Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Greed



When you weed through the useless babble from Prophet Malm on law keeping and new moons, you come across little interesting tidbits of information.  Today he added more fuel to the fire on a subject we have known all along. 

You would think a church that claims to have all restored knowledge that had been lost for over 1,900 years would be talking about that disruptive Jesus that upset religion and societal norms on it's head. 

That has never been the focus of Armstrongism,  Instead it has always revolved around one topic in particular.  It was talked about continually in all the years I was part of it.  Feast sites competed with each other for it.  Ministers pounded the pulpit about it.  Herbert used it a lot. 

It has always been about the money.

In approximately 1980 HWA said that the vast majority in the WCG were not converted and that he prayed thast at least one half would make it. When I queried an elder on this, he said that since the early 70s they had knowingly relaxed their baptism requirements and  baptized people because of their opinion of “Mr Armstrong” instead of their actual understanding of doctrine. If people were willing to accept their authority that was all that mattered. I asked him why? The reply was that they needed the support [numbers and tithes] and also hoped that somehow some good would come of it. This is not just a matter of Satan sowing tares; it is a matter of HELPING Satan to sow more and more tares in the organizations in exchange for MONEY until the majority are tares.

It is this prostituting of the organizations for money which resulted in talented tares rising to the top and taking over the WCG; transforming it into the Grace Communion International.  Then a few thousand left with Rod Meredith or Gerald Flurry and later others left to form UCG.  The vast majority stayed in WCG and apostatized: WHY?  Because they were never really converted to begin with!

The same thing has been repeated in these new groups!  They maintain their lax standards not realizing that the true Church of God is the faithful Ekklesia and not corporate organizations. Desiring numbers which translates into  MONETARY WEALTH, they lusted after those numbers and the wealth  that WCG had had in its hay day; bringing in many who were only superficial in their zeal for God, because they were very zealous for the organization and or its leaders.

Today the COG Groups are all about personal and organizational pride and wealth in numbers and funds.  They are about zeal for the organization, its numbers, money and leaders; instead of about zeal for our God and his law.

26 comments:

Douglas Becker said...

Ah, yes, The Church Corporate.

Andrew said...

I see very little evidence that "conversion" has any basis in reality. I see very little evidence that anyone I have ever known has ever had the "holy spirit." I conclude that at least one of the following must be true: 1) The God of the bible is not the creator of the universe, 2) The COGs are simply not who they believe they are.

If you follow the pattern laid out in the bible (belief, baptism, holy spirit, conversion, fruits of the spirit, etc.) and you don't get what the bible promised, something is wrong. Either the bible is not true, or we weren't following the recipe correctly. Let's just go ahead and assume for now that the latter explanation is correct and the fault lies with us. At least in my case, I was someone who was born in the church, who gave it a true, serious, good faith effort for more than two decades. But I got to the point where I couldn't keep ignoring the signs that this just wasn't working. I had to step back and re-evaluate. For someone who was making a good faith effort, I don't personally feel like God was helping me out much. Unless the enlightenment to see Armstrongism for what it is, was God finally intervening in my life.

I don't want to be an atheist. I would much prefer to find God, not for pretend, but for real. But I find myself, after having spent only 1/2 of my life looking for God, where Mother Teresa found herself after having spent her entire life. And let's face it, beatified by the Catholic Church or not, Mother Teresa was an agnostic at the end of her life. And I find myself having been cast into the same cold water of agnosticism, rather against my preferences. But what is true is true isn't it? I'm not bitter, but I am a little upset that I've wasted so much of time because of these greedy bastards. I guess it could be worse. They could have wasted it all. I guess I can check off both Catholicism and Armstrongism as dead-end methods.

In re-evaluating, everything must go up in the air. No stone can be left unturned. Whatever the truth might be, it must be allowed to show itself, without me forcing my own preferences into the process. I don't know if the greed of others can invalidate my own walk, but if I mistake the lies of others for truth, that certainly can.

I have 1/2 of my life left. Assuming that God can be found, I cannot continue to look for God in the same ways I was taught to look for him since childhood, nor can I look for him in the same places. I just want to believe what is true. These greedy bastards sure do muddy the waters for the rest of us, don't they?

There isn't a lot of evidence to suggest that the great men of the bible found God because they were so righteous. God just showed up their doorstep with marching orders. Greedy bastards notwithstanding.

Short of God revealing himself, I don't see how it's possible to know what is true about things beyond our universe that might or might not be true. What is a simple, imperfect, human being to do, being that the water of reality is both cold and muddy? Or is there really nothing to be done, because our destiny largely out of our hands?

Homer said...

A note to Andrew:

In your 1st paragraph You stated, "I conclude that at least one of the following must be true: 1) The God of the bible is not the creator of the universe, 2) The COGs are simply not who they believe they are."

May I submit - you are correct on both points. We as individuals need to recognize that the bible is written as metaphor for something much different than the "literal" meaning as accepted by all "christian" organizations. I submit that no organization will ever admit that the bible should be recognized as metaphor. For them, the bible must be accepted as literal or they will not be able to continue their doctrines.

You also stated "Either the bible is not true, or we weren't following the recipe correctly." Ask yourself this; because we have always accepted the literal meaning as interpreted by men, have we missed the deeper meaning of a metaphor? Either we can't or won't consider something different because of the deep seated influence of all those literal "christian" ideas that have been forced upon us for nearly 1800 years. It takes a bit of work, study and time to discover the meaning behind the metaphor of the bible. It is not an easy task to break away from that tradition.

I began my indepth study of trying to better understand the bible about 7 years ago after having been a "COG christian sheople" for 35 years. Only during the past 2 years have I been able to begin to better understand the metaphor. I have only begun to get my foot in the door of this vast potential of better understanding beyond the door.

The bible is not a worthless book. There are good principles of how to live and good information about how our life fits into the overall scheme of our tiny portion of the universe, but only if we consider the metaphor. There is a term which has been mentioned several times on this blog. Many will not accept the possibility of it having merit because, once again, of the indepth conditioning of our mind. Some do recognise it's importance and how it fits within the framework of the bible. That word is astrotheology. I submit that until we are open to investigating that word and how it fits in the metaphors of the bible, we will continue to flounder about trying to understand a "literal" meaning which was never there to begin with.

Jace said...

Andrew, it sounds like you're going through what I went through last year. There is no easy answer, and like you, when I started, the last thing I wanted was to become an Atheist.

But I did anyway.

In the end, I think we all make it more complicated than it has to be. The bottom line is this: You can never know "the truth" for sure in regards to god, short of him or her coming down and revealing him/herself to you - at which point, its a good idea to look for a lot of witnesses, preferrably someone with a camera, or a shrink lol! You have to trust your own common sense. You have to trust logic and consider the probability of there being a god. You have to trust your senses: do you see god? Do you hear or smell him? Of course not. You are left to rely on the "holy texts" written by men, books that are far too open to interpretation. You have to ask questions like "why did god see fit to show himself to these humans, thousands of years ago, but I have to take him on faith" or "OK, if god made the universe, who made god?!" (and never ever accept the answer "we cannot understand that right now"!) You have to ask yourself just how much of what you seek as "truth" is already prefabricated in your mind, from being raised with the beliefs that you were. How much of the truth you seek will be molded to fit the preconceived notions you have in mind? As far as the Bible goes, you have to ask yourself what makes that book any more special than every other holy book ever written? Are you biased towards believing it in the first place? If so, *spoiler alert* there are a lot of flaws, a lot of contradictions that just cannot be ignored. Inexcusable things done by god and in the name of god. There's a lot to take in, but as someone who also gave it a "good faith effort" for 27 years, I can say I know what it's like. In any case, I wish you well in your journey. If my site (incomplete though it is) can help, please check it out. Especially my article on becoming an atheist. Never stop asking questions, there is no such thing as a wrong question, and always, trust your own mind. If you came from Armstrongism like I did, that's the one thing they tried to deny you: the right to think for yourself. With them it was always an imaginary battle with "Satan's influence" designed to get you to distrust your own mind. Don't buy it my friend. You have a brain, use it to the fullest.

Best of luck Andrew!

Homer said...

Jace-

You and Andrew give a prime example of traditional thought about the "God" of the bible being the creator. That is, reference to "God" as "him" or "himself" thereby implying a person type being. That could be part of the metaphor of the bible. Maybe we could try to understand it should not be accepted in the literal traditional sense.

As I responded to your previous post about being an atheist, try to come to an understanding that the "god" of the bible is NOT the prime source creator.

I personally try to avoid the use of the word "God" because when we hear that word we automatically think in terms of the traditional concept that we have been taught and forced to accept by traditional teaching.

I know this may be a difficult traditional concept to overcome. I have been working on it for some time. Your comment to Andrew was, "I wish you well in your journey." We are all on a journey if we are actively seeking a better understanding.

DennisCDiehl said...

These are really great comments and reflections on the journey losing faith in faith.

It's one thing to bitch and moan about the past, but it takes insight and a willingness to keep moving ahead on one's own journey to give the experience meaning.

thanks for sharing Andrew, Homer and Jace

Jace said...

Thanks Dennis!

@ Homer:

I did say "Him or her" ;-)

I say god because that is the term most people use to describe that which you refer to as "the source"

Assigning gender to "god" is just a sexist leftover from my time as a christian.

That said, Whether you call god a he, she, or an it, my opinions on "god" do not change. As I responded to your previous post, my atheism is not dictated by my former beliefs in the christian god, it is all encompassing to include any intelligence that supposedly has a hand in creation. I need to see evidence before I'll believe. That's all I'm saying :-D

Anonymous said...

So, Homer, God or The Force or Will is not an object or structure in the physical universe. Then, how would you know about it?

Douglas Becker said...

The importance of this post is that an organization compromised in order to survive and make money. If you set aside eschatology and examine the socialogical aspects of this decision, it is possible to gain a better understanding of the dynamics involved.

At minimum, the WCG chose to abandon internal integrity in favor of money, growth and survival in the vain hope that "something good" would come out of a total lack of ethics. This is the same choice that Corporations made that led to the bailout and the same sort of rationalization behind Enron.

The result is that there were at least two different groups within the WCG: Those who atuned to the traditional Radio Church of God and those who were allowed to choose mindsets completely at variance with the original. This created a house against itself. This, in turn, became the basis of splits and splinters when the force of personality of Herbert Armstrong holding it all together vanished at his death.

People sat next to each other in services for as long as two decades holding totally conflicting opinions without either of them knowing what the other really believed. This was the real basis of failure which then replicated itself into other descendent communities.

There is no way to fix this and it will ever be a stalemate.

It is amazing that something so profound should be missed by those who lived through it, now that it has been revealed from an unexpected source.

Anonymous said...

Malm, a credible source? Hardly! Spends to much time howling at the moon.

Homer said...

Jace said -
[I say god because that is the term most people use to describe that which you refer to as "the source"

Assigning gender to "god" is just a sexist leftover from my time as a christian.]

Your comments are what I mean by using the term "traditional" concepts or understanding. I realize that most people only understand "god" because of what has been given us by "tradition" rather than searching and re-searching and seeking a possible deeper meaning. The concepts we accept have been handed down to us from the Roman "religious" system as a means of controlling the masses. Even though there have been rebellions and protests, the basic premise is still the same. All professing "christian" denominations are a desendant of that system. Even the COGs. Eventhough there are some minor alterations here or there, they are still part of that controlling mind-set.

One of Andrew's original comments has a profound meaning if one will take it to heart. "In re-evaluating, everything must go up in the air. No stone can be left unturned...." If one studies astrotheology with a superficial attitude then that possibility may be totally rejected. However, one may begin that journey to better understanding if one does an in depth study with an open mind and approach as Andrew stated, "Whatever the truth might be, it must be allowed to show itself, without me forcing my own preferences into the process." A superficial study of astrotheology will not yield a better understanding. One will not grasp it overnight. There is too much to unlearn.


Anonymous,(which one?) your comment - "God or The Force or Will is not an object or structure in the physical universe. Then, how would you know about it?"

I don't remember stating, "not an object or structure in the physical universe." That may very well be a part of the solution to understanding, but I can not give you the answer. Only you can satisfy your question, "Then, how would you know about it?" Only the individual can make any decisions based on sincere study, research and time. I will not try to prove my thoughts are absolutly correct. Actually I have changed my mind on many things as I have continued my studies during the past seven years and I will most likely change my mind in the future as I gain additional understanding. Afterall, it is a journey, not a cut and dried solution as we have been told in the past. I can only give a starting point and that is astrotheology. Where that journey takes one is an individual's choice. As I have stated on this blog in the past, "There is much, much more to the story."


Douglas Becker - You are right, It is all about the money and power over other people's lives. It is all mind control and fear religion.

Andrew said...

Jace-
If I didn't come from Armstrongism, I wouldn't come to this blog either. We seem to have a lot in common in our journey. Atheist and agnostic get used kind of interchangeably. But in reality, those words do mean different things. To put a fine point on it, despite using the word "atheist" earlier, I should have said "agnostic." My apologies.

It seems like nobody in Armstrongism has ever thought to question the bible itself. For the first generation folks, this was obviously beyond question before they ever heard of HWA, or else he would have had no power over them in the first place. For those born into Armstrongism, it is absolutely taboo to even pose a hypothetical question in which major portions of the bible would have been penned by a set of ancient con artists. Besides, in ancient times, everybody was wise and knew a bunch of deep s#!t that has all been forgotten in modern times, right?

Homer-
I acknowledge that both points may be true, hence the usage of the phrase, "at least one." As I was starting to say earlier, a few of my major faith hangups have to do with the bible itself: 1) The LORD of the OT in the wilderness with the Israelites does not behave like I would expect the creator of the Universe to behave. First He strips them of their faith by placing them in Egyptian bondage, then He demands they be unaffected by it and gets really angry and wants to kill them all because they are. If He created them, He should understand the dynamic here, and blame himself if He's not getting what He wants out of them. 2) If a woman got pregnant and then said it was the Holy Spirit that did it, I for one would not be inclined to believe such a story. If about 12 other gods in ancient pagan religions were also born of a virgin on December 25th, why should we believe this one is the real deal? Of course we know the December 25th part is not scriptural. But why should we believe the virgin part of the story, which is? 3) Also, the bible says Jesus said we're blessed if we believe blindly (John 20:29). Really? Jesus, himself, asked us to put our trust in other people? We're doomed!

If you are correct, that the bible is both true and also entirely metaphorical, then your interpretation of what that metaphor is exactly will be *entirely* unique to you and will probably not make sense to very many others unless it is in such general terms like, "be really nice to other people and stuff," in which case, I could do much better and without the aid of a 1,500 page ancient book. I wish you luck in your journey Homer, but I think you need to recognize that your journey is a very personal and private one.

Last but not least, a thanks goes out to Dennis.

Anonymous said...

Homer-
Assuming that the bible is merely a metaphor for new-age spiritualism/astrotheology (read: every other religious system that has ever existed rolled into one), all that means is that you believe new age spiritualism to be essentially true. But why should that be any more true than any other system of spiritualism, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam?

Homer said...

Andrew -
My journey is not an isolated one. My thoughts are not unique to me. I did not originate the information on which I base my understanding. The understanding I have has been there for thousands of years. The big problem is that the information was made into a religion by what I call the Roman religious system.

There are many more than "12 other gods in ancient pagan religions." Actually the stories are basically the same because they also are the same astrological events with the same basic metaphor. Different names, same basic meaning. We have been told they are wrong by traditional teaching in order to keep us from considering the meaning behind the story. The cover up has been in effect for so long, approximately 1800 years, we as a "christian" people no longer even consider it as a possibility. We have been told it is absolutely wrong and it is "anathema" to us. Those "pagan religions" are not really religions per say. They may have become religions over time but they did not begin as such.

You make an excellent point with your comments about the "God of the Old Testament." My son has always had a problem with the - kill all the innocent babies - and God being a loving "Father". He also had a problem with the COG authority living in mansions or at least fancy homes while we lived in an cheap apartment or trailer. He was smarter than I was. He gave all that church stuff up about 20 years ago.

Your comments about the christmas story are a small key to understanding the metaphor of the bible. It is part of the astrotheology that Dennis has mentioned more than once on this blog. From the many standard comments on this blog, I get the feeling that most have not bothered to even investigate what he has offered.

You write as if Jesus was a flesh and blood person. The Jesus of the bible was not. However, there may have been a Jew named Yahshua (Joshua) who may have been a rebel to the Roman government. I wasn't there so I don't know. But the events surrounding the Jesus story are not literal. They are metaphor of an astrological story.

Not only Dec 25th, but also the water into wine story, the raising of Lasarus from the dead, the crucifixion, 3 days and nights in the grave, 12 disciples, John the baptist, the instruction to find a man with a water pitcher for the last supper, and many more.

From the old testament: the story of moses destroying the golden calf, Issac being saved by the appearance of a ram, the 12 sons of Israel, and many more.

We are not doomed! May we all learn to think outside the box!

Homer said...

Anonymous (which one?)
To begin with, I am not familiar with the term "new-age spritualism"

I am not a religious person. To me, religion is a system of do this and don't do that. I do not accept "religion" as a means to understanding anything except what a particular religion promotes.

I certainly do not believe astrotheology is "every other religious system that has ever existed rolled into one". To me, astrotheology is not a religion, but it is a means to understand the meaning behind what religious folks promote.

I realize the "theology" part of that word automatically says "study of god" and that suggests some sort of religion.

Understand this, I am still on a journey. I do not expect to have everything wrapped up in a nice neat package before I die. I just seek better understanding of as much as I can in the time I have left. That way I can rule out those things that do not compute in my calvary. (I began my quest for understanding with biblical word studies and how and why they were used in the bible. I found calvary to be one of many curious words.)

DennisCDiehl said...

ATheists and Agnostics exchange ideas.

Religionists exchange memes

Fundamentalists ask, "what's a meme?"

Homer said...

Dennis, you can color me a fundamentalist. I had to look up the meaning of meme.

Douglas Becker said...

It's all about a choice in a moment of time which transformed an entire community forever.

It is a lesson which should not be missed.

Allen C. Dexter said...

Dennis has been perhaps the greatest influence on my growth in understanding of anyone I'm aware of. His original ezine articles really opened my mind to the depths of astrotheology and blew away the haze that deceives and confounds the massses of this world.

Astrology permeates Western society. When people meet, one of the first questions is about what sign they are. I've pretty well divorced myself from that entire superstition, but it's everywhere and permeates everything.

Thank you, Dennis, for taking the time, having the patience and employing the insight to make this subject plain to the rest of us who don't have your unique talent to ferret it out. It is just one of the areas in which you have been most helpful, and I for one, appreciate it.

DennisCDiehl said...

A meme is a mind virus that replicates itself mostly without examination.

"Things go better with Coke"

Church of God Memes:

We will be God as God is God

We will rule the earth

We will be in the first resurrection

The Second Resurrection is good but not best

The Third Resurrection is where you get burned up

Tithing is God's financial system

I must be in church every Sabbath

I must keep the Festivals as told to

Noah will be over boatbuilding

Abraham will be over Israel

Joseph will be over the Gentiles

Paul will be second under Joseph

It's God, Christ, Mr. Armstrong, myself, and a few other leading evangelists.

So and so is an Apostle

So and so is a Watcher

So and so is a Witness

So and so is a prophet

So and so is chosen by God to be in charage.

So and so is a so and so

...and so on...

DennisCDiehl said...

Thank you Allen, I try and it is a way to make up for past mistakes and process the whole experience in some kind of positive and meaningful way.

I will always be interested in origins and theology and why we believe what we believe.

DennisCDiehl said...

I seem ever to be getting opportunity to practice the art of letting go and trusting something no matter what.

Job teaching coming to an end so having to regroup and rethink my future. The no way to not keep going and going until the grim reaper overcomes the Karma Fairy is a mind burden at times.

Back to my last sermon:
"Nothing is for Nothing" but sometimes you gotta wonder! :)

Byker Bob said...

Well, in my old carnal atheist days, when going to a club to dance to live music, I had two paradigms which guided my dancing: Dance in such a way that it shows the ladies how you f@*k, and the guys how you fight. Alas, that was totally worldly, and certainly not pleasing to God. Come to think of it, such an attitude might even be offensive to some secular humanists!

There is nothing inherently wrong in dancing, whether it be ballroom, or free form. David danced, and his wife had some things to say about his style. It's all in how you use it, what your intentions might be.

BB

Jace said...

"Dance in such a way that it shows the ladies how you f@*k, and the guys how you fight."

Maybe you're a little cooler than I thought you were, Biker Bob! ;-)

Allen C. Dexter said...

"I try and it is a way to make up for past mistakes and process the whole experience in some kind of positive and meaningful way."

That's what drives me also. I helped mess up a lot of lives -- ignorantly and well-meaningly, yes, but still messed up. Now that I see things much more clearly, I want to do everything I can to expose the evil, nonsense and chicanery of it all.

Byker Bob said...

Thanks, Jace. I know my current spirituality does turn some people off from time to time, but believe me, I've been where it's at.

BB