Monday, November 18, 2013

Dennis muses on the boxes we all live in...

“Very few beings really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds -- justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which they can't go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.” 
― Anne Rice,

I have rarely, very rarely,  found  minister or member in any church I have experienced, whether Presbyterian, Baptist or the those in the near countless splinters of the WCG, all that interested in growing in either Grace or Knowledge....especially knowledge.   Everyone wants grace, i.e. forgiveness and understanding when dearly needed.    But most have all the knowledge about life, death and purpose they need, just ask them.  That's what the box of organized religion can do for them.  Get in the box of one's  choosing , stay, pray, pay and obey and life is good.  On the other hand, step outside the box one's organized religion provided for them and it gets real uncomfortable very quickly.  In the box you either keep things to yourself and go along to get along, or you risk just about everything 

In the Churches of God, if you wish to know why there is so much "unusual weather" (it's not really all that unusual really), you ask Bob Thiel who knows it is the hand of God trying to get people to repent.  God uses weather you know, Bob will tell us.  Not always, but sometimes for sure.  Then he supplies the appropriate texts from ancient times when weather was attributed to Baal and other malevolent deities and demons to prove to us that this is all so.  Changes of seasons, hot and cold, low and high pressure along with convection and the dynamics of fronts can't account for the all the misery inflicted on humans when weather gets scary.  Just ask Bob.  It curls my toes when Bob says,  "as I correctly predicted," because we all know he is so desperate to be right and a true prophet of YHVH.  He's not of course and Internet surfing for insights and possibilities does not count as much as visits in the night and voices in the mind from God telling one what to tell the people.  Bob is not going to risk being that kind of prophet.  You'll never hear him say, "Thus said the Lord to me and I pass that on to you..."   He'll just quote the thus saiths from those Biblical prophets and want to give you the impression he and them are one and the same.  A silly game actually...

Ok...Listen up.  God wants me to tell you.....

If you wish to know the future and how it will all play out, one needs to follow the teachings of Ron Weinland , Dave Pack and Gerald Flurry.  These men know.  They have had a direct line to the mind of God for decades.  Their stunning accuracy has been nothing short of miraculous.  The truths and spectacular insights of  "just around the corner", "by 2016" , "not sooner than 2017", and the awesome events of August 31, 2013 from which are still gyrating in our seats over are absolute proof that one need look no further and not expand the size of the box they control in any way to know the "truth."
Ok, I'm just kidding.  These men are not so good at telling their flocks how it all will be.  Pretty terrible actually.  But as Dave Pack says,  "the prophecy is very much still 'on'"   I prefer he say he was wrong but that's not how living in boxes that know it all and have all you need to know contained within work.

Seriously though, in my experience, most people get far more defensive over what they already are sure they know than excited or fascinated by what they may yet come to know if they only stepped outside those boxes.  Why consider evolution and do the hard work of study and thought about the wonder of it all when you can drop back to the story of Adam and Eve, probably coming on the scene a mere 5000 ish years ago.  In my box, that's a myth and while it has meaning, the origin of humans is not the intended meaning nor was it ever the meaning any Hebrew writer gave it.  The myth has taken on a life of it's own and is used to explain everything from how humans arrived on the planet to why we are all guilty of Original Sin no matter how nice we are.   It informs us all we  deserve the fires of hell unless we come to  the Jesus  found in this or that box or the Christ of those like the authoritative sound of that word.   I can see why it is such a threat to see it as intended and not imagined.  For the story to not be literally true has "implications" for other theological concepts.  Few wish to go there and defensiveness goes on high alert. 

I have quoted Huxley a few times who encouraged those who were willing and able to look over the edges of the boxes they now abide in, to sit down before the facts as a little child and let them take you where they will, or one learns nothing, but then I have had to put up with "facts" being not facts at all and unworthy of consideration.    If you step outside your church box you'll get blasted with...

"My ways are not your ways saith the Eternal..."

"There is a way that seems right to a man but the ends there of are death..."

"The wisdom of man is foolishness with God..."

and so on.

These are what you say when you have nothing really left to say.  It's all the Priests ,who actually wrote these texts,  could come up with to bully those who found thinking outside the boxes priests wanted folk to stay in.  It's thought control,  putting the blame for thinking outside the box on the thinker  and using "God" to deliver the message.   No one ever actually heard God say these sentences.

Gee...I wish you hadn't pointed that out.  I worked hard on that.

It's not uncommon to get accused of "trying to destroy people's faith" when one is actually endeavoring to open the mind a bit more to wonderful things.   The Jews of Jesus time were not all that pleased with Jesus , in the story, explaining that one could not successfully keep new wine in old wine skins and there was need for new perspectives.  We know how that worked out for him.  I'm all for faith but not when it has to yield to the facts of a given topic.   The average member of the Church of God, or any fundamentalist and literalistic organization  is not really interested in "the truth."  They are interested in "this truth" as usually presented by one man who thinks he knows just what that truth is.  I am not being judgemental about motives for truth seeking.  It is just that the idea that one finds it all in one small box as defined by a few other humans should give one pause for thought on the topic of the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Did we not learn anything from the demise of the WCG which was the bastion of truth as the few explained it to us?

Oh I forgot...If you want to know how living under the Old Covenant would be like, just let James Malm lead you.  In my view, his Wonderful World Tomorrow" would be my worst nightmare but that's maybe just me.  EWKing is rather different.  He seems to watch lots of YouTube videos on human origins and cosmology and then weave them into a fantastic tale of how it all fits perfectly together.  He tends to sit down before the facts as a little child, twist 'em up a bit, jumble the Bible in with YouTube and the findings of paleontologists, cosmologists and the Nephilim and Space Invaders , and tell his folk how it all is.   If you need the code unlocked , again you have to refer back to Dave Pack and if you are puzzled, Art Mokarrow can solve that for you. 

Now I totally realize all the "yeah but" going on in the minds of those who read such concepts.  I have never met anyone who believes that what they believe is not the truth.  I suppose that's why we use the term, "my truth."  I never met anyone who attends the wrong church or one that teaches that which is not true.  One would not attend such a church if they really thought it was untrue.  Remember the meme..."So how did you come into the truth?"   Now that truth has been trashed for new truth which has split into a thousand other true truths with endless options as to whom you wish to present it to you.  

Everyone is totally entitled to their plain truths.  They are actually merely present truths but the boxes people allow themselves to look around in vary in size from the very small and compacted to the very large and ever expanding.  I prefer the latter.  Usually when one gets criticised by another it is someone in a small box having it out with someone in a much bigger one.   Sometimes those in the bigger boxes attempt to expand the territory of those in the small ones but that doesn't seem to work well.  Only when the person in the small one realizes just how small the box is will they seek to look over the top and see it's not the only one to live in.   Even people in big boxes are still in a box.  No one lives boxless as far as I can tell and those who think they don't live in a box at all, are often those who live in the small ones.

Believe those who are seeking the truth.  Doubt those who find it.

All truth passes through three stages.  First, it is ridiculed.  Second it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident

...even if your voice shakes....

Reality is our friend


Byker Bob said...

Good article; agreed. It was absolutely exhillarating to be able to emerge from the atheist/agnostic box that I had been in for over thirty years. I had no idea the things I'd been missing out on because I had shut them out. WCG had caused my inability to believe, a veritable aversion to any concept of a God. It breaks my heart to listen to the stories coming from those emerging from Weinland's, Pack's, and Flurry's groups on a day to day basis, because I know many of them have been left off in a far worse condition than I.

Hopefully our little community can help them out without constantly trying to impose our own solutions on them. Buying into someone else's ready made solution , or listening to our parents who had, is what started our lifelong problems in the first place.


Corky said...

Yep, everybody lives in a box called "confirmation bias" and that's why the scientific method was invented.

Anonymous said...

And how is the scientific method free from confirmation bias?

Anonymous said...

The scientific method is free from confirmation bias. This is not to say that "scientists" are free from confirmation bias, but the scientific method is. This is how the scientific method is free from confirmation bias:

Scientific Method:
1) H₀: Nothing is happening (null hypothesis)
2) H₁: Maybe a hunch based upon previous research is correct (alternative hypothesis)
3) Experimental observation: Can I observe something real happening instead of nothing, e.g. hiccups in my equipment?
4) Conclusion: Have I found sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis? Caution: correlation does not imply causation!
5) IFF yes: Publish journal article.
6) My peers attempt to replicate my results: Can my peers find sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis?
7) IFF yes: The establishment tentatively accepts that a new discovery has been documented!
8) HOWEVER...future discoveries will rest upon this one. If it turns out that we have all made a mistake, future research will reveal that.
9) IFF future discoveries demonstrate this discovery can be relied upon, it becomes a well-accepted scientific fact.
10) Ignorant wacko will send me crank email accusing me of falsifying my research because "I 'must be' in cahoots with Some Global Cabal" (as if that were even possible!)

Confirmation Bias Method:
1) I don't know, therefore ALIENS!
2) Send crank email.

Anonymous said...

And let's acknowledge those who have experienced absolute exhilaration because they've left Christianity, too!