Sunday 11 October 2009

Doctor of Thielology

The Last Great Day has been and gone, and thousands of Feast-goers are toddling their weary way home. The "best Feast ever"? Well, maybe.

I'm looking forward to Bob Thiel at last having time to share the details on his acquisition of the Th.D which suddenly appeared on his resumé , so to speak, just days before the Feast. This may seem a bit obsessive, but I think it's important that we all can feel Bob's honesty is not in question here. We may disagree with Bob, but nobody has had reason to question his sincerity and integrity before.

As late as March last year Bob didn't seem to know about his own Th.D. Here's what he wrote in answer to a critic on another blog (you can read the whole rebuttal here):

I do have a Ph.D. and it is from the Union Institute & University. And Union is regionally accredited (the highest accepted accrediting standard in the United States for universities and colleges). I also have a Master of Science degree from the University of Southern California (which, of course, is also regionally accredited).

I believe Bob unreservedly, and these qualifications are not in question. But note, no mention of a Th.D from TCU (or anywhere else.) Has Bob acquired his prestigious doctorate in theology since then? If so, how? If Bob wants to continue to be regarded as credible, he needs to come clean on this, and sooner rather than later.


jack635 said...

Maybe Bob got his ThD from ULC San Modesto. They are after all, the International Accreditation Association from which Ambassador College and Ambassador University Corporation finally received their accreditation, before they closed up shop.

I personally have a Doctor of Divinity from ULC. People who have letters after their name are important. Aren't they? The difference between me and Bob is I don't make money with my piece of paper, or ruin peoples lives with rules to live and tithe by.

Also, my D.D. trumps Ronald Weinland's ministers credentials. So what I say is more truthful than anything Ron says.

Dr. Jack635 PhD, D.D.

Baywolfe said...

Honestly, considering the house of cards that all religions are based on, it doesn't matter to me one bit whether he has a ThD any more than if he claimed he had a PHD in Invisible Dragonry.

It's all a made-up, non-productive unfortunate segment of our society. One we would be much better off if it all went away and died.

Corky said...

Awww c'mon, everyone knows it's bogus.

Besides that, what is a degree in bogus entities anyway? Just a degree in stupidity is all anyone can make of it.

A degree in theology means someone has a knowledge of the Bible. Whoopee! So does a whole bunch of other people.

But wait, that degree means you have "authority" over those who don't. But wait again, did Jesus have a degree? Well, we know Paul did, you know, studying theology at the feet of Gamaliel and all.

Oh well, take it away...please.

Stan Gardner said...


Ambassador University Corporation to my knowledge has no affiliation to Ambassador University in Big Sandy, Texas which was an accredited institution before it closed in 1997.

Ambassador University Corporation has no accreditation from a Coordinating Board recognized accreditor. It claims accreditation by apostille; apostilles are not accreditation indicators.

Stan Gardner

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

We need to add the following to the Wikipedia list of unaccredited institutions of higher learning:

• Herbert W. Armstrong College
• Living University


Leonardo said...

And while you're at it, Gavin, I would be interested in knowing what exactly Thiel got his PhD in - what specific field?

I still find Thiel's hesitancy in these areas quite suspicious. It sure doesn't help his case.

Of course, all of this could be quickly ended by the disclosure of a standard curriculum vitae, written in plain English so verification can be made easier.

Dr Jack635 D.D. said...

Sorry Stan,
I don't feel like researching the facts about Pasadena again. I remember reading Ambassador trying to get accredited during the receivership in California. As far as I'm concerned Herbie & Son are dead and their empires in shambles. They took religion to hollywood and made a killing.

My point is I have a Doctor of Divinity that is registered and legal, but not recognised by any educational institution. My personal opinion on degrees issued by religious organisations is they aren't the same as a degree issued by a real university or college. So Thiel can claim whatever he wants, but the only recognised degree he holds is one from a "real" university that is on a department of education's approved list.

PurpleHymnal said...

Jack is not the only ex-member who can now claim a "university degree" even though they only attended AC during its halcyon (Or should that be Halcion, given some of the stories that have come out since.) days of the unaccredited bible college.

On one hand, I *know* some of the people who presently claim they are "university" educated (from "Ambassador" University, no less), and it seems to have been the only way they've gotten to where they have in their lives since exiting the church; they had neither the jobs nor the professions they have now, than when they were in.

Note, these people I speak of are NOT the lying pastards still sucking money from the sheeple in any of the splinters, nor the ministers of misery who are still engaged in Junior's papal ponzi scheme. All of whom lie brilliantly that they are university-accredited, even though they may have only attended AC in the '50s,'60s, and '70s.

So, on the one hand, are they lying? Through their teeth. But on the other hand, if they aren't taking advantage of others, and they have managed to make something of their lives outside of the church, then what harm is there in fudging the truth?

I dunno. I'm from the generation of kids who were told it wasn't necessary to go on to higher education, because we would all be in the Place of Safety, though, so I don't even have an AC degree to lie about.....

Anonymous said...

If Bob Thiel still thinks 2012 is somehow credible, he may want to take a look at what the Mayans themselves are saying today......

2012 isn't the end of the world, Mayans insist

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Apolinario Chile Pixtun is tired of being bombarded with frantic questions about the Mayan calendar supposedly "running out" on Dec. 21, 2012. After all, it's not the end of the world.

Or is it?

Definitely not, the Mayan Indian elder insists. "I came back from England last year and, man, they had me fed up with this stuff."

It can only get worse for him. Next month Hollywood's "2012" opens in cinemas, featuring earthquakes, meteor showers and a tsunami dumping an aircraft carrier on the White House.

At Cornell University, Ann Martin, who runs the "Curious? Ask an Astronomer" Web site, says people are scared.

"It's too bad that we're getting e-mails from fourth-graders who are saying that they're too young to die," Martin said. "We had a mother of two young children who was afraid she wouldn't live to see them grow up."

Chile Pixtun, a Guatemalan, says the doomsday theories spring from Western, not Mayan ideas.

A significant time period for the Mayas does end on the date, and enthusiasts have found a series of astronomical alignments they say coincide in 2012, including one that happens roughly only once every 25,800 years.

But most archaeologists, astronomers and Maya say the only thing likely to hit Earth is a meteor shower of New Age philosophy, pop astronomy, Internet doomsday rumors and TV specials such as one on the History Channel which mixes "predictions" from Nostradamus and the Mayas and asks: "Is 2012 the year the cosmic clock finally winds down to zero days, zero hope?"

The Other Kind of Preacher's Kid said...

I have a BS in BS, so trust me when I say Dr. Bob's degree smells familiar...

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 2:38, thank you for the article you included in your post.

This is so indicative of the fundamentalist end-time mindset in action - citing as “evidence” for their wacky ideas things typically not well understood by the general public (in this case, Mayan calendars, but certain misinterpretations of quantum physics is also quite popular in "proving" supernatural concepts as well).

Does anyone here remember the so-called “Jupiter Effect” from the ‘70’s? It was used as “proof” that certain unusual astronomical alignments would trigger off cataclysmic events here on earth. And I remember certain sections of the naïve public getting all panic-stricken at that time. I’m sure if the good “Dr.” Thiel would have been in publishing mode back then, no doubt he would have cashed in on the easy-to-fool public by writing a book on the subject during the '70's.

Here’s the first paragraph from the Wikipedia article on the Jupiter Effect:

“The Jupiter Effect is a bestselling 1974 book by John Gribbin and Stephen Plagemann, which predicted that an alignment of the planets would create a number of catastrophes, including a great earthquake on the San Andreas Fault, on March 10, 1982. The predicted catastrophes did not occur.”

This is the great advantage of having a general understanding of history – you see the same human behavioral patterns repeating over and over again, with the gullible masses predictably getting their “bowels in an uproar” – if not by means of the Jupiter Effect, then 2012 Mayan prophecies or something else.

But here we are in 2009, and life on earth still continues.

Retired Prof said...

PurpleHymnal said:

"I dunno. I'm from the generation of kids who were told it wasn't necessary to go on to higher education, because we would all be in the Place of Safety . . . ."

Yeah, me too. I had my doubts about the prophesy, but that wasn't the entire reason I ignored my father's advice and went to a real college after leaving Ambassador. Main thing was, I figured attending college and grad school would be fulfilling way to spend a few years of my life, even if the prophesy came to pass. I was right.

The anti-intellectualism that permeated the Radio/Worldwide COG gave a lot of kids the idea that college was 1) worthless except as preparation for work and 2) spiritually dangerous. The idea stunted the development of many a smart and curious young person.

Leonardo said...

Retired Prof wrote:
"The anti-intellectualism that permeated the Radio/Worldwide COG gave a lot of kids the idea that college was 1) worthless except as preparation for work and 2) spiritually dangerous. The idea stunted the development of many a smart and curious young person."

So true. I congratulate you on your unusual foresight, so rare within the wider COG's.

The real-life and long-range implications of supernatural doctrines are often overlooked by those so zealously promoting them.

I find it shocking how incredibly ignorant so many church members are these days (and, may I say, a rather large number of the ministry equally as ignorant), not only in the field of general knowledge, but especially with respect to some of the most basic issues of their theological beliefs.

And what stuns me even more is how many appear content to remain so, even to the point of actually trying to defend their appalling level of ignorance with the standard “It’s-not-a-salvation-issue” defense. Virtually every single Church member I’ve ever had this basic discussion with inevitably falls back on that old worn-eaten chestnut of an excuse sooner or later. Such bromides have been repeated so often they’ve become stale and threadbare.

I don’t think it’s their intent, but by arguing in this way, many members are actually exalting ignorance to the level of a virtue, and in some cases almost seem proud of their lack of “worldly” knowledge.

I know a few years ago a Church lady told me openly, “Look, I just don’t have the interest nor the time to study into these things. I just have to trust the ministry, that they’re telling me the truth.” (Strange, though, how she always managed to find enough time to watch a lot of mindless TV, but I guess the issue of personal time management is a whole other issue, and none of my business!)

But isn’t that a rather pathetic excuse to hide behind in order to avoid the responsibility of thinking and personal effort? As politicians plainly understand, such passivity of mind is very easily controlled and misled, and I think that’s why the ministry these days subtly tends to encourage it—when the sheep are mentally drugged and unquestioning, it’s a lot easier to keep them in line, and those tithe dollars rolling in.

Anonymous said...


Yes, I do remember the "Jupiter Effect". Interestingly, the first I ever heard it occurred during my very first meeting with a minister prior to being invited to attend services. How naive I was to believe that if I wasn't safe and secure within this "know all" group, horrible things would befall me.

The dreaded month and year came and went, and nothing happened. The minister was silent. I should have taken that as an indication that when prophecies don't come to pass, how conveniently the ministry forgets they ever spoke it.

But whose fault is it? I should have taken the initiative to question the minister "hey, do you remember when you told me ... " Maybe it was a matter of being too fearful to approach that guarded section in the back of the hall where the deacons questioned and evaluated what you wanted to talk to the minister about before deciding if you would be granted the opportunity to have a few private minutes with the pastard.

Sheer stupidity.

Mel said...

Thiel's silence on this is indeed odd.
Why has he not taken the opportunity to simply clarify where and when he received the alleged degree which seemed to have come out of no-where?

The more time passes on this, the more fishy it becomes.

Thiel holds the key to unstinkify this matter.

I cannot think of a single credible person who would NOT want to make such a matter clear, if questions were raised based on the murkiness of his claim.

I certainly would not expect Thiel to explain "in plain English", since that would be a stretch for him. However, it would be the right thing to do, if he were to take a stab(pun intended) at a "plain English" explanation.

What kind of a person would not want to be up-front about where and when he or she received the degrees that are claimed to have been earned?


Leonardo said...

Anonymous 12:47 wrote:
“I should have taken the initiative to question the minister "hey, do you remember when you told me ... "

I agree. And that again demonstrates the value of history.

But the COG’s don’t like it when truth-seeking minds bring up the many embarrassments of the past - and they subtly encourage members to forget these more embarrassing aspects of their historical record, especially as it applies to the WCG.

This is because the objective and undisputed record of REAL history is extremely damaging to fundamentalist belief systems. Gerald Waterhouse, for instance, used to say, “Paul says we are to look forward to what lies ahead, and forget the past!” (Philippians 3:13) in order to avoid having to explain past failures. And believe me, he had a LOT of them in the past to explain!

But the ministry also often uses intimidation to keep people from questioning the numerous foolish statements they’ve made, presumably under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

I remember a minister made some absolutely wrong and idiotic comments with respect to carbon 14 dating once in a sermon. This was around 2003 or so.

After the service, a number of members went out to a local restaurant for dinner, and the minister and I were among them. After the meal, we were all standing around talking, I brought up the subject to him privately, which I ALWAYS did out of respect when I questioned something a minister had said, because my goal was not to make him look foolish in the eyes of his congregation, but instead to clarify what he had said or meant to say, in my own mind.

Anyway, I had just been studying the subject of evolution, and the knowledge of radiometric dating systems was fresh on my mind, and I humbly reminded him that there were about 75 other methods of dating that calibrate together and verify the carbon 14 method very well, at least within the age parameters carbon 14 is intended to work within. I presented my case very quickly and briefly, yet articulating the basic essential facts relevant to that particular discussion.

I remember he looked at me in a surprised kind of way, stunned that a congregant would actually ask such a question, and he literally turned around quickly and walked away from me in a huff! I had NOT openly challenged him in any kind of disgraceful way at all. We had been pleasantly talking together about various other subjects, and so I just said something to the effect that, “Mr. So & So, about something you mentioned in your sermon today: are you aware that extensive studies done on carbon 14 dating have proven it’s validity quite thoroughly, and that…” So it wasn’t like I had suddenly come up to him by surprise and angrily challenged what he said in front of others.

He did come back to me real soon thereafter, autocratically mumbling something about evolution being a ridiculous concept that he had disproven years ago, or something like that. But he never did directly address my question!

Only a handful of ministers I have ever met in my life, and I knew a LOT of them, could humbly say something like, “You know, that’s a good point, and one I really don’t know much about.” Instead, most of them act offended when a mere member has a more knowledgeable grasp of a subject than they do.

That’s why I always urge people today with great passion, now with 30+ years of experience and retrospect behind me in fundamentalist religion, to take the time to learn the simple elementary basics of critical thinking skills. If I had known and been trained somewhat in them when I was a teenager, I think I would have very quickly seen through the entire Armstrong fundamentalist ideology right at the very beginning of my involvement with it, and hopefully understood that it was a belief system that was based on and held together by little more than spit, tissue paper and loads of wishful thinking!

Anonymous said...

jack635 said...
"Maybe Bob got his ThD from ULC San Modesto. They are after all, the International Accreditation Association from which Ambassador College and Ambassador University Corporation finally received their accreditation, before they closed up shop."

Not sure what you mean by this...because this seems to be a bogus Accreditation Association, but for what its worth, AU was legitimatly accredited by: the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.