Friday, November 25, 2016

Honest Answers Requested: Are you bitter tares?




A reader here asks:



Anonymous said...
Honest questions here: Are you all former Church of God members who have lost your faith in God, agnostics, or were you just bitter tares all along? Have you never figured life out and now seek to blame all of your problems on the former World Wide Church of God and its splinters and slivers, just as many of the liberal supporters of people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton seek to blame all of their problems on Whitey and Christians? How week and pathetic, if true. Tell me I'm wrong, say it ain't so. I'm waiting for some good answers.

23 comments:

mitigator said...

I would like to offer a few of my own comments about this site and perhaps some of the individuals contributing to it.

First off, it has been my belief that the fundamental purpose of Banned has always been to expose the hypocrisy and lies that have characterized the WCG and its toxic COG offshoots. That it has done superbly, but I also see a few posts that seem to go well beyond issues with the COG's by disclaiming the very essence of Christianity itself. For the record, I am an ex WCG member; my wife and I quit in 1998, and after our WCG experience we attended a mainstream church for about ten years. But we finally left that church in disgust when we started to encounter some of the same communitarian legalistic dogma that we had been exposed to in the old WCG.

I finally returned to the simple religious faith of my youth. I believe in a Creator, a Redeemer, and the ultimate salvation of humanity as a whole (I know many will accuse me of believing in Universalism, which is true but, well, so what?). However, I don't let the Bible get in the way of my faith as I realize that it is definitely not “God breathed” and consequently inerrant, it is contradictory in places, and a number of the NT books are forgeries. I do not believe in a six day creation, that the earth is only 6000 years old, and that there was a worldwide flood, hence no Noah's ark. I also threw out the concept of a millennium years ago as I am convinced that Revelation is nothing more than badly written Apocalyptic literature that had to do with Roman persecution and not with the so called “end times”. But none of this impacts my own simple faith, in fact, I now feel liberated from trying to figure out the Bible, and having to deal with the never ending issues about grace vs works which we suffered through in innumerable Bible studies and sermons over the decades. I believe that we are justified by faith and that the righteousness of Christ must be imputed to us, without which, there is no Christianity, and really no hope of an afterlife. Perhaps I might be accused of cherry picking doctrine, and to that I say – guilty!

I find a very few comments on this forum to be a bit odd as they seem to negate practically everything that is central to Christianity. If indeed there is no God, no Redeemer, then what then is the purpose of anything in this life? If we are all going into the “Great Nothingness” after we pass on, then what does any of this matter? I once told an atheist that if his dogma is true, then why on earth doesn't he just leave me alone with my own delusions about an afterlife. Better to live life believing in something greater than this earthly existence, than to be resigned to entering an eternal nothingness. But perhaps this person's ego was at stake, and he simply had to enlighten me about my simple minded superstitious foolishness!

I realize that many ex WCG'ers have gone many different ways, some to the toxic offshoots, some to mainstream churches, some to New Age teachings, and some have become atheists. I elected to retain the core of my faith, and dispense with the rest. I also know that anyone is free to post here and that all opinions are welcome as long as they don't get vitriolic, so I decided to throw in my two cents worth, even though to some that might indeed be all it's worth!

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Anonymous said, "Have you never figured life out and now seek to blame all of your problems on the former World Wide Church of God and its splinters and slivers, just as many of the liberal supporters of people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton seek to blame all of their problems on Whitey and Christians?"

MY COMMENT - This laughable and absurd post comes out left Field. Speaking just for myself, I grew-up in Armstrongism. My grandfather first started listening to Mr. Armstrong and receiving the Plain Truth in the early 1950s. So, it was a little harder to "figure life out" when you been indoctrinated from an early age, and the rest of your family belonged to the cult. After being rejected from God's Ambassador College (thank God), about age 20, I "figured life out" left the cult to the estrangement of my family and never returned. I went on to receive an education from worldly universities, a B.S. in Finance and investments and an MBA. I worked in a Fortune 100 company for many years. I have been financially independent running my own business for many years now.

I figured life out, and don't blame all my problems on the Worldwide Church of God. Herbert Armstrong was a fraud, and his Church was a fraud. Fraud is meant to deceive, and I can't help it if my family was bamboozled by these hucksters. I do enjoy reading this blog as I have learned many things from it.

With respect to your political statement regarding President Obama and Hillary Clinton, I am no fan of President Obama and Hillary Clinton's failed policies. But I have never heard them make such a statement which you claim that they blame "Whitey and Christians". I think you have made that up in your own delusional mind.

Richard

Black Ops Mikey said...

We won't answer a rather disingenuous question like this one.

Instead, we have a question of our own:

Do you have a similar question for Dr. Phil when he exposes fraud and corruption?

What makes them think that exposing fraud and corruption to help and protect the current victims and help past victims is a result of bitterness?

Or is it an act of charity?

Are these the people who actually support and perpetuate fraud on behalf of those who are psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists and scoundrels in an attempt to subvert those who would expose the fraudsters and help the oppressed leave?

How would they feel if David Pack, for example, went off the rails and pulled a Jonestown and no one said anything to give those who could have been saved advance warning?

Retired Prof said...

Honest answers to honest questions, edited for clarity:

1) Multiple choice:
A) Are you a former Church of God member? -- No, I am an offspring of church members forced to attend services throughout my youth. I myself was never baptized.
B) Have you lost your faith in God? -- Yep, when at Ambassador College I studied Radio Church of God booklets and the Bible itself with honest attention.
C) Are you an agnostic? -- Theoretically yes. In practice, I run my life as if there are no gods.
D) Have you been a bitter tare all along? -- Damned if I know. How does one qualify? I am willing to learn.

2. Have you never figured life out? -- No. Who has?

3. Do you seek to blame all of your problems on the former Radio of God and its descendants? -- No. Very few of my problems have been caused by my early days in the Radio Church of God.

4. (The digression about "liberal supporters of people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton [who] seek to blame all of their problems on Whitey and Christians" goes off on a gratuitous tangent, distorting the question it is part of so much that it cannot easily be rephrased as a question of its own and thus does not deserve an answer. But let me try.) I do not blame any of my problems on Whitey. I am grateful to have benefited all my life from the unearned privileges I have enjoyed merely from being white. Most of my relations, friends, and neighbors are Christians who, if they ever treated me unfairly, did not do so because of my unbelief.

I can't say you are wrong about everybody on the site. Each of us must answer individually, which is why I edited your questions to apply to individuals, not the entire group you addressed. My answers do suggest that you are wrong about me.

Byker Bob said...

I'm going to counter your questions with a question of my own for you! Does blatant stereotyping and creating strawmen help you sort everything out and keep it in nice neat little artificial boxes? Surely, you must realize that there is much more complexity to the Banned scene than what you outlined. If you had spent much time reading here, you would realize that there are a wide variety of participants from diverse backgrounds with a wealth of life experiences and philosophies, all of whom continue to ask questions, and to prove all things. The common ground is that collectively, we have recognized the error and damages inherent in Armstrongism, and we indulge in a post-mortem processing of our experiences, so that others might benefit. Speaking for myself, I'd like to see as many people rescued from these toxic little cults as possible, so that they can be well mentally, physically, spiritually, socially, emotionally, and hopefully financially.

Being somewhat normalized, we do inject both humor and anger into the discussions. It is right and normal to laugh at the ridiculous, and to be angry that some knowingly and willfully inflict damages on others. We're not the tares! We expose the tares. Hopefully, when you've had enough, or have seen enough, you'll be joining us! If we were to write a postcard to you, it would say "Having a wonderful time! Wish you were here!"

Love,
BB

Anonymous said...

'bitter tares,' 'weak and pathetic' etc. These broad accusations are emotional abuse. Only a tare or baby Christian could write such a piece.
But yes, every church and group has its tares.

Gerald Bronkar said...

It is refreshing when a sarcastic, disingenuous question can be posted, and receive so many valuable, sincere responses. I am especially impressed with the first comment from mitigator.
Congratulations on your escape in 1998! My departure was much earlier, but we have taken similar steps in our journey.

I left my job in the personnel department seven years (1973) after I graduated from AC in 1966 (fired for disagreeing with the boss). There was no sign of the tribulation or Petra so my faith in HWA's prophecies was at zero. There were numerous other reasons. I couldn't pretend to believe in something that was an obvious farce. I was married with three little kids, and I had to find a job.

I went to work and started a new way of life with no interest in any religion for 32 years, until I retired in 2005. At that point, I developed an interest in how, who and why the bible was written and preserved, and came to many of the same conclusions you have reached. I also read the actual pages of the bible (without blinders), and came to see the cruel and brutal traits of the OT god, and the many unexplained contradictions of this "holy book". The NT god isn't much better--read Revelation, and Paul's writings, especially concerning women and gays.

I have gone a few steps further than you. I could never understand how the fall of man could originate because Eve was tempted to eat fruit from the wrong tree, and if man never really fell, why do we need a savior to shed his blood for us? And why would god need to kill his son to forgive my sins? Christianity makes no sense to me anymore. It is really a pretty silly mess perpetuated by the Roman Empire. The information is readily available to an open mind.

This is not what I wanted to discover, but I can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. For a couple of years, I found it all very difficult to accept. How could all these Christians be worshiping a myth? It blew my mind.

If you are happy with your belief in an afterlife, that is perfectly okay with me. In some ways you may be in a "better place" than I. My goal is not to take away your comfort and happiness, only to open the door to freedom of thought.

I don't believe atheists (which I am not on most days) want to rebel against god, rather, I believe they sincerely see no evidence of him. They have natural explanations for life, the variety of species, and the universe. They rely on evidence, not faith, which is the basic tool
of all religion, and con-artists.

Sorry, this has become too long. Later, I may try to explain why I believe most atheists are good people.

Thanks for the loving and thoughtful posts above!!

Anonymous said...

"'bitter tares,' 'weak and pathetic' etc. These broad accusations are emotional abuse. Only a tare or baby Christian could write such a piece.
But yes, every church and group has its tares.
November 25, 2016 at 2:02 PM"

They were honest questions and they would only prick a person's conscience, if their content rang true to someone. Perhaps a spiritual self-examination is in order for some.

Anonymous said...

Retired Prof said...
Honest answers to honest questions, edited for clarity:


3. Do you seek to blame all of your problems on the former Radio of God and its descendants? -- No. Very few of my problems have been caused by my early days in the Radio Church of God.

4. (The digression about "liberal supporters of people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton [who] seek to blame all of their problems on Whitey and Christians" goes off on a gratuitous tangent, distorting the question it is part of so much that it cannot easily be rephrased as a question of its own and thus does not deserve an answer. But let me try.) I do not blame any of my problems on Whitey. I am grateful to have benefited all my life from the unearned privileges I have enjoyed merely from being white. Most of my relations, friends, and neighbors are Christians who, if they ever treated me unfairly, did not do so because of my unbelief.

It was more of an analogy about people who blame their problems on other people, rather than a digression. So, you do buy into all of that liberal garbage about supposed white privilege, however.

RSK said...

If you want to know, ask. The cartoonish caricatures do no credit to your rant.

Anonymous said...

We don't blame all our problems on Herbie and his ilk, we just expose their lies. Do you have a problem with that? Are YOU bitter about it? You might be one of the lying ministers that we piss on.

Anonymous said...

"If indeed there is no God, no Redeemer, then what then is the purpose of anything in this life?"

Sometimes, I think people just speak from the heart and tend to prefer not to speak from the mind in a analytical way. In their experiences, they may have suffererd through obscene authority figures commanding them to be happy and only for the right reasons, and if not, then it is better for them to suffer unto rightousness. BDSM anyone? How do you clear out the inventory of BDSM and SM crap?
You raise the prices!

"I find a very few comments on this forum to be a bit odd as they seem to negate practically everything that is central to Christianity."

You still assume that you have the "right model" of Christianity. IMHO, none of us do. If it exists, it would only be discovered through the method or concept, which is "news of difference." You don't find IT through an "echo chamber". So, if you keep on looking you may never end up lost.

DBP

Anonymous said...

The true Christians always get kicked out and the ones who remain are the politically correct tares. Then the true Christians realize the church was never an organization, but the true believers. If you had the faith to call your ministers on their lies you would soon be out too. Good luck with that gutless.

Anonymous said...

"...I could never understand how the fall of man could originate because Eve was tempted to eat fruit from the wrong tree, and if man never really fell, why do we need a savior to shed his blood for us? And why would god need to kill his son to forgive my sins?"

Yes. Although, I choose to read it as a metaphor. Sin equals suffering in my book.

"This is not what I wanted to discover, but I can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. For a couple of years, I found it all very difficult to accept. How could all these Christians be worshiping a myth? It blew my mind."

It is not about original sin. We can't do anything now about the past, other than change what we are doing now, in the present, so that we might end up someway better, tomorrow. Can I get your thoughts on this strange little video?
salvation? = learning to give to live?

DBP

Anonymous said...

I do appreciate all of the thoughtful responses, although I disagree with most of them completely and the rest of them in part.

Black Ops Mikey, do you really think Mr. David Pack would pull a Jonestown?

I have to admit that I can see no biblical evidence of a First Dominion before the Millennium.

I do, however, think that we really are getting closer to biblical end times events. Keep watching and praying always!


"Black Ops Mikey said...
We won't answer a rather disingenuous question like this one.

Instead, we have a question of our own:

Do you have a similar question for Dr. Phil when he exposes fraud and corruption?

What makes them think that exposing fraud and corruption to help and protect the current victims and help past victims is a result of bitterness?

Or is it an act of charity?

Are these the people who actually support and perpetuate fraud on behalf of those who are psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists and scoundrels in an attempt to subvert those who would expose the fraudsters and help the oppressed leave?

How would they feel if David Pack, for example, went off the rails and pulled a Jonestown and no one said anything to give those who could have been saved advance warning?
November 25, 2016 at 11:40 AM"

Retired Prof said...

Anon Nov. 25, 6:14 PM accuses me: "So, you do buy into all of that liberal garbage about supposed white privilege, however."

No. Not all of that liberal garbage. Just part of it. Thanks to white privilege, I was admitted to two all-white colleges, and allowed to rent a dorm room in a third that admitted local blacks but could not allow them in the dorms because of community pressure. When I bought a bird hunting shotgun in a town in Florida, I asked the sales clerk if he had a cheap case to carry it in, because I had to walk several blocks through town to get home. He said, "Nah, you can just carry it home out in the open." And I did, without incident. People seeing a black man carrying openly down the street would have called the police. The man would at least have been stopped and questioned, and probably told to drop the gun prior to being run in to the station. These days he might well get shot. When I took a job on a newly-formed construction crew in Florida, the boss made me lead man and paid me twenty-five cents an hour more than the others, who were all black. It has been easier for me to get housing and loans and jobs than for blacks of the same age and education level.

I don't rely on either liberal garbage or conservative garbage to form my opinions. I rely on personal experience. How about you?

Anonymous said...

.08 PM prof, are the examples you give 'white privilege' or is it just cause and effect. Is it easier to get housing and jobs, because historically whites are more reliable. That is, simple impartial cause and effect.

Why are most ignoring that the 'honest answers requested' person is being condescending and playing psychologist, which is illegal without a license from the government. I experienced this many times in the church. Instead of teaching religion, the ministers forced themselves on church members, playing psychologist. I doubt most of the ministers have read more than a handful of self help books cover to cover, if that at all. The ministers pick off the most gifted church members, and get their rocks off removing the 'specks from their eyes.' The church crazies that everyone complains about, are left alone (and protected) by these same ministers. Presumably, these are the moral soul mates of the ministers.
These 'ministers' should be in prison for their mistreatment of members rather than coming here with their Mickey Mouse psychologising.

Retired Prof said...

Oops. I read the wrong line in attributing the accusation in my latest post. The date stamp actually reads "November 25, 2016 at 4:41 PM."

Gerald Bronkar said...

DBP, Nov. 25th, 7:17pm:
My impression of the Buckethead, Siphoning Sequence video is, nice guitar and drums. It may be reflecting that life is a great mystery, not easily understood and often treacherous, and everything that exists in interdependent. Maybe some glimpses of abiogenesis. I'm not much at interpreting the abstract. I relate more to real evidence.
Hope this was not a psychology test. If so, I'm sure I failed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for responding, Gerald.
I failed more at getting my point across but don't we learn by discovering our mistakes? I have little fear when it comes to playing along the edge of understanding something new. Even if it makes me look like a fool. Some things can be difficult to talk about because it's hard to put into words, especialy the abstract. Before I left religion behind me, I too was increasingly puzzled by the doctrine of original sin. If there happens to be a being or person who is without sin and blameless, and we then murder or are powerless to stop it, because we are too weak, stupid, short-sighted, and self-centered. But then how the hell does that teach us anything that the scapegoat knew? We just murdered the only one who could have taught us to do better! From animal sacrifices to human sacrifices, it just doesn't make any sense to me that that is what salvation is.

With a risk of being a killjoy, I'll go ahead and share some of my analysis, even though I dislike analyzing art.

a little yellow firefly is curiously buzzing around, it enters through the fireplace, but decides not to disturb the old man, because how could it communicate or explain his dire situation to the old man. it would probably be more likely that the old man would have been startled and then go grab a flyswatter...the firefly now looks for other alternatives to solve his problem, he finds a inanimate robot that he could use as a tool to hopefully solve his situation,...the old man wakens to discover that his robot is gone,...what happened? did somebody steal my robot? he then proceeds to investigate and grabs his lantern to search for the culprits,...the yellow firefly's predicament is now obvious to the old man,....how would most of us responded? you stole my property! I don't care you should have asked first you little thief!...serves you right that you lose your little friend..you damn troublemaker!...BUT.....the man saw the predicament too and rushed to help, instead of worrying about his property,....it takes both the yellow firefly, the man's robot, AND the old man to free the red firefly...both fireflies quickly leave the troubled area...the robot now lays lifeless and unworking, the man is destraught and mopes away to close the book on his dream...the yellow firefly points out to the red firefly that it wasn't he or the rudely borrowed tool that saved him....it only happened bacause the old man put aside his selfishness over his now working robot and chose to help something or someone else in need of being saved...how can we return the favour? Just when his dream had come true it was suddenly taken away from him and with only a little remorse for having helped in saving you!

DBP

Anonymous said...

1.) Are you all former Church of God members who have lost your faith in God, agnostics, or were you just bitter tares all along?

Answer: Yes I am a former ACOG member. No, I haven't lost my faith in God but yes I have completely lost my faith in men who allege to be 3rd in all the universe/ Christ's mouthpiece on earth/ intercessor/ the one to be obeyed or risk your salvation. Unfortunately, if you (original poster of questions)are still in an ACOG you likely (falsely) believe that if you don't have faith in your branch of ACOG and it's leader it's indicative of no longer having faith in God. News flash -they aren't mutually exclusive.

2.)Have you never figured life out and now seek to blame all of your problems on the former World Wide Church of God and its splinters and slivers, just as many of the liberal supporters of people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton seek to blame all of their problems on Whitey and Christians?

Answer: I blame none of my problems on WCG and/or the splinter I was in. I do however have an immense amount of personal shame and to a degree, self-loathing that I was foolish enough to fall for and remain in a WCG splinter group for as many years as I did. I saw how corrupt the organization was. I watched as they mistreated members and invented doctrinal upgrades to feed their massive egos. I knew in my heart that it wasn't "God's church" but I stayed year after year because I didn't want to loose my friends. I was a coward. I was tested to stand for what was right and I failed time and time again. I was weak and brainwashed. Regarding your statement of liberals... I think you were referencing the lack of personal responsibility that many of them appear to have. I am a big supporter of personal responsibility. Once one knows what kind of organization one's church is, one has a responsibility to actually do something about it. To remain is disingenuous and there's no way that pleases God. Staying was in fact, "week and pathetic" (weak).

Leaving was the most painful even of my entire life. I lost every friend I had. I cried and cried and was at war with myself for years. Praise to God, I am on the other side now. I have healed and gained clarity. God's church is NOT a corporate organization lead by a flawed human. God's church is collection of people that may or may not be in various groups. I am sorry you are so brainwashed that you can't see that. My Intercessor is Jesus Christ. Not Rod Meredith, Gerald Flury or Dave Pack. These men lead people OFF the path. These men use and abuse members to feed their egos and bank accounts. God is grace, love and compassion - things all of those men lack entirely.

Anonymous said...

"God's church is NOT a corporate organization lead by a flawed human. My Intercessor is Jesus Christ. Not Rod Meredith, Gerald Flury or Dave Pack. These men lead people OFF the path."

They are going nowhere but still desire to just bask in the limelight which is lit by the burning of the oil they have stolen from others because God isn't or is no longer the source of supply. The oil is to light your path so you know where you are going, NOT to illuminate yourself for glorious vanity!

Anonymous said...

Speaking for myself, I was on fire for "God's work" when I joined my cult of choice (LCG). I didn't have a bitter bone in my body. I joyfully gave the church time and money and total dedication for many years. I considered the members to be my family and loved them accordingly. I watched as the leadership lied and mistreated anyone who didn't submit, without question, to their man-made authority. I watched them bully instead of help members who didn't quite see things their way. I became weary of the constant sermons on government and obedience to "God's ministry" and I became dubious of their claim that disobedience to them was akin to disobedience to Christ Himself and therefore risking your place as a pillar in the Kingdom. I started reading things about Rod Meredith online that further disheartened me. Each of these events was a bucket of water thrown in my fire. Now it's nearly extinguished and I blame LCG. So am I bitter? Yes. Do I blame LCG? Yes. Do I blame God or have bitterness against Him? Absolutely not! In fact, I praise Him for bringing me out of LCG. It was answered prayer although I didn't realize it at the time. One poster above said that it's impossible for true Christians to stay in that kind of organization. I couldn't agree more. Growth is painful but necessary. There are FAR better options.