Wednesday, April 10, 2013

David Barrett and Fortean Times On: Coping Strategies For Failed Prophets





A reader here sent me this link to a recent series of articles in Fortean Magazine that collects some of the worlds strangest news stories and strange phenomenon.  This issue contains articles on the failure of false doomsday prophets.  The article discusses the Worldwide Church of God under Herbert W. Armstrong with all of his failed prophecies and Ron Weinland with his latest epic failures.

The article is Apocalypse NOT on page 35.

A few of David Barrett's comments are as follows:

"There is a long tradition of Christan groups being disappointed by the non-arrival of Jesus on the date they foretold.  William Miller in 1843 and 1844 ("the Great Disappointment"), the Jehovah's Witnesses in 1874, 1914, 1925 and 1975 and the Worldwide Church of God in 1975 are perhaps better known.  Worldwide founder Herbert W. Armstrong's booklet 1975 in Prophecy, first published in 1956, oddly became unavailable from the mid-Seventies!  More recently, we had Harold Camping offering first May 21 and then October 21, 2011 as the End of Days, and Ron Weinland, leader of a small offshoot from the Worldwide Church, who set the date of 27 May 2012."
----------
"Both the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Worldwide Church of God lost some members, who were disappointed by Jesus's non-arrival and disillusioned by the fallibility )or worse, the falsehoods) of their Churches' leaders.  But, in fact, comparatively few left either religion, because, as Gordon Melton argues, "within religious groups, prophecy seldom fails."  Over the centuries, religious groups have developed a number of coping techniques to deal with the disconfirmation of their deeply held beliefs (see table below).  One of the simplest and most common is: "We miscalculated; come back next year" - which is broadly what William Miller's followers said in 19843 and Harold Camping said in 2011.  More subtle coping strategies are: "It occurred, but on an invisible plane" (which adds another layer of belief but has the twin advantages that believers can still claim it was right, and that they can't be proven wrong); "The Lord was merciful and stayed his hand" (which emphasises God's love and restraint and the niceness of the prophet who must have persuaded God); and "Your faith wasn't strong enough" (which shifts the blame to the religion's members).  Two others are a flat denial: "We never claimed that anyway" (millennial religions have a long history of rewriting history) and, very occasionally, an honest "We were mistaken" or "Our enthusiasm got the better of us" - which is what the Jehovah's Witnesses eventually said

David Barret then goes into a case study of Ron Weinland.

"The failure of any of his specific prophecies for 2008 to occur didn't faze him, despite his having written: "If the things written in the book do not shortly come to pass, then what is written here is false, and I am false".  Instead, he castigates those who criticise him: "Foolishly there are those whoa re more quick to find fault by saying we are wrong or that I am a false prophet since physical destruction did not come at a time I had previously stated." Weinland used versions of two of the common coping strategies for failed prophets."
David goes on to name a few of Ron's epic failures and then wryly notes how the judge who sentenced Ron to prison "did his homework" when he sentenced Ron to a prophetic 3 1/2 years in prison.

Other articles are : 

If at First Your Doomsday Fails - Try, Try Again... by Kevin Whitesides
Don't Get Fooled Again by Peter Brookesmith
Downwind of the Apocalypse  by Richard Stanley

61 comments:

DennisCDiehl said...

Let's face it, NO ONE ever has known the "prophetic" future. It's all guesses disquised as some kind of skill or insight. The OT Prophets were wrong, Paul was very wrong and one can see the progressive apologetic throughout the NT as to why it never happened, in this case, Jesus return. By the time we get to I Peter, not written by any Peter of the Gospels, a day is not really a day and God does not see as a man sees. An oft told apologetic in its own right.

We can kid about Bob Thiel, but he is not any kind of religious leader much less a prophet.

Dave Pack does not understand near as much as he thinks he does and is a merely an authoritarian type Bible reader. He is soooooooo serious in his videos....and so wrong about the books he claims to know mean what.

In my view, those who rely on these misguided speakers simply want to be special. They want to be the ones who avoid dying like everyone else and don't want to live in the only time they ever really have which is NOW. Everthing is just over the hill, around the corner, soon, near and imminent when in fact it is not.

No one talks of just how wrong the Apostle Paul was. He broke up families. He derailed marriages and relationships. He held himself up as the better example by being single (proving he never read any Jesus of the Gospels which were written after he died) The Apostle Paul mislead people and only at the end said basically, "Oh well, I did my thing, I get a crown...bye."

Maybe even Gospel Jesus was wrong. While we all know the apologetic, "this generation" in context meant that generation 2000 years ago. It did not and does not mean "those alive when this stuff happens."

Revelation reads like Daniel in parts because it was written to do that. Daniel was written to encourage the Maccabean Jews in revolt against Rome in the 160's BC and Revelation was written to encourage the Jewish Christians of 69 AD in their sturggle against also Rome. They lost. The Book of Revelation is not for today. It is a failed prophecy for then and nothing worked out so good as planned for Jewish Christians in Jerusalem IMHO as they say.

COG ministry and gurus are not educated enough to know where of they speak. They merely read the Bible and spin it with the local news to keep the faithful fearful.

It can only change for the individual who does their homework outside of their teachings and wakes up.

Corky said...

Any predictions of the return of Jesus is bound to fail because Jesus is not going to return. It's just that simple.

It's been 2,000 years. If Jesus was going to return in "this generation" of 2,000 years ago like he said he was, he's not just a little bit late, he is ridiculously late.

Someone claiming to be Peter said, "the end of all things is at hand". He said that over 1900 years ago, evidently it wasn't "at hand", was it?

I wonder sometimes, how in the world can people keep on making excuses for the obvious. How many more centuries and millenniums have to pass before people catch on that something is wrong about Jesus' predicted soon return?

Joe Moeller said...

I stopped being an "APOCAHOLIC" a long time ago!

Went cold turkey, shakes and all, but have not talked about the apocalypse in over 20 years. Saved my marriage, my joy, my kids and my life!

Join "Apocaholics Annymous" right now and right here!

Luv ,
Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Joe Moeller said...

Corky:

You have no patience! Dont you remember the prophecy in the number one hit song from 1969 by one hit wonders "Zager and Evans"??...

"In the year 2525"

It had these lyrics...

In the year 7510
If God's a-coming, He oughta make it by then
Maybe He'll look around Himself and say
"Guess it's time for the Judgement Day"

In the year 8510
God is gonna shake His mighty head
He'll either say, "I'm pleased where man has been"
Or tear it down, and start again

So by my calculations, there are at least 5497 years and perhaps AS MANY as 6497 years left until the second coming!

AND I DONT CARE WHAT YOU SAY... I heard it on the radio in 1969 and it has to be true! ... no not GTA, I mean the local DJ who spun the above record that I heard on a transistor radio!

If it is on the radio or on the internet it must be true!

Luv,
Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

I like the Gordon Melton quote: "within religious groups, prophecy seldom fails".

I find it interesting that it's mostly cultic religious groups which seem to cling to prophecy. Prophecy is very effectively used to create a deep sense of urgency amongst the membership, a condition which also creates a deepening sense of need for the particular cult. However, this can become like weight training. You are fine so long as you continue. Problems come into play when you disinvolve yourself for one reason or another. When you do this with prophecy, suddenly you need therapy, a whole new group of friends, your family back, marijuana, and an easing towards a more realistic world view.

Byker Bob said...

Ont thing's for sure. If the world had ended in 1975 as forecast by HWA, then Blake Shelton would never have been born the following year! Imagine what we would have missed out on.

BB

Corky said...

One thing is for sure Joe, there is only one "last days" and since we already had that one back at the beginning of Christianity there can't be another one.

So, if that wasn't it, well, somebody screwed up...

DennisCDiehl said...

The COGs read the Apostle Paul's statements about soon and the time being at hand etc as if the man were a COG minister and not dead 2000 years ago without the return of Christ. He was just as wrong as the current self appointed Apostles. Of course, since he was the Apostle Paul he gets a pass on his being just as wrong then as they are today. He broke up families, he interferred with relationships and thought his state of singleness was better, showing he never read about any Gospel Jesus , which of course, had not been written about yet in his lifetime.

Classic carrot and stick approach to living one's life. Everything is just around the corner, soon, almost here, around the bend and it sucks out your soul in the process if you let it long enough.

You can only be in one actual gun lap and no one has been in one yet in all of human history. What's the chance you are in it? The COG's have run out of final lap bullets. I guess they don't call it dummy rounds for nothing.

NOW is the actual time one has in life. SOON is an illusion and cause one to put off actual living.

Anonymous said...
I like the Gordon Melton quote: "within religious groups, prophecy seldom fails".

That's the absolute truth

Anonymous said...

Any predictions of the return of Jesus is bound to fail ...

Bullshit! I predict the return of Jesus, the Cherokee nation, and the Republican party, but I'm not saying when.

Jesus.

P.S. Holy manure! I'm here already!

Anonymous said...

"The art of prophecy is very difficult, especially with respect to the future." -- Mark Twain.

Anonymous said...

Corky unless I'm mistaken this site is an anti-COG site not an anti-Christian one. So keep your atheistic rubbish to yourself. Jesus will indeed return but no one here on earth knows when until it actually happens.

Anonymous said...

Whoa. Velvet has stopped carpet bombing again.

Sharon said...

Anon I think you are right. This is not an anti-Christan site. The blog owner has made this clear as has a lot of others here. this blog is for pointing out the absurd things that re going on in the Church of God's

Retired Prof said...

Anon @8:59, it's helpful for this site to include a wide range of reactions to the COG experience. One common reaction is to stop believing not just in Armstrong's version of god, but in the others as well.

It would be both dishonest and counterproductive to silence the atheists. Don't worry about corrupting your integrity, because what you read cannot do that. It can dismay you, true. Remember, though, that if Corky's comments give you more pain than you can bear, you can just skip them.

Anonymous said...

"Corky unless I'm mistaken this site is an anti-COG site not an anti-Christian one. So keep your atheistic rubbish to yourself."

Corky's ideas don't scare me. We had enough censorship in the COGs. Bring it on Cork! Just give it to me straight--as you see it!

P.D.

Anonymous said...

"Corky's comments give you more pain than you can bear, you can just skip them."

Ya mean, kind of like we all do with Leodufus?

Anonymous said...

It is just very simple . . . all these - HWA and all those self-ordained apostles, pastors, etc. that came after him using the WCG legacy are nothing more than FALSE PROPHETS because their prophecy did not come true. It doesn't make the Bible prophecies false. We just have a bunch of false prophets taking advantage of gullible people who are then taken for a ride.

DennisCDiehl said...

"Corky unless I'm mistaken this site is an anti-COG site not an anti-Christian one. So keep your atheistic rubbish to yourself."

This post is about failed prophecy and of course it does not just relate to the COGs. Prophecy is a BIG puller of new members in all fundamentalist churches and the misdirection, misinformation and misinterpretation of scriptures are just as egregious and the hurt and pain brought to their members are just as real. Identicle in fact.

I find few if any willing to admit that the Bible itself is the source of every churches view of prophecy and the Bible itself has lots of failed prophecy in it. To date, no one here has ever commented on the Apostle Paul's very failed prophecy and prophetic Jesus is coming soon push he inflicted on those of his day. He gets a pass. Revelation, as I have said many times, was a failed prophecy to the Jewish Christians stuck in the fall of Jerusalem. "Soon" and "Shortly" meant exactly the same thing back then as they do to us today.

I find it interesting that some who attack the COGs obviously are attending other faith communities but rarely will they say which one. It's not that I care, but I would like to know where they actually ended up after their COG experience. What was their next step in the journey interests me, and why that one seemed better etc.

"Atheistic garbage," is a defensive term when one's security in believing they have "it" all figured out so don't mess with "it."

"“Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing”

Thomas Huxley

Anonymous said...

A personal comment:
One thing I notice in the comments on many of the subjects posted here is that many if not most are dealing with disappoint in the religious beliefs they once held. This is normal and since the history of everyone’s beliefs is different, the emotional responses vary. One problem is that few recognize that religions are an effort to cope with the mystery of everything that exists and its future. Most of what is defined as prophecy is simply looking at current events and trying guess what the future will be by looking backward and forward in time.

What we fail to consider is that the origin of the universe whether it be God or some other word must be infinite, meaning it is not affected by the finite substance and activity of everything that exists. Like I said this is a mystery and not easily defined, but it is worth thinking about.
A. Boocher

DennisCDiehl said...

"One problem is that few recognize that religions are an effort to cope with the mystery of everything that exists and its future."

I think most recognize this reality. Religion is mostly the result of humans making sense of their own conscious existence. We are the only sentinent ones on the planet to the degree that we know we will die. Thus religion. But much of religion goes off the rails making promises about how it all is where there is no actual evidence of the reality of these promises.

The Bible promises many many things that if one does this then that WILL happen. However, it simply is not so and as advertised. When that happens we take an apologetics course to read into it meanings such as "My ways are not your ways," "There is a way that seems right to a man but.." or declare it a mystery. "The wisdom of man is foolishness with God," and you can't win.

I don't wish to hope something is true or so. I wish to know if it actually is true or so. Faith tends to be what you have before the facts come along and facts annhilate faith and not the other way around.

I go back to Huxley's quote.


"“Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing”

I find very few human beings who actually do this. Reality is our friend ultimately and hoping reality is not real is ....well..not reality.

The joy is in the sitting down and looking as a child. Not in the so called "finding" which tends to evaporate over time once again.

Remember, "So how did you come into the truth?"

Painfully.

DennisCDiehl said...

What is not love is fear, fear, to me is still the opposite of love while "hate" is the symptom of fear, and it is fear that motivates most humans.

It is fear that makes one comment harshly against another's views or experiences and fear that draws us to those who claim to be able to relieve us of our fears. It's just that simple. You can get drawn to some who remove your fears with false hope and ignorance well presented. But sooner or later, the fear returns and your end up on a blog tring to figure out what went wrong :)

Douglas Becker said...

If you have to lie, you don't have much basis for a religion.

DennisCDiehl said...

Douglas Becker said...
"If you have to lie, you don't have much basis for a religion."

For sure. I don't find many minister/teacher types in religion who believe they are lying. Lying is what one accuses another of doing after the fact, pain or hurt caused by the teaching that turned out less than satisfying. I don't think Dave Pack lies about what he thinks he sees in scripture. I think he does in other areas but that can be his own delusions and selective memory , I don't judge it.

I don't think HWA lied about his beliefs. I don't think he was intentionally deceptive. Flawed as all but again, that's just my view.

I do feel more inclined that the Tkaches lied on any number of occasions but everyone has given them a pass for it so have to let that one go as well. They personally lied to me at least so that's my expereince. Joe is not out living off our grandparents, parents and our sacrfices worrying about how we or I feel about it.

Anonymous said...

Read the works of Joseph Campbell. His body of work, as much as any other single scholar, truly puts the human endeavor of religion in a profoundly consistent context of shared impulse to use mythology adaptively for cultural, societal and personal understanding of our existence. But none of it is "true," in the sense the sad COGs have used this term.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous said...
Read the works of Joseph Campbell.

I started reading Campbell back in the late 70's I believe. I have his books on myth. I wish I had read them in the mid 60's. May have changed my course. Excellent material to understand the human need for stories, myth and religion.

I also loved Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness and the Bi-Cameral Mind, which gives another view of how religion developed . I like the idea that when others try to pull you back into it, they are behaving in the way the mind used to work before conscious thinking when the voice of God in their heads told them how it all was and what to do. Fascinating

Anonymous said...

Anon,

Corky's "atheistic rubbish" is simply a rejection of the idea that a supernatural being will descend from the sky and fundamentally alter life on earth as we know it. Given that you have no proof of the existence of this being, much less a supernatural realm, Corky's position is quite rational. And reasonable. You comments smells like fear and doubt, to me.

Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

Anon,

Corky's "atheistic rubbish" is simply a rejection of the idea that a supernatural being will descend from the sky and fundamentally alter life on earth as we know it. Given that you have no proof of the existence of this being, much less a supernatural realm, Corky's position is quite rational. And reasonable. You comments smells like fear and doubt, to me.

Paul Ray

Leonardo said...

Regarding Dennis' comment about being lied to by the Tkach's, I might just mention that Dr. Hoeh once directly told me that “lying is endemic” with the Tkach's. Those were his exact words to me in early 1995. I would further suggest lying (or more accurately lies mixed in with truths, like poison mixed in with real food) is endemic with religion in general, as it is with politics, marketing & advertising, media, and many other human endeavors.

But once people buy into the concept most commonly known of as "Noble Lies" (known falsehoods, or things highly unlikely to be true, presumably asserted for "the good of people" to comfort or console them - ala A. Boocher’s essential premise) then where does one draw the line? And what role does actual objective truth really play? Unfortunately, all too often a background, marginal role at best under this view. For instance, promoting a literal belief in Santa Claus among impressionable young Western children is mostly viewed as harmless fun, but I’m afraid it sets up a mental pattern for many Noble Lies to follow that continue on into adult life.

Thomas Huxley's insightful quote talks about humbly sitting before "the facts" as best as one can presently know them - rather than comforting falsehoods. Like Thomas’ grandson Aldous Huxley pointed out some years later: “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."

The god-haunted mind claims much ‘love of the truth” but the historical record clearly shows that in actual reality such a mindset is frequently terrified of real, objective truths that can be verified with evidence and/or rational demonstration. A. Boocher is a textbook example of this mindset in action. And so are the many folks who angrily leave the COG’s for one set of reasons or another, only to “find a new spiritual home” in yet another religious mythology with the same identical unproven metaphysical assumptions.

“Most men would kill the truth if truth would kill their religion.” Lemuel K. Washburn

This explains why commenters above react so violently to Corky’s "atheistic" comments. It frightens them. It also explains why when religion acquires political/legal power, imprisonment, torture and execution soon follows for those who start asking too many questions. History provides MANY examples of this, both ancient and modern.

Anonymous said...

Another personal observation:
History starts the when something that exists has performed an action, whether that action has been mental or physical, like Dennis says you cannot un-ring a bell.

The present is what we are thinking and the action we are taking. We may think we are free to think and act they way we want to, but this freedom is limited in many ways. One of the ways is the natural laws throughout the universe. Another is our limited influence on other people and world events. If we cling to old memories good or bad without using them as stepping stones to a better tomorrow we have wasted some of today in reliving them. Another is the memories of the past and how they have influenced our today. Nothing we think or do is going to change the past.

The big question is will we keep re-ringing the alarm bells of the past or perhaps focus on the ringing of a lot of new alarm bells that detract us from the love, joy, peace, etc. that desires characteristics hidden in the book of books.
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

And a little side note here: George Lucas once said that if it hadn't been for his discovery of the works of Joseph Campbell when he was writing the script for the original STAR WARS movie in the early '70's, he would probably have been still struggling to write it to this very day! Lucas was powerfully enlightening and influenced by Campbells books, especially THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hero_with_a_Thousand_Faces

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 7:26 wrote: "Read the works of Joseph Campbell. His body of work, as much as any other single scholar, truly puts the human endeavor of religion in a profoundly consistent context of shared impulse to use mythology adaptively for cultural, societal and personal understanding of our existence. But none of it is "true," in the sense the sad COGs have used this term."

Absolutely, Anon. Also up there with the works of Campbell is THE DENIAL OF DEATH by Dr. Earnest Becker. It explains much of the human drive behind religious beliefs, and secular fanaticism too – especially the more destructive forms of them. (Though I'm quite sure A. Boocher has never read either, despite his repeated claims of deep study into the psychology of religion.) And unlike Campbell's more historically-oriented work, Becker's psychological scholarship is being strongly verified in the laboratory by a new generation of psychologists and sociologists who’ve been strongly influenced by his ground-breaking work, even though Becker died back in 1973 as he was finishing up THE DENIAL OF DEATH.

In fact, I would dare make the assertion that those not having at least a working familiarity with the works of both Campbell or Becker really are light-years behind in their understanding of mankind's religious impulse to lock onto something "greater than themselves."

Anonymous said...

Some good comments, here!
(And also some fear-filled ones, lol!)

Dennis mentioned Apostle Paul 'getting a pass' on many things in our present culture.
I believe one reason this is true is because what we now term "Christianity" could be better described as "Paulianity"

And, the prophecy gravy train is a big one today. Just flip on mainstream Christian TV stations and there's a parade of prophecy-based "ministries", each with their charismatic leader who will often suddenly get a "prophetic word" from the Holy Spirit about someone watching TV who has "financial difficulty" or a "heart condition" or a "difficult relationship" (or a myriad of other common problems), and then tells about how "sowing a seed[$]" will produce miraculous results.
What a bunch of carnys! Perhaps, much of what it termed "Christianity" in the USA today could be better described as "Carnyanity"
The healing/revival gatherings, I find to be particularly disgusting and sad. The placebo effect is evident as people throw away their crutches and medications and announce they've been healed, yet a few days later are back to using crutches, or dead from their ailments.

But adherents to EVERY religion, each with their different gods, has their devotees with plenty of miraculous claims of healing.
They all seem to have trouble providing proof. When I asked Byker Bob to back up his claim of Christians being raised from the dead lately here in the USA, he was unable to.

That brings me back to the small chart of David Barrett's.
It could be expanded to the "why's" of these failed or so-called "healings"-

"Your child would have suffered terribly if Jesus had allowed her to live." or, "A generational curse is to blame.", or, (as Byker Bob stated), "Reporters in the mainstream media would lose their jobs if they gave the real facts about these people being raised from the dead."

Oh, and another thought-
There are actually apologists for HWA and his religion who claim that "HWA never set dates!"
How crazy is THAT? Lol!

Oh, and one last thing-
Someone wrote, "One problem is that few recognize that religions are an effort to cope with the mystery of everything that exists and its future."

REALLY? My experience is that this is an extremely basic concept, which even most of those who are even PARTIALLY escaped from high control religious environments understand.

-Norm

Leonardo said...

Norm wrote: "Just flip on mainstream Christian TV stations and there's a parade of prophecy-based "ministries", each with their charismatic leader who will often suddenly get a "prophetic word" from the Holy Spirit about someone watching TV who has "financial difficulty" or a "heart condition" or a "difficult relationship" (or a myriad of other common problems), and then tells about how "sowing a seed[$]" will produce miraculous results."

Now Norm, you've been watching Dr. Mike Murdock again, haven't you? "Just send in a $50 seed, and watch it grow as I specifically pray for you that the anointing of God's Spirit will bless your life and heal your problems! Please make out that check to "Mike Murdock Ministries" and visit my website:

http://www.thewisdomcenter.tv/

Well, at least Murdock gives away some of his income, you'll have to give him that.

Leonardo said...

And you all know as well as I do that IF folks were TRULY healed of life-threatening serious, verified illnesses like aggressive cancers and so on, that the media would make a field day out of covering such stories. Why? Because the true believers would shout it out to the worldf as a witness and demand such coverage - in spite of Byker Bob's corny claim to the contrary.

Just like if a creationist could legitimately undermine evolutionary theory, he would be given every honorific scientific award possible, and would be nearly worshiped by the wider Christian fundamentalist community.

The work of physicist Dr. Victor Stenger covers such claims, especially those claiming "miraculous physical healings." Unfortunately, the actual record is quite different than what the true believers want it to be. (But don't tell A. Boocher this, because it might hurt his feelings!)

Anonymous said...

LOL!
Mike Murdock is a prime example of that carny "seed" thing and that "getting a prophetic Word" thing!
Lots of TBN and Daystar preachers do it, but he's one of the best at it.

But I'm afraid...

Because he has that hairstyle of Steve McGarrett, of the original Hawaii 5-O...

If I don't sow my seed, he might look directly out from the TV at me, and say, "Book ’im, Danno!"

Leonardo said...

Yes, I've often wondered why so many of these pentecostal-type TV evangelists opt for the "Pompadour" hair style, even nowadays, long after it went out of fashion. GTA did. As did Rex Humbard, Jimmy Swaggert and a whole slew of others. It always reminds me of a cross-section of a wave building as it approaches the shoreline. "Surfs up, Dudes!"

Anonymous said...

On a more serious note, many Christian ministries do give a portion of their money to doing good works.

You mentioned Mike Murdock, and that "he gives away some of his income, you'll have to give him that."

But I'm more careful about how I give now.
Even Jim Jones gave monies that did good.

Now, I only contribute to where a religious affiliation is non-extant.

-Norm

Leonardo said...

There's no doubt such ministries do good by helping people out in various practical ways: building hospitals to provide basic medical care in impoverished areas, or orphanages that care for children who've lost parents to the AIDS epidemic in Africa, etc. A cousin of mine was heavily involved as an organizer in World Vision International, which helps folks out around the world.

But it's the underlying superstitions that accompany such help that I object to. Many UN-sponsored, atheistic and other humanist-based organizations do the same things, except without the accompanying brain-washing nonsense that is part and parcel of faith-based organizations. I'm all for rendering practical aid for those who truly need it, but the last thing they need from me is a lecture on my metaphysical views!

Anonymous said...

It appears from the majority of posts that this is indeed an anti-Christian blog. I have no real issue with that but it should be labeled as such if that's the case. The blog owner should rename the site or keep the name and enforce a strict policy of only allowing posts about COGs. Otherwise, this site is acting under false pretenses.

Anonymous said...

Leo Said:
(Though I'm quite sure A. Boocher has never read either, despite his repeated claims of deep study into the psychology of religion.)

The work of physicist Dr. Victor Stenger covers such claims, especially those claiming "miraculous physical healings." Unfortunately, the actual record is quite different than what the true believers want it to be. (But don't tell A. Boocher this, because it might hurt his feelings!)

My response:
I am not sure what my comments had to due with psychology of religion, but I will admit you probably have read more, with more education, a greater knowledge, and intelligence in the things under discussion. Now if you want discuss blacksmithing, welding, carpentry, business management, time management, successful investing, and success in marriage and child rearing you better have some concrete proof.

I do have a question though. In the subject of the beginning of what has existence there is a law of nature that says ex nihilo fit (“out of nothing, nothing comes”). It is absurd and irrational to claim that God created everything out of nothing. It is also nonsense to say that God or anything else just popped into existence without an adequate cause.

This means that something must be infinite (without beginning or end or any other limitations). If we cannot believe that God was this infinite source, what can we point to that has always existed and is without change yet has the capability to produce the ever changing finite things that exist. This is an honest question that I believe needs to be addressed.
A. Boocher

Corky said...

Anonymous said...

Corky unless I'm mistaken this site is an anti-COG site not an anti-Christian one. So keep your atheistic rubbish to yourself. Jesus will indeed return but no one here on earth knows when until it actually happens.

1. Who said that I was anti-Christian?
2. Prove that Jesus will return.
3. I will NOT keep my atheistic "rubbish" to myself.

You've only got about 100 passages in the New Testament to explain away which plainly say that Jesus would return in the lifetimes of his first century followers.

Oh, and thanks for saying that the CoG's aren't Christian. I'm sure they would disagree but such is as it is.

Leonardo said...

OK, Mr. Boocher, that's a fair inquiry – and one which I’ve been trying to get you to see in past threads that science is currently looking into. But let’s clear up a few things.

You wrote: “Now if you want discuss blacksmithing, welding, carpentry, business management, time management, successful investing, and success in marriage and child rearing you better have some concrete proof.

But, Mr. Boocher, we aren’t discussing ANY of those above topics right now, so, as usual, your comment once again becomes completely irrelevant to the specific subject under discussion. Yes, those topics are legitimate. Yes, it takes skill to be successful in them. I openly acknowledge that. However, they have absolutely nothing immediately to do with the subject of origins.


You wrote: “I do have a question though. In the subject of the beginning of what has existence there is a law of nature that says ex nihilo fit (“out of nothing, nothing comes”).”

But that’s NOT a law of nature. You’re adding to the confusion by not being precise in your wording, which reveals a lack of sufficient reading in, and knowledge of, the exact topic under discussion: origins.

In a rather confused way, I have to presume you’re referring to the PRINCIPLE (very different from a LAW of nature) of “ex nihilo nihil fit” which is a Latin phrase translated into the English as “out of nothing nothing comes.” Let me point out again that this is a metaphysical INTUITION rather than a firmly identified law of nature. It’s a BELIEF, and a highly speculative one I might add, that something simply cannot come into being from nothing.

Further I’m guessing that you’ve gotten this concept from William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument, which simply stated says:
1. Whatever begins to exist must have a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore the universe had a cause.
Here are William Lane Craig’s exact words taken from his website of him trying to defend the first assumption his oft-used Kalam argument: “First and foremost, the causal premise is rooted in the metaphysical intuition that something cannot come into being from nothing. To suggest that things could just pop into being uncaused out of nothing is to quit doing serious metaphysics and to resort to magic. Second, if things really could come into being uncaused out of nothing, then it becomes inexplicable why just anything and everything do not come into existence uncaused from nothing. Finally, the first premise is constantly confirmed in our experience, which provides atheists who are scientific naturalists with the strongest of motivations to accept it.”

However, if you (or Dr. Craig) would read A UNIVERSE FROM NOTHING by Dr. Lawrence Krauss – which I’ve repeatedly tried to encourage you to read – you would understand that this common-sense intuition (much like the old intuition that the sun moved around the earth, rather then vice versa, as science has since proven) or principle is now appearing to become obsolete in the light of cutting-edge physics, for there is no “nothing” for something to come out of. This is due to a more accurate understanding of the nature of the cosmos that is emerging from quantum physics. Much evidence is rapidly accumulating for this view, though more research is needed, and is currentlyl being done.

Christians object to “something emerging out of nothing” – and yet their very next step is to then propose the Medieval notion of “creatio ex nihilo” (creation out of nothing) by an invisible and undetectable deity. Not how contradictory is THAT?

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 11:12 wrote: “It appears from the majority of posts that this is indeed an anti-Christian blog. I have no real issue with that but it should be labeled as such if that's the case. The blog owner should rename the site or keep the name and enforce a strict policy of only allowing posts about COGs. Otherwise, this site is acting under false pretenses.”

Anon, from what I understand the webmaster of this blog is a Christian. Many folks who blog here are Christians, though many aren’t. And no, this isn’t specifically an anti-Christian blog. The reason you may have come to that erroneous conclusion is because in the process of discussing COG topics, wider and more foundational subjects are frequently touched upon, and often discussed in further detail, especially by the more serious bloggers.

You seem somewhat offended because some of us, in our sincere comments, dare to challenge your belief system of choice. If this is so, then may I politely say that perhaps this isn’t the site for you. If you are only willing to hear discussions or arguments that merely bolster your flimsy beliefs rooted in supernaturalism, then this most definitely isn’t the site for you. Now, if you ARE willing to challenge your beliefs, are willing to civilly argue for their validity, then perhaps you might want to stick around. You may learn a few things. I certainly have. But be warned: merely repeating Christian slogans and/or the endless quoting of scripture won’t constitute rigorous support for your views. You’re going to have to demonstrate them in ways that any other views are validated in the real world, by sound logic and evidence.

As it is, you seem to desire the webmaster to, at least in principle, institute censorship for any comment that may drift off the specific topic of Armstrongism. But may I humbly remind you that we aren’t in the Middle Ages, and you aren’t representing the Office of the Catholic Inquisition.

Anonymous said...

Leo: The simple question is “what has eternally existed”, what caused the change, if any and what are expected the final results, if any. If you cannot explain that, I am not sure what your motives are in having me read it. It doesn’t need to be an invisible deity, but I would think it should give some indication as to the development of human vice and virtue.

BTW my comments about other discussions was meant to show I am more interested in the factors dealing with real life than I am arguing over scientific details that are yet to be validated in a manner that will improve human relationships. I lay no claims to being an expert in proving God’s existence.
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

OK, and that's fine, which yet again indicates to me that we approach many things from very different perspectives – both of which are perfectly valid in their own time and context, to be sure. But I suppose my motive in getting you to read this book, or any other article on the general topic, is so you can make relevant and reasonably informed comments when discussing such issues. That's it. Most of us don't have the time to become experts on such subjects, but many of us I think can devote at least a little time to reading about what the cutting-edge science is slowly revealing with regard to important subjects, such as “something from nothing.” As it is, many folks bring to the discussion nothing more that shoot-from-the-hip personal opinions. For example, I know absolutely nothing about blacksmithing or welding, real-world things apparently you're quite skilled at. It would be wise of me, therefore, to at bare minimum read a book on the subject of welding, or watch a video on it, or at least try my hand at it BEFORE attempting to engage in a serious discussion about it. That's all I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

Leo said: “OK, and that's fine, which yet again indicates to me that we approach many things from very different perspectives”

You are right I do approach things from a different perspective even though I understand that that the bible is not meant to be taken literally. It is apparent that some here are Christian believers that, as you said do not read or would not want to read things that cause the trauma that I believe many have gone through when they lost faith in faith. I do not believe it is a necessary to present things in a way that projects the idea that we have a truth that will cause them to reject the outdated religion they now have. If we cannot offer something that will build a positive enjoyable transition we are doing more damage than good.

That is just one of the positive things I learned from my experience with ACOG, but each has to do things the way they understand life. I do not take offense at anything and I appreciate your openness, but if you believe I am doing damage in this group I will try to alter my approach or simply resist the temptation to comment.
Have a great day!
A. Boocher

Anonymous said...

Boocher, I doubt you've done any damage. This back and forth stuff is what happens in places like this. I say, let Corky stay and let Boocher stay and (omg, I can't believe I'm saying this) let Velvet even stay. There's room for everyone. It's not my blog, so it's easy for me to be magnanimous about it. ;0

Leonardo said...

There are many ways to "understand" the Bible, that’s true, though a literalistic view of Scripture is what the vast majority of fundamentalists hold to, including the COG's. But I must admit to being a bit shocked, Mr. Boocher, at your saying that "I understand that the bible is not meant to be taken literally." This surprises me – for it most definitely is NOT the view folks were taught in either the old WCG or the various splinters that came from it. This I know for a fact.

I personally have high regard for Scripture as literature, much like Lincoln did. (If I didn’t then I wouldn’t have just recently spent $400 to have my decrepit 28-year-old NKJV Bible that was falling apart repaginated page by page and rebound in soft goat leather!) But I see it as I would the fictional plays of Shakespeare, or other works of fine literature: they all contain many real-world truths and insights into human nature and experience that we can apply to life, though it would be foolish of us to take them as literal as most fundamentalists do the Bible.


You wrote: "It is apparent that some here are Christian believers that, as you said do not read or would not want to read things that cause the trauma that I believe many have gone through when they lost faith in faith. I do not believe it is a necessary to present things in a way that projects the idea that we have a truth that will cause them to reject the outdated religion they now have. If we cannot offer something that will build a positive enjoyable transition we are doing more damage than good."

I can agree with that. And please do realize that I discuss these topics very rarely with others, unless they first bring it up, especially with sincere Christian believers. Much like the Apostle Paul, I’m not nearly as aggressive in person as I am in written form. Now, if such a believer starts getting arrogant and begins cramming his or her view of the Bible “down my throat” – well, then I will mentally shift into “answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceits” mode, and start using the knowledge I’ve acquired the past decade or so.


You wrote: “I do not take offense at anything and I appreciate your openness, but if you believe I am doing damage in this group I will try to alter my approach or simply resist the temptation to comment.”

No, no, no – please most definitely DO continue to comment as you feel inspired. And like I’ve mentioned in past threads, I think if you and I could discuss our views with each other over a brewski or two (though I’m not much of a beer lover) in person, face to face, things would go far more smoothly. I just figure that if someone comes out here to publicly comment, then they must be ready to defend ideas they promote. Note the many Anonymous’s who just make a brief, superficial, yet often dogmatic religious assertion, then scamper away and never respond to our responses, or stick around long enough to further clarify or defend their view. This to me amounts to nothing but rank intellectual cowardice of the worst sort.

Head Usher said...

Albert wrote:
"If we cannot offer something that will build a positive enjoyable transition we are doing more damage than good."

Sometimes, growth is difficult precisely because necessary, unavoidable, very positive changes can only come about through transitions that are painful, not fun, and sometimes even negative experiences. Nevertheless, the net effect remains positive. Life buffets us and transforms us from soft blobs of jelly into beings of strength and integrity. We lose our innocence, our naivety, and our idealism along the way as theory gives way to experience, but this is as it should be. Just because a transition isn't enjoyable doesn't mean it's damaging. Life isn't always enjoyable. And just because something is enjoyable doesn't mean it's good for us either.

Anonymous said...

Head Usher said...
Sometimes, growth is difficult precisely because necessary, unavoidable, very positive changes can only come about through transitions that are painful, not fun, and sometimes even negative ……………
My reply:
Your right I should have left out the word “enjoyable”.

I’ll share a little story I read years ago.
Back in the gold rush days there were people in California who were from the east coast who long for the Tuna fish they had before going to seek gold. The only way they get these fish to California was by ship around South America, but the trip long and the Tuna were flabby and not edible. The solution they found was putting few Sharks who are Tuna’s natural enemy in with the Tuna. This kept the Tuna active during the trip and they arrived in firm condition.
The moral of the story was that a few Sharks may be necessary to produce the desired result.
AB

Byker Bob said...

Let's not practice censorship like the ACOGs. Corky is entitled to express his beliefs and opinions as are all of us.

I often wonder what is going on in the head of a believer who has read the scripture about every knee bowing to Jesus Christ, but gets distracted and intimidated by a few atheists who are working out their life issues and preparing for their eternity. Life has its purification processes, and believers should be more compassionate, realizing how short lived and temporary a non-believing condition really is.

BB

Anonymous said...

someone wrote,
"It appears from the majority of posts that this is indeed an anti-Christian blog. I have no real issue with that but it should be labeled as such if that's the case. The blog owner should rename the site or keep the name and enforce a strict policy of only allowing posts about COGs. Otherwise, this site is acting under false pretenses."

GARY!!!
I just read some non-Christian views here, so please quickly re-label this as an anti-Christian blog!!! Or you are acting under false pretenses!!!

Oh, wait...

GARY!!!
I just read some nice Christian views here, so please quickly re-re-label this as a Christian blog!!! Or you are acting under false pretenses!!!

Oh, wait...

GARY!!!
I just read some more awful anti-Christian views here, so please quickly re-re-re-label this as an anti-Christian blog!!! Or you are acting under false pretenses!!!

Oh, wait...

GARY!!!
I just read summore good Christian views here, so please quickly re-re-re-re-label this as a Christian blog!!! Or you are acting under false pretenses!!!

Oh, wait...

GARY! I forgot to take my meds!!!

NO2HWA said...

I don't know what planet you are on Velvet but I am not an ordained Priest. Never have been and never will be. The only time I was ordained was when I was a deacon in WCG. Then when the 2 year time limits started being applied I did not renew. As for the "mark of the beast" what kind of bullshit is that? That stupidity is choice Armstrongite bullshit. Your baloney seems to follow you from blog to blog.

Anonymous said...

Well, Velvet tends to make sweeping statements not based in any kind of real knowledge. That's probably why she's an ardent believer, and can be so..."eloquent" in her fly-by comments...NOT!

Byker Bob said...

You should get out and visit some Christian churches more often, Velvet. In Christian churches where there isn't a human authority heavy hierarchy, lay members who are considered to be mature and stable in the faith often perform some of the duties that the ACOGs had always reserved for the ministry. As an example, parents can baptize their children, or close personal friends can baptize new members.

The human and his authority is not considered to be quite so important, just the fact that the person on the receiving end's heart is directed towards and focussed upon God. Usually, these functions are performed very humbly, too, because it is a God thing. It's not cause for elitism or exaltation, or an indication that maybe you need to offer to wash someone's car, or do his yardwork.

BB

Velvet said...

"You should get out and visit some Christian churches more often, Velvet."

Trust me, Bob, my grandfather's funeral was experience enough to prove to me that everything the Church decried about the paganism was absolutely correct. Just about the only other services I would be interested in attending would be Quaker Meeting for Worship, but there is none in my area, and the closest Meeting to me (still not very close) has no Christians in it. Although they are not averse to having Christians attend, it just wouldn't be a good idea (and is also too far away, as I mentioned).

George Fox (the founder of the Quakers) and another early Friend, William Penn, wrote much along the same lines as the Church did, about the ritualistic paganism of Constantine's church, and all of its descendants. (Fox even proposed an early double-blind experiment to test the Catholics' mumbo-jumbo around their crackers. In the 17th century.)

Needless to say, there's no "smearing ashes on foreheads" in a Quaker meeting either!

NO2HWA said...

Velvet: Oh give it a rest! Yes, I have deleted your comment each and every time. I am tired of your innuendos and outright deliberate lies about me. If you don't like it then tough shit! Its my blog and I will do what I want here. With 45+ years in the cult of Armstrongism I have seen your likes come and go. If you want to play nice you are free to comment, if not, I will delete.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Velvet doesn't consider Quakers or Catholics to be Christians?
I'm guessing she applies that to Methodists, Lutherans, Evangelicals, Baptists, etc, too.
Who's left?
Velvet and Herbert Armstrong?

Anonymous said...

Charming, Anonymous, why don't you reread what I actually said? I'm beginning to think Leo is right, nobody here has (nor do they want) to spend any time engaged in actually comprehending what they read, all of you just want to twist and distort everyone's else's words just to get a cheap shot in.

EXACTLY WHAT I SAID was that the Quaker Meeting for Worship, in my area (which still isn't very close to me) TOLD ME that they had no Christians IN THEIR MEETING, but that they would not be averse to having Christians attend.

Nowhere at any point in my comment did I say anything like what you stated. And, for the very last time, I AM NOT AN IDOL-WORSHIPPER. I neither worship the false trinitarian gods of the world's Christianity, nor do I worship ANY of the men who have ever been, or ever will be, ministers in the Church of God (nor have I ever worshipped any of those men, not even Herbert Armstrong)...be it the first century Church, right on down to the Church in the present day.

But, again, there's no point in my stating any of this point-blank, because none of you believe it anyway. All of you who criticize me the loudest have a nice little black-and-white caricature of me built up in your heads that all of you get to take potshots at.

I'm sure Gary will be quite happy to hear that I will no longer be a thorn in any of your sides, and he can take the blog off moderation.

I wish I could say it's been fun, but unfortunately, the fun seems to be one-sided, and even though you people THINK it's been at my expense, it's actually been quite instructive.

Sayonara, folks.

Velvet

Anonymous said...

No, Velvet, in spite of your "EXACTLY WHAT I SAID" diatribe, you did NOT say that the Quaker Meeting in your area TOLD YOU that they had no Christians in their meeting.

You simply said that the meeting has no Christians in it.

And given that you've been on a roll about the Catholic's (and others') paganism, it was hardly a leap of logic to come to the conclusion I did.

Sheesh, you sure are a prickly one, all too often paranoid and looking to fight over non-existent slights!

Anonymous said...

Oh, what the heck.
I think I explained myself well in the last comment, but for clarity's sake will add one more thing-

One of the reasons I assumed that Velvet meant that SHE considered the attenders at the Quaker meeting to be non-Christians, is because she wrote, "But everything the Church taught about the Protestants and Catholics is absolutely spot on."

Didn't the "church" teach that everyone but them were only, "Christians, so-called"?
(In other words, not real Christians?)