Monday, 18 January 2010

Future Shock

Commentary by Dennis Diehl

I'll get right to the point. Can human beings know the future? No they cannot.

The future is an illusion, as is the past. We think the future is something ahead of us that is laid out in some way that is knowable only to the "chosenites" in the world of religion. Our experience in the WCG and all those who continue to base most of their ministries on the fallacy that the future is knowable either in the form of some revelation or prophecy is that, indeed, if we just work the dials correctly, we can know the unknowable.

The Bible is not really 1/3 prophecy as we have been assured. It has prophecy. It has failed prophecy. It has text that is made to look prophetic which , in fact, has been redacted into the text and written after the events it pretends to foretell will happen. If you want to make the head of a COG prophetic type spin, just tell him that the entire Book of Daniel was written as prophecy in reverse. It was written long after the events it foretells happened and when it gets to the parts that are really future, it goes vague. It was written to encourage the Jews in just the same way it's knock-off, Revelation, was written to encourage the Jewish Church. However in both cases, the Romans won.

Matthew, in his gospel was notorious for his "fulfillment" texts about the birth of Jesus being foretold in every detail from the flight to Egypt to the murder of the children and the Virgin Birth. Matthew needed to tell a story about Jesus and went back into the OT for hints of what to say. No one knew anything about Jesus birth, so stories had to be written.

NOT ONE of his "thus it was fulfilled" passages was a prophecy about Jesus. NOT ONE was ever meant to mean what meaning Matthew assigned it. NOT ONE is prophecy and ALL are taken grossly out of context. But since it is "Matthew" who wrote it, (the author's name was assigned to the anonymous book many years after it was written), we assume he must know what the scoop is or was. Since it is "in the Bible" it must be true. We suspend critical thinking and we pay for it by perpetuating ignorance and pious conviction salted with marginal information.

The Apostle Paul was a bit more subtle in his misquoting of the OT to make his points. For example, since he wanted to promote his approach to faith and grace over works, he made a text that really said, "The just shall live by HIS Faith," into "The just shall live by faith." Big diff. And why the Pharisee of Pharisees who was the smartest pencil in the box and a Hebrew of the Hebrews used the Greek renditions in all his OT justifications for his Gospel, we can only guess. I suspect Paul was not a Pharisee at all and only God knows why if he was the top dog in Jerusalem at the same time as the Gospel Jesus, why he never showed up to persecute him. But I wander.

The very lifeblood of the major splinter's of WCG depend on prophecy and their "time is short" rendition of it for their survival. It is their schtick. It's the Goose that lays the Golden Egg for them. It is also bunk.

A close reading of the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel will show that much of what they predicted failed to occur. Yet in our day we can project those past failed prophecies into the future as if they have yet to occur the first time and keep the hokum alive. Most would never understand that competing factions in the OT inserted failed prophecies into the text to make fools out of their rivals.

The further back in history prophecy seems to go the more we lionize the author of it. We all know today that ANYONE who laid seige to a frying pan, crawled through a small hole he punched in the temple wall, cooked his food with his own dung, laid on his side for a year and flipped over for a bit more time and heard voices constantly in his head was not well. However as the Prophet Ezekiel, we look the other way. What if modern Christianity is based on the perceptions of men with temporal lobe epilepsy, bi polar difficulties or schizophrenia? These conditions would make fascinating personages and easily attract the religious among them, but today we would put them on medication.

Even in the NT, any man who cast the demon out of a human being, in reality, having an epileptic seizure, and restored him to normalcy in about thirty minutes, would feel he had done something amazing. Of course, it takes about thirty minutes to get over a seizure. Mayan Priests used to get up before sunrise and beckon forth the sun. Sure enough...it dawned on them. What miracle workers!

The Book of Revelation, the very lifeblood of the COG splinters is a failed prophecy and it failed in either 56 AD or on October 8th, 70 AD depending on one's chronological tendencies. Revelation is a marvelous astro-theological text adapted to encouraging the Jewish Christians before the destruction of the Temple by the Romans who were not often held to prophectic timetables in their running of the country. It's a book that bashes the two most hated people in the minds of the Jewish Church....Vespasian and the false prophet and destroyer of Jewish Church Customs, the Apostle Paul. (All this is IMHO.)

In the letter to the church at Ephesus in Revelation we find this simple reality:

The Apostle Paul: I am the Apostle to Ephesus
Jesus to the Jewish Church: You have tried those who say the are Apostles and found them wanting."
Jewish Church to Paul: "Sorry, but we hate you."
The Apostle Paul to the Church: "All those in Asia (where Ephesus is) have forsaken ME." (You'd think he'd ask why? instead of just asking God to forgive them all for being wrong about him)
Jesus to the Jewish Church: "Well done."
Jewish Church to Jesus: "Thank you."

Time, past and future is an illusion. It is not real. It either is a present moment now past or a present moment not yet here at which time it will not be the future but just another present moment. It is unknowable because it has not yet occurred. And the story can go ten million ways before it ever arrives at another present moment.

Are we so blind that we cannot admit that 100% of all speculations both in and out of the Bible about how it will be and when it will all go this way or that depending on one's beliefs, have proven 100% false 100% of the time for the past 2000 years?

Do we not see that "God does not see time as you do," or that "a day with God is as a thousand years," is the apologetic for getting it wrong...again?

It is said that not even God can change the past. Dare we say that not even God knows the future? I dare say we can and it is men who dabble in such silliness and not God at all. Jesus said he did not know the day or the hour and assumed only God did. At least he admitted he did not. Jesus did not know the day or the hour because it is unknowable as it has not yet happened or not happened depending on which event actually occurs.

It used to be intriguing to me but now is quite sad and not a little frightening to witness the battle of the ministers in the splinters for top dog. I think it takes a mentally ill human being to put his name in the same sentence with Elijah, John the Baptist and Jesus. I'm not a little annoyed that the Apostle Paul said he was called from the womb ranking himself right up there with Jeremiah and Jesus. Nothing has change in the world of title taking. I think it takes a mentally ill human being to demand his congregation "send it in," or claim to be the only one true Chosenite cult and follower of one man. It certainly is a delusion. I think a man who see's himself in the scriptures needs medication not encouragement or a following.

Can human beings know the future? Does the Bible accurately predict the future as if it is all neatly laid out and all the Chosenites have to do is get the combination on the dial correct to unlock it's mysteries? I say no. I believe it is inherent in humans to feel safer THINKING they are both special and in the know about what is going to happen and how they are going to both survive and thrive through "it." I believe they are wrong.

The present moment is all human beings really have. Don't squander it spinning and basing your present moment life on tales full of sound and fury...signifying nothing.

What say you?

59 comments:

larry said...

Dennis, you are right. We (humans) do not and cannot "know" what world events will happen in advance.

We are, however, the only species on the planet that knows it is going to die: that our individual lives WILL end at sometime in the future. Is that a blessing or a curse?

We are the only species here that is aware that there actually is such a thing as the "future". The same thing could be said about the "universe". My dog is oblivious to these concepts. Some people find that an enviable state. Once again, blessing or curse? Good or bad?

Anon said...

I can predict the future. I predict you will get plenty of arguments against the very good points you made.

Our current generation, by the way, has a very real chance of not dying. A number of futurists are saying that within 20 years, death will be optional or only accidental.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10359501-71.html

What it interesting about Kurzweil's writings is that the coming virtual reality will be indistinguishable from our reality and this will enhance many things including worship.

anonSeven21

Anonymous said...

OK then.........there is no god there is no purpose to life.....life itself is a lie...most ppl that have lived are liars the books of the bible are lies and are wrote by liars and we will always be sad ppl with no hope, there is nothing to trust or believe in and i should only live for NOW...shit its just gone! shit its just gone again shit!! oh fuck it....great! wheres my revolver!

Dennis said...

Larry said:

"We are, however, the only species on the planet that knows it is going to die: that our individual lives WILL end at sometime in the future. Is that a blessing or a curse?"

Exactly right Larry and great observation. I have asked myself the same. It is a function of being more conscious a creature than all others. We are aware that we are aware and it gives us the ability to be angry,depressed or pleased about the remembered past and anxious and fearful of the future. I think we use fear to give our selves a sense of having some control. We have none.

That is why I find Eckhart Tolle's understanding of The Power of Now so helpful. He was on the verge of suicide and said, "I can't take it anymore," when he asked "who is the I that can't take it anymore? Are their two of me and which one is real?" He lived and wrote a very helpful book on staying present and putting the "painbody" in it's place.

If you read his book you will see that what we all do here on AW is violate the power of now and feed our painbodies over the issue of WCG and religion in our life stories.

We all have a story, but we are not our story.

Dennis said...

"What it interesting about Kurzweil's writings is that the coming virtual reality will be indistinguishable from our reality and this will enhance many things including worship."

Some quantum physics type tell us that our reality is identical with virtual reality. Both are illusions. Well done but still illusions.

"Whatever a tree is..it is not green." :) (This in light of the fact that we only see certain frequencies and whether we like it or not or understand, the world we view through our lenses is not "out there." It is a movie playing in our heads, in the dark, being watched by our consciousness.
Only after light passes through the eyes and is turned from image into signals back into pictures in the back of the brain do we "see."

If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a noise? I used to think this was a joke. The answer is NO, it makes no noise. It makes frequency waves that ONLY turn to noise AFTER it passes through an ear, undoes the frequency and produces a noise in our heads. There is no noise external to our ears. In short, the world is silent made only of waves until filtered through our senses.

Yikes :)

Dennis said...

As an example of "we all have a story and it can go ten thousand different ways," in June of '71 wanted out of LA for the summer and had a plane ticket for Boise, Idaho.

About 3 the afternoon before I left the next day at 6 am, Fred Gilreath, in charge of the switchboard etc, approached me to take the summer job doing that. I said no, I was going to Idaho, but he insisted "just try it ONE evening," As a student, I felt he'd think bad of me and it would affect my desire to be a minister (nuther story) so I agreed. (In those days you could just fly the next day) Hated the job, and told him no when he came in, but got off at 8am the morning I was supposed to leave at 6 am so "missed the plane."

That plane was hit by an errant fighter jet over Duarte, Calif and ended up as trash on Bear Mountain in Southern California.

That would have changed my story. I can only assume God wanted me to be a massage therapist and that's all :)

Dennis said...

I like this topic, so pardon the posts.

Larry asked, Some people find that an enviable state. Once again, blessing or curse? Good or bad?

Depends on topic, Bad and good. Neanderthal's had only the consciousness to live day to day. They evidently did not think much about the past nor future. In 200,000 years they did not think to change their tools. They were a very successful hominid in the sense of longevity of the species. Tough folks. They just lived in the present as witnessed by their general lack of creativity.

We humans are wired differently and in 100,000 years or so went from stone tools to the moon and quantum physics.

However our smart ass consciousness has not proven to give us what we need to survive and I believe that Neanderthal will prove to have been around much longer than homo sapiens will be.

So it's good and bad. I think too much. I know it. I think too much about the past and get "angry" (letting go though) and too much about the future producing anxiety (same comment).

This is why I latched on to the Power of Now and need to make journey's back into the past or ahead into the future when I choose if there is some good reason to do so. It is not easy.

Eckhart Tolle is Yoda personified to me. He puts any minister to shame in his humble presentations of the way it is. I listen to him rather than "follow" or "admire" him. He would scoff at that. I listen to him and know that my mind acts and reacts to life in exactly the way he describes it as well as the burden of the painbody and baggage we all carry in life if you are lucky to live long enough.

nuff said

Russell Miller said...

I think you're making a lot of assumptions about things you don't know. You made quite a few statements of fact ("man cannot know the future") that it is not possible at the moment to back up with any kind of certainty.

It's your opinion, of course. And I don't know if it's right or wrong. But that's all it is, an opinion, and one of many.

There are many psychics out there who think they can, and I can't completely discount that (though one guy didn't help his case by treating string theory as "proven" as an explanation - and it's anything but!). If time is an illusion, then you are inadvertently correct because there is no such thing as future. Perhaps everything is predestined, and has already happened, just as it already will. Who knows?

Watch out for dogma.

And Larry, you are wrong, as usual and always. My cat knows about the future. She knows that if she bites me she's not going to like the consequences. Therefore she does it anyway and runs.

Anon: Kurzweil's opinions and $3.50 buys me coffee at Starbucks.

Mary Lane said...

Thanks Dennis. Maybe like Fred, you could rewrite the New Testament? and do God a favor-hmmm?

Jethro said...

Dennis, you've been thinking again. I can smell it on your breath from here. It is obvious that you have a thinking problem, and you know what HWA said about thinking. I suspect you are even thinking on the job. I would guess you are a heavy thinker, and that you also think and drive, which means you could end up with a DWI (Driving With Ideas). But help is available. If you need it, you can go to de-thoughts, and after that rehab. Community sober support is also available in the form of the Sabbatarian Church of God nearest to your residence. Dennis, I implore you to get help before it is too late. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Dennis asks:
" What say you? "


Your entitled to your opinion.

And that's all it is.........

"Your Opinion"

Anoneemoose

Ex-Android said...

Ambrose Bierce defined prophecy as:

"The art and practice of selling one's credibility for future delivery."

Anonymous said...

Who told Dennis this stuff?

Baywolfe said...

Dennis,

Boy I hope I can get the lake of fire oven right next to yours when we're both getting ready to become "ashes under the feet" of those "saints" in the XCOGs.

I remember hearing you speak once, at an FOT somewhere. I'm pretty sure this has that sermon beat by a longshot.

larry said...

Russell,
Your analogy is wrong, as usual. Understanding that there are consequences to certain actions is not the same as realizing that one will eventually die or that there will be a "tomorrow" or a "next week".

For instance, if you punish your cat tomorrow for biting you today, she will think you are nuts. Hmmm.....

Dennis said...

How about looking up Matthew's references to "and thus it was fulfilled" and "proving" it was prohecy instead of misquoting and taking the OT out of context?

Russell Miller said...

"Your analogy is wrong, as usual. Understanding that there are consequences to certain actions is not the same as realizing that one will eventually die or that there will be a "tomorrow" or a "next week"."

Larry, until you have talked to my cat, I will take your opinion with the grain of salt it deserves. You have no more idea of what my cat is thinking than I do. Actually, you have less, because I know her better than you do. But even so. Neither of us knows what she is thinking or if she knows she'll die someday. Your hypotheses are just as unfounded in fact as Dennis'.

Though obviously I like Dennis better, so, whatever.

Dr Zoidberg said...

Russell Miller said...

I think you're making a lot of assumptions about things you don't know. You made quite a few statements of fact ("man cannot know the future") that it is not possible at the moment to back up with any kind of certainty.

It's your opinion, of course. And I don't know if it's right or wrong. But that's all it is, an opinion, and one of many.



I think humanity's entire concept of time is off. All we have an inkling of it is its tied to gravity and space and matter. Ask a college professor what time is, they can't tell you!

We do know that its no longer a fixed linear arrow, it can be squeezed and enlarged.

There's a lot of truth in William Blake's poem:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.

How we see time depends once again on consciousness. Get in a car wreck and you can recall in detail microseconds of time passing. Raise a kid and you wonder where 18 years went.

Consciousness is not an emergent quality of the universe, the universe is an emergent quality of consciousness.


There are many psychics out there who think they can, and I can't completely discount that (though one guy didn't help his case by treating string theory as "proven" as an explanation - and it's anything but!). If time is an illusion, then you are inadvertently correct because there is no such thing as future.

Perhaps everything is predestined, and has already happened, just as it already will. Who knows?

Watch out for dogma.


Watch out of the over riding need to know all the answers and you avoid dogma. Its fun searching answers out, and it seems to be what humans do best, but be flexible enough to know mankind's limitations on what is knowable.

And Larry, you are wrong, as usual and always. My cat knows about the future. She knows that if she bites me she's not going to like the consequences. Therefore she does it anyway and runs.

LOL!!!

Anon: Kurzweil's opinions and $3.50 buys me coffee at Starbucks.

Kurzweil is a singularity. A singularity of ego. What he's predicted has been predicted every decade. Electronic brains and their dysfunctions were the staple of 1950s SCIFI B movies.

We still don't have HAL 9000.

Dennis said...

"OK then.........there is no god there is no purpose to life.....life itself is a lie...most ppl that have lived are liars the books of the bible are lies and are wrote by liars and we will always be sad ppl with no hope, there is nothing to trust or believe in and i should only live for NOW...shit its just gone! shit its just gone again shit!! oh fuck it....great! wheres my revolver!"

Life has the meaning you assign it. I'd love to know that there is a higher power that is going to rescue me or make it all meaningful. I just don't have any personal evidence that this is so.

Perhaps being a hairless ape with consciousness is not the best combo. I do understand. I have the same feelings about it all.

Dennis said...

"You made quite a few statements of fact ("man cannot know the future") that it is not possible at the moment to back up with any kind of certainty."

Which statements?

Dennis said...

Anonymous said...
Who told Dennis this stuff?

Satan :)

Dennis said...

"Thanks Dennis. Maybe like Fred, you could rewrite the New Testament? and do God a favor-hmmm?"

You're welcome

Anonymous said...

great article. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did anyone hear that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.

Leonardo said...

I very much agree with much of what you say, Dennis.

As far as a sentient beings go, eternity is NOW, the present moment, not something far behind us or far out ahead of us. Of course, Buddhism has been teaching this for many centuries now, so the concept is nothing new.

But I suppose this entire topic depends upon the actual objective nature of time itself, which, in my opinion, humanity doesn’t even remotely understand yet, though theoretical physicists are probably closer to a clearer knowledge of it than most of us, including philosophers.

The past several years I’ve been buying and collecting a number of serious books about time because I would very much like to do a study about it because I feel I understand so little about time at present.

To simplify: some cultures view time as circular in nature, like much of Asian philosophy does – some see it as linear, like most of the western world does.

But the topic is well worth serious consideration.

Ray Kurzweil – well, no doubt a genius and visionary, who has about ten times the mental power that my puny little brain does. However, his time-table predictions for the future (see the final pages of his excellent book “The Age of Spiritual Machines, for example) are completely unrealistic, and in my view, hopelessly optimistic.

And does anybody actually believe Kurzweil’s prediction about human immortality being achieved within 20 short years? Come on!

Though brilliant, Kurzweil has a definite tendency to speak of things he sometimes has little working knowledge of. Last week I attended a lecture given by brain researcher and molecular biologist Dr. John Medina (author of the fantastic book “Brain Rules”). After the lecture I went up to meet Dr. Medina, and we had the chance to talk at some length together. He is a very personable and humble fellow to converse with, and has a tremendous sense of humor.

Anyway, the subject of Ray Kurzweil arose during our discussion, and though Dr. Medina spoke highly of Kurzweil in general, still, he said Kurzweil ought to stick with creating great keyboards, because apparently he has publically said some things about the brain which are pretty far off-base. At least that’s what Dr. Medina told me.

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 12:57 wrote:
"OK then.........there is no god there is no purpose to life.....life itself is a lie...most ppl that have lived are liars the books of the bible are lies and are wrote by liars and we will always be sad ppl with no hope, there is nothing to trust or believe in and i should only live for NOW...shit its just gone! shit its just gone again shit!! oh fuck it....great! wheres my revolver!"


The above reasoning is a very illustrative example of the inner workings of the vast majority of fundamentalist minds.

I've known (and current know) many COG members who, if they could suddenly perceive that most of what they believe is totally groundless, would likely decide to blow their brains out within a week.

And I think this is tragic.

Anonymous said...

"Kurzweil's opinions and $3.50 buys me coffee at Starbucks."

IMO? Kurzweil's always been several sandwiches shy of a picnic.....

Mr. Scribe said...

The book should be banned as it is more dangerous than cigarettes.

http://tinyurl.com/yllwtqc

Anonymous said...

"Life has the meaning you assign it. I'd love to know that there is a higher power that is going to rescue me or make it all meaningful. I just don't have any personal evidence that this is so."

Replace "higher power" in the above paragraph with "Holy Spirit-as-filtered-through-semi-Arian-binitarianism", and that's about where I am right now. In all seriousness (I know, what are the odds, right?) and no sarcastic joking intended, that is the one and ONLY part of church theology that I miss having utter, total, blind faith in: That everything and everyone, is connected by some elemental force, at a pre-atomic level.

As Russell points out, however, string theory is in the process of being debunked, and E8 theory is the next big Unified Field Theory on the horizon.

I fear, however, much like my ancestors with the turtles, when it comes to quantum physics ever really being sorted, the true answer is: "It's theories all the way down."

"To simplify: some cultures view time as circular in nature, like much of Asian philosophy does – some see it as linear, like most of the western world does."

I used to see time as circular when I was a kid. (And I hated being trapped in a linear iteration of it!) Now, I tend to think a little further afield, and try to meditate in metaphorical terms of panentheism and the "eternal present" Leo mentions in his comment as well. Not that I've been doing much of that lately, but oh well.

Physicists theorize (there's that word again) that time is purely a construct of human consciousness. So, if we were aliens, we would have a different view of time.

Given that we each survived the parallel universe of the church, perhaps we are aliens, or our consciousnesses are alien to this universe, and that's why we spend so much time back-and-forthing on this topic every time it comes up. :-)

Retired Prof said...

Anonymous 12:57, if you decide to go ahead and do yourself in with your revolver, I hope it is a .22. If you have something more powerful, maybe you could hold a cast iron pot lid up on the opposite side of your head to catch the splatter. No need to cause the undertaker extra work cleaning the walls.

It is in committing small acts of kindness such as this that many of us find a bit of satisfaction in life to offset its ultimate lack of meaning.

Anonymous said...

I've known (and current know) many COG members who, if they could suddenly perceive that most of what they believe is totally groundless, would likely decide to blow their brains out within a week.

When I finally left COG hell, I almost did.

Leaving everything I'd ever been taught, being abandoned by family and ALL of my friends, no longer knowing right from wrong, up from down....was an extremely turbulent process. That transitory period is one of the most traumatic things I've ever experienced.

But, thanks to this website, Gary Scott's now-defunct XCG website, the Painful Truth, and one or two others that escape me, I did not. This community gave me somewhere to hang out while I tried to pull myself together. I wouldn't have made it if it weren't for this place.

Now my life is so much better than it ever was in the COGs. I don't really even know how to articulate it. I guess I'm just....happy. Something that I never was when I was a part of the WCG and its splinters. And when you consider I was born into the WCG.....well, that says something about how evil and destructive Armstrong, Tkach, and all their little brown-nosing ass kissers were and are.

larry said...

Russell, I apologize. I don't have conversations with cats.

And Dennis, how do you deal with the postulate that time is only one of the eleven dimensions hypothesized by string theory?

And, how do you deal with the fact that consciousness cannot be explained by physical or quantum theory?

I am intrigued.

Russell Miller said...

Actually, Aggie, look up the Holographic Principle. That's where some of the truly interesting research is happening.

Russell Miller said...

Larry, neither do I. I do suspect I would find it more interesting than our witty reparte.

Corky said...

Dreaming of an immortal, eternal existence in an afterlife just naturally makes this life worthless.

The problem is that we know about this life but we know nothing of an afterlife outside of hoping for one.

Sure, everyone wants to live forever but they don't want to live forever without all the simple pleasures we really do have.

Eternity as a spirit being needing none of these simple pleasures we enjoy as humans would become more like hell than heaven.

"Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die".

Why is that?

It's because we all know, even if we don't want to admit it, that this life is all there is.

If you choose to waste it chasing after rainbows and pots of gold, that's your business. But, you need to know, there is no end of the rainbow and there is no pot of gold.

Yoda said...

Dennis said: "It was written long after the events it foretells happened and when it gets to the parts that are really future, it goes vague."

So sure are you...?

The latest news, read you have not yes mmm.

Bible Possibly Written Centuries Earlier, Text Suggests

http://www.livescience.com/history/earliest-hebrew-text-100115.html

Dr Zoidberg said...

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 12:57 wrote:
"OK then.........there is no god there is no purpose to life.....life itself is a lie...most ppl that have lived are liars the books of the bible are lies and are wrote by liars....


The above reasoning is a very illustrative example of the inner workings of the vast majority of fundamentalist minds.

I've known (and current know) many COG members who, if they could suddenly perceive that most of what they believe is totally groundless, would likely decide to blow their brains out within a week.


And I think this is tragic.



They made a God out of the religion and the Bible. When you deconstruct that, their worldview collapses because they have no larger vision of things. Yet even among them some put love and relationships first, and those people do just fine.

A slow withdrawal from it is best, but I think science, scholarship, and understanding is moving so fast now that these people might simply go mad when they finally see that what they thought was true, is not.

Its a worldview built around fear, and fear is addictive.

Good video on that here.

Anon said...

anon said: "OK then.........there is no god there is no purpose to life.....life itself is a lie.."

This arrogance amazes me. I look at the animals around the world in abundance and they exist with one purpose. To continue the species.

Suddenly, our own species develops enough brains cells to be conscious of our own self and we suddenly have godly purpose?

Pull the other leg. We are here to develop the species just like all other species. We can choose if we have additional purpose in our life, like to develop and encourage rational thinking, and positive thinking, etc.

But to assume just because we are self aware that we have some godly purpose is arrogant and delusional.

anonSeven21

Anon said...

Anon said: "Now my life is so much better than it ever was in the COGs. I don't really even know how to articulate it. I guess I'm just....happy."

I wholeheartedly agree and have had the same experience in my life.

Life after WCG and after Christianity is wonderful and amazing. No more guilt, no more shame, no more worry and no more SIN! Yay!

By the way, I read Kurzweil's book, "The age of spiritual machines" back in 2000, recently I looked at the predictions he made back then for what would be true in 2010 and it was amazing how accurate his predictions were.

anonSeven21

Purple Hymnal said...

"Leaving everything I'd ever been taught, being abandoned by family and ALL of my friends, no longer knowing right from wrong, up from down....was an extremely turbulent process. That transitory period is one of the most traumatic things I've ever experienced."

Yep. Me too. That was a rough couple of years, and I didn't have any ex-CoG websites on my radar at the time. Science fiction saved me, and I will be grateful for that, until my dying day.

Thank you Star Trek and Mulder and Scully and Dr Who and Blake's 7 (and every four-episode SF show that hit the air), thank you for every SF movie I went to see countless times, and thank you for every used bookstore I haunted for two years, for that.

Purple Hymnal said...

Hey Russ, the "holographic universe" is a newage theory that's been kicking around since the late '80s. Science still hasn't proven it. E8 theory is the way I roll, now.

Den said...

PS In fact, if annon would get in touch with me through Gavin, perhaps we can talk a bit and you could help me out with your experience.

I find only two choices in life. Be open and honest or closed and dishonest or too stuck on image and appearances. It's still not easy to do or be.

Russell Miller said...

Aggie, there's some pretty solid math behind the holographic principle. It's not "new age". E8 is interesting, but it's just a pile of symmetries. I don't think it accounts for gravity, though I could be mistaken on that.

Anonymous said...

While you guy doubt deny and debate God and His word many of us are happily serving Him and therefore have the peace that surpasses all understanding

Anonymous said...

RETIRED PROF SAID

Anonymous 12:57, if you decide to go ahead and do yourself in with your revolver, I hope it is a .22. If you have something more powerful, maybe you could hold a cast iron pot lid up on the opposite side of your head to catch the splatter. No need to cause the undertaker extra work cleaning the walls.

It is in committing small acts of kindness such as this that many of us find a bit of satisfaction in life to offset its ultimate lack of meaning.

anon says

Thank you so much for your sage council, and of course your words of consideration but alas I live in the UK so a firearm is as faraway from me as any understanding I have about life and its meaning. I do find though that those with a simple understanding of god seem to be more content with life , while those who see themselves on another intellectual level and can understand other intellectual ideas seem the most tortured of souls....sometimes I think that the words simple and intellectual dont tell us the full picture, I think i will just be content with the simple tales of a gentle carpenter to keep me in blissful ignorance.

Anonymous said...

The Apostle Paul told us in 2 Timothy 3:1-4
"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God."

Historian Paul Johnson wrote a book entitled "Modern Times." It is a detailed study of the era from World War I to the early 1980s. He states, "This is the first epoch in nearly 2,000 years in which most governments have been guided by what might be called post-Christian ethics. And I find it to be unique in its cruelty, destructiveness and depravity. Once again I discovered that the historical record actually strengthened my faith. These huge evils occurred precisely because great power was placed in the hands of men who had no fear of God and who believed themselves restrained by no absolute code of conduct (Lenin, Stalin and Hitler)...The history of the 20th century proves the view that as the vision of God fades, we first become mere clever monkeys; then, we exterminate one another."

Would you call this prophetic? I would. Removing the dignity of being made in God's image and making light of God's word leads to nothing good. God's word gives us liberty, hope and TRUTH. Don't be discouraged--God is there. He and Christ are real.

Anonymous said...

Dennis writes, "I'll get right to the point. Can human beings know the future? No they cannot."

Pretty dour, I'd say, and wrong.

Moses is the ultimate prophet and Israel is the witness to the validity of Moses' prophecy. All subsequent prophecy is to be weighed against the benchmark of Moses.

Israel abandoned the covenant and was exiled, precisely as promised in the covenant. The northern tribes are now so thoroughly assimilated that their identities are no longer known. We all know this, and still manage to reject prophecy?

One day Israel will discover her identity, consider her desperate condition and wholeheartedly return to God, Torah and the promised land. That's the part not yet fully realized, but the redemption has begun, with Judah in the lead as in the days of Moses.

The bulk of the promised exile still continues, in plain sight of the whole world, so the promise of complete return should be no less trustworthy.

All of this is easily corroborated in scripture, in history and in today's world news. Since I'm no Bible thumper, I'll spare everyone the references, but they're there, and plain as the noses on our faces.

Content Former Member

Russell Miller said...

"While you guy doubt deny and debate God and His word many of us are happily serving Him and therefore have the peace that surpasses all understanding"

And of course you have to come here and stir it up because you're so peaceful. "By their fruits shall ye know them", and your fruit is rotten.

Anonymous said...

""This is the first epoch in nearly 2,000 years in which most governments have been guided by what might be called post-Christian ethics. And I find it to be unique in its cruelty, destructiveness and depravity."

Then you must be totally ignorant of the past 2000 years. The only thing unique to the tyrants of the 20th century is their efficiency in killing; but they are no more cruel, destructive, or depraved than any other past tyrant, including the god of the bible himself, who murdered every infant on the planet in a big flood, and ordered the Israelites to slaughter infants and children during the conquest of Cannan. But you probably don't have a problem with genocide, as long as your god orders it. Hitler and Stalin look like schoolboys compared to your psychopathic god- the wellspring of your "morality."

The Apostate Paul

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 7:55 wrote (quoting British historian Paul Johnson):
""This is the first epoch in nearly 2,000 years in which most governments have been guided by what might be called post-Christian ethics. And I find it to be unique in its cruelty, destructiveness and depravity."


I greatly respect Paul Johnson, and have read his books, but before you buy into this short-sighted view (strongly influenced by his Catholic ideology), you might want to check out the following video - it may shock you if you labor under the demonstrably FALSE idea that things (human violence, specifically) are getting worse:

http://www.ted.com/talks
/lang/eng/steven_pinker
_on_the_myth_of_violence
.html

Actual objective FACTS are the most important things, not religious ideologies in determining truth.

At least be fair and give this 20-minute video a careful listen. I’m not saying Pinker makes an absolutely iron-clad case for this perspective, but it’s worthy of careful consideration. So give up viewing “Dancing with the Stars” tonight and watch this thought-provoking video instead.

CAUTION: The facts may change your end-time mindset that humanity is getting more and more violent, ala the Apostle Paul. Perhaps the reality is just the OPPOSITE to what the purveyors of religion want you to believe.

Leonardo said...

Content former member claims:
"...I'm no Bible thumper."


I beg to differ with you, Content!

In fact, you've provided NOTHING BUT groundless biblical assertions in support of the many claims you've made just in this single blog comment.

Retired Prof said...

Anon, you mentioned that intellectuals "seem the most tortured of souls" and declared your intention to "just be content with the simple tales of a gentle carpenter to keep [you] in blissful ignorance."

This raises an interesting point. We intellectuals are expected to sneer at such willful ignorance, but I notice we close our eyes to our own. Most of my university colleagues were (like me) perfectly happy to remain ignorant of camshafts and carburetors. Most of us enjoyed gathering our academic data and tweaking our academic conclusions; taking time to gain the mechanical knowledge required to repair our own cars would have turned us into "the most tortured of souls."

Gerald Waterhouse used to rant about having to study Shakespeare and Chaucer in college, a vain endeavor that had evidently made his life miserable. I secretly sneered at Waterhouse, because Shakespeare and Chaucer are two of my favorite authors.

But am I any better? No. I avoid his favorites books, Revelations and Jeremiah, because studying them makes me miserable. (For the record, I also avoid Dickens, Milton, and Danielle Steel, among others. It's not just books in the Bible.)*

The way I see it, remaining willfully ignorant of certain fields of knowledge is a way to simplify our lives, a desirable end, and we each need to simplify to our own specifications, to satisfy our own urges. I have seen no evidence that either embracing or denying religious faith causes more misery overall. Some people fare better one way, some the other.

I still sneer at the memory of Gerald Waterhouse, but only because he commanded members to violate whichever of their own intellectual and emotional needs conflicted with the specifications set forth in Herbert W. Armstrong's version of godliness.


*By the way, it also makes me happy to learn as little about golf as possible. Sometimes I have an extra beer in hopes of forgetting what little I do know.

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 7:55 further claims:
"The history of the 20th century proves the view that as the vision of God fades, we first become mere clever monkeys; then, we exterminate one another."


OK Anon, then how would you explain the Spanish Inquisition? Or the Crusades? These folks fervently believed in the Christian God and Jesus, and so could hardly be considered atheists, yet in the name of their God mercilessly tortured and murdered many innocent people. They weren't atheists, as you falsely imply about Adolph Hitler, for example.

Fundamentalists such as yourself make all these big CLAIMS and ASSERTIONS, and constantly appeal to authority to justify your views, but clearly you are embarrassingly oblivious to the most basic facts of history – both Christian and secular.

Explain another thing for all of us too: recent surveys show that atheists actually have a lower divorce rate than evangelical Christians in America. Oh well, so much for “family values” the fundamentalists make such a fetish over.

Please address both of my questions, especially in the light of your claim that “as the vision of God fades, we first become mere clever monkeys; then, we exterminate one another.”

As I always say, put up or shut up!

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 4:18 sanctimoniously wrote:
"While you guy doubt deny and debate God and His word many of us are happily serving Him and therefore have the peace that surpasses all understanding."


Oh really, Anon?

Many sure couldn't tell that by the loony and angry comments you folks regularly write here on AW. Would you not agree that the quality and intelligibility of people's words are a good index of their minds, perhaps even of their inner peace of mind?

You folks consistently couldn’t reason your way out of a paper bag with a bowie knife, and yet you claim to be the true servants of God. It seems to me if you were truly who you regularly claim yourselves to be, you would demonstrate considerably more wisdom, understanding, articulateness and human kindness than you actually do in your brief and often ambiguous comments.

Leonardo said...

And Anonymous 4:57, I wish you could know just some of the ardent Christians I've known up close and personal the past 30 years - then you'd really know who truly are "the most tortured of souls."

And if what you say is true, then WHY do Christians have just as high a suicide rate, or addiction to illegal drugs, or alchohol, as unbeleivers in the general population?

Please answer this question for me.

Dr Zoidberg said...

Historian Paul Johnson wrote a book entitled "Modern Times." It is a detailed study of the era from World War I to the early 1980s.

He states, "This is the first epoch in nearly 2,000 years in which most governments have been guided by what might be called post-Christian ethics. And I find it to be unique in its cruelty, destructiveness and depravity.


He appears to be hugely ignorant of Christian European history and its colonization practices of indigenous cultures that were non-Christian.


Once again I discovered that the historical record actually strengthened my faith.


Onward Christian Soldiers marching on to war....

These huge evils occurred precisely because great power was placed in the hands of men who had no fear of God and who believed themselves restrained by no absolute code of conduct (Lenin, Stalin and Hitler)...

Versus what? Christians who felt their evil actions justified by scripture? Just when you don't expect it along comes the Spanish inquisition.

Hitler and Stalin we meglomaniacs, and cared only for one thing, all the power they could garner for themselves and the crushing of their opponents. Even Hitler patted little girls on the head and liked dogs. Hitler was on methamphetamine and may have been the first drug crazed dictator. Anyone who has seen or dealt with the behavior of crystal meth addicts knows how ruthless and cruel they can be.

The history of the 20th century proves the view that as the vision of God fades, we first become mere clever monkeys; then, we exterminate one another."

I won't argue that the old idea of God is indeed fading. It should. What is emerging is a more encompassing view of God.

One can be moral and not believe in a God. There are many moral atheists. This generalization just falls flat on its face.

Its the illusion that humans are separate from each other and from God that causes people to abuse each other.

If they saw the interconnectedness of life and humanity they wouldn't do what they do. When all humanity is seen as the Children of God (instead of an "elect" few) we will all be better off.

Purple Hymnal said...

"E8 is interesting, but it's just a pile of symmetries. I don't think it accounts for gravity, though I could be mistaken on that."

E8 not only accounts for gravity, it encompasses every other unified field theory out there, including string theory; so rather than invalidating the old theories, it encompasses them all, and provides for a literal multiverse of possibilities, as to what a unified vision of space and time may look like.

At least, according to Garrett Lisi. I make no hard-and-fast judgements as to whether or not E8 will have any staying power, because string theory certainly hasn't. The only way to know for certain will be thanks to the LHC, which is the only evidence I'll be willing to take to the bank.

Anonymous said...

"many of us are happily serving Him and therefore have the peace that surpasses all understanding"

2/10, anon doesn't sound converted enough too wishy-washy

Anonymous said...

"Moses is the ultimate prophet and Israel is the witness to the validity of Moses' prophecy."

PROTIP: "Israel" is NOT the United States and British Commonwealth, anon.

Russell Miller said...

Oh, Aggie, I forgot to mention: there is some experimental support for Holographic Theory.