Thursday, May 16, 2019

“For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien,

"Sorry...we didn't see that coming!" 

The Problem with Prophecy

Copyright © Dennis Diehl, Nov 4, 2005

One of the hallmark traits of most Fundamentalist Christians is their obsession with Bible Prophecy. Prophecy has a rather mystical draw to it and implies that the future is not so unknowable after all. Most humans spend their waking time either in the past feeling angry or in speculation of the future feeling anxious. It goes with not having the ability to live the real day one is currently experiencing. Many Christians have raised knowing the future to an art form and have learned that it is also quit profitable for the church in keeping members in line with fear, anxiety and a perverse kind of hope. 

Bible prophecy and making it the center of one's life, reading the Bible as if it were a Newspaper, is a slippery slope and a very negative way to live one's life.
With enough study, one can learn that there are other explanations for that which many hold so near and dear as predictions of things that will happen "shortly" in the future. No one seems to think that "shortly" for whoever really wrote Revelation has now been over Two Thousand Years! I hate to think what "I'll be back later" would mean.

We have learned to develop the bad habit of reading Paul's predications of "time is short" with the same generous deference to the fact that short for Paul never really quite worked out for him either. We all know the cycle Paul went through of telling the Church to be ready, act as if you had no family and support the Church, to his final realization that "oh well, I fought a good fight, it was fun while it lasted, I was wrong... I still win... see ya." 

On the other hand, we have areas of scripture that have always been used as prophecy which, to me, are simply not and never were intended to be by the original authors.

Isaiah 7 is an example of such a use of OT scripture by NT authors. This virgin birth prophecy ranks as one of the most questionable uses of scripture Matthew used to tell his story of Jesus birth. Matthew had a habit of mining the OT for anything that seemed like it fit the story he wanted to tell about Jesus. When one examines the OT context, we have to conclude that, that at least in its original meaning, it was never meant to have the meaning Matthew assigned it. 

In fact, in its original context, it has absolutely nothing to do with prophecy but is merely a historical account of events going on at the time. It was never viewed as a prophecy of the birth circumstances of either the Jewish Messiah or Jesus until Matthew mined it for its story telling value to his perspective. Matthew took the parts that fit his story but left out parts of that same story in Isaiah that obviously made no sense to his perspective on Jesus. If you simply look at Matthew's accounts of Jesus birth story, it is easy to see he cobbled it together in the style of the day from OT scriptures and not real events that he knew of. It is not my point to explain all this here, and I have touched on it in past columns.

Another aspect of "prophecy" we miss is that much of what the COGs [Churches of God] use to promote their urgency upon the membership is probably prophecy written after the fact, which makes it really non-prophecy. 

Either the book of Daniel was written during the time of the events recorded, 585 BC, or as many scholars now feel, it was written much later in the 160's BC to encourage the Maccabeans in their revolt against Rome. It was written AFTER all the events prophesied took place, which is why Daniel 11 is so specific. Daniel 12 then becomes rather generic because after the rise of Rome, the authors didn't really know the rest of the story much after the specifics of the 160's ended.
The point is that we all know that OUR lives were lived, and many still live their lives out, linking Daniel to Matthew 24, which also was written to address issues now long past from our times. 

Again it is not my purpose to prove that to you, but I have accepted that much of what we call history prophesied is really "prophecy" historicized, or the conforming of later writings to fit events as they had already occurred. If the detail of Daniel 11 is the kind of thing that is able to be locked in stone for future fulfillment, then we as humans have no choice in the part we have to play in the game as it is already decided for us evidently down to the details. It's a philosophical problem to me about choices and free will. 

Other problem with prophecy is that they simply didn't come true. We all were groomed with the fantastic story of the fall of Tyre and how it would be scraped bare never to be inhabited etc. The problem is it wasn't and the city of Tyre existed in NT times and does to this day. The Tyranians rebuffed Nebuchadnezzar and only succumbed to Alexander the Great, yet still exists. It's a cop out to point out ancient ruins in the water as proof of prophecy fulfilled when the city called Tyre is just over your shoulder. These facts are easily found in a simple search on the topic.

Ezekiel's Failed Prophecies on Tyre and Egypt 

Ezekiel made a prophecy that, at the time he wrote, seems most likely to be fulfilled. The prophet was writing, in 587 BC, at the time when Nebuchadnezzar was laying siege on Tyre. With such a powerful army like Nebuchadnezzar's, it was not surprising that Ezekiel prophesied the fall of Tyre to the Babylonian king.
Ezekiel 26:7-14: For thus says the Lord: "Behold I will bring upon Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, and with horsemen and a hosts of many soldiers. He will slay with the sword your daughters on the mainland; he will set up a siege wall against you. He will direct the shock of his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers...With the hoofs of his horses he will trample all your streets; he will slay your people with the sword and your mighty pillar will fall to the ground...they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses... I will make you a bare shall never be rebuilt, for I have spoken," says the Lord God. Personally it seems that "say the Lord God" was really "says Ezekiel" a prophet who also showed many classic signs of schizophrenia. 

The whole passage clearly prophesied the sack and complete destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar. However, the vivid description of the sack and fall of Tyre never happened. After a siege of thirteen years, until 573 BC, Nebuchadnezzar lifted his siege on Tyre and had to arrive at a compromised agreement. Thus Nebuchadnezzar did not destroy Tyre. Tyre was destroyed by Alexander the Great, 240 years later. And furthermore, despite the prophet, the city of Tyre was eventually rebuilt. 

When Nebuchadnezzar broke the gates down he found the city almost empty. The majority of the people had moved by ship to an island about one half mile off the coast and fortified the city there. The mainland city was destroyed in 573, but the city of Tyre on the island remained a powerful city for several hundred years. 

The implication of this paragraph is clear: that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed a major portion of Tyre. Tyre's main city was always on the island. The part of the city on the mainland is nothing more than a suburb. In other words, Nebuchadnezzar could achieve no more than take over a relatively minor part of the city. Furthermore it is obvious from the passage in Ezekiel that the complete destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar was prophesized. Ezekiel himself admitted that this prophecy was a mistake! 

Ezekiel 29:17-20: ...the Lord God came to me: "Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made his army labor hard against Tyre; every head was made bald and every shoulder was rubbed bare; yet neither he nor his army got anything from Tyre to pay for the labor that he had performed against it... (Website: Rejection of Pascal's Wager) 

The prophecies of both Isaiah and Ezekiel against Egypt also fell far short of reality in their "fulfillment." 

"The prophet Isaiah, for instance, foretold the drying up of all the waters of the Egypt, and the destruction of all land used for plantation due to this drying up of the River Nile. 

Isaiah 19:5-7: And the waters of the Nile will be dried up, and the river will be parched and dry; and its canal will become foul, and the branches of Egypt's Nile will diminish and dry up, reeds and rushes will rot away. There will be bare places by the Nile, on the brink of the Nile, and all that is sown by the Nile will dry up, be driven away, and be no more. 

This part of Isaiah, widely accepted by scholars to be written around the eighth century BC, is about 2750 years old. And in all this period of two and three quarters millennia, this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled! Moreover it is clear from the context that Isaiah prophecy was meant for the Egypt of his time. For it was with that Egypt that Isaiah and his people had a grievance against, and the prophecy was a warning to them. Obviously this is a clear example of an unfulfilled prophecy." (Website: Rejection of Pascal's Wager) 

I only point these out because so many would NEVER entertain the idea that any prophecy of the Bible didn't come true and will launch any number and kind of apologetic to defend what was said would be from what really occurred in history. Some of you are doing that right now.. :) 

And now we again live in a time where "prophecy" can manipulate real lives. There are any number of those who just know how it will all be. The kings of all directions are doing this and that..."just read my article and see for yourself." Every world news event, like in the 60's or 70's or 80's, is worthy of note. The last Pope would be the last Pope and now this Pope will be the last Pope and I expect the next Pope will also be the last Pope. Meanwhile we get older but not the wiser for the experience. What we'll end up with is drawing every imagined prophetic event to ourselves in reality as some government leaders even seem to base policy on "what the Bible says." It is very possible to cause things to happen because one expects them to happen. The problem is you end up with all the damage and none of the salvation. In short, an end of the world scenario can be acted out based on false subconscious beliefs and yet still you end up with no Second Coming, World Tomorrow or Kingdom of God. 

So why might it be better not to LIVE your actual life around the alleged reality and truth of prophecy and the "imminent" return of Jesus which has been imminent now for a couple thousand years? 

I've been there, I've done this. I've lived my real life ahead of my actual life while it quietly slipped by. I've made life decisions in the past based on a preoccupation with the future. I've also let a lot of precious life time go by thinking about things that proved to be untrue and teaching things that weren't. I thought they were, but when one realizes they aren't, it would be hoped one would stop that. I did. 

Basing a life on what may or may not happen in the future, and Bible types did it all the time and were wrong too, is to miss the present. And whether one admits it or not, the present is all we ever actually really have to work with. Your kids really are their ages they are NOW and one does not postpone making memories with them now because the future is a more serious consideration. They will NEVER again be kids, and you and I will never again be any younger.

 For Paul, to live might be loss and to die gain, but that's theological rhetoric and let's face it, Paul never, from what we can note, ever had to enjoy his children, mate or life in the now. He was in the imminent future right up until it bit him in the ass. He may have had the power to have a wife, great word there, "power", but I bet he was basically not one the women would flock to, to begin with. 

If you are still in a COG, does your Sabbath experience, weekends that your kids also have to call their free time, only consist for them of coming, sitting and going? How often we forget that the parents generally got to make their life decisions but then deny them to their children. I know, "raise up your child in the way he should go..." Problem I have is with the "should go." 

I used to take my kids to the local zoo on Sabbaths after church. This was in the 1970's. I have never regretted spending MANY a Friday night with them when little, swimming at the YMCA and stopping at Dunkin Donuts on the way home. That ritual of the "now" is far more remembered than any sermon I may have given that day. But for some, depending on their prophecy laden pastor, life is just one big "around the corner", "just a little longer" and never ending "gun lap." I had kidded for years that we have been in the gun lap so often, we run the risk of running out of bullets. Little did I know that was a prophecy that would come true! 

Prophecy means little to me at this point in my life. Actually I believe there is no such thing as prophecy. Bible prophecy that seems to have taken place is, as I have said, prophecy historized not history prophecied.   Humans don't and can't know the future. How many Apostle Paul's and  Dave Packs does it take to prove that! 

 It may mean a lot to some of you depending on who is feeding the need to know what I don't think we can know in this world. We can hid behind the idea that we know God is doing this or that, but that's pretty iffy knowing.
Whatever your position, at least know that even the Bible got it wrong at times, no matter what your pastor says or how your church motivates you with prophecy to live on the edge of your chair, just a bit ahead of the now, in somewhat a fearful or at least anxious, "what's going to happen" state.

 Isaiah was mistaken, Ezekiel was mistaken, Paul was wrong and yes, even Jesus was mistaken in his own perceptions of his own experience. That's another story.
If we can be wise enough to see that even Bible prophecies indeed have failed, that some prophecies are not really prophecies, and that reading the newspaper as if it were the Bible come to life is not wise, we might actually have a life in the now we can say was a real life. A life lived in anticipation of some alleged future is not a real life. It's disillusionment in the making. 


Anonymous said...

The ACOGs with their 'addiction to predictions' have certainly not gone down the narrow gate in regards to use of prophesy. But Dennis's 'solution' isn't the narrow gate either. In fact it's worse than the ACOGs, since he rejects both prophesy and keeping the Sabbath. Since he didn't even keep the Sabbath, it's no wonder that he fell away. Or was he ever converted?

Parents, tell your kids "do your prayer and bible study, least you too become a spiritual failure like Dennis Diehl." He makes a excellent boogyman.

Anonymous said...

This year is 5779, not 6019

TLA said...

Dennis - I prophesy Trump will no longer be president 6 years from now. I predict the Dems will have over 20 idiots running for president and Trump will find a way to insult each one of them.
Furthermore I prophesy that preachers will believe every word of the Bible except for those they ignore and those they make up.

Al Dexter said...

My disillusionment came a long time ago. There ain't no such thing as reliable prophecy. It took a while for that realization to take over, but it came.

Anonymous said...


Trump is going to attack Iran,

as spelled out in Dan 11:40-44

you can watch it on the news

but I guess scripture isn't "reliable"

Anonymous said...

and Dennis IS wrong.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Dennis, for speaking truth to the powerless, delusional COG commenters who get butthurt over it.

Illegitimi non carborundum.

Anonymous said...

Yawn. Another repeat.

Anonymous said...

Trump is going to attack Iran, as spelled out in Dan 11:40-44

you can watch it on the news but I guess scripture isn't "reliable"

Yes, Trump is going to attack Iran, just as Jimmy Carter attacked Iran, and before him Dwight D. Eisenhower attacked Iran. Yet, somehow, the brainwashed will claim that Trump's attack is prophetically significant where Carter's and Eisenhower's attacks were not. Then, 50 years from now, some other President will attack Iran, and some will call THAT a fulfillment of prophecy, forgetting the attacks arranged by Trump and earlier Presidents.

Anonymous said...

Get a life. Be happy and enjoy life in the here and now. Don't worry about the future. The only thing we can change is our little slice of life we are living now. We can't really change world events, they will just happen. So why worry about them.

Too many religious folks fret about the future or even want horrible things to happen just so they can be with, "Jesus" now. This is doom and gloom negativity it negatively effects their lives and as a result it negatively effects the lives of those around them.

Anonymous said...

If someone wants to go ghost hunting and see ghosts, guess what he will see? Yes, "ghosts."
If we are told what we will see, we will more likely see it because our brains have been primed to do so. The problem with prophecy is that we read more into it than is there. In fact, we do that with much of Scripture. Yet Scripture itself tells us not to add to or take away from it. For example. HWA taught that we should pray 3o minutes a day, on our knees (remember those prayer closets at AC?). But the bible doesn't say when or for how long or in what position we must pray in. We are told what to do, but now HOW. When RCM and HWA dictated HOW, they were adding to the Bible. If you want to see some of HWA's teachings in the Bible, you will "see" them. The same with his prophecy. As for the false prophecies in the Bible, Norman Geisler's book, "When Critics Ask" addresses some of these.

Anonymous said...

Ezek 26:12 marks a shift from the prophecy concerning Nebuchadnezzar to prophetic declarations about other invaders. Verse 3 had already introduced the idea of many invaders in the statement, “I ... will cause many nations to come up against you.” As history records, many nations did come up against the island city of Tyre, but it was Alexander the Great, laying siege against the island city of Tyre in about 332 b.c., who finally conquered the city and left it in total ruins so that it was never rebuilt. So, perhaps, When rightly understood, Ezekiel’s prophecy fits the historical record.

DennisCDiehl said...

" Since he didn't even keep the Sabbath, it's no wonder that he fell away. Or was he ever converted? "

12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. HIS DISCIPLES WERE HUNGRY and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
3 He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. 5 Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple DESICRATE THE SABBATH and yet are innocent? 6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’[a] you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

It is obvious here that doing good and taking care of human needs, even on the Sabbath is the topic. And while it does seem that SON OF MAN in this context is Gospel Jesus saying that HE can change the rules, as others before him, about Sabbath keeping versus human needs it also has other implications.

I do have to ask how we might feel if a James Malm, Dave Pack or Gerald Flurry said that they had the authority to adjust Sabbath keeping as they saw fit? We'd freak. In some ways, this alleged statement by Jesus is more a sign of mental health issues than actual authority from the heavens and today we'd take anyone who said such a thing exactly that way but that's another topic. That's why the question is asked in the concept of "Liar Lunatic or Lord?" I would add "Legend?" to this.

"SON OF MAN" is also known throughout the Bible as just another term for "human beings"

"Q. Ezekiel is constantly referred to as “Son of Man.” Since this is a reference often used for Jesus, why is it that Ezekiel seems to singled out for same designation?
Basically, the phrase “Son of Man” means something different in the book of Ezekiel than it does in the gospels.

A. In Ezekiel, “son of man” means “human being.” It’s a poetic Hebrew expression that’s used with that same meaning in several other places in the Old Testament, for example, in Psalm 8, where the ESV translates the Hebrew terms literally: “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” The NLT expresses the meaning of these terms: “What are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?”

The author of Mark, not actually Mark but originally an anonymous work as were all the Gospels, may well be making the point with these examples of plucking grain, healing the sick and priestly duties requiring work on the Sabbath are priorities even over Sabbath practices or restrictions.


DennisCDiehl said...

con't In other words Gospel Jesus is saying not that he is Lord of the Sabbath and can change what he wants (A guarantee his message would be considered that of a lunatic), but that human beings take precedence over the Sabbath. Thus, "The Sabbath was made for man and NOT man for the Sabbath."

The Pharisees in the COG , all my ministry, strove over whether I or anyone else could eat out on the way home from church. Human beings are more important than the Sabbath escaped them and does many to this day.

Now granted, an evening with my kids at the YMCA enjoying family swim time and dunkin' donuts in their footies on the way home might not be an emergency or human need, but that was my choice. Taking them to the zoo (In the 70's) when I had a rare none two church circuit afternoon crazies, was my choice. It's one of the reasons that to this day, my boys and I get along just fine and they say that their personal experience with the Church was not the traumatic, self righteous, restrictive BS that many either enforced on themselves or had done to them taking advantage of their fear and compliance to authority tendencies.

But thank you for your generic judgment and classic "No wonder....." :)

DennisCDiehl said...

PS Gary and I have a bet we made over the phone last night at 6:35 PST that my favorite "Why should I waste my time reading this? It's too long" responder will show up on this one saying this yet again. LOL. Perhaps a sign that all their truth and understanding came neatly in WCG Booklets and Co-Worker letters.

Anonymous said...

Isa chapter 7-12 deal with the first coming, 24-27 with the second coming of Jesus. So, chapter 19 probably deals with the in between period, so it has yet to be fulfilled, not a failed prophecy.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous said...
Isa chapter 7-12 deal with the first coming, 24-27 with the second coming of Jesus. So, chapter 19 probably deals with the in between period, so it has yet to be fulfilled, not a failed prophecy."

I know you are sincere in the beliefs I had myself in the past. Beliefs, however, are not truths of the matter. You are mistaken and the word "probably" in your comment is not helpful to the rest of the view. "Probably" does not make it so.

Isaiah is not about Jesus though NT writers have mined and cobbled it into a story about Jesus which seems prophetically fulfilled. This is an example of Midrash. Using the OT to rewrite a NT story as update.

Research on the actual meaning and context of what NT writers hijack for their own story is fairly easy to do. Of course argument of "yes it is" and "No it isn't" are endless. To which I would ask why a real Deity could not be more literally present and remove all doubt. Why all the middlemen who, contrary to the statement in scripture, do indeed make God the author of confusion. I never heard a sermon in my life in WCG given , save only by HWA, where "we did not understand something" by anyone more educated than HWA was given. It is the bane of RCG with Dave Pack bullshitting his authoritative opinions as absolutely correct and true. They, as well, are not and never will be. But by blovation and delusions he thinks he is hot shit in theology. He's not hot.

(hot shit
a person who is extremely attractive, "cool," talented, etc. Almost always used sarcastically, especially to refer to someone who "thinks they're hot shit." That is: someone who is has an extremely elevated self-image."

Anonymous said...

Christ being Lord of the Sabbath does not mean He "can change what he wants." Christ was tested by Satan on this point by being asked to throw himself down from a height, and being asked to change stone into bread. Christ didn't put himself above the law or try to define the laws of the universe.

What Christ does have is the authority to define the acceptable application of Sabbath keeping. There will always be the grey area where there are honest differences of opinion. In such cases, Christ can say yes or no. And contrary to what James Malm claims, Christ has said yes to going to restaurants on the Sabbath. It's the same with the 'binding and unbinding' regarding holy day dates and associated technicalities. God has delegated this authority to church leaders. Alternatively, let's have hundreds or thousands of members turning for the FOT on different dates.

Near_Earth_Object said...

Is the Bible literal or literary? If it is taken as literal, odd interpretations result and much of its meaning is missed. The Bible uses literary devices.

Notice: Ezekiel's prophecy speaks of Tyre as if the great city were a person. He uses the personal pronoun "you." Most of what Ezekiel writes does not focus on the physical infrastructure of Tyre but on its "system" in the ancient Near Eastern economy and culture. Later in this same writing, Ezekiel subtly shifts focus from human to supernatural evil with references to the Adversary as if Tyre is an allegory for the Dark Side.

"I will make you a bare rock … you will never be rebuilt" is the prophecy. What does that really refer to? the dismantling of ancient architecture or the dismantling of a worldly society, economy, government and culture? Moreover, when is this part to happen? We still find this same "system" functioning in Rev 18. This may give us pause to think.

It is easy to attack the literalist interpretation of the Bible - especially when the critic defines the terminology and chronology. But this is like looking at the painting of the Mona Lisa and electing to see nothing but old pigments, oils and cloth.

Tonto said...

Dennis Diehl will be the last Pope!

Anonymous said...

Anon4:41AM said:
"Isa chapter 7-12 deal with the first coming, 24-27 with the second coming of Jesus. So, chapter 19 probably deals with the in between period, so it has yet to be fulfilled, not a failed prophecy."

There is no reason to suspect Isaiah deals with Jesus at all. Nor is there any reason to suspect that it fortells anything, either in the author's future, or indeed in our future.

Dennis said:
"'Probably' does not make it so."

I'll go one step further. The bald assertion that something is "probable" not only doesn't make it so, it doesn't even make it probable, especially when it's embedded in a house of cards of improbable assumption on top of improbable assumption.

TLA said...

I just finished a book on 12 major religions. What was interesting is many of the religions in widely different parts of the world started about 2,600 years ago.
WCG taught that people fell away and rebelled against God, but it seems more likely to me, that there was a trigger event that got the deep thinkers at the time thinking about religion and God.
Zoroastrianism - which is a tiny niche today - was the religion of some of the Persian rulers and there is the suggestion that the Jews picked up some of their ideas from Zoroastrianism.
My knowledge is limited to an overview book by one author.

Do any of our more scholarly readers care to comment?

Anonymous said...


When "I ran" from the false teachings of Herbie, the windows opened and I was able to finally breathe fresh air and see from a far greater vantage point.

Anonymous said...

The other thing wrong with such articles of prophesy abuse, is that it ignores the persecution and pressures conscientious Christians have to endure. Being front line troops, and fighting for their eternal lives, means that they are often mentally unbalanced. Who wouldn't be? But Dennis and many other posters ignore this. Instead they enjoy their tea and cake while mocking the unbalanced behavior of true Christians. These rocking chair, armchair critics are safe in friendly territory, enjoying the fruits of others labors. They are parasites.

DennisCDiehl said...

May 17, 2019 at 8:59 AM

TLA said...
I just finished a book on 12 major religions. What was interesting is many of the religions in widely different parts of the world started about 2,600 years ago.
WCG taught that people fell away and rebelled against God, but it seems more likely to me, that there was a trigger event that got the deep thinkers at the time thinking about religion and God."

TLA you might be interested in "The Origin of Consciousness and The Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes. The basic point of view is that genuine human consciousness came into being about 3000 years ago when reading and putting down thoughts in writing came to be. Before then you see in literature not very much of the "I" and independent thought. Humans were more prone to obeying the voices in their heads of either the gods or the King and religion followed big time.

You see this lack of normal consciousness in many of the OT characters who can say and do things only because God tells them to in their heads. The stinkers in the OT were those who were becoming more conscious and independent of thought. Saul comes to mind. Demonized by the god haunted types but really making logical and personal decisions etc. Long story.
Its why you have a Lot figure who can throw his virgin daughters to the crowd with no conscious awareness and why an Abraham can just do what the voice says and sacrifice his son with no conscious independent thinking.

Over time this voice in the head grew fainter and fainter and then you see all sorts of religious practices and laments take place. The Psalms are full of "why have you forsaken me?" ,"Why art thou afar off" "Why have you hidden yourself from me" etc. Sacrifices, pleadings, prayer, reading animal guts, casting lots, oracles and such came about to get the voice back and discern the will of the gods. Great book. Fascinating.

Basically, before writing and reading, the human mind tended towards schizophrenia as evidenced by the major and minor prophets.

Miller Jones said...

I love the quote from my favorite author, Tolkien. However, although I do not view the Bible in the same light as Fundamentalists and folks in the ACOGs, I do not believe that the book's problems justify regarding it as irrelevant and worthy of abandonment. Check this out:

DennisCDiehl said...

Excuse: It's "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind"

" one time, human nature was split in two, and executive part called a god, and a follower called a man. Neither part was conscious."

"The situation then is one where the areas on the right hemisphere that correspond to the speech areas (In the Left Brain) have seemingly no easily observable major function. Why this relatively less essential part of the brain? Could it be that these silent "speech" areas on the right hemisphere had some function at an earlier stage in man's history that now they do not have?"

These speech areas in the brain both left and right understand speech. However, only the left hemisphere can speak what it sees. The right can see it but cannot speak it. It has to send the info to the left brain to be spoken.

For example: The left eye sees what is presented to it in the right hemisphere. The right eye sees what is presented to it in the left hemisphere. When the connection between the two sides is cut as in an accident or stroke, the right brain that sees in the left eye cannot tell you what it is seeing. It can't speak when the connection is broken.


DennisCDiehl said...

One fascinating experiment illustrating this is given. Identical slides were presented to each eye but to the left eye, which registers in the right brain that can see but not speak it without handing it over to the left hemisphere for speech, some porn was put into the mix. The The patient would show a reaction,...blushing, puzzlement etc but when asked why they were blushing or uncomfy they said, "I have no idea." The reason was that the speaking of it had to go to the left brain to say it out loud and the tie was cut. Thus the body reacted but the patient had no idea why. It saw the porn but did not know how to say it saw it.

Jaynes shows, rather nicely, yet controversially of course, that the right brain is the God side and the left is the man side.

Another example is comparing the Prophet Amos with Ecclesiastes. Amos is purely bicameral in his mind. God spoke to him, a mere herdsman like dictating to a scribe. In Amos there is no words for mind or think or feel or understand or anything similar whatsoever. Amos does not ponder in his heart because he can't. He would not know what it means to do so. He does not consciously think before he speaks. He does not think at all. His thinking is done for him. His bicameral mind only knows "Thus speaks the Lord...". There is no personal self in Amos.

Ecclesiastes is opposite in all these points. It is written by an educated, self thinking human . Amos is fiercely righteous, absolutely assured, nobly rude , speaking in blustering god-speeh with unconscious rhetoric. Ecclesiastes would be an excellent fireside friend, mellow, kindly, concerned, hesitant, surveying all of life in a way that would have been impossible with the right brained, bicameral Amos who only heard the voice of his God in it.

"Solomon" was a modern awake man with a self. Amos was an automaton.

The machinations of a Dave Pack are an excellent modern example of a right brained, God-haunted person even yet today. A man who struggles to hear voice, know the mind of God and divine his will but then just makes shit up when he can't. There is little left brain self in an Moses, Abraham, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and minor prophets or a Dave Pack.

It's like that occasional atavism of a tail that some babies are born with which is a long ago turned off switch in the DNA that in that baby was not turned off.

Fascinating stuff... The book is not for the faint hearted.


Anonymous said...

Dennis, Jaynes' work is fascinating, but I'm sure you know that it is widely disputed. The examples Jaynes finds in Greek and Hebrew literature simply aren't found in Chinese and Indian literature. For that matter, the Epic of Gilgamesh features character introspection that seems likely to be authentically old and not a later modification of the story. Jaynes also doesn't explain how Australian aborigines today are conscious, yet their culture shows no sign of the kind of divergence Jaynes finds in European culture.

Jaynes argues that language is a necessary precursor to consciousness. However, experiments have shown that various mammals and even birds have sufficient self-awareness as to recognize themselves in a mirror. Consciousness, thus, seems to precede language. This makes sense in that language communicates shared concepts, yet concepts can't be shared without consciousness.

Perhaps you are aware of the "Living with Voices" movement? There are thousands of schizophrenics who have learned to manage their schizophrenia and enter into practical conversation with their voices, negotiating with them and putting boundaries on their influence, using them when appropriate but reserving the right to say "No!" to an inappropriate or unwanted command. Jaynes' underlying insight about the role of "voices" can be preserved even if much of his research can be dismissed as insufficient and his science as faulty. His book is worth a good read, as long as it is a good SKEPTICAL read.

DennisCDiehl said...

I hear you 12:16. Jaynes was very aware of the controversial nature of his work as well. It is noticeable in the Old Testament how it starts out with God clearly speaking, walking and talking with humans and before too long, God is only perceived in clouds, bushes and voices. The progression from an obvious God to one much less so is apparent. Jaynes does a nice job with the progression idol worship as well as a substitute for what is no longer so obvious.

The rise of outward religious practice in ritual, architecture and such also seems to be a plea to keep God in the picture when in fact, like the Cheshire cat, was fading from the scene quickly as the human mind grew more aware of itself with the tools of reading and writing etc.

Today, religion demands faith not proof in God, "He that comes to God, MUST BELIEVE that He is and the rewarder of those that diligently seek Him". It demands a belief in what we hope is true based on no evidence that it is as I have noted in the past. There is no obvious way to discern a God and prove Him, no excuses any longer allowed. Faith has become the substitute for facts and when one is evidence based, that presents a problem. It is why the faith based crowd unleashes its wrath on the evidence based doubters and calls them scoffers instead of the observers they actually are. :)

To me, there has always been an unconscious factor in the behaviors of the OT characters. They did things that today would simply put them in a mental hospital.

Point and skepticism taken ….

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to make of finding out a ex WCG pastor was swimming, eating donuts and going around a zoo on the Sabbath. I don't judge you.

Anonymous said...

Dennis, there are certainly intriguing aspects to Jaynes' research, but there are just too many outlier facts for me to find it any sort of credible one-size-fits-all explanation.

Think of the voluptuous "Venus" figures that existed thousands of years before Homer and Moses. Think of the Lascaux caves. Think of the Central/South Asian sites, ca. 10,000BC, where external religious activity and imagery has been found.

The notion that what we today call schizophrenia was once the default mode of human existence may mean simply that while human beings lived in community, each person also perceived a community of sorts in his own head. Even today, you sometimes feel an internal "inspiration" to say or do something, just as Dave Pack does. Yet Dave will call it the voice of God, while you'll call it your own internal monologue. You can be equally god-haunted with or without audible voices in your head.

No doubt, the human mind and body were rushed into adaptations when settled agriculture came onto the scene. After perhaps 100,000 years existing as more or less the same physical beings, living in more or less the same hunter-gatherer mode, agriculture created a new pressure on our species to make quick adaptations.

Jaynes is a controversial but fascinating thinker, whether or not his theories hold up to scrutiny. I would put Velikovsky in much the same category. If you start by assuming some of the same premises that he assumes, he offers several intriguing explanations for puzzling shifts in human society over the last 15,000 years or so. However, just as with Jaynes, accepting his ideas means ignoring much competing evidence.

Where you see "an unconscious factor" in OT characters' behavior, I'm prepared to go a step further and call some of it just plain evil. Any omnipotent and omniscient deity who would tell Israel to commit genocide against the Amalekites is not a god worthy of worship. What lesson does such a god teach its followers by giving that command and then expressing displeasure when the killers show some small mercy? Any omniscient god knows that humans will misuse the idea that god may bless genocide, and any omnipotent god could perform the genocide by itself and not implicate somewhat-evil humans in the genocide of utterly-evil ones.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous said...
I don't know what to make of finding out a ex WCG pastor was swimming, eating donuts and going around a zoo on the Sabbath. I don't judge you.

You just did! lol. After Church in Findlay and if I did not have to go to Mansfield as well, many of the members met in Millstream Park (Location of the song "Down by...") for picnic lunch and fellowship. Well they met with or without me but what's the diff? Those were the best times in my ministry as well as the amazing people in the church in Kentucky that followed. After that...Binghamton and Corning NY and especially Greenville, SC, it was a downhill back stabbing mess.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon 202

I'm with ya. It's an outline or a piece of a puzzle on human awareness etc but not the total picture. We gotta talk! I don't recall well thought out comments like yours that seem more in tune with my own experience and study than yours and yet you are unfamiliar. I would have notice you sooner! lol. Give me a call this weekend? Home this eve 864 905 9506. Not to worry about putting my phone out there. Hasn't been a problem yet except some of the more paranoid go bonkers that I do. I grew up where if you wanted to find someone you just looked them up in the phone book, address and all.

Cave art is amazing. Cosquer Cave located three hundred feet now under water in the South of France and the Mediterranean is amazing. The pics are of sea life and show just how much ice has melted since the end of the ice age which is when this cave was above water.

Most cave art seems to be invoking good hunting. There is one of shaman which is both beast and human so the worship or awe with regards to the hunt and animals was there and perhaps could be influenced by painting them or having a shaman do a ceremony.

The Venus statues are not of venus of course but do seem to note with awe either the pregnant female or the hefty one which would mean that the tribe was well able to feed itself well. They certainly aren't sexually appeasing for the most part. That came later when the Hefner Tribe took over statue making! lol

DennisCDiehl said...

PS, Over the years I have given out my number to those who rant at me, decide they know my thoughts and intentions and get rather nasty about it all. I have even sat waiting at a time appointed for them to call me and talk personally rather than just throw their insults and judgments and run anonymously. To date, not one has called to chat and get acquainted in real life. Not one...

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to make of finding out a ex WCG pastor was swimming, eating donuts and going around a zoo on the Sabbath.

Donuts during the Days of Unleavened Bread would have gotten Dennis into trouble, but as early as the 1980s I was aware of several WCG congregations near the Pacific Ocean coast that routinely saw members spending Sabbath time meandering along the beach or hanging out on a pier to watch the waves roll by. The little children might sometimes be allowed to swim, and this meant that at least one parent likely had to be ready with (or in) swimming attire for the sake of safety.

Most WCG parents seemed to save the beach trips as a post-services reward for good behavior, but I remember one couple revealing that the secret behind their children's placid countenance at PM services each Sabbath was that the kids had been allowed to run themselves ragged on the beach before getting into their Sabbath clothes and coming to services all tired out.

Anonymous said...

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's a duck.
So it's obvious that Dennis is a apostate. A humanoid carbon unit that has gone off on a tangent. A phone conversion will not change this reality.
That you believe that people lack the intellectual independence and common sense to perceive your character and motivation is typical ACOG minister behavior. On many occasions, my ministers expressed a opinion, expecting me to believe them, even though obviously childish. Ridiculously childish. It's as if they believe that they directly control members minds. This is what happens when people live in a ivory tower, never having had a real job in the real world. Psyching out others using minister mode no longer works. You need to mentally move on,

TLA said...

Dennis - thanks for the book recommendation.
I have no problem with controversial and reading different opinions.(My mind was closed for far too long.)
I am still trying to make up my own mind on where I want to end up.
Right now I am attending a church that does not take itself too seriously and the services are enjoyable. But as you have pointed out, and I have come to see, the Bible is not one big infallible book. Mankind seems to have a need for God and religion. In the western world, that has lessened.
I have been reading "She has her mother's laugh" by Carl Zimmer, and he presents many amazing facts - like our inherited microbiome.
Did man first become a "conscious" being about 3,000 years ago? If yes, what triggered it? Maybe your book recommendation provides some answers.

DennisCDiehl said...

. This is what happens when people live in a ivory tower, never having had a real job in the real world. Psyching out others using minister mode no longer works. You need to mentally move on,

When I was a pastor, I did paramedic/EMT as both hobby and community service. I've pulled the living and the dead out of car wrecks and held their head still intubating them, or what's left, after they had put a bullet in it playing Russian roulette badly. I have been dragged into the morgue with screaming moms to show me their dead daughters on a steel table or had their partners pulled out of a morgue drawer so I could see what getting crushed under a tractor can do to you. The wife wanted me to see it. I even washed the muddy handprints off the sides of a pool where members grandson and son had drown and tried very hard to get out but did not. The parents did not see that and I thought it best they never see that.

I have my belts in Washin Ru Karate which I took while pastor and have been knocked out a few times messing up in sparing. As pastor, I could marry you, bury you, kick your ass and render medical assistance. What more could you ask? lol. I have now been in my own therapeutic massage practice for 22 years and have 25 to 30 clients a week who regularly tell me "you really know what you are doing." I earn every damn dollar I make , 8 hours a day, five days a week at near 70 now. I love what I do and treat my clients not much differently than I ever treated my congregants. Mercifully and with compassion and skill.

So go peddle your ministerial template somewhere else. I don't fit it. Never did. My last sermon to 8,000 at Myrtle Beach was on the Politics of the NT, not exactly sticking to the assigned topic which was shallow, stupid, boring and repetitive. While the audience was told not to applaud for sermons, they didn't listen when I finished that one.

You are projecting your minister experiences on me. I rather prefer free from pious convictions based on marginal information to Apostate but as also the Minion of Satan and High Priest of Baalzebub, two titles also given me, I will let you live. :)

At too, I 'd like to think I am not just a mere humanoid carbon unit but rather , maybe, a spirit or conscious something or other trapped in a limited five sensed carbon based wetsuit, but can't prove it

Byker Bob said...

You may post as anonymous, 6:27, but you have a somewhat unique tell. You’re the one who uses “a” for nouns beginning with a vowel. You’ve been doing it for years. Wanna get rid of that tell? Use “a” for nouns beginning with a consonant, and switch to “an” for nouns beginning with a vowel.

PS, I won’t tell anybody who you are!


Byker Bob said...

Last sentence is rather telling there, Dennis. You’d like to believe that your life goes on as a spirit released by death from your wetsuit.

Oddly enough, when I emerged from my own agnosticism, the most difficult thing for me to accept was that we had to continue on after death for eternity. I much prefer that when we die, it’s over and we’re just gone. Live a Christian life now and be or become our best possible version of us, but when this life is over, we’re just done. Guess I’ve got hangovers from two of my previous philosophies. LOL!


Glenn said...

Anon at 1:41 p.m., what would you make of an apostle who watched TV on the sabbath to relax and drank coffee on the Day of Atonement to keep his energy up?

Anonymous said...

Well Glenn I'm anon 1:41 I know that already. I have known too of the darker less known antics of Garner Ted for many years.
When the Top AA+ Elite are revealed to have gone wrong and sinned outragously that is shocking, but you never really broke bread with them, you never sat next to them at a potluck. They lived like WCG AA+ filmstars and tragically turned out to have film star sins.

It's the average WCG pastor who did break bread with brethren, who did sit with brethren who when you find out they had mammoth faith struggles and were off here and there eating this or that is more shocking to me.
Why were they never honest in the first place? because they were never really honest with themselves ? I don't know.
All other families were compared to theirs, children compared to theirs.
And now in various ways you find out what really was going on behind the scenes and i genuinely dont know what to make of it.
How many more Pastors are living a double life ?

I have no problem with walking along a beach on the Sabbath, taking children the beach, woods, fields or parks. But paying money to go the Zoo? Paying to go swimming. I took my children swimming on a Sunday and build memories that way.
This isn't about Dennis C Dhiel, he come across as honest but he raises the sealed lid on the reality of WCG ministry. How many are doing similar And are struggling like he did now ?

DennisCDiehl said...

BB noted: "Last sentence is rather telling there, Dennis. You’d like to believe that your life goes on as a spirit released by death from your wetsuit.

Guess I’ve got hangovers from two of my previous philosophies. LOL!"

I'm complex BB! I have been through the stages as well. Very Christian, Presbyterian and WCG, the dis-illusioned, then caught up to what I wish I had known more abut the Bible origins etc. Then back to the science I loved and felt strongly about even as a kid. Then the spirit in a wetsuit phase and now I just am who I am with no expectations of afterlife with cause.

There is Buddhist saying that has always struck me as probably true even before I played it
"When I was young, mountains were just mountains, rivers were just rivers and trees were just trees

When I go got older, mountains were not just mountains, rivers not just rivers and trees were not just trees...

But now that I am old (ish:), mountains are just mountains, rivers are just rivers and trees are just trees...."

I currently like that from star dust I have arisen and to star dust I shall rise again as parts of completely other things over the next billion years.. :)

I do not fear either the fate or existence of hell, as some would wish me to, either all consuming or eternal. No God is that petty and vindictive.

(and too....I know who you are too :)

Anonymous said...

Dennis, it seems that it has taken you half of a century to return to an insight Donovan wrote about 51 years ago:

First there is a mountain
Then there is no mountain
Then there is

Dennis said...

738 That an insight born from everyone own life experience with seeking it seems

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,May 17, 2019 at 4:31 AM, wrote:

"...Anonymous said...Ezek 26:12 marks a shift from the prophecy concerning Nebuchadnezzar to prophetic declarations about other invaders. Verse 3 had already introduced the idea of many invaders in the statement, “I ... will cause many nations to come up against you.” As history records, many nations did come up against the island city of Tyre, but it was Alexander the Great, laying siege against the island city of Tyre in about 332 b.c., who finally conquered the city and left it in total ruins so that it was never rebuilt. So, perhaps, When rightly understood, Ezekiel’s prophecy fits the historical record..."

Anon 4:31 AM, Dennis had quoted Ezekiel 26:7-14, but did not quote the prior verses of 3-6, in context. Indeed, as you said, verse 3 tells us that God was: "...against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up..." Obviously, Tyre was going to be impacted over a long period of time by many nations coming against Tyre like waves.

Verse 6 says: "And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD."

Many nations, and many peoples involved, but when will they know the LORD? I expect that will not be reality until God resurrects those people associated with Tyre in the Eighth Day after God gives them life in the second resurrection.

Dennis quoted Ezekiel 29:17-20. Why didn't Dennis quote the next verse? It says, in context: "In that day will I cause the horn of the house of Israel to bud forth, and I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them; and they shall know that I am the LORD." (Ezek 29:21)

I suggest that we have not seen the "end of the matter" yet regarding Tyre. Verse 21 speaks about that day, a day when the people shall know the LORD.

Again, I suggest that those people will admit they know the LORD in that Day, that Great Last Day, that Eighth Day, after the people are given life in the second resurrection.

All of these peoples familiar with Tyre and all of those nations that came against Tyre will be God's witnesses that what God said actually came true just like God inspired Ezekiel to tell us.

And time will tell...