us wacky things like antibiotics for resistant strains. Or treating cancer. Yep, it's all false.

You retards have had to go underground, your terminology "evolving" from "Creationism" to "Creation Science" to Intelligent Design" to "Teach the Controversy" to "Teach the Strengths and Weaknessess" as your psychotic cause keeps getting pimp-slapped in the courts.

Paul Ray




Paul Raytard,
(Oops! Forgive me, Gavin, for I have told it like it is. Ha ha ha. Forgive me some more, Gavin, for reading some of this stuff gives me the giggles. Ok, Gavin, can I just buy some indulgences?)

Paul, it looks like you are just carelessly repeating the unproven and baseless cheap shots from an article in some recent UnScientific UnAmerican magazine that uses "the power of steady misrepresentation" to try to explain "The Evolution of Evolution." The reason that the theory of evolution has had to evolve is that it was wrong from the start and yet some bad people still wanted to believe in it.

The modern meddling of "science" certainly is creating a lot of "resistant strains" that might be coming to visit you in the near future. It also seems to be increasing the number of people who get cancer, but does not seem to be curing it. It is just always raising more money for nice houses and cars and golf clubs that get hidden on the accounting papers under the heading of "cancer research." Cancer was rare in 1900. Now, between 33 and 50 percent of the population will develop cancer. "Cancer research" might be too profitable now to find a cure.

One author wrote, "Let's think for a moment about how many diseases have been cured in the last fifty years. The answer is no disease has been cured! Every single disease is on the increase. The last disease that was ever cured was polio." When Jonas Salk's wife developed polio, Jonas Salk went into the laboratory and within six months developed the cure for polio. At the time, polio was a billion dollar a year business. The problem for some people was that the polio industry virtually went bankrupt overnight.

It has been said that the unethical and godless people behind the drug companies are not interested in curing anyone of anything, as that would put them out of business. What the drug companies really want is to make MONEY. The drug companies are interested in developing a pill that they can make for a penny and sell for $50, and that they can get people to start taking as early in life as possible, and that they will have to take every day for the rest of their lives.

Anonymous said...

The pot, once again, is stirred 

2 Cor 4:4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

2 Tim 2:12-14 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers.

Rom 10:14-17 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Thank you Dennis, at least you have gonads

Gavin said...

Please, refer to scripture by all means, but spare us all the actual quotes. We're all well trained to turn up passages quick-smart - an enduring legacy from Sabbath sermons.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:15

Thanks for the tip on the SciAm article. I haven't been to their website for a while, and their podcasts haven't been downloading correctly.

As for What the drug companies really want is to make MONEY, perhas it would be better to add an adjective of abundance or use a word like profiteering. I like to provide my services for free, but I also like to make money. And while some company (or church) boards put reward over service, sometimes it's due to us greedy shareholders.

And you're right about business ideas rising and falling. The current splinter leaders will never repeat the billion dollar success of HWA's WCG.

Anonymous said...

An ignorance is bliss anonymous posted wrote; "It has been said that the unethical and godless people behind the drug companies are not interested in curing anyone of anything, as that would put them out of business. What the drug companies really want is to make MONEY. The drug companies are interested in developing a pill that they can make for a penny and sell for $50, and that they can get people to start taking as early in life as possible, and that they will have to take every day for the rest of their lives."

"Drug" companies have developed treatments, vaccines, anti virals, and anti biotics that have cured, prevented, or eradicated a lot of diseases that were problematic for humankind.

You might want to take note of that.

"Drug" companies have developed therapies to deal with organs damaged by disease, abuse, or congenital disorder to improve quality of life and longevity for those suffering from them.

You need to understand the difference between killing off bacteria or a virus and propping up a failing organ(s).

"Drug" companies spend billions of dollars to research, patent, conduct 3 phases of clinical trials, get FDA approval(FOR USA), and get the pertinent data in front of prescriber so that an informed decision can be made by the prescriber as to which "drug" will best deal with a patient's issue. The clock on the patent expiring continues to tick whether or not they have FDA approval. All of these costs have to be factored into a pill that cost "1 cent" to manufacture.

They have a reasonable expectation to a return on their investment.

I don't like the prices of drugs anymore than the next guy, however the efficacy is a million times better than a rag soaked in olive oil, laying on of handss and some words uttered sotto voce...

Jared Olar said...

Oh come on...just write them in a concise list and send it in.

Well, the concise list would be the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. The advantage of being a Catholic is that you can just disengage your brain and let the Pope do all the heavy intellectual lifting for you. It’s so much easier that way. ;-)

Yes, I’m just having a little fun. I’ll try to get serious now.

You know, heaven, hell, Mary, Pope, evolution, creation etc...Rubber hitting road stuff

Well, the “Mary” and “Pope” stuff is pretty straight-down-the-line traditional and orthodox: the four Marian dogmas (immaculate conception, divine motherhood, perpetual virginity, assumption), Mary’s powerful intercession, Petrine primacy, papal infallibility. I think several of the claimed Marian apparitions are probably authentic, including Fatima, but others such as Medjugorje, Garabandal, and Akita I believe are bogus. I cringe whenever there are reports of crowds of the gullible and superstitious flocking to images of “Mary” in defective window glass of office buildings or in the rust and salt deposits under interstate overpasses. I believe the unworthiness and gross corruption of so very many of the Roman pontiffs is a good argument that the papacy was divinely instituted, because a merely human institution should have been consumed and annihilated long ago by the venality, sensuality, greed, lust, and blinkered foolishness of far too many of the Popes. By extension the argument can be applied to the whole Catholic Church and her cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and laity, whose lives and conduct have been so frequently a counter-witness to the Gospel.

I believe evolution in some form is very, very likely to be correct, though I’m not entirely convinced. I do not believe that God created the heavens and the earth in seven literal 24-hour days, nor do I believe the author of Genesis (Moses or whoever) believed that or intended his readers to take him literally. I believe so-called Creation Science could never have originated had certain kinds of Protestants not dismissed the traditional allegorical sense of Sacred Scripture. I do believe that all humans have a common origin in a single primeval couple, known in Scripture as Adam (Man) and Eve (Mother), and that they fell from divine grace through disobedience, thus bringing curses on all creation, but I believe it is fruitless to try to ascertain when exactly they may have lived. The chronologies of Gen. 5 and 11 may be literal, or may be symbolic – I do not trouble myself wondering about which approach may be the right one, though the literal interpretation seems pretty unlikely based on what we know, or think we know.

I believe that so-called “Peking Man,” whose remains so conveniently disappeared making it impossible for them to be studied, was probably just another hoax perpetrated by Teilhard the Charlatan, er, de Chardin, who also seems to be implicated in the Piltdown Man fraud.

As for heaven and hell, again my views are orthodox and traditional. Our souls are in peril, but I hope and pray that no one has ever or will ever definitively reject grace and go to hell, even though I strongly suspect that is an unrealistic hope. But I believe God is the judge, not me, and so I pray for everyone and commit them to His justice which is merciful, and to His mercy which is just. It is my hope that, in the end, in Christ none shall be lost and that every soul will be reunited with the Father who gave us life. I believe that heaven is the full experience of God’s boundless love beyond time and space, and the perfection and fullness of all the good that we know only incompletely and temporarily in this world.

Jared Olar said...

The jovial Hindu had no problem with the Christian trinitarian Godhead, he simply viewed it as a Christian glimpse of Hindu idea of avatars of God. "Its very much like Shiva and Ganesh you know..."

No, it’s not at all like Shiva and Ganesh. The Hindu notion of avatars of Brahma-Atman has no relation or similarity to the Christian doctrine of the three Divine Persons of one eternal God. Hindu avatars would be closer akin to a Sabellian modalist view of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and even that’s only an imperfect comparison. The ideas of “persona” and “avatar” arose and were developed independently and within wholly different cultural and theological milieus.

Bible thumpers like Larry, Byker Bob, Questeruk should ponder why their religious-nut cousins, the Muslims, reject the crucifixion as unhistorical.

Because the founder of Islam took a fancy to some of the Gnostic/docetic myths he’d come across, in which Jesus wasn’t really crucified but turned Himself invisible and deceptively let poor unwitting Simon of Cyrene get nailed to the cross in His place. That myth appealed to Muhammad, who seems to have been unable to comprehend how the crucifixion and death of Jesus could have been God’s greatest success. Furthermore, since Muhammad wanted to exalt himself over Jesus as the pinnacle and seal of God’s prophets, it obviously wouldn’t do to have a lesser prophet be God Incarnate, which Muhammad certainly wasn’t, and rise from the dead the third day, which Muhammad had no ability to do, nor is it probable that he would ever have taken too keenly to submitting to torture and death. When you’re trying to convince everybody that you’re the greatest man in all of time and space, all rivals must be demoted or shunted aside. It’s remarkable that Islam accepts doctrine of the virginal conception of Jesus (even though the Quran mashes Mary together with Moses’ sister Miriam).

Why couldn't Christian apologists refute this "heresy" way back in the 7th century?

Refuting the heresy is easy: however, it’s much more difficult to engage in successful apologetics when you’re opposing the beliefs of somebody who is dreadfully convinced he’s right and is apt to put a scimitar to your throat if you dare challenge him.

Why couldn't they cite the Muslims reliable historical accounts?

They did, but Muslims accept no historical accounts as superior to the alleged revelation in the Quran. Muslims explain away earlier, more reliable accounts as, ever so conveniently for them, having been corrupted and rewritten by the Jews and the Christians.

Because there were none except for the non historical "Gospels" - the first of which - Mark - was a colossal fraud with stories taken from the Homeric Epics and applied to "Jesus".

I trust you’ve read the Iliad and the Odyssey, so which stories from the Homeric epics does St. Mark’s Gospel apply to Jesus?

Or perhaps you’re confusing Homer with Hesiod?

The following gospels then copied Mark (not a good sign) except John who was just plain stoned when he wrote his rambling gnostic ravings.

A tendentious hyperbole, obviously. I’ve read stuff, and heard music, from people who were stoned when they wrote, and St. John’s Gospel doesn’t bear any similarity to it. Nor does that Gospel resemble the genuine “Gnostic ravings” that were churned out by various sects during the second and third centuries.

the Europeans came along and started forcing African (Egyptian) aboriginal gods down their throats.

Well, we know African slaves brought some of their aboriginal gods to America – hence the religions of voodoo, Santeria, and Palo Mayombe. But I don’t recall them bringing any Egyptian gods to this continent, nor forcing America Indians to worship them.

Of course you’re just repeating your belief that the monotheistic Christian God was in fact derived from pagan Egyptian polytheism, a contention that cannot be taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

Hey brain-genius Paul Ray:

LOL! Well congratulations - you "accept reality." So do I, and so do millions of other professing Christians.

The only difference is, that your verson of "reality" (a.k.a. your atheist beliefs/faith) is that you have nothing to look forward to after you die, and that must scare the crap out of you. All of your research, workaholism, learning, living and spending time with your loved ones for......NOTHING!

Unless there really is a hell, and you find out after it's too late that your soul cannot die.

Well, good luck with your version of "reality."

--CLA

Anonymous said...

"All of these costs have to be factored into a pill that cost "1 cent" to manufacture."

Absolutely. Many people simply do not understand the tortuous (but necessary) path that results in a FDA approved pharmaceutical. It literally takes years, and only a tiny minority of those drugs being developed will see the marketplace.

Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

"LOL! Well congratulations - you "accept reality." So do I, and so do millions of other professing Christians."

No you don't. You no more accept reality than does the fellow who is convinced that the Zeltoids from Saturn are eating up his brainwaves.


"...you have nothing to look forward to after you die..."

Why would I? Am I supposed to? Is life a blue collar job where you earn a some sort of a cosmic pension?


"...and that must scare the crap out of you..."

Not at all. Death is death, and it comes to all living organisms. However, for you it will hold a bit of trepidation. Did I really get saved? Did God really forgive me for that pork chop? Will I be thrown in the Lake of Fire? Am I sure it's Jesus up there and not Allah?



"All of your research, workaholism, learning, living and spending time with your loved ones for......NOTHING!"

What do you mean "for nothing?" Was I supposed to conduct research and love my family for a lick of a heavenly brass ring? For the sole purpose of sucking up to a psychotic god or godess? This where I feel sorry for many Christians. To them, life has no purpose- it's a giant waiting room where they flip through magazines and look at their shoes, waiting for the Magical Mystery Tour to begin.


"Unless there really is a hell, and you find out after it's too late that your soul cannot die."

Yep. I better repent now. There's nothing like love and adulation inspired by the threat of torture and death.

"Well, good luck with your version of "reality.""

And good luck with yours. I hope in the last few minutes of your life, your brain provides you with a nice hallucination of some kind of magical afterlife. I really do. It will all seem worth it then.


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

I like Raytard! It flows off the tongue much better than the bulky Armstrongtard, or Sabbatard.


"Paul, it looks like you are just carelessly repeating the unproven and baseless cheap shots..."

What cheap shots? I asked you to support your charges. Once again, what is the difference between "true science" and the science used by "evilutionists?" Can you show us how the fossil record does not support evolution?

"The modern meddling of "science" certainly is creating a lot of "resistant strains" that might be coming to visit you in the near future."

How do resistant strains of virus and bacteria come about?



"It also seems to be increasing the number of people who get cancer, but does not seem to be curing it."

How does a "resistant strain" cause cancer?



"It is just always raising more money for nice houses and cars and golf clubs that get hidden on the accounting papers under the heading of "cancer research.""

You've unveiled it at last! The grand conspiracy of cancer research. Yes, we go to college for 9-10 years just to make all that big money! In fact, when I graduate and start a postdoc position, I'll be making an ungodly 33K a year! And then if I join a pharmeceutical firm, I can make a staggering 75K a year! I'll sleep on hundred dollar bills! And I'll let you in on a secret- at the lab, we don't actually do any research. We worship the devil, play ping-pong and throw darts and smoke cigars rolled from money! We could care less about furthering scientific knowledge and working to cure people of disease!

By the way, what is God's track record on curing cancer?


"Cancer was rare in 1900. Now, between 33 and 50 percent of the population will develop cancer."


Source?



""Cancer research" might be too profitable now to find a cure."

Uh, could you let the NIH know about this little nugget? Because they won't renew most of our grants in the department (because invading Iraq takes precedence) and we are running out of money to light our cigars with.

As far as drug companies go, and medicine in general, I agree with you. They haven't done anything in the past hundred years or so except make people more sick and enslave them financially. I am sure that you and others of like mind experience no disease ('cause God heals you and if that doesn't work rub in a bit of tea-tree oil)and I sure that part of that comes from staying away from doctors and pharmaceuticals in general.


All seriousness aside, you really have no idea what you are talking about and it's really not your fault. I know many people just like you and most of their scientific and medical knowledge comes from two sources: The pulpit and documents with headlines that always start with "The secret cure all that doctors don't want you to know!"

Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

Someone posted: "Cancer was rare in 1900. Now, between 33 and 50 percent of the population will develop cancer."

--> Diagnosis of cancer was less common in 1900, that does not necessarily mean cancer was rare. It stands to reason that as both knowledge and access to services grow we will have a better idea of who is afflicted with what.

Paul wrote: "All seriousness aside, you really have no idea what you are talking about and it's really not your fault. I know many people just like you and most of their scientific and medical knowledge comes from two sources: The pulpit and documents with headlines that always start with "The secret cure all that doctors don't want you to know!"

--> Paul, that is all too tragically true. That particular attitude is affecting someone very very close to me who has cancer and diabetes. Neither the crackpot ideasa in the books or the laying on of hands has made a bit of difference and the situation is getting worse...and this man has much more faith than a mustard seed...

Anonymous said...

To Paul Ray:

My original intent was not to argue with you over whether or not God exists; it was to point out that your atheist beliefs are every bit as much of a belief system (or faith) as any other religion. That you would prefer to substitute other descriptors for your beliefs (a.k.a. "reality") does not change the REALITY that atheism is a religion, and merely YOUR VERSION of "reality."

If you cannot or will not see this simple truth, then you are far more ignorant and in-denial than anyone would have thought.

Anonymous said...

"...it was to point out that your atheist beliefs are every bit as much of a belief system (or faith) as any other religion..."

So now your disbelief in leprechauns is a belief system, just like any other religion? This is where your point shatters and plummets. It does not take faith or a belief system to reject the imaginary. Unless, of course your rejection of the existence of leprechauns is a faith/belief system, like any other religion. Is it??

Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

"But I don’t recall them bringing any Egyptian gods to this continent, nor forcing America Indians to worship them."

You clearly have never read Tom Harpur's The Pagan Christ, then.

"The holy trinity" was actually a ripoff of Isis/Osiris/Horus, Egyptian gods. If you don't believe me, watch for yourself.

Also note, I said Europeans, not Africans, and your attempt to subvert my words into some kind of racist remark is extremely disigenuous.

Anonymous said...

Back to Darwinian matters, I went to school in Pennsylvania (not Dover) and if you blinked in science class you may have missed the chapter on evolution. The outline was fairly brief and highly generalized. An argument in English class between the teacher and a pro-evolution student was far more spirited.

Somehow I think if the short coverage of evolution was to be opened for creationist alternative view, it would end in a fight between young earthers, gap theorist, ID, a day is not a 24-hour day and other interpreters of Genesis. Like Europeans being expelled from Japan because of fights between Franciscans and Dominicans.

Jared Olar said...

I wasn’t being disingenuous, TPH, I was just having a little fun with your belief that that Christian theology was “ripped off” from the pagan Egyptian triad of Osiris-Isis-Horus. I know I’ve got an odd sense of humor, but I just find the whole thing to be humorous. To me it looks like you’ve traded Armstrongist conspiracy theories for what amounts to a conspiracy theory of a different sort. There’s simply nothing to suggest that Christian theology developed along those lines. The developmental course of Christian theological arguments, speculations, and dogmatic definitions is well documented and not at all hidden, and there’s just nothing in that record even to suggest such a direct influence as you believe in.

And no, I’ve not read Harpur, but I’m pretty familiar with the arguments, which aren’t all that convincing. Analogy and similarity do not prove genealogy.

Anonymous said...

< So now your disbelief in leprechauns is a belief system, just like any other religion? >

Yep, uh-huh. Okay, you win and I agree that it does not take any belief system whatsoever to reject the imaginary.

However, the fact remains that what one person may believe to be "imaginary", another believes is reality.

Which leads to another point. You, Paul Ray, claim to be a scientist, but just because you say you are one, does not make it so; and, since you have convinced me that you are just an imaginary scientist (and a really dumb one, at that!), I can totally appreciate how easy it is to reject the imaginary.

So that's it - you're a reject and I am done conversing with you. LOL.

Anonymous said...

"And no, I’ve not read Harpur, but I’m pretty familiar with the arguments, which aren’t all that convincing."

The fact that you haven't read Harpur, does not give you free license to discount the points he is making.

That said. I don't agree 100% with everything he says, hence the label of "conspiracy theorist" is unfortunately misapplied by you in this case. If however it was more humour on your part, I do beg your pardon, and rest assured I am highly amused. :-)

It isn't just the Egyptian trinity Christianity was based on, Jared (which you would know if you read the book); the documentary unfortunately only touches on the similarities Harpur found between those two systems. The book also touches on many other examples.

The point being, not that one is to be "saved" by believing one or the other of these gods is real; one achieves (IMO) real salvation by realizing what these myths and allegories can teach us about ourselves, and others, and the world around us. That is Harpur's main point, as well.

I would also put to you, if you would permit, the same question I put to Bob: Tom Harpur identifies himself as Christian (and he continues to do so): Do you believe that Tom Harpur is a Christian?

Anonymous said...

Dennis Said "That's all I want in life. I want to understand origins and meaning. That's all I want and I have taken this path since WCG."

Is that it? Anything else that the universe can do for you today?

Seems to be a pretty simple request, really. Tell you what, let's meet for lunch, bring a pen and paper, because it gets a little confusing to understand right at the beginning of the existence and, for lack of a better word, creation, of the universe part, but other than that it's pretty easy to follow.

Sounds like you already have the monkeys and the people thing figured out, so that will save us a few million years worth of notes.

At this point we won't be getting into the future, because as soon as you scientists figure out the past, then you'll want to know about the future, and I only have a few hours between you and the lady down the street whos kid has cancer. Yeah, yeah, she wants to know why I would take an innocent child, but hey, she can wait. (talk about a lengthy conversation, Jesus Christ!) Dennis, your question is clearly more important and a LOT less difficult to explain.

Tell you what, if you can go ahead and stop by her house, tell her and her kid that there is no God, that hoping for a miracle is pointless, and that when she dies, nothing will happen, that her short life on earth will be, really for the most part, meaningless, then you and I can spend more time focusing on your little need to "understand the origins".

Sincerely,
The Universe and Eternity (some people call me God.)