Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dennis on "Perspective on Hyperbole"

Perspective on Hyperbole
caricature, coloring, elaboration, embellishment, embroidering, embroidery, exaggeration, magnification, overstatement, padding, stretching

"Realize that a host of logistical details must be worked out for this to occur. God has been planning this event for thousands of years—at least 3,000—and His Church has been preparing for it for almost a year. Headquarters and our ministers will be ready to receive potentially a great many phone calls from splinter ministers and members even in the days and weeks before August 31. Mail will also explode, but we are ready for it. We must do our part to ensure as orderly a process as possible for receiving God’s people on that Sabbath."
David C. Pack
Announcement # 23
June 19, 2012

                                                             Humans are hilarious.  

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorIn the church of God experience, and really in most fundamentalist circles, hyperbole or exaggeration is widely used to inspire and motivate.  "We will inherit the whole earth when Jesus comes."  "We will rule with rods of iron."  (Frankly we've already had enough of that on the planet IMHO).  "Some will rule over 10 cities, some 5, some 1...)  "The Work is growing beyond our wildest dreams!"   "We are reaching millions!"  "Our income is soaring!"  "We will be Kings and Priests!"  "Nations will flow to Jerusalem!" (sure..right).  It never ends.

Dave Pack is probably the best example of theological hyperbole gone nuts.  Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING , for Dave, is spectacular, overarching, awesome, huge, the biggest ever, globe girdling, mind blowing, stupendous, amazing,  will cause your to gyrate (that was an interesting one),  "never before understood,"  "now can be revealed,"  'Hidden from mankind for ____________thousand years",  and so on.   

Dave has done an awesome, incredible and spectacular job of making a minor prophet in the Old Testament mean what it never meant and from that false premise flow even more spectacular, amazing, awesome and mind blowing truths (mistakes) ever known to mankind.  

The Bible itself is notorious for exaggeration so I suppose we have to cut some slack to ministers who quote it and take it even further than it should ever be taken.  Some are relatively harmless and we can discern what the author is meaning yet  stating way overmuch.

A few other examples of the many hundreds of hyperboles in the Bible are:

“If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out…” Matt. 5:29
“If any man come to me and hate not his father and mother…” Luke 14:26
“Behold, the world is gone after him.” John 12:19 (The whole world at that time did NOT follow after him, but very large crowds in Israel did so.  This is also true of Caesar taxing "the whole world," and Noah's flood covering "the entire earth." )
“The rock poured me out rivers of oil.” Job 19:6
“The cities are great, and walled up to heaven.” Deut. 1:28   This would also be true of the Tower of Babel reaching "heaven." 
“Everyone could sling stones at a hair and not miss.” Judges 20:16.  Stone don't really cut hairs but you get the drift. 

Other exaggerations can be a bit more harmful.  “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23b, NIV).  "Whatever you ask in my name I will give it to you."  and of course the ever present  "Prove me now herewith and see if I won't open the windows of heaven for you..."  concerning give the gods a tithe of your physical stuff.  

The Bible wildly exaggerates most everything that happened to or for the nation of Israel.  Israel was simply the "most."  Mount Zion stood most beautiful , the joy of all the land....until you actually see Mount Zion and then all one can come up with is "Really?"  It's a dirt lump. 
Size mattered in Israel.  Here's one I bet you never heard in church.   
"She lusted after their male consorts, whose sexual organs were like those of donkeys, and whose ejaculation was like that of horses."  Ezekiel 23:20
"William Sierichs' article on biblical armies should convince any objective reader that Yahweh's inspired writers had a penchant for hyperbole. If the great armies of fairly modern times, such as those that fought in the Napoleonic wars, numbered only in the tens of thousands, what reasonable person can believe that tiny Israel and its neighboring nations could have fielded armies that numbered in the hundreds of thousands? Obviously, then, biblical writers were prone to exaggeration. "   Farrel Till , The Skeptics Review

As a child I was always impressed that God killed the enemy in such whole round numbers.
From the size of the creatures in the plagues of the Exodus to numbers of enemy slain by the mighty men of Israel, it is quite a show. For the rest of this excellent article exposing the awesome exaggerations in the Bible please take the time to read the rest of his article here.   

For a spectacular, never before understood and overarching view of the Biblical Exodus, which was actually a small cultic folk giving themselves an awesome pedigree see enjoy this.  It is one of my favorite topics because even as a child in Sunday School I wondered how could all those people do that, go there, care for  and poop, under those rules.  Today most realize it is just a grossly exaggerated story and did not actually happen as advertised.  Archaeology shows that the Israelites were actually low class Canaanites that were already in Isra-El and did not storm the place as exiled Egyptian slaves.  Neither did all the horses of Egypt die two or three times in the Exodus. :)  

Church of God prophets, priests and apostles tend to exaggerate because the book they fill their heads with does the same and they adopt the approach.  I am sure they believe 6 million fled Egypt "in one night," but then I doubt they ever went to Woodstock or watch 50,000 marathon runners "start" a race.  Estimates for the Exodus are that those in the back would not even move for two weeks in such a crowd and that they would be stepping in poo all the way to the promised land.  The poor folk at the front of the line would be crushed to death against the rocks or mountains before those in the back got the message to "stop!!!!!" , or one has never been to a Rock Concert on the front rows or a soccer match where the folk in the back wanted to get up front.  

So what will happen in the stupendous return of the exiles from ALL the splinters to Dave Pack on August 31, 2013?  Probably not much. Unless Dave just declares that all splinters are really in RCG and don't know it and that they are being led by reprobate ministers who need casting out of the now instantly imagined RCG.  Hey that could happen! Dave says he is not about the numbers, but I know he is.  In the past he has redrawn church boundries to pull in more to his church without actually having new folk show up. The neighboring minister only found out when he got a "what the hell is this?" phone call from a member who had been reassigned to the church next door.  This may prove to be such a thing. Who knows?  But I know the past can repeat itself in strange and weird ways and ideas.  I know how Dave thinks! 

Dave told us to be watchful of strange ideas that he would try to talk us out of as not being strange at all and to know what he was saying.  Alas, I don't think anyone in RCG was listening or knows what he was saying then or is saying now.  Maybe it's just me.

Those who do flock to RCG in the normal sense of flocking, especially ministers, will expose themselves to everyone knowing what they had to go through to be repatriated, and it won't be pretty.   Whatever does happen will be stupendous however and one of the most amazing things God has ever done in over 3000 years.  There won't be room to park on either the most awesome grounds in Wadsworth, Ohio or in the streets surrounding the Ambassador Center, which I suspect is DCP's home now, as did HWA, turned into a "Center" which, of course, you could not just go to without permission or invitation.  

At any rate, back to perspectives.  Sometimes we simply have to ask ourselves,  "When the Son of Man returns, will he even find the earth, much less Dave Pack?"  I hope Jesus has a map.  I'd be concerned he'd get started on his return and then say, "Doh..where is earth again?"   We live in a time where we actually do know our place in the universe.  Well most do.  When I was younger it was thought that our one galaxy was "the universe."  LOL!  Now we know there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in our universe along with billions and billions of inhabitable planets.  There may be 60 billion inhabitable planets in just our own Milky Way Galaxy.  A billion would be impressive.  A hundred million would be something even. 

The tearing down and dismantling of the original Ambassador College campus has been personally disturbing to me.  Not because of the need to do so but because of the personal memories and the fact that it was a symbol of decisions made and others not.  Walking those sidewalks and sitting for hours in those buildings of the most spectacular, awesome, overarching, amazing, biggest and best work of God on the planet had it's effect.  While not a part of the lives of the vast majority of humans on earth and in fact few actually ever heard of HWA in his lifetime, those are my memories.  I suppose it is the classic symbol of the reality in life that nothing lasts, everything and everyone goes away and what seemed so important in the past can now seem so stupid.  We end up with, "Oh well, I meant well and I was young and impressionable.

Well, be impressed by this and recover your true perspective before August 31, 2013 rolls around and will, of course, roll right on by. 

NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured the color images of Earth and the moon from its perch in the Saturn system nearly 900 million miles (1.5 billion kilometers) away. MESSENGER, the first probe to orbit Mercury, took a black-and-white image from a distance of 61 million miles (98 million kilometers) as part of a campaign to search for natural satellites of the planet

These two photos looking back at earth were taken last Friday while Dave Pack was issuing his latest screed number 23 on awesomeness.  Do you see him right there a little to the left and up a bit?  Me either.  Do you think you'd see anything from here:

This is how things look 14 billion years ago. The light is only now getting here to your eyes. All this may no longer exist.  This is how it was. Not how it now is. And it may be only one of many universes.

Dave Pack could use a good dose of humility in his world of the awesome and stupendous.  Those who follow him or think to follow him could use a good dose of reality and  personal self esteem and have some boundaries where others can't manipulate and dazzle them so easily.  In reality and aside from religion, we are all one and the same.  We weren't plugged into the universe.  We sprang from it.  The iron in your blood was blown out of exploding stars and the water you drink is billions of years old and has passed through every living creature that ever lived even if you did not know or believe such creatures ever existed.  All the water that ever existed still does on the planet.  

Just like HWA before him, Dave Pack is amazed at how amazing his "work" is and how awesome his small piece of dirt in a small town in one country in one state on one continent of several on one planet in a small solar system around an insignificant star in one of billions  in a galaxy which is one of billions in one universe of which we may only be one of billions like grapes on the vine, is.   It is silly and insulting to an open and clear thinking mind. 

Perspective is not something COG leaders are known for.  They think way too highly of themselves and promote themselves with ridiculous titles that would be hilarious if they weren't so dangerous to the mental, emotional and spiritual health of those that fall for their exaggerations and self centered ego.  Let's pretend this video starts right on top of Ambassador College # 3 in Wadsworth, Ohio and then ask yourself whether you think August 31, 2013 is going to be much of anything except in the recesses of a very small and cloistered mind , haunted by religion and making some minor prophet who wrote 2500 years ago to his own times mean what it never meant....

Here is the best sermon you will ever see in your lifetime...Let him that has eyes to see ....see this....


Douglas Becker said...

Herbert Armstrong was the biggest proponent of British Israelism in the Twentieth Century!!!!

Hyperbole or not?

Anonymous said...

"Herbert Armstrong was the biggest proponent of British Israelism in the Twentieth Century!!!!

Hyperbole or not?"

What's that have to with what's presented here?

Byker Bob said...

I was quite surprised several years back, upon acquiring a TNIV Study Bible to read some of the footnotes. The entire book would have been considered paganized by the Armstrong devout, but several of the more insightful comments in the footnotes would have been vigorously disputed, and the book probably banned in toto.

Several footnotes actually state or acknowledge that Jesus deliberately utilizes exaggeration as one of His most effective teaching tools! It's apparently a method of logic from that era, much as contrasting polar opposites to make one's point is employed today by some of the folks who were raised in the Middle East.

Jesus would appear to have drawn lines in his utilization of this tool, or it would have lost all effectiveness. One of my problems with Dave Pack is that he knows no such moderation. He continuously indulges in wild, unbounded exaggeration, and in so doing is building up a bubble that is guaranteed to burst, resulting in disillusionment, disappointment, and possibly even (can we say?) bitterness. This also naturally repels realists and others who are stable and well-grounded.

Ultimately, this propensity of Dave's will take on a self-destructive role. The irony is that other ministers of the ACOG persuasion have managed to build larger flocks with less hyperbole. So, Dave doesn't even legitimately need to spike his gospel with such an obvious turnoff. Most people who listen to him for about 5 minutes realize that the gospel which he preaches is all about Dave Pack. But, then again, much of Armstrongism was all about HWA and the pet theories that separated him from the Adventist movement.


Anonymous said...

Good comment BB.I believe the Bible does use hyperbole as did Gospel Jesus, but why? People take it at face value and get in all sorts of crisis of faith when it fails to deliver. Why not explain how things really are as Buddhism does with great success. Why weave unbelievable tales to make a common point? Just teach...don't embellish or hype the obvious. I suspect may bible authors werre also given to hyperbole and wild exaggerations as that was their personality and not how any actual god would explain truths.

Would not rational people look at the numbers, the stories and the exaggerations and think it ridiculous and detract from any real message? It does to me. One can't inspire what might be credible with the incredible


Anonymous said...

Pay no attention to Douglas Becker, he was just making his daily rant against Anglo-Israelism.

Since he has the DNA evidence to a lost people, don't attempt to engage him in a debate, otherwise he'll call you a stupid Armstrongite.

Anonymous said...

Anon against Douglas(today at 12:02 PM),

Please note that non-twisted panties are available on eBay cheaply, and are much more comfortable than the twisted ones you are currently sporting.
You might even find some with little images of Herbie on them.

Joe Underpants

Painful Truth said...

A Brief History of Herbert W. Armstrong Read more!

Anonymous said...

cool video!

it shows us that God in infinitely greeater than we are.....

DennisCDiehl said...

"Anonymous said...
cool video!
it shows us that God in infinitely greeater than we are....."

It shows a lot more than that which fundamentalists may find too uncomfortable to consider

Anonymous said...

Many think the Israeli's are still exaggerating today, like the holocaust story, while the 1.5 million German POWs starved to death by Eisenhower goes largely unreported, as do the concentration camps for Japanese in America. Americans and Jews have to believe in myths about their own righteousness.