Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A "Clarion Call" :: The Pitfalls of Ministry and the Voices in Their Heads



Note Since I can see It Coming:
"Why as an atheist would you care about people attending a healthy church?"
Answer:  Because, having been a naïve kid who went to what I thought was the most healthy church there could be , that knew "the truth", that practiced right Biblical "Holy" days, that understood prophecy, (It was the 60's for Pete's sake!), the Second Coming (Which made sense to me at that age and time) and the healing qualities the Wonderful World Tomorrow would bring, (My blind, deaf and speechless brother was my FIRST "and the sick shall be made well" anointing after being ordained an Elder at 23 ...lol) ,  I had to be there. And he is still blind, deaf and speechless to this day btw. Greater works than these shall I not do evidently :)

As a kid I looked up a lot
 I went specifically to AC seeing the College Prospectus and turning down another Seminary because I intended to be in ministry . I just wanted to be in the right one. WCG was the right one in my young and naïve mind.
At first, I equated the authority HWA, GTA and others of "rank" exhibited to being "just like the New Testament Apostles"  There were plenty of NT scriptures and OT examples to back this kind of thinking up nicely and without doubt or suspicion.  HWA had the position of "wise theologian" and GTA the charisma of NT Bible Apostle going to all the world with the truth. 
It took a few years for me in ministry to begin to see that there were differences between the kind of Biblical authority I saw and the kind the ministers and ordained members around me were exhibiting.  Call me all the names and apply all the motives to me you wish, but I deeply cared about my church congregations. I treated them as one who came from a very normal and peaceful home setting with stable parents and siblings. I treated them NOT as WCG taught me because WCG taught me nothing of such things but more as I grew up seeing the examples in a much more stable and calm Presbyterian setting. 
By nature, I also am a caretaker, encourager and very practical when it comes to helping people through shortcomings as then defined by the Bible. I put no one out of the church who did not walk out on their own. I kept no one from church who wanted to be there no matter the struggle they might be having.  (Well I did one who had severe schizophrenia and needed more help than church could give and carried a 38 in his pocket with finger on trigger when I was asking him to get help before coming to church because the members were afraid of him. Two deacons who knew him kept him corralled while ignorantly asked them to back off and be kind to Johnny. Later they told me they could see what I could not.)  I'd not be in therapeutic massage if I did not have the nature for caretaking and no fear of meeting people where they are and not where others might expect or demand them to be. 
One scandal after the next for two and half decades, with me thinking it was NOT the leadership, but "Satan" and all the associated denial that goes with having to admit, sooner or later, I made a huge mistake in both choosing the True Church, a calling and mistaking abusive men with Biblical injunctions.  
My journey out of religion was IN PART due to the WCG "I thought I was supposed to be in ministry" and the rest because of my midlife  recognition that , by nature, I am not faith based but evidence based in my core way of seeing the world and the sciences of my lifetime informed me of other realities that collided head on with the Biblical narratives. 
All this to say, I still care about the bullshit congregants accept from their pastors without question and will lead to their ultimate harm for generations to come if they don't see it.  I don't care if or where anyone goes to church. I care about the health of their minds, thinking, families and kids living quality lives based on reality and not fairytales manipulated by the crazy middlemen of religion. 
The Churches of God have their share of delusional ministry who completely don't get what "to minister" means or the sarcasm in scripture behind "he who is 'greatest' among you, let him be your servant"  The Church of God ministry can't possible be a "helper of their joy" since there is no joy in present living as they all wait for the imminent never coming Kingdom of God where, THEN , they can enjoy life. 

Warning Signs of Spiritual Abuse
There is certainly a place for biblical teaching on spiritual authority. But if a pastor preaches on this subject every Sunday, constantly reminding everyone that he is in charge, you can be sure that trouble is around the corner.
In an unhealthy church, the pastor actually begins to take the place of Jesus in people's lives. Commonly, people are told they cannot leave the church with God's blessing unless the pastor approves the decision. The implication is that unless they receive pastoral permission, not only will God not bless them, but they will also be cursed in some way, resulting in sure failure. Controlling spiritual leaders use this kind of reasoning to manipulate people.
We must understand the process a church goes through to reach this point of deception. Because many pastors measure their success through church attendance, they may become disappointed if people leave their church. If they are insecure, they may actually develop a doctrine in order to stop people from leaving. They may preach sermons about unconditional loyalty, using the biblical stories of David and Jonathan, or Elisha and Elijah.
By using examples like these, the leader can actually gain "biblical" grounds to control even the personal areas of his parishioners. A controlling leader may also attempt to instill a sense of obligation by reminding his congregation of everything he has done for them.
This kind of preaching causes church members to seek a position of favor with the pastor rather than a proper desire to "please God and not man." Jesus also condemned such man-pleasing when He told the Pharisees, "I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?" (John 5:43-44).
When we pursue the honor of men, we do so at the expense of our relationship with God. If we continue to do so, gradually men will take the place of God in our lives. An unhealthy soul tie is created, and our sense of confidence is determined by our standing with those in leadership. This kind of control will destroy people spiritually!
A healthy church will not allow genuine pastoral concern to cross the line into manipulation or control. A true shepherd will use his influence to draw church members into a close relationship with Jesus, who is the only "head of the church" (Eph. 5:23). A true shepherd realizes that the people in his congregation don't belong to him -- they are God's flock.
Unquestioned Authority
In an unhealthy church, it is considered rebellion when someone questions decisions that are made or statements that are said from the pulpit. Granted, there are those who constantly question the leadership in any church -- but often such constant questioning comes from an individual's critical attitude. Pastors must learn to deal with such questioning in a compassionate, positive manner. However, in an unhealthy church, any and all questions are considered threats to the pastor's "God-ordained" authority. Members who do dare to question their leaders or who do not follow their directives often are confronted with severe consequences.
A man from one church told me, "We were told that it is more important to obey leaders than to question what they are doing." He went on to say, "It was unthinkable to question the motives of the pastor."
For example, one couple, members of a church on the West Coast, decided to take a family vacation. This couple purchased their airline tickets and finalized the rest of their plans. They were looking forward to their long-needed time off. Once the pastor discovered their plans, he rebuked them for not getting his permission first and warned them not to go on the trip. They went anyway. Shortly after they returned, they were visited by some of the church's leadership. They were informed that by going on vacation against the pastor's wishes, they were in rebellion. To enforce the pastor's authority, there had to be some form of punishment applied. This couple was then informed that no one from the church was permitted to speak to them or have any contact them for a time determined by the pastor. Even their children were not permitted to play with any of the other children from the church.
Pastors operating under a spirit of control are often convinced that they are the only ones who can accurately hear from God. Under the constant exposure to this spirit, members often become convinced that they indeed need their pastor to think for them. In essence, their personal fellowship with the Lord has been abdicated for a relationship with a man. As a result, they lose their confidence in being able to discern the will of God for their lives.
An Atmosphere of Secrecy
Once a church member surrenders to a system of control, the leader gives limited information to each individual, carefully monitoring each relationship. As a result, each member is only able to relate to other members based on the information he receives from the leader.
In this way, if the church staff or pastor determines that one of the members has become a "threat," they have a strategy in place to maintain the control they believe is required. Consequently the church can sever relationships when necessary and keep this process cloaked behind a veil of secrecy.
This is not limited to members of the congregation. I know a pastor who did this with his staff. In casual conversations he would make a comment that would result in one staff member becoming suspicious of another. Or he would say something to cause one staff member to feel superior.
This atmosphere fueled selfish ambition and competition among the staff. It became the pastor's way of maintaining control and ensuring that his staff could never challenge his authority. In time, the assistant pastors discovered what was happening, and eventually they all left.
Secrecy may also cloak the area of finances. Pastors may make brazen appeals for money, yet offer no assurance that the finances of the church are handled with accountability and integrity.
I have actually heard pastors tell their congregations that the financial decisions of the church do not become a public matter because "the congregation doesn't have the spiritual insight or maturity to understand the dynamics of church finances." Have you heard this line of reasoning?
Some pastors actually preach, "It doesn’t matter what we do with your money. Your responsibility is simply to give." However, the Bible commands us to be good stewards -- and part of good stewardship is making sure that proper systems of accountability are established to handle tithes and offerings. (See 1 Peter 4:10.)
It is very simple -- money represents power. Ultimately, control comes down to issues of power. Therefore, it should be no surprise that controlling leaders will use unbiblical means to manipulate people into giving.
As good stewards, when we become aware of financial mismanagement, we are responsible for where we sow our financial seed. I can't imagine anyone choosing to continue to give money after becoming aware of the misuse of funds. However, if the approval of those in leadership is more important to a person than financial integrity, that person might still feel compelled to give -- even if misuse of funds was involved.
An Elitist Attitude
The deadly trait of elitism produces an "us and them" mentality. A church with an elitist attitude believes "no one else is really preaching the gospel" except that church. Or at least, no one is preaching it as effectively as they are!
An elitist spirit discourages church members from visiting other churches or receiving counsel from anyone who doesn't attend their church. If anyone visits another church, he is viewed as a dissident.
"Everything you need can be found within the framework of our group," this spirit says, adding, "Everything you need to know, you will receive from the pastor and his teachings." Consequently, there is little respect, if any, for other denominations or church groups.
One individual, in speaking about the elitist attitude within his church, said, "Although we didn't come right out and say it, in our innermost hearts we really felt there was no place like our assembly. We thought the rest of Christianity was out to lunch."
Another man from the same church said, "When a well-known evangelical speaker was preaching in another church in the area, the leaders would discourage us from attending. Also, if the leaders found out that members were considering visiting another church for any reason, they were called in and chastised. 'You don't need to be going to those other churches,' they would tell us. 'The ministry here is rich enough. Isn't the Lord feeding you here?'"
A healthy church respects and celebrates the other expressions of Christ's many-membered body. A Jesus-centered church realizes that no one denomination or local church can win a city, regardless of how large it is. Christ-centered leaders who are clothed with humility recognize that the small church is as significant as the large church, the Baptists are as vital as the Charismatics, and every racial group has a place at the Lord's table.
A healthy church will promote other churches in the city, rather than simply promoting its own events and agendas all the time. A healthy church will promote spiritual renewal in all churches rather than further the idea that it has some kind of doctrinal superiority. A healthy church will exude the attitude described in Philippians 2:3-4:"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also the interests of others."
© 2001 Mike Fehlauer. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Mike Fehlauer's book, Exposing Spiritual Abuse.

29 comments:

TLA said...

One of the big appeals to me of WCG was that everyone would have their chance of salvation.
Only a few of us would be saved now, but everyone else would have their opportunity later. But we were under the penalty of death if we dared to leave.
Now that I am no longer under the exclusivity cloud, it raises the big question - what happens to everyone after death. There are many different religions plus atheism.
Maybe Dennis is right - this is all there is.
Very few people who believe in the afterlife are in a hurry to get there except for those who want to kill as many people as possible to get their imagined reward.

Near_Earth_Object said...

Diehl's post is an insightful assessment of Armstrongism and other similar denominations. He did skirt around the edges of one of the pillars of Armstrongism: The Caste System. This is the Caste System as applied to the denomination's internal structure. This was the fundamental doctrine taught at Ambassador College - the founding principle of its educational mission, the principle that then pervaded and impelled the denomination.

Diehl cited: Philippians 2:3-4:"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also the interests of others."

Ambassador College taught the blatant antithesis of this principle. It is not surprising that someone who was indoctrinated at Ambassador College would not see this driving principle in sharp relief.

Near_Earth_Object said...

"Why as an atheist would you care about people attending a healthy church?"

Diehl's post then focuses on the pathology of Armstrongism and touches only lightly on this central question. The answer to this question is that it is his nature to do so. This is a tautology - kind of like saying "I do it because I do it."

Atheism has a huge problem with the topic of morality. On another blog years ago I stated that atheists were amoral - after all how can believers in a mechanistic and materialist universe tease out any kind of guiding principle from all of this impersonal physicalism. Even the mind, they contend, is a product of chemical reactions and every thought is just a brain fart. The atheists who were following the blog that day were hotly incensed. Their assertion was that they were moral without having to resort to the crutch of a Bible or to the authority of a fictitious god - hence, they held the philosophical high ground.

What the atheists failed to recognize was that their argument for godless morality supported nicely C.S. Lewis' Appeal to Morality as a proof of theism.

Dennis has given us a pretty good description of an unhealthy church and in the process presumes many points of morality that he feels that we must all agree on for some unconsidered reason. I suppose if we were all materialists we would cheer Dennis on with shouts of "fart away."

Tonto said...

VOTE FOR TONTO FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020!

My primary position in my platform is for FULL REPARATIONS for all who attended an Armstrongism COG.

My campaign slogan??... " WE WANT TONTO - PRONTO !"

Anonymous said...

Dennis good post.
Hope you are getting settled in SC. Give us an update on SC. All the best to you.
Jim-AZ

DennisCDiehl said...

Jim-AZ Getting settled really well and thanks for asking Jim. Stopped in LA for a bit of business and then lunch with Gary (this Blog owner) and Gerald Bronkar. A great time was had by all. We did wonder what would be said if we all died in the car! lol Then on to Meteor Crater where I was able to sit through sunrise over the crater with not a living soul around. Impressive and amazing place. Then the dash to SC. Start up work again this coming Sunday full time and hopefully can work out receiving the higher of mine vs my former wife who passed away at the end of the last year. Back with ___________ again after a decade and we both are in therapeutic massage so occasionally can work together when I am not at the clinic etc. More content than ever and at peace.

NEO I get more than you think I do. Sorry I can't explain it all to your satisfaction. I don't agree with some of your generalizations but that is endless with all of us on Banned. I have explained my personal views in ministry enough. I was not indoctrinated by AC. I simply ignored the people who acted as if they didn't know what being a genuine pastor and helper of their supposed WCG joy was.

The idea that those who don't believe in morality or have no basis for it without a god is pure bullshit but a predictable apologetic from the religious. Perhaps they might go morally nuts but no one I know as atheists do that ever. They might not abide by the should nots and must nots of religion but they are fine moral people without being commanded to be so. Tis a big topic but the concept, while oft thrown at atheists, is bogus.

For some, the fear of punishment or reward from the Deity may be what they need to keep on a straight and narrow path, but that seems more a function of their own inner values than or lack of them. I also don't find the average normal functioning human being to be deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know them nor do I find my atheist friends full of vanity, jealousy, lust and greed because they don't have the threat of "or else" hanging over them.

DennisCDiehl said...

What I mean NEO is that your observations were not my personal experiences nor my way of thinking as the person I am. That is reflected in growing up in a very balanced home and religious atmosphere before coming to AC/WCG. I know the caste stuff was how some others viewed them selves and I have many examples of minister acquaintances that I could not relate to or agree with in their way of doing and being with their church and members.

I recall John Ritenbaugh telling me, when I was wearing sunglasses playing ball in charlotte when pastoring that sunglasses were not to be worn because "the eye is the light to the body" and it blocked light. Stupid beyond measure I know but you have to know I chuckled and of course thought that was not exactly a topic for ministerial opinion to inflict on others. But then this is a guy who gave 30+ consecutive sermons on HOW to keep the Sabbath so you can see anality was his way evidently.

The simple line between pastoring to encourage, teach and shepherd whatever that might mean and "mind your own business" was not one anyone took time to educate minister on to my knowledge. My mind my own business was rather liberal and and "what do you think you should do?" an oft asked question on my part to members in my care. You know, whatever is not of faith is sin too...

Anonymous said...

I recall John Ritenbaugh telling me, when I was wearing sunglasses playing ball in charlotte when pastoring that sunglasses were not to be worn because "the eye is the light to the body" and it blocked light.

...at which point, had I been in your place, I would have spent the next evening looking through old church publications for a photo of GTA on a hunting or fishing expedition, wearing... sunglasses! "John, are you in rebellion against HQ, or do you just have a Pharisaic stick up your butt?"

Anonymous said...

Is there a single author on this site who is not either an open atheist or a closet atheist?

Near_Earth_Object said...

I do believe atheists may have a moral code. Anyone may adopt a moral code. All without the benefit of god. That is not the issue. The issue centers on why atheists would want to do that or even be able to do that - as if it were some built-in capability.

Atheists should actually be amoral, if they are good atheists. Adopting a moral position is alien to their ideals philosophically. Mechanistic materialism admits of no classes of behavior that have moral content. Molecules are amoral. It is somewhat like asking if a robot can be moral. Yes, a robot can be moral if some moral person programs it to be - like Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics. Anything that an atheist decides is a moral principle has etiology as a brain fart according to the materialist view. Not an impressive credential.

And when atheists adopt a morality, they adopt the same morality, a kind of natural pragmatic law, that is recognized by most of humanity - don't steal, don't kill, in short, treat others well. Theoretically, atheists have some semblance of free will and can choose whatever behaviors they want to follow from the unlimited possibilities that mechanistic materialism affords them but oddly they do not make that choice. This could go on. The rest of it is in Book One of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

Anonymous said...

@12:57p - makes me wonder how Ritenbaugh made blind people feel.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that Paul wrote in Romans that everyone knows that there is a God (though they don't want to acknowledge it) and they all have the law of God written in their hearts. Ethicists call this natural law. This explains how most major religions and cultures seem to have many of the same moral values and laws. My understanding is that God wants all to be saved, though not everyone will be. If someone acknowledges that there is a God and as an act of faith follows the laws written in his heart, he is saved. He's not saved by knowledge or by doing works, but it is the faith that motivates the works that is key. In Developmental Psychology it is said that 70% of the conceptions never make it to a live birth. Many who are born die in infancy and childhood. Some have intellectual disabilities or mental illness. Some never heard of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob or heard the Gospel or the name of Jesus. How could any of them be saved? I think that they only people who are lost are those who knowingly and willfully reject the light that they have. Others can be saved based on how they respond to the light that they have. After all, are we not told that we are saved by grace through faith, not of works, or knowledge (as the Gnostics taught). God the father would not send his son to be a part of a very exclusivist plan of salvation where only a small percentage of people had the chance to be saved. To do so would give Satan a huge victory. When I was a staff officer in the Army the commander might tell us what his intentions were. Then, under the direction of the Chief of Staff the staff officer would put together some courses of action for the commander to consider. He then picks one and the staff goes off to work out the details. Imagine if God told His angels that he wants a plan of salvation put together where most people could be saved. The angels returned a few weeks later and present one proposal that the only people who could be saved are those who survived to adulthood, heard the Gospel, were members of a particular church, who obeyed all the laws, submitted to the leadership, etc. God then might ask, "What market share would be get with this proposal?" "About four percent" comes the answer. God them might ask, "Do you expect me to send my Son to die for a single digit market share? Didn't I tell you that I would like to see all people saved?" Who has another options for me to consider?

Anonymous said...

"In essence, their personal fellowship with the Lord has been abdicated for a relationship with a man." --- Isn't this true of all religion? Isn't all religion a matter of some people informing other people of the intentions and preferences of the Almighty?

Anonymous said...

NEO
There are atheists who are moral, and many are more moral than so called Christians. Their line of reasoning is that the purpose of a moral code is the preservation of life and the achievement of success. It's the same reason Christ gave for healing on the Sabbath. Some of these atheistic philosophies have a far superior map of reality than Christian denominations. This is because today's Protestant Christianity is riddled with commie social justice. This isn't obvious to most church going Christians since it's papered over with bible verses and blends in with todays socialist western culture.
Which is why today's Christianity is silent on rights, assertiveness, self interest and profit. Not only are they silent on these concepts, but they constantly make snipping attacks on these. For instance, constant rants against "selfish ambition." Where is legitimate ambition? Isn't seeking the kingdom and the best eternal reward possible, ambition?? What we have today is Comrad Christianity, with only some atheists seeing through the deception.

Al Dexter said...


I have to chuckle over the assertion that atheists have no morals when I see the total lack of morals and natural human compassion in so many of the religious. The "Bible Belt" reeks of it. It's the reason we have a criminal president and much of congress is a gangland cesspool. Religious people put them all where they are and blindly support them because their morality is too often a baseless façade of hypocrisy.

nck said...

I didn't read all the comments in depth.

Just too quick observations.
A) It has been rumored that "NEO's Class System culture" only entered wcg after its 1960 AC expansion to England.

Most literature before that shows HWA to have been an extreme American "liberal democrat" in many regards, like the possibility of "starting a new separate church" or government articles or the regular church hymns next to the dwight hymnal.

I guess the input off the british or the meredith leadership enforced stricter racial interpretation of us&b in prophecy then the broader hwa painti ng. HWA wrote with the (american) intention to embrace the "entire world", while great britains culture was aimed to "hold fast" to a crumbling collapsing empire. This last culture pervaded wcg. However not all wcg congregations were led by ac graduates or even liked a particular british worldview and embraced more of the american view straight from hwas writings. Regardless HWA was an "imperialist" albeit an american imperialist.

B)
Now regarding morality.
NEO touches an important issue that is being researched for the sake of self learning algorythms or artificial intelligence.

We will soon find out IF "THE ROBOTS" will enter a war of the worlds. OR wether the robots will learn through machine learning that it is no good to destroy the robots that make their spare parts. And develop some sort of morality that would be shocking to NEO.

To have robots write articles in a magazine called Quest on "the innocent pigmee" all moral in the woods far from depraved city slickers.

Perhaps rational deduction by the robots will find that man should be eliminated because they produce carbon gas.

Perhaps AI cannot learn this on its own and make use of previous gathered data that is FULL of human bias.

Perhaps man is full of Gods bias in its behavior. How do you expect a "being" to leave instructions for "man" , while the only data that was available to that being had to do with collapsing solar systems, black holes sucking in galaxies distances between multiple galaxies or dimensions.

Perhaps the bible can be explained though through the prism that god had studied and observed the Neanderthal love life, mating and meal time discussions for a million years.

.........After studying the data carefully he must have decided somewhere along the road to create Cindy Crawford or Brigitte Bardot.

I love self learning algorythms. And the underlying moral bias of their decisions.

THE AGE OLD QUESTION IN THE END IS. WHAT WILL TOUR TESLA DECIDE IN A QUICK SECOND. DRIVE OVER THE TODDLER OR SLAM YOU INTO THE WALL AND SPEED UP IN THE PROCESS.

What your Tesla has learned through accessing your data WILL decide your live. :-):-)

Perhaps NEO might choose to ride horse in the future.

Nck

Byker Bob said...

I ride a horse! Of course, it’s a steel one, but at least it doesn’t crap all over the place.

BB

Anonymous said...

NEO, atheists "must" present (fool themselves) themselves as having a moral code, they must strive to look better than christians. Do better works of charity, proclaim how much better their world view is. They love the loonies who call themselves christian because that's free ammunition in their arsenal.

Forget the fact that if there were no religious (any religion) codes in the world there'd be no moral code. Survival of the fittest, law of the jungle, might is right, pecking order, etc. ect.

The unprovable idea that a society demands a moral code with or without religion must consider the possibility of whether a society could ever come to exist in a survival of the fittest, law of the jungle, atmosphere. I highly doubt it.

I don't need to hear about all the wars fought in the name of religion, or all the atrocities that have occurred in the name of religion since it hasn't been proven whether those occur because of religion or simply because of human nature. That view holds as much water as another atheist claim that if you're raised in a christian society then you'll become christian.

Near_Earth_Object said...

These are cliched responses of the sort: "Atheists can be moral and are even better people than some Christians." I do not challenge this statement. I know some moral atheists. I know some bad Christians. This is not a big trend. But this is the typical response of atheists. This has nothing to do with the central thesis.

The central thesis is that there is a moral condition that humans possess naturally and inherently, be they theist or atheist. The fact that atheists may possess morality without any connection to god supports this understanding. The source of that moral condition transcends any explanations derived from naturalism or materialism or eliminativism. Why these philosophies? They are the typical philosophies that atheists proffer in lieu of theism as the way to interpret reality.

Within the materialist context, Darwinian natural selection is the shaping force behind human development. Yet there is no evidence (for Diehl who places high value on evidence) that natural selection is focused on individual or social morality. It is focused on survival of the individual so he/she can reproduce. Some have offered scenarios that seek to describe how natural selection might produce a deliberative, circumspect, rational consideration of ethical options in human behavior. But these are all presuppositional and stretch natural selection beyond what it can actually do (for Diehl who places a high value on evidence).

Human consciousness is a huge problem for atheists (see Mind and Cosmos by Dr. Thomas Nagel, an atheist philosopher - evidence again). And morality is an advanced function within the boundaries of human consciousness.

Another way of putting this is to observe that Bart Ehrman does not believe in god. But he believes that Jesus got it right when he emphasized love (refer to NPR interview of Ehrman). If materialism be true, how can Ehrman know what "right" is.

nck said...

Of course you do Byker.
Perhaps that CC poster, in denim shorts in the shed too?

Regarding her DNA, she's a descendant of charlemain too like a hundred million others.

Nck

TLA said...

HWA documented quite clearly he was a failed businessman . Every venture he tried besides religion, ended up in failure.
Then HWA found the religion business model where everything flowed up the pyramid to the top.
He died in the money.
Did he really care if Joe was a good successor? He had already discard his family.
Did HWA really believe what he taught?

Anonymous said...

NEO said: "The fact that atheists may possess morality without any connection to god supports this understanding."


Unfortunately that "fact" can never be proven because from the earliest times a belief in a god has existed. In this world it's impossible to have "no connection" with the idea of a god.

Perhaps in a world far, far, away, where no concept of a god has ever existed, it might be possible to find out if humans, without religion, can be moral beings. I highly doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Bart Ehrman's claim is that he doesn't know if a god exists. That the christian god, as he understands it, can not exist in his mind because what kind of "all knowing" and "all loving" god can allow all this suffering if he has the power to stop it.

He's never been shown the possibility that god made us so that we can learn to hate sin and in order to learn that we must suffer the consequences of sin. What if he really is a god who has an awesome future in store for us but in order to give us that we must build character? The suffering would have to be compared side by side with the possible potential of the future. Since we don't really know what that potential is, how can we judge god, if that really is what he's doing?

I'm not saying this is definately what's going on down here below, for there's no way to absolutely prove that. But if it is correct it's not something that I want to question just because I'm unable to fathom it in this life. If it's not correct, then when I die it won't matter either way.

What I do know is that with this "belief" that I have, I have no need for a church organization, nor a man to follow.

So without a man or an organization telling me what I must do, or trying to steal my money or time, just who is my above mentioned belief hurting?

Anonymous said...

Near_Earth_Object said...
"These are cliched responses..."

Yet NEO stirred the pot and kicked off the debate with the most cliched comment of them all, a cliche that he enjoys rehashing over and over:

"On another blog years ago I stated that atheists were amoral..."

Don't know what gives ignorant NEO the idea he knows the first thing about atheists or agnostics. All he does is display his ignorance over and over again and seems incapable of learning anything. The more people try to explain it to him, the more he doubles down on his ignorance. Why bother?

Anonymous said...


Why the hostility towards NEO for using the word amoral?

There's a difference between amoral and immoral.

Click here


Seems your response is more proof that atheists want to be seen as more moral than christians whether they really are or not, and getting defensive merely strengthens the idea that it's all for show.

Anonymous said...

Why the baseless assumption that my pushback was solely in regards to NEO's use of the word amoral?

And it seems you have no idea that there's a difference between denotation and connotation.

Your response is more proof of the ignorance I was talking about.

Anonymous said...

1:05pm So your pushback wasn't because of the use of the word amoral but you pushed back because of NEO assuming that he knows atheists or agnostics. Much like you assuming you know Christians I guess. Obviously you never were one, though you hung out with us, so what makes you an expert on Christians more than NEO an expert on God deniers?I

As I said, an atheist's morality is merely for show in the hopes of showing themselves better than christians. I know, I know, you'll disagree. So what, facts are facts.

Anonymous said...

1:05pm Is that how intelligence works? Anyone disagreeing with you is automatically labelled "ignorant"? Ok, got it!

Anonymous said...

A conversation between 10:39am and himself 1:05pm:

You're ignorant.

No, you're ignorant.

You're ignorance is palpable.

Maybe so, but you're ignorant.

So says the ignoramus.