Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dennis on "There's A Seeker Born Every Minute"

There's a Seeker Born Every Minute

"All I wanted, in the world, was to be a catholic priest. 
Live in a monastery, pray, serve God."
Joe Peshi-JFK

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorThose words, spoken as a line in a movie, left me sitting in the theatre with tears welling up in my eyes. Whoa..."where is this coming from?" I asked myself.  While I was not interested in being a Catholic Priest or living in a monastery, I knew what he meant so thus the tears.  I sat there thinking , "Yeah, that's all I wanted when I came into the Worldwide Church of God."  I as a weird kid and theology and all things God had a hold on me way back.  I used to listen to The Back to the Bible Hour on my transistor radio lying in bed at night.  I remember getting a little offended in college when some WCG Evangelist cracked that it was called that because they had their backs to the Bible.  I have since learned that even the Bible has its back to itself at times...

I was 14 when I heard my first Sabbath sermon in Boise, Idaho and it was on astronomy.  Whoa..a church that knew about astronomy.  My Presbyterian one didn't so much.  I was hooked and I devoured everything WCG had from age 14 to 18 and then went to College.  The rest is history as they say...

I was and always will be a "seeker."  

Sometimes I get asked why I stayed so long in WCG.  First of all transitions are messy in my experience.  Secondly...I thought that was where I was supposed to be.  After all, I had prayed my heart out to end up where I could best be what I wanted to be, a pastor, and nothing stopped me from going to WCG/AC.  I snuck my college application out under my parka so my parents wouldn't catch me applying.  I had to be there and, while I wish someone had talked me out of it, I was not going to be talked out of it.    One other pressure, at least subconsciously was from something my dad said when I called him to tell him I was going into the ministry and being sent to Minneapolis after graduation.  He got kinda quiet on the phone and I asked him if he was alright?  He said, I'll send you a letter.  In that letter he told me he had forgotten all about a prayer he made before I was born and it hit him when I called.  He said he prayed that if I was to be a son  (I was on the way) , and healthy, "You can have him God."   You see my older brother and first born son to my dad was and is blind, deaf and cannot speak.  He has been institutionalized all his life. So dad made a Diehl, I mean a deal with God and when I called it kinda got to him.  Then it kinda got to me and staying in WCG even when painful and chaotic still seemed a God thing until it didn't.  I'm not sure if I let any Deity down, but I didn't want to let my dad down. 

But I, as most I knew in both the ministry and among the membership were seekers and it seemed more correct and Biblical and that was what we were seeking.  I have found that the most sincere become your worst enemy when they feel betrayed or hurt.  It is the most sincere, who feel betrayed and hurt,  who probably rail the most on this blog.  If I had to choose, I'd still choose a church more like the old WCG, more Jewish in background than gentile but I would not allow the writings of Paul to get in.  Paul took the early Jewish Christian Church , turned it inside out , including it's own scriptures, and made Abraham the father of uncircumcision if you can imagine that.  Nice trick but it evidently didn't fool the Peter, James and John characters in the NT.  I don't think it fooled the Ephesian Church  either in Revelation, but I spare you.  

I miss church but I don't miss sermons.  I don't feel all that safe these days but I can't un ring the bells I have rung.  You really can't go home again it seems.  I am still touched by the story of the Prodigal Son but I don't know anyone like the dad in that parable and I really don't even know where home is to go home to. 

But I, like many of you reading this, are seekers.  I want to know how spirituality works and how religion gets in the way.  I want to know the good science of archaeology, paleontology, astronomy and quantum physics.  Very amazing stuff.  I see where some feel the whole ball game is just a hologram and some force or creator seems to have put us in the game to learn.  It's like we actually are the SIMS.  I finally figured out that has to stand for simulations.  I like the implications of "If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to see it, does it make a sound?"  I always thought that was a cute joke of some kind I did not get.  Now I know the answer is literally "NO!  It does not make a sound.  It makes vibrations which if not heard by a brain do not translate into sound."  Excellent!   This means the world outside our heads is totally silent!  Ask me about light  and photons someday.... :)

But again...we're all seekers and it's not nice to sucker a sincere seeker, which of course we have all experienced with the Armstrong/Tkach phenomenon.  While in hind site, I had shit for brains...back then I knew I had found something more true than the box into which I was born.  And then, I got pushed out of that one too.  I had to be pushed because historically I tend to stick around way too long anyway. 

Lots of changes and change and I have never gotten along.  My dear mom of 95 is slipping away and doesn't know me anymore much and my dad is not far behind.  He's 97 and a man few men could ever be like .  I will miss them both as is normal I suspect when that time comes in life to move along.  Buddhism hits it on the head with impermanence and the suffering that clinging and grasping can cause a person.  Letting things be as they are is just good mental health for humans.  Others hit the nail on the head with "all negativity is just some form of non-acceptance." 

But I, as I expect of most of you as well, will always be a seeker.  There is one born every minute!

"All I wanted, in the world, was to be a catholic priest. 
Live in a monastery, pray, serve God."
Joe Peshi-JFK

Joe!  You Seeker punched me!

Thanks for listening...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Dennis, I think that you are wonderful and that you are a humble servant. xxoo

Anonymous said...

I have been a jerk at times too. Balance....always be balanced! :)

Allen C. Dexter said...

No two people have the same story, but yours is very reminiscent of my own. We humans have quite interesting tales to tell in every instance I'm aware of.

Corky said...

The problem with seeking is finding. A seeker usually finds what he is seeking and ceases to be a seeker and becomes a finder who knows he has found it.

A true seeker always seeks but never finds. Because, just like a computer game, If one challenge doesn't lead to another - the game is over.

DennisCDiehl said...

Absolutely right Corky, I KNOW that if I ever thought I had "found" something, I'd keep looking. The journey is the lesson, not the destination

Head Usher said...

I don't think that's right because it's not just one thing you're looking for. It's a puzzle, and puzzles always have a lot of pieces. If you're playing a video game, it's the little things along the way that keep you going. You find a gold coin, a magic sword, a hidden key, and then that key fits into a door that leads to the next level. If you never found anything, you'd get frustrated and quit. It's because there's more than just one thing to be found that you keep playing. You're constantly finding little things, and constantly making progress into the unknown that keeps you addicted and playing while 3AM. It's a puzzle, and you have to find each piece in order to find the next one, and eventually it all is going to add up to some sort of finale. What you really want is to finally get to the end when something really exciting happens and you get a chance to kill the dragon, or something like that. After you've been everywhere, found everything, and killed the dragon, that's when it's over, and then you quit because you've done it all already.

It's the same thing with religion. It's not just one thing you're looking for. It's the things along the way like the small coincidences that you mistake for answered prayer. It's the rituals like baptism, the bread & wine, weekly church services and the special days, that fool you into thinking you're finding something, getting somewhere, making progress, and will add up to your being able to level up after death. These are the things that keep people tied in and addicted. You always keep seeking because you've never found ALL that there was to be found.

For me, I played that religious video game for a long time, but then, something happened, I don't know what exactly, but I paused and took a step back. And that is the thing that was the kiss of death for my faith, because I realized I'd never found ANYTHING at all, that I wasn't getting anywhere, and what's more, neither was anyone else in church! They were all fooling themselves. All of these rituals were empty and meaningless, especially baptism because that's the one where there's a really big promise being made. All those years, it was the illusion of finding little things along the way that had kept me going. I had to admit to myself that I had been fooled, but I had wanted to find something, and I had wanted to believe that I had found something, so I was an active participant in being fooled. Then the whole thing just evaporated because I knew that the reason why I hadn't found anything was because there was nothing to be found. Just like that, the game was over, and it was over for good. I had found all that there was to be found, and that was precisely nothing. There was no going back. I could say I quit, and that's true, but what it felt like was that religion quit me.

Newlife said...

Dennis, Your columns always leave me in a comtemplative mood. Although I seldom comment so much of what you say resonates with me. I hope you continue to write these columns because they are appreciated by people like me.

Head Usher said...

Um. Little correction. My eye somehow skipped over the part that said "If one challenge doesn't lead to another..." That's exactly right. If one challenge doesn't lead to another, there's nothing to do.

I guess, when I paused and took stock of the situation, I became a finder. I didn't find what I had been searching for, I found a different answer instead, but I found the only answer that there was to be found. And literally that answer was everywhere, virtually oozing out of the environment, but I hadn't seen it, hadn't recognized it for what it was, it didn't register, because it wasn't the answer I was looking for. In a sense, it was like the anti-confirmation of my search. I guess when I paused, my mind opened up for just long enough, where previously it had always been closed. All at once it became possible for me to accept whatever there was to be found without bias. And that's all it took.

DennisCDiehl said...

Head Usher said: "but what it felt like was that religion quit me."

Bingo! Religion can only cling to you when you give it your energy and I just pooped out and it went away. Little was as advertised and then when I turned my attention to the real origins, background, intent and ageda of the Bible, the rest fell in place and fell apart. You do fool yourself along the way by taking coincideces and such as signs one is on the right track.

I do find some confort in a form of spirituality but I'm not sure what it consists of. I do quiet meditation which for me is a miracle since sitting still and shutting up is a challenge lol. I love the implications of quantum physics , the nature of reality and how it might all actually be. All free of Bible talk. I'm also an observe of people and how they think which is why these left over Apostles and Prophets fascinate me.

I feel sorry for the delusion a man like Dave Pack , Bob Thiel or a Ron Weinland labor under. I hope they truly believe their own press because the scorn they bring on themselves is heavy. Of course they take that as proof that they are on whatever right track they are on and the others aren't.

I believe in walking lightly and leaving a small footprint on the planet. Simple things are best and to cling and grasp at things, stuff and how something should or should not be is futile, so stop it.

It is what it is..seems to resonate best with me. It might not be easy, but it is what it is...

Head Usher said...

Yes Dennis, and I relate to the experience of having theology just literally crumble and fall apart like a masonry building in 7.5 magnitude earthquake. It did. It just fell apart before my eyes.

My first post would have been so perfect if I had ended it with "Game Over. Insert Coin." No way, man. I've inserted waaaaay too many coins already!

Velvet said...

"If I had to choose, I'd still choose a church more like the old WCG, more Jewish in background than gentile but I would not allow the writings of Paul to get in."

Eh, we're still around (and at least the sermons on "Saint Paul" from the Evangelicals are both easily disproven from actual scripture, and mercifully short, these days).

I think the major difference is, we hold ourselves accountable to the actual Head of the Church...which means the ministry as a whole (and especially what refers to itself as "the denominational leadership" in the US) no longer has any authority over us...which is a good thing, because some abused that authority; not you, Dennis, and not any of the pastors I had direct dealings with, when I was growing up, but sites like this wouldn't exist if there hadn't been some who did, and I remember the ministry becoming vastly more authoritarian and dictatorial AFTER the changes, than they were before, in my experience.

Fortunately, so many fled the Church during the time of the siege and captivity, that now the ministers at the ground level can't begrudge those who are still in, or who get called back, like I did, who still keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Are there wolves and self-appointed judges and zealots still in the Church? Of course there are ... but they exist as examples of how NOT to be Christians.

The rest of us are left largely alone, and while keeping the other annual Sabbaths (and even the weekly Sabbath) are personal choices made (or not made) by each individual, there are still a few Feast sites left around the world.

We are definitely more like the church in Thyatira, now, at least that's how it seems to me. I don't think there are many people who have been called back to the Church to remain living witnesses to the faith once delivered (as far as I know, I am the only one), but so far, no extra burden has been added to me, just as was promised to the Thyatiran church, and there are at least some faithful who have stayed in the Church all the way through, which I think tempered the shrillness and severity of the Evangelicals, after a while.

Which isn't to say it's all come up sunshine and roses all the time since I have been called back to the truth; but the Church is not nearly as bad as it became during the changes. Which were all (and are all) prophesied, but we were all too blind in our own errors to see that at the time.

Anonymous said...

Velvet, what you say is interesting. Not sure what branch of the church you might still believe in, but does that involve believing that the endtime is soon here and mankind will suffer horribly, but gods people will be spared etc.etc.? And then there are the lost 10 tribes, is that still believed? Is that "the truth" which you speak of? And what about the unpardonable sin and the judgement day? No I just couldn't believe all that again. Plus I don't even want to escape the tribulation, not if everyone I know is going into it. Maybe I am lost for ever, but if it is along the lines of what HWA preached all I can hope for is a swift ending, as I don't think I could live that old way again.

Anonymous said...

Velvet it would be interesting if you would define what you perceive as “the truth” and “the Church”. It would also interesting to know the “bad” during the changes; you perceive as being prophesied.

Anonymous said...

Comment: It is interesting to see the things that people seem to have problems with. One is end time predictions, which depict horror for the world and a salvation for a selected few. Another is the existence of the biblical tribal people of Israel. Then there is the problem with unpardoned sins and the idea of a day of judgment.
Is this what Christianity is all about? It seems to me that biblical Christianity is a story that reveals the flaws of human nature and the destruction and corruption that these flaws can and do produce. The New Testament seems to be a story that reveals a solution that provides the hope that humanity needs when faced with the ultimate death that we all face.
I believe there is much more to life than the cycle from birth to death, but if there isn’t there are still principles that need to be applied that will improve the human existence and make it worthy of the image of a God who is a superior intelligent being with the power to create.

Anonymous said...

The bible stories are, like other mythologies, fanciful stories to offer some explanation about of how everything came to be the way it is, in the absence of scientific knowledge. Odin didn't really make the world out of the corpse of a giant named Ymir, echoes are not really the disembodied voice of Echo, a condemned mountain nymph, and human nature isn't really the product of a perfect creation whose instinctual nature was temporarily corrupted by a talking snake in a bad tree.

We don't need christianity to reveal the flaws of human nature. We're surrounded by them every day. They're on the news, they're in our workplaces and in our homes. We've only evolved so far. We're a big leap ahead of the primates, but we're certainly not as far advanced as the aspirational creatures that mythological religions imagine that we are.

And that's the question: what are we? What is our nature? What is our instinct? We oscillate between violent, greedy, animalistic behavior and selfless acts of kindness. But the average is not in the neighborhood of saintly. We can will it to be different for a day or maybe even a week, but it there is no cure for what we are. On average, we will revert to instinct. Maybe humans will be better in the next evolutionary iteration?

Anonymous said...

anonymous who thinks we are evolving. It is like one step forward one step back. How are we evolving? To spend our days looking at screens and shopping? But of course we don't want to go back for scabbling for existence and food, and spending most of our short lives being cold and hungry. Next evolution will involve chips in the brain maybe, or genetic manipulation. Somehow there is a great loss of freedom in our life now compared to the past (like the 1950's). I think the message of the OT is that this is what life used to be like, and we had better be careful not to go back to it.

As for human instinct, it is generally good. It keeps us alive, it helps us love. We are all faced with death and unlike animals we get to think about it a lot, but we are all in the same boat, no one knows what happens next despite what they think. At least I know I don't know which is way ahead of many. My biggest fear is it might be something worse than here, and face it here is pretty good. What I think of as the pinnacle of humanity is the beauty of our art and the expression of our feelings.

Anonymous said...

Comment to anon February 9, 2013 at 10:04 AM said:
“And that's the question: what are we? What is our nature? What is our instinct? We oscillate between violent, greedy, animalistic behavior and selfless acts of kindness.”

These are good questions. Now I will ask you to tell me what are the standards we will use to determine what is better? Who can we look to that will have the intelligence and wisdom to use the proper force to insure that perfection will be achieved and maintained? Just what value will it be to us if evolution produces something better? Can we guarantee that evolution will not produce greater monsters than better people?

Velvet said...

Hello, Anonymous!

As there are several anon questions, I am going to answer them all in one multi-part comment (and will try to be brief I promise).

"Velvet, what you say is interesting. Not sure what branch of the church you might still believe in,"

There are no "branches" as far as I am concerned -- Jesus said "I will build MY CHURCH." There is ONE CHURCH, and that is the foundation that was laid...even though, as prophesied, not a stone of the temple will remain.

"but does that involve believing that the endtime is soon here and mankind will suffer horribly, but gods people will be spared etc.etc.?"

Oddly enough, the Evangelicals are the ones who seem to push the end times rhetoric the most heavily (some from the pulpit, right alongside the trinitarian heresies).

I can't speak for anyone else in the Church, but I believe the Jews have "preserved the oracles of God" including that they have the general timeline for God's 7,000-year-plan mostly right...and given that we are only in Tevet 5774 at the moment, I tend to let the End Times stuff slide in one ear and out the other.

So, I can't really give an unbiased comment as to where/whether the Church is still End Times crazy or not. I'm not, so like I say, I tend to dismiss such comments, both from the pulpit and during fellowship, out of hand.

Though I will say it does appear that Nazism is on the rise again...and may well be a Satanic power to contend with, in a hundred years or so, if it remains unchecked.

That said. We all have great fun at the expense of Harold Camping, Ronald Weinland, etc., which perhaps isn't the Christian thing to do, but eh. (cont.)

Velvet said...

(cont.) "And then there are the lost 10 tribes, is that still believed? Is that "the truth" which you speak of? "

Hmm, well, like I say, this is just what I've observed, so take this with a huge grain of salt: The Evangelicals in the US absolutely do not believe in BI, and there are reams of articles, books, booklets, etc., on the "denominational website" debunking BI.
That said, apparently the Anglicans in the UK still(?? I never knew they did, but apparently so) believe in BI, so the Church in the UK is OK with it, I guess, though I have yet to hear BI preached from the pulpit in the UK at the Feast.

I don't listen to everything every minister in the Church preaches, so maybe there are ministers in the Church who still preach BI. I don't think the Americans would let them get away with it for very long, however.

I realize some of the splinter groups think belief in BI is required for salvation (the Church when I was growing up taught me that NOTHING was "required" for salvation, and I still believe this), and there are UK Evangelicals who get very touchy when the topic is broached (i.e., they follow the Americans, and see BI as a bad, bad, thing)..on the other hand, there are also UK Evangelicals who still believe BI, but don't push it as required for salvation. (And they don't push it from the pulpit, either.)

Myself, I neither believe nor disbelieve BI, because as far as I'm concerned, it's not a salvational issue. If it's true, it's true, and will be proven; if it's not, it's not, and will be proven. Either way it all comes out in the wash, and arguing about such matters is pretty much the polar opposite of having a good Christian attitude.

"The truth" of which I speak, is that the children of God are those who keep the Commandments of God and the testimony (gospel) of Jesus Christ; meaning those of us who are DOERS of His words, and who, with our lives, preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, not the false gospel ABOUT Jesus.

I have faith (I could be wrong) that there is a remnant of 7,000 of these children of God, prophesied to exist in the Church. (It's a dual prophecy, first mentioned in Kings, and then referenced by Paul, the 7,000 who refuse to bend their/our knee to pagan idols.) Given the numbers in the Church, I don't think this is a stretch, especially when you tally up the number of congregations that have remained in the Church and remain faithful.

Velvet said...

(cont.) "And what about the unpardonable sin and the judgement day? No I just couldn't believe all that again."

The unpardonable sin is exactly what it says in the Bible -- blasphemy against the power of the Holy Spirit. Which is why the Evangelicals no longer push the faithful, or try to force us, to believe in trinitarianism; as long as you say the magic words "It would go against my conscience to say/do/believe X," they will require nothing further of you.

Which has absolutely been my experience, in the Church. Though I still have ministers who persist in trying to convert me to trinitarianism, the general attitude is that this is a bad way to be, and it shouldn't be done. (cont.)

For the most part, more of the level-headed trinitarians will even admit (I have had at least two people say this to me) that belief in trinitarianism is NOT required for salvation, which is a far cry from what the American "denominational leadership" believes and preaches. Like I said earlier, there is a vast disconnect between Junior & Co and the rest of the Church, these days. As well there should be!

The Church in the UK no longer observes the Last Great Day in conjunction with the Feast, but it does have services on all eight days, in two different Feast sites; I have yet to hear a sermon specifically on the Great White Throne Judgement, though apparently those were still given at the Phoenix Feast site (which has been closed, due to the Festival Coordinator's death last year) and apparently at the NZ Feast site as well, though I can't corroborate that.

The Evangelicals believe, and preach, something far worse than the judgement day, however; they actively believe that those of us who will not bend our knee to their pagan trinitarian idols, are going to suffer some kind of eternal torment for that, after the Kingdom returns.

I think I would rather a judgement day where everyone (including those Evangelicals who would condemn us so readily) gets a free will choice at a second chance, thanks! (cont.)

Velvet said...


"Velvet it would be interesting if you would define what you perceive as “the truth” and “the Church”."

I hope I covered that in sufficient detail by answering the first Anon's questions. Let me know if not.

"It would also interesting to know the “bad” during the changes; you perceive as being prophesied."

Well, "the bad" included stuff that was apparently regional to the Canadian West Coast only; hearing things from the pulpit like, we had to be so happy because we were Protestants now, keeping the Sabbath was a sin, etc. I have heard subsequently that this was a bit of an anomaly.

There were also DFs for not going with the changes, whereas in my current church area, people were DFed after the changes for causing too much trouble as newly-converted Evangelicals! So go figure! It was all a very chaotic and troubled time...then again, so was the siege of Jerusalem by Babylon. Which brings me to your last question, Anonymous. (Cont.)

The prophecies (let me preface this by saying that I absolutely could be wrong about this, and will immediately repent if I am), that seem to me to apply to the Church during these times (besides the letter to Thyatira in Revelation) are the ones from the seventy years' captivity to Babylon.

Those who fled Jerusalem (i.e., went with the splinter groups) are told they will lose their lives (they certainly seem to have lost the truth, as most of these websites readily demonstrate), whereas those who stay and submit to the captivity (and who correct their idol-worship, either of the trinitarian gods, or their idol-worship of the leaders of the Church...both of which some members of the Church still suffer from, by the way), will gain our lives, i.e., the vineyards etc., will be given to the poor and destitute of the land, who have remained behind under the captivity to mystery Babylon.

Jeremiah was also told that our name would be taken away from us (the Church of God becomes GCI), and that the truth would be given to strangers; professing Christian groups are now big into the "Hebrew Roots" thing, which is a perversion of the truth the Church actually taught, although there are some individuals, Joe Amaral in Canada, for instance, has a closer bead on the truth as the Church taught it, than most.

Bear in mind that the "Messianic Jews" fulfill the prophecy of Rev. 2:9 however, because those groups are led by Evangelical wolves who want to turn God-fearing Jews away to false trinitarian idols.

Does that answer your questions? If there is anything I haven't been clear on, please let me know.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous who asks: How we are we evolving?

Your view of things is shortsighted and subjective. A 60 year time frame within the confines of a single country? The Chinese might disagree with your assessments of how freedom is trending. But do you really think your individual freedom matters to the species? The appreciation of beauty? Self-expression? Computers? Knowledge? Chips in the brain? Do you really think these any of these things will have any long-term effect whatsoever? The only thing that is going to have any effect on anything is the "knowledge" in our DNA. Even genetic manipulation is likely to have zero effect. Manipulated genomes will be worse, they'll be extinguished, and that's the end of that. The time frames you're considering are like picoseconds compared to time frames that matter. This entire experiment we call the industrial revolution has taken place in the blink of an eye in evolutionary terms. Your subjective experience of beauty, emotions, and your five senses are synthesized out of gobs of data, which is to say, your experience of the environment is created for you by your brain. Which is to say, love is an awesome "killer app" but it's still just an app whose purpose is mate selection. The code behind the scenes isn't nearly so warm and fuzzy, and the experience is not "real." It's merely a product of your equipment. So, what am I saying? You can't think about evolutionary development without adopting a developer's perspective. You're thinking strictly like a user.

There's a betting man's chance that we'll go back to scrabbling for food and shelter, because we were very good survivors in that environment. In fact, we're better adapted to survive in that environment than we are in the increasingly artificial environment we're crafting for ourselves. Why do we do it? We do it for the same reason we like refined sugar. But that doesn't mean we're adapted to eat refined sugar. Your instincts are apps that are there to guide you, but in unusual circumstances, they don't always work. Where has technology brought us? The nuclear age? We like technology because it's like white sugar, and it makes for a more saturated experience, but that doesn't mean this artificial, technological environment is good for us. It's a very unusual circumstance we've created for ourselves, and in evolutionary terms, that means it's a very risky experiment we've embarked upon. The one thing you said right was that it's one step forward, one step back, but one nuclear war could set us 5 million steps back in one shot. You still think that "here" is so good? Just because you like it doesn't mean it's good for us as a species.

Now it's time to stop hijacking this thread.

Anonymous said...

so who is hijacking this thread? I am the anonymous who first talked about evolution not being all good and our personal lack of freedom since the 1950's. I realise that in the past many people were slaves and had no freedom at all, but I was discussing my own personal experience. I agree with a lot of what you say though. Funny thing is I also find much of what Velvet says interesting too. I am open to all ideas, nothing wrong with that.

as for making fun of the various ministers in the splinter groups, I think while they are collecting tithes they are open to any ridicule that comes their way. Especially if they are living at a standard higher than their membership. also another thing they do is to use fear to control people, perhaps people who need controlling, but it is not a good thing.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that when Dennis reveals that his life has suffered a loss due to dramatic changes in religious beliefs we find a concerted effort to show that religion has some value if properly understood. Along with the desire to support certain religious belief there comes strong rebuttals supporting the belief that human life is the result of an evolutionary process and religion is hindering rather than helping. I am not sure whether anyone will change their personal views, but I doubt that anything presented here will contribute to changing the situation under discussion. Some seekers will find the biblical God and adjust their lives to live in harmony with what is perceived as His will. Others will cease seeking and adjust their life to what ever suits their fancy.

Anonymous said...

Your subjective experience of beauty, emotions, and your five senses are synthesized out of gobs of data, which is to say, your experience of the environment is created for you by your brain. Which is to say, love is an awesome "killer app" but it's still just an app whose purpose is mate selection. The code behind the scenes isn't nearly so warm and fuzzy, and the experience is not "real."

Of course this sweeps away what identifies as distinctly human and not merely hairless apes.

Anyone who acted as if it was true would be considered a sociopath.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps not a sociopath, but an extremely depressed person with such a negative outlook on everything. I am quite willing to admit most of love is for mating purposes, and then for looking after children and family. Can't understand why I love my dog, that is an anomaly maybe, though I sometimes think he is controlling me. Humans are also herd animals and need love to include them in the herd. Well of course not everyone is in the herd. Perhaps everything I feel is just a blob of data and electrical currents, sure it has to have some way of working, but does that negate it? I see despite everything there is beauty. Sometimes I read a well written book and am overcome that someone has managed to express so much in words.

Anonymous said...

If love isn't real, neither is depression or a negative outlook.