Friday, April 5, 2013

Thiel: Those With Dementia Are Cursed For Disobeying God's Laws




The non-ordained self -appointed false prophet Bob Thiel is weighing in on dementia.  It still amazes me that Armstrongites attribute everything that goes wrong with a persons health  is  because of sin in the persons life.   Armstrongism's magical God is pissed and ready to strike disobedient people at the slightest whim.  Apparently a big cosmic joke is upon us all.

I know people who have done everything imaginable in their lives, treated people like dirt and  are as sharp as can be.  Others who drip with Christian hospitality and  grace have one horrendous health issue after another. 

The non-ordained self-appointed false prophet writes:

Dementia seems to be a curse from a biblical perspective:
15 “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
16 “Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country…
28 The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart.  (Deuteronomy 28:15-16, 28)
Note: I am not saying that all who get dementia have intentionally violated God’s laws, etc.  But what I am trying to say is that dementia and costs associated with it are consistent with curses against a society that should know God’s laws but refuses to obey God.

79 comments:

Douglas Becker said...

Well, I guess that explains Robert Thiel.

Anonymous said...

Quintessential Armstrongism and its surreptitious approach to preaching the gospel of health and wealth. "If you're not healthy, it's your fault! You sinned and now god is punishing you with his curses!" After all, if it's in the bible, then it must be true no matter how ridiculous it winds up being in the real world...

On another semi-related note, Apostle Malm today professes to be a recipient of direct revelation from god, just like Prophet Bob:
"6) To reveal such new things as have been given to me in the promised latter day INCREASE of spiritual knowledge, Dan 12"

Anonymous said...

I have a family member with dementia. What an ignorant and thoughtless thing to say. Anybody who follows this clown should be ashamed of themselves.

Idiot.

Anonymous said...

Those who think that bad things happen to you because of sin should read the book of Job. Also, when Jesus approached a blind man, the disciples asked, "who sinned, the blind man or his parents?" Jesus said, "Neither, you dumb ass." (John 9:1). If sin brought sickness, what illnesses do you think GTA,HWA and RCM would have suffered from?

Anonymous said...

This is exactly what happens when you "rely on the law". You start looking to condemnation, judgement, and curses instead of the revealing of faith and hope, looking to the physical and not the spiritual. It is an answer completely void of even an ounce of Christianity.

This is the same rhetoric that Armstrongism has produced for ages. If something is physically wrong with you, you are "cursed" or don't "have enough faith" or this or that. Judgement, condemnation, and negativity.

How about preaching a positive message of faith instead of sitting there behind the desk blasting those who suffer dementia as consistent with cursings?

Away with these statements and beliefs. Bob Thiel, in making statements that dementia is consistent with cursings, is a statement that is consistent with one who doesn't have a CLUE who Christ is or what he stands for, in my opinion. Looking to dementia and old testament verses to say it could be a curse.

I'm ashamed, disgusted, and all I can say is what an embarrassment to real theology.

I feel sorry for all the dementia patients he has said are cursed, as he has certainly not fulfilled the command of Jesus to take care of the sick, widows, and orphans. He can just be content with sitting behing his desk saying they're cursed. SHAME!

Anonymous said...

My grandmother had dementia. She was A Christian woman. She had it checked out, and it is a result of plaque in the blood vessels of the brain which deprived her of needed oxygen that caused this. This wasn't a curse on a woman who trusted in Jesus, this was a medical problem caused by environmental situations.

Thanks for saying my grandmother, who was not in Armstrong beliefs, was cursed. I hope when you someday meet her that you can say that to her face, instead of on a computer screen. This was insensitive at best, and I am personally offended by this, as well as my whole family would be.

Leader of God's Church on Earth practicing Philadelphia Love???

HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And just as an ending statement in general, Anyone know who the Bible says is really under the curses of God? if you believe your bible??? If you believe the Bible, it's those who "rely on the law". Read it yourself.

RSK said...

As a man who is taking care of his 67-year-old mother with dementia... FUCK YOU BOB THIEL!

Say that shit to my face, you piece of worthless shit!!

Anonymous said...

Society Schmiety. People are society. That ending note or disclaimer or whatever it was changes nothing. That little "out" is not an "out" nor does it change the intent of what he is saying in my opinion.

Joe Moeller said...

How a fallacious and superstitious idea can come about..

It comes from believing that just because "B" follows "A" therefore "A" CAUSED "B".

Using Thiel's reasoning, you are cursed for being disobedient and we have a current curse of dementia, so therefore being disobedient causes dementia.

BUT EVERYONE GROWS OLD AND DIES and they always have. The righteous, the great, the scumbags, the obedient AND the disobedient. How does Thiel's forumula work within those facts?

Using Bob's logic would one could say "The New York Yankees have won lots of world series" and " there is also a lot of dementia" THEREFORE , the New York Yankees are causing dementia.

This guy claims to be a PHD??

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

PS- The New York Yankees DO make me crazy though. I HATE EM! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Hey Joe, at least the Tigers whipped their behinds last World series! I don't think they even tried last year! They just stood their and let their behinds be whooped!

Maybe thiel would blame THAT on dementia.... it was a SPORT after all.. or not, it wasn't FOOTBALL.... *STEAMING*

DennisCDiehl said...

Bob notes:

"I am not saying that all who get dementia have intentionally violated God’s laws, etc. But what I am trying to say is that dementia and costs associated with it are consistent with curses against a society that should know God’s laws but refuses to obey God."

Translation:

"I'm not saying...
"I am saying"

"have intentionally violated..."
"are rebelious sinners against my God most high..."

"But what I am saing..."
"See, I told you I was saying..."

"Are consistant with curses..."
"are the same curses..."

"that should know God's law but refuses to obey.."

"that should know God's law from me, but refuses to obey God and my view of God."

"Dementia seems to be a curse from a biblical perspetive:"

There is your problem DR Bob. The Bible has no clue about issues of mental issues and most of your well loved prophets, after whose title you yearn, were classic schizophrenics, bi polar or deeply depressed melancholic men.

Throw in a bout of temporal lobe epilepsy and you probably have an excellent explanation of the Apostle Paul's bright light and bi cameral voice of God in his head from Jesus experience. Of course, that is Luke's story of Paul and one which Paul never aludes to in his own writings. (I think Luke made it up.) Paul said he was called from the womb which is more a narcissism than dementia.

Whoever wrote Revelation had be on shrooms, peyote or ayahusca.

If you wish a pretty intersting view of how OT prophets really functioned and why I'd give Julian Jaynes , Consciousness and the Breakdown of the Bi-Cameral Mind a good read.

He shows how the OT went from a God that walked and talked with one in the garden , turns into a cloud and pillar of fire, then a burning bush and eventually God, as the voice in the bi cameral mind fades out and the Psalms spend a lot of energy begging for it to return and wondering "why art thou so far from us..?" Fincally God only speaks through prophets who often get it wrong, occasionally through oracles, dice or drawing lots and ultimately we get stuck with ministers and men who say they hear it when we don't and here is what God is doing now.

Great book and explains a lot about the evolution of human religion . Jaynes is saying those such as yourself are simply trying to hear the voice of God again and making shit up pretending you do. The goal is find others who can't hear the voice of God either very directly and need you and those like you to tell them what God is doing as if you knew.

I'd go back to your original profession fast if I were you.

Anonymous said...

didnt somebody here claim Thiels got a retarded kid? so is that gods curse too?

Leonardo said...

Fanatics like Thiel have no sense of nuance, and this serious lack reflects the standard religious mindset. HWA was a master of black and white, either/or thinking. It's either this, or that - there's just not much in-between for these people. It's either special supernatural creation or mindless evolution - that's your only choice, no other alternatives even seemed to entered into his unimaginative, deity-haunted brain. Virtually everything Bob says reflects this limited thinking style. Yes, he tries to qualify what he says, but ends up painting himself even further into the corner. Poor Bob, maybe the guy needs to go back to Charlotte with a head cold, get anointed and accidentally obtain a THIRD portion of God's Spirit, for he certainly could use it!

Like I always say, and THIS is the best the Christian God can do in terms of His end-time representatives?

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 11:16 wrote: "didnt somebody here claim Thiels got a retarded kid? so is that gods curse too?"


It's like the true story I once heard about a passionately religious couple who actually believed that children born with red hair were a curse from God for some sin of the parents...until their fifth child was born, started maturing, and out came the flaming red hair! I'm sure they somehow "repented" of such a belief, or found a way to spin it in their favor.

Leonardo said...

So Dennis, did you get my phone message?

DennisCDiehl said...

Leonardo said...
So Dennis, did you get my phone message?
hmmmm, had a cell meltdown yesterday, send again? or call again? home this eve

Anonymous said...

Tweet: Bob, your god has bad aim.

Anonymous said...

Read between the lines. Prophet Bob believes Rod Meredith has dementia. Never mind how cruel and insensitive this reveals Bob (and his God) to be.

I wonder how Prophet Bob would react if someone suggested that God may deliver a curse by giving a disobedient man a retarded/disabled child? That would make just as much Biblical sense, yet I think we all know that Prophet Bob would never consider that God has cursed him just as much as He has cursed Rod Meredith.

Corky said...

There was a time, long ago, when I was a young man and heard someone say something like Thiel says, I would slap 'em around a little bit.

Fact is though, that even as an old man today, he'd get a face full of cold beer followed by a rap on the head with the glass.

Not that I'm a violent person, it's just that I can't tolerate a-holes like that. One day, when Thiel gets a little older and is wearing his Exelon patch for dementia, he won't remember his words but some people will.

Of course, he may be lucky like some of us old folks who commit the sin of unbelief in nonsense and not get dementia...I wonder what that would say about this ministurd.

What a douche-bag. What a sorry excuse for a human being...idiot.

Velvet said...

"Those who think that bad things happen to you because of sin should read the book of Job."

That was the standard comeback I heard, growing up. I also studied Job, with the same perspective as outlined in the statement above, when I was a teenager.

Additionally, the Bible says we are appointed "tribulations" not because we are not faithful, but precisely because we ARE.

Furthermore, "...it is appointed to man to die once."

R.M. said...

I agree with RSK above.

FUCK YOU BOB THIEL. YOUR A TOTALLY WORTHLESS MOTHER-FUCKER! MAY YOUR HOUSE BURN DOWN COCK SUCKER!

R.M.

Velvet said...

OK, I will be the VERY first person to say that self-professed, unordained false prophet Thielogical Bob is crazier than a bag of hammers. But you guys are accusing him of the exact opposite of what he actually said.

What Anonymous proclaimed from on high:

"This is exactly what happens when you "rely on the law.""

What Thiel actually said:

"Note: I am not saying that all who get dementia have intentionally violated God’s laws, etc. But what I am trying to say is that dementia and costs associated with it are consistent with curses against a society that should know God’s laws but refuses to obey God."

Note, I DO NOT AGREE WITH WHAT THIEL SAID. My point is that your "objections" unfortunately, are not going to convince anyone (Is anyone? Really?) following Bob. ("Some say I follow Christ, others say I follow... Bob" ?!?!)

Look, whether you agree or not, the less dogmatic take on this is, it's the Church's answer to the atheists who go around asking, "Well, what about parasites? What about genetic disorders?" etc. etc. Thielogical Bob could have used THAT standard example, but instead he used dementia. Why? Hmmm, what did the Church always say about one's accusers? That they were often guilty of the very things they were accusing us of?

Puts "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" in a whole new light, doesn't it?

James said...

bob thiel, you must have your dick in a meat grinder with that stupid irresponsible statement. What a goddamned idiot you are. Fucking asshole that you are, what more can we expect from you? Fuck you jack-off.

Joe Moeller said...

There definitely is more Alzheimers today than in decades past.

REASON? People are living longer. The average life expectancy in 1900 was just 55. Here a century later it is nearly 80.

Heart Disease, Cancer , Alzheimers would have been just as prevalent in 1940 if people lived long enough.

Our expanding life spans are creating new problems. Sooner or later though, something does take you out. I do not believe it is because of a "God Curse".

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

DennisCDiehl said...

I think he is taking a subliminal or not so subliminal shot at RCM who he probably considers having dementia and it is a gift from ThielGod because "you didn't listen to me"

He is saying to LCG members. "Your church is not doing well because God is not happy with your leader, who by the way has dementia for not listening to me.

Anonymous said...

Some of us seem to be outliving our brains. The brain appears to have an expiration date that is later than some other organs that keep us alive. We think we are so smart . . . we battle heart disease, then cancers, only to increase our chances of something worse, dementia.To what degree should Christians cling to this life? When is enough medical care enough to hold on.

Anonymous said...

A personal Comment:
How many have read the whole context of Thiel’s posting on his Church of God News?
If you have you should recognize that the headline is a little misleading.
The article uses statistics about the Dementia problem in USA and he uses a dictionary definition that includes madness to support the curse recorded in Deut. 28:28.
His disclaimer shows he recognizes (or should) that dementia is a progressive brain disease that causes severe memory loss and confusion. I would think that a person with any medical understanding would at least note that the problem is not due to a curse from God, but due to life style, habits and other failures in the health principles.
One major flaw I see in those who focus on prophecy is that they do not recognize that it is a misconception to believe that all these bad things are caused by God. They are caused by human failing, inherited weaknesses, or a violation of principles necessary to maintain health or the desired state of being.
My perception is that God doesn’t need to do anything; humanity seems to bring all of these things on themselves.
A. Boocher

Anonymous said...

Actually Bob Thiel does say that dementia is a result of sin. To disobey Thiel's God's laws is tantamount with sin and his god punishes sinners with the curse of dementia.


"But what I am trying to say is that dementia and costs associated with it are consistent with curses against a society that should know God’s laws but refuses to obey God."

Leonardo said...

Whatever message Bob intended to convey - which, were he a better writer, we wouldn't have to debate about what exactly he meant by his words, they would be self-evident - the fact is that coconut oil is the cure for this malady/evidence of UNintelligent design/curse from God! At least this is what the folks over at the Christian Broadcasting Network claim in this article, which says "for some people, coconut oil has proven to slow the progression of Alzheimer's and may have even prevented it."

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/healthscience/2012/january/coconut-oil-touted-as-alzheimers-remedy/

So if you are lucky enough to fall into the category of "some people" forget your desperate prayers for healing, dispense with scientific research - eat coconut oil!

Anonymous said...

Dementia would make a stupid curse. The patient so rarely understands they have it!

Anonymous said...

A Boocher wrote: "My perception is that God doesn’t need to do anything; humanity seems to bring all of these things on themselves."

Exactly!

I think that God was simply outlining in Leviticus 26 & Deuteronomy 28 what would be the negative consequences of faithlessness to Him in very broad terms. It'd basically be a mixed bag of "curses" like pollution, contaminated food, degenerative diseases, economic slavery, extremes in climate, culture wars, military stalemates, etc. And we see such "curses" pop up throughout history especially as a superpower starts to wane and is on the way out. I don't think it was specific to Israel alone.

Re dementia having both parents that are showing signs of this disease I certainly wouldn't take offense if you called it "madness" since sometimes you're left shaking your head at their reasonings or actions thinking WTF!? I have to remind myself that it's the disease that's got a hold of them and they're not thinking right. So I try to remember how they were rather than what they've become.

Anonymous said...

Bob and most of the posters here are missing the scientific fact that it's to do with the second law of thermodynamics, which in effect says everything goes from order to disorder, decays, etc. if left alone. It has nothing to do with God or a curse. Given time our genes will be so screwed up we will become extinct. Same with any other organic life here on earth.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Bob and most of the posters here are missing the scientific fact that it's to do with the second law of thermodynamics, which in effect says everything goes from order to disorder, decays, etc. if left alone. It has nothing to do with God or a curse. Given time our genes will be so screwed up we will become extinct. Same with any other organic life here on earth.
April 5, 2013 at 11:39 PM

What established such a law and when did it begin and how can we change it?

Anonymous said...

“What established such a law and when did it begin and how can we change it?”

That’s an interesting question; I wonder what kind of answer we will see.
A. Boocher

Velvet said...

"At least this is what the folks over at the Christian Broadcasting Network claim in this article, which says 'for some people, coconut oil has proven to slow the progression of Alzheimer's and may have even prevented it.'"

Oh, but the Church was evil for garbage like this, when professing Christians spew such nonsense (that will equally as well get people killed, just as much as it did in the 50s and 60s in the Church), they get a free pass, because they believe in trinitarianism and say all the right rituals?

Charming. Next thing you know, the professing Christians will be the ones pushing Amway.

Anonymous said...

I thought Leonardo was smart, but now I am doubting it. Coconut oil does not cure dementia. The statement that coconut oil has been proven to slow the progression of Alzheimer's is not true either. How can it be proven? Once you have Alzheimer's how do you know how fast it is supposed to progress - there is a huge variety. This falls in the same category as saying baking soda cures cancer, or we can live to 120 at least if we eat healthy things.

You know what, there is a lot of scientific research on the human genome etc., which is showing that most of these 'curses' are genetic. Perhaps diet, exercise can extend your life somewhat but it is not going to change your genetic makeup. I watched my own father die of heart disease, he was in WCG when younger and his whole life was a health food fanatic and mostly vegetarian, even before going into WCG. Plus he road a bicycle everywhere and got more exercise than anyone I know. The guy didn't smoke, didn't drink and was always thin etc. But his family generally died of cardiovascular disease. At the end of his life he was also starting to suffer from cardiovascular type dementia. You will generally find that people who live to be 100 have parents who lived a long time too.

The church did us a great disservice by teaching us illness was a result of sin. We all do die sooner or later and whatever we do doesn't make a huge difference. Of course if you have open heart surgery to replace defective heart valves then you can extend your life by 10 years or more. Ok we know you can wreck your health by drinking yourself to death and smoking, but the healthiest living people can only extend their lives by a short period.

Leonardo said...

Ah, Anon 10:21, go back and read my comment again, and more CAREFULLY this time around. I was ridiculing CBN's article on the use of coconut oil to prevent Alzheimers, not promoting it. Now I'm the one questioning YOUR intelligence, or at least your skill at ACCURATELY adsorbing written information!

But yes, I fully agree with your otherwise sound comments on the genetic components having a far greater impact on our eventual lifespans than lifestyle choices - although it must be said that, on the whole, folks who reasonably take care of themselves health-wise do feel much better, have more energy and probably more fully enjoy life, no matter how short or long their eventually lifespans prove to be.

I used to have a goal of wanting to live to at least 100. But now, as I see this world crumbling apart in so many different ways and becoming so hostile to human beings, I'm not too sure I want to hang around that long anymore!

Anonymous said...

Anon said: The church did us a great disservice by teaching us illness was a result of sin.

My Comment: This statement is true even though illness can some time be related to a person’s health. Sin is due to a violation of religious law, which deals with ethic and relationships, while illness is the result of a malfunction or breakdown in the physical body. There are times when sin can contribute to illness, but it due to the fact that our life is a combination of physical (material) and spiritual (non-material) components.
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 5:23: "What established such a law and when did it begin and how can we change it?"

Two things: first, I openly and unashamedly acknowledge that I don't know "what" or "who" established such a law. Of course, Mr. Boocher, and all the other highly-articulate fundamentalists who blog here from time to time clearly do know, or at least claim to. Well, actually they don't KNOW, of course, they BELIEVE - and there's a HUGE difference between knowing and believing.

And secondly, you may be absolutely astonished at some of the current and tremendously exciting work being done by top-of-the-line astrophysicists in this very area of research. And may I humbly suggest that being familiar with their work, at least in broad terms and as best as we laypeople can understand it, doesn't mean we necessarily have to agree with it, but just that we at least can intelligently converse upon it. You may find
that even theology’s most basic questions, assumptions and assertions are quickly becoming outmoded by real-world science.

May I recommend a book to you I'm currently reading? It's titled A UNIVERSE FROM NOTHING - Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing by Dr. Lawrence M. Krauss, a practicing cosmologist. He has a PhD in physics from M.I.T., has done work at Harvard, Yale, Case Western Reserve University and currently at the University of Arizona. And unlike many high-level scientists, Dr. Krauss can actually write in a crystal-clear manner using plain English, so his books, or at least this one, are easily comprehended by non-technical readers with no formal background in physics.

It's a rather short book, published just last year in 2012, coming in at only 185 pages of easy-to-understand English, including pictures and simple diagrams illustrating the concepts in the text. The book summarizes the mind-boggling work currently being done by theoretical physicists that will have very real-world applications for practical technology, as well as serious implications for classical religion claims. Such research suggests that not only CAN something arise from nothing, but that something will ALWAYS arise from nothing. Read it to see what he is talking about. This is legitimate cutting-edge research - not mere speculative philosophy, which religion at its best is based upon.

Take the challenge. At least pick up a copy from your local library, and browse though it for a couple of hours one night. Surely you can do this. Or just check it out at Amazon.com. And then we can discuss it on-line here. Wouldn’t this make for far more enlightening blogging than Bob Thiels’s latest lunacies?

http://www.amazon.com/Universe-Nothing-There-Something-Rather/dp/1451624468/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1365274108&sr=1-1&keywords=a+universe+from+nothing

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher wrote: "Sin is due to a violation of religious law, which deals with ethic and relationships, while illness is the result of a malfunction or breakdown in the physical body. There are times when sin can contribute to illness, but it due to the fact that our life is a combination of physical (material) and spiritual (non-material) components."

I'm sorry, Mr. Boocher, but all you're doing here is simply stating your opinions as fact - which amounts to re-packaging and re-stating COG religious assertions, spiritual sin versus physical sin, etc. You can't demonstrate nor validate these assertions any more than the COG's can, other than appealing to ungrounded metaphysical claims that go to the Iron Age, or at best the Middle Ages.

Anonymous said...

"...illness can some time be related to a person’s health."

LOL

anon 10:21 said...

ok Leonardo, I do see that I misinterpreted your comment somewhat, but I think it could be taken the way I thought it too.

I know some people still believers in WCG who constantly post stuff about the latest cancer cures with baking soda, eating flax seed, vitamin C, vegan diet, and on and on it goes. Same with dementia cures. Sure a good diet and exercise helps us to stay healthy while we are alive. I was always confused by WCG's health doctrines. I come from back in the time when we weren't allowed to go to doctors and when we got sick we were anointed by a minister. All very well, but at the same time they pushed the doctrines of alternative healing. What is the difference between eating weird herbs and whatever and going to a doctor? If you believe in divine healing, their shouldn't also be the religion of alternative healing..... oh well, it still lingers on in my consciousness.

I would only want to live to be 100 if I could do it in the body of a younger person, say at least less than 50. Why would one want to linger around in a sad ugly old body full of aches and pains, which seems more important to me that whatever the troubles of the world might be.

Byker Bob said...

Well, I see similar behavioral patterns in my work. There can be a squeak in a machine, and I isolate a bad bearing by systematically squirting oil in likely places until I locate the part that needs replacement. But, some machine operators who watch me then assume that oil is the all purpose solution to anything and everything that ever goes wrong with that machine from that day forward.

That is what Thiel is doing. He seeks to simplify until there is one cause and one effect, and then makes it axiomatic and universal.

These Armstrongites give God very little credit for complexity, imagination, or creativity! And, Thiel is supposed to be intelligent!

BB

Leonardo said...

OK, I understand, and I should have made my sarcasm with respect to coconut oil a bit more obvious, though I would have thought the overall context of my comment clearly did. That’s one of the drawbacks of sarcasm as a linguistic tool, it can sometimes be taken literally!

Anyway, yes, all one has to do is just go out on-line and see COG blogs where members discuss the latest "cures" for cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, etc., and the lunacy is all right there: Satan’s world of science and medicine is one huge conspiracy, so we need to cure ourselves “God’s way” – which often results in further problems and even premature death. But these unpleasant consequences are often just overlooked and swept aside, just like they are in the wider world of the COG’s with other unpleasant issues that directly result from “God’s Truth.”

Once I was a part of a COG-related on-line health forum. This was some time ago, but I eventually left because I'd repeatedly provide specific documentation that their claims were totally unscientific folk-medicine remedies with no real-world backing whatsoever. But try reasoning with irrational minds so steeped against science and modern methods of legitimate evidence gathering! Modern-day COG members have been so accustomed to accepting irrational conspiracy theory-like reasoning for all kinds of the many unfounded beliefs they hold, and so it's just a matter of transitioning this vacuous (and sometimes fatal) mindset over to the realm of health and diet.

Joe Tkach Senior was a sucker for such fads. I remember his kick with food-grade hydrogen peroxide several years before he died of cancer. Then there was the COG fanatic I knew about who tried to “naturally” heal himself of diabetes “God’s way” with some kind of wacky diet, and ended up having to have a limb amputated due to advancing complications of the disease. A minister once told me about the numerous examples he knew of regarding the more ardent COG folks would cause permanent bodily damage t themselves trying to follow Jesus’ example of fasting 40 days and 40 nights. The list could go on and on and on.

Such “health and healing” fanaticism is a very common feature in the wider world of Christian fundamentalism, of which the COG’s are only just a part. But it amply illustrates a vital lesson: that once you buy into the anti-science epistemology of religion, then virtually anything is possible, no matter how loony or bizarre.

Anonymous said...

Leo Said:
I'm sorry, Mr. Boocher, but all you're doing here is simply stating your opinions as fact - which amounts to re-packaging and re-stating COG religious assertions, spiritual sin versus physical sin, etc. You can't demonstrate nor validate these assertions any more than the COG's can, other than appealing to ungrounded metaphysical claims that go to the Iron Age, or at best the Middle Ages.

Leo you have lost me somewhere. I clearly stated that religious law deals with ethics and relationships. Are you saying that ethics (moral behavior) and relationships are not a Psychological component that makes a person a living being? Does it make any difference if I say that what the bibles calls sin is inappropriate moral behavior and broken relationships that can contribute to illness as well as physical problems? If you cannot admit that religion is a fact of life and recognize that the bible deals with moral behavior and relationship, which creates mental and physical illness I wonder just what kind beliefs you have.

Can you give a hint on how something comes from nothing?
A. Boocher

Velvet said...

"If you believe in divine healing, their shouldn't also be the religion of alternative healing....."

Which is the point I repeatedly like to make to one of our Evangelicals, who likes to talk up some travelling voodoo witch doctor he's gotten everyone in the congregation (not me; pigs will FRY, first, LOL) to shell out their hard-earned money to.

Strangely, this is the same gentleman who has said, "The ten commandments were nailed to the cross!" So he's definitely not an old-school believer.

Anonymous said...

A personal comment on divine healing and anointing
It seems that the teaching of WCG regarding God and healing is a problem for many here so I will mention my approach to this subject.

First I admit that I have religious beliefs that are rejected by some here, but I am not expressing my beliefs to prove that I am right and everyone else is wrong. Any beliefs I reveal are simply for the purpose of giving a better picture of who I am and why I am who I am.

As an elder in WCG I have prayed for and anointed many people. My approach to anointing was simply recognizing the problem and bringing God into the situation by using the oil as a symbolic representation of the Holy Spirit. I never claimed that God promised any individual healing in this life.
My view of Psa, 103 is that David’s recognition of forgiveness and healing will not be fully completed until this life is completed.

There is no logical reason to believe that God heals outside the natural laws that govern human life. This doesn't mean that He can't, but there should be a specified or assumed purpose associated with a diversion from any natural law or it would violate the purpose of the law.

No individual can claim that God promises to do for them what He is not doing for other people. God's gifts in life are to all, but not all accept them.

There have been a few that could qualify as unusual recoveries, but most of the results were having someone who cares and the peace of mind people experience who God is brought into the picture.
Some may not understand what I am saying, but I believe those who still believe in God we be able to understand why people can benefit from a simple ceremony such as I went though with in anointing them.
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher wrote: "Can you give a hint on how something comes from nothing?"

Yes, I can, though I'm not saying this is necessary my view. But I'd love to discuss this with you. But first please do some basic background reading on the subject. You simply can't learn to read if you don't know your basic ABC's. You religionists are well known for disagreeing with concepts you, 1) generally know NOTHING about, and 2) often aren't even willing to learn about to increase your understanding. This is not a pet theory of mine, nor is it a concept on the far edges of mainstream science, like plasma pysics, etc. It's at the leading-edge of astrophysics.

I would recommend A UNIVERSE FROM NOTHING by Dr. Lawrence M. Krauss, the relatively simple yet up-to-datebook I recommended above. But I fear you just want to take the passive, intellectually lazy path and badmouth what I'm sure you know little to nothing about, yet most likely are unwilling to actually open your mind to. It's something that MANY of the top physicists in the world are currently working.

Are you willing to progress ahead, or do you just want to stay put with your current level of knowledge?

“The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” (Proverbs 18:15)

Leonardo said...

Hint: it's due to the fact that the more physicists learn about and test quantum theory and its spinoff implications, the more they come to the conclusion that there is actually no such thing as "nothing" for something to come from.

But that statement will be meaningless to you unless you're willing to read the book.

Anonymous said...

Leo said: Hint: it's due to the fact that the more physicists learn about and test quantum theory and its spinoff implications, the more they come to the conclusion that there is actually no such thing as "nothing" for something to come from.

Leo, that doesn’t surprise me. What needs to proven is how this eternal something expands and contracts and relates to time and space. Everything we know about now is defined in space and time along with the intellectual capabilities that are associated with creating mental images that can be transformed in material reality that can be measured by human senses.

I will think about the book you recommended, but right now I have more than enough to think about and do. It is doubtful that the information would cause me to make any changes that would be an improvement to the few remaining years I may have.
But if there are things you believe I would understand I am open minded, but I try to consider other people when dealing with disputed issues.
A, Boocher

Retired Prof said...

"What needs to proven is how this eternal something expands and contracts and relates to time and space."

This is the question that needs to be answered about a supernatural creator just as much as about the Higgs field.

In regard to the latter, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider have found the particle that verifies its existence. Theoretically, it is the energy field that explains how matter has mass. To me, its description sounds like the Hasidic idea that G-d is immanent: it permeates our entire universe and may extend outside it as well, since it is postulated as the matrix from which the hypothetical multiverse arises.

The process as scientists have worked it out so far is still pretty tentative and speculative. The idea that the Big Bang started as a spontaneous perturbation of the Higgs field is not much more specific than the sentences "Let there be light. And there was light."

But it is a little more specific. What force did YHWH muster to produce light? Matter? What chemicals resided in the clay that he transformed into the first man? What exact surgical procedures did he use to extract Eve from Adam? Did both need anesthesia? Such questions need to be investigated and answered.

You're right, though. Creation myths (whether naturalistic or supernaturalistic) offer very little improvement to anyone's life, except esthetically. They make good stories to mull over, just as other forms of literature do. As guides for everyday living, though, we have to look at stories that focus on everyday living, not of ultimate origins.

Anonymous said...

To Ret. Prof. Thanks for your comment, I agree with what you said and I could bring up other stories where people had a different view of man’s beginning. One was that Adam and Eve were not human flesh until after they sinned and were driven out of Eden. I can imagine what people would do with that if it had been included in the Bible.
Anyway my personal approach to life is focused on encouraging people to be good finders rather than fault finders in sharing beliefs. I know it is not that simple in this type of communication, but at least I try.
A. Boocher

Velvet said...

"As an elder in WCG I have prayed for and anointed many people. My approach to anointing was simply recognizing the problem and bringing God into the situation by using the oil as a symbolic representation of the Holy Spirit."

This is consistent with my experiences of being anointed during childhood, except they used anointed cloths in Canada. I was usually anointed both pre- and post-surgery. It was definitely seen as an adjunct to medical care in Canada in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher wrote: "I will think about the book you recommended, but right now I have more than enough to think about and do."

Please don’t lie to me, Mr. Boocher, because you know as well as I do that you will NEVER read that book or anything like it, nor consider any concept remotely outside the religious mindset that has ossified in your mind. This is made perfectly clear by every comment you make. I humbly ask that you at least be honest with me.


You further wrote: "What needs to proven is how this eternal something expands and contracts and relates to time and space."

Oh, that all ties in with what Dr. Krauss explains. The evidence is rapidly accumulating and "proving" (though science doesn't really use that word) the concept by the day. This is explained in the book, which if you'd be willing to read, you wouldn't make such ignorant statements. Look, I realize that you are perfectly happy with your present beliefs and current worldview, but it's very quickly becoming obsolete, at least your "views" on astrophysics are. Asking the very question “how can something come from nothing?” has a long and very ancient tradition in religious history, it’s just that physics is showing that “nothing” actually doesn’t exist, which you could potentially realize if you’d be willing to accept new findings outside your mindset. I know this concept really corrected my mindset, because I was previously in total ignorance about this concept of “nothing.” I made a lot of careless assumptions that simply weren’t true.


You also wrote: "Anyway my personal approach to life is focused on encouraging people to be good finders rather than fault finders in sharing beliefs."

And that’s fine. Then your Middle Age bromides and beliefs will work just fine. It’s just that I value ultimate foundational truths above comforting yet false religious slogans. And besides, what is worth finding more than truth?


Lastly you wrote: "But if there are things you believe I would understand I am open minded..."

I sense that you could understand some of the latest findings in science, though they may challenge some of your “common sense” assumptions a bit. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will most certainly have to confront such realities, just like the folks in the 1600’s eventually had to confront the fact of heliocentricism, which was as non-intuitive and baffling to them as the implications of quantum physics may be to you. But I sense that you’re not willing to even examine them. So, no, in my opinion, you're NOT open-minded, at least nothing you've ever said here on this website has given me the slightest indication that you are willing to accept views different from the ones you've grown accustomed to and comfortable with. I guess that's fine, but it does make you somewhat of a laughing stock when you regularly make comments that make no sense whatsoever in the light of emerging science, and which you've proven time and again incapable of clarifying, let alone defending in public discussion. I fully realize that cutting edge physics isn't of great interest to most folks, but it's rapidly replacing your personal cosmology. I just thought you might be interested in expanding your mind a bit, that's all, just so you could discuss such things more intelligently than you do. And who knows, it might even help you encourage people, because, like I said above, truth is far more useful than obsolete slogans. But it's your choice.

Leonardo said...

Retired Prof wrote: "The process as scientists have worked it out so far is still pretty tentative and speculative."

Retired Prof, may I humbly suggest that you read a little bit more than you do, or at least read book by the scientists actually doing the hard field work, as opposed to perhaps popular journalistic articles on the subjects in question. This information is rapidly becoming confirmed very quickly. Yes, there's still many questions, and a lot of holes and large gaps to fill in, but much of the overall underlying groundwork is quite solid. But this is the nature of scientific inquiry. It doesn’t deal in ABSOLUTES written in stone like religion does. And that’s why in the past 400 years it’s proven itself FAR more useful and accurate than religion as a means to practical knowledge of reality, and vastly superior to faith.

ALL science is tentative and provisional, in the sense that it is always awaiting further clarification, further validation or ultimate refutation. The theory of gravity is tentative. Atomic theory is tentative. Germ theory is tentative. Quantum theory is tentative. The theory of evolution is tentative. But ALL these theories are currently very well grounded in demonstrable evidence and facts, and have proven highly useful in terms of their predictive nature, which is a very good sign of a theory being valid.

Black holes were at one time "speculative" - but speculative based on rapidly accumulating evidence, as opposed to religious or philosophical speculations, which often aren't – actually, religion never, that’s why faith is required to accept it.

I would strongly suggest that if some kind of Creator IS one day identified, revealed or otherwise shown to be behind the cosmos, that it’s highly likely such a being will prove most unsuitable and unsatisfactory to the religious mind.

Such a concept truly is something to ponder, isn’t it?

Anonymous said...

Leo: You may think I’m lying when I say I have enough to think about and do, you make look at things in a different light when you are 82 years old. Right now my wife’s is dealing health problems and her seven sisters are in poor health. I am the oldest in my family and we are old.
Our family (2 sons and 2 daughters) are middle age grandparents. Middle age people go through changes that are stressful and their families are coping with the normal challenges. I still have responsibilities in managing our personal financial affairs along with taking care of our properties. My wife and I have spent the past 12 years working at rebuilding family relationships that had been neglected when was actively involved as an elder in WCG.

If you thing it is important that I learn a truth about how the earth and life began out something that is yet to be determined I have some important questions. Does this Truth promise a life after death and how would you describe that life?
Another question that I believe is even more important. Do you have a good relationship with all your family and are they all encouraged about your discovery and the affect it will have on future generation? Be Honest about what you say.
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

I understand, Mr. Boocher, I do. But I think you are more than capable of thinking outside the box, to use a phrase. And please don't think I see meaningful relationships as a mere marginal issue, because I truly don't. Harmonious relationships are vital - but only, however, if they are based on truth and honestly.

You wrote: "Does this Truth promise a life after death and how would you describe that life?"

Not to my knowledge, it doesn't. But if you only are willing to accept truths that make warm and fuzzy pie-in-the-sky promises, then I guess we can stop this discussion right here, because that would tell me that you are aren't really all that interested in facts, but rather the vain pursuit of comforting fictions.

I can honestly say that I have good relationships with those (immediate family, extended family, friends and acquiescences) with those willing to have good relationships with me. For I have found that sound, mutually-beneficial, meaningful relationships is like dancing - you can't do it unless your various partners are willing. Even the Apostle Paul instructed early Christians to be a peace, so long as it depended upon them, acknowledging the fact that some folks are never willing live peacefully with certain of their fellow human beings.

But please be assured that I highly value close, harmonious human relationships very much - though, I must say, in the final analysis, not as much as I do ultimate truth. It’s just that I despise lies, misrepresentations, half-truths and all other forms of deception, especially when I see these things ardently promoted by presumably “truth-loving” Christians.

Anonymous said...

Leo Said: “it’s just that physics is showing that “nothing” actually doesn’t exist”

Leo I told you that didn’t surprise me. The reason it didn’t surprise me was that existence applies to something. In math we use 0 but it only applies to substance or numbers. It is totally impossible to have an absolute nothingness if we count space as something even if it was empty. That has been my point all along. Even using terms like eternity, infinity, etc. they cannot apply time and space as we see it. We talk about eternal life, but even if we were to get life after death it would only apply to the future and not the past. I could make other observations, but I’ll wait until you straiten all this out for me.

The basic understanding of God is that “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”

If you look at that description and think about it, every one of those characteristics are necessary if we are to realize a perfect human existence. How they fit in the development of the universe is difficult to discern. Infinite, eternal, and unchangeable may apply to the universe, but the rest apply to an intelligent being. If the truth we have doesn’t include the development of wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, as active in human life the rest of the information about the universe is useless to our human existence.
A. Boocher

Anonymous said...

Leo I may not been as clear as I should have been in my last comment. What I was trying to point out was that what you are defining as truth doesn’t contribute to anything to human relationships. I doubt it would have a negative on me, but I would not attempt to convince any of my Christian family and friends of its validity unless they had already lost their belief in God and I thought it was a better option. My belief in God is a little more flexible, but I believe there is a lot that we do not know about what I refer to as spiritual and I definitely know there is a lot to learn about how the mind works and how it connects with other people. I do not want to appear unwilling to learn, but do not need to spend a lot of time to learn things that have little value to my personal life.
A. Boocher

Anonymous said...

Charming. Next thing you know, the professing Christians will be the ones pushing Amway."

Isn't Amway a Christian business, who the Amway follks say is headed by Jesus who graciously allows mere mortals to get involved and all profity? ? (Like Byker Bob describes his business?)

Anonymous said...

A Boocher, It's VERY clear that your belief in your particular image of your god must be VERY flexible, in order to get that square peg into the round hole.

Leonardo said...

Yes, Mr. Boocher, I can heartily agree with you in this: there's far more that we human beings DON'T know as compared to what we currently DO know. I guess you and I just approach life from very differing perspectives. You're more focused on the practical things of day-to-day existence, principally on maintaining harmonious human relationships, perhaps most especially on comforting those in distress. Which is completely good and legitimate and laudable. Whereas I, while hopefully not neglecting the pragmatic issues of life, am focused more on accurately identifying the nature of ultimate truths and realities, whether they agree with human emotional preferences or not.

And my approach is based on the following worldview: that reality doesn’t bow itself to our wishes – rather it is a we who must adapt ourselves to it. “Nature must be obeyed in order to be commanded.” The religious mindset gets this backward, that somehow if a particular aspect of reality doesn’t bow to our demands, comfort us in our distress or placate our fears, then it must not be true, or at least isn’t a truth worth discovering or knowing. Personally, I see this as a foundational cause of the mental illness so frequently observed in fundamentalism, and the COG community particularly is rife with undiagnosed mental problems. The things so frequently documented on this website should be clear enough evidence of that! We puny humans argue against objective reality at our own peril. This foolish yet all-too-common approach to life has very painful real-world consequences. And religious history, complete with all it’s “comforting” yet ultimately false assertions, bears this out in spades, far more than my little comments can.

You claim that “what you are defining as truth doesn’t contribute to anything to human relationships.” Well, I completely disagree with your statement. Human beings have been greatly comforted by the contributions of science in numerous pragmatic ways. Our life-spans have been extended greatly as compared to what they were just a century ago. And may I humbly point out the obvious fact that without life, there would be no satisfying human relationships! The fact that you are 82-years-old is pragmatic evidence of the benefits of medical advances that religion would never have provided mankind with. Further, right now you and I are able to publicly share this discussion with each other though we’ve never personally met – the practical result of technologies called the personal computer and the Internet, both of which are ultimately based on scientific discovery. My point being that truth may not always be what humans WANT it to be, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t contribute to their health and happiness, and therefore their ensuing relationships.

The Medieval faith-based concepts you often promote would have assured we would both be living in disease-ridden hovels, or worse, have died far before having attained our respective ages of 82 and 57. In stark contrast, the modern evidence-based concepts I argue for (in both their scientific and political applications) instead have assured that we were able to live in a stable society, comfortable personal surroundings and in reasonably good levels of health, without which, as I mentioned above, meaningful human relationships wouldn’t have been possible.

So please don’t tell me that the objective truths science seeks after don’t contribute to human welfare and thus to meaningful human relationships – for such a statement is patently untrue and ridiculous on the face of it. Clearly scientifically-derived truths DO contribute in both this and many other ways far too numerous to mention here.

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher wrote: "The basic understanding of God is that “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”

But WHO’S “basic understanding” would you be referring to? Yours? A Buddhists? A Hindu’s? You are locked into the definition of a deity derived from the culture with which you are familiar, which happens to push the traditional Western/European God of classical theism. But this is only one of thousands of various definitions of “God.” A Hindu would define a “God” quite differently.

Further, your ENTIRE FOUNDATION is merely a religious, faith-based verbal ASSERTION on your part grounded in the religious traditions with which you have been inculcated since youth. A citizen of the Roman Empire could just as easily put forth such “characteristics” and “definitions” as applying to Zeus. An ancient Iranian could describe Ahura Mazda, the sky god of the ancient Persians, in this way.

My point is that you can't produce a single piece of verifiable evidence to substantiate your claims and “understandings” (nor could the ancient Roman or Persian) other than appealing to yet further religious, faith-based assertions. Hence your system of metaphysical "truth" is based solely upon, and hopelessly caught up in, an endless cycle of circular reasoning. This is what differentiates religion from science, which is based on discoverable empirical facts, tangible observation, real-world research and experimentation, and perhaps most important of all, always open to further evidentiary input as it is discovered so previous theories can either be further refined or ultimately replaced.

You assert that “If you look at that description and think about it, every one of those characteristics are necessary if we are to realize a perfect human existence. How they fit in the development of the universe is difficult to discern.”

Yes, they indeed are “difficult to discern” – I would say virtually IMPOSSIBLE to discern in any intelligible way, certainly as characteristics of a deity for which you have absolutely no proof even exists! You simply project those laudable human characteristics onto an assumed invisible deity, apparently Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, or the Logos of the New Testament. This is called anthropomorphism, the attributing of idealistic human characteristics onto a presumed deity, though oddly enough such a being is NEVER discernable to the five natural senses.

How convenient!

But what so few seem to realize is that, using this IDENTICAL line of specious faith-based reasoning, I could propose the existence of an invisible and otherwise undetectable rainbow-colored unicorn, who I spontaneously chose to verbally describe as “a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth” – and have just as much “rationale” behind such a proposal as you have for yours!

Seriously reflect upon this, because it has profound implications for human existence.

Anonymous said...

Leo said: Seriously reflect upon this, because it has profound implications for human existence.

Leo in the time since I started these discussions I have reviewed and reread a significant amount of material covering Christian Apologetics and Psychology associated dealing with religion along with the works of respectable theologians that have been instrumental forming my personal Christian faith.
You may not realize that my personal relationship with God started early in life and was not the product of Armstrongism. While some of the biblical teachings of WCG did have an influence the influence of what are defined as Brethren had a greater influence even though I never joined in fellowship with any of organization that are a part of the movement.

My personal beliefs have been tried and proven by over 50 years of successful real life living. There are many times when I have had to recheck my foundation and every time I found it be as solid as it was when I began building experiences that contribute to wholesome life.

Maybe you find something in science that can be used as a substitute for a relationship with God, but as yet you have not revealed anything that I can relate to.

If there isn’t any life after death I haven’t lost anything, but have experienced a greater joy in the anticipation of what has been promised in scripture along with a lot of interesting experiences and relationships.

A contented life is what I need while waiting, watching, and praying. A little note on prayer: I find that God patiently listens to all my frustrations without any critical condemnation, and I do not need to go back and apologize for ventilating them with other people, but I do need to remind myself to take these things to Him in prayer.
I do not see myself as stupid, but realize I can deceive myself at times.
A. Boocher

Velvet said...

"Isn't Amway a Christian business, who the Amway follks say is headed by Jesus who graciously allows mere mortals to get involved and all profity"

That must be a late innovation. When my father was involved, it was all about the MLM ponzi scheme. And there were other Church members involved too; if it had had any professing Christian overtones at that time, for sure the Church would have shut it down. Which it should have. But it didn't....Just one more mistake the Church made!

Anonymous said...

and don't forget the Shakley vitamin rage, another MLM fad that many members got involved with.

Anonymous said...

Leo: How is the human mind discernable to the five senses?

Anonymous said...

I'm not Leo. I probably won't answer the way he does. You should pay close attention when he answers. Why? Because no one is as awesome in every field of knowledge as Leo is.

Even so, let me try to explain why the human mind is not discernible to the five senses. "Mind" does not name a material object. It is an abstraction naming what the material object called the brain does. It works much like "metabolism," the name for something the body does. You can sense certain things that contribute to it, like swallowing food. You can sense some results, like feeling unhungry again and getting a surge of renewed energy. But metabolism as a total process is an abstract construct. Like the mind.

Felton M. Pultz

Leonardo said...

"Felton", I agree with your above explanation of the mind - that it's an abstraction based on the working of the physical brain. Though I’m still open to the findings of further research on that question. So what more can I add to that? – except to say I'm sure you know folks like Mr. Boocher don't generally think deeply enough to recognize and therefore make such fine distinctions. They would just make the careless assumption that the human mind is some kind of immaterial dimension their invisible deity inserted into the human being, like a soul or spirit of some kind. Robert Kuhn and HWA wrote a series of articles on this topic many years ago, though Kuhn has long since abandoned such claims.

As to your other comment, well, it’s just another cheap and completely irrelevant ad hominem that’s simply not worth responding to.

Leonardo said...

Now to respond to Mr. Boocher's latest comment: About ten years ago I got involved in an Internet debate with a conspiracy fanatic, who claimed with absolute conviction that the Apollo moon landings that took place between 1969 and 1972 were all faked by the U.S. government, that all six landings were a hoax staged and filmed in some large TV studio built in a remote part of an Arizona desert. The sad thing is, this man was serious. Further, he was a doctor, and I'm sure his native level of intelligence was far higher than mine. But, unfortunately for him, his facts and reasoning weren't.

In some detail I responded to claim after claim that he made, which were nothing but the standard garden variety assertions made by die-hard conspiracists, generally based on utter ignorance not only of the technical details of the spacecrafts directly involved, but also of optics, space science, and any number of other areas.

I loved the excitement of the manned space program when I was a boy growing up in the '60's – Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. An older cousin of mine worked for NASA and helped design the launch tower for the Saturn V rocket. Sometimes his work brought him into occasionally contact with Werner von Braun. So you can imagine with this kind of family involvement, I consequently learned quite a bit about the Apollo program.

And here’s my point: the essence of your arguments above remind me very much of this conspiracy fanatic: he simply refused to respond to my counter-arguments which were based on a rather detailed knowledge of the moon landings, and he repeatedly kept going back again and again to his circular argument that “the landings were all faked.” He couldn't really get beyond that claim, and the poorly thought-out “facts” he assumed supported such a wild claim. Why? Because his mind was hermetically sealed against any potential real-world arguments to the contrary. I brought up fact after fact that he refused to even consider, such that he had no defense other than to just keep going back to his original assertion that “the moon landings were all faked.”

In principle you respond just like he did – for neither of you get much beyond your original starting points.

You wrote: “You may not realize that my personal relationship with God started early in life and was not the product of Armstrongism.”

But I DO realize this, Mr. Boocher, it’s manifested plainly in the many assumptions you base your comments upon that you can’t even recognize, any more than a fish can recognize or question the surrounding water it has swum in all its life. You bought into religious claims as a young boy, probably being raised with them, either directly from your immediate family or by absorbing them from the general teachings of the wider American culture you were raised in.

But in this you are not unique. A survey was once done by some folks out at Pasadena headquarters that found roughly 93% of WCG members were very religious before they ever had contact with the teachings of HWA, etc. In order to have initially accepted the teachings of HWA, one must either have been extremely gullible and ignorant (which I was at age 18) or must have had an unexamined pre-existing background belief in supernaturalism which laid the groundwork for the WCG’s unorthodox teachings.

You wrote: “Maybe you find something in science that can be used as a substitute for a relationship with God, but as yet you have not revealed anything that I can relate to.”

That’s probably because I can’t make comforting pie-in-the-sky promises to you like religion can, and which you seem so psychologically addicted to. Strangely, you seem to use this as a measuring stick as to whether something is true or not, and if you can’t find emotional consolation from a truth, well, then it’s just not worth your time. Thankfully, science is more interested in objective truths than you are, whether they are emotionally appealing or not.

Anonymous said...

Leo you may think that I do not think deeply, but that’s OK. Here what I have gleaned from my approach to what I see as the real core of these disputed issues. It should be noted that my use of spirit is not imagination, but a word used when there is obvious action without a definable cause or reason. If you can clearly define the Psychology of religion better than I understand it go right ahead.

One thing the mind also processes is better defined as spiritual that includes thought, consciousness, reason, self-awareness, development of moral standards, acceptable behavior, positive relationships, communities, government, and other things that elevate human life to level exceeding any known material object. In these areas science has limited capabilities.

When we say “know thy self” we are faced with an impossible task since we are a finite product trying to discover what we are and why we exist. Even if we can define the origin of life by scientific reasoning we are still faced with the many questions regarding purpose, objectives, and goals.
Religions vary regarding the existence of spirit and it’s relation to human life, with Christianity declaring God is spirit and humans are body and spirit (or soul). I have not researched secular psychology well enough to say much more than the focus is on what is defined as ego and id.

I believe both religion and psychology attempt to explain and address the many problems that threaten our human existence. Who, what, and how will produce the greatest success is yet to be proven.
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

Mr. Boocher further claims: “…in the time since I started these discussions I have reviewed and reread a significant amount of material covering Christian Apologetics and Psychology associated dealing with religion along with the works of respectable theologians that have been instrumental forming my personal Christian faith.”

I’m sorry, Mr. Boocher, but that was my very area of specialty, the field I enjoyed reading in the most – Christian apologetics – when I was in the COG. So I’m familiar with most of the reasoning and arguments involved. (Sorry, “Felton”, but it’s true! I’m not an expert in every field, I just read a lot. It’s a habit I picked up at AC, of all places!) And all I can say is that, at least based on your comments thus far, you have a very unsure and uncertain grasp of the material indeed. For all you can do is repeat the same line of “argument”: “My personal beliefs have been tried and proven by over 50 years of successful real life living. There are many times when I have had to recheck my foundation and every time I found it be as solid as it was when I began building experiences that contribute to wholesome life.”

But have you REALLY ever re-checked your foundation? I don’t think so, not rigorously or in serious kind of way, and certainly not down to the very foundations.

And please stop trying to give us the impression that it was the works of “respectable theologians” and other advanced apologetics that convinced you to adopt your supernaturalistic truth claims. You yourself claimed that your relationship with God started as a boy, right? If you are like most Christians who make the same claim, then all your “studies” in apologetics has done is to merely confirm what you WANTED to believe in the first place, and had been believing for many years anyway. I suspect the supernaturalistic foundations of your Christian faith was formed long before you ever heard of the field of apologetics.

On a regular basis I either read the written works of or watch the DVD’s and other media (such as video presentations out on Youtube and elsewhere) produced by some of the top living Christian apologists such as John Lennox, J.P. Moreland, Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Dinesh D'Souza, etc. (I won’t even mention such jokes as Josh McDowell or Lee Strobel or Ken Hamm – for even many real Christian apologists are embarrassed by the kinds of sophomoric arguments these guys put forth in defense of their faith.)

Christian apologetics is becoming more and more shakier as science progresses. Why? Because apologetics deals with the supposed RATIONAL basis of Christianity. Though the most intellectually honest of Christians realize it’s based on faith, not reason. And I can accept and respect that view. It’s when Christians try to act as if there’s plenty of overwhelming real-world evidence for their faith that I react to. There isn’t. I know there isn’t. Many others know there isn’t. Honest Christians know there isn’t. Even the field of archaeology (“the stones cry out” in support of Biblical claims) must be very selectively mined in order to provide support for the various and sundry claims of Christianity. Dennis Diehl knows this very well. So do many others. And as apologist arguments become less and less persuasive as time goes on, they have to keep making up new ones.

My goal is not, nor ever was, to persuade you. Though I would have liked to have dialogued with you. But you never responded in any meaningful way to my arguments. Your comments have shown me that you’ve become, like the vast majority of ardent believers, mentally ossified in your faith, and completely immune to reason, to sound logic, to cutting-edge facts and evidence, or anything else that shows your worldview for what it is: a faith-based one with a long history to it, yes, that can’t be denied, but yet with not much of a future going for it.

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher wrote: "I have not researched secular psychology well enough to say much more than the focus is on what is defined as ego and id. I believe both religion and psychology attempt to explain and address the many problems that threaten our human existence. Who, what, and how will produce the greatest success is yet to be proven."

Well, if all you think secular psychology focuses on is "ego and id" then, may I kindly suggest your knowledge base is perhaps a bit out of date, to be sure. These are Freudian terms that go back to the 1920’s and ‘30’s. Since the beginning of our discussion here I’ve questioned your frequent claim to have read widely in the “psychology of religion” and every comment you’ve made since then has only confirmed that suspicion. As I’ve mentioned before I majored in psychology and minored in theology at AC – and so your claims just never “rang true” to me.

I both read and blog quite a bit, and it just doesn’t take very long to accurately detect what a person’s ACTUAL level of knowledge is, as opposed to the level they CLAIM it is. And that’s fine, though I find it somewhat ingenuous, especially since I’ve found that Christian fundamentalists tend to do this the most. Again, so much for honesty and truthfulness, which never seems to be held in high regard by most religious believers I come in contact with.

But it must be said that written text can sometimes be an awkward way of discussing such topics. I’m fairly sure if we could meet in person, we could understand each other probably far better than we do by means of written exchanges.

I don’t claim to have all the answers – but I’m quite sure they aren’t to be found in the absurd claims of Bronze Age religious assertions.

Anonymous said...

Leo said: My goal is not, nor ever was, to persuade you. Though I would have liked to have dialogued with you. But you never responded in any meaningful way to my arguments. Your comments have shown me that you’ve become, like the vast majority of ardent believers, mentally ossified in your faith, and completely immune to reason, to sound logic, to cutting-edge facts and evidence, or anything else that shows your worldview for what it is: a faith-based one with a long history to it, yes, that can’t be denied, but yet with not much of a future going for it.

My goal is not to convince you that religion is true, but to show that religion is here to stay no matter what you say. It should be obvious that efforts to use science to destroy religion will only add to the number of wrecked lives when their religion is destroyed. If you want to preach science that’s fine, but recognize that religion has a psychological importance to people that is emotionally deeper than even they realize. That should be evident in what happened in WCG and what is going on in the world at large.
You say that religion doesn’t have a future, but I disagree. There is no way I can predict what that future is, but unless the human race is completely destroyed there will always be the need of a greater Thou. I really can not imagine a worldview of a world without any religious beliefs since we have never had such a world.
My view of arguments is that they make the fool and the wise man equal and the fool knows it, so I try to avoid looking like a fool. I really did not intend to create such an extended dialog, but maybe that is the intended purpose of these blog subjects.
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher wrote: "My goal is not to convince you that religion is true, but to show that religion is here to stay no matter what you say."

And I needed you to point that out to me? Deadly life-destroying viruses are probably here to stay as well - so what's your point? Science doesn’t have all the answers, and never will, though I would suggest it has contributed far more REAL answers in the past 400 years than religion has in the last, what, six or seven millenniums.


You wrote: "It should be obvious that efforts to use science to destroy religion will only add to the number of wrecked lives when their religion is destroyed."

Science’s goal is not to destroy religion – rather it’s goal is to discover objective, empirically-validated truths that can then be turned into useful technologies that can help human lives, which, as a side effect, will weaken the stranglehold of religion on folks, though never eliminate it completely. You really should be more familiar with the record of history, for then you would realize that scientific methodology and progress has not destroyed anywhere near the lives that have already been wrecked and destroyed by religion. Ever heard of the Crusades? The Spanish Inquisition? The Salem Witch trials? Or how all the suffering and premature deaths that occurred as a result of the WCG’s misguided “healing” doctrine, which destroyed many hundreds if not thousands? Your experience in the WCG should have taught you that much, let alone a good reading of history. You make much of the fact that religion consoles and comforts people, but seem to totally gloss over the hideous, ugly, dark side of it. Which, once again, gives me yet another clue as to how little you've actually read on the subject.


You wrote: “You say that religion doesn’t have a future, but I disagree.”

But I never said that! I try to write carefully, so please read what I say carefully and stop carelessly reading into my comments things I never said or meant. There’s no doubt that religion has a future, just “not much of a future” is specifically what I said. By contrast, truth does have a glorious future. It’s the only thing that will endure.


You wrote: “My view of arguments is that they make the fool and the wise man equal and the fool knows it, so I try to avoid looking like a fool.”

Then you need to tell Jesus that, because he publicly and fearlessly contended with the religious fanatics of his day (see especially the gospel of John in this regard). So did the Apostle Paul throughout the book of Acts. Elijah certainly didn’t back down from a confrontation – remember his “argument” with the prophets of Baal? My point is that arguments (not highly emotional free-for-alls, but in the classical meaning of the term as a civil exchange of contrasting ideas) about worthy topics don’t make the fool and wise man equal at all. To the contrary, they make the inarticulate fool appear to be what he TRULY is, and the wise man as well.

Note what it says in Proverbs 26:4-5…

“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.”

The first part of this ancient wisdom instructs us to be careful and wise in the verbal battles we choose to get involved in, but the second part clearly does NOT advocate your view that arguments are necessarily a bad or foolish thing that tarnishes all participants.

This is one important method by which reasonable men have arrived at many truths throughout human history.

Anonymous said...

Leo what are you trying to prove? So you think I am mentally ossified in my faith, and completely immune to reason, to sound logic, to cutting-edge facts and evidence. What difference does that make to you? Why would I want to use your logic and totally destroy my relationship with everyone I know? Your view of the bible misses the whole purpose I see in it. Why do you expect me to respond to your questions when you already know I am ignorant and unwilling learn cutting-edge facts? Why not explain your worldview and let me tell you whether I agree or disagree?
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher wrote: "Why would I want to use your logic and totally destroy my relationship with everyone I know?...Why not explain your worldview and let me tell you whether I agree or disagree? "

Now come on, Mr. Boocher, don't you think that's exaggerating things just a bit?! One of the things that intrigues me about you is why you seem to so strongly feel that logic, facts, evidence, science, reason and rationality are so threatening, and at the deepest levels of your existnece, especially to your relationships. I would love to really understand why this is the case – I suppose this is the psychologist coming out in me!

But to the contrary, I find relationships based on genuineness and truth far more meaningful than those based on a shared belief in absurd superstitions, however comforting they may temporarily be. And I mean ALL relationships – relationship with myself, with others, and perhaps above all else, with the facts of ultimate reality as best as I’m currently able to understand them. Genuineness and truth. And I’m not willing to compromise on those. I did it long enough for 38 years in the COG, and I will never do it again. And if that upsets some folks, then that’s just too bad.

As to my worldview, well, it’s actually fairly simple and straightforward: I seek truth. Truth that is verifiable. Truth that is demonstrable in some way, that at least there is a shred of real evidence for. I just can’t delude myself in believing comforting falsehoods like so many others can seem to do. Especially when such ideas have virtually no proof or evidence going for them whatsoever.

Now that’s my worldview in a nutshell. But I don’t care what you or anybody else thinks about it. If I did, then I wouldn’t be blogging here, and still probably be in one or the other of the COG’s. If someone can show me where I’m wrong, or missing the boat in some major way, then I’m more than willing to listening to them. But then they will have to be more than willing to answer some of the questions I may have for them. Many are all too anxious to preach – few are willing to engage in serious, rigorous dialogue.

You’ve been around long enough to see that this world is shot through and saturated with all kinds of deception. Virtually everything is based on lies. Most of religion, in my view, is based on utter nonsense. Politics is largely a smoke and mirrors game to see who can delude the greatest numbers of the voting population. Much of the economy is based on a poorly constructed house of cards. Marketing and advertising is almost all based on varying degrees of lies and misrepresentations. And at least at some level, I think most folks realize this to one degree or another.

But I’ll tell you, there’s nothing I despise more than lies of all sorts, even the so-called Noble Lies we tell ourselves and each other for psychological comfort. Does that mean I can never be deluded or deceived? Not at all. I’ve never claimed infallibility. But to the best of my ability I try to seek the truth in any area of life with which I have to deal.

Anonymous said...

My husbands grandfather died from dementia and heart problems, I myself was born with heart problems and that is what I'll probably die of. Are they ignorant enough to say that as a newborn I done something to piss God off? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

"My husbands grandfather died from dementia and heart problems, I myself was born with heart problems and that is what I'll probably die of. Are they ignorant enough to say that as a newborn I done something to piss God off? I don't think so."

Although some Christians would think so, many people would not, myself included.