Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Laryngitis of the Gods



My "that's pathetically ignorant" button always gets pushed when Bob Thiel searches the globe for the nasty effects of weather, mostly in due season, inflicted upon the dregs of humanity and attributes this to "God trying to get our attention."  The concept that a god has to try has always escaped me.

Now  we see that, in keeping with COG Apostle think, PCG also finds their weak god , unable to speak up evidently, punishing California since the70's because they persecuted God's Apostle so called. It's a ridiculous concept and someone said it well when they noted that the Churches of God see themselves as the center and reasons EVERYTHING happens in this world.  That's Theological Narcissism to me.

God does nothing directly himself anymore.  That trait died out rather soon in scriptures as well as middlemen, weather and natural geological phenomenon took  over for the direct voice of God. When we read "thus saith the Lord" or "and God said",  if it's in the Bible we just think, "well ok..if you say so. "  Today we'd not be so trusting with good reason.  It never seems to cross the minds of we sincere folk  to ask just what do you mean "God told me" or the mechanism by which the "thus saith" actually comes from.  I got "called" into the church.  I got "called" into the ministry.  But only because I chose to do those things of my own free will.  I never actually got a call from any god nor did I hear his/her/its voice literally.   Everyone I know today who hears the voices  of the gods in their heads today is on medication to curb it and try to control the behaviors that don't lead to a quality life.

Dave Pack heard his own voice in his head and started his true church.  Gerald Flurry did the same but filtered his hallucinations through a prayer rock.  Every Christian Church on the planet traces their origins to the Apostles.  Bob Thiel does but he divines the gods through dreams and words spoken with meanings other than what he came away with.  Ron Weinland divines his calling through who the hell knows what.  Herbert Armstrong wove the tale of the steering wheel being practically ripped from his hands taking him where he had no intention of going.  Others divine the favor of the gods or God because "prayer proves it."   I prayed a lot in 30 years, for lots of right things and not "amiss."   I prayed over a gazillion sick and never saw a healing. People got better  or died but that's about it.  Prayer proved nothing to me and don't shit me about having no faith or being insincere and asking amiss. Dave's, Gerald's, Bob's and back when, HWA's calling were all self inflicted and they do not and did not hear any voice of a God.

There are some indications that Bible God can speak up, for himself and "with a mighty voice" at times, but over time even a cursory read of the scriptures will reveal that this boldness disappears leaving the Psalms to plea with a God who seems so far off and of asks "where did you go?" I think those who said God has a mighty voice never heard it personally but imagined it so to be.

"Jeremiah's" Lamentations reflect this loss of God's voice and intervention probably now having simply left Israel to her desolation and destruction and it's the fault of the people...nice going.

The evidence of Bible God's dwindling loud voice and personal relationship with individuals is evident in scripture.  In Genesis we have a God who walks and talks in the garden with humans.  He is seen face to face and humans are his friends.  But it isn't long before God only speaks through pillars of cloud and fire and speaks from mountains  with rumblings (earthquakes and volcanos) . Soon enough, he disappears normal communication and has to resort to intermediaries in the form of prophets and priests who hear the voices and pass it on.  Today God speaks  only through Dave Pack, Gerald Flurry, Robert Thiel and/or James Malm ...whatever.  When they aren't available, he tries to get our attention with weather.


God, who is said not to live in temples, lives in the Temple, specifically the Holy of Holies, and can only be divined by the leader or later by the priesthood. He never comes out and only accepts visitors once a year at Atonement. I've stood in the space once used as the Holy of Holies, but God had left by then.

Even in the history of the times, the voice of God disappears and men are left to discern it with stones and bones, animal entrails, dice and lots. The early Apostles were even force to figure out who God wanted to replace Judas by casting lots.  God ain't sayin'.  Consulting Oracles were also popular to figure out what the gods wanted as He had pretty much disappeared from the surrounding nations as well.

Eventually in the New Testament we have God speaking through his son Jesus and that all becomes a matter of faith just as believing the voices in the heads of the prophets were actually that of God. An argument could be made for Ezekiel showing all the signs of schizophrenia, which would not have been understood in the day, as well as the young Samuel who was told by Eli the next time they spoke to him to do what they said.  Classic schizophrenia which tends to show up in the teens into the 20's.  We'd scoff if Dave Pack said the voice of God in his head told him to "send it in."  Most scoffed back then too and were right to be cautious of "God told me."

The Apostle Paul was called, so says Luke though Paul says he was called from the womb, on the road to Damascus seeing a light brighter than the sun and the voice of Jesus....in his head.  The accounts are muddled nicely.  They can't all be true.  This description also fits the classic symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy with religious content, but I'll spare you that concept for God's voice for now.



"Paul himself makes no mention of a conversion on the road to Damascus, whereas Acts of the Apostles has not one, but three accounts:
  • At Acts 9:3-8, Paul was blinded by a light and fell down, then heard Jesus, who told Paul that he would be told what to do when he was in the city. His men did not see the light, but heard the voice. They remained standing.
  • At Acts 22:6-11, Paul told the people he was blinded by a light and fell down, then heard Jesus, who again told Paul that he would be told what to do when he was in Damascus. This time, his men saw the light but, unlike Paul, were not blinded, and did not hear the voice.
  • At Acts 26.13-19, Paul told Agrippa that he saw a brilliant light and heard Jesus, who gave him his mission, but did not command him to go to Damascus. He fell down, but there is no mention of blindness, nor is there any mention of the men seeing or hearing anything, although for some reason they also fell down. He told those at Damascus and Jerusalem about his conversion experience.

Throughout scripture, the voice of God gone from mighty to "a still small voice" .  From the beginning almost, one can see that literal wind, fire, thunder, lightening , hail and rushing water was perceived by those desperate to hear from God as the voice of God.  Individuals heard the voice of God and reported to the group but hasn't that always been a rather unfair way credibly communicate such important things?

Reading between the lines indicates that all too natural, though dramatic,  weather phenomenon and geological events were heard as the voice of God. It's what humans do and  have done for thousands of years endeavoring to divine the divine and explain natural events they had no understanding of. 

Exodus 24:16

The glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud.


Numbers 7:89

Now when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim, so He spoke to him. 

1 Kings 19:12

After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.
IT WAS THE WIND

Psalm 68:33

To Him who rides upon the highest heavens, which are from ancient times; Behold, He speaks forth with His voice, a mighty voice.

Psalm 29:3-9 
     
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; The God of glory thunders, The LORD is over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful, The voice of the LORD is majestic. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; Yes, the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
IT WAS THE WATER. IT WAS THE THUNDER. 

Psalm 46:6

The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted.
AS IN MAGMA

2 Samuel 22:14

"The LORD thundered from heaven, And the Most High uttered His voice.
Psalm 18:13

The LORD also thundered in the heavens, And the Most High uttered His voice, Hailstones and coals of fire.
IT WAS A THUNDERSTORM.  IT MAY HAVE BEEN A VOLANIC EVENT

Ezekiel 43:2

and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory.
RUSHING WATER DIVINED AS A VOICE ALONG WITH GOD AS THE SUN

Revelation 1:15

His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 
                             
Jeremiah 10:13

When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain, And brings out the wind from His storehouses.
STORMS.  Baal was the original storm God but Israel appropriated his traits for YHVH's, who originally was a Mountain God. 

Ezekiel 9:1

Then He cried out in my hearing with a loud voice saying, "Draw near, O executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand."
"IN MY HEARING...NOT YOURS"

Ezekiel 10:5

Moreover, the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when He speaks. 


I also heard the sound of their wings like the sound of abundant waters as they went, like the voice of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army camp; whenever they stood still, they dropped their wings.
Revelation 1:10

I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,
A VOICE AND A TRUMPET ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.  ALSO HEAD ONLY IN JOHN'S HEAD

      
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things."
Daniel 4:31

"While the word was in the king's mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, 'King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you,
Matthew 3:17

and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."


John 12:28-30

"Father, glorify Your name " Then a voice came out of heaven: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, "An angel has spoken to Him." Jesus answered and said, "This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.
THOUGH THEY DIDN'T UNDERSTAND IT OR HEAR IT AS A VOICE.  

2 Peter 1:18

"and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain"

So which is it ?   


John 5:37


"And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form.

25 comments:

Byker Bob said...

TLDR. But, I believe that one propensity of our past shared religious philosophy involved looking to statements which related to specific times or conditions of the past, and attempting to make universals or constants out of them which are then said to apply to all eternity. Interpreting the Bible in this way causes problems, in that it sets up conflicts amongst scriptures which must be explained away later.

That God uses plagues or weather to accomplish His objectives in certain examples in the Bible does not automatically mean that every instance of weather on the extreme end of the natural scale has a Godly intent or meaning. And, let’s face facts. People like Bob Thiel use these weather events as a de facto validation from God for themselves and their own religious agendas, and they always do this safely after the fact. It would be one thing for Bob to create a youtube flailing hands video proclaiming that if the USA does not repent of it’s national sin of watching NFL football games, God would send a tornado and earthquakes to destroy the arena in which the Superbowl is being held. But, he doesn’t follow that basic pattern established by the prophets in the Bible. Mr. Hands waits for a catastrophe, and assigns reason or blame after the event.

Nobody is going to take such a “prophet” seriously, as he obviously wasn’t involved in or informed of the power stroke, the pre-set of the event. A lesser minor figure, late in a movement, who employs the methods historically used to accomplish great things by his group is confined to reaping diminishing returns. The big guns facillitated by Armstrongian proof-texting have already been fired, and they have largely missed their marks. Sorry, Bob. Rodents and ants have already gotten the crumbs at this point.

BB

Gerald Bronkar said...

God and the weather:

I remember when I was a ten-year-old little in league asking God to blow away the clouds and dry up the field so we could play our game. I don't remember ever getting my wish, but the point is that I was taught, or somehow grew up believing that some spirit being in the heavens controlled the weather...and everything else, I suppose.

Weather can be a mysterious event. People pray for rain to start and stop. We pray for God to stop the wildfires. We pray for it to warm up, or cool off. We are shocked when a church burns down, or its roof blows away, though many on this site would believe God is sending a message.

The reality is that weather systems are natural events. They move in, play themselves out and move on, usually eastward. There is no communication effort in process...no lesson to be learned. Shit happens, and our major involvement is to survive and rebuild. Only a "believer" will try to tell us that it happened for a reason, then some will make an effort to capitalize with their "special knowledge".

It's like sitting in a traffic jam, praying that God will get you there on time. Traffic will clear when the tow truck comes to remove the stalled semi two miles up the road. It is a physical event that will be cleared by physical means. Not as "mysterious" as the weather, but the principle is the same.

Don't blame or be angry with Jehovah, it isn't that He doesn't care, He just isn't there, and never was.

Anonymous said...

Dennis prayed a lot over 30 years, but God never once answered any of his payers.
So the problem isn't Dennis's spiritual condition, but rather the problem is that God doesn't exist. And those who still believe in God are mentally ill.
The commies also labeled mentally ill those who disagreed with them, and Herb called those who disagreed with him spiritually ill.

Everyone who disagrees with me is mentally ill. I'm the only sane person alive.

Anonymous said...

When I returned from a mission trip to Minsk, Belarus, an 80+ year old lady in church told me that God told me that she was to go with me on my next trip. I thought to myself, if God wanted me to take her, shouldn't he have copied me on this message? We can want something for ourselves to the point that we read the will of God into our desires. She never did go with me on subsequent trips. What does that tell us?

Anonymous said...

Here are a few ideas: With regards to the idea that Paul suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy: if Paul had a seizure disorder he would recognize the symptoms as they came upon him and his bias against Jesus' resurrection would preclude him believing that he just met up with the risen Jesus. Migraine sufferers also have symptoms as a headache is coming on and wouldn't mistake a migraine for a visit from God.
The stories of Pauls' conversion may be complementary, rather than contradictory.
The men accompanying Paul heard the voice in chapter 9, but didn't hear the voice in the later account. In 9:7 "hearing (akouo) means that a sound was heard. In 22:9 indicates the extent or the meaning. In other words, something can be heard; but not understood. A.T. Robertson, the "prince of grammarians" declared that this approach is "perfectly proper." In other words, one account said that the voice was heard, the other says that it was heard, but not understood. When Paul opened his eyes he was unable to see. The other men also beheld the light, but weren't blinded. It was the glory of the Lord Himself that his companions did not see, that temporarily robbed Saul of his vision.

Michael said...

Byker Bob wrote:
"That God uses plagues or weather to accomplish His objectives in certain examples in the Bible..."

A statement for which there is, naturally, no evidence whatsoever.
Or did you just mean to say, "that's how the story describes it" ?

Anonymous said...

"Everyone I know today who hears the voices of the gods in their heads today is on medication to curb it and try to control the behaviors that don't lead to a quality life."

And, curiously enough, the medication always seems to shut god right up. Hallelujah!

Byker Bob said...

Whatever, Michael. If you reread your quote of me, “in certain examples in the Bible” could be interpreted as a direct paraphrase of “that’s how the story describes it” So, the reality is, I actually did say what you wanted me to say. What’s your point? Had we been discussing Oedipus Rex, would you have felt it necessary to make the same correction?

BB

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that in most cases, when people hear voices, they are NOT hearing from God himself. Thorazine, Mellaril, Stelazine and other anti psychotic medication can help eliminate these voices and other hallucinations. But, does that mean that God can not or does not "speak" to people in some way?

Just because what HWA believed was wrong, does that discredit Christianity? Some people always look for reasons to believe; others search out reasons to not believe.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous said...
It is my understanding that in most cases, when people hear voices, they are NOT hearing from God himself. Thorazine, Mellaril, Stelazine and other anti psychotic medication can help eliminate these voices and other hallucinations. But, does that mean that God can not or does not "speak" to people in some way?

Of course, a god could do anything. I guess my observation is that why does a god "speak" in so many ways that can be taken as simply natural phenomenon. That is not clear especially since the consequences of not getting the message correct are so horrendous . Why the change in scripture from speaking with Abraham "as a friend would to a friend." to vagaries?

I personally believe it has more to do with the human mind become more conscious of itself and less of the gods and modern science being able to explain what used to be inexplicable.

BB. I was going to note my same impression of your statement by simply saying that it was not done better back in the bible or more directly by God than it is today, but rather the people of the age typically misunderstood what they were seeing and hearing and attributing it to God speaking etc.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous said...
When I returned from a mission trip to Minsk, Belarus, an 80+ year old lady in church told me that God told me that she was to go with me on my next trip. I thought to myself, if God wanted me to take her, shouldn't he have copied me on this message? We can want something for ourselves to the point that we read the will of God into our desires. She never did go with me on subsequent trips. What does that tell us?

It tells me she thought you were a hottie or a sugardaddy she could snag! :)
That "God told me" stuff is risky!!!

Near_Earth_Object said...

This was a long article and I only scanned sections of it. I take issue with the section on Paul's conversion. It is couched as if there is something that doesn't make sense about this. Yes, there are three accounts. No, the accounts are not inconsistent.

The comments Diehl makes do contain some comments that are not well reasoned. I don't want to go through and analyze each of Diehl's statements. Nobody is likely to read it anyway. So let me just mention the principles:

1. Just because something is not mentioned in a particular account does not mean that this account denies the event. It only excludes the event in that particular recounting.

2. The different accounts may give different but complementary information. A point mentioned in one account but not in the others is not an inconsistency or contradiction.

3. It is entirely possible that people can have more than one reaction to an event. They could have, for example, fallen down at first and then regained their footing and stood within the boundaries of their reaction at that moment.

4. The idea that each account should be a comprehensive legal deposition is something that is a legalism-bound perspective.

I read all three accounts and had no trouble assembling a consistent picture of what happened. Integrating the data was not even difficult. To spin it up as a morass of inconsistency is nothing more than a biased rhetorical technique.

Ed said...

You would think that a merciful God would "clearly" communicate to every human on earth that he exists and "clearly" show every person on earth the horrible results of being condemned to eternal turture in hell if they don't obey him. instead all we have are ancient writings that are vague about what God is and offers no real proof of his existence. Perhaps he needs to fire his P.R. person? God needs to go on a world tour to promote himself. He needs to appear at every soccer stadium, baseball stadium and football stadium around the world. He also needs to appear on tv showing himself standing at the entrance of Hell. Proving that Hell,(or the lake of fire) actually exists. How can I believe a God exists that doesn't do much to promote his existence?

Dennis Diehl said...

All non apologetic theologians see the obvious inconsistencies from different sources. Paul himself simply says he was called from the womb (Galatians) like Jesus and Jeremiah only to date.

I seriously doubt it actually napped for many theological, historical and political reasons but it would be too long a read evidently

Michael said...

Byker Bob wrote:
"Whatever, Michael. If you reread your quote of me, “in certain examples in the Bible” could be interpreted as a direct paraphrase of “that’s how the story describes it” So, the reality is, I actually did say what you wanted me to say. What’s your point? Had we been discussing Oedipus Rex, would you have felt it necessary to make the same correction?"

Point was it's just a story, but your quote doesn't read that way, so I made the comment.
Sure, if you cited Oedipus as if you thought it really happened, that would be just as weird, and I might make a comment on the fly about it.

Connie Schmidt said...

It is worth considering about who hid themselves from who first. Man has always wanted to hide himself from God, whether it was Adam and Eve, or the Israelites , who demanded that Moses be the contact man for them after the 10 commandments were given.

Even today, who wants to hear about something that crimps ones habits, vanity, hankerings, lusts and desires? People will defend those empirical self items to the very end, and seldom are open to any message that acts as a mirror to our alter egos.

Thus , a lot of silence from God, who has the wisdom to not argue with fools.

Byker Bob said...

So there you go. You get to have the last word. Hope it makes you feel good.

BB

Anonymous said...

Dennis said, "It tells me she thought you were a hottie or a sugardaddy she could snag! :)
That "God told me" stuff is risky!!!"

Yes indeed to the second part, "God told me stuff is risky." How do you argue with someone like that? HWA always said that God called GTA from infancy when he was miraculously given the ability to speak, of something like that. But, of course, much of his autobiography is fiction. Why would God give qualification for eldership in I Tim and then ignore them by putting GTA into the ministry. Couldn't God have found someone else who was qualified and make him into a great speaker?

Anonymous said...

Ed
In case you missed it, the purpose of human history is to smash false gods. If enough people believe in some political, cultural or religious idea, God gives them their desire. And history proves them wrong.
No reasonable person today would have the beliefs and convictions that they have if it wasn't for human history.

Byker Bob said...

Whoops! What a difference a computer makes! When I reply on my iPhone, the message appears under the post to which I am responding. When on Desktop, posts appear according to time posted.

For those of you tuned into the Desktop version of the site, my 9:44 post was part of a continuing dialogue with Michael, and not directed towards Connie. I actually agree with much of Connie's contribution.

BB

Dennis Diehl said...

That's a very old and time worn apologetic Connie.If anything it is God who hides from us. I'm surprised at your perspective

Anonymous said...

Dennis
You seem to have missed her Connies point. She could have also given the example of Christ's trial where the mob yelled 'crucify him.'
'God, stay away' is mankinds general attitude.

Gerald Bronkar said...

Ed, you hit the nail on the head! The problem is so much larger than Armstrongism and all the splinter groups. Escaping their grip is essential, but the next step is recognizing the Bible and the God of the Bible (Old and New Testament) for what a made up invention they are might be step two and three.

Were you ever "under the spell"? And if so how long, and what woke you?

My only excuse for God is that maybe He went on vacation and got lost, or decided it was all a big mistake. How could a loving God leave us so confused and in such turmoil? Zero logic or common sense.

It would be so easy to convince me He is real if He cared to make the effort. There may be some supernatural force out there somewhere. I would like to think so. We cannot explain matter, life or consciousness, so I am willing to learn, but I will pass on Christianity and the Bible. Too much of my life has been consumed with that silliness.

Of course I am less than nothing, and God is the Creator of everything. My thoughts are not His thoughts, and my ways are not..... You get the picture. Believers have a pat answer for every question, and I have heard most of them. Not persuasive in the face of reason.

If I were assigned to invent a story line for the purpose of mankind and the universe, I could do a much better job. Of course I have the advantage of several hundred years of scientific observation and discovery. I am pretty certain the earth does not rest on pillars.

Michael said...

Gerald wrote:
"The problem is so much larger than Armstrongism and all the splinter groups. Escaping their grip is essential, but the next step is recognizing the Bible and the God of the Bible (Old and New Testament) for what a made up invention they are might be step two and three."

For the life of me I can't figure out why people don't take that last, small, simple step you describe.
Maybe not so "small" a step, but you'd expect it to be the next logical stage.

Christianity (or religion in general) is a big mass of confusion, everybody trying in vain to "correctly" interpret old texts written by the superstitious ignorant of old.

Might as well try to "correctly" interpret "Mystery of the Ages" or "US&BC in Prophecy".

Michael said...

Clarification of my above: "Maybe not so "small" a step, but you'd expect it to be the next logical stage."

That is to say, if one can recognize the obvious bullshit in Armstrongism, why can't one recognize the same obvious bullshit when it was written 2000+yrs ago?