Friday, 24 April 2009

Richard, wanna buy the Brooklyn Bridge?

Dear Richard

I read your article, and it's nice that you're pleased about WCG's re-branding as Grace Communion International. But if this is cause to make the Christian world rejoice, then there's something terribly wrong. The WCG transformation is more a travesty than a miracle. That's why a lot of the people in the WCG who originally welcomed the "reformation" are now ex-members. Outside commentators like yourself have too often avoided asking the tough questions in their haste to claim a victory for evangelical faith. That's why your blog entry is naive and, frankly, uninformed.

When the changes began, people like you were needed to help guide the beneficiaries of Armstrong's Empire away from a hierarchic mindset. What happened? Nothing. Sure, there has been doctrinal change, and that was hugely necessary. But it wasn't enough.

Richard, if you're serious about helping the newly re-christened GCI and its members, write to Joe Tkach and urge him to introduce genuine accountability into his church (and I do mean his church... which is why accountability is desperately needed.) Encourage him to establish an elected board and a procedure whereby the church president must be selected by a representative body for a set term of office. Familiarise him with the concept of mandated leadership.

If you can pull off that trick, then you'll be able to write about a real miracle, with no argument from me!

118 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Its doctrines were anything but orthodox. Armstrong and his followers, for example, flatly denied the Trinity, the full deity of Jesus Christ, and the personality of the Holy Spirit. Armstrong also taught that individuals, if they proved themselves worthy of the blessing, could eventually “become God as God is God.” "well, if only poor Richard had a clue as to what's in the bible.



"And salvation, not surprisingly, was by works of righteousness, rather than by grace through faith."and if only poor Richard understood what HWA taught.

Corky said...

Miracle? Hah! Millions and millions of dollars are missing, tens of thousands of people have walked away - many are now atheists. Some miracle!

The Worldwide Church of GCI, also remembered fondly as "The Cult", should be called the Worldwide Church of Nepotism and the Royal Bloodline Preserved.

But hey, even God thought human governments would always be by Kings and Pharaohs and Caesars.

He sure as hell did, read the book.

Byker Bob said...

I'm learning quite a bit about the types of Christianity which we were formerly taught to disdain. Apparently, one big concept amongst Christians is the "accountability group", or "accountability partners" as they are sometimes called. The idea is that two or more spirit led minds are better than one!

Government from the top down, "guided" by a rubber stamp board of directors is a sure indicator of religious charlatanism, doctrines completely aside.

BB

Anonymous said...

Gavin, your bias toward democracy in church government is understandable, but also provincial.

Gavin said...

Anon:

Dude, would you care to explain that?

Anonymous said...

"your bias toward democracy in church government is understandable, but also provincial."

Quite right Gav old chap. Next you'll be insisting that the pope be elected by a college of cardinals, or the episcopalians allow lay delegates into their deliberations and accord them voting rights, or the...

Oh, wait...

Anonymous said...

You know, Gavin, I've heard it a few times and thought myself that the greater miracle of the so-called
transformation is that it provided a way for real Christians, whom God
mercifully called in His wisdom while they were in Armstrongism, a "way of escape" (wasn't that an old Herman Hoeh-wagon article?) to a mature and real Christian fellowship.

The top dogs in the Tkach bunch have spent way too much time patting themselves on the back for 'their' miracle. And, let's face it, the transformation is not complete and never will be in that group as it is dis-configured now.

Jethro said...

10 GCIs by Jethro

GCI = an Alaskan
telecommunications company
GCI = Gannett Company Incorporated
GCI = Global Commerce Initiative
GCI = the business magazine for the global beauty industry
GCI = Georgia Career Institute
GCI = Greeley Center for Independence
GCI = Global Consultants Inc.
GCI = Great Coasters International
GCI = Great Cities Institute
GCI = Geotechnical Consultants Inc.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:31

Quite right Gav old chap. Next you'll be insisting that the pope be elected by a college of cardinals, or the episcopalians allow lay delegates into their deliberations and accord them voting rights, or the...

Oh, wait...
--------------

You miss the point of Anon 8:47. So what if cardinals elect the pope? The point being made is that there are many models of leadership selection -- including many variants of both elected and appointed schemas. Appointed leaders can be less beholden to special interest groups than elected ones. No model of leadership selection is a guaranteed trump of the other.

Anonymous said...

Gavin,

What the heck did you expect from a glossy eyed evang-booster? Actually looking into things? Perish the thought. The best thing about these evang types is their willingness to declare all evang churches useful—without checking one bit into the qualities of their teachings. As long as the church isn’t in one of “those denominations” it must be quite alright. As long as it has “charisma” and “bigness” it must be in keeping with the way and the truth and the light. I swear, all of these people follow Mythras. (Really, Dagon, if you think about it.)

For me, the key is to ignore any denomination which is under 300 years old and any spokesmodel who is essentially speaking for himself. That will keep you out of cults.

And, just as an aside, most of these Superchurches our glossy eyed pal and his kin are so enthusiastic about are nothing but cults, too.

It’s enough to make you not want to join any church. Not that I needed any further disincentive.

--Mark Lax

Tkach's $wiss Banker said...

Do the millionaire leaders of the Tkach organization actually believe the Christ Myth they are pushing ?

Despite doubts about how Tkach obtained his doctorate, the wealthy pied piper must have read at least more than the supersticious saps that continue to send him money.

The historicity of "Christ" is impossible: This video shows four contradictory timelines - Matthew, Luke, & apologists McDowell, Habermann -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mvVJlHqq9Q&feature=related

Compare this to a REAL historical person like Caesar who's exact birthday is (of course)known.

Anonymous said...

After Jethro's efforts on defining GCI perhaps we need to have a competition of our own to come up with an appropriate definition of GCI.

What about:

GCI = Global Clueless Institute
GCI = Gone Crazy International
GCI = Goose Cooked & Irrelevant

Okay let's be nice

GCI = God's Church Incognito

The latter is easy to remember is not offensive and probably best describes where WCG are today as many members see it.

Anonymous said...

GlendoraCashIncinerator"We've got money to burn!" (your money!)

Neotherm said...

It is worthwhile to have a look at this book: "Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices" by George Barna and Frank Viola. Barna and Viola seek to mine the Bible for guidance on church government and practice. What they find is far different from what we find in modern times. Church services in the early church were very much closer to the Quaker practice of anyone who wants to can say something than the the modern sermonette/sermon approach.

The question is, if the scriptural practice of church government is not going to be used, then what do you do? Any opinion is as good as any other. Gavin's opinion is as good as Joe Tkach's. But this is commutative. Joe Tkach's opinion is as good as Gavin's. Without the Bibical information, we then leave the domain of protocol and enter the domain of pragmatism.

This all becomes fascinating when one considers that the modern evangelical movement insists on Bibilcal literalism and yet departs markedly from scripture on church government and worship practice. The same is true of the Armstrongite organizations. They give lip service to Biblical literalism and then come up with something called a sermon and sermonette.

What has happened among he evangelicals and the Armstrongites is that they have denied the Biblical example in order to answer pragmatic requirements. But I do not believe they would ever admit the idea that they have extensively "interpreted" scripture instead of simply applying its literal meaning.

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

Re: money to burn
In an FOT years ago Dennis Luker mentioned that Herb borrowed huges amounts of money from Arab financiers. Uproarious laughter from the congregation came when he said the loan wouldn't need to be repaid until years in the future -- everyone thinking that by that time we would be in the Kingdom, so the church would never need to repay the loan.
If the loan story is true, could that explain the disappearance of funds?

Anonymous said...

Neo -

Apostle, eh? And who made you that?Challenging HWA with governance principles, whether biblical or democratic, is like the peasant and King Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Herb stated that "don't believe me" applied only to the listening audience and not church members. Members had to accept that he had supreme Apostolic authority.

Herb's claim of authority led accepting the Petrine doctrine that there was one chief apostle. Previously, Peter as numero uno was dismissed as a justification for the Bishop of Rome to have supreme executive authority.

Anonymous said...

"'And salvation, not surprisingly, was by works of righteousness, rather than by grace through faith.'and if only poor Richard understood what HWA taught..."


That's exactly what he taught. You can wash it, spin it, torque it, paint it, plate it with gold- but in the end, it was a salvation by works with a twist of lime.

Yes, you were "saved" by the sacrifice of Christ, but starting the very minute after you came up sputtering from the hotel pool, you were on Savlation Probation. In order to "keep" your "free" gift of salvation, you had to observe the Law- any mistakes could literally cause you to lose your "free" gift.


The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

"Yes, you were "saved" by the sacrifice of Christ, but starting the very minute after you came up sputtering from the hotel pool, you were on Savlation Probation. In order to "keep" your "free" gift of salvation, you had to observe the Law
well, that IS what the bible says, isn't it?

besides, salvation isn't free, it's freely offered. there is a difference.
why would God consider your repentance genuine if you made no attempt to obey His law?

Vaughn said...

Anonymous said:"besides, salvation isn't free, it's freely offered. there is a difference."

Kind of reminds me of the "free", or "freely offered" literature: once you were in, and vested, there was first tithe... oh, and second tithe... oh, and didn't we mention third tithe?... oh, and don't forget your generous holy day offerings... oh, and don't leave out a donation to the building fund, etc, etc, etc... Your kids don't need college, you don't need to own a home...

Anonymous said...

"This all becomes fascinating when one considers that the modern evangelical movement insists on Bibilcal literalism and yet departs markedly from scripture on church government and worship practice"
======
Check out the article: The Small Church at;;;
http://www.cgom.org/Publications/Articles/TheSmallChurch.pdf

Purple Hymnal said...

"Your kids don't need college, you don't need to own a home...You don't need retirement savings, you don't need to plan for the future, you don't need to worry about anything in "Satan's World". And on and on and on and on and on and on it went......

Anonymous said...

"I got plenty o' nuthin'"

And as 1972 approached, who needed it? We knew what was going to happen, so we'd joke about "retirement" and other future-related expenses.

Then as January 7 rolled around, what happened? The Auditorium would be built, and a massive ad campaign with Reader's Disgust (as Sam Drucker called it.)

You still don't need nuthin', but Gerry needs his swans, and auditorium, and college, and ...

Anonymous said...

I am a bit incredulous at the naivete of the author's statement "So, let the Christian world rejoice! Like the parable of the Prodigal Son, the entire Worldwide Church of God (formerly) has come home to Christ: "

WCG/GCI is a shadow of it's former self. Any concern at all for the cult splinters, agnostics or aetheists that resulted from this "miraculous" process?

Anonymous said...

once you were in, and vested, there was first tithe... oh, and second tithe... oh, and didn't we mention third tithe?... oh, and don't forget your generous holy day offerings... oh, and don't leave out a donation to the building fund, etc, etc, etc... Your kids don't need college, you don't need to own a home...

well that's what happens when you don't read and study your bible, but instead take the word of men as gospel.
happens all the time, look at Benny Hinn, Oral Roberts, Robert Schuler, Creflo Dollar, and the whole TBN crowd.

Anonymous said...

"...well, that IS what the bible says, isn't it?"


*shrugs* If you say so.


You'll never know, will you? You'll never be sure whether you are going to enter the Kingdom of God or burn to death in the Lake of Fire. You won't know until you die. Must be disconcerting.



The Apostate Paul

Baywolfe said...

You know, Gavin, I've heard it a few times and thought myself that the greater miracle of the so-called
transformation is that it provided a way for real Christians, whom God
mercifully called in His wisdom while they were in Armstrongism, a "way of escape" (wasn't that an old Herman Hoeh-wagon article?) to a mature and real Christian fellowship.
Members of the Worldwide Church of God = SUCKERS
Real Christians = Suckers

You're just being fooled with a more palatable foolie, that's all. You still can't prove any of it is real, outside of your own mind.

Anonymous said...

"besides, salvation isn't free, it's freely offered. there is a difference.
why would God consider your repentance genuine if you made no attempt to obey His law?"

Do you mean salvation is offered to everyone (freely given) but it must be paid for by your works of the law (salvation isn't free)?

What is repentance? But to acknowledge you are a sinner and need Christ's forgiveness. The New Testament teaches that, and only that, is what you must do to receive the free gift (not by works, lest any man should boast). Loving God= accepting the sacrifice of His Son. There's also loving your neighbor, which is also loving God. The works of the old covenant law do not qualify anyone for eternal life with God.

Purple Hymnal said...

"Any concern at all for the cult splinters, agnostics or aetheists that resulted from this "miraculous" process?"Nope. Typical evangelical reaction. "Let the dead bury the dead."

Now where have I heard that before??

Anonymous said...

"you'll never know"
In the chain reaction disintegration of the WCG into a plethora of splinters claiming their gaggle of members to be the true remnant, you'll never know.

Each group with a "True History of the True Splinter" assume that HWA was correct, and attempt to show *that* splinter was his true successor. At least Dickie boy is rejoicing.

Anonymous said...

"What is repentance? But to acknowledge you are a sinner and need Christ's forgiveness."
no, that's not what repentance is.
notice:

re·pent 1 (rĭ-pěnt')
v. re·pent·ed , re·pent·ing , re·pents

v. intr.

To feel remorse, contrition, or self-reproach for what one has done or failed to do; be contrite.
To feel such regret for past conduct as to change one's mind regarding it: repented of intemperate behavior.
To make a change for the better as a result of remorse or contrition for one's sins.

so you see, repentance involves making changes.

just saying "I'm sorry" without changing mind/behaviour is not repentance.

so when one repents of his sin, he repents of his lawbreaking, which means he changes from someone with no regard for the law to someone who strives to obey it.

it's all quite simple, actually.

Tkach's $wiss Banker said...

Richard Abane's article states:

"This is no small event to note since Grace Communion International currently has approximately 42,000 members spread throughout 900 congregations worldwide!"

42,000 members ? No way ! More like <10,000 fearful fuzzy-minded old fuddies who are only too willing to allow the Tkach team work over their wallets.

I remember the day I exorcised RU$$IAN cult BO$$ JO$EPH TKACH from my wallet. What a joyous day!

Anonymous said...

"so when one repents of his sin, he repents of his lawbreaking, which means he changes from someone with no regard for the law to someone who strives to obey it.

it's all quite simple, actually."

Yes it is quite simple, really. But, I am not going to rehash law versus grace here. There's too much information out there on it. What I find is that when you read plainly what Jesus is written in the gospels, and let Him remove the veil that is over your eyes (which is a result of the law that you claim to keep, which you really don't), then you will see what the early apostles saw- chiefly the Apostle Paul.

But, if you choose to believe your righteousness is by keeping the law, and that by keeping the law you gain God's favor, I do hope that you go all the way and are perfect, because you will be judged by everything written in the law, even the ones that you choose to disregard.

The simple question is: If when you are standing before the judgment seat of God, and He asks you why you should be in His kingdom, what will be your answer?

Anonymous said...

"so when one repents of his sin, he repents of his lawbreaking, which means he changes from someone with no regard for the law to someone who strives to obey it."


No, there is no "change." You break the Law, you break the Law and are a rebellious Law breaker. There are no points awarded for striving or trying to keep the Law. You keep it ALL, and you keep it PERFECTLY, or you die. No excuses. It's very simple.


The APostate Paul

Anonymous said...

Too much is lost in translation. We speak of law and grace as if they were separate categories. Why?

Why is it so hard to believe the truth of this matter, that "the law" is a grievous misnomer for "the Torah," which means "the Teachings," primarily of Moses, from Genesis through Deuteronomy?

Every word, letter and decorations on letters within this Torah of Moses is predicated upon the merciful, compassionate and just characteristics of God, Who reveals Himself to humanity through these wonderful books. So to pit "law" against "grace" is an unhappy confusion of terms. The Law -- which is The Torah, which means The Teachings or The Instructions -- IS the grace of God painstakingly handwritten on the parchment of Torah scrolls and explained in commentaries that unveil the ancient codes and traditions that have accompanied the scrolls from their inception.

"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them...The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple...For I am the LORD, I change not."

I don't know where people get the idea that there is anything less than magnificence and mercy within the Teachings so awkwardly misnamed "the law" in our English Bibles.

Byker Bob said...

This is an area within a spiritual context where rational thought and objectivity are totally appropriate.

Those who believe that the New Covenant is simply adding a Messiah to the law of Moses would have us believe that keeping OC law gives them special insights in the area of prophecy. If they could support this by citing a positive track record, I'm sure that it would cause all of us to rethink many of our current beliefs, attitudes, and positions. The problem is, though, their record speaks for itself. It's a failure. That's what has caused any number of thinking people who were once part of these groups to look for other, more valid solutions.

What can you say about a branch of the entertainment industry that promotes bogus bookings? Over the years, the ACOGs have committed Jesus Christ to numerous personal appearances without actually having had any contact with or advance approval from Jesus Himself! They deserve to look like lying fools for this.

BB

Anonymous said...

Anonymous mentioned Creflo Dollar.

"Down Under", here in Aotearoa, I have seen his TV programme,or should I say circus.

And hey,bro,that name should be "Freeflow Dollar" because this is what these tele-evangelists are about.Freeflow Dollar from you to them.

Herbie was cast in a similar mould.He was not willing to let God provide his needs as promised, but instead put pressure on those to cough up to the tune of 30% or more.

Here,in NZ,Worldwide members were paying tithes on GROSS income whilst those in Australia were paying on nett.This was pointed out to his Eminence,Peter Nathan who flatly refused to allow NZ brethren to pay on nett income.
Even a fool would know the demands he was making were creating havoc amongst the church.He forgot the principle that a "house divided against itself could not stand".. HIS church was slowly breaking up.But somehow God did not choose to show his "servant" that this was so.Funny that.I keep thinking of Matt 24:5.

He has to answer to God for that;He misrepresented God's word and is still doing so.He maintains the verisimilitude of high intellect and emphasises his Jewishness.Could I tell him a thing or two in this regard but I won't bother..he is not worth the time.

Cheers,

Jörg-Gottfried

Anonymous said...

Yes it is quite simple, really.

I'm glad we agree.

What I find is that when you read plainly what Jesus is written in the gospels, and let Him remove the veil that is over your eyes (which is a result of the law that you claim to keep, which you really don't), then you will see what the early apostles saw- chiefly the Apostle Paul.

you are saying that the law results in me having a veil over my eyes? How? the Apostle Paul clearly taught believers to obey the law.

But, if you choose to believe your righteousness is by keeping the law, and that by keeping the law you gain God's favor,...

when did I EVER say that righteousness comes by keeping the law???

The simple question is: If when you are standing before the judgment seat of God, and He asks you why you should be in His kingdom, what will be your answer?


the only valid reason would be His love for me, which led in my repenting and obeying His instructions. that is the only reason anybody will be in the kingdom. those who have no regard for His law will most certainly not be in the kingdom, for He has declared it.

most people have the idea that grace means they can live their lives any way they choose, with non regard for God and His instructions for mankind.
they are badly confused.

Anonymous said...

"This was pointed out to his Eminence,Peter Nathan who flatly refused to allow NZ brethren to pay on nett income."



Why on earth did anyone ask for such permission? It's none of their business, really, how anyone tithes. It's strictly between them and God. I guess I'll never understand those old WCG folks.

SmilinJackSprat said...

Byker Bob, you're an honest man and willing to apply rational thought to matters of "religion." Thank you.

On the matter of prophecy, I know somewhat about these things from my Jewish faith, which highly esteems freethinking and refusal to accept dogma for dogma's sake. Anyone who agrees too much with Rabbis is suspect.

Baalam was a prophet. He misused his gift, but he had it, quite outside the developing culture of Israel. The covenant between God and Israel was never required of non-Israelite nations. They were beholden to another set of rules, every bit as moral and ethical as those that governed Israel.

Among the faithful remnant of Israel the quintessence of prophecy is the Torah of Moses, and Moses is the quintessential prophet. He was and is the prophet's prophet, the kind of man that all genuine prophets emulate. He was first great at the height of Egyptian power, and became a great man of Israel -- universally recognized and acknowledged wherever he lived. We don't see many of his kind.

Prophecy isn't only about foretelling, but embodies everything breathed by God, especially the works of Moses. The history, poetry, commands, judgments of Torah all comprise prophecy. Jesus of Nazareth expressed this viewpoint with amazing eloquence, and King David had said earlier that it was "perfect, converting the soul."

The covenant with Israel failed; in this case one might say prophecy failed -- because Israel allowed herself to drift into the ways of the nations around her and the saving impact of her good example was never fully seen by her neighbors. Fortunately the final chapter of Israel's saga has yet to be written. Prophecy isn't always in stone. Human initiative is part of the developing story, and that part is up to us.

We only know for sure that Israel will eventually fulfill her promise -- but every week, a few minutes before sundown each Friday evening, faithful women of Israel light their Sabbath lights/candles. This in itself is a remarkable prophecy that the coming Messianic Sabbath of 1000 years' duration could and should begin well before the end of mankind's 6000 years, and to no small degree on the merit of faithful women. Women have often played such a role in the salvation and development of Jacob's family. They did in Moses' day, and still do today. Moses himself was saved by his mother and sister (a prophet), and through them all Israel.

Jonah's prophecy to Nineveh failed, happily so, and their promised calamity was forestalled by a century or so. Failed prophecies are often the goal of the prophecies themselves.

Ezra and the many prophets with him worked enough repentance among Jews in Babylon that the emperor allowed them to return to Judea and rebuild the Temple. But like Moses, these men were genuine prophets of acknowledged greatness among the people Israel and the surrounding peoples. One finds few, if any, of this kind among televangelists -- although some have seemingly danced around the edges of credibility, despite many obvious errors in their teachings.

The great prophecy is told in the Passover Seder, how all Israel lived through a pattern of redemption in the distant past, which is the promise of Israel's future redemption. It might not happen in our lifetimes, but every year, wherever people gather to rehearse the Egyptian deliverance, the ancient story explains our certain future. It's a prophecy we can bank on. I guarantee it.

Purple Hymnal said...

"Torah of Moses is predicated upon the merciful, compassionate and just characteristics of God,"You mean the god who dropped two squalling, dependent retards into a garden in the Middle East about six thousand years ago, and deliberately damned them by its own standards?

The god who ordered a parent to ritually sacrifice their own child, and rewarded the parent for almost going through with it?

You mean the god who ordered mass genocide by its "chosen people"?

You mean the self-avowed jealous, angry god?

Yeah, sure, compassion and mercy. In the Old Testament. Uh-huh.

Where?

SmilinJackSprat said...

Purple Hymnal says, "You mean the god who dropped two squalling, dependent retards into a garden in the Middle East about six thousand years ago, and deliberately damned them by its own standards?"

You're funny, Purple. I tend to agree with you. Based on what we can see in translation, the penalty hardly seems to fit the crime. Our versions don't give us "the rest of the story." There's more, but it's lost in translation.

At any rate, humanity survived, the retards reproduced, you and I are here umpteen generations later, their new and vastly improved offspring with far superior promise, I'm sure. Maybe our lot is to keep our clothes on, avoid talking snakes, and read a few good books on child rearing before cluttering the earth with quarreling delinquents.

Charlie said...

"Jonah's prophecy to Nineveh failed, happily so, and their promised calamity was forestalled by a century or so. Failed prophecies are often the goal of the prophecies themselves."

Now THERE is a twist I haven't heard before. Look for armstrongites to jump all over this one.

I can hear it now; "Bretheren, the very fact that *Insert failed prophecy here* didn't happen is proof that the prophecy was a success! Unfortunately, the deceived just can't see it! Their hearts are hardened against the truth!"

In fact, this seems to be the deluded tactic weinland is currently employing.

I am completely baffled by some people's inability to admit they were wrong and that they are obviously not a God inspired Prophet, however I can see greed and / or mental illness as a factor. I am even more baffled by bible literalists, a simple 30 minute walk through your local forest should be glaring proof that you are wrong there..and you can see it with your own eyes.

Byker Bob said...

Smilin' Jack:

Having recently studied Judges, Ruth, and I and II Samuel, I couldn't agree more with much of your post. If we study the God of the Old Testament more than just superficially, we begin to understand that God has always been about love.

I like to express God's love in this way: If we rely totally on the teaching of man, we humans will always find ourselves coming up against the law of unintended consequences. However, with God there is no such law.

Our greatest sin, as humans, continues to be the sin of Adam and Eve. We all want to set ourselves up as our own idols. I did exactly that, all my life in many ways. At the end of the day, nothing about that life was ever fulfilling. That could all have been so different, had my heart not been so hard.

I'm amazed at the self-idolatry one often witnessed within churchianity, not the least example of which is the recent release of David Pack's authorized biography. God wants to use people who are humble, and can back out of the way to give Him the glory He deserves, while most of mankind wants to use God for self-glorification, and aggrandizement. This is especially true of so many of the people who have been part of the Armstrong movement. They seem to aspire to be the "Elvis of Jesus"!

BB

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, I said I wasn't going to get sucked back into a law v. grace debate, so please forgive me.

Q: "you are saying that the law results in me having a veil over my eyes?"
A: I didn't say it, Paul did: "for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ."

Q:"How? the Apostle Paul clearly taught believers to obey the law."
A: No, he said it was our school master to lead us to Christ. Gal 3:24 "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." Justified by faith, not the law. So, faith in what? Faith that Jesus was God, came and died for our sins, and was resurrected and will give eternal life to anyone who believes that He is who He says He is.

Q: "when did I EVER say that righteousness comes by keeping the law???"
A: You said: "why would God consider your repentance genuine if you made no attempt to obey His law?" and "so when one repents of his sin, he repents of his lawbreaking, which means he changes from someone with no regard for the law to someone who strives to obey it."
Why keep the law (or your interpretation of the OT law, which isn't accurate in the first place) if it isn't to be righteous? Isn't Sabbath keeping a measure of your (more) righteous status before God than I?

Q: "the only valid reason would be His love for me, which led in my repenting and obeying His instructions. that is the only reason anybody will be in the kingdom. those who have no regard for His law will most certainly not be in the kingdom, for He has declared it."

By "instructions" you mean the law. And if you mean the law, then how well did you keep it? If you can do it, then you don't need Christ. In God's eyes, it is either ALL Christ or ALL you. It's not a credit system to make up whatever debt balance you may have with God.

Q: "most people have the idea that grace means they can live their lives any way they choose, with non regard for God and His instructions for mankind.
they are badly confused."

That's just plain not so. I have been in churches outside of WCG for a decade now and I have not seen that reflected in the Christians I have encountered. You should visit some churches and ask around. I had that same thought before I realized what it was all about. I guarantee you that that the COG you belong to has the same drunken, homosexual, adulterous, lying, cheating, lustful, unloving, prideful, jealous, haughty, arrogant, murderous, selfish people that you would find in any non COG congregation. You THINK that Sabbath and Holy Days will make up for all of this, but they DON'T. You are as guilty as all the rest of Christianity.

Sorry, unless the sacrifice of Jesus is your only answer to why you should be in God's kingdom, you will have no entrance. THAT is the plain truth.

Purple Hymnal said...

"the retards reproduced, you and I are here umpteen generations late".

Sorry Jack: My ancestors walked the earth four thousand years BEFORE that garden in the Middle East sprang up in the collective unconscious.

Anonymous said...

"If we study the God of the Old Testament more than just superficially, we begin to understand that God has always been about love."

If we study Hitler more than just superficially, we begin to understand that Hitler was always about love.

It's so cute when BB tries to reconcile his beliefs with reality. But my comparison is very true- one can believe all sorts of things if you set your mind to it.

For example, Hitler killed alot of people. But this in no way refutes the fact that Hitler was all about love. You see, Hitler can't be understood by us; we are like children trying to understand the motives of adults. Hitler had a good reason for killing all those people. Hitler knew best. It's futile to try to understand his motives, and shameful to question him. When we look into Hitler's life, his relationship with Eva and his dogs, we see a man who exuded love and empathy from his very pores.


The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

You asked why anyone would have to ask the Regional Director's permission to pay tithes based on nett income rather than gross.

This blanket command was made by Peter Nathan to ALL NZ church
members and ALL swallowed it.Today, were we still members, we would challenge such utterances.

You don't understand it.You say it is between God and the individual, and you are entirely correct.

Many people like to have others do their thinking for them.Others are genuinely taken in.No person is exempt from this latter condition.

But many otherwise intelligent people were brainwashed by Herbalism and some are still in this state 35 years later.They haven't yet learned.The ministry RULED people's lives even to the extent of approving moves to new countries and provincial locations.Oh, yes they had us wound round their little fingers BUT we saw through their little schemes in the end and now don't give them the time of day.

Have you ever been brainwashed or mind-conditioned to accept something that is a rort? Bet you have.If you haven't you are KIDDING yourself.

Yes, these charlatans made themselves out to be the physical descendants of the ancient Levites and thus entitled to receive tithes.In retrospect they were shysters who will have to answer to God one day.

Cheers,

Jörg-Gottfried

Jethro said...

Now wait a minute: Are you saying that people in the various Sabbatarian Churches of God are not perfect? Hush your mouth! Shame on you! I think that's going just a little too far. There are a lot of things you can say but that's just over the top. There have to be some perfect people someplace, and if they aren't in offshoots of the Worldwide Church of God then where are they?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, unless the sacrifice of Jesus is your only answer to why you should be in God's kingdom, you will have no entrance. THAT is the plain truth.

and unless one repents, the sacrifice of Jesus is of no value to them. that is the rub, people simple do not want to live according to God's instruction now.
repentance is a gift from God, and eventually everyone will be offered that gift so they will be able to repent if they so choose.
as for those that refuse, well, it won't be an issue for them anymore.
and that's the plain truth :-)

Anonymous said...

Many people like to have others do their thinking for them.Others are genuinely taken in.No person is exempt from this latter condition.

I think that is why blogs such as this exist. Those folks listened to men instead of God, and were taken advantage of. I'm not saying the leadership set out to swindle people. I think they were acting in ignorance too, thinking they had much more authority than they actually did.

So many are so angry at being duped that they feel the need to retaliate, so they swear to never again do as God says, thinking they are getting even with HWA.

The truth of the matter is, the membership was as much at fault as the leadership.

It will all come out in the wash.

Vaughn said...

Anonymous said: "The truth of the matter is, the membership was as much at fault as the leadership."

Sound like Tkach talking, or that the rape victim is as much to blame as the rapist (probably wore revealing clothes) or that the crime victim was to blame for the mugging because they should not have been out late. Absurd!

Byker Bob said...

Hey, Paul:

Who would you rather have dinner with? Hitler, or Father God?

BB

Anonymous said...

"You mean the god who ordered mass genocide by its "chosen people"?

You mean the self-avowed jealous, angry god?"
======
An alternative view:

All of us live with death - it is inevitable. But isn't it a puzzle that a loving God claims to kill His creation? How can we reconcile that with Jesus' claim that he came to save the world?

The Old Testament record makes clear that JHVH did indeed kill - sometimes on a massive scale. All mankind but one family of eight, for example, was destroyed in the Flood (Genesis 6). Why? In short, God has a set purpose for the pinnacle of His creation, mankind, and is not disposed to jeopardise that plan. He will remove all obstacles - human, spirit - that knowingly oppose it

Having created man and instructed him in the way of life, the Creator had initiated His plan, having made it plain (Romans 1). We blew it. Rather than follow the Manual we devised our own operating system, and as with any misused device it didn't work. Over the centuries man deviated further and further from the Way - to such a degree that eventually '...GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually' (Genesis 6:5). The result? All of mankind but for one righteous family was 'purged' in a worldwide flood - to save the plan

Lessons were not learned, and before long the different families were scattered (ch 11) - again to save the plan. But corruption once more set in. The 'righteous' became ever sparser, and the LORD again had to work with one family - that of Abraham. In his days the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah had become degenerate: '...this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: pride, fulness of bread, and prosperous ease was in her and in her daughters; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me .' (Ezekiel 16:49-50). Clearly a corrupting influence: '....therefore I took them away as I saw good'

God had given ample time for the nations to embrace the one true faith. The Amorites - perhaps the leading Canaanite tribe in occupation of Palestine - sank deeper and deeper into lawlessness, despite the righteous witness of Shem, of Abraham, of Melchizedek. They continued four generations before being expelled by Israel (Genesis 15:16)

Nothing will stand in the way of the fulfillment of God's loving purpose. Here's what the Psalmist tells us: '...You [God] warn the nations and destroy evil people; you wipe out their names forever and ever' (Psalm 9:5 CEV). And: '...the LORD preserves all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy' (145:20). Solomon adds: '...I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me' (Proverbs 8:17). God will when necessary remove individuals, communities, nations who stand in the way. He warns, He is very patient, He is merciful. God is love. But when we persistently 'throw a spanner in the works' - He acts

Jesus is generally perceived as expressing love for all mankind (John 3:16 etc). He is not, however, the 'gentle Jesus' of childhood's bed-time stories. In the days of his flesh, he was fearless when opposed, courageous in face of death. And he 'told it like it is': '.. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:42). The words of Jesus himself! And through the apostle John he adds: '...hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? ' (Revelation 6:16-17)

God's purpose is that not one of us should ultimately perish, that we should change, and He patiently gives us time to so do (II Peter 3:9). Some flatly refuse, preferring their false faiths and corrupt life-style (Revelation 9:20-21, 16:9-11). They will experience the 'wrath of the Lamb', Jesus

In both Old and new Testament the Godhead is presented as loving, gracious, merciful (II Chronicles 30:9 for example). When the Father and Jesus kill it is to protect and advance their master plan (Romans 11:36)

Purple Hymnal said...

"Who would you rather have dinner with? Hitler, or Father God?"I'm not Paul Ray, but I'll answer, BB: Given that choice, I would definitely take the latter option: Seeing as I can't hurl invective in German, and better the devil I know, after all.......

Guess who's coming to dinner said...

Who would you rather have dinner with?
Who's shout is it?

Charlie said...

A very verbose anonymous said: "In both Old and new Testament the Godhead is presented as loving, gracious, merciful (II Chronicles 30:9 for example). When the Father and Jesus kill it is to protect and advance their master plan (Romans 11:36)"

I should really cut / paste your entire post over at ISA because what I would really like to say in response to this Gavin wouldn't print.

However,

Placing two completely unequipped morons in the garden of eden to match wits with 'Satan' in the form of a talking snake in order to put them in a position that will decide their's and the fate of all mankind IS NOT AN ACT OF LOVE.

Forcing a woman to be married to their rapist IS NOT AN ACT OF LOVE

Allowing a father to offer his daughters to be gang raped in order to protect some strangers IS NOT AN ACT OF LOVE

Instructing a father to sacrifice his son in order to prove his faithfulness IS NOT AN ACT OF LOVE

Killing all the firstborn sons of Egypt because YOU hardened Pharoah's heart IS NOT AN ACT OF LOVE

Allowing a stupid father to go through with sacrificing his daughter upon returning victorious from battle because he made a really dumb vow IS NOT AN ACT OF LOVE

Letting Samuel get away with instructing Israel to murder entire populations of cities is NOT AN ACT OF LOVE

Holding mankind accountable to laws impossible to keep IS NOT AN ACT OF LOVE

GEEZ, I could go on and on and on.

If it is necessary to kill, murder, destroy, and otherwise make absolutely miserable the very beings you created, then the MASTER PLAN BLOWS!

The old and new testaments are filled with cruelty and human suffering.

Who was it that said, "Lord save me from your followers"?

Go join the taliban if you really have such a 7th century mindset.

Anonymous said...

"Who would you rather have dinner with? Hitler, or Father God?"

Hitler. He may be crazy and a control freak, but he isn't anywhere as psychopathic as your god. And he has less blood on his hands.

The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

" that is the rub, people simple do not want to live according to God's instruction now."

That's just plain not true. I live by the instructions of Jesus Christ. The old covenant, which ended at the cross, is not my school master, but it is yours.

You know what? Have at it. You are under a curse and are a prisoner and alienated from Christ. (it is easy to see how ALL the xCOG members are under a curse) Those aren't my words, but go read Galatians 3 on. I, however, am not under a curse and I am free. Thanks be to God.

Anonymous said...

"...IS NOT AN ACT OF LOVE."

It is when God does it. You just have to stop using human reasoning and human standards. If you would employ God reasoning and God standards, it would all make perfect sense.

By the way, you would come across as a more understanding person if you would just meet these guys, and their god, halfway. Cut Jehovah some slack. Don't be so strident...and fundamental.

The Apostate Paul

larry said...

Anon 05:38,
Yes, there is a great weight lifted from your shoulders when you accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior and recognize gratefully His sacrifice on your behalf. Suddenly, you feel free. No more fear of death or anything that can be done to you (or said about you) in this life.

The only barrier to anyone receiving this free gift is PRIDE! So, if you wish to retain your pride, go ahead, but it isn't worth it.

Purple Hymnal said...

"I should really cut / paste your entire post over at ISA because what I would really like to say in response to this Gavin wouldn't print."

As the (now) sole administrator of ISA, otherwise known as I Survived Armstrongism, I have one reaction to this comment, as follows:

Dooooooooooooo eeeeeeeeeeeet!!!!

Purple Hymnal said...

"I, however, am not under a curse and I am free. Thanks be to God."

And aren't we just full of ourselves, hmmmmm?

Oh, that's right, you people call self-righteousness "the Holy Spirit".

Anonymous said...

THY LIBERTY IN LAW

The absurdity of the notion that the death and resurrection of Israel's messiah should make The Law moot is, to my mind, staggering. Israel's messiahs were all either priests, prophets or kings (aside from anointed stones or Temple utensils). For what bizarre reason should King David be raised from death if not to serve a free people under law? Are we really that much better off without our priests and prophets?

Now tell me, those of you who think Jesus might have done away with The Law, or the "Old Covenant," how is a society of free people to be governed if not by law? Who in his or her right mind could wish to live under a dictatorship rather than govern oneself by law? According to Jeremiah and the writer of Hebrews, the New Covenant defines a free people living within memorized and internalized laws.

In America we sing, "And crown thy good with brotherhood, thy Liberty in Law!" There is no liberty apart from free people understanding the laws of their land and living within them.

It is true that the Torah of Moses is not The Law, as it is commonly mistranslated, but it is certainly the source of the laws that once governed a free Israel under Moses, the judges and the Davidic kings. If those people had not been governed by law, their kings would have been dictators -- which condition did eventually force the defection of the northern kingdom from David's foolhardy grandson.

Neither Jesus nor God nor anyone else, including misguided theologians, has ever had power to nullify the excellence of Liberty under law. The only alternative, disgusting even to imagine, is "top down" governance under dictators. And believe me, even the most benevolent of dictators is corruptible when possessed of dictatorial powers.

Byker Bob said...

Paul,

Somehow, I knew your answer before you posted it. Still, I am just a little shocked that you would deliberately align yourself with someone who has come to symbolize evil. I'd also like to remind all believers who may be reading here that this does not mean that atheists are Satanic or demon possessed.

Like I've said before, there is quite a difference between WCG atheists, and neutral ones who arrived at their viewpoints through science or philosophy.
Many of the non WCG atheists whom I've met and with whom I've had discussions over the years simply view God as a symbol of good. It's just that they question the rationality and basic sanity of assuming that this symbol is a real, literal being. On the other hand, the false teachers of Armstrongism seemingly have produced a bumper crop of the types of atheists who are totally pissed off at God!

Hitler killed a lot of people in an attempt to fulfill his plan. And, he used as a blueprint a forgotten holocaust, the one the Turks visited upon the Armenian people.

I wish we could fast forward life's tape, so that perhaps maybe ten years after all of the deceased are resurrected, you could speak with them. You'd have an opportunity to ask how they might feel about God, Hitler, the perpetrators of the Armenian holocaust, etc. Such conversations might be a really mind-changing experience, one that provides a whole new viewpoint. Of course, we'll all have 20-20 hindsight then. Until that time when we know fully what is going on, faith and trust in God's ultimate goodness are not a bad way to live our lives. Believe me, that opens the door to healing, bigtime!

BB

Anonymous said...

"And aren't we just full of ourselves, hmmmmm?"

No, just full of God's love, grace and mercy. It's a good feeling, that yes, fills me up. Sorry you don't have it. Maybe you will someday.

p.s., I know you hate comments like this. That's because you are an bitter person and it shows. You have a lot to be angry about, but it is too bad that that seed has taken root so deeply that you are now a bitter person.

Anonymous said...

"Still, I am just a little shocked that you would deliberately align yourself with someone who has come to symbolize evil."

Why do you see Hitler as a symbol of evil? Because he was responsible for the murder of millions, right? What Hitler did is child's play compared the god of the bible, who supposedly murdered almost every human being on the planet in a flood. He also murdered (directly or through his henchmen) many of his "chosen people" for crimes ranging from worshipping inanimate objects to picking up sticks on Saturday, to complaining. He also ordered the genocide of the original inhabitants of Israel, including infants. This is recorded in the bible, isn't it? His own inspired book, right? It is very easy for me to see the god of the Bible as a symbol of evil- more evil than Hitler, if you want to look at body counts.
And yet this god claims to be the god of love, the very embodiment of love, compassion, concern, pity, ect. If this is true, then Hitler is also the embodiment of love. Stalin the most compassionate man on the planet. If your god is the god of love, then murdering people is love.
You have the unfortunate task of reconciling the fact that your god is a genocidal mass murderer with the claim that he is love. To this, you have to do a bit of doublethink, rejecting intellectual honesty, logic, and reason. You have to believe that black is white and white is black and two plus two equal five and a half. And for this, I almost feel sorry for you.

"Many of the non WCG atheists whom I've met and with whom I've had discussions over the years simply view God as a symbol of good."

Then these people have never read the Bible, or if they have, haven't thought much about it or are being dishonest with themselves. Or they too may think that genocide equals love.

"...the false teachers of Armstrongism seemingly have produced a bumper crop of the types of atheists who are totally pissed off at God!"

There may be people out there who claim to be atheist but are simply angry at religion for one reason or other. I'm not one of them. I am not angry at god just as I am not angry at Darth Vader. Both are fictional characters and it is impossible to be angry with the imaginary. It was only after I stopped believing in the existence of your god that I noticed that he was a murderous psychopath. It really doesn't matter if you believe me or not. I know why you like to label many atheists as "WCG atheists." It makes you feel better.

The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

Armstrongism seemingly have produced a bumper crop of the types of atheists who are totally pissed off at God!

isn't that the truth, and they think that by diss'n God they are getting even with HWA.

go figure.

Purple Hymnal said...

"I wish we could fast forward life's tape, so that perhaps maybe ten years after all of the deceased are resurrected, you could speak with them."Oh, you mean in that Kingdom that's supposed to have arrived "in this generation" for three thousand years, Bob?

If that "kingdom" really does come, I'm taking a swan dive into the Lake of Fire, thanks; I'd rather spend eternity in oblivion, than live under a Demiurge.

Of course, this is all nothing more than a thought experiment, since none of it is ever going to happen. And lest the lurking readers think Bob is correct about ex-WCG atheists, I say flip that coin, and examine the other side: ex-WCG "believers" are just as Armstrongist as they ever were. The only thing that's changed is the window dressing.

You know, I thought you were broadening your horizons once again, after your post over at HMA, Bob; but I guess it's just that you know which blogs it's safe for you to preach on.

Anonymous said...

"Until that time when we know fully what is going on, faith and trust in God's ultimate goodness are not a bad way to live our lives..."

Especially since he will KILL YOU if you don't.



The Apostate Paul

Jethro said...

I am a bit confused by all the anonymouses (or should that be anonymice?)on this site. It would be easier to keep track of who's saying what if everyone had a name. If you're going to bicker and argue, it's important to know who said what, and I can't tell one anonymous from the other. They all look alike to me. There is no need to fear. Pick some off-the-wall name and no one will know who you are.

Mike (Don't Drink the Flavor Aid) said...

Byker Bob said:On the other hand, the false teachers of Armstrongism seemingly have produced a bumper crop of the types of atheists who are totally pissed off at God!Here we have an example of an oxymoron. How can one be pissed off at something one doesn't believe in?

Or are you telling us more about yourself?

Byker Bob said...

Hitler killed 1/3 of the entire world population of God's chosen people, the Jews, during the holocaust. Only Yahweh, the God of the Israelites, is empowered to give life, and take it. He is a loving, and righteous God, oft misunderstood by humans.

Somebody needs to do this, so I will. I apologize to all of our Jewish friends who might enjoy visiting with us here, for Paul Ray's incredibly anti-semitic remarks. Had he made these remarks in a professional setting, or to the general media, his career would be over!

BB

Byker Bob said...

Aggie, have you ever considered that you might have been presented with a very false concept of God?

Most of the non ACOG atheists whom I've met, and with whom I've compared notes over the years regard God in much the same way as St Paul taught about idols. Paul stated in Galatians or Colossians that "we know idols are nothing". A true atheist could not get pissed off at a being whom they consider to be nonexistent. Someone who still partially believes that an unacceptable concept of God which they got from a false teacher might, though.

Listen to yourself: You don't believe in God, but just in case He does exist, you want to go the the Lake of Fire. Houston, I think we have a problem!

Aggie, I hope you NEVER go to the Lake of Fire!!! I would not presume to tell you what to do to avoid it, but please do something!!!

BB

Anonymous said...

I simply don't see, if one is to believe in the Bible's version of God, how it could be seen in any other way than that God screwed up and made a defective product.

Unless, of course, God's into vengeance and getting His jollies out of killing people.

Anonymous said...

BB, please lighten up some.
I hope you understand that much of what you find fault with is what you once put forth toward others not long ago.
What are you trying to be, the new Saul/Paul?
Heck, I'd rather watch Hee-Haw.

Corky said...

I see BB has gone so far as to use three exclamation marks!!! What's next? All caps?

I'm almost positive that Aggie doesn't believe in "the lake of fire" any more than in the God who supposedly invented it. However, it does serve as an analogy of how sick and cruel Aggie believes the God of Israel is if he really did exist.

Nope, there is no "Houston, I think we have a problem" to it. BB is just assuming too much because of his own assumptions.

Anonymous said...

What Aggie and Corky don't seem to get is that we are living in a time of grace- the time when the gift of salvation is freely given to all who believe. Then comes judgment, and my God is a jealous God, and he will have only those who worship and obey him. You may not like it, that may be something that you don't want to hear, but he isn't going to debate the matter or deal kindly to those who are not clothed in grace. We saw from the time of old what happens when people break the law and also what God's wrath can look like. Yes, a flood, yes lots of destruction. Yes, those are things that make people uncomfortable about God. They only want him to be benevolent and totally merciful. You know what? He is. Today. Now. For those who believe in His Son. After this time of grace is over, then those who do not believe will have no hope. They will wish as if they were never born. I don't wish that upon anyone. You can kick, scream, deny, mock, and condescend all you want to. Now. Why? Because you are under grace. Thank God for that.

Purple Hymnal said...

"Aggie, have you ever considered that you might have been presented with a very false concept of God?"

Duh, no $4!t, Sherlock. Men create gods. And while I agree with Paul Ray that the god of the CHRISTIAN Old Testament (Which you have incorrectly assumed is the same as Judaism's god, which could not be further from the truth) is evil incarnate, reading the text from an allegorical perspective, we all have the Demiurge within us, under a thin veneer of human civilization. But we deny this, and cover it up, by saying we are truly good and loving and merciful and compassionate, etcetera, even when our actions bely those very words we spout.

Stop arguing about whether or not the texts are literally real, people! Ask yourselves, instead, how the texts can be applied, to reflect your own inner psyche back at you, and maybe, if you are careful and pay attention, you will also see how to make positive changes in your own self. So you don't turn into a Demiurge, or fall under the spell of a self-created one, leading to the kinds of arguments presented here.

Purple Hymnal said...

"I'm almost positive that Aggie doesn't believe in "the lake of fire" any more than in the God who supposedly invented it."

Meh. I have my moments. Remember, I was raised from the cradle, in the church. I may laugh and joke and think as rationally as any other atheist, but deep down, in parts I still haven't been able to sufficiently rid myself of, I wonder if maybe that is the death experience my brain is going to cook up for me, at the end of it all?

I do, however, have at least one ace up my sleeve: It is not that living under the Demiurge would be so cruel and anti-thetical, that would drive me into "the lake of fire" (although it would be, that isn't the point); total oblivion is, in the gnostic sense, the only way to actually come full-circle in the universe. If you believe in a panentheistic god.

Which I don't, I'm just reasoning that, if this is the death experience my brain decides to provide me with whenever my life actually does end, at least I have a contingency plan, to get through it with the least amount of psychological stress possible.

Anonymous said...

"Hitler killed 1/3 of the entire world population of God's chosen people, the Jews, during the holocaust."

And your god killed 99.99999% of the entire world. And this is loving and righteous?


"Only Yahweh, the God of the Israelites, is empowered to give life, and take it."

Oh, so when Hitler orders genocide, it's wrong. But when God orders genocide, it's completely all right? Either genocide is wrong, or it is right. If it is wrong, then god is evil. If it is right, then Hitler is good. Very simple.


"He is a loving, and righteous God, oft misunderstood by humans."

I don't misunderstand him a bit. According to his own admission (the bible) he is a psycopathic murderer. To see him as a loving being is to go far beyond misunderstanding and into the realm of doublethink.


I think your response is amazing. You can't explain or justify your god- you don't even try. You just repeat what you have said before (God is good and Hitler is bad) and accuse me of anti-semitism.

I expect no less. For what else can you do?? You live in the world of doublethink. Explanations and justifications are foreign concepts.

The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

"I apologize to all of our Jewish friends who might enjoy visiting with us here, for Paul Ray's incredibly anti-semitic remarks."

I have a better idea; why don't you apologize to our jewish friends on behalf of your god, who as much as he claims to love them, consistenly murders them in large numbers. Oh, and according to the Bible, it was your god that allowed Hitler to come to power.


The Apostate Paul

Byker Bob said...

Paul Ray,

In our modern times today, do you believe in:

1) Capital punishment?

2) War in any shape or form?

3) Free society, but governed by the rule of law?

BB

Anonymous said...

"They will wish as if they were never born."

What would you say of a leader who tortured to death any man, woman, or child who refused to recognize the leader as their lord and master, and a loving one at that.

You'd say he was a evil, Satanic monster, wouldn't you?

But what if the leader, if the people acknowledged him, bestowed great gifts on those who submitted to him? What would you say then?

You'd probably say he was still evil, Satanic, and a monster, wouldn't you?

But because your god has said otherwise, you refuse to apply this same set of standards to your god. He gets a break.

You are all amoral. You praise a genocidal maniac. You are no different than the fanatical followers of Hitler, Stalin, or Pol Pot.

Please inform me if you happen to move into my neighborhood, like a sexual predator notification or something. I want to protect my family from people who think that genocide isn't something to condemn a being for.

The Apostate Paul (Paul Ray)

Anonymous said...

"I'm almost positive that Aggie doesn't believe in "the lake of fire" any more than in the God who supposedly invented it. However, it does serve as an analogy of how sick and cruel Aggie believes the God of Israel is if he really did exist."

The analogy of hell-fire - ge'henna - is the rubbish dump at Jerusalem. It was continually burning. Into it were thrown DEAD animals, DEAD criminals. The same for hell-fire. Not a place of everlasting pain.

Mark said...

"But because your god has said otherwise, you refuse to apply this same set of standards to your god. He gets a break."

Yes, I refuse to apply my set of standards on God.
You know, God didn't create us to kill us. He isn't the sadistic God that you make him out to be. It was us who rebelled against God. We turned our backs on him and refused to acknowledge him or give him credit for our lives. We hated God. We want to destroy him and/or destroy the very thought of him. God gave us the gift of life, we will die. I believe the grave is not the end of the road for anyone- sinner or saint. We can choose to spend eternity with God or separate from him. I choose eternity with him.

Purple Hymnal said...

"The analogy of hell-fire - ge'henna - is the rubbish dump at Jerusalem. It was continually burning. Into it were thrown DEAD animals, DEAD criminals. The same for hell-fire. Not a place of everlasting pain."

Yup. Of all the wacky theology the church indoctrinated us with, NOT using the standard Christian "hell" as a fear-mongering tactic (unfortunately a trend Junior and Weazell have now reversed), was just about the only positive thing the church did for me, IMO.

(Of course, the church used other fear-mongering tactics. But let's not go there.)

But, yeah, evangelicals tell me I'm going to hell, and instead of the predictable, "normal" response endemic to this universe, I either feel puzzled ("Why do they think that's going to scare me?"), resist the urge to laugh hysterically ("But there's no such thing!"), or I just shake my head, and go on about my day.

Why should I be frightened of a concept that is ONLY used to manipulate and terrify the weak and vulnerable? (Don't refute me, Christians, you know it's true.)

I am neither weak nor vulnerable, and I fully intend to remain that way. And, as I've stated above, I've made my own peace with the Lake of Fire analogy; it's actually a good thing (as a metaphor or analogy), but the Demiurge I spent the formative years of my life in thrall to (someone else's created god) wouldn't want me to see it that way.

If you snort with derision at the gnostic version, the Buddhists have their own. Neti, neti. Not this, not that. Not anything. Ultimately, that is the end that everyone comes to. Now, where the church got it wrong was, they called this the second death. In reality, it's the only death, and we've all got it coming to us.

Learning to accept that is what allows us to transcend being barely-evolved primates. Wacky theology not included, nor necessary.

Corky said...

We can choose to spend eternity with God or separate from him. I choose eternity with him.This seems to be the general belief of the, brainwashed since childhood, typical believer.

However, if they were born and brainwashed in Iran, they would choose to wear bombs on their body and join God in eternity.

No one can choose something that hasn't even been offered. People say that the choice has been offered - but, that's just it, people say!A God didn't say it, people said that a God said it and that's the whole "true" story of all that is written and preached about God.

Byker Bob said...

Paul,

The reason why I asked you about the three areas of responsibility above is that in our modern democracies, these are largely controlled by our elected officials. And, enforcement is very carefully documented, so that everyone might know why punishments were earned and metered out, why wars were waged, and the reasons behind laws that we may or may not happen to like or agree with.

In a theocracy, ancient Israel's form of government, those responsibilites belonged not to elected officials, but to God. If you carefully examine the recorded history of the era (Bible), whether or not the God of the Israelites was a myth, you will see that all of the punishments were carefully documented, with specific reasons for the punishments carefully spelled out. There was nothing arbitrary about them.

We see pagan enemies gouging out the right eyes of all of the male Israelites in a certain territory. God avenged them. Punishment was inflicted upon the guilty.

In one of the incidents which Dennis likes to call a "Middle Eastern Hospitality Tale", members of the tribe of Benjamin abused a freely offered concubine with rough sex so rough that she died. Benjamite leaders refused to punish the guilty, so God had the rest of the tribes practically wipe out the whole tribe of Benjamin. This example is particularly poignant, because it is another example where God did not discriminate in His punishments. These were some of His own people.

Two cities became debauched to the point that instead of wholesome families being the norm, everyone behaved like a bunch of wild animals, sniffing each others' butts and "doing" each other, heterosexually, homosexually, beastially and every other way. After God carefully evacuated His own, the cities were blotted off the map. The ruins of these cities might lie beneath the Dead Sea according to some scholars.

Noah and his family ministered to all of their surrounding community for decades as the ark was built, and while the door to the ark was not sealed until the last possible moment, nobody listened. Once again, God evacuated His own, then the entire population of the earth was wiped out.

Yes, thousands of pagans were destroyed, but even if you only read casually, you can't miss the fact that they were indulging in horrible practices, such as ritual prostitution, and passing their children through the fire. You can't build an orderly society when such abominable forms of "worship" are ongoing. Talk about our modern ghetto mess! The neighborhoods serving Chemosh back then were ten times worse in terms of child survivability rate.

The same testimony which records the acts of God to which you object so strenuously also presents a very compelling case for the righteousness, goodness, wholesomeness, and love of God. One of His gifts is that of free will. In a sense, like the poem, we're all the masters of our fate and the captains of our souls.

BB

Anonymous said...

"Yes, I refuse to apply my set of standards on God.
You know, God didn't create us to kill us. He isn't the sadistic God that you make him out to be. It was us who rebelled against God..."

Including the infants murdered in the supposed flood? Including the Cannanite infants murdered by the Israelites at the command of your psycopathic god?

You don't find this sadistic? If you don't, you have no sense of right or wrong- totally amoral. You would have made an excellent death camp commander.


The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

"In our modern times today, do you believe in:"

All three, Apologist Bob. And no, they don't apply here. For infants have committed no crime which calls for the death penalty, or engaged in behavior that justifies war. Hell, let's go ahead and include toddlers, too. There is no justification for the murder of every infant on the planet (which occured at the Big Flood, right?) nor the murder of all infants dwelling in small city states on the east coast of the Med. Once again, to even attempt to justify this places you squarely in the camp of your god- sick and twisted.

But, thankfully, it's all a fairy tale. Your god never murdered anyone because he isn't real. Though many have killed in his name.

The Apostate Paul

Purple Hymnal said...

"In our modern times today, do you believe in:

1) Capital punishment?

2) War in any shape or form?

3) Free society, but governed by the rule of law?"

No to all of the above, Bob, those are evils that religion brought into the world. Especially your now much-vaunted Christian religion. Don't believe me?

1) Crucifixion.

2) Crusades.

3) Roman Catholic Church.

Mark said...

"Including the infants murdered in the supposed flood? Including the Cannanite infants murdered by the Israelites at the command of your psycopathic god?"

Ah infants, the old argument that God is not just because infants die.

Yet, millions of infants die each year at the hands of doctors and you, I would believe, are for this, are you not? Are you for or against abortion? What is your stand on abortion? Should we kill the unborn or not? What do you have to say about that? If there is no God, then abortion is OK, in all forms, including late term. Is that murder? What is murder anyway? What is a self-professed atheist's view on abortion?

SmilinJackSprat said...

To The Apostate Paul, your observations unnerve me. You said, “If your god is the god of love, then murdering people is love. You have the unfortunate task of reconciling the fact that your god is a genocidal mass murderer with the claim that he is love.” That’s cold, my friend. I could not disagree more. I find no conflict between love and the Biblical God. He is described there as compassionate, merciful, even affectionate and vulnerable -- but also just, and severe when circumstances call for it.

In simple, politically incorrect Biblical terms, perhaps one of the most humbling concepts to accept is that we are created beings -- created in the image of God. This places a terrible onus on us.

God is free to make choices, and because we are in His image, we share this ability and burden. This gives us responsibility, shared with God, for developing our own Godly character and thereby furthering the creation process. This limits the degree to which we are allowed to stray from the path of healthy development. God is still involved. Individuals and societies can reach a point of no return, and our Maker warns us before it’s too late, because we share the driver’s seat. We choose our paths, given clear alternatives between life and death.

God limits Himself to conduct allowed in the Torah of Moses. David was in awe of this trait, and wrote: "You have magnified your word above all your name." As bearers of God’s image we are expected to limit ourselves as God limits Himself. We have free will. Our capacity for free choice is therefore extremely dangerous. If we are punished with death after due warning, we called the shot.

As a created family, mankind does not possess the right to besmirch the image of God, which at its core must reflect both male and female, since "in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them … and called THEIR name Adam.” As male and female they were to unite as one, because God is both male and female, united in One, an ineffable, virtually imponderable Unity. On earth the image of God cannot wholly exist apart from male and female human beings united as one.

From the Hebrew creation account it is clear that the image of God is defined, in large degree, by nuclear families, with male and female parents unified in holiness. No other combination can function, within the image of God, as one. Nor can mankind function in God’s image without a heavenly component, the neshama or soul, which God breathed into our first parents – the male soul in Adam, and its female counterpart in Eve. Even the souls are opposites: uniquely male and uniquely female, so that together they are complete as one, in the spiritual image of God.

When humanity no longer fears to pervert the awesome human image of God, we're boldly forcing intervention from our Maker. This hardly makes God a genocidal murderer. It’s cause and effect. Those who drag their earthly bodies and heavenly souls through conduct that violates the image of God, flouting commandments to live ethically and morally, will not long inhabit the good earth. Neither heaven nor earth – the planet itself -- can tolerate it. The choices between life and blessing on one side and curses and death on the other are completely, utterly, absolutely ours. If we freely choose our own destruction, we have no right to blame or accuse God for chosen consequences. This is the burden of bearing the image of God.

Anonymous said...

"Ah infants, the old argument that God is not just because infants die. "

I didn't argue that your god is unjust because infants die, but because he personally and directly murdered almost every infant on the planet in a Big Flood, and also ordered the murder of Canaanite infants.
Do you understand? If not, let's try again. Your god is a psychopathic murderer not because he allows infants to die, but because he personally murdered every infant on the planet in a big flood and ordered the murder of Canaanite infants (hundreds? thousands?)
Is this acceptable behavior to you? If so, how can you justify it?


"Yet, millions of infants die each year at the hands of doctors..."

Well, they have that in common with your god, don't they? Of course, they have a lot of catching up to do if they want to reach the body count your god has racked up.


"and you, I would believe, are for this, are you not? Are you for or against abortion? What is your stand on abortion? Should we kill the unborn or not? What do you have to say about that?"

Why do you assume I am for abortion? I don't care for it- it's a waste of human life. What is your view? Are you for it or against it? If you are against it, how do you reconcile the fact that your god is the world's greatest murderer of infants? He has no problem with killing the unborn. Isn't a bit hypocritical to be against human mediated abortion but for abortion when your god does it?

"If there is no God, then abortion is OK, in all forms, including late term. Is that murder? What is murder anyway? What is a self-professed atheist's view on abortion?"


You are sick, your mind is diseased. Totally amoral. The only reason you see abortion, or murder in general, as wrong is because your god says it is wrong. You should be locked up. You are a psychopath, like your god.


The Apostate Paul

Purple Hymnal said...

"I didn't argue that your god is unjust because infants die, but because he personally and directly murdered almost every infant on the planet in a Big Flood, and also ordered the murder of Canaanite infants."Paul, Paul, breathe man! Chillax!

The stories aren't true.

Mark said...

"Do you understand? If not, let's try again. Your god is a psychopathic murderer not because he allows infants to die, but because he personally murdered every infant on the planet in a big flood and ordered the murder of Canaanite infants (hundreds? thousands?)"

By your logic, then you must conclude that the State is liable for murder because they perform executions. That ALL taking of a human life is murder. Of course, if this were a court room, you would be tripping up on the definition of MURDER. You like to use the word MURDER, because it sounds good. That is your OPINION, but does not represent FACTS.

Is the death penalty murder? By your definition, it is. Why aren't U.S. governors hauled off to prison then for allowing it to happen?

Mark said...

Furthermore, do you consider Truman a mass murderer for authorizing the use of the a-bomb on Hiroshima? That also killed many infants and children. You must.

Anonymous said...

PH,

I'm not hyperventilating and I know they aren't true. But they are useful in trying to make a point- that Christians worship not a fictional god o' love, but a god of death, of genocide. And that they agree/endorse the genocidal actions of this fictional god. This is disturbing.

The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

"I find no conflict between love and the Biblical God. He is described there as compassionate, merciful, even affectionate and vulnerable -- but also just, and severe when circumstances call for it."

The infants which god murdered in the flood- what did they do to deserve execution? The Canaanite infants murdered by the sword of the Israelites at the command of your god- what did they do to deserve execution?

If you believe god is compassionate and merciful because he is described that way in the Bible, then why don't you also see him as a genocidal murderer, for he is also described that way in the Bible. Unless we have two different versions of Genesis.

Do you support the murder of infants and toddlers?
If not, then how can you support your god, who is a murderer of infants and toddlers?

THe APostate Paul

Anonymous said...

"By your logic, then you must conclude that the State is liable for murder because they perform executions. That ALL taking of a human life is murder."

That's not my logic at all; you aren't paying attention. We are not discussing people who have committed a crime and fall under some sort of judgement. We are talking about infants who had committed no crime (unless you want to be even more reprehensible and drag out original sin).

So we are back to were we left off- I asked you if it is acceptable behavior for your god to murder almost every infant on the planet? If so, how do you justify this? Are you against abortion? If so, how do you justify this position when you worship a god who killed every infant and toddler on the planet?

Murder? So if your god kills every infant on the planet, it's not MURDER? Then pray tell, what exactly is it? Execution?

And if you were paying attention, you would have noticed in a prior response that I am for the death penalty.


The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

"Furthermore, do you consider Truman a mass murderer for authorizing the use of the a-bomb on Hiroshima? That also killed many infants and children. You must."


So what point are you trying to make? That god was at war with the human race and all those infants and toddlers that died in the flood were collateral damage? I don't agree with the deaths of the Japanese children, I don't condone it. We were at war and Truman did what he thought best to bring an end to the war.

Unlike your god. If Truman were like your god, he would have nuked Switzerland and Tibet, too. No, scratch that. If Truman were like your god, he would have nuked the whole planet.


The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

Apostate Paul, you give me a choice between your judgment and that of Israel's God. That would be based, I suppose, upon your reputation in comparison with what we know of Israel's God from Hebrew Scriptures.

You're going to die in a few years, and -- at least in terms claimed in the Hebrew record -- God will continue living and watching over His creation in terms of justice, righteousness, wisdom, lovingkindness, patience, generosity, compassion, mercy and many other traits that believers place under the general heading of love.

You must feel you have a higher standard of decency than the Creator. I disagree, but I'm quite sure the Creator makes allowances for your doubting. You're a thinker, willing to take a stand. This has to be respected, I think, given what you understand from facts as you see them. I trust that you're willing to change your opinion as new facts surface.

We'll all eventually see how it plays out. Take care. Be strong.

Mark said...

"So we are back to were we left off- I asked you if it is acceptable behavior for your god to murder almost every infant on the planet?"

First, God is creator of all, so yes, He can take life. He also gives life. Any innocent child is with the Lord now, so that's not too bad of a place to be, in my opinion.

Secondly, you can't bring yourself to call Truman a murderer, but God is? Right. That makes no sense and makes your argument moot.

Thirdly, you don't believe any of the Bible anyway, so what is YOUR point with all of this? Attacking a God you don't believe in seems a bit silly from my perspective.

Anonymous said...

"Unlike your god. If Truman were like your god, he would have nuked Switzerland and Tibet, too. No, scratch that. If Truman were like your god, he would have nuked the whole planet."

Truman's/USA/UK enemy was a demagogue and those he assembled for world conquest. God's enemies are/were those who have so parted from true values that they burn their own children as a religious exercise and sink into total depravity and perversion 9cp Lev 18:24-25 and context).

AP surely has not so overthrown his faith that he airs the views on his blog!

Anonymous said...

"Apostate Paul, you give me a choice between your judgment and that of Israel's God..."

Nope. I'm just pointing out that your god is a genocidal murderer, based on the bible.


The APostate Paul

Anonymous said...

"I trust that you're willing to change your opinion as new facts surface."

Absolutely. I've said before that if any god shows his or herself, or at least provides evidence of their existence, then I will accept their existence. How can I not?

But whether I will worship that god or godess is another matter.


The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

"Any innocent child is with the Lord now, so that's not too bad of a place to be, in my opinion."

Well. I'm glad we cleared this up. You condone global infant genocide at the hands of your god. Sick, sick, sick.

"Secondly, you can't bring yourself to call Truman a murderer, but God is? Right. That makes no sense and makes your argument moot."

I didn't say he wasn't. But more importantly, I didn't slavishly excuse his actions, nor did I hold him up as a paragon of love, compassion, and mercy.

But we aren't talking about a war time human president. We are talking about your god, the god o' luv.

"Thirdly, you don't believe any of the Bible anyway, so what is YOUR point with all of this? Attacking a God you don't believe in seems a bit silly from my perspective."

I'm trying to point out something to Christians that most of them have avoided thinking about. I am trying to get some of them to apply a little critical thinking. You never know what will happen.

The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

" God's enemies are/were those who have so parted from true values that they burn their own children as a religious exercise and sink into total depravity and perversion"

Were the infants who died in the flood enemies of your god?


The Apostate Paul

Byker Bob said...

Some have expressed that they feel the stories in the OT are fictional. Even if they are, God comes across as being loving, merciful, all knowing, patient, and just. He is totally justified in all that He does.

What if all the babies had been spared from the flood? If their parents had truly been looking out for them, they might have heeded Noah's warnings, and more humans would have been on the ark. Children are usually sanctified through their parents, but the opposite can be true, as well. Since the parents continued in their rebellion, the fate of the children was sealed. Can you imagine the Noah family raising all of the babies, even if the flood were only a semi-local Mesopotamian event?

Paul Ray, I don't know that I'd want to be a bridge burner to the extent that you are. Looking at it from your point of view, if there is so much as a scintilla of doubt in your mind that God might possibly exist, I should think you'd at least want to be neutral instead of downright hostile.

This is just a guess, but I'm thinking that you once had a very intense and profound love for God. Your false church betrayed you, as it did all the rest of us, so now all of that love has turned to an equally intense hatred, not at all typical of most atheists. I certainly hope you find healing.

BB

Anonymous said...

"This is just a guess, but I'm thinking that you once had a very intense and profound love for God. Your false church betrayed you, as it did all the rest of us..."

Apologist Bob,

I left the COG's not even thinking of the character of your god.

I then left mainstream christianity with the same disregard. It wasn't the character of your god that was as at stake, but the question of existence. That's all.

And I have said this before- even within this very thread. But you, like most christians, can't help but attribute disbelief in god/godesses to anger, bitterness, ect. It's a reverse demonization. You can't imagine that someone couldn't accept the existence of your god without any evidence, so there must be another reason why. Just as Herbert attributed a disregard for the law of moses to lustful rebelliousness, you lower rational, honest critical thinking to the level of an angry teenager on a ABC After School Special. And that's fine. Whatever gets you through the day. If it comforts you to believe that I am an angry human lashing out at that which I dont' understand, then so be it. If this belief takes the spotlight away from the deeds of your imaginary father, then more power to you.

*shrugs*


The Apostate Paul

(Who isn't mad at god, but is especially bitter toward Darth Vader and this is why he refuses to believe in the existence of Darth Vader)

Mark said...

"But we aren't talking about a war time human president. We are talking about your god, the god o' luv."

Yes, we are talking about Truman. By your logic, if my God is a murderer, then Truman is as well. After all, innocent children were killed in the bombings. Yet you keep sitting on the fence on this one. That tells me that you haven't logically thought through your argument and are avoiding it because you don't have a good answer.

It's incredible to me, as you scream Sick! Sick! Sick! to me, from someone who doesn't even believe in God, let alone did ANY of the things written in the OT, that you, who KNOW that Hiroshima happened, sit back and make excuses.

When you reconcile Truman, let me know. Perhaps apply some critical thinking on this.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Truman was a psychopathic murderer. Now that's settled- back to your god. He is still a genocidal, psychopathic murderer. And you still condone his genocidal, psychopathic actions. You're still sick.



The Apostate Paul

Mark said...

"Okay, Truman was a psychopathic murderer."

Really? Wow, now that's sick. How can you believe such a thing? You obviously have a very warped view on moral issues. I hope you aren't a teacher. If you are, let me know so I can keep my kids out of your school.

Since your views on moral issues are so messed up, we can't have a rational debate.

Anonymous said...

No human - of any age, from any age - 'suffers' more than a lifetime, however long or short it may be. In context of eternity there will come a resurrection to a secure, peaceful and fruitful human life for all.

Corky said...

Anonymous said . . .
In context of eternity there will come a resurrection to a secure, peaceful and fruitful human life for all.That's the rub though, isn't it? It wouldn't be a "human life". In fact, you don't have a clue what kind of "life" it would be and even Paul refused to describe it.

That's like someone offering you a job and not telling you what the job is or how much it pays or anything about the job - but if you take the job you can never quit. That's scary.

The thing is, there is no job and no pay, it's a hoax. Wanna buy the Brooklyn Bridge?

Corky said...

Mark said...

reconcile TrumanOkay, Truman was a human being, a man defending his country in the best way he could.

God, otoh, is not a human being and can do anything - so, what's his excuse for murder? Considering that God could have converted the so-called "wicked" in an instant as he did Paul, how do you justify God's murderous actions?

Anonymous said...

"I hope you aren't a teacher. If you are, let me know so I can keep my kids out of your school."


Only if you promise to notify me if you are moving within 50 miles of my residence. I am glad we understand each other.


The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

From reading over the many comments here, I think I see the problem with a great many x-cog'ers.

God doesn't do things the way you think He should. That's your whole problem with Him, He isn't doing it the way you want Him to.