Thursday, December 14, 2017

Does the Bible matter?


This is from the ACPasadenareunion site and is used by permission of Gregory Doudna.  Besides being an authority on the Dead Sea Scrolls, he is the author of the excellent book published in 2006,  "Showdown at Big Sandy: Youthful Creativity Confronts Bureaucratic Inertia at an Unconventional Bible College in East Texas"


Does the Bible matter 
AC was based on an interpretation of the Bible. Post-AC this continues for many in various forms, while some reinterpret and others repudiate, the Bible as a basis for moral or social authority. Some find spiritual solace and meaning in passages of the Bible, others find such talk "triggering". Everyone here, no less than the first Christians, are atheists--in the classical sense of not believing in the Greek and Roman gods. No one here suffers existential angst or distress wondering whether Zeus maybe really exists and what if he will be wrathful in the afterlife for our lack of belief in him. But, Yahweh and Christ are live issues to many. 
70% of Americans self-identify as Christian. 25% of Americans are evangelical Christians (versus 15% mainstream Protestant and 20% Catholic). Evangelicals--a quarter of America--are the main voter base of the Republican Party and responsible for the Trump Presidency and several recent presidencies, for better or worse, domestically and for the world. Polls show evangelical Christian self-identification correlates with increased support for state torture (Pew Research Center). 65% of evangelical Christians reject the existence of macro-evolution as a scientific fact. This is compared to 30% of all Americans and ca. <1 and="" biochemists.="" biologists="" geologists="" nbsp="" of="" s="" span="" the="" world="">
We know cult-like thinking and how it operated, in our own past bubble experience. America, right now, is a bigger version of cult thinking. But this time it is not a church whose only barrier to exit are social and psychological ties.  
Unlike the old WCG, this modern cult environment is based on war worldwide. The cost of just the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan alone, none of which involved defense of territorial United States, begun by a President who believed God had guided him to do so, is calculated at $4.4 trillion (Brown U. study, just published). These wars have killed 250,000 in direct killings, half of which are civilians, and displaced 7.8 million people from their homes. American Special Operations forces are active in 130 nations, 70% of the world's nations. American combat operations are ongoing in at least a dozen nations right now.   
The WCG did not exercise civil power. But imagine Gerald Waterhouse, Roderick Meredith, or HWA or GTA types in control of the world's biggest military power in history, guided by the Word of God, the foundation of knowledge. Imagine? Maybe we don't have to imagine. Is it already here? 
I wonder if there are lessons that can be learned from our AC/WCG experience which could shed insight on actual causes and solutions to issues of war and peace, as distinguished from the bromides in the Plain Truth magazine and invocation of supernatural or extraterrestrial interventions.  

9 comments:

Connie Schmidt said...

Doudna wrote ; "Unlike the old WCG, this modern cult environment is based on war worldwide."

RESPONSE:
This statement is extremely simplistic, and is not backed by any empirical evidence. He assumes that we are in all of these "adventures" around the world for simply no cause at all, and that "Christianity" is a major direct contributor to this.

The reality is that it is much more complicated than that, as most things in life are, and cannot be summed up in a 25 word statement.

The Zeitgeist of post 911 had the USA somehow wanting to exact revenge. This was almost universal, between "believers" and non-believers alike. Villains had to be created and found, and the public demanded it. Whether or not this served higher monied interests or not, this was the reality.

Radical Islam has been a bad actor for several decades now. It is a natural to make them as an enemy, with its cultural demands, and outrageous behaviors. The industrial/military machine has been a dominant force for all societies throughout time, since ancient days. It is not unique to Christianity, or any other nation, but is rather the natural way of man and his carnal appetites.

Doudna may have some points, but he is trying too hard to pin the blame on Christianity alone. Frankly, his complaint can be directed towards all of humanity.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with this authors fusing of war and Herbs church. America's role of world cop has kept the peace (relatively speaking) since the end of WW2, So I like many, aren't complaining. A glance at todays newspapers and TV news programs proves that today's secular cult is left wing politics rather than war.

Near_Earth_Object said...

I think this whole issues pivots on the term "self-identify." Armstrongitges self-identify as Christians but that is generally greeted with skepticism. I have always regarded the evangelical Christians of Greater Appalachia to be for the most part a class of nomninals. They exist in the zone where Rush Limbaugh and Roy Moore are more important that Jesus Christ. They wave their arms, dance and shout and believe that dinosaurs coexisted with man.

These people use religion and the Bible as props for a morally bankrupt life style.

True Bread said...

Connie said:

"The Zeitgeist of post 911 had the USA somehow wanting to exact revenge. This was almost universal, between "believers" and non-believers alike. Villains had to be created and found, and the public demanded it. Whether or not this served higher monied interests or not, this was the reality."

I was working that day as an airline pilot and got stuck for three days in Missouri waiting for the skies to open up....Strangely enough, I had to drive home to VA to be back to host a GTA meeting in Norfolk.

9-11 was a complete "inside job"...a set-up, and provided the PROBLEM-REACTION-SOLUTION needed by the NWO (Beast Power) to make their move into the Middle East. I suggest people go to youtube and search for Wesley Clark being told by a General in the Pentagon that we were going to attack Iraq,and a total of seven countries in five years, and opened the door for the beginning stages for the fulfillment of Dan 11:40-44, etc etc. Hussein and Qaddafi both wanted to sell oil for gold...look where that got them.

Dismiss scripture at your own peril.

Anonymous said...

modern day israel was founded based upon the Word of the bible and faith in the Prophesy that in the last days the jews would once again be returned to the land of israel, would oppress the palestinians, would come to terms with the british, would dictate to the jordanians, etc....

so despite the scoffers, which, btw was also prophesied, the power of the bible continues to matter, e.g.,Zechariah 12:3 or Daniel 11:21...

Miller Jones said...

I think Connie makes a good point about this analysis being too simplistic. Nevertheless, I think that Mr. Doudna's question (Does the Bible matter?) is a valid one, and that some of the points he makes deserve our attention. Obviously, anyone who is familiar with my past posts/comments is aware that I think the Bible does still matter very much. Even so, I think that it is easily demonstrable that the Bible has been a very dangerous book in the wrong hands (as it was in the hands of HWA, and still is in the hands of many Evangelicals).
The problem arises when folks try to impose their understandings/interpretations of Biblical prophecy on the modern world. Unfortunately, many folks react to world events based on these notions, and/or they feel compelled to help fulfill these prophecies (or help to move things along in the "right" direction. That's why it is so dangerous for these folks to actually get their hands on the levers of power.
Another problem with some of these folks is their insistence on reconciling the moral contradictions inherent in Scripture (arising from the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy). This often has the unhappy consequence of ameliorating or negating the positive values of love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness and tolerance. For those who have moved beyond trying to reconcile contradictions, the ability to use/promote the positive elements within Scripture to facilitate better relationships and greater understanding is not impeded by the hateful, vindictive and intolerant elements within the Bible.
For me, the Bible can be a powerful tool for good in the right hands - OR - it can be a very destructive force in the wrong hands. Unfortunately, the wrong hands have had the upper hand more often than not. Right now, I'm much more concerned about the right wing cult that is currently in power than the left wing cult waiting for an opportunity to return to power.

Anonymous said...

"...none of which involved defense of territorial United States,..."


what planet has this guy been living on???

Anonymous said...

"Radical Islam has been a bad actor for several decades now."


actually, that is real Islam, but politicians use "radical" to soften the threat...

most muslims do not actually follow the teachings of the koran...just as most christians do not actually follow the teachings of the bible...

the world doesn't want any true religion, but wants everyone to practice basically the same thing, not matter what label they put on it...the people in power want to dictate the religious actions of everyone (to protect their lifestyles).

but hey, it's been that way almost from the beginning.....

Anonymous said...

indeed imitation is flattery...deception is of the devil...