Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dennis On: "Birthing Skepticism"






Birthing Skepticism

skep·tic also scep·tic (skptk) n.
1. One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, 
or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions.
2. One inclined to skepticism in religious matters.
3. Philosophy
a. often Skeptic An adherent of a school of skepticism.
b. Skeptic A member of an ancient Greek school of skepticism, 
especially that of Pyrrho of Elis (360?-272? b.c.).

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorIt is very easy to become skeptical of all the ideas, practices, claims and beliefs that human beings can come up with in the information age.  If there ever was an accurate prophecy it would be that "knowledge shall be increased," and if ever a truer proverb, "much knowledge brings much grief."  Yet, while easier on the stomach and brain, blissful  ignorance is not the solution either. 

Having been a church pastor, in this case for WCG though if not there , for me it would have been some other chosen denomination, I found that unlike other professions, it was not  difficult to become even more skeptical of supposed established truths as time went on.  Having soaked in religion, theology and the Bible 24/7 and seeing not only my/our own lives unfold but those of thousands of others, skepticism came to call.  For years maybe I knew it was there but only looked at it out of the corner of my eye often pretending it wasn't really there.

With the recent tragic and mind numbing events in New town, Conn, skepticism will grow in many.  Skepticism is becoming the new religion.  Whether it is finance, religion or government, it is feeding and growing.  Peace on earth this Xmas means little or nothing to most. Whether it is "good will towards men," or "to men of good will,"  it's rather a joke. 

I and we all know what the Bible says about the chosen ones, the church, the child or the holy priesthood of believers being special, set apart and protected.  We know those promises and verses.  We also know they are rarely correct or at least true in the sense that it is obvious it is just not random chance or luck of the draw as we say. 

I recall sitting in a festival site of thousands where the minister was waxing eloquent and sincere over God's obvious intervention in saving the life of a child in his congregation.  Car wreck I believe.  I cringed and in my head said, "please stop this and move on."  He went on and on.  I know he was trying to inspire thousands that we were all special and had nothing to fear.  I also knew at least five which meant many more families in the audience were dying again inside as "in my house it was not so."  They weren't inspired.  They were recrushed and skepticism grew in that moment.  I talked to the man at lunch and reminded him to please be careful in such a large audience as he had no clue how many were out there being destroyed by his encouragement.

Concerning children, I have stood besides the river as bodies of children and rescuers were brought up.  I spent time asking a man to stop dismantling the tractor brakes looking for some flaw and reason it didn't turn and overturned on his son falling into another river killing him.  I've been to the morgue dragged by the hand to go see beautiful dead teens killed in and by cars.  I've stood by very fine church members as they mom said, "well, I was here when they were born, I will stay with them until you tell me they are dead."  I've been hit as usually the mother screams "why!!!" and then hugged by the same woman who apologized and then said, "I know we don't pray as we should...."   Wrong...but that's another story.  Skepticism grew in these people and over time, 100% of them left the church finding either no relief or encouragement, or lame reasonings that did not help one bit. 

In case you think the Bible has much to encourage grieving parents, you are wrong.  "God will not give you more than you can bare" = "I can't bare this."  "At least you have more children," =  "I want that one back."  "You will see them again in the Kingdom," =  "I want to see them at the dinner table."  "You need to get over it, it's been six months, " (Said by a minister to personal friends) =  "Go to hell you bastard."

I've sat an listened to why one woman, who lost a child and was not helped by her church said she had concluded that Jesus death, in the story, was a mere weekend inconvenience and not a real death. God knew and Jesus knew he was coming back better than ever in a few days.  Her daughter was still dead.  Then she asked, "Shouldn't a sacrifice stay dead!"    Nice question.....and skepticism is birthed forever more.  I could not disagree with her and to this day have no better answer for her.  Her minister told her, "Well, God lost his only child too you know," which set off her deeply thought out theological reaction.  The minister did apologize when she screamed "no!" at him.

I've walked into homes where guns under pillows went off at night.  I even helped not revive a teen who jokingly played Russian Roulette  for the family and was dead before he hit the ground.  I held a piece of his skull on the back of his head while we raced to the ER but everyone knew.  I watched the doctor slam the door yelling "fucking waste of life," as he stormed out. 

I had a church deacon's son , who found out it was me taking him to the hospital with two broken legs after a day of drinking and putting a trampoline together beg me not to tell his dad.  lol.   Lesson:  If you drink too much beer, you jump too high showing the kids how it all works and when you come down....well never mind.

I think we all know that if the ministry lays hands on the sick, the sick shall be made well.  Um....no.  Or I must have been the Dr. Kevorkian of the ministry.  One of my closer friends said to me once,  "Ever notice how those with colds and flu that you lay hands on get better, but those with cancer die?"   Ummm.  Yes.  I had my own skepticism about such matters even as I performed them.  (Please don't say, "well there you go, you had no faith.")

Sometimes people get very angry with the "stupid ministry" of many and all churches when skepticism comes a calling.  But it is still the Book, the Bible that produces its own skepticism by making promises that it does not keep and portraying God , Jesus and the Angels in ways that they do not act in reality.   The angels may watch over the children, but they don't seem to move fast enough when needed. God, Jesus and Angels get cut some slack but not so much the church or the minister who also thought the Book meant what it said.  "Whatever you ask you shall receive," and "if you have faith as a mustard see, you shall say to this mountain..."  and so on.   Never saw it and never met anyone that could do it.  And so skepticism is birthed.

Skepticism is handled in several ways.  When it actually shows up, some ignore it and bury its reality in "just have faith," or "trust and obey for there is no other way," and sometimes there is not.  Some become aggressively skeptical or passive aggressively skeptical because anger is either ok or not ok depending on the person.  Those that suffer the hard blows directly are never the same and no you don't "get over it."  You put it somewhere in time and it scars up eventually but you don't get over it.  I know two people that never dated again after their very young boyfriend or girlfriend or fiance were killed.  It was too risky and too painful to trust that process again.  Marriage doesn't work or relationships don't work because the last three failed.  Church doesn't work because of last six. 

I don't enjoy being skeptical.  There have been several times that I have been inexplicably saved from death such as missing a plane that was hit by a fighter jet or not having the head on to this day I don't know how I didn't.  I used to believe it was because I was supposed to be a teacher of truth and a minister in the true right sure fine church.  Well I know how that went.  Was I spared to be a massage therapist?  Hope not!   Was I spared to write about being skeptical?   That makes no sense.  Luck of the draw maybe.

If you live long enough, government, banks and religion will eat away at your hope, trust and beliefs.  We either change them or we bury the doubts under a mask of fear and not knowing what to do.  Some just change from the bad experience to the good one.  The bad church to the good one or the bad job to the good one.  And skepticism laughs waiting in the wings to birth it self again. 

Perhaps without a healthy skepticism there can actually be no growth or progress in life.  I believe this to be true.  After all...what is walking but a controlled crash in motion.  We catch ourselves just before we fall on our faces and we call that "walking."  If we keep moving the upper half and don't move the lower, we fall on our faces.  

I wish I did live in the La La land that some seem to have found or re found.  I can't.  I'm a skeptic.  Bells in my world can't be unrung and experiences compared to scriptures and theological promises that don't ring true can't be made to mean something else to get the Book off the hook.  After a lifetime of experiences that were promised and taught to be one way and seeing them not at all that way just does to most what it does.  It makes one skeptical.  It's lonely being skeptical.  It can drive some people out of your life.  It can make you do dumb ass things being penned up might not allow for.  It is no fun on the stomach at times and certainly those niggly chest pains are no sign that all is well in Skeptic City.  But it is what it is. 

Healthy skepticism based on experience is what keeps knowledge flowing and going.  Without it, we'd be in the Dark Ages still.  Without it, we'd not grow in our grace either when we see that things just don't go along as easily or blossom as simply as some would have us believe. 

It would be wonderful to see more of those stuck in their  seats listening to the one man shows of Dave Pack, Gerald Flurry or a Ron Weinland get a little skeptical.  God knows they have enough ammunition and reasons to be!  But as I have said in the past, fear, guilt and shame are powerful glues that keep butts firmly attached to seats.  In my years as minister, I did not find many that thought through the realities of what they were hearing or seeing.  I didn't myself for sure, until I did.   I have to credit finally getting fed up with Gerald Waterhouse speculations for putting me onto the skeptics track.  How many times I sat there listening, sore butted and wanting to go home saying "this is bullshit," and acting like it wasn't.  Argh!  Never again.  Like any seed, skepticism needs time to grow, but when it breaks the surface, you will know.

I'll take a skeptic over believer any day.  Beliefs are just that.  They often bear no resemblance to the truth of any matter. I can't tell you how many ministers I know who are skeptics but you will never know.  I ask ministers pointed questions and often get the "I know, but if I say that, I will lose my job," far more often than "that is just not so!"   Ministers around here do this year end dance around the Solstice not being Jesus birthday , of course, (news to most pew sitters) but still he was born on Xmas day.  Hilarious doublespeak.  They know.  Bible errors....most know.  Bible inconsistencies...they know.   They have buried their own members, children and teens.  They have seen those with the flu get well and those with cancer die.  The mountains around Greenville have never moved an inch because Bob Jones University is up the street in all its righteousness and obedience and God, Jesus or Angels never really show up when you need them the most, as they promised.

Thus skepticism is birthed....and its OK.   But I don't believe it is OK to see it, then teach and explain as if you didn't. 


Dennis C. Diehl
DenniscDiehl@aol.com


57 comments:

Allen C. Dexter said...

"But I don't believe it is OK to see it, then teach and explain as if you didn't."

That's when hypocrisy is born. Like all other character flaws, hypocrisy is born mainly out of fear.

We've all had our hypocritical times. Like you, I finally said, "enough is enough, this is BS."



Douglas Becker said...

Let us all -- particularly the Armstrongists -- END the skepticism once and for all!

The True History of a True Church is a fake, plagiarized from Ellen G. Whine and a total fraud.

There are no lost tribes of Israel and you can prove it from the New Testament declarations (you know, the one the Catholics wrote, ha, ha!). British Israelism can be disproven by DNA and because Herbert Armstrong used British Israelism as the key to all prophecy, he was not only a false prophet, but nothing he predicted during his life came true (in death, his prediction that there would be division in the church sort of came true, but it was not division, it was multiplication -- resulting in bad math 700+ times).

If you read "The Daughter of Babylon" by Bruce Renehan at AmbassadorReports.com, you can have not one shred of skepticism that the leaders and ministry all knew they were lying.

So let us end the skepticism: Last night there was some moronic fool droning on about the Lost Tribes of Israel. Have no fear. Have no doubt. You can trust and believe that every word that proceeded out of the mouth of Herbert Armstrong, especially "in Jesus' Name" was pretty much a lie and / or deception and you can't rely on ONE word he said or ONE word his sycophant Myrmidon disciples say in his name.

You know this because the Armstrongists make assertions and conclusions that are neither generally accepted, nor are they particularly scientific or historic.

End your skepticism now!

You will be better off for it (particularly you PKG members: Weinland is going to prison because he is a convicted felon who practiced Income Tax evasion -- get over it!).

Retired Prof said...

Dennis, the first definition you give of "skeptic" ("1. One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions,
or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions") needs a phrase added to it: "that are not supported by sufficient verifiable evidence."

It is that last phrase that distinguishes "skeptic" from "cynic."

It is the phrase of scientific skepticism and the skepticism of sensible decision-making. You say, "Whether it is finance, religion or government, [skepticism] is feeding and growing." The kind of healthy skepticism the expanded definition indicates is not feeding and growing, although it should be--at least in finance and government. The trouble is that economics is a chaotic system for which economists have not devised a model adequate to guide government in setting financial policy. Economic ideas pushed by both the right and the left are based on faith.

Religious doctrines, of course, are based on faith, which by definition people hold without evidence. Doctrines based solely on faith (think British Israelism) cannot survive skeptical inquiry. That is probably why the pious revile skeptics so hard. My father never uttered the word "skeptic" without a sneer and a contemptuous snort.

Douglas Becker must be using a different meaning of "skeptic" from either of us when he urges people, "End your skepticism now!" I don't know exactly what that definition is. Can you clarify, Douglas?

[In effect I am proposing a game of "philosophy" here: "A game in which persons with large vocabularies dither over the definitions of abstract nouns. Such games seldom settle anything, but they can while away part of the the tedious interlude between birth and death.]

Douglas Becker said...

Retired Prof,

I was being snarky again, heavily ironic in a sarcastic manner (which should have been evident) for the sole purpose of entertainment. Well, there was some serious intent as in we should all be skeptical about anything Armstrongist say.

Suffice it to say, I advocate serious skepticism for innocents to avoid the bad investment syndrome, based on your revised definition, although cynicism would certainly not be criticized.

Thanks for letting me play.

DennisCDiehl said...

My skepticism is born from soaking in a book that ultimately seems confused, contradictory and certainly not able to deliver on its promises. I agree with your addition Prof. In my rather poor choice of profession, the evidence was and is not there. I saw too many contradictions and failed rescues, "blessing" or support in just about every area of real living.

It's a book of faith and in my experience, faith is what one has before the facts come calling. Then it becomes a matter of holding tighter to faith and fighting the facts, spending a lifetime denying or revamping the facts (Creationists) or accepting them and moving on.

I don't want to be cynical because that hurts me more than others and is really skepticism plus anger and anger to me is ill health waiting in the wings. I haven't found getting angry much good in any sense personally. Always backfires on me lol.

It will always be each to their own I am sure but the journey is a trip!

DennisCDiehl said...

I think I was skeptical when I came up out of the baptism pool lol. After I was chided for not answering the question "Have you ever broken the 10 commandments?" wrong it was all downhill from there.

I said, "well I don't worship other gods, don't take names in vain, haven't killed anyone, don't steal, do have some errant thoughts at times but I don't want your fleet car," they thought I needed more time to think about it. lol I knew what they meant but couldn't resist.

I never felt differently or empowered by baptism though that seemed to be implied. I certainly couldn't heal anyone with laying on of hands. I think I spoke as I would have spoken in any career so that was not "inspired" and I had my share of personal struggles along the way that prayer didn't seem to change much. Prayer never seemed to change anything much to be honest about it.

It's a ride as Bill Hicks says.

Douglas Becker said...

Dennis, sometimes I'm surprised they didn't drown you at baptism.

But I suppose they thought they might be breaking one of the Commandments (even if the ministers had entitlements -- you know, like not paying second tithe [which actually doesn't exist]).

Retired Prof said...

Douglas, sorry I missed the sarcasm. I don't think of myself as a dullard, but sometimes I read like one.

And Dennis, in reference to the 10 Commandments, I can't resist an old story from the Ozarks, an area that got no respect in southern California. A minister once illustrated the incredulity behind question "Can anything good come from Galilee?" with the paraphrase, "Can anything good come out of Arkansas?" Anyway, here's the story.

One night Brother Johnson down at the 4-Square Gospel Church preached about the 10 Commandments and then opened the floor to testimonials about them.

The Widder Fleet got up and confessed. "I reckon I've broken most of them. I used to put my own fleshly pleasures ahead of everything, including my duty to the Lord. I forgot and did it on the Sabbath day, and I would cry out the Lord's name in vain when I did. I started when I was still living with my parents, so I dishonored my father and my mother. I stole pleasure that did not rightly belong to me. I lied about it. It was stress over adultery that caused my husband's heart attack, so that made me guilty of murder, on top of the rest.

"But I can truthfully say there's two of the commandments I have faithfully kept. I have never made unto myself a graven image, and I have never coveted my neighbor's ox!"

DennisCDiehl said...

"Dennis, sometimes I'm surprised they didn't drown you at baptism."

I'm sure they would of had they really been able to see the future..lol

I should have gone to Fuller Theological Seminary down the street but probably would have had the same experience, just different players. I used to go there to study. Once at a refresher they actually had a large group of ministers go there for a lecture on "Paul of Tarsus" I loved it as you might expect. It lasted about 90 mins and at the end, fully knowing I wasn't nuts in my views (mid 90's) a minister said from behind me , "Dennis is probably the only one here who understood what the hell he was talking about." lol Nice compliment and tragic statement about the state of the ministry . I didn't know they were on to me. ha.

anyway....

Retired Prof said...

Oh, crap, that last word should not have been "ox." "I have never coveted my neighbor's WIFE!" "Ox" is the last word of a different joke in my repertory.

Sometimes I write like a dullard too.

DennisCDiehl said...

Sometimes I write like a dullard too."

Not to worry Prof. Me too. But relax, most of the Big Ten are about property and not quite what they have been spun into.

No other gods were really other gods they all believed in. YHVH was just jealous of them so don't bring into my tent!

Not killing meant "each other" , well unless instructed to. All others were fair game.

Adultery was for women and getting your head cut off or stoned was birth control. Men had to know who the fathers really were due to property rights etc, so poor women were elminated if there was doubt. Men could have lots of wives as we see in scripture. Even Deacons in the NT had to be the "husband of one wife," Why would you have to make that a rule lol.

Coveting and Stealing were off limits just so folks cold get along in such numbers and of course, the rules didn't apply when YHVH told them to take all the stuff of others. Seems the story says Israel stole Egypt blind when they left. Of course it never happened.

etc.....

Douglas Becker said...

I'm sure they would of had they really been able to see the future

That's funny, Dennis, considering the predictions that were made.

Maybe "The Key to Prophecy" just didn't cover seeing into your future?

I'm sure they didn't see that coming!

DennisCDiehl said...

Oh Douglas, I wish I had seen it coming! lol Or at least knew what to do when I did sooner than I did. I remember thinking and hoping, in vain as it turned out, that HWA was old and set in his ways but would not be around much longer and then the Church could grow up and modern up a bit. Well we know how that went.

I still marvel at how easily the Tkaches dismantled the church and never got pitched out on their asses. That "government" thing had it's grip even when they were making fun of it.

While Joey is set for life, his great family contribution to Christianity is zero and all they get remembered for is reinventing the wheel and walking away with the gold. I'm still working on my attitude towards them and a few others but as long as I tell myself it's all a game and all a ride somehow it finds a place to settle.

The price of having sincerely made decisions in my youth about WCG and what I thought my place in it might be, for the good, has been and will continue to be high. I have hurt a few myself along the way but everything is at is , as I say.

Anonymous said...


"I've walked into homes where guns under pillows went off at night. I even helped not revive a teen who jokingly played Russian Roulette for the family and was dead before he hit the ground. I held a piece of his skull on the back of his head while we raced to the ER but everyone knew. I watched the doctor slam the door yelling 'fucking waste of life,' as he stormed out."


Yeah, that stupid kid was sure a waste of sperm. At least this will stop his stupid parents from passing on their own stupidity to future generations.

What a groaner. Some WCG parents would beat their children mercilessly all the time for no good reason, while other WCG parents let their children act this stupid without correcting them.

A basic rule of firearm safety is that you should control the muzzle direction at all times and never point it at anyone that you don't intend to shoot--especially yourself!!! You should always assume that firearms are loaded and treat them that way. Having a gun under your pillow might not be so smart either, especially for those who tend to sleep-walk and sleep-shoot.

In the Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Volume 1, chapter 2, under the subheading Escape From Death, HWA wrote about a pre-World War I encounter with a stupid young German, about age 21, who bragged at length on the superiority of German stuff, such as his German-made revolver over a Colt or other American make.

------------

In play, he pointed the revolver straight at me.

"Don't point that at me!" I said, dodging.

"Oh, it isn't loaded," he laughed. "Look, if you're afraid, I'll point it away from you and show you."

He pointed the revolver a couple of feet to one side of me, and pulled the trigger.

It was a very superior weapon, all right. It drilled a hole completely through the wall of his room, and let a little ray of sunlight shine through from outdoors!

------------

HWA concluded that little story by writing (emphasis his):

"It is the gun 'that isn't loaded' that has killed many people. And before I leave this little digression, may I respectfully suggest to all who read this that you teach--yes, really TEACH your children never, under any circumstances, to point even a playgun at any person. The life you save may be your own!"

Of course, no matter how hard HWA tried to teach this, and no matter how clear he tried to be about it for other people's own good, some people still "just didn't get it."




Anonymous said...


"I had a church deacon's son, who found out it was me taking him to the hospital with two broken legs after a day of drinking and putting a trampoline together beg me not to tell his dad."


Another case of some stupid kid disobeying what the church taught, ignoring all common sense, and suffering some consequences. So what? This is how some stupid people slowly learn--if they don't die along the way in the learning process.

The WCG had a booklet called Principles of Healthful Living that, among other things, mentioned how much pain, suffering, and expense accidents cause each year for Americans, and emphasized the importance of avoiding bodily injury. The WCG also advised moderation in drinking.

Of course, no matter how hard HWA tried to teach such things, and no matter how clear he tried to be about it for other people's own good, some people still "just didn't get it."

I suppose that if you really despise HWA and the WCG and what they taught, you might think that getting a couple broken legs is a small price to pay to show your contempt.

Anonymous said...


"The mountains around Greenville have never moved an inch because Bob Jones University is up the street in all its righteousness and...."


Sometimes you get too carried away carelessly saying sloppy things to try to fill space and confuse people.

Did anyone there at BJU ever even ask the mountains to move over a wee bit?

Also, and more importantly, isn't Bob Jones University another one of those places where students are taught to reject the commandments of God (such as the Sabbath commandment) for the sake of their own traditions (such as Sunday-keeping). "All its righteousness" that you mentioned really is as filthy rags. That is how it is with the "harlots and abominations of the earth." Their own "righteousness" is not right at all.




Anonymous said...

Dennis as I read through your article and some of your experiences I realized that everyone has gone through similar experiences if they have lived long enough. Your comments about ministers faced with these situations may fit the ministers dealing the specific situations you revealed, but in situations of this nature an experienced minister should be able to comfort those grieving without destroying the credibility of scripture. I recognize that those steeped in legalism are prone to make some of those asinine remarks, but the bible is full of natural encouragement for those who seek it. It hard for me to see how it would be of much comfort to tell someone that God didn’t intervene or heal because He doesn’t exist or He doesn’t care about people problems.

I have speculated that Gerald Waterhouse believed his own yarn and got his jollies out of spinning it. It did create a few problems for those who didn’t like the idea of leaving their rebellious kids behind when they got on those old planes to go to Petra.

Retired Prof said...

Anon 8:40, you aver that "an experienced minister should be able to comfort those grieving without destroying the credibility of scripture."

Can you suggest specifically how Dennis could have comforted the parents of the Russian roulette victim? Or feel free to pick any of the other examples he gives of people who left the church because the credibility of scripture was destroyed. Show how he could have strengthened their faith and renewed their hope.

DennisCDiehl said...

"but the bible is full of natural encouragement for those who seek it. It hard for me to see how it would be of much comfort to tell someone that God didn’t intervene or heal because He doesn’t exist or He doesn’t care about people problems."


Of course, at the time, I did use the Bible to encourage but I also knew enough to be careful not to sound too smug about it all as I knew that when going through it, people aren't all that encouraged by it. Mostly I listened and agreed that these things cannot be forgotten or easily comforted. And I never saw anyone be the same again.

The Bible does have some very encouraging words. I just learned when to hold em and when to fold them when reality came calling. I am sure when younger I said and did some unhelpful things believing they were helpful. A minister who replaced me just when a family lost a son in a car accident gave them six months to grieve and then told them it was time to get over it. You don't get over it and that was harsh. They quit church the next week.

Since then, I have had three clients start sobbing on the table during massage, each having lost a child to suicide. I just listen. It is mind numbing grief that is lifelong and trust me, it is not the time to start quoting scripture.

Anonymous said...

Retired Proph said: “Can you suggest specifically how Dennis could have comforted the parents of the Russian roulette victim? Or feel free to pick any of the other examples he gives of people who left the church because the credibility of scripture was destroyed. Show how he could have strengthened their faith and renewed their hope”.
My Comment: I wasn’t critical of how Dennis treated these issues. My point was that many ministers deal with these issues and use the scriptures to address them on a human level showing that God isn’t the problem. The problem is human nature not a person’s belief or lack of belief of God. The best way to handle such situations is like Dennis said he does now, just listen. No one has the answer to these problems, but eliminating God or the bible does not make the world a better, safer place for existence. I could go through this point by point, but that would not solve anything. I admit that a legalistic approach to scripture is not good and laws do not solve human problems, but the elimination of concrete standards is not a solution either.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon said: "I admit that a legalistic approach to scripture is not good and laws do not solve human problems, but the elimination of concrete standards is not a solution either."

Sometimes there is the perception that those are agnostic (which is how I would see myself at this point) can't be moral without the laws of the Bible as that is where all morality springs from. This is not so.

Humans had their morality and perspectives coming from the inside out long before the Bible made it on the scene and will, long after it becomes irrelevant to most. The sense of what is fair, kind, compassionate and true tends to come from inside the person and not from any outside source. The Bible has not made the world a much better place anymore than the Koran or the Torah has.

For better or worse, those given to such books are often the worst offenders and show a basic lack of human empathy in many things. Morality books cause humans to mask up and live two lives it seems. The life we think we are suppose to live and the life we actually live. We all do it. I certainly have under the pressure of the shoulds and musts of books.

At any rate, compassion, empathy, sympathy, cooperation and the kind of love that casts out the many fears we all have is an inside job and being pushed, packed and shoved into compliance by religious organizations and one man show types has proven itself to be a flawed system that robs the individual of his own perspectives and leads to dis-illusionment, which is not bad actually as having illusions is not what we are going for.

Anonymous said...

If you say you can be moral without the bible, why should you, or why should anyone?

And why should you hold anyone to your standards or any standard?

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous said...
If you say you can be moral without the bible, why should you, or why should anyone?"

Because I choose to and want to be. I don't consider myself a worm or miserable, blind, deaf, dumb and naked. I don't see others as demented or flawed and desperately evil, who can know me. I don't need the words of others, who frankly write some pretty shitty ideas and have the morals of a psychopath to tell me how it all is. The OT can be a nasty book at times with no morally redeeming value. God can be love in weird ways.

"And why should you hold anyone to your standards or any standard?"

I don't. We're all here to learn and no two people can see the world the same way. Our experiences shape us more than the words of others. I let people be who they are, but have found little tolerance at times for being who I am, which is not my problem.

"Never take anything personally. It is not about you...It is about them"
Agreement #2 of the The Four Agreements.

Retired Prof said...

Human beings should be moral because we are animals that evolved to live in social groups. Small-brained animals such as bees and termites seem to have the rules that make group life possible hard-wired into their brains. To their built-in rules, large-brained animals such as orcas and chimpanzees add a few rudimentary cultural ones. Cultural rules arise by convention among the members of a group and are enforced by the group against transgressors.

Human beings depend so heavily on group norms that some people charge that we have inherited no rules biologically. However, some trends appear in so many human cultures that most anthropologists have come round to the view that prohibitions against the murder (of kin at least), incest (defined differently in different cultures), theft, and perhaps certain other actions are built into our genome. This is not to say everyone has a moral brain; psychopaths seem to lack inherited moral constraints.

But cultures build on the template shared by the majority of humans. Social conventions may intensify or downplay our inherited tendencies. For example, in sexual choices we have inherited conflicting tendencies: long-term sexual commitment and attraction to multiple partners. Different cultures may manage the tension by demanding life-long monogamy, or supporting polygamy, or condoning marriage plus affairs, or other arrangements.

You ask how anyone can be moral without the the Bible. Yet all these connubial arrangements are found in the Bible and have been used to justify marriage practices at different times in different places. Why should people who believe the Bible hold others to their own biblical standard and condemn them for following a different one?

For suggestions about how a person can be moral without the Bible, read moral writings by writers who had not read it. For example, here are 5 precepts of Buddhism:

1)To refrain from taking life (non-violence towards sentient life forms), or ahimsā;
2)To refrain from taking that which is not given (not committing theft);
3)To refrain from sensual (including sexual) misconduct;
4)To refrain from lying (speaking truth always);
5)To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness (specifically, drugs and alcohol).

Taoism lacks such explicit rules and emphasizes find the way in all actions that is most harmonious.

Hunter-gatherer societies display a wide variety of specific rules, but all emphasize loyalty to the group and observance of its norms.

What people in all moral systems have in common is astonished disbelief that outsiders can act in such bizarre ways as they do, and still be decent human beings.

Anonymous said...


Bad things can happen to good people. Time and chance. Read the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. Of course, the ultimate mind-bender is probably the book of Job in the Bible. The only way that any of this can all come out remotely OK in the end is if God exists, resurrects people, and fixes things.

Sometimes bad things happen to people for behaving badly, like when two of the four sons of the high priest Aaron (Moses' brother) got burned up by God.

In general, sinning (i.e., missing the mark) is a way to kill yourself off early, whether it is by eating bad oysters, or getting AIDS from being sexually immoral, or drinking too much and driving too fast, or smoking, or frying your mind on drugs, or whatever.

I am curious about why some other minister was able to talk about miraculous deliverance in his pastorate while the people that Dennis Diehl pastored drank all day and jumped around until they broke their legs, played Russian Roulette until they killed themselves, did not look both ways before crossing the street and got mowed down, etc.

Did Dennis Diehl's rejection of God, the Bible, the WCG, and HWA and everything they taught have anything to do with the trail of destruction, personal injury, and death that Dennis Diehl seems to have left behind everywhere he went?

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon said:

"Did Dennis Diehl's rejection of God, the Bible, the WCG, and HWA and everything they taught have anything to do with the trail of destruction, personal injury, and death that Dennis Diehl seems to have left behind everywhere he went?"

Probably one of the more stupid observations I have ever heard. I pastored in 14 congregations with hundreds a percentage of which are going to have nasty life experiences. A few examples came from my "hobby" of being a paramedic in the community and some from current clients who attend other churches of their choice.

The answer to your inane question is "No, there is no connection." It is life. I have been exposed to a lot because I have been exposed to a lot of people. Just as by the time I had seen more inside mental hospitals than most would in their life because my brother was physically handicapped, grew up in a time where adults and kids, mentally deficient and physically handicapped ended up in the same institutions. Every week, for 18 years from age 5, I walked those halls seeing what was probably a bit too much for a kid to process. I would attribute those experiences with finding WCG and the OT promises the blind would see, the deaf would hear and the lame would leap like a hart. While my brother could walk, he is blind, deaf and can't speak so that sounded good to me.

He was the first human I anointed for healing when a very young elder. He and I had a good laugh over that. Well I did. He just looked at me with that "what the hell are you doing," look only brothers can share lol.

Anon also said:

"

The only way that any of this can all come out remotely OK in the end is if God exists, resurrects people, and fixes things"

There may be other ways ou never heard of. Maybe life is not something one fixes but rather lives. Humans hope this or that is true because we are conscious and aware that we are aware. My Shih Tzu worries of nothing and is not afraid of death. Humans have erected elaborate religious systems to address their fear of death. Time will tell...

DennisCDiehl said...

PS That's 40 years and thousands of people sqwoooze down into a fewparagraph for Pete's sake!

Pete who?

Anonymous said...

Wow! Someone seems to have lit the fuse to a verbal bomb explosion. I am an anon and my last comment was December 24, 2012 6:38 AM so I will call myself Anon A. The question regarding a reason for morality was not mine and even though I did mention concrete standards my point was that standards are necessary and there are biblical standards that contribute to civil human relationships. I did not detail my personal view of these standards or where they come from due to the complexity of such issues. My intention was to soften what appears to be bitterness over bad religious experiences by showing that not everyone has this bitterness.
Sorry Dennis I apologize if I started this verbal explosion.
Anon A

Assistant Deacon said...

"The WCG also advised moderation in drinking...Of course, no matter how hard HWA tried to teach such things....'"

Oh, please, Anon. Get your head out of the sand, if not that crevice at the rear of your trousers.

Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...


Assistant Drunk said...
"The WCG also advised moderation in drinking...Of course, no matter how hard HWA tried to teach such things....'"

Oh, please, Anon. Get your head out of the sand, if not that crevice at the rear of your trousers.

Unbelievable.



Not unbelievable at all. That was the official WCG teaching. That is what I read and heard and did.

What were YOU reading and hearing and doing? Get your head out of the toilet and sober up.

DennisCDiehl said...

The church did teach moderation as do all except the baptists who simply do not recognize each other in Hooters or the Liquor store.

I only knew a few alcoholic types along the way. In time I realized there were a few of my minister friends with drinking problems. I never drank until I went to AC lol.

The 70's and 80's, ok and the 90's would drive any minister to drink!
:)

Alcoholism is not a flaw, it is an addiction and I don't remember any training on any such things when in college. I only recognized it when a member in KY showed me a bag with 57 empty Nyquil bottles in it her husband had drank over the past week. She asked me what I thought of that? All I thought to say at the time was, "well, I bet he doesn't cough much." ha ha

When I would not give this fellow a drink when he was down and out in bed, he got up before I could react, went to the bathroom and downed a pint of rubbing alcohol right in front of me...blechhhh.

That's when I realized how addictions can work.

Anonymous said...



DennisCDiehl said...

"A few examples came from my 'hobby' of being a paramedic in the community and some from current clients who attend other churches of their choice."

&

"PS That's 40 years and thousands of people sqwoooze down into a fewparagraph for Pete's sake!"



Were you using examples of people in the world and its churches to confuse the issues and try to make God and the WCG look bad?

Vaughn said...

The hate, contempt and lack of empathy, expressed in the two instances above by Anonymous, for a teenager who made a bad decision and his family is indicative of the self righteousness that is Armstrongism. Somehow I seriously doubt that Anonymous went through his teen years without a mistake, yet judges harshly one that made a mistake from which was unrecoverable. His type of attitude was far from rare in the WCG and the splinters I had attended, make me glad I am out. I completely understand why he comments anonymously, with such a gleaming example of typical Armstrongism as taught.

Anonymous said...

Vaughn said...
"The hate, contempt and lack of empathy, expressed in the two instances above by Anonymous, for a teenager who made a bad decision and his family is indicative of the self righteousness that is Armstrongism. Somehow I seriously doubt that Anonymous went through his teen years without a mistake, yet judges harshly one that made a mistake from which was unrecoverable."



The word STUPID has a meaning and is not just an insult. Some behavior really IS STUPID. Some people like to ACT STUPID. They like to BE STUPID. But they don't like to be CALLED STUPID.

Frankly, I don't like the idea of any STUPID people pointing their guns at me. Let them point their guns at YOU and then YOU can show them YOUR worthless and fake "empathy."

What I say is harmless. It is the CONSEQUENCES of people's own STUPIDITY that can be extremely harsh.

My understanding was always that the WCG was trying (sometimes imperfectly) to teach everyone how to live so as to try to minimize the accidents, disasters, suffering, and regrets.

All along there were bad characters like yourself who hated people and wanted them to take paths that ended in sorrow. Then your type could prattle on about their great "empathy." Anyone who tried to get people to make better choices so as to avoid problems in the first place was accused of being "self-righteous." Not fooled at all by your acting and your word games. Nothing new under the sun with them.

Anonymous said...


Vaughn said...
"The hate, contempt and lack of empathy, expressed..."


Vaughn, for some reason you remind me of the perverts in life who deliberately try to get gullible young people to make bad choices that can be ruinous or even fatal for them. Such perverts are a bad influence that the victim's parents--who really do care about the person--are often not able to counteract in time. When the inevitable trouble comes, the perverts can be good actors pretending that they feel sorry for their victim, and pretending to empathize with the person's grieving parents, while they are in fact actually secretly delighted with the outcome.

Anonymous said...

Poor baby. Take a pill.

DennisCDiehl said...


"Were you using examples of people in the world and its churches to confuse the issues and try to make God and the WCG look bad?"

No, this topic has nothing to do with only WCG. My experiences with the Bible, its promises as written as how they get delivered is an observation many sincere folk of all Christian faiths experience and don't understand. As I said in the article, I would have had this experience I am sure no matter where I had ended up in ministry.

I used a couple examples of people of faiths other than WCG because it is a common issue with Christians, not just WCG.

I could have added more gruesome WCG examples from other congregations but I made my point.

Perhaps you can write an article , using your name and what church you might attend to explain concepts I missed or don't understand?

Anonymous said...

Something to think about
I believe in God, but I also recognize there is a good, bad and ugly to religion. The Neuroscientists who believe in evolution recognize that we are a moral animal and religion plays an important role in the survival of the human race. I think a little more attention should be given to the good.
Anon A

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon said:

"I believe in God, but I also recognize there is a good, bad and ugly to religion. The Neuroscientists who believe in evolution recognize that we are a moral animal and religion plays an important role in the survival of the human race. I think a little more attention should be given to the good."

I agree, I am agnostic, not athiest. Because of 2000 years of Church history, most can't imagine the difference between being religious, which requires being at certain places, doing certain things at certain times and giving this or that amount, and sprituality which does not respond well to that and is an inside job.

I no longer have a problem with being who I am , knowing and feeling what I do and not feeling obligated to find the right group, which I don't think really exists or was meant to.

Newlife said...

It's been said that that those who have no doubts are claiming indirectly to have all knowledge. So, considering how little knowledge I have I'm proud to call myself a skeptic.
As someone who has escaped the clutches of Christianity I'm reminded once again as I read the exchange between Dennis and anonymous of the great difficulty of penetrating the thinking of those who have been indoctrinited by that belief system. I'm sure that in other areas of life he is a perfectly rational person.

Head Usher said...

"Were you using examples of people in the world and its churches to confuse the issues and try to make God and the WCG look bad?"

No one has to do this. Herbie did a bang-up job of it all by himself.

"My understanding was always that the WCG was trying (sometimes imperfectly) to teach everyone how to live so as to try to minimize the accidents, disasters, suffering, and regrets."

Well, that's nice. Herbie didn't know how to live so as to minimize bad consequences, and the bible doesn't really contain such information anyway, even though some believe it does. My understanding is that WCG caused lots of disasters, suffering, and regrets, while it's teachers have consistently failed for decades to practice what they preach. "Imperfectly" is certainly putting a heck of a spin on it.

Retired Prof said...

Anon A, I agree that we need to acknowledge the beneficial effects of religion, both belief in the supernatural and of its attendant ritual observances and taboos. On the other hand, like any good medicine, religion does not affect everyone the same way. For some the side effects overwhelm the benefits. Also, some medicines and religions fail to deliver the benefits they promise.

This site is biased toward warning of the side effects of Armstrong's religious legacy. Ambassador Reports, archived over at The Painful Truth, establishes pretty convincingly that the religion is based on fraud, implying it can have no good effects.

I'm not so sure. I know a woman who thrived on it till she died, and I know others currently living decent, happy lives while immersed in UCG and COGWA. In my secular view, all religious belief is based on illusion. I can't see that it makes any difference in terms of effect whether the illusion arises from intentional deceit or hallucinatory delusion. What matters is whether it provides a workable framework within which to run one's life.



Anonymous said...

Dennis Said: “I no longer have a problem with being who I am , knowing and feeling what I do and not feeling obligated to find the right group, which I don't think really exists or was meant to.”
My Comment:
I suppose that is the reason I have a hard time relating to the animosity people seem to have. I never believed God limited Himself to one organization and my commitment was to God not an organization. To me the complexity of the universe is more easily understood when there is an intelligent Being superior to human intelligence associated with it. While it may not be provable it does offer the possibility of reason and purpose rather than accidental without a cause
My personal commitment to God caused me to take responsibility for discerning what my obligations were and how I would fulfill them. I realize not everyone can do this so it is difficult to help people recognize they need take the responsibility of being themselves. I believe an intelligent God would prefer they be themselves and learn from their mistakes.
Anon A

Anonymous said...

Retired Prof. said: “This site is biased toward warning of the side effects of Armstrong's religious legacy. Ambassador Reports, archived over at The Painful Truth, establishes pretty convincingly that the religion is based on fraud, implying it can have no good effects.”
My Comment:
I haven’t read any material that could prove that all the people in Armstrong’s religion are bad because of the affect it has on them. Such an acclimation can be compared to the Calvinistic doctrine of total depravity because of Adam’s sin. To be honest I believe that many who were attracted to Armstrongism benefited in ways that are probably not realized. I know my children were able to enjoy things that they would not have experienced otherwise. I realize this was due to the fact that their obedience was to my wife and I not HWA and the church. We never forced anything on them that wasn’t reasonable and beneficial. Again I realize that other parents may have stressed that it was the church that made them do it.
Anon A

Anonymous said...

Retired Prof said "I know a woman who thrived on it till she died, and I know others currently living decent, happy lives while immersed in UCG and COGWA."

I understand your point, but I find it disappointing that people perpetuate false belief systems to start with just because it "works" for them. And who is to say that these people you know are aware of the controversial history, sexual misconduct, financial corruption, false doctrines, etc of the ACOGs? I left the Catholic institution after I learned about its violent history and ongoing sex abuse scandals. Unfortunately I joined the UCG only to discover later on its history was just as bad if not worse! So again I left. This time though I'm not planning to join another "church." I'll be content to live my life without the need to associate with any group seeing my relationship with Christ is what's important to me not whether I'm in the "right" group. It's taken me decades to learn this lesson though. But what bugs me is that people are quick to point at "other" groups that are guilty of misconduct or corruption and yet they turn a blind eye to the same vices in "their" own group seeing nothing wrong in continuing to support them. Religion is very much like politics in this way.

Anonymous said...

Anon said: “I understand your point, but I find it disappointing that people perpetuate false belief systems to start with just because it "works" for them.”

I believe the problems that continually crop up here is due to a lack in understanding why religion is important and why the human flaws and weaknesses are used to destroy religious competitors. The importance of religion is due to the fact that we are hardwired to be “moral social animals”.
The desire for social contact has been exploited by the cultural merchandising that has taken over every area of social contact by targeting our desire to by seen as an individual. What I find difficult is coming up with a solution that would be acceptable to everyone.
Anon A

Byker Bob said...

There have been some people who were so bad off that in the balance, Armstrongism actually did help them. These types of people, for the most part, would probably have had their lives improved by shaving their heads, donning togas, grabbing a tambourine, and running down the street in their japflaps chanting "Hari Krishna!"

Unfortunately, behavioral scientists have identified approximately 15% of the general population as being totally incapable of taking care of themselves. Any structured philosophy would be beneficial to such people.

Any others could probably attribute their acclimatization to WCG as frog or Stockholm syndrome.

BB

Byker Bob said...

BTW, HWA's doctrine of moderation in terms of alcohol was overshadowed by his and his son's tendency to lead by example, wasn't it?

BB

Anonymous said...

DennisCDiehl said...

"Perhaps you can write an article, using your name and what church you might attend to explain concepts I missed or don't understand?"


Well, perhaps.


An Article Explaining Some Concepts Apparently Missed or Not Understood by DCD

- Written, as requested, by "Your Name"


1. The Russian Roulette Concept

This is a concept not understood even by some former WCG ministers, so I shall go into some detail about it to try to make it plain. No matter how hard I try, though, some people probably still won't "get it."

Playing Russian Roulette with a 6-cylinder revolver is extremely risky, and stupid--no matter how badly stupid people hate to be called stupid. I don't think I can emphasize this enough. Using an 8-cylinder revolver is only very slightly better. Some really stupid people would play the game by putting the one cartridge into the magazine of a semi-automatic pistol rather than into one of the chambers in the cylinder of a revolver. This is the worst possible way to play the game. In that case, the person who starts first loses. Read a book about probabilities. Better yet, read a book about firearm safety. There is a very good chance (which means BAD chance) that anyone stupid enough even to pretend to play Russian Roulette is probably too stupid to make sure that the gun is unloaded.


2. The Concept of Drinking and Trampoline Jumping Until You Get Hurt Versus Avoiding Bodily Injury

This is another concept not well understood even by some former WCG ministers. If you drink all day and then jump on a trampoline, and are determined to keep this up until an injury stops you, your behavior probably will be stopped by an injury. This is the natural outcome.

For those who aren't totally consumed by their hatred of HWA and the WCG and its official teachings, try drinking only in moderation, and avoid risky, drunken, trampoline jumping behavior that could lead to bodily injury.

Some simple, common-sense things such as looking both ways before you cross the street can prevent accidents that could quickly get you into worse shape than someone who smoked or had a poor diet for years. You can watch your diet, exercise, and be nice but still end up worse off than bad people if you aren't "street smart" enough to look both ways before you cross the street.


CONTINUED BELOW

Anonymous said...

CONTINUED


3. The True Church Concept

This is another concept not understood even by some former WCG ministers. HWA had taught that God was not trying to save the world now, in this age, and that He was only calling a very few people at this time. The rest of the world was actually cut off from God and left to go its own way, and to do its own thing, and to suffer the consequences.

This appears to be true. Have you ever tried to talk to any of those supposedly sincere, professing "Christians" in the church of their choice? They don't know anything and don't want to know anything. If they do hear anything, any sincerity quickly flies out the window.

Their endless protestations about their own sincerity, and their own "obedience" (to Satan), and their own "righteousness" (doing the exact opposite of whatever God commanded) are complete nonsense. What they will some day (in the future when God reveals it) finally get through their thick heads is that God cannot be mocked and that people reap what they sow.

If the Holy Spirit were with them it would have guided them into the truth. Instead, they are in complete ignorance of the Bible and its teachings, and hostile to them when they hear about them. All self-righteous and proud and arrogant in their ignorance and evil behavior, they become whiny and feel sorry for themselves when any bad results come their way. Even DCD knows better than to try to say anything to them because he knows very well that they do not want to hear anything--either before they are grieving, especially while they are grieving, or even after they are done grieving.


4. The Time and Chance Concept

This one can be hard for some people to accept, especially those who believe in God and think that He will always save them in this life. Time and chance happen to everyone, to the righteous and to the wicked. Have you read the book of Ecclesiastes yet? For a real mind-bender, try the book of Job.

When really bad things do happen to good people, there is not much, if anything, that can be done about it. You have to accept it because that is just the way things are, and you are powerless under the circumstances, and God chose to allow it.

The things that happen in this life can seem to be truly outrageous. If you actually read the stories in the Bible (rather than man-made religious fairy tales) you might notice that very bad things can happen in this life to good people. Where do you suppose the true Christian martyrs came from? Brutal? Yes, but if there were ways around all evil, then it would be theoretically avoidable. And, alas, it is not. People are here to suffer and learn.

HWA taught that people were put here to develop character. They were to learn right from wrong and to develop the habit of doing the right and refusing the wrong even against their own lusts.

The only hope is in the biblical teaching that this current life is not all that there is.

Retired Prof said...

"The only hope is in the biblical teaching that this current life is not all that there is."

That might be YOUR only hope, but it's not THE only hope. Billions of people pay no attention to biblical teaching and yet have hope based on other scriptures, most of them not involving the kind of afterlife you have in mind. Hindu reincarnation, for example.

Some are content not to entertain hope of an afterlife at all. I am one of those. I may be wrong, but I just sort of assume the oblivion I will not be aware of that follows death will be no more inconvenient and distressing than the oblivion I was unaware of before birth. In between I strive to alleviate the tedium of this dreary interval between birth and death by eating and drinking with gusto tempered by moderation and by singing songs, telling stories, and playing games with people I love. It's working pretty well. Carpe diem!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:20-1:24 said: "HWA taught that people were put here to develop character. They were to learn right from wrong and to develop the habit of doing the right and refusing the wrong even against their own lusts."

I agree with you on this point not because HWA said it, but because the Bible teaches that we are to follow Christ's example. To be honest though knowing what I know about HWA I believe he was a very poor example. It's easy to point to his son and say GTA was sexually immoral for his promiscuity and adultery. But, I think that it's even more unconscionable to give the impression you're a saint (or prophet or apostle etc) in public and a sinner (liar, thief, adulterer, alcoholic etc) in private. So how did this "teaching" of HWA's work for him then?! Of course it's said that the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree and I believe it.

DennisCDiehl said...

My reference to the trampoline event was a simple memory of someone doing just as you note. Goofing off and getting hurt.

The roulette example was illustrative that my experiences were not light and fluffy and not as something God did not respond to. We make choices and they have consequences in such cases. It was a tragic accident by a young man who did not realize that looking and not seeing a bullet in the chamber does not negate the fact that the cylinder will rotate and it will be in there shortly.

I know all the rationales of why the promises of the Bible may not actually come about when needed. If all else fails, charge "out of context!" lol

Also, I don't hate the organization. I hate that I did not have access to other views or do my homework before getting involved, but then again, I was only 14.

You're observations are very well known to me as I used them in such times of confusion but as I grew older and saw the stats wrack up, found them to be unsatisfying to both myself and to those who were going through hell and asking why the promises of the Bible didn't work for them.

DennisCDiehl said...

PS

Your use of "This is another concept not understood even by some former WCG ministers." is rather weak and while I can't speak for others, I understand more than you can imagine.

The "True Church" understanding is very shallow and inacurate and WCG/COG members react the very same way when presented with new information as "Satan" church

Anonymous said...

DennisCDiehl said...
"Your use of 'This is another concept not understood even by some former WCG ministers.' is rather weak and while I can't speak for others, I understand more than you can imagine."


Relax. Just trying to light your fuse. You do not have to explode unless you want to.

Anonymous said...

DennisCDiehl said...
"You're observations are very well known to me as I used them in such times of confusion but as I grew older and saw the stats wrack up, found them to be unsatisfying to both myself and to those who were going through hell and asking why the promises of the Bible didn't work for them."


In health-wealth-and-prosperity gospel ("good news") churches of the greedy people's choice, the godless, greedy suckers are always told that God has promised to bless them if they hand their money over to the lying talker. The "bad news" is that once they have handed over their money to the con artist they are out of luck. They should have insisted on seeing the blessings first, but that is never allowed as it would indicate that they lack faith. Some more experiences like this and they will soon lack both faith and money.

HWA sold the WCG and what he called "God's way" to people in part as being the way that leads to every good thing that everyone wants. While there is much truth to this, there is also "the rest of the story."

Shortly after the creation of man, God told the first man Adam, "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return" (Genesis 3:19, NIV). Even a liberal Rabbi once wrote that, “We are not built to endlessly lie on a beach, to do nothing at all.”

Are you sure that the Bible promises all the things you think it does? Someone once explained that religious leaders and others make a lot of promises in God's name that they are not going to be around to deliver on, and that they will not be able to deliver on even if they are around, and that--worst of all--God will not feel obligated to deliver on even though someone made the promises in His name.

In the Bible you can read about John the Baptist (not to be confused with John the Eraser, who does contract work for the mob) being the greatest born of women and filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth, and yet getting beheaded because of some wicked woman and her wicked daughter. Jesus, who was alive on earth at the time, and in the general vicinity, did not rescue him. In fact, Jesus had come to earth as a human to use people who did not really know what they were doing to get himself killed too, as prophesied. Jesus even rebuked Peter for naturally thinking of trying to prevent this.

As someone pointed out, only God knows why He allowed James to be put to death with the sword during the Days of Unleavened Bread while Peter miraculously escaped from prison around the same time (see Acts 12:1-19). Imagine how the typical WCG members today might whine if they ever had such lousy luck while just trying to observe God's annual festivals. Some of them are disappointed almost more than they can bear when God does not bless them at the casinos that they sneak off to. (Warning: The probabilities that are built into casino games were deliberately designed to curse you, not to bless you.)

MORE SUFFERING CONTINUED BELOW

Anonymous said...

CONTINUED SUFFERING

When the apostle Paul was called, the Lord said, "I will show him how much he must suffer for my name" (Acts 9:16, NIV). No mention of him winning any lottery for being such a hard, faithful worker. Just stories of his mouth bringing him beatings.

The people in the church at Smyrna were told, "Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days [ten years in some theories]. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10, NIV).

THIS CURRENT LIFE WAS DESIGNED BY GOD HIMSELF TO INCLUDE SUFFERING AND TO END IN DEATH. God is working out His own purposes for His own reasons. Apparently, and much to my regret, our current comfort and convenience and happiness are not the paramount considerations at this particular point in the plan. As someone once put it, some people get dealt really good hands (an allusion to some card game, I suppose) while other people get dealt really [expletive deleted] hands (the sad story of DCD’s brother comes to mind). Everyone has to play the hand they are dealt as best they can. Some manage to waste good hands. Some get lucky with bad hands. Some seem to have no hope in this life.

The biblical future hope is that some day, “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4, NIV).