Friday, March 15, 2013

Christ Was An Apostle Just Like Herbert Armstrong



Did you know that Jesus Christ was an apostle just like HWA was?  Did you know that Jesus Christ can change HWA's teachings to suit new revelation? Did you know that Jesus Christ is using Rod Meridith's mouth and pen to add new doctrine to the church?  Apparently though, Jesus Christ made a few mistakes in what he revealed to HWA over the years and now has to correct those mistakes.  That's ok, he's an apostle just like HWA! 

Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, as an apostle, never had more authority to put doctrine into the Church, using men like Mr. Meredith to write articles to explain doctrine, than Christ, as an apostle, has today. As Mr. Armstrong had authority to put doctrine into the Church and have Mr. Meredith explain that doctrine in sermons and articles, so Christ today has authority to put doctrine into the Church and have Mr. Meredith (or any man God may choose) explain it in sermons and articles, because Christ is every bit as much an apostle as Mr. Armstrong was, even more.

As Mr. Armstrong, as apostle, had the authority to correct his own mistakes in doctrine or change his own judgments, so Jesus Christ today, as the chief apostle, has the authority to correct Mr. Armstrong's doctrines or change his judgments. And just as Mr. Armstrong was able to teach new doctrines or judgments to the Church through evangelists, so Christ is able to teach new doctrines or judgments to the Church through the evangelists who lead organizations and Church of God fellowships.

An apostle can correct an apostle's doctrines. We know an apostle can correct an apostle's doctrine because Mr. Armstrong (an apostle) corrected Mr. Armstrong (an apostle). He corrected and changed his own doctrines, on Pentecost being a Sunday or Monday, on divorce and remarriage, and other things. If he can correct his own doctrines, then another apostle, an apostle living today, can correct Mr. Armstrong's doctrines.

Jesus Christ is our living apostle today, as always. Jesus Christ has the authority to correct Mr. Armstrong's doctrines.

How does Christ communicate such correction in doctrine to the Church? There is one difference between Mr. Armstrong's apostleship and Christ's apostleship as far as the way they communicate. Mr. Armstrong spoke (and wrote) to the Church verbally. We could hear his voice when he spoke to the Church in person or on recorded audio or video tape.

Jesus Christ does not communicate to the Church in words we can hear with the ear directly from Christ's mouth. But Christ communicates to the Church, in writing, through the Bible. He also communicates with us, as Mr. Armstrong did with the Church, through evangelists and pastors. Mr. Armstrong, for example, taught evangelists and pastors at Ambassador College so they would have the true doctrines to communicate to the Church. Likewise, Christ is able to teach evangelists and pastors today to give true doctrine to the Church. How? The same way He communicates with the membership, through the Bible and through the Holy Spirit which helps us understand the Bible.

So if Mr. Armstrong was wrong about a doctrine, Christ, as an apostle, has the authority to correct Mr. Armstrong's doctrine by communicating that correction to evangelists in the Church today by inspiring those evangelists to understand the Bible where the Bible shows that Mr. Armstrong was wrong.

In addition to Rod Meredith being able to change doctrine, David Hulme can do it too.  David Hulme???????????????????  ROTFLMAO! That's about as silly as saying a non-ordained self-appointed prophet can change doctrine or bring forth new doctrine.

Church of God members don't need to worry about who is an apostle.  It's up to Jesus Christ to find the apostle and use him....women need not apply though.

Think about this: If the authority for a servant of God on earth to put new doctrine into the Church depended on that servant holding the title of "apostle", wouldn't God put more exact criteria in the Bible for defining an "apostle"? But the Bible doesn't give an exact definition of the term. We see from examples in the Bible who is called an apostle and who is not called an apostle (Luke 6:12-13, Acts 14:14), but we do not see an exact definition we can apply today to know if a Church leader is an apostle in God's sight or not. Why? Because WE DON'T NEED TO KNOW. Christ is our living apostle, and he can put doctrine into the Church through evangelists in the Church.

According to this guy anyone from an apostle down to a regular pastor can change doctrine if he sees a need to.  The membership need not worry about what the minister is teaching because Jesus Christ and God put it in his brain.

So it doesn't matter if the administrative leader of a Church of God fellowship is, in God's eyes, an apostle, a prophet, a pastor general, a presiding evangelist, or just plain "pastor". If that man sees in the Bible that a doctrinal correction needs to be made, he should make the correction, teaching the membership new knowledge, and when he does that, assuming he is teaching accurately, it is God and Christ who are putting new knowledge into that fellowship because God inspired the Bible and through the Holy Spirit opened that leader's mind to see the new truth in the Bible. (I am talking about leaders of fellowships or organizations, leaders who report directly to Christ, not pastors serving congregations under the supervision of a human leader in a larger organization.)

How can a member, such as you or I, know if the correction is right or wrong? From the Bible. There is no other way. There are no shortcuts to Bible study. If an evangelist changes Mr. Armstrong's doctrine, he should give his biblical reasons for it. Then you and I can study the issue and determine the truth according to the Bible.

79 comments:

Leonardo said...

But remember folks, in the world of ungrounded supernatural religious beliefs based upon faith and guesswork rather than empirical evidence, literally ANYTHING - no matter how crazy or illogical - is possible. Of course not in actual objective reality, mind you, but at least in the minds of those who remain in the psychological stranglehold of fundamentalism.

The ancient Latin phrase (though wrongly ascribed to the late 2nd century author Tertullian) - credo quia absurdum ("I believe because it is absurd") - still very much remains a powerful force in 21st century religious ideology.

Anonymous said...

This seems like a positive development. Much needed changes to HWA doctrines will result if this idea takes hold.

Anonymous said...

Scientific fundamentalism: believe whatever the scientific establishment tells you.

Anonymous said...

Christian fundamentalism: Believe whatever the Bible says, as your own church wrongly interprets it.

Islamic fundamentalism: Believe whatever the murderer, pillager, rapist, child molester Muhammad allegedly said.

Scientific fundamentalism: never question the gods Darwin, Einstein, Hawking, Al Gore, or the establishment. The science is settled.

Joe Moeller said...

Great leadership , in any human organization, whether it be business, charitable, sports, religious , etc. never has to rely on a "Title" or "Authority" or "Force" in order to convince.

This is how weak people rule.

Great leaders are able to PERSUADE and motivate through inspirational, intellectual and personal example. They are able to have their audience make their own decisions through self motivation and personal epiphany.

Weak leaders can often get conformity through the use of force or authority.

God is looking for leaders who can teach and motivate through love and relationship. Only those that willingly embrace ideas because they see them for themselves are ever "truly converted" to any cause.

Dump the titles and authority concept. Up your game and become true inspirational leaders.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

Great leadership , in any human organization, whether it be business, charitable, sports, religious , etc. never has to rely on a "Title" or "Authority" or "Force" in order to convince.

LOL!

With the LCG or UCG or PCG, they ALL rely on HERBIE HERBIE HERBIE!
(No matter if they lie otherwise!)

Joe Moeller said...

Anonymous immediately above:

I attend with the UCG and have been to many congregations around the country.

RARELY do I ever hear the name of HWA ever mentioned in a sermon, and certainly not as authority for a doctrine.

UCG uses sola-scriptura for its doctrinal positions and does not rely or quote HWA for its authority on decisions.

In private conversations, HWA is not a common topic. UCG has moved on. Obviously, HWA comes up , as many were members in the WCG, but HWA , in my experience, is not used as an authority figure or litmus for decisions or current church culture.

My perception is that nearly everyone has moved on beyond HWA. HWA died in 1986, 27 years ago. Anyone in the UCG under the age of 45 has no recollection of the man, or nostalgia for him either.

PCG, LCG etc is another story.

My challenge to you... find in any UCG literature or public broadcast any mention of HWA. Even internally, sermons, member publications, the mention of HWA is rare.

UCG has no intention, or imagination of trying to be a re-creation of the old WCG.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

Joe, you say that the UCG does not mention HWA much, but don't they still follow almost all his teachings?

Robert.


Anonymous said...

No COG member will ever have an authentic life until they can consciously disconnect their thoughts from such words as "Church" "Mr. Armstrong," "Mr. Meredith," "Doctrine" etc. Living their lives through the minds of others is sad sad stuff and that which one regrets as time goes on.

Velvet said...

"Mr. Armstrong (an apostle) corrected Mr. Armstrong (an apostle)."

Torturing the English language for fun and prophet aside, NO. It wasn't about Herbert Armstrong correcting himself, in re: Pentecost or D&R (both of which had been changed long before I was born) it was about the progressive revelation given to THE CHURCH.

Now, before the Evangelicals start in on me, I will say as I have always said, and will always say, it is PROgressive revelation not REgressive revelation, taking two millennia's worth of steps backwards, to the errors of the Constantinian Shift.

As for the tortured idol-worship above, I think it speaks for itself. That certainly was never taught in the Church when I was growing up; in fact, towards the end of his life, in the Feast transmissions mostly, Armstrong seemed to me to be doing his level best to CORRECT the idol-worship of some in the Church.

I guess there will always be those who just have to follow men, though. One of the hardliners at the Feast in the UK (this one of the folks who have been bamboozled by the Evangelicals into thinking they're being faithful to the teachings of the Church, when they've really been turned completely around from what the Church used to teach) exhorted me "We have to follow Mr. Armstrong!"

To which I promptly replied, "Mr. Armstrong always said DO NOT FOLLOW ME...Follow me AS I FOLLOW CHRIST. Jesus is still the Head of this Church, and I follow Jesus, I don't follow any man!"

Unfortunately MY exhortations didn't make a dent; the Evangelicals have these people believing that salvation is by works alone. Which suits the Evangelicals just fine, but the blood of the faithful will be on THEIR hands, not on the hands of the ones who are following men blindly.

Velvet said...

"Only those that willingly embrace ideas because they see them for themselves are ever "truly converted" to any cause."

Right on the money, Joe!

Velvet said...

"UCG uses sola-scriptura for its doctrinal positions"

Oops. That's a Protestant error, and NOT something the Church ever taught, Joe.

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 11:36 AM wrote: "Scientific fundamentalism: never question the gods Darwin, Einstein, Hawking, Al Gore, or the establishment. The science is settled."

Anon, your comment reveals such a massive amount of plain ignorance of what science is and does. And I almost ALWAYS notice that people who make such broad and overly-generalized comments virtually NEVER stick around to defend them at any length, another sign they know so little of what they so freely opine upon. Just a quick superficial "post & run" - then it's either off into the safety of Internetland, or at best perhaps a few more comments just as shallow and meaningless as the initial one. But never any explanations as to what they actually mean by them.

So are you somehow claiming that Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Hawking, etc., just have to be taken on faith, with no proof or evidence? And I'm not quite sure how Al Gore's name somehow got grouped in with such luminaries, but anyway, that was your statement, not mine. He is not a scientist, nor does he understand it very well to promote the man-caused global warming tactic. So what precisely do you mean? That science is one huge dupe-the-public conspiracy? Or both? Or neither? Explain yourself if you can.

RSK said...

(chuckle) HWA taught things that weren't in the Bible? Perish the thought!

Anonymous said...

"UCG uses sola-scriptura for its doctrinal positions and does not rely or quote HWA for its authority on decisions."

Bullshit. UCG was formed by gathering together all the "lifeboats" launched from the sinking WCG. For what purpose? To hold fast to "the truth" once delivered, not by the bible, not by Jesus, but by Herbert Armstrong, because his mind was opened to understand "the truth" which god had prevented anyone else from knowing about for 1,900 years.

Stop whitewashing UCG. It's no different, and certainly no less corrupt than any of the rest of Armstrongism.

Anonymous said...

I am convinced most Atheists are out of control NARCISSISTS, and if that's the case, then just as “Sweet Brown” says… 'Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That'. I am bored with atheism and annoyed by the narcissism. I refuse to indulge narcissists anymore.


G.G. said...

Anonymous 11:36 "Scientific fundamentalism: never question the gods Darwin, Einstein, Hawking, Al Gore, or the establishment. The science is settled"

I beg your pardon. Good science is constantly retesting objective, observable evidence and theories in light of new objective, observable evidence. Good science discards theories or parts of theories that don't hold up under new evidence and new research. It is called the "scientific method" and "critical thinking. It is nothing like religious belief which is based on "faith." They are two different paradigms. One cannot prove that the bible is the word of god; it must be taken on faith. And that is fine if one chooses todo so. G.G.

Byker Bob said...

Dude, narcissists? Really??? Do you honestly think that statements like that are going to be of help to non-believers?

Atheists are simply undergoing a purification process. Getting rid of the HWAcaca. Atheism is a temporary condition. Shelf life may vary widely.

BB

Anonymous said...

I am convinced most Ministers are out of control NARCISSISTS, and if that's the case, then just as “Sweet Brown” says… 'Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That'. I am bored with Armstrongism and annoyed by the narcissism. I refuse to indulge narcissists anymore.

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 4:51 PM wrote: "I refuse to indulge narcissists anymore."


The Leonardo Real-World Translation (LRWT) of the above: "I don't really know what in the hell I'm talking about. I'm only capable of making short bursts of emotional assertions that I'm completely unable to explain, let alone defend. And the excuse I make for this is to just call everyone who challenges me an "atheist" and a "narcissist" - even if those two terms are completely irrelevant to the immediate discussion at hand. That way I always have a ready reason to cowardly back away from any challenges to my incredibly shaky belief system."

Anon, this was exactly the kind of non-response I expect from folks like you. Well, another opportunity for you to publically "refute the gainsayers" goes down the drain again.

Assistant Deacon said...

Joe, aside from the portrait of HWA hanging at the UCG home office (next to one of Loma; no Ramona, for some reason)...

All one has to do is go to ucg.org and type "Herbert Armstrong" into the search box. Page after page after page contain references to HWA in UCG literature and on the website. Within them are references to administrative and doctrinal decisions that he made.

UCG has not moved on. It simply moved out of Pasadena.

Anonymous said...

"I refuse to indulge narcissists anymore."

Yet you're still yakking.

Leonardo said...

No, Anon 6:12, I'm EXPLAINING in a way that is comprehensible. You're the one who's making these quick little unintelligible sentences that are essentially meaningless. Why do people like you love to make your arrogant little pronouncements, yet never explain or clarify precisely what you mean by them? They are so vague, so hazy. Could it be the thinking process behind such words are vague and hazy? Something you might consider. Superficial "tweets" just don't make the grade in discussions of this nature.

Steve Kisack said...

Joe Moeller said...

"RARELY do I ever hear the name of HWA ever mentioned in a sermon, and certainly not as authority for a doctrine."

MY COMMENT: What?! So, they took down all of the pictures of HWA hanging on the walls at the home office?

"UCG uses sola-scriptura for its doctrinal positions and does not rely or quote HWA for its authority on decisions."

MY COMMENT: What?! Then, why do they rely on the King James Version, and why do they proof-text practically everything that they learned from HWA, and why is it always sermons on "sabbath, sabbath, sabbath" and "holydays, holydays, holydays"?

"In private conversations, HWA is not a common topic. UCG has moved on. Obviously, HWA comes up , as many were members in the WCG, but HWA , in my experience, is not used as an authority figure or litmus for decisions or current church culture."

MY COMMENT: What?! Then, why does UCG(the members which are the "ministers")continue to follow HWA's false doctrines of clergy/laity, tithing, false prophecies, British/Israelism, sabbath and "holyday"-keeping required for salvation?

Velvet said...
"As for the tortured idol-worship above, I think it speaks for itself. That certainly was never taught in the Church when I was growing up; in fact, towards the end of his life, in the Feast transmissions mostly, Armstrong seemed to me to be doing his level best to CORRECT the idol-worship of some in the Church."

MY COMMENT: What?! One of the very last things Herbie said was, "Your very SALVATION depends upon you following the next Pastor General("Chief Shepherd") of the Worldwide Church of God!". Feast Transmission.




Leonardo said...

The last comment above is true, Velvet - I was there in person and heard HWA's last public sermon on the Feast of Trumpets 1985. He said something to the effect that "If I should die, then the Counsel of Elders will choose one from among them to be the next Pastor General. And if you want to be in God's Kingdom, you'll follow that man!"

I still have the cassette tape of that sermon.

I know people who took that so literally that, to this very day, some are STILL in the Grace Fellowship International (or whatever the old WCG is now called) following Joe Tkach Jr., because although they disagree with where he's taken the former WCG, disagree with many of the traditional Protestant doctrines Joe has adopted, etc., nonetheless they see Joe Jr. as the rightful administrator of God's Government, and until he's replaced, they will follow him ever though they are in almost complete disagreement with him.

Now if that's not plain BIZARRE then I don't know what is!

Head Usher said...

"Your very SALVATION depends upon you following the next Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God!"

"And if you want to be in God's Kingdom, you'll follow that man!"

Such proclamations don't scare me anymore.

Of course, if you DON'T have to follow a man to get into the kingdom in the hereafter, then the organization collects a lot less money in the herenow.

Since nothing can be proven or disproven regarding spiritual matters or realms, I have had to admit that I know literally nothing and less than nothing about it, and I'm pretty damn sure that nobody alive KNOWS any more than I do. Just take a look at just within Armstrongism, there are so many people who FEEL SO SURE that they know what they're talking about, and yet no two of them can agree on much. Moreover, each one of these "feel so sure" people feels so sure that all the other "feel so sure" persons are doomed and lost. All the other religions of the world are also filled with people who FEEL SO SURE. Feeling sure amounts to nothing.

The lack of unity among those who believe simply because of "faith" is evidence that faith (feeling so sure) is an unreliable basis for belief. If it were reliable, then the mass of faithful believers would be convergent instead of divergent. So much for Hebrews 11:1.

This means there's no such thing as a religious or spiritual authority. It's just the blind leading the blind. No matter what you do, in the absence of a reliable guide, you run an equal risk that the hereafter will NOT be what you anticipated.

Since I don't have a compass or any reliable information to orient me, I have to take a wait-and-see approach to the hereafter. I seriously doubt that one exists, but I could be wrong. Whatever the case may be, nobody knows. Preparing for an uncertain hereafter is a dicey business, and the odds overwhelmingly favor scenarios in which all your present efforts to prepare for the hereafter are going to wind up being so much waste and vanity.

Anonymous said...

The typical follower of religion says: "Religion is a search for truth, God is leading the church, the church leaders did the research, and they said this and that, and I saw it in the Bible, so I believe it."

The typical follower of science says: "Science is is search for truth, the scientific method is leading the establishment, the scientists did the research, and they said this and that, and I saw it on TV, so I believe it."

Robert (drive-by philosopher).

Anonymous said...

To paraphrase Richard Dawking, a man of faith in science: I don't understand cosmology but I believe it because the physicists tell me so.

Robert.

Anonymous said...

Hell is reserved for those who have faith, either in religion or science. That is why Satan wrote so much about the need for faith in the Bible, and why he's got most people getting their scientific ideas from the mass media.

Robert.

Anonymous said...

Leonardo,

Are you an expert on anything?

Leonardo said...

Anon 8:10, another "tweet" question, huh?

What exactly would you mean by "expert" - formal academic certification? Life experience? Career experience? What specifically?

And why do you ask this specific question of me? What's your motive?

Again, please make your questions or comments clearer, that way we might actually make some progress together.

As is it, this "tweet-chat" just doesn't get us anywhere. You should have learned that lesson from last weekend's "tweet" sessions with Plasma Dude. Ask a sincere, articulate question, you'll find 9 times out of 10 you'll get a genuine answer in return. Ask meaningless questions, or ask with a wrong motive, and you get no meaningful answer.

Leonardo said...

Robert, Richard Dawkins is a biologist, not a cosmologist, that's true. But when did he ever say anything like "I don't understand cosmology but I believe it because the physicists tell me so"?

Just doesn't sound like something he'd say, though I may be wrong. And I'm quite certain he would not say he has "faith" in science. The basic distinction between faith (believe in the absence of solid evidence or logic) and verifiable empirical evidence has been discussed many times before, but fundamentalists simply refuse to acknowledge this vital difference. That's why they keep making the same mistake by saying men like Dawkins have "faith" in science in the same way that the Pope has faith in God.

Am I misunderstanding something in your comment or what?

Anonymous said...

"What exactly would you mean by 'expert'...?"

Well, you tell me.

"And why do you ask this specific question of me?"

Because you seem to think you are.

So are you or aren't you?

Anonymous said...

"...when did he ever say anything like 'I don't understand cosmology but I believe it because the physicists tell me so'?"

I don't have the date but I saw him say it on TV.

Anonymous said...

Leonardo, if you cut all the verbosity from your posts there would be nothing left but a tweet, if that.

Leonardo said...

Anon 9:29, I can't help it if you're not much of a reader. I realize many people these days don't have much more of an attention span than a housefly. But the reality is that some concepts and ideas require more than just a few words quickly slopped down on a keyboard to clearly convey. Perhaps if you'd carefully read what folks write you might even learn a few things, and be better able to respond with greater clarity and relevance instead of dogmatic generalities. Yes, "tweeting" is widespread and popular, but it's a dreadfully inferior form of communication because it leads to so many misunderstandings. You act as if "tweeting" is somehow the highest form of conciseness. But what good is being concise when you have to sacrifice precision, clarity and meaning in the process?

Leonardo said...

And no, I honestly don't consider myself an expert on anything, really, but rather a student both needing and willing to learn more no matter how much I may actually know about a particular topic. You might be surprised how wide-reading can expand your mind and ability to effectively communicate. And I do read widely on numerous topics of interest, respect documented facts well conveyed over opinions and insults poorly communicated, take part in numerous Internet blog discussions, and learned many years ago that if you're going to comment on a subject, then take the time to write something worth reading, thoughts that actually contribute in some meaningful way to the discussion at hand. A blogger knows from experience that any ignorant fool can get out there and spout off subjective opinions on topics he or she obviously knows little to nothing about. Such are a dime a dozen.

Leonardo said...

Richard, several years ago I bought a DVD where Richard Dawkins debated Oxford Professor of Mathematics John Lennox. Actually, they met twice - the first time in a formal public debate. But the second meeting was more of a personal discussion between the two, though again in front of a large audience, which I thought a far better format than the formal debate. The topic of faith and evidence was discussed, and Dawkins made his position clear. To be honest with you, many Christian apologists are not all that effective in public debate. And I've heard virtually all of them, and have even met a few personally. But in my opinion John Lennox is by far the most articulate and profound spokesman for the Christian view than anyone I know of today. Not that I necessarily agree with everything he says, nor with everything Dawkins says as well. I highly regard both of these men, even though they argue from completely different worldviews.

Here's the second more informal discussion on Youtube, in case you'd be interested:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0UIbd0eLxw

But the first formal debate is also quite good:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK2OcIIkpPo

Head Usher said...

It seems like there are a few who have shown up who are determined to use every thread to put agnostics/atheists/science etc. on trial informally and then suggest that faith/religion etc. (aka: believing things without evidence) is better, or more reasonable, or more virtuous.

Let me first define a couple of terms as I intend to use them:
Faith: believing a claim to be true without evidence
Scientific Method: believing a claim because of a preponderance of evidence
Reasonable Assumption: an extrapolation from past experience that shapes our expectations for the present or future.

The scientific method is as diametrically opposed to faith as one can get. The scientific method suggests that one should not ever believe anything, not even one's own work, unless it can be documented or repeated by other people in other places. If it doesn't hold up to scrutiny, then it should not be believed.

Now, let us leave the domain of the scientific method, and talk about interfacing with society and what I, as a private individual should be willing to accept and what I should not. In practice, I am likely to accept as true claims made by a community, or claims made by people with good reputations, provided that there exists a good underlying basis for those claims, such as a research study, a documented observation, an astronomical photograph, etc. When the scientific community announces that multiple teams using the LHC have independently confirmed the existence of a new particle at 126 GeV, do I assume that the scientific community is on the up and up? Or is it more reasonable to assume they are all mistaken? Or is it more reasonable to assume a vast and sweeping conspiracy to deceive unsuspecting people in other professions?

A reasonable assumption does not conform to the scientific method, but it also does not fit the definition of faith because a reasonable assumption is rooted in lots of evidence. Obviously, it is not reasonable for everyone to spend $10B building their own LHC because they have to see for themselves if this particle really exists or not. We have to make assumptions about the trustworthiness of other people and the trustworthiness of various claims. Once again, a reasonable assumption is NOT faith.

Now, lets flip it around. If I accept, without evidence or a good underlying basis, the claim that there exists an omnipotent supernatural being, what other claims should I also accept? Should I accept that various food are good or bad for me based upon my blood type? Should I accept that crystals possess healing powers? Should I accept that Pluto is an outpost serving the intergalactic illegal drug trade? Should I accept every claim that comes my way? Where do I draw the line?

Let's get specific. Should I accept the word of an ancient manuscript that makes exceptional claims without evidence or a good underlying basis? Obviously, you are trying to tell everyone here that they should. I am telling you that exceptional claims ought to require exceptional evidence. How else are you to differentiate between an ancient truth and an ancient hoax? Is it even reasonable to assume that an omnipotent supernatural being that demanded belief in his existence would only supply evidence for his existence that was indistinguishable from that which could readily be manufactured by hoaxers?

No.

Anonymous said...

Leonardo.

You are a sarcastic, self-important, lying, pompous, long-winded, hypocritical, idiotic, jackass. I give up on you.

Anonymous said...

Assumptions are not scientific. Ever.

Anonymous said...

One particle physicist said that it is very easy to fake results from particle experiments, and until he learned that, his scientific education had not even begun.

So do you really think you have any real chance of understanding the workings of real "science"?

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 9:38 AM has furiously opined: "You are a sarcastic, self-important, lying, pompous, long-winded, hypocritical, idiotic, jackass. I give up on you."


Well explained, Anon! So you CAN write a sentence consisting of more than 4 or 5 words then! But honestly, what more can be said to your pronouncement as to my utter worthlessness as a human being? Your one sentence responses here have so profoundly contributed to our enlightenment. And as always, the unmatched powers of persuasion, flawless logic, intellectual precision and verbal articulateness with which you make your above case can only result in one response: we simply have no choice but to stand in complete awe as we humbly bow before your obviously superior mental prowess.

Now, perhaps we can get back to intelligently discussing the actual ISSUES for a change!

Leonardo said...

Are you sure that's not you, Plasma Dude, lurking behind those vague, poorly written ramblings by "Anonymous 9:47" with respect to particle physics and real science? They sound awfully similar to the incoherent 2nd grade-level verbal grunts from last weekend's attempted pseudo-discussion on plasma physics by a troll calling himself Plasma Dude. Just kind of curious.

Byker Bob said...

New soundtrack required. There was a punk group back in the 1980's called The Plasmatics. Can anyone who was into that genre suggest one of their tracks as background music?

BB

Anonymous said...

A Personal belief regarding the basics of Christianity

• The belief in the eternal existence of a spiritual (nonmaterial) intelligent personal being that Christianity defines as God.
• The belief that this God brought into being the material universe and everything associated with it from nothing outside of him/her or itself.
• The belief that the purpose for the existence of the material universe is speculative and cannot be fully understood until there is a better understanding of the source and process that brought it into existence.
• The belief that mankind has the potential and the responsibility of revealing the true character of this God that is the source of what is defined as life.
• The belief that that one eternal purpose of everything associated with life exists to reveal the principles of life that determine what produces a positive constructive life as opposed to the negative destructive elements that destroys life. (The difference between good and evil).
• The belief that everything that possesses life has a spiritual (nonmaterial) element associated with it that is attributed to this spiritual God.
• The belief that the human mind is incapable of understanding the fullness of what is defined as the universe until or unless they accept the fact that there is a spiritual (nonmaterial) intelligence involved in how it operates.
These are some of my personal beliefs that have evolved though the years. They by no stretch of the imagination are the details that govern my everyday life, but they have given me a degree of stability that keeps me from being affected by a loss of faith and confidence in the God I see revealed in the Christian bible.
My personal view of God as the designer and source of the material world is that of a Being with perfect wisdom and intelligence that can take anything and everything to the point of perfection and fulfillment no matter what route a person takes.
None of destructive elements involved in the destruction life can affect the eternal planned purpose. They only affect the material elements. It can be argued that immaterial elements can’t function without the material, but from the biblical perception that is creating life out of nothing. That is like putting the cart before the horse. Why would a person need a cart if they didn’t have a horse? I know, some may say they would use a tractor, but you still need to explain where a tractor came from.
A. Boocher

Anonymous said...

The bible does say that Christ is an apostle, so we really don't need any other apostles, prophets, evangelists, or pastors. Who needs men when I can answer directly to the Apostle? Government is only for troublemakers. Laws were made for the lawless. I am beyond all that.

Anonymous said...

The universe might be nothing more than a computer simulation. Why bother to create the real thing?

Leonardo said...

Head Usher wrote: "It seems like there are a few who have shown up who are determined to use every thread to put agnostics/atheists/science etc. on trial informally and then suggest that faith/religion etc. (aka: believing things without evidence) is better, or more reasonable, or more virtuous."


I agree with you, Head Usher, though as I'm sure you know, unfortunately this happens all over the Internet whenever the controversial topics of origins, truth or science are discussed in various on-line blogs.

As I’m sure I’ve previously mentioned, through the years I've both enjoyed and benefited greatly from having participated in many such discussions, especially liking the respectful give-and-take dialogues that can potentially take place on them, at least when they are generally confined to open-minded, thoughtful, articulate folks without an irrational ideological ax to grind. At least this is often the case, until the inevitable "trolls" show up. The vast majority of them usually being well-meaning but often highly contentious Christian fundamentalists, armed with their predictable array of obsolete creationist arguments and countless misunderstandings of how the enterprise of science actually works, though both have been decisively refuted for decades now. These folks are typically so poorly-read, and thus unable to keep up with the latest findings, even in the most general kind of way, which is really quite sad.

Though others driven by various and sundry offbeat ideologies (mainly conspiracy oriented folks) sometimes show up just to take advantage of an already-assembled audience so they can then rant and rave about their particular pet (and mostly wacky, bizarre and out-of-the-mainstream) worldviews and theories of origins, much like the dim-witted kid calling himself Plasma Dude so poorly attempted to do last weekend.

But I agree absolutely with the well-expressed points you made above. I actually found myself wishing you would have proceeded even further. Such fundamentals need to be articulated every now and again, and at some length so clarity can be achieved - though having to read anything more lengthy than an incoherent or frivolous "tweet" seems entirely beyond the mental range of some anonymous commenters here! But I would contend that it's good practice for them, because somewhere along the line they must first be forced to tackle a few complex paragraphs before going on to reading serious books and other sound sources of information, thus educating their minds so they can one day make coherent, meaningful comments in discussions like this.

In principle your pertinent comments above really address the level of sheer illiteracy regarding even the most rudimentary underlying principles and methods of science: basic epistemology, empirical observation, probability, replication, peer review, and also of what used to be considered common-sense critical thinking skills as well.

In my view this ignorance of even the most elementary working knowledge of such useful conceptual tools has reached what I consider to be a crisis in this nation. I read an article some months ago that pointed out how a recent survey had revealed that 23% of the American public still believes the sun circles around the earth! I found this absolutely astonishing! I mean, this is very simple information here that almost one quarter of the American population is sincerely ignorant of, and here we are in the early stages of the 21st century! Personally, I find facts like this very troubling indeed. I encounter this basic ignorance so often out on the Internet, and see it primarily as the result of the extremely poor level of public education this nation has tolerated now for many years.

Anyway, I do appreciate your thought-provoking and well-expressed posts.

Leonardo said...

How's this for you, Byker Bob, a Plasmatics tune called "Masterplan" - even recorded in Pasadena, California back in 1981, while I was up in the state of Washington making peanuts working at a nuclear power plant!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR8fty2bGgw

Can't say I was ever a fan, and based on the general appearance of the audience at the beginning of the video, glad I wasn't! The Plasmatics didn't quite seem to be the highest culmination of musical expression! I guess I was ruined by all those high-quality Bach, Mozart and Beethoven concerts at Ambassador Auditorium!

Well, OK, to be totally honest with you, I'd never heard of these gals before you mentioned them. I guess I was just too busy listening to ABBA and Emerson, Lake and Palmer back in those days.

Did people actually pay money to listen to this kind of vomit? And this was 32 years ago now! I wonder what kids are listening to nowadays, though I can't help thinking it must be even worse, if that's even possible. Give me the Beatles or the Moody Blues anyday compared to this crap!

A steady diet of this kind of talentless, nihilistic, sensory-bombarding noise, and then we wonder why the upcoming generation think and express themselves so poorly, and can't seem to reason their way of out a paper bag.

Leonardo said...

Oh, and by the way, the lead female singer in that Plasmatics video - Wendy Williams - ended up blowing her brains out with a gun in 1998 after two previous suicide attempts.

Once again America's pop culture elites shows us the way to real successful living. Yesiree.

Velvet said...

"UCG has not moved on. It simply moved out of Pasadena."

I would tend to disagree, although this is based solely on watching UCG HQ Sabbath services semi-regularly (though most times I just can't stomach Myers or McNeely, and tend to turn both of them off), between the Protestant hymnals, and the "Winter Family Weekend" shenanigans, along with their untoward heavy reliance on "Bible commentaries" versus the actual, y'know, BIBLE, I would say that the UCG seems to me to be far, far, FAR more Protestant than the Church ever was. And this is NOT a good thing.

Velvet said...

"One of the very last things Herbie said"

Richard,

I am one of the Church members who does not believe anything said or written during the last year of Armstrong's life, was from the Head of the Church.

Besides which, there has NEVER been unequivocal proof that Senior was appointed properly; and even if he had been, he certainly never QUALIFIED to lead God's government on earth (which even Jesus had to do); I don't think "Herbie" meant we would have to follow a PG who hadn't even qualified to lead us!

Velvet said...

" I know people who took that so literally that, to this very day, some are STILL in the Grace Fellowship International (or whatever the old WCG is now called) following Joe Tkach Jr., because although they disagree with where he's taken the former WCG, disagree with many of the traditional Protestant doctrines Joe has adopted, etc., nonetheless they see Joe Jr. as the rightful administrator of God's Government, and until he's replaced, they will follow him ever though they are in almost complete disagreement with him."

I know people like that too, Leonardo, and believe me they are NOT a fun bunch to be around.

I personally don't think Junior (nor his father) ever qualified to lead God's government on earth, and that the faithful remnant (IN God's Church) are left to be led by the ACTUAL Head of the Church; as John said in one of his shorter letters, "Christ Jesus has come to teach His people Himself." I entirely agree, because the ministers certainly aren't up to the task!

Leonardo said...

Mr. Boocher, that's quite a long list of beliefs and assertions you've compiled there. And I respectfully acknowledge them. Please understand that my response here is completely genuine in nature.

But I guess my problem with such a list (which pretty much encompasses the entire belief system of western theism) would be the entirely subjective nature of it. Ideally speaking, I would have to find a way of verifying if such metaphysical claims as to the source and nature of ultimate reality are objectively true or not, other than the easy path of just taking the Bible's word for it on faith. Personal subjective beliefs and feelings untempered by science or informed reason can and often do lead us to adopt many falsehoods we may presume are true, but in time end up being false.

The long-time yet erroneous belief in a flat earth, for instance. It seemed so obvious to those of past ages, and would to us today in the developed world if not for the rigorous application of scientific method to the topic. Of course, this specific example doesn’t nearly have the emotional impact on 21st century humans as it did on those of the Middle Ages. Indeed it struck folks of that era like a thunderbolt.

But it's both my observation and direct personal experience that most (if not all) religious beliefs are ultimately rooted far more deeply within wishful thinking, feelings and human insecurities than in demonstrable empirical facts.

The claim that such beliefs have some kind of pragmatic or positive effect in one's life - something to organize and build one's life around, providing the guiding principles to live life in harmony with, the resulting stability, etc. - is indeed an important factor in human existence. I can’t argue against that particular point.

But to me this cannot possibly be the decisive factor. And why? Because many other religious truth claims produce similar pragmatic and culturally beneficial effects, though their teachings are often in direct contradiction to the specific claims of the Bible. Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, to name just a few, plus a boatload of others down through history - each having a unique array of truth claims and assertions on offer that purport to explain all of reality.

So I guess the essence of my question would be this: what distinguishes or proves or demonstrates Biblical/Christian truth claims above all the others offered throughout history, other than the fact that probably most of us who post here on this blog have been born and raised within the Judeo/Christian cultural context, and so are far more familiar with the claims of that particular ideology than others that exist around the globe?

I sincerely ask this especially in light of the fact that anthropologists inform us that the number one most accurate predictor of one's religious/philosophical ideology as an adult is the geographical location on the globe of one's birth.

Anonymous said...

Leonardo:

The backbone of the Internet is about to snap under the weight of your vacuous verbosity.

Leonardo said...

Velvet, you refer to folks who call themselves the GRUMP's (God's Righteous Under Much Persecution). I am familiar with a number of them, at least the principle leaders, many of whom are still out in southern California, since we either attended AC together as young bright-eyed and bushy-tailed students, or later worked many years together out in Pasadena.

Though I must say they consistently cannot explain their position for still following behind Joe Jr. very well at all. I know because I’ve spent hours talking with a number of them. One guy got so flustered once that he finally threw up his hands, and proclaimed in great exasperation "Look, I can't explain it very well here now with you, but at home I have many notebooks that have all the information written down in them that prove beyond question that my response to the doctrinal heresy of the WCG in 1995 was and still is the right one!"

But quite frankly, Velvet, I'm not all that interested in discussing these days what HWA used to call "the twig issues" - those relatively picky little points of dispute that can and have been discussed ad infinitum until the cows come home. Yet these often seem to take center stage in the world of the modern-day COG's. Joe Sr. was right when he said the COG often “majors in the minors!”

I'm considerably more interested in the far wider and more foundational philosophical and epistemological (the rigorous study of the nature, sources, methods and limits of what humans can know) issues that all the other claims, minutia and hotly-debated items of religion are ultimately grounded in.

And it seems very few ex WCGer's or current COGer's are willing to examine their religious beliefs down to this deeper, more rigorous and far weightier level of analysis - but instead seem more content to argue if Pope Francis will be the future Beast of Revelation, or about how to deleaven their homes, or what specific kind of unleavened matzos they should eat during the upcoming spring Holydays, etc. I mention that last ridiculous point because apparently some character named James Malm (who leads some kind of minor-league micro-splinter which, of course, claims to be the one and only group that currently has the Almighty’s blessing) made the comment of late that matzos composed of white flour are poison, and by extending the analogy would presumably disqualify one from the Kingdom of God if consumed.

I mean, talk about splitting completely irrelevant hairs yet swallowing camels! Good grief!!

Anonymous said...

Head Usher said...
It seems like there are a few who have shown up who are determined to use every thread to put agnostics/atheists/science etc. on trial informally and then suggest that faith/religion etc. (aka: believing things without evidence) is better, or more reasonable, or more virtuous.
My Comment:
I believe this is due to the strong effort to destroy the abusive control factors revealed in religious organizations by destroying the credibility of the existence of a psychological phenomenon that is a part of human nature.
A. Boocher

Anonymous said...

Head Usher said...
Is it even reasonable to assume that an omnipotent supernatural being that demanded belief in his existence would only supply evidence for his existence that was indistinguishable from that which could readily be manufactured by hoaxers?
My Comment:
I am not sure it is accurate to believe that God demands belief in his existence. It seems to me that the proof of God’s existence comes through factual events that reveal the successes and failures recorded in history. One problem I see is the distortions and abuses that human nature seems to create to suit their personal physical desires.
Realistically human’s needs the existence of a Being with a life that is superior to our human life for it to develop any type of life that excels the present view of a meaningful existence.
A.Boocher

Leonardo said...

Anon 5:24 PM, perhaps I am feeling a bit more talkative than usual the past few days. But like I mentioned in a previous comment, your unwillingness or inability to properly comprehend anything beyond an eight-word "tweet" written at 2nd grade reading level isn't my problem. Believe me, the Internet blogosphere is far more constipated with insulting, irrelevant and ultimately meaningless mini-comments like yours.

So relax, kick back with a Red Bull, put on some skull-rattling rap music at full blast, perhaps admire your tattoos - and who knows, in a few hours or so you might be more fully prepared to compose your next wonder sentence.

Anonymous said...

CJ was an apostle or messenger of God (Heb 3:1) and proved He was by His words of truth and miraculous deeds unlike HWA who was NOT an apostle! CJ NEVER appeared to him! And he said one thing and then changed his mind again and again even doing the complete opposite of what he taught others to do. And not once did he ever perform any signs of an apostle thruout his life! HWA an apostle? On the same par as CJ Himself? Get REAL!

Leonardo said...

Head Usher, I'm afraid it's a lost cause! The fanatical zealots just can't seem to mentally get beyond their incessant, myopic fetish of arguing the details of scripture with one another, or whether HWA was truly an apostle, or were the Tkach's legitimate heirs to the Government of God in the church, or what kind of matzos should be consumed at Passover, etc. To them it's as if no world or cosmos exists beyond the petty little walls of debating the finer points of "God's Truth" at any and every possible opportunity.

G.G. said...

Comparing "faith" in science and "faith" in religion is like comparing apples and oranges.They are different paradigms. If an individual becomes ill, goes to a doctor, is diagnosed with pneumonia and is prescribed penicillin, he needs to have some "faith" in the doctor, the pharmacist, the drug company, the scientists who developed the drug. The typical patient doesn't have the training and scientific background to have first-hand knowledge of the illness or the treatment. Are scientists, doctors, drug manufacturers sometimes wrong? Of course they are. Can penicillin cure every case of pneumonia? No. However, the death rate from pneumonia has dropped markedly since penicillin was introduced. Other diseases such as polio and tuberculosis have almost been eliminated by the use of vaccines.
Did Herbert W. Armstrong or any of his cronies develop cures or preventive vaccines for these deadly diseases? I don't think so. My point here is that we can choose to put our faith in someone or something that provides even a tad bit of measurable evidence or we can put our faith in things that are absolutely unprovable. The existence or non-existence of God is, by definition, absolutely unprovable. That is what is meant by "a leap of faith." To try to prove almost anything of a supernatural nature by use of the bible is to engage in "circular reasoning." It just is not objective evidence. It would really be good for people to take college level courses in Basic Logic. G.G.

Anonymous said...

Leonardo said...
So I guess the essence of my question would be this: what distinguishes or proves or demonstrates Biblical/Christian truth claims above all the others offered throughout history, other than the fact that probably most of us who post here on this blog have been born and raised within the Judeo/Christian cultural context, and so are far more familiar with the claims of that particular ideology than others that exist around the globe?

I sincerely ask this especially in light of the fact that anthropologists inform us that the number one most accurate predictor of one's religious/philosophical ideology as an adult is the geographical location on the globe of one's birth.
March 16, 2013 at 4:41 PM

My Comment:
The fact that most here have been raised within the Judeo/Christian culture is the reason I took the time to post those beliefs. I can related to many of the things reveal here and elsewhere that seem to paint a very negative picture of the religion of Christianity, but I also recognize that there is a positive side in Christianity.
It is difficult to avoid taking sides, but I try to show that all religion is based on reason. Some may debate this, but religion did not just come into being because some guru ate too many pickles and had a nightmare (I am not sure about the present day guru’s), but the religion we have today is the product of a long chain of questions about the origin and purpose for human life. I am well aware of the fact religion is built on stories that were passed from generation to generation through verbal communication before they were written down, but that doesn’t mean these stories cannot contribute to a better understanding what human could be or should be in relationship with what we defines as eternity.

I do not deny that religion has problems, but when properly nurtured it produces great results for those who recognize that it can produce human relationships that enable us to endure both the good and bad of this human existence and just maybe there is something better down the road.
I do appreciate your comments.
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

Mr. Boocher, I openly admit that I have the hardest time understanding when someone says something like "I try to show that all religion is based on reason."

For instance, the Bible clearly implies that animals can speak human language. It says with a straight face that a serpent literally talked to Eve, and on another occasion that a donkey once spoke intelligible language to a man - how can it even be remotely argued that these accounts are based on reason, at least any kind of reason that most of us would be familiar with?

I think it can be reasonably proposed that the plays of Shakespeare could possibly contribute a better understanding to what humans could or should be, but that's a far cry from asserting that such stories are therefore the infallible Word of God. Perhaps much of this hinges upon the specific definitions one gives to these terms. It seems we all have our private and extremely flexible definitions of the terminology involved. All I can say is that it makes no kind of sense to me whatsoever.

I would wholeheartedly agree with what you wrote that "the religion we have today is the product of a long chain of questions about the origin and purpose for human life." But still I don't see how one can make the unwarranted jump from that reasonable observation about religion to the many specific beliefs (truth claims) you listed in a previous comment - beliefs that no possible proof or evidence ever has been produced for or substantiated with, and never likely to be.

So again I repeat that it seems far more likely that such beliefs and convictions are based more upon human feeling, whim, wishful thinking and insecurities relating to the unknowns of life than they are based on reason.

RSK said...

Will the two witnesses tweet?

Anonymous said...

Will they have Facebook? Twin blogs?

Anonymous said...

WWJT

What would Jesus Tweet?

Anonymous said...

My reply to Leonardo:
My comments are not meant to prove the historical or literal accuracy of the bible. They are meant to show that there is intelligent reason for the existence of religion. I do not trying to prove that God exists, but do try to show that religious beliefs play an important role in the search for truth.
This is not the place for discussing Christian apologetics, Biblical theology, and the diverse theological issues involved in religion. I do not claim to be a theologian, but I have spent much of my life reading the works of recognized authorities and their reasoning in support of the Christian faith. I can see the pros and cons as well as the variations in beliefs. I also have a good grasp of the psychology of religion and its role in the development the belief in the existence of an intelligent being associated with life.
To say that people who follow the Christian faith do not have a reasonable cause fails to recognize that it is unreasonable to believe that life can start from nothing so something that has life must eternally exist. You may know more than I do about that, but I have yet to find factual information that can be understood by reason.
If what I have presented is wishful thinking that’s OK I do not ask any one to believe it. My wishful thinking has produced a very successful life and I will continue to believe I have a strong relationship with a God that some believe doesn’t exist. If that is faith so be it. I will end with this.
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

OK, let's just leave it at that then. We do think very differently upon these matters. I tend to be more interested in and ask more specific kinds of questions. Broad generalities have their place, but one problem with it is that it often permits many foundational contradictions to easily be glossed over and left unchallenged. My principle concern is whether or not a specific claim is ultimately true or not, rather than if it "works" for me in some way, shape or form. Perhaps this might be the primary difference in the way we approach this entire issue.

Velvet said...

Leonardo,

"Velvet, you refer to folks who call themselves the GRUMP's (God's Righteous Under Much Persecution)."

Sadly, no, these aren't the Wallenites. Junior has appointed a cabal of Evangelical ministers to "approach" those who return to the Church, saying they want to come back, but still remain faithful, and these Evangelicals make a big show of how THEY are the ones appointed to "lead the Church through the wilderness" -- their current Apostle is Robin "Moses" Jones. (They seriously think he's Moses. I wish I was making this up.)

Unfortunately for these faithful deluded, Robin Jones is about as much of a trinitarian-loving heretic as it is possible to be. So are most of the ministers he holds up as part of "the fifth column" (that is just a smokescreen set up by Junior to purposefully drive a greater wedge between the two factions in the Church.)

"Moses" Jones has these poor people convinced the Church taught salvation by works alone (which it didn't, that's a convenient Evangelical lie, easily disproven by referring to reams of actual Church literature, videos, and audio, available on the Internet), and they twist these people up into such hateful, judgemental caricatures of their true selves with this unspeakably evil false gospel, it's a tragedy to watch.

They did try to recruit me, obviously, since I make no bones about being faithful to what the Church actually taught...but I pretty much fled screaming into the night when I heard the false gospel they were preaching (that I had NOT heard from the beginning).

Then the next year at the Feast, I sussed out that most of these alleged "fifth columnists" actually believe the Evangelical trinitarian garbage, and they're trying to manipulate people into believe one of two false gospels (the trinitarian false gospel, or the false gospel they SAY the Church taught, which it never did).

None of them ever mentioned the Wallenites, though; this is a closed group, completely ensconced within the Church itself; which suits the devious, manipulative Evangelicals who are twisting their heads up like pretzels just fine!

Velvet said...

"But quite frankly, Velvet, I'm not all that interested in discussing these days what HWA used to call "the twig issues""

Neither am I, Leo, and there is a growing minority in the Church (much to Junior's chagrin I am sure) who feel exactly the same way. Live and let live, etc. Matthew 7 is MY operational text when dealing with Church members; and whatever else other Church members want to do or not do with their own lives, is none of my concern.

You should ask your friends in Pasadena if they REALLY believe what the Bible says...that our captivity to the Babylonians is going to be seventy years long. Their answer to THAT will be more telling, than any of the other "twig details" you refer to.

Leonardo said...

I haven't had contact with them for quite a few years now, Velvet. But it is interesting that GRUMPS are apparently all over the place nowadays. And it appears they TOO have fragmented up. Haven't heard of Moses Jones either, but, as with most other splinter groups, such "end-time prophets" are a dime a dozen these days, aren't they?

Though frankly, I couldn't care less what they do or don't believe. Often nice folks on a personal level, but when it comes to their pontificating about the deepest truths of the cosmos and other various and sundry religious lunacies, sorry, I'm heading for the exit door at that point!

And besides, asking professing Christians if they "REALLY believe what the Bible says" would most likely be a rather pointless undertaking, now wouldn't it? Most, of course, would ardently claim they do, though from that point on would have starkly clashing interpretations as to what it actually means. And then the petty bickering continues on ad infinitum with vitally pressing issues such as who the REAL Christians truly are, when Europe will unite into the Beast power, the proper God-approved ingredients for Passover matzos, and all the dozens and dozens of other things they will find to disagree over.

I had 38 years of this nonsense, and that's enough for me, thank you.

Byker Bob said...

Never was a Plasmatics fan. But, what I did know from reading about them in Time or People Magazines was that they'd record their parts separately without prior consultation with the rest of the group. Then their completely dissimilar compositions would be mixed together into total dissonance. Wendy O would come on stage clad only in whipped cream, fire up a chainsaw and hack into furniture or automobiles.

In other words you might say it's the musical equivalent of the ACOG splinters and the WCG aftermath. It hasn't really gotten bad, yet, but probably some of these "leaders" will self-destruct just as Ms. Williams.

BB

Leonardo said...

Byker Bob, I suspect you're right. Although I do think many of the leaders are totally genuine - operating under many delusions they refuse to re-investigate, yes, but mostly sincere and well-meaning nonetheless. But some of them are as phony as three-dollar bills, and it's probably only a matter of time until another Jim Jones-like tragedy happens, which will most likely spark off another mind-destroying round of serious denial amongst COGer's. Their response to both the routine soap-opera dramas and occasional tragedies within the COG are quite formulaic.

Byker Bob said...

Leonardo, Probably a Jim Jones episode would be caused by some sort of pressure or stresser. I'm surprised that something even more tragic has not happened to people like Ron Weinland. It was astonishing to me that one of his ministers took members to task for criticizing "God's Apostle".

Undoubtedly some of them are really sincere, and use the Armstrongish tools to try to find God, but sadly they will never have a genuine spiritual experience through those methods.

BB

Leonardo said...

I know someone back in the Detroit area who had Ron Weinland as a pastor for a short while. And this member doesn't exactly have the fondest memories of old WeinerDude. It seems he was quite the prick as a local minister, and so was his daughter.

Yes, we speculate quite a bit here as to what motivates this odd assortment of characters that make up the leadership of the various COG's. But I would really like to understand with great accuracy how these guys actually view their followers, themselves, etc. But then again, if we could get into their minds we might be scared out of our wits as to what we would find!

Velvet said...

Oh, and one other question Leo: How come Gary can use over-the-top hyperbole, and no one accuses him of literally meaning what he says, but you're taking MY (highly hyperbolic, I assure) words at LITERAL face value?

I guess the caricature you have of me in your head (even though we have never met) has "Fundamentalist" stamped on it, therefore, in your mind, it's impossible for me to wax either satirical or sarcastic, when it comes to people like Pack.

Not, as I responded to Anonymous @ 4:38pm that I have to justify myself to any but One; I am curious as to where, exactly, the miscommunication has occurred. I fully admit it could be on my end, and I am 100% willing to own that, if so.

Leonardo said...

I'm sorry, Velvet, that's not my intent. I apologize. I don't necessarily have any particular caricature of you in my head. It's true that we've never met, as, at least to the best of my knowledge, I've never met any of the frequent commenters here on this site in person. Though with the pseudonyms we tend to use that may not always be the case. But all I have to go on is a person's literal words, along with what I subjectively perceive to be the person's attitude behind the words, and that's what I respond to.

It's true that I'm not one for inaccurate misrepresentations, oversimplifications, nor any other kinds of exaggeration. I guess I had my fill of that with HWA!

One factor to consider is that it appears YOUR experiences in the COG and MINE are quite different in nature from each other. And that's understandable. Also, it depends to a great degree the particular ministers one has had the good fortune or misfortune to be under. I realize when dealing with folks from the wider world of the COG's that they represent a large spectrum of temperaments and experiences unique to their particular COG congregations. About half of mine were in the field churches around America - with the initial and far more formative experiences being at Pasadena HQ's.

Anyway, text can be a very restrictive way of communicating, I fully admit. And one far more open to miscommunications and misunderstandings of all kinds.