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Saturday, August 31, 2013
USELESS COMMENTS ON CURRENT EVENTS, COG STYLE
USELESS COMMENTS ON CURRENT EVENTS, COG STYLE
For those with a WCG background or now in COG splinters, it's very familiar.
Commenting on current events and how it supposedly ties in with biblical prophecy.
HWA invented his own style, and men like Herman Hoeh and Gene Hogberg perfected it. Somehow the WCG biblical prophecy experts had insight into any news item at any time.
Falling of the Berlin wall, what does it mean, in biblical terms?
Iraq? Iran? Egypt? There's a biblical app for that.
But look back on any such commentary and it's very clear how pointless such commentary always is. Can anyone point to any "biblical" commentary on world events that has ever proved to be useful in any way? At the time it is delivered in such a manner that it must be the most important thing you could ever read or hear. In reality, of course, it is so much light and sound with nothing behind the screen.
The style is this. You start with supposedly piercing questions. "What does [xxx] mean in terms of the prophecies for this region?" "How will this turn out?". In other words, you lure the reader into thinking you've actually got answers to such questions.
In reality, of course, the article or sermon is not going to lead anywhere of any utility to you or anyone else. It doesn't say anything you don't already know if you've even casually read a newspaper or blog, doesn't provide any useful information, or god forbid, actually commit to any view that this current event has anything to do with a 2500 year old prophecy, but it *appears* to create such an aura so that you almost feel that that's what the commentary has done.
What a load of crap! But it does seem to work for a lot of people...
Let's look at a recent example, from the UCG site, a "Beyond Today daily" short presentation entitled "Attack on Syria?"
Now, anyone who remotely follows news events is aware that Syria is currently an extremely troubled country and that the US is poised to embark on some sort of military action. But the UCG must have some unique, thought-provoking, biblical perspective on it all, right?
Presenter Darris McNeely has a voice full of gravitas, and begins thusly:
[Darris McNeely] Other news today that probably, or more current is taking place in Syria in the Middle East as drumbeats begin to heighten and increase. Will the United States take some type of military action along with other nations? What will be the impact of that, especially in the aftermath of revelations that the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people? Graphic scenes and pictures have come out about that in recent days, and it has created quite an uproar, and it's an awful atrocity that has taken place. And now seems to be pushing American and other western involvement into this. And what does that mean? What will happen?
You see what he's done? There's nothing new, just questions that everybody who cares would have. But delivered properly, it sounds as if his perspective is unique and monumental. Sure, what does it all mean and what will happen? Wow, I'm about to receive some important insight into all of this! I'd better listen to this guy.
But you're being conned. You're not going to get any insight at all. In fact, you're not even going to get any strong opinions one way or the other. But you're going to *feel* as if you did, if you allow the gravitas to work its magic on you.
Copresenter Steve Myers brings in the Old Testament, because there's nothing like the mystique of an ancient text to create the right atmosphere. But of course he won't say the scripture is necessarily relevant in any way, but let's let him qualify that himself:
"Well, those weapons of mass destruction have gotten the world's attention, and the Bible does focus on Syria in prophecy. And I can't help but think of some of those prophecies about Damascus, about Syria. There's one in Isaiah chapter 17 that talks about the burden against Damascus. And it talks about the fact in verse 1 of chapter 17. "Behold Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap" (Isaiah 17:1). Now I'm not saying that that's what's going to happen right at this very instance, but I hope that you'll notice what's going on in the Mid-East more than just saying, "My gas prices have gone up." Because so much is going on. And could it be that we're heading in that direction where end-time Bible prophecy is going to be fulfilled? It will happen. Where exactly are we?"
The great thing about Middle Eastern current events is that most of the regions and cities there have existed for thousands of years and were also around at the time scribes wrote the books of the Bible. So you can find a verse that mentions a modern-day city, and it sounds awesome!
Somethings happens in Damascus, and so Steve says "I can't help but think of some of those prophecies about Damascus". And when something happens in Athens I can't help but think of Herodotus writing about how king Xerxes burnt it to the ground.
But what does that have to do with any insight into this current event? Answer: nothing, and in fact Steve clearly realizes this, because after going out of his way to quote a scripture as if it has some crucial connection, he quickly adds: " Now I'm not saying that that's what's going to happen right at this very instance...", so I guess the only point was to create a wow factor that "I can quote a biblical verse that refers to the ancient city that was still called Damascus, just like this one!" And let us again state the obvious: "Because so much is going on." OMG, talk about ROTFLMAO!
Once you know the method and style, you could write commentary like this with your eyes closed.
Steve continues, "Could it be we're heading in that direction?" Now, naturally he doesn't have the foggiest clue, but he's just asking, and it sounds so awesome to ask such a profound question. Give it a try, you can do it too! (It must be spoken with gravitas of course, this is important).
"Is the Australian economy on the eve of collapsing?"
"Are the prophecies of Egypt as the king of the south referring to the Muslim Brotherhood?"
"Could it be that Miley Cyrus' career is over?"
Dunno, maybe so, maybe not, but let's pretend I have special vision on it, and after all let's just see what happens!
Indeed, it's usually best to just see what happens. Amazingly, you can do this by reading the news every day.
Darris McNeely actually endorses this line of action:
"And will it happen? We'll have to wait and see. It likely, something is going to take place. What will be the impact of that? We don't know. Everyone is waiting right now to see exactly what will take place."
The above quote was not edited, that's what he really said! :-)
So, in summary, it seems that it would have saved a lot of time and space and trouble, to reduce the "commentary" to it's essential element, which is this:
"A lot of things are happening in the news these days. Let's keep reading the news to see how they all turn out!"
But that's what everyone does anyway, so exactly what did service did this commentary provide?
It's amazing that anyone, in or out of UCG, or any COG, would watch or read such a commentary with the hope of gaining any insight or useful information of any kind.
And not to pick on UCG, it's just not all that different from any other COG discussion of "world news and its connection to prophecy", past, present or future.
Such a waste of words, setting the reader up with obvious questions, and leaving them hanging with no answers of course, because there are none at this time.
Now, there are some things the presenters could have actually said that might have been useful, but that would not have supported the atmosphere they wanted to create, which is that by reading ancient texts with a COG interpretation you somehow get some special insight into what's going on in the current human drama.
To do this, it's necessary to always speak generalities, as McNeely does at the end of the presentation which leaves you with this unbelievably priceless statement:
"It's an important area to watch, an important event and twist that is taking place even as we speak and take note of this at this time."
I can't imagine listening to this presentation and not being left with the gnawing feeling: "Ok, something's happening somewhere as usual, but what exactly was your point, anyway?"
Of course, these commentaries always have to speak in generalities, because there is no choice. Scribes living in the bronze age never dreamed of what the world would be like in 2013, and couldn't have cared less anyway. They had their own issues to deal with. Trying to comment on current events "in the light of biblical prophecy" is such an empty, useless exercise, and provides the modern individual no helpful service whatsoever in trying to understand or even know what's currently going on in the world.
No matter how much serious gravitas you put on it.