Friday, March 23, 2018

Friday Musings- On Being Wretched and Blind, Worm Prone and A Miserable Human Being Without Hope




The purpose of most religion is to make us "better" than we currently are. The Biblical premise is that all human beings are fatally flawed, not good enough and in need of vast improvements and control of their "human nature." Without this ongoing overcoming of the evil self, growing towards a better kind of person and change, one runs the risk of being so not good enough that they will spend eternity, for their inability to change over a rather short lifetime, in a punishing hell. Scripture goes out of its way to remind us all that our fundamental human qualities are deceit, wickedness, jealousy, anger, lust and greed. I find that personally to be one of the most unhelpful and controlling lies ever foisted upon human beings by religion. Of course that is how we can act, but that is not who we are by any real means when given the freedom to be authentic and feel safe in being so.
We are called "worms" and less than nothing in this great book of encouragement. Even the early leaders, prophets and apostle types knew that they had to degrade themselves as less than human in order to show they understood they were not worth anything as an unregenerate human being. Only when one realized they were a pile of manure, could they lead the people who were really composed of the same.
If you could not utter the words, "I am not worthy," you would never be a Bible CEO. The Apostle Paul noted that he was "the least of the Apostles" (but later said he was their equal) and that "the things that I don't want to do, I do and the things I should, I don't." He made his problems everyone's. He concluded he was simply a wretched human being, and so should everyone else. He reminded others that they were blind, miserable, poor and naked of heart and spirit. He even said he had to beat himself into submission, lest after preaching to others, he should flub up himself and be a castaway. Seems he didn't have the confidence "in the blood," to make up the differences in what he was and what he felt he needed to be.
Jesus is also said to have said that humans are to become "perfect, even (in the same way) as your Father in heaven is perfect." No challenge there to be better than one is at any one moment! Of course this is not possible and it is not possible or plausible in any "now I'm converted and full of the Holy Spirit" way. You have never met any Christian who has reached this goal in life. I have met some who act like they have and I have met some who agonize of not being able, but I have never met one that did in fact, whatever that means. Actually they would be one freaky human being I would think.

How did we get this way? Well, of course it was due to the "fall" where Adam and Eve, our really true and actual first human parents, created by God out of mud and ribs, flubbed up and ate the forbidden fruit. We have all been blamed for this event and must spend our lives coming under a blood sacrifice of a more perfect human/god being and then continuing the struggle to be "better" until we die. Its then we find out we understood being bad enough to be good enough to live forever.    
Redemption of humans by blood sacrifice and execution have always been the preferred solution to the depravity of man. Membership in the club usually cost ten or more percent of your material income and membership in the one true of many churches. I am not being disrespectful to the life and teachings of Jesus but few understand how that has been woven into a tale that Jesus himself would have cringed at.

I remember as a teen when it was "time you were baptized" being told I was all these miserable things and in need of deep and heartfelt repentance and, of course, a savior. The minister took me through all the Ten Commandments and asked me if I understood that I had broken EVERY ONE of them all my short life and thus, was condemned to death. I was a mere 18 year old, nice kid, good home, pretty compliant, a bit guilt and shame ridden by upbringing, but not a really big nasty sinner on drugs with three illegitimate kids. And yet, here I sat being convinced I worshipped other gods, (money, success, human hopes and dreams), somehow always took God's name in vain, (mom and dad would have washed my mouth out with soap...I only learned to cuss and such after being in the ministry) and worshipped on the wrong day of the week along with having to repent of keeping the wrong Holy Days all my short life.
I was in some deep evil way a killer, adulterer, thief, liar and coveter of all men's goods and women. When I said I hadn't really killed anyone, I was told that I hated and that's the same thing. I didn't recall hating anyone either but if you say so.  I admitted I had not had sex with anyone to that point, but my lust covered that one too. I wanted to say, "well no, I really hadn't done that either", but that would have been ill advised if I ever wanted to get baptized and have a future with the group. He told me to come back another day and more deeply repent of my nasty, evil and wicked 18 year old self.  I did admit to having a girlfriend from 14 to 17 who I kissed a lot and one at 18 who I kissed a lot but no babies or potential for one in either.  At AC I "dated widely" as in "do you want to come to bible study with me?  How about you?  And you're next..."   but I blame that approach with not getting to know or really spend time with one you really wish to in a quality way with consequences to follow. I did lust after Miss  __________ however.   
Of course I did take the plunge in time and joined the "you still aren't good enough" club for the next three decades as a pastor who then passed the good news of human depravity on to thousands and reminding them that while they might think they are nice people, they are under the eternal death penalty those stinkers Adam and Eve brought upon us all no matter. Be as nice as you want but you are a miserable human being especially if you don't tithe or show up when expected. 
However, I did a bit of growing myself and concluded the story of my guilt by association to Adam and Eve wasn't literally true. Human beings have evolved for the most part as good science has noted. I've had my own genome mapped back 60,000 years to all our African origins. I don't believe that it would be a very fair thing for humans to pay a literal and eternal death penalty based on a mythical and not literally true story.
Have you ever considered the fact that you and I may have been born right the first time? What if the most simple and spiritual goal a human being has is to become your own genuine, authentic and self? What if our purpose in life is neither to jump through the hoops set out by others, who think they know, nor to struggle and strive to improve yourself dramatically over what you are? People don't change much over a life time no matter what their religious affiliations, and while it's an improvement to stop killing one's self with sugar, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine along with other assorted body killing habits, it's OK to just be yourself?
That's a far cry from humans being merely wretched, miserable, poor blind and naked worms that need major rehab at the hands of prophets, priests and pastors. Saying we are born right the first time and not in need of being born again or reborn goes against the meme, which is the mind virus we all got taught as kids. Our parents had it taught to them and their parents before that. It is the idea that we are all flawed a birth by a non-event in the lives of our first not literally so parents Adam and Eve. It's the idea that even if you are a pretty OK person, you are filled with vanity, jealousy, lust and greed that unless paid for by a perfect blood sacrifice, demands you spend eternity in hell burning forever, cut off from God, or permanently dead. It's also not true and is not what a genuine human being, in reality needs to become the monkey on their back over.
How much misery and struggle to be all that one can never really be religion has heaped upon the faithful. Not many will leave the warmth and comfort of the boxes they were born in by happenstance and explore ideas that are not acceptable to the tribe or the church. But some will. They might be labeled "heretics" or perhaps more benevolently, "ahead of their times." In the past, those ahead of their times tended to be burned at the stake. Leaving the box of religious dogma is difficult and often one leaves it alone and on their own.  You get called a lot of names and labels are applied aplenty.
Don't expect those in the last box you were in to follow you into the next one your grow into. You generally and mostly go alone.
Politics, fear, guilt and shame are some of the reasons human beings behave badly. Feeling unsafe can do a lot of damage.  When people feel safe, appreciated, respected and listened to, you'd be surprised how much good can be accomplished and how well behaved they can be.  
What is the most simple spiritual truth a human can come to recognize? While there may be many, how about the simple recognition that we all do the best we can, warts and all and that being the lifelong monkey on our own backs as "not good enough" is a complete waste of time and unnecessary? I have done the funerals for those few who felt they were so unable to measure up, they took their own lives in despair.  None of them were necessary. That was a long term solution to a very short term problem of thinking badly. 

After my first sermon being transferred to Kentucky a woman came up to me to introduce herself to me. She said,  "Really nice to meet you Mr. Diehl.  I'm the woman who committed adultery..."   That was her evermore label someone put in her mind and she adopted.  I took her aside and said "I don't ever wish to hear that label you have given yourself again.  What is your name?"   She looked at me quietly as tears filled her eyes and seemed not to know what to say or do.  She said her name, I said "Nice to meet YOU." We hugged and she was free.  She said she felt born again and I said she was probably born right the first time.  Based on her knowing smile, I believe she knew exactly what I meant.



44 comments:

Anonymous said...

This was so long I got a headache. Who reads this much anymore?

Connie Schmidt said...

Dennis (said with concern) - seriously, you need to find yourself a girlfriend.

Near_Earth_Object said...

DD-

I am a mainstream Christian in many respects but I have my doubts about how the idea of The Fall is formulated. We are in our hominid nature products of evolution. In our spiritual nature we bear Imago Dei. Imago Dei did not displace our essential hominid nature (aka, carnal man). These two natures co-reside and war with each other incessantly.

I do not believe that The Fall caused us to be inclined to sin - that was present already through our hominid nature. Adam became, though, the archetype of those who take a humanist stand against God. This resulted in a separation from God and a cognizance of sin that was already inherent in human behavior. We would have been sinners without The Fall because that is where evolution led us - amoral survival of the fittest.

There is a point that you make that is important and is compatible with what I know of Christianity - at least among theologians if not with your local evangelical Protestant pastor. A profoundly important theme in the Gospel is the rise of humanity to genuinely become fully human. Separated from the Christian arc in life, we remain limited and malformed creatures in search of our true selves. Separated from the Christian arc in life, our search for full humanity becomes a total immersion in ego-centrism. Christ is fully God and fully human. Being fully human can't be bad.

Anonymous said...

9:42 you gave me a good laugh,thanks��

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Some anonymous clown troll at 9:42 said, "This was so long I got a headache. Who reads this much anymore?"

MY COMMENT - I did - I read every word. Sorry, you have such a short attention span and can't learn from Dennis' experiences. Perhaps you didn't live through the WCG glory years.

Thank you Dennis! Well written piece for those of us who grew up in the WCG. I wondered the same things about my sins as a teenager growing up in the Church.

Richard

P.S. Is the fill in the blank woman Church Jet Stewardess & and the object of GTA's affection Gail Weber? Inquiring minds want to know!

DennisCDiehl said...

I sat with hundreds over decades who spent more of their Church experience not feeling good enough, converted enough, serving enough, doing enough, praying enough, studying enough, fasting enough. Some just left in despair, some died in it and some took their lives in it. One man in SC drove to see me because of his weaknesses and trying to deal with it plus the derision of the previous minister, now a Presiding evangelist type. He drove around my block and went home and killed himself.

When I showed up at the home of parents going crazy because their child was just killed in some accident or god awful way it was very common to sit with them as they berated themselves for not being converted enough and all the above listed faults and that if they had been better, their child would be alive. None of this , of course, is true but you can't tell them that when it hits and they search for their why's. They conclude God or "Christ" must be angry with them. Same for those who labored under anointing vs. medical help. Just getting sick was some sign they were inadequate or not loved by the higher powers.

Sorry it's too long for you. Snippets don't actually address the difficulties that being defective and in need of outside intervention the Bible, the Church and the ministry inflicts on believers. I suggest you just wait for shorter topics or perhaps write one of your own for us to enjoy

Anonymous said...

Dennis,

Please don't take offense to my comment about having a good laugh. You seem like a kind loving person.

True Bread said...

I'm pretty sure that being "born again" means receiving our next and final body, in immortal spirit form, just like the Messiah's. After His death and resurrection He had the capability to shape-shift into and out of a physical human body, then back to invisible spirit, something He could not do before His murder. He died twice, but now death will never affect Him again. We will have the same capabilities...to shape-shift/transform into and out of a human body and back to spirit, just like the Messiah. Don't ask me how it works...I have no clue. I just know that when we see Him, we will be just like Him. Forever.

Near_Earth_Object said...

DD 11:07

What you saw were the practical effects of a Jesus Plus Cult. Any lay-member with an ounce of self-reflection knows that his/her performance will not meet the standard for entry into the Kingdom of God as Herbert Armstrong defined the salvation model. Jesus Plus Cults typically implement Performance Christianity. And people involved in Performance Christianity always wake up to the fact that their performance is not going to quality for salvation.

I spoke with a WCG pastor in our small church a number of years ago after services in the lobby. I told him that given the behavior standard that the WCG promulgates for salvation, none of us would ever receive salvation. He did not deny it. He said that God "winks" at our dermerits and one should not lose courage.

The real problem is that Armstrongism utterly lacks the Doctrine of Grace - the hallmark of Christianity. Grace is what separates Christianity from paganism. If you look in HWA's Mystery of the Ages, the closest thing he has to a systematic theology, there is almost no mention of grace. Most of what is mentioned is about what is called "cheap grace" that Herbert claims that other denominations believe but which in actuality is universally condemned. He turns grace, the principal feature of Christianity, into a term of condemnation.

Millerite Maxim 23: "You cannot control people if they believe they are in God's grace as the Bible says. They must believe they are under condemnation and need you to rescue them from a wrathful, ungracious God. Then you can have your way with them."

Anonymous said...

Dennis, you scoffer! Why the indirection? Why are you subtly implying that "the previous minister" is a "Presiding evangelist type."? Just say it. Your predecessor, Gerald Weston, added to some poor soul's burden to such a degree that he was beyond your help.

Of course, plenty of people in Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, Hindu and atheist families kill themselves. If you were a minister in some other faith, you would see this for yourself. It is foolish for anyone to imply that someone wouldn't have killed himself (notice that it is disproportionately a "him" who does this) if he had been in a different church. For all you know, someone you were unable to help killed himself years later, and it doesn't have to have been your fault.

What we do seem to know, based on extensive anecdotal evidence, is that the average mental health of an ACOG member is in some ways much worse than that of a non-member. Cause and effect, however, is a very different question. To what extent do unwell people gravitate to (and remain in) the ACOGs, and to what extent does the ACOG experience foster mental illness? That would be a fascinating psychological study.

DennisCDiehl said...

1130 and Connie too. Not to worry. It's been a somewhat difficult transition (again) in life of late. I came to the Pacific Northwest out of an absolute love for someone who shared my understanding of the WCG/AC past. I came 3000 miles and left Chewie the Shi Tzu behind with friends along with my boys and grandkids to "get a life". I have no love for South Carolina being from NY and was sent there against my wishes. Worked out great for my boys however.

I'm a bit sensitive to the damage both church and AC can do and I credit it with things not working out as I had hoped. In my view, the damage got in the way of any chance to be better together than separately. So be it. I am here now and intend to stay.

I love the PNW and any clear day driving to or from work where I can see Mt. Hood, Adams, St Helens and at times Jefferson and even once MT Rainier 104 miles away is about as good as it gets for a guy who wishes he was a geologist. One good thing about work here with my therapeutic massage practice is that it has been wonderfully successful with a great clientele in a beautiful location. I still cannot retire and probably never but since it's the last three years that count I have been able to get my Social Security up to where I can live under one of the finer bridges in Portland someday lol :)

Anyway, out of respect for that which has not worked out etc, enough said. The Church past abuses seem to haunt me still when I think I have found something wonderful and sweet in the pursuit of actually getting a life in the present. Actually I have one but I did not foresee that the person who warned me that "Dennis you may find that the reason you went to Oregon may not be the actual reasons you are going to Oregon," would be correct.

I hope it was not just to live in proximity to the library where WCG got its start with HWA's six whole months of intensive study. lol The Karma Fairy lives with me evidently....

Anonymous said...

The Jews understood being born again as meaning an event that changes you forever. In the time of Jesus there were several ways of being "born again." Getting married, having a child, being ordained a priest, being ordained a king. These are life changing events. Nicodemus was "born again" in every way he knew, up to that time. Jesus said that you must be born again, from above. Today, in our culture, you might say that going through basic military training, serving in combat, dealing with the death of a child, a divorce, etc. would be other life changing events, being "born again."

DennisCDiehl said...

I credit, this topic of the posting of , "you aren't good enough" with the damage inflicted on someone I came to dearly love so this probably is part of me processing my disappointment with personal hopes and underlying anger not yet put away with myself, the Tkaches and the naïve, yet sincere, decisions of my youth. ...................somebody stop me! lol.

Let's just say that a lot didn't quit work out as I had hoped or intended and that if one wants to maintain their sanity it might be a good idea to resign as Master of the Universe or the one the one driving the bus at times...

Someone once told me "You know Dennis, before we incarnate in this life, we write our own scripts of what we want to experience." Ummm....ok. Well, next time around I am going to be a rule there be no drinking while writing.

Anonymous said...

Someone once told me "You know Dennis, before we incarnate in this life, we write our own scripts of what we want to experience."

How do you know you didn't write a very happy ending, with all the drama and trauma put before it to make the ending just that much more joyous?

Anonymous said...

I wish I'd had Dennis as my minister back when I was in Worldwide church, but unfortunately I had to go through 2 ministers, over a 7 year period, who were so narrow-minded that they both were assholes.

Anonymous said...

The Apostle Paul noted ... that "the things that I don't want to do, I do and the things I should, I don't." He made his problems everyone's...

Wow! That is so much like Freud, who grew up in a messed up family (which he said himself), had a lot of hate (which he admitted to) and saw in himself evils that he projected onto others (aggression and sex obsession, etc). Perhaps that is where he got the theory that guys want to have sex with their mothers. He made all men feel reprehensible by telling them they wanted to have sex with their mother, but were so devious they suppressed this horrendous desire from their own conscious minds. What a loon. How did a plagiarizing loon get to be the number one man in the profession for so long?

Anonymous said...

"You get called a lot of names and labels are applied aplenty."

Ain't it the truth. I get that a lot because I investigate both sides of issues. In fact, I get it so much I might as well label myself:

-- Evil Diabolical Reprehensible Satan-Worshiping Hideous Nazi Troll.

Anonymous said...

Great article. I read every word. Dennis is still a minister in my book ... the best minister I ever had. (No, all the others were not all bad, some were, but some were just misguided).

Allen Dexter said...

Dennis, I sympathize. I'm no stranger to having hopes dashed and having to work my way out of them. I always managed to some way somehow. Overall, I've been a pretty lucky guy. I wish you the same. One thing I did was get into doing wedding ceremonies. It was a big financial help, especially when I was down in Phoenix with a big population to draw from. Most of the people I help have no idea that they're being officiated by a secular humanist atheist. I'm just helping them with a human need in an affordable context and not looking to rope them into anything.

Anonymous said...

There are two extremes. One says we have no good, and the other says we are fine as we are. The truth is somewhere in the middle, and varies from person to person.

Then there is the fallacy that we are all the same. Sorry, not true. There ARE bad people. There are psychopaths--people born with no empathy and no conscience. There are also near-psychopaths, and there are those that are just born with the "jerk" gene.

In short, there are people whose authentic self is to exploit others, manipulate them, and cheat them whenever possible. Don't be naive. It's a DNA issue.

True Bread said...

Anonymous said...

The Jews understood being born again as meaning an event that changes you forever. In the time of Jesus there were several ways of being "born again." Getting married, having a child, being ordained a priest, being ordained a king. These are life changing events. Nicodemus was "born again" in every way he knew, up to that time. Jesus said that you must be born again, from above. Today, in our culture, you might say that going through basic military training, serving in combat, dealing with the death of a child, a divorce, etc. would be other life changing events, being "born again."
March 23, 2018 at 2:29 PM

Good post anon...I can relate.

At 17 I got hit head on by a drunk driver on my motorcycle, and thought I was dying as I lay in the road unable to breathe. Also I was healed from a fatal disease in college...both life changing events, indeed. However, I was referring to our NEXT birth, being birthed, or born/shapeshifted/translated into a NEW type of body/being. I cannot put it into words but I have felt it for about the last six months or so...this shift out of this "tent", into a new type of body....and it's terrifying to me.


TK

Anonymous said...

4.35 PM
You are on the wrong blog.
Leave us alone!!
Go invade Poland.

Anonymous said...

2.29 PM
Another life changing event you missed is meeting and spending time with my sister and brother in law. Life changing experience indeed.

Anonymous said...

Back to the DNA problem. In nature there are predators and prey. Wolves and sheep both evolved. That is nature. Within human societies, some individuals evolved to be the predators and some evolved into the prey. The predators take advantage of the prey, and exploit them as much as they can get away with. The prey don't really need the predators. For example, why do we need the poliovirus? We don't. Sheep can live without wolves (they might overgraze their habitat, but some of them will survive that), but wolves cannot survive without some prey. The prey are the nice guys like Dennis who have a good heart. The predators are the psychopaths, near-psychopaths, and, to a lesser degree, the people with the jerk gene. A lot of these people like to consider themselves alphas. They like to be in charge. They have ego needs. That's because they evolved to be the predators, to have power, which they use to exploit and prey on others. The nice guys and nice girls would be better off without the predators, but we seem to be stuck with them. They are part of the human gene pool. No political system can fix that. No ideology can fix these people because they are driven by power not ideology. They don't care about ideology, though they might need to pay lip service to it. These people need to be contained and controlled, they cannot be fixed.

Anonymous said...

At 17 I got hit head on by a drunk driver on my motorcycle...

You shouldn't have let a drunk drive your motorcycle.

... and thought I was dying as I lay in the road unable to breathe.

Since you don't give a poop about anyone else, why should we care? What goes around comes around.

Anonymous said...

It seems without looking when I start to read something written by Dennis I automatically know it’s him, then I just check to see if I am right and sure enough, then I quit reading and go to the next writer, just reading it was written by Dennis was enough, sorry Dennis, I mean no offence, I just disagree with you that’s all.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon noted: ", just reading it was written by Dennis was enough, sorry Dennis, I mean no offence, I just disagree with you that’s all."

Never a problem of course. As noted in the past, "views expressed by the author...." etc Gary has been gracious over years now to have me contribute to the site. Gary keeps the eye on the personalities, issues and events in the splits and splinters as an open conduit to all who might seek to reconsider their ties to the self proclaimed and ordained impacting the lives of good people. Gary grew up in the church and I did not. As the only openly and by real name former minister etc he feels I have a perspective to contribute as do I

My interests have always lain with what theology, Biblical history, Biblical problems and origins was I not taught or aware of back in the day when I could have made a better and more informed decision on the direction of my own life. For some reason, I always felt ministry was my calling even before I ran into WCG. I also believe that no matter where I had ended up in ministry, and I was accepted to other real seminaries back in the day having mistakenly chosen AC, I would have same the crisis in belief about the origins and politics of the Bible and probably the classic "Dark Night of the Soul" experience with just different circumstances and players. I also may have gone to a seminary that actually taught the genuine background and origins of the Canon and more up to date theological and historical understanding of it all. Many do. AC's idea of studying the Bible is to read it to you.

Add to that a lifelong love of science and in particular paleontology and geology knowing as a kid even that evolution was a fact and now so more than ever to those who are not intimidated by it, here I am.

Always lots to share but some have a short attention span evidently too when I write that which cannot be easily expressed in snippets. lol

Byker Bob said...

Oddly enough, Dennis, within about a month of having been asked to leave AC, with some quick and fancy foot work, I was accepted by Fuller, Pepperdine, and Pasadena City College. In trying to make a choice amongst the three (Pepperdine in retrospect might have been the best), I realized that absenting parental factors, I would have no interest in studying for the ministry. Pepperdine actually accepted some of the valueless AC course credits. But, PCC was doable from a logistical standpoint, although I did encounter some headwinds from my draft board over that choice.

Too bad I didn’t know about the Ted Nugent draft avoidance plan! (Google it; funniest story you’ll ever read!)

BB

Retired Prof said...

Anonymous March 23 at 9:47 PM said...

"Within human societies, some individuals evolved to be the predators and some evolved into the prey."

I've got a quibble here: individuals don't evolve. Populations do. You get it right farther down where you say, "The nice guys and nice girls would be better off without the predators, but we seem to be stuck with them. They are part of the human gene pool."

The gene pool includes genes related to dominance/submission, cooperation/cheating, aggression/passivity, sociability/solitariness, and other traits related to one's relation to other members of the group. Strictly speaking, individuals with those tendencies did not evolve them; the species evolved to include individuals that displayed them. Neither the ones we consider "nice" nor the ones we vilify as "nasty" reduced overall reproductive fitness enough to eliminate them from our behavioral repertory.

As I say, just a quibble about the mechanism involved. Your main point is spot on.

Anonymous said...

7.34 AM
So after all your training, your life experiences, your love of science, paleontology and geology, etc., you end up in the lake of fire. What a waste!

Byker Bob said...

Hey, if by some divine joke Armstrongism ends up being God’s government on Earth and the universe forever and ever, then the only intelligent thing to do is to opt out through the Lake of Fire. A couple moments of pain, breathe deeply, and a problem is corrected for all times.

BB

Retired Prof said...

The topic of human wretchedness reminds me of my old stave mill co-worker who vacillated between booze and the Bible. One week when he was besotted with the Bible he went on and on about this idea that human beings are no better than worms, and all richly deserve to burn in hell and had better accept Jesus into their hearts as their personal savior before it is too late.

After leaving Ambassador I had taken a bible class in a different college. The teacher was a Presbyterian, and his ideas prompted me to ask the mill hand, "Now let me get this clear. So you believe in the doctrine of total depravity?"

He scuffed the sawdust on the mill floor with his toe and stared down at it for a good long while. Finally he looked up and said, "Yes, buddy, I do. . . if it's lived up to."

Dennis Diehl said...

1146
Paleontology and geology as well as all my life experiences have shown there is no Lake of Fire to end up in.

Anonymous said...

Retired Prof
What exactly were you a professor of?

Retired Prof said...

I was a professor of English. I taught beginning to advanced courses in writing, literature, and linguistics.

Anonymous said...

Byker, you are absolutely right. You wrote:

Hey, if by some divine joke Armstrongism ends up being God’s government on Earth and the universe forever and ever, then the only intelligent thing to do is to opt out through the Lake of Fire. A couple moments of pain, breathe deeply, and a problem is corrected for all times.

You were not unhappy, nor were you in pain, for the first 13-billion-plus years during which this universe existed. Life in Armstrongism is pain, and it would only be worse if these ACOG ministers became God. Reverting back to pre-birth unconsciousness would be a merciful and happy fate. Of course, if mainstream Christians are correct about the afterlife as well as so many other doctrinal areas that HWA got wrong, you will likely share an eternally burning hell alongside those same ministers. That would be a fate far worse than death!

Byker Bob said...

That fate’s not gonna happen, 3:44! I’ve already taken the right steps.

BB

Anonymous said...

Dennis
I find it hard to believe that God never personally communicated with you, making it obvious that He exists. I have come across Christians from various denominations who have experienced this, so your case seems unusual.

There must be something you are hiding from your readers.

Anonymous said...

The idea that we are all the same seems nice on the surface, but it is just wrong, and is very unfair. It produces two errors, both of which cause nice people, the prey, to suffer even more.

First, nice people project their niceness onto nasty people, which makes them naive to the dangers of the nasty people. So they are more vulnerable to being taken advantage of. Also, they might feel quilt for things they are not so inclined to do, because "it's human nature, and we all have it."

Second, nasty people project their nastiness onto nice people, which allows them to impute bad motives to the innocent, as well as to exonerate themselves because "everybody does it" even if not everybody really does it. This can have severe consequences. I have seen this result in innocent people having their careers ruined by false allegations from suspicious nasties.

Von Howitzer said...

Sidebar question for Dennis...

I'd be interested in hearing your take on "Darwin's Doubt", by Stephen C Meyer if you've read it.

The book itself is a tough slog and I have to admit that I haven't gotten all the way through, but his basic premise is that "Though his theory could explain many facts, Darwin knew that there was a significant event in the history of life that his theory did not explain. During this event, the “Cambrian explosion,” many animals suddenly appeared in the fossil record without apparent ancestors in earlier layers of rock" to quote the text on Amazon.

I'm not trying to do a "gotcha" on you - it's just hard to find anyone with an interest in this sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

...it's just hard to find anyone with an interest in this sort of thing.

I would be interested if I had the time. But most people would rather stay in the their ideological box.




Anonymous said...

"I find it hard to believe that God never personally communicated with you, making it obvious that He exists. I have come across Christians from various denominations who have experienced this, so your case seems unusual."

In what way did he personally communicate with these people?



Anonymous said...

One thing I did was get into doing wedding ceremonies. It was a big financial help .... Most of the people I help have no idea that they're being officiated by a secular humanist atheist. I'm just helping them with a human need in an affordable context and not looking to rope them into anything.

Did you preach from the bible? If not, what was the material for your lecture/sermon?

Dennis Diehl said...

Van. The Cambrian is up for much debate and will clarify in time. If course the "explosion" was not s "proof" but rather unfolded over 40 million years. The dramatic increase in O2 then plus other factors may have played s bug part. I would not pretend to say I know the answer. Its a work in progress endeavoring to know what happened 570 million years ago.