Oh joy! Willie Dankenbring is now recording his prophetic shtick on YouTube!
- Is Barack Obama the Coming Antichrist?
- How about those kinky Nephilim?
Willie has the inside word on these issues and more on his very own "Overcoming the World" channel. Click across to appreciate the tasteful and understated page design. Relish in the deep scholarship. Hear the technical guy grunt in agreement off camera at critical moments.
Oh hey, what is that thing around Willie's shoulders? (a) A clerical stole, or (b) a bath towel? Either way, nice sartorial touch!
Quick, someone hold me down before I reach for the check book...
When did Bill get so fat?!
Don't tell me people are still paying for he and the missus to sniff grain sheaves under the Solstice moons in Jerusalem every year.....
Proof that a tithe-farm really is a good source of income. I bet the tithe slaves don't eat nearly as well as Billy appears to.
Years ago there was a TV preacher I was able to catch in the Detroit area. Don't rememeber his name, but he was the kind of TV preacher that gave them all a bad name.
Mouth was faster than a used car salesman, with promises of healing, wealth and prosperity flying thick and heavy through the air.
His gimmick though, was unique, as he had the hand towel, er, "mantle" of Elijah, which he would drape over the sick. As I watched, I kept hoping he'd whack or snap someone with that mantle - that would be real TV. SNAP!! Devil be gone!
Maybe that's what Large Willie has - his own mantle of self declared authority. Either that, or it's a convenient towel for when the camera lights get too hot.
Hold off with the check book. I have heard that Roosevelt may have been the antichrist just before Hitler was identified as the antichrist.
No, Obama has not denied that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh even one time that I've heard of.
Of course, the antichrists are the Jews. They are the ones who deny that their messiah has come in the flesh.
In the "epistles" of Peter and John, adding 2+2, they are talking about people leaving the church.
Why were they leaving? Simple. They had been preached to that Jesus was soon returning to the temple in Jerusalem to rule all nations but the temple and Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Romans instead.
So, they were denying that Jesus was the messiah who had come in the flesh and saying, "where is the promise of his coming".
So, Peter said, "the end of all things is at hand" and John said, "it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time".
But then, Peter had a brilliant idea, "a day is a thousand years".
Wow, the religionists can really think things through, can't they?
Wow, I'm absolutely astounded by the high technical quality of Dankenbring's dynamic presentation: the interest-arousing topics, the background décor, the highly experienced staff of professionals obviously behind-the-scenes of such a powerful broadcast, and above all else, the Walter Cronkite-like stage presence of Willie himself!
Move over Dick Ames, UCG, and Mike Feazell - Willie's about ready to give ya some stiff competition in the highly-coveted COG ratings demographic!
Such powerful videos are sure to make a splash for the ages, and draw in numerous potential tithe-payers by such a commanding display of articulateness, research and prophetic depth of understanding!
Yes, my many prophet-wanna-be friends out there, decades of exposure to mind-expanding COG religion, a stint at Ambassador College, working for the crack WCG Editorial Department, years of rigorous Spokesman Club training, and YOU TOO can one day aspire to the high office of presenting God’s Truth to a rapidly-dying world with such authority and professionalism!
Gavin, are you sure the title for this blog topic should be “Willie on Tap” – or “Willie on Drugs”?
Its a religious muffler around his neck.
I suspect he thinks it's a tallit, but a tallit, legitimately is quite large and tent like.
The tzitzit or strings on the ends are a reminder of the law. This is not needed by Christians on whose hearts the law ought to be written.
It's a show.
Oh, and don't forget to click on the video located in the right margin column of Willie's website, the one entitled "DID JESUS GIVE US THE NAME OF THE ANTICHRIST?"
The proof-texts offered therein are a sterling, irrefutable example of biblical scholarship at it's best as brought to you by fundamentalist Christianity.
I really think the U.S. Congress ought to be called into emergency-session and made aware of this astounding prophetic insight.
Willie, you up for a quick trip to Washington to deliver the earth-shattering news?
Willie keeps coughing on camera. I suppose the towel around his neck is a sweat towel. Or, the towel is there to wipe off any phloem he coughs up on camera.
Dankenbring's ideas about the Nephilim are pretty much standard. He quotes extensively from the Companion Bible. This interpretation is that angels are having sexual relations with women.
I am uncertain what the Bible means by all this. But I find it intriguing that orthodox Christians will accept the idea that angels can have sex when it aids in the exegesis of Genesis but deny that resurrected humans will have sex based on the scripture that "they are like the angels, they neither marry or are given in marriage." This scripture, I believe, says exactly what is intended. There is no institution of marriage among the resurrected. It does not say there is not sex.
(I know the atheists will say there is no god and no angels...yada...yada. But setting that aside for a little while, I believe this is a paradox of modern Christian belief.)
Well, at the very least, he's being true to the advertising or marketing approach to evangelism, as vigorously applied by the likes of HWA! Gotta have that hook!
Whatever happened to "perfect love casts out fear?" Any dropout from his or her local community college's version of Psychology 101 could tell you that decisions made under duress are absolutely worthless, yet the ACOGs rely almost totally on fear to give their efforts the extra impact that they must feel is lacking in Jesus' simple message to humanity.
I asked what the deal was with the towel. This was the reply:
"LOL It's a prayer shawl with tassels that men wear, not a towel. Check out Numbers 15:37-41. "
These are the verses:
37 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:
39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them ; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:
40 That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.
41 I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.
The video was a very tight head and shoulders shot. So I'll give Willie the benefit of the doubt that all his other garments had a blue fringe as mandated by the scriptures.
No doubt Willie is following all of the other Old Testament mandates equally well.
He needs a herbal chair like Herb and Ronny. Then I might listen! NOT!
Is that a smokers cough? He does not sound healthy at all. I thought a minister was supposed to set a good example, in mind and body. He doesn't need to eat any more pork chops for quite a while.
Dank is wearing a tallis, or tallit -- a garment invented by the Jewish world to enable a measure of obedience to the command in Numbers 15. Covenanted Israelites were to put tassels, a form of gentle reminders, on the 4 corners of their garments. Since modern clothing doesn't usually include 4 corners, this fictional device was created as a garment for prayer, and is often called a prayer shawl.
I think Bill is using it as a symbol of his clerical role. He's obviously not involved in Jewish prayer, at least not in this YouTube production. Wearing talesim (or talitot) has become fashionable among some Christians who more or less identify with Jewry, which seems to be the case with Bill.
The Bear wrote:
"...this is a paradox of modern Christian belief."
Wow, ya think?
Here's another vital controversy for you to agonize over, Bear, just in case you're inspired to solve the Nephilim controversy over the weekend:
II Samuel 6:23 clearly states: “Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.”
But just a few chapters later, in II Samuel 21:8, it’s written: “So the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for [literally BORE TO] Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite…”
Now I ask you, which scripture is true: was Michal barren all her life as a result of lipping off to her husband David (as the context suggests), or did Michal go on to have five sons from a later husband, Adriel, as is plainly stated in 21:8?
There are many ardent, spirit-led fundamentalist bloggers here who confidently claim biblical inerrancy – so, would any one like to explain this obvious quandry?
Don't miss out on your chance to publically refute a gainsayer!
Its a bar towl, just like here!
I thought the towel was a tribute to HWA.
After all, about the only true teaching from HWA was "After showering, it's good to dry yourself off vigorously, with a towel"
Of course just *how* vigorously is the subject of varied interpretations, and has led to many splinter groups who all claim to carry the TRUE TOWEL TRUTH of Armstrongism forward.
I vote bar towel as well. Remember, alcohol is touted in teh holey babble as 'medicinal' [in a godly way] therefore = BOTTOMS UP. That's the way it always has been in the church and always will be.
Should we proclaim a towel-ban for Willie?
Is Willie a Prophecy Flasher ?
I think I must be the only person to have the good fortune to have never read Dankenbring, nor heard him speak. I have no reference point to even comment on the guy.
He looks like the old man down the street when I was a kid, who "POSTED NO TRESPASSING" on his fence and was always angry and hated kids.
"Old man yells at cloud!"
But then, I'm getting rather silvery myself. Hopefully I am not yelling at clouds yet.
Being nearly my mid 50s, I can see the universe's wisdom in humans not living much beyond 100.
Nothing would ever change for the better if the world was mostly made up of old people who hated change.
If they'd just stop saying their pet theories are "the plan of God" things would improve a whole lot. Like any of these people really know what God's got in mind for humanity.
Like God really wants a nuclear Armageddon they all pander for. What kind of God is that? Where is "the Abba Father" in that line of thinking?
yes, Bamboo_Bends, anyone who really wants a "nuclear Armageddon" to come soon, has to be a few bricks short of a load.
Nevertheless, I expect it will come soon enough. We are finally realizing the nightmare scenario envisioned by the original creators of the bomb, proliferation to the point where a madman or terrorist group could obtain them.
World economic and political stability is very fragile. It wouldn't take much to push everything over the edge.
Bamboo, I knew Bill Dankenbring for a number of years. We attended the same Pasadena congregation, and for years were in the same Spokesman's Club together as well.
Personally, I always liked him. One time back in the early '80's, when I was a young zealot and had just started working out in Pasadena, he kindly invited me over to his house for a wonderful Thanksgiving Day meal with his family, which I very much enjoyed and appreciated at the time. His wife was kind as well - we used to work together in the congregation’s cassette tape library. I’m not sure if they’re still together anymore though. As you point out, mistaking subjective pet theories for “God’s plan” can really erect some concrete walls between people, and cause irreversible damage.
But I always got the distinct impression from him that he felt kind of “stiffed” by the Big Shots in Pasadena - that his research and writing talents weren't being sufficiently recognized and used as much as he thought they should have been. And I think this was the motivating factor, among other things like certain doctrinal differences with regard to prophecy, that lead to his break from the WCG to start Triumph Prophetic Ministries, or whatever it's called these days.
His many full-length books basically parroted Church doctrines, just in a more detailed and scholarly-appearing kind of way. But his research was not too terribly objective, being more driven by the ideological fictions of his religion than by the raw demonstrable facts of reality. So it goes without saying that his publications were never best-sellers, being mainly aimed at Church folks and other fundamentalists.
His books were always controversial to some higher ups simply because they saw him as trying to make a living off of "truths" that the WCG was printing and distributing for free - which in reality they were doing as well, but we won't go there!
Trying to understand someone who irrationally persists in the fundamentalist “end-time” prophetic mind set, in spite of the hard reality that their many prophetic insights have been proven wrong time and time again, is not an easy task. Books such as “The Mind of the Bible Believer” by Edmund D. Cohen helps somewhat. But I’m really not too sure if anyone, not even the believers themselves, fully understands what drives them on.
As a quick perusal of Bill Dankenbring’s “prophetic ministry” website shows, such obvious madness is a sad commentary on what can happen when otherwise intelligent and well-meaning people persist in their delusions.
I firmly agree with the observation made by the late news broadcasting legend Walter Cronkite, that fundamentalist religion will ultimately prove to be THE greatest threat facing mankind as we move further into the 21st century.
Regarding Leonardo's contrived "paradox"....
There is no contradiction... a little research found this:
The daughter spoken of in II Sam. 21:8 is Saul's older daughter Merab. She had 5 sons.
Even the BibleGateway points that out:
Nice try anyway - Leonardo!!
Are you an atheist?
The reason I ask... you seem very determined to prove that the Word of God (the Bible) is erroneous, but you will gullibly believe a foolish tail of creation that is impossible (speaking of the big bang theory , and I stress the word THEORY – it’s never been proven).
So my question to you… can you explain the discrepancy of life coming from non-life?? Theories are unacceptable. I'll expect you to maintain the same level of proof that you demand.
My question is in the same vain as yours - take this opportunity to prove what you believe!!
If you're not an atheist, and you don't believe the bible, what do you believe?? (I'll find another contradiction in your life/belief to have you refute - you seem to like this game, let's see how you do on the other side of it).
Oh darn, stymied by the incredibly thorough and insightful biblical research of the fundamentalists again! Can’t I EVER get my arguments straight?!
So now can Anonymous 6:39 just walk away into the sunset, gloating that he has completely and easily refuted yet another skeptic by doing a little “cutting & pasting” from off some Internet website.
Well, not quite.
Actually, Anonymous 6:39, a “LITTLE research” (to use your own words) is exactly what you engaged in here. VERY little. Well, to be totally honest with you, none at all really.
Let’s see why.
Anonymous 6:39 confidently proclaims:
“The daughter spoken of in II Sam. 21:8 is Saul's older daughter Merab.”
Case closed – another score for the biblical literists. Bring on the next alleged biblical contradiction, please.
Well, again, not quite.
But nice assertion, Anon – crisp, terse and dogmatically spoken – in the great fundamentalists tradition.
However, you still have a problem: that’s NOT what the inspired Hebrew text actually says. Simply making the unsupported CLAIM that what this Scripture really intends to say and actually means (is Merab) doesn’t change the fact that II Sam. 21:8 still actually says:
“…the five sons of MICHAL the daughter of Saul…”
What you weakly cited is the traditional Jewish explanation of this plain contradiction – and by the way, not just one I contrived for the sake of argument.
And please note that the article you linked to says:
“DESPITE THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT [my caps for emphasis], some Rabbis assert that David married both of Saul’s daughters. The Rabbis ask how David could have married two sisters, an act that is prohibited by the halakhah, and answer that David first married Merab, and married Michal after her death (T Sotah [ed. Lieberman] 11:18). A different Rabbinic position, however, denies that David married Merab (BT Sanhedrin 19b).”
Did you note those few yet all-important words?: “Despite the biblical account…”
You can parrot all day the convoluted explanations and back and forth arguments of ancient or modern Rabbis in the attempt to resolve this contradiction, but your problem still remains because the actual text of II Sam. 21:8 says what it says.
Now be honest with us all, Anon, did you even actually READ the entire article you confidently put forth as resolving this plain contradiction – the one from the Jewish Women’s Archive?
Come on, be honest now! My gut feeling is telling me that you didn’t – though I may be wrong.
In any event, endlessly quoting from Midrash (Jewish commentaries on the Hebrew scriptures compiled between A.D. 400 and 1200) and Aggadah (collected stories from the Talmud and other rabbinic literature) doesn’t address the problem at all. It certainly doesn’t change what the Hebrew text actually says.
So, to throw your arrogant words right back at you: nice try anyway, Anonymous 6:39!
Oh well, Leonardo....
I guess Gavin didn't like what I wrote in my last blog in rebutal to your note. Seems he's not a fan when hypocrisy is pointed out against his own position, and didn't publish my last note to you. I guess in rebutting you, I hit a nerve... So I won't rehash what I wrote earlier (I'll leave it to Gavin whether or not he'll publish it), but just wanted you to know that I didn't and won't ever slink away from the truth!! (Is this benign enough for you to publish Gavin - I know it's your playground, but if you don't like what's being said then you could always shut it down).
Anonymous 7:27 inquires:
“Are you an atheist?”
Well, I suppose that depends upon what specific definition you give the word in your mind, Anon. I can confidently assert that YOU are an atheist, for instance, since I’m pretty sure you don’t believe in the literal existence of Zeus, Jupiter, Brahman, Mithras, Allah, or the many other thousands of gods that mankind has invented throughout history. Would I be correct in this view?
You also wrote:
The reason I ask... you seem very determined to prove that the Word of God (the Bible) is erroneous…”
Opps, sorry, Anon, I’ve got to stop you there. You are carelessly assuming the very propositions you and your fellow fundamentalists have spectacularly failed to demonstrate in any intelligible way whatsoever: the bold assertion that the Bible is proven to be “the Word of God.” As a matter of fact, you’ve not even argued persuasively for the existence of your God of choice. So notice, in just one simple yet arrogant sentence, you’ve already made and smuggled into the discussion TWO massive metaphysical assumptions, neither of which you’ve shown us any proof for thus far. As HWA used to always say, “Let’s begin at the very beginning” shall we?
You further proclaim:
“…you will gullibly believe a foolish tail of creation that is impossible (speaking of the big bang theory , and I stress the word THEORY – it’s never been proven).
Sorry, Anon, but you’re forcing me to have to call you on the carpet once again: you confidently proclaim what I “gullibly believe” without providing any proof whatsoever that I even actually subscribe to the Big Bang theory. (“He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him – Prov. 18:13) Have I ever claimed with dogmatic certainty that the Big Bang is my “tail of creation” (and by the way, I believe you meant to use the word “tale” not “tail”)?
Then, in the very same sentence, you turn on a dime and claim the Big Bang has never been proven? What possible evidence can you provide for that statement, aside from your metaphysical wishes? Astrophysicist can offer you boatloads of solidly-established evidence that a massive cosmic explosion took place roughly 14.7 billion years ago, the fact that the universe is spreading apart in different directions at high speeds in just one clue. Just read any good book on the subject. I know this may present a bit of a stretch to you, Anon, reading material that doesn’t support YOUR gullibly accepted creation myth, but at least give it a try, you may actually learn a few things you didn’t know about before.
Astrophysics is indeed a field of interest for me, but it’s not an area that I have any particular expertise in, so I can’t really speak authoritatively with confidence because I don’t really KNOW exactly what happened at the beginning. But then of course, neither do you. I can openly and unashamedly admit this, can you?
But let me grant you something, for the sake of the argument: what IF the Big Bang is finally proven to NOT have taken place at all, as modern scientists assert? Would this in any way provide absolute proof that YOUR faith-based creation myth therefore wins by default? Of course it wouldn’t, but this is what all you fundamentalists just carelessly presume.
Sorry, Anon, but you can’t just keep passively relying on the infamous “God of the gaps” theory – that just because modern science doesn’t currently have ALL possible answers yet, that somehow this automatically proves that your indemonstrable assertions DO provide the answers, rushing in to fill those gaps, thus providing true explanations.
Anon 7:27 further asks:
“So my question to you… can you explain the discrepancy of life coming from non-life??
Only if you first explain how your dogmatically proposed God (a living being) could also have come out of non-life. This is only a fair request because, after all, your proposed theory to the mystery of life’s beginning is considerably more complex and complicated BY FAR than any currently being proposed by scientists who study this cosmic issue. And thus it would require considerably more explaining to establish than would their developing naturalistic explanations.
And yes, Anon, the fact is, your proposed “solution” to this mystery is “just another theory” as well, nothing more, but it’s an especially weak theory in that it has no empirical evidence whatsoever to back it up, unlike the ones under consideration by physicists.
But wait a minute now! – you already said theories are completely unacceptable in this discussion. OK, I humbly submit to your demand, Sir. So, following the dogmatic and arbitrary ground rule you’ve just set down, I guess we’ll have to accept the fact that we really can proceed no further. At least that’s the impasse your own reasoning leads us into.
Odd though, that in your wacky world, no theories or hypothesis’ can be proposed, tested and either further refined or rejected – but yet you allow someone to just say the magic word “God” – and poof, all cosmic mysteries are suddenly explained. Can you even remotely demonstrate the existence of any “cosmic laws of logic” that somehow allows for your rather bizarre strategy for arriving at truth? Until you can, I think I’ll stick with science, as slow and as fallible as it sometimes can be – for unlike the millennial-long history of religion, it has an extremely impressive track record at improving the life of man on earth, and explaining things in ways that at least are demonstrable and provable, and that only in, what, maybe four centuries?
And finally, Anonymous 7:27 angrily concludes:
“If you're not an atheist, and you don't believe the bible, what do you believe?? (I'll find another contradiction in your life/belief to have you refute - you seem to like this game, let's see how you do on the other side of it).
You make the claim that you’ll definitely find contradictions even BEFORE carefully ascertaining exactly WHAT I believe? Wow, sounds like you’ve already arrived at pre-arranged conclusions there without even first considering my views. What’s the point of even continuing the discussion? Sounds as if I’ve already been condemned and dismissed – case-closed. Not that this surprises me, because it’s the very basis of fundamentalist ideology and “reasoning,” but you add a refreshing element of surprise here in that you’ve so boldly and OPENLY announced your strategy, having arrived at such pre-determined judgments BEFORE even hearing me out. In stark contrast, at least I have very carefully considered, and read extensively on – for over 30 years actually – the various assertions fundamentalists routinely and mindlessly put forth in defense of their religious beliefs. But you just claim you’ll jump to conclusions and see contradictions without even first considering your opponents views.
That is one impressive epistemological feat, I’ll have to admit! And you’ve made it so blatantly clear for all to see! Bravo, my friend!
But humor me, Anon, and permit me at least just a few simple comments in my defense, before you roundly condemn me to the Lake of Fire, or hell, or whatever more temporal supernatural club you religionists seem so eager to bring down upon the heads of those who refuse to accept the existence of your God of choice.
One big difference between the evidence-based yet tentative conclusions I may have arrived at thus far in my 53 years on planet Earth, and your faith-based beliefs in supernatural explanations, is that I don’t arrogantly demand they be accepted by others under threat of eternal punishment – whereas your belief system requires this strategy to be employed. I mean, since folks like you consistently refuse to provide evidence in support of your assertions, and can’t seem to reason your way out of a paper bag to argue for their validity, then ad hominem attacks are part and parcel of the fundamentalist program for preaching the gospel to the world. They’re really all you have left.
Further, I don’t even remotely claim to have all the answers – although I do think that many provisional explanations, arrived at by using the methods of science, are considerably more reasonable, demonstrable and evidence-based than the boatload of bizarre claims out there (yours are merely just some of innumerable others dogmatically proposed out there in the great supermarket of religious ideas)- whereas fundamentalists proudly put forth their groundless assertions as purporting to explain reality, and all without the need for any kind of understandable proof or logic whatsoever. If only science could have it so easy!
Also, it could be added that science, unlike religion, has no historical track record whatsoever of cruelly pulling peoples joints out of their sockets on the rack, because they may not accept the theory of heliocentrism. Or sewing their lips together when they “blaspheme” against the theory of gravity. I know of nobody who has had molten lead poured into their mouth because they don’t accept the atomic theory of matter. Scientists don’t go to war against each, cruelly killing one another, in the name of opposing hypotheses – as do those motivated by supernatural religious beliefs.
Just a few things for you to consider, Anon. Not that it will make any difference, since you most likely are emotionally committed to your "certainties" - and nothing could drag you away from them. But perhaps the many others who visit this site may find these few points illuminating so some degree.
"Anonymous" complains that his comment wasn't published. Okay, here it is. Unedited. You be the judge whether this person adds anything to the conversation. In some ways it's a classic example of how not to get a word in here: angry, insulting and illogical... needless to say, it's also anonymous! Very brave.
Leonardo... Leonardo.... Leonardo... you poor old fool!!
I did read the entirety of that article I pulled and creatively cut and pasted for you, and I intended you to read it all as well, so I knew that you would only pick out those parts and that's fine, I understand that the bible is a mystery to you.
My intent was to hit you with your own medicine and have you attempt to prove what you believe (the big bang THEORY), but I didn't want to be a hypocrite (like you are) and ignore your challenge - I wasn't trying to convince you, you are perfectly in your right to believe that the bible is full of contradictions - I hope that works out well for you...
What did surprise me is that you can't even prove your own belief!! You totally blew it off!! I thought for sure that you would at least try to explain your own belief of how matter just appeared out of thin air (well, actually, out of a vacuum, air didn't even exist yet, but I would have enjoyed your attempted explaination of that as well...)
What's the matter Leonardo (pun intended)?? You missed that part of my last blog?? Talk about neglectful reading - or did you purposefully ignored it because you thought, "I'm so clever in my rebuttal, he won't even notice that I'm a hypocrite"!!
You're a joke!! Here's a tip, if you can't answer your own question/challenge - don't pose it and you won't be exposed as the arrogant, ignorant little fool that you are!
I'd like to take this opportunity to exhort all of our believer friends here not to be too hard on the atheists. Atheism actually does serve a very practical purpose. Learned theologians, on studying the topic of damnation, have pointed out that among other things, damnation involves total and permanent separation from God and His love. Atheism provides us all with an opportunity to take a "test drive" of this right now, during our human lives. It's all part of the free will system upon which God set mankind in the various permutations of human journey.
Those who enjoy this test drive will have an opportunity to make the arrangement permanent. A three decade test drive was enough for me! Godlessness seems like freedom at first glance, but turns into one's worst nightmare with time. God is just totally awesome for allowing His children to check it out, though!
Hey, Anonymous 7:27! What do you think of people like myself who believe that God used natural laws and processes to orchestrate creation? I am thoroughly convinced from the fossil record, Einstein, fractal design, and String Theory that God used the Big Bang and Evolution to create all we see around us. He carefully controlled the process, which is why our planet is a very refreshing isle of order and stability smack dab in the middle of the sea of entropy.
"But let me grant you something, for the sake of the argument: what IF the Big Bang is finally proven to NOT have taken place at all, as modern scientists assert?"
Modern scientists are now onto the E8 theorem, which pretty much blows the big bang theory, and its descendant, string theory, completely out of the water.
Think outside the frakkin' box fundies!!
Well Gavin, I think your initial decision to NOT post the blatantly ad hominem rant of the fundamentalist anonymous blogger who’s been challenging me lately was a correct one.
However, since you’ve repented of your first decision, being quite correctly persuaded by the cool, carefully-reasoned and irrefutable rhetoric of Mr. Anonymous, I guess I’ll just have to respond to some of his powerful statements. (Oh man, and I was planning on relaxing in front of the TV tonight for a little break! Nuts!)
Mr. Anonymous begins:
“Leonardo... Leonardo.... Leonardo... you poor old fool!”
Now STOP that, Mr. A – not only are your ad hominem accusations hurting my delicate little feelings, but they are plainly adding to the store of overwhelming evidence you’ve thus far accumulated and so articulately advanced in support of your religious assertions. Keep that up and soon I’ll have no other alternative but to walk off the field of argument – humiliated, refuted, and totally broken in spirit, never able to make another comment again on this website.
Mr. A continues:
“I understand that the bible is a mystery to you.”
Hey, please give me at least a little credit, Mr. A – I did go through four years of Ambassador College, AND I understand enough of it to remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5:22(b): “…whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”
Or will you now conduct yet another exhausting period of research out on the Internet, and provide us all with links to Jewish websites that cite ancient rabbis arguing back and forth with each other to the effect that Jesus didn’t really say this, that he actually meant something entirely different?
Mr. A, we’ve only just begun, and already you have established yourself beyond question, not only as a powerful thinker and rhetoretician, but you’ve demonstrated to the rest of us how you really “walk the walk” when it comes to carefully living by the words of your Savior in relations with your fellow man.
He goes on to say:
“My intent was to hit you with your own medicine and have you attempt to prove what you believe (the big bang THEORY)…”
But Mr. A, to my knowledge I’ve never personally argued for this hypothesis at all, nor ever proclaimed a firm belief in it (except for the very brief comments I made to you in my last response).
Sorry, but in your zeal to publically refute an infidel, it seems you’re guilty of making a very careless assumption as to my views. Talk about knocking down a strawman! However, I guess you couldn’t really help it, since you’ve already decided beforehand (as you openly proclaimed in another one of your previously rambling comments) to find contradictions in my views BEFORE even showing me the courtesy of getting to know what they actually are!
But I forgot, you worship a God who reveals things that are not, before they actually happen, right? That’s it! So this must explain how you can refute the beliefs of your opponents before even knowing specifically what they are.
Mr. A once again asserts:
“What did surprise me is that you can't even prove your own belief!! You totally blew it off!! I thought for sure that you would at least try to explain your own belief of how matter just appeared out of thin air (well, actually, out of a vacuum, air didn't even exist yet, but I would have enjoyed your attempted explaination of that as well...)
But Mr. A, come on, how can I possible explain or defend a position I have never claimed a belief in?
To repeat a biblical quote from a previous response I made to you, because you obviously could use it:
“He who answers a matter BEFORE he hears it, it is folly and shame to him." (Prov. 18:13)
And also, now that you brought it up, how DID your God just magically appear out of thin air, or a vacuum, or nothing, or whatever?
That question HAS indeed always been a mystery to me. Fundamentalists ridiculed 20th century steady-state physicists who said the universe didn’t need an explanation, that it always just existed, and therefore didn’t require a beginning. And then fundamentalists replied, with absolutely searing logic, that the REAL explanation is that God made it, and He doesn’t need an explanation, because He just always existed, and therefore doesn’t require a beginning.
Could you even remotely explain the logic of this “explanation” to me, and to others who may be reading here?
And yes, I’ll bet you WOULD have enjoyed me trying to explain about something I don’t even claim to believe in, especially when you’ve already decided to ridicule it ahead of even knowing what it was I was going to explain.
Mr. A, by this time clearly losing control of his rational faculties, opines:
“What's the matter Leonardo (pun intended)?? You missed that part of my last blog?? Talk about neglectful reading - or did you purposefully ignored it because you thought, "I'm so clever in my rebuttal, he won't even notice that I'm a hypocrite"!!
Ah, OK, well…could you perhaps rephrase this meaningless series of rants again, perhaps in a way that I CAN SOMEHOW ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS YOU’RE TRYING TO SAY?
And finally, Mr. A ends his compelling argument with a powerful conclusion, going out with gracious, heart-warming class, being the civilized gentleman that he is:
“You're a joke!! Here's a tip, if you can't answer your own question/challenge - don't pose it and you won't be exposed as the arrogant, ignorant little fool that you are!
There you go, Mr. A - now THAT'S the kind of cruel ad hominem I would expect from a fundamentalist Christian. Yes, Sir! And one that really delivers a fatal blow to the carefully-reasoned arguments of the skeptics.
You’ve really DELIVERED here in this series of blogs, I'll have to give it to you, Mr A.
I’m left speechless, and stand in totally humbled submission to your obviously searing logic and superior intellect.
Now, where’s that remote control?!
Anonymous 1:28 wrote:
"I guess in rebutting you, I hit a nerve..."
But you didn't rebut me at all, Anon - at least not in any serious kind of way. All you did was make several unfounded assertions with no evidence or logic to back them up as valid.
But go ahead, brag to all your fundamentalist friends how you've refuted another skeptic - it's a hollow "victory" for sure, but it's about as best as you'll ever get unless and until you raise your level of reasoning.
You also wrote:
"but just wanted you to know that I didn't and won't ever slink away from the truth!!"
I agree...as long as it's your cherished version of the truth...until indisputable factual evidence crashes head on with your "truth" - and then we'll see how committed you are to it.
You fundamentalists have a solidly-established historical track record in this regard - and it argues much more persuasicely than your easily made assertions.
“Most men would kill the truth if truth would kill their religion.” Lemuel K. Washburn
Byker Bob said...
our planet is a very refreshing isle of order and stability smack dab in the middle of the sea of entropy..
I don't know what planet YOU live on but I live on this planet called Earth.
This planet has volcanoes, super volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and tornadoes that kill and destroy.
It has plants that kill and teeth, claws and fangs of animals that kill, not to mention the horrors of the insect world.
It has ice ages, meteorites and the occasional asteroid that destroys nearly all life off the face of the planet.
Don't forget about the vast areas of drought, famine and badlands where no one can live.
I think maybe you are wearing the wrong size helmet when you ride man, it's has damaged your brain's sense of reality.
Byker Bob wrote:
"I'd like to take this opportunity to exhort all of our believer friends here not to be too hard on the atheists."
Whew, thanks a lot, Bob, for appealing for a much-needed reprive here.
I mean, after all, it's plain for ALL to see that in the past few weeks the believers such as Larry and Mr. Anonymous have presented such articulate arguments and evidences in favor of their mystical worldview, that have just devastated their opponents.
Quite obviously one would have to be an utter fool not to conceed that they have clearly defeated the skeptics who frequent this site, and put them to flight!
But Bob, you talk confidently about God allowing us to test drive atheism. Do you think it'll be any better than that stellar period of European history when absolute Christian theism ruled people's lives - The Dark Ages?
You also mentioned about folks being separated from the love of God - would you be referring to the kind that Mr. Anonymous has been showing in some of his recent ramblings above?
In that case, it's a "love" that I think most of us would be willing to live without.
And one more thing, Bob - you still are putting the cart before the horse, because you too, just like Larry and Mr. Anonymous, make bold and sweeping declarations about God's plan, why He is doing this, that, or the other thing, etc. - and yet you've still not demonstrated His objective existence in any way, shape or form.
It's astounding how believers just assume they can make such all-encompassing assertions with the greatest of ease, and then get so upset when asked to present some evidence to demonstrate why we should accept such declarations as being true.
Since you have pulled me into a discussion which I was not participating in, I guess I should respond. I don't argue with you because it is pointless to argue the inarguable.
And for the record, I don't get upset with you. And, I am a scientist who chooses to accept both science and religion and am able to reconcile the two. I take God at his word, while you insist that His existence must be proven to your satisfaction before His word can be part of the conversation.
This (your) approach more or less precludes the likelihood of ever understanding the more profound cosmological precepts of good and evil or the purpose of life and death.
"...I am a scientist who chooses to accept both science and religion and am able to reconcile the two."
OK, Larry, whatever you say.
And, again, for the umpteenth time, what specifically is your field of study again?
And from what "world-class university" did you earn your doctorate from?
Inquiring minds would like to know!
Larry again writes:
"This (your) approach more or less precludes the likelihood of ever understanding the more profound cosmological precepts of good and evil or the purpose of life and death."
You mean I’ll never be able to attain to YOUR obvious level of insight into the great mysteries of existence?
You mean to say I'm banned from ever understanding your advanced, high-level cosmological truths just because I make the simple request for some kind of intelligible EVIDENCE to back up or demonstrate the validity of the many zany assertions fundamentalists routinely and glibly make about reality?
You mean to say I'll never achieve the profound level of noticeable clarity, articulateness, wisdom and understanding folks like you and Mr. Anonymous have attained, and have so clearly demonstrated here the past several weeks in your comments?
Seriously Larry, if you or Mr. Anonymous see yourselves as any kind of spokesmen for your so-called cosmological truths, I suggest you bow out and pass the mantle onto others. Your utter ineptness at clearly articulating or demonstrating exactly WHY any reasonably intelligent human being should accede to the many bizarre and dogmatic truth claims of fundamentalist Christianity is plain for all to see.
Best probably that you stick with your “world-class university science” you so frequently claim to be a part of.
Larry's recent comment triggered off a train of thought in my mind.
So try it on for size.
The saddest thing about the supernatural believers who regularly blog here is that sun-worshippers can actually make a much better and more intelligible argument for the existence of their “god” than can believers in the invisible, unresponsive and completely undetectable God of the Bible.
We know that scores of people down through history have worshipped the sun as their god, though to a Christian (or a Jew, or a Muslim), however, such an act is unimaginably repulsive, being blatant idolatry.
But my point is this: at least there exists ample evidence that literally proves the undeniable reality of such a “god.”
We can directly observe the existence of the sun. And the more we learn about it, the more we come to see that it provides the fundamental energies necessary to sustain life on earth, and that without it, such life simply could not exist. The sun heats our world within tolerable ranges for us, gives us the light with which we can see, provides the energy needed to grow the food we eat, heats and evaporates the water which falls as rain to irrigate our crops and provides drinkable water uncontaminated by salts, acids, etc.
It is therefore altogether reasonable to have great gratitude for the many benefits provided by the sun.
And guess what? The sun is, quite literally, giving up it’s own existence in a way that allows us to live. This can be understood as a direct form of self-sacrifice, a much-treasured concept among fundamentalists. The sun is burning itself up in the process of giving us life.
In addition, the sun shows no partiality: it imparts it’s life-giving properties on the strong as well as the weak, the rich and the poor, on the elites as well as the common folk, the criminal as well as the saint. It respects no religion, ideology, tribe, nation, government or any other kind of human allegiance. Its warmth and life-giving properties are enjoyed by people living around the world.
Further, it requires no rituals, no sacrifices, no unthinking obedience and doesn’t scream from the sky demanding respect, or threaten with disease, destruction and death if humans fail to cough up such worship.
But the one big difference between the sun and the invisible God of the theists, is that the sun requires no faith whatsoever in order to believe in it’s existence. The sun does not remain hidden and aloof. It’s presence is plain for all to see, and is undeniable. Have you ever heard someone seriously make an argument that the sun does NOT exist? (I suppose we would scornfully refer to such folks as asolarists!)
We can attempt to hide from the sun, but it will still be there no matter how hard we try to avoid it’s existence. Only a fool could seriously deny that the sun exists, it’s existence being concretely empirical – thus objectively verifiable.
So, many have worshiped the sun as their god. But at least the existence of such a “god” is supported by legitimate evidence which can intelligibly demonstrate it’s actual existence. The same thing, in contrast, CANNOT be said of the invisible deity of the Bible, or the Quran, or the traditional God of western theism, or whatever else you may wish to call such a deity.
If the many recent verbal evasions typically made by the believers on this website prove anything, it demonstrates at least one major point: the existence of their God must be accepted on blind faith alone – and to hell with having to logically prove or demonstrate with intelligible evidence in any way His supposed existence. Whether they intend it or not, that is the one, undeniable apologetic battle cry of supernatural fundamentalists everywhere. No matter what specific religion their fundamentalism springs out of, their attempted arguments demonstrate one thing loud and clear: “We can offer no proof whatsoever for our God’s existence, it’s a matter of pure faith, and those who just stubbornly refuse to believe should be put to death.”
How absolutely pathetic.
I don't wear a helmet. In fact, I actually moved out of California when those commies enacted a helmet law!
I'll let most of your questions stand as rhetorical. All I can tell you is that after thirty years, I realized that atheism has the same basic effect as heroin. Both end in death, and block out a great deal of reality. In the case of atheism, the spiritual component of life in which about 80-90% of the general public happens to believe is totally blocked out. Both heroin and atheism are dead ends, although one's consciousness is blocked to this reality while either are being used.
Byker Bob wrote:
"...atheism has the same basic effect as heroin. Both end in death, and block out a great deal of reality."
Well, I have no experience with heroin (or any other illegal substance, for that matter). But I have a boatload of experience when it comes to faith.
And the little "sound-bite" Christian slogans you like to spout off in place of REAL thinking just continue to ring hollow, in spite of what I consider to be your well-intentioned attempts to express your views.
By implication what you're saying is that FAITH opens up the human mind to a greater, more superior understanding of reality, certainly considerably more so than an unbeliever who has no such faith to give him or her such an advantage. Right?
Bob, stop deluding yourself - you know as well as I do that if that were truly the case, then folks like you and Larry and Mr. Anonymous would be able to articulate your views with much greater clarity and articulateness than is actually the case, just judging by the typically shallow comments you all make so frequently here on this website in defense of your mystical belief system.
Interesting though, your view of faith, because that's not been my experience at all with faith. Nor the experience of many other ex-believers.
On the contrary, I’ve seen faith ruin people’s lives irreparably. The space considerations on this blog page do not permit me to list the tragedies that I’ve personally witnessed during my time in the WCG: marriages and families ruined, health destroyed, premature deaths, careers abandoned, all because of sincere folks acting out the tenants of their faith in everyday real life.
But please let me cite just one.
There was a fellow whose situation I was familiar with, as genuine and well-meaning as the day is long, who began having degenerative macular problems (or some such malady) with one of his eyes. Professional eye doctors recommended a surgical procedure that had a very good track record of repairing his particular kind of problem.
But no, fortified by the teachings of the WCG, he decided to resolutely “rely on God for healing.” Result: very soon thereafter he went blind in that eye.
Then several years later the very same problem arose again, this time threatening his other remaining good eye. Ophthalmologists again recommended the identical surgical procedure that had a very good track record of repairing this particular kind of problem, the same one he elected to reject before. Except that this time his FAITH didn’t play as big a role as before, and he decided to get the surgery. Result: it saved the vision in his remaining eye, and he can still see to this day.
You could fill a book with individual occurrences such as this that took place on a fairly regular basis in the WCG.
The fundamentalist response to such tragedies? Some version or another of “God works in mysterious ways, and knows what’s best for us!” Or even worse, “Well, that guy didn’t have REAL faith, like I have.”
Bob, my own real-life experience with fundamentalist religion argues far more powerfully, and provides considerably more evidence AGAINST faith than your groundless assertions ever will.
And if folks like you, or Larry, or Mr. Anonymous are any indication of the full effects of faith on the human mind and it’s power of reason, then all I can say to those tempted to “buy into” your metaphysical claims is a loud and lusty “BEWARE!”
Byker Bob also wrote:
"I'll let most of your questions stand as rhetorical."
Well, well - yet another new strategy to avoid having to deal with the difficult problems and quandaries and questions your metaphysical assertions prompt.
Just let me assure you, Bob, when I ask you or any other believer here a question, I mean it literally.
But I don't quite understand how your approach fits in with the general spirit of I Peter 3:15...
"...always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you..."
I thought your faith in the supernatural supposedly gives you extra insights and greater clarity into reality? At least that's what you implied, or actually claimed, in a previous comment above, isn't it?
How come such an advantage is NEVER apparent in your evasive responses, Bob?
Just kind of curious.
(WARNING: All questions contained in this comment are literal, not rhetorical.)
Byker Bob said...
I'd like to....exhort...our believer friends here not to be too hard on the atheists. Atheism actually does serve a very practical purpose.
Learned theologians, on studying the topic of damnation, have pointed out...damnation involves total and permanent separation from God and His love. Atheism provides us all with an opportunity to take a "test drive" of this right now, during our human lives.
Nice of you condemn atheists on the advice of "Learned Theologians". Are you sure you speak for God?
It's all part of the free will system upon which God set mankind in the various permutations of human journey.
Those who enjoy this test drive will have an opportunity to make the arrangement permanent.
SAYS WHO? LEARNED THEOLOGIANS????
A three decade test drive was enough for me! Godlessness seems like freedom at first glance, but turns into one's worst nightmare with time. God is just totally awesome for allowing His children to check it out, though!
If your attitude is "Godly" then give me atheists as my friends! At least they won't be judging if I am worthy of God's love or not!
I usually like what you write BB, but this is twisted. Hell, its the celestial version of the Mafia intimidation. And since nobody will know until they die, its not like most people will challenge that point of view.
Well a few CAN, but its not like anyone will pay attention. Got all those God damning "Learned Theologians" condemning people to hell...if they can't explain the trinity with out concocting self-referential language and circular logic, what makes you think they know what's on God's mind?
Organized religion is the ultimate insurance scam. People will take a policy even if the don't believe, because of the F.U.D. factor.
Byker Bob, you compare heroin addiction to non belief in nonsense? How so? As my Dad would have said, "are you crazy?"
You speak of wearing a helmet on a motorcycle as commie? Have you seen what happens when a human head hits the asphalt? I have.
As my Dad would have said, "are you crazy?" But, as I say, please put a helmet on your head when you ride. You still may end up killed on one of those things but at least you can save someone the trouble of picking up your brains with a stick and a spoon.
"We know that scores of people down through history have worshipped the sun as their god, though to a Christian (or a Jew, or a Muslim), however, such an act is unimaginably repulsive, being blatant idolatry."
Uh, Leonardo? Christians ARE sun-worshippers. They just don't want to admit it, preferring instead a dying-rising-godman created in their own image, as all gods ultimately are.
"Atheism is heroin"
Maybe it was for you, Bob, but that certainly is NOT true for all, or even any, other atheists. Please remember that.
I highly recommend the "Reason for God" book...it delves into some of the issues discussed here...in an insightful, non confrontational way....
I Pet. 3:15, as I see it, refers to the questions coming from people who are open minded to the teachings of Jesus Christ, and may be being drawn to becoming His disciples.
It does not refer to the games of "twenty questions" posed by those seeking to destroy the faith of others, and designed to trip Christians up. If an atheist or non-believer approaches me from the standpoint of actually wanting to believe, and if he/she has some questions which need to be answered, and if those answers or any help I can provide will lead to that individual asking God to walk with them in their lives, then I'm willing to spend hours or days with them!
Do you know any atheists of that particular mindset who post on this blog? Perhaps I missed them, but most of the atheist posts I have seen take on a tone of ridicule of belief, or appear to be an effort to cause believers to lose faith. There is also the "safety in numbers" aspect to this. It's reassuring to be able to catch "high five" from what often appears to be the majority, as opposed to feeling all alone in one's non-belief.
There is a wonderful book which I read last year called "Reimagining Evangelism". The book advises the reader to discern carefully where the Holy Spirit is already working in individuals prior to sharing the gospel message with them. Only God can draw people to Himself, and we only frustrate ourselves if we believe we can do any more than provide a bit of subtle or humble assistance. That assistance can involve discussion, or sharing, as we do here, but it's only going to accomplish God's purpose if God is opening some doors.
We've got a unique situation on all of our ACOG related forums and blogs, in that all of us at one time did believe in God. I don't know that scripture provides any specific insights as to how to deal with our unique situation. There may be some insights contained within the epistles of Paul, or the Macabees, but in a sense we're sailing on uncharted waters. As I see it, our best course is to be gentle but firm, and to try not to do any more damage to one another than the cult has already done.
There are probably many ways to recover from a false religious system, and all of us are in different stages of recovery. Specifically from my own experience and viewpoint, my non-believer stage was a purge stage. During it, I was able to clean the slate, visiting alternatives to the false doctrines from various new perspectives, getting rid of all of the hate, and ultimately emerging to a state of renewal in which I am discovering the real God and the healing powers of Jesus Christ. Life is not easy at all just now. In addition to having to reconsider every aspect of my life, and to compare it to God's word, I also constantly need to deal with flak from two elements from my past belief systems (atheists and ACOGgers). But, the tohu and bohu conditions are gradually being brought to a state of order, and for the first time in my life, I have a deep inner feeling that I'm on the right track. I don't believe that it is any accident that we have these forums and blogs. I've already seen God work very powerfully through them, helping us all to deal with and process the many debillitating effects of a false religious system.
Bob, your long-winded statement is merely just another way of side-stepping away from the serious questions many folks have about supernatural religion in general, and the Christian faith in particular.
For instance, and I keep pointing this out, you never can clearly establish the existence of your God, nor your claim that the Bible in His word. You just have to assume these things. And then when “called on the carpet” for just assuming your audience believes as you do, you typically respond by attacking the motives of those who question you. Yes, this allows you to slink away and somehow save face, but…
…YOU STILL NEVER MANAGE TO EVER ANSWER THE QUESTIONS PUT TO YOU.
How can you possibly consider this a fair or wise way to deal with the many legitimate questions that come your way. HWA always used to teach the principle of understanding your audience’s perspective, and then coming at the issue from THEIR point of view. But you, well, you just evade the issue altogether until you discern someone who has large amounts of gullibility and who is thus open to the Christian message. In other words, those who just lob you intellectual softballs that you’re able to hit.
I'm very familiar with the subject of apologetics, and repeatedly I’ve seen when true believers such as yourself get caught with "your pants down," so to speak, and simply have no real intelligible answers to the simple questions your metaphysical assertions trigger off in people’s minds, then virtually ALWAYS, with rare exceptions, you then go into attack mode and start questioning the underlying motives of the seekers. This is nothing more than a blatant and cowardly ad hominem approach. This plainly is your way of avoiding actually having to give an answer to the hope that is within you, because you CAN’T. Modern Christian apologetics has a long and clearly demonstrable track record of this. Just read about the history of it.
You claim you can perhaps be of some assistance if God is calling someone – in other words, if someone of extremely limited reasoning power, and who has never seriously investigated into the many truth claims of Christianity, has absolutely no idea of the arguments against the zany claims of the Christian religion, and who is predisposed to belief in the supernatural already, then yes, perhaps the great wisdom that has been given you, even if it is nowhere to found in your comments on this blogsite, can “help” such folks.
Have you ever considered somehow that in your worldview, your God may one day ask you, “Why didn’t you ever answer the simple questions those skeptics on the Ambassador Watch blogsite kept asking you?
Bob, what WILL be your answer?
"....I was able to clean the slate, visiting alternatives to the false doctrines from various new perspectives, getting rid of all of the hate, and ultimately emerging to a state of renewal...."
That's what nontheism is continuing to do for me, Bob. (Albeit with a healthy dose of gnosticism thrown in for good measure.)
Typical of Armstrongites, Will has disabled ratings and comments for his video. We're to listen, not speak.
Armstrongism is always a monologue, never a dialogue.
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