Thursday, February 10, 2011

An Angry Reader Responds

Sent: 2/10/2011 12:02:12 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
Subj: your hwa banned blog
I've been reading your 'anti-armstrong/no-god' blog for some weeks, following the UCG-COGaWa debacle, and since you're into highly original comments, here's one I bet you haven't heard (1000 times yet):

Psalms 14:1  ... The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

This pretty much sums up your blog....foolish, bitter, myopic, predictable, rambling, and often typographically-challenged (lots of misspellings)....

Even with all the mutual 'crap' you've compiled from myriad other myopic self-promoting vilifiers, your personal scope of the entire HWA-WCG experience can never be more than very minuscule, personal and hopelessly arbitrary.

Even if what little you say about HWA and the WCG and splinters is basically true, the remaining 99.999% of the unfathomable experience goes completely much for minimal accuracy (less than 0.001%) and objectivity. You should reconsider such a colossal blunder of short-sightedness; its as if you are STILL operating like a WCG minister.

To live a life of no hope (atheism) is miserable compared to an active life of FAITH.  When a believer is in trouble he cries out "O 'God,' help me!"  And when he is eventually saved, he is thankful.  What do you cry out?  "Oh God" or "G. D. it," I'm sure....because you can't completely wipe out the pre-programmed knowledge of the Creator from your mental ROM, can you? Because HWA didn't put THAT there.

Since no one will know that there is "god," until he sees him in the flesh or dies (no I didn't just contradict myself), a wise man chooses to believe in the Creator rather than not.  He reasons that the positive benefits of a life of FAITH greatly outweigh the crushing loneliness, purposelessness and bitterness that always accompany ATHEISM.  And if there turns out to be no 'god' in the end, it was still a greatly improved life. If there is 'god,' then the 'unprofitable servant' goes into an unimaginable bonus round.

Yet, so what if there's no reward after this life? If you're doing it for the reward, is that agape love? or, like all the self-seeking folks you describe in your blog, just for personal gain?  FAITH in the Creator is a worthwhile mindset even without the resurrection, pal.

The bottom-line question for me: is the m.o.of your blog really any better than that of the people whose actions you consistently paint as diabolical, stupid, and clueless?  Are you not doing the same thing that you did when you were a WCG minister? Then what a waste of time if you believe what you blog....

Because, like Job (another guy who thought he had this 'god thing' figured out), you might actually be WRONG about all this 'religion is big business' and 'the opium of the people' stuff.

For me, if a life of great joy, accomplishment, and worthwhile experiences, plus agony, long sadness, hard times and tragedy (most of which was my own fault) has not dimmed my faith in the Creator, how could your little toxic blip of a blog possibly hope to make a dent in anyone else's? 

If there is "god," you're still serving his purpose in another way without knowing it. If there is no "god," then you're still blogging about NOTHING after all these years and that every single day.

Again, what a waste of life....why not tell us about your stamp collection or how you felt when you first became a father?  Contributing something positive to the aggregate....

"A-dios!" whoops, sorry, "A-nihilos, amigo!"

FYI Juan:

I don't expect you or anyone else to agree with what is posted on this blog. One of the main problems with Armstrongism is that people checked their brains when they were baptized or whenever they read the latest booklet put out by one of the various "One and ONLY True Ministers of God left on earth today." 

The Armstrongite thought process only involves the 'revealed word of HWA, Meredith, Flurry, or some other leader who has interpreted the Bible according to THEIR viewpoint.  The members of these churches are expected to follow THEIR rulings and doctrines.  Reading other literature, theology books or writings done by non-COG members is frowned upon and blatantly forbidden by some.  Questioning is NOT an option in Armstrongism.  It wasn't under HWA at any point in time.  It still is not under Meredith, Flurry, Hulme, Pack, Cox, etc.

Real spiritual seekers continually ask questions, and have no problem in wrestling with scripture and doctrine   If you truly believe the Bible stories you read you would quickly see that many of  those men and women wrestled with, argued with and bargained with their God. You would see that more than 5 different writers contributed to Genesis.  That there were several authors to Isaiah, that many of the days and traditions kept by the Israelites were patterned after neighboring 'pagan' peoples, that James and Paul argued over who knew Jesus the best and how to interpret his word.  You would know that much of the Bible is myth and allegory. And, if you knew the meaning of myth and not today's meaning you would find value in these stories even though they aren't literal.  You would also know that the Bible tells the story of messy people, living messy lives who never quit got it right. It is not a story about people living lives of perfection or constantly having to DO the right thing.

I spent over 45 years in Armstrongism.  I was two when my mother joined and we drove 150 each way to church.  Grew up in the church, came to its Pasadena campus, worked for the church and even work in HWA's home for close to 15 years.  I can tell you stories that make anything posted here look like nursery rhymes.

I am not angry with the church.  There were some good times to be had.  I would never have traveled around the world like I have if it wasn't for the church.  However, there is regret for the lost and wasted years, the lost opportunities and a screwed up faith that was damaged by the cultish irrelvent nonsense of Herbert Armstrong and his minions.  I learned a long time ago to laugh and and have fun with the crap we all put up with.  That is the only way you can retain your sanity. Those of us that have recovered  from the filth now don't want to see others hurt by it.  So we post the silly happenings, the arrogant words, and  the lies of the various splinter cults and their leaders so it is all in black and white for the world to see.

Yet through it all, I never lost that spark that keeps me coming back to God.  That's why I am a lay minister in a local church, serve in numerous ways in the church and in the community.  I would much rather surround myself with agnostics, atheists and those that question their beliefs than those who are so mind numbingly close minded they refuse to use their brains.

I may not agree with everything Dennis writes, but the majority I do.  Those things that I don't agree with I look at as a new way of looking at things I had never thought about before.  I may not agree, but I do allow it to cause me to think.

Dennis is more than welcome to post there.  When he can jar the minds of those entrenched in the ethically and morally bankrupt churches of Armstrongism then he is welcome to post any damn time he wants.

This includes the other people that send me information too!



Goober said...

I've heard scientists refer to their sudden dislike and distrust of religion as their "road to Galápagos" moment, a turn of phrase from the biblical Damascus moment for Saul.

Over time,through the process of aging, some scientists regret their youthful, radical perceptions of God that they once subscribed to. They soften their personal beliefs after seeing the foolishness or wisdom of their choices.

Time and experience opens them up to a premise of a higher power as they near the certainty of their death. They certainly witnessed enough evil and good to understand there is such concepts at work.

I heard one ask, "What if Richard Dawkins is as much a huckster as the smoothest televangelist? What if die like Nietzsche? They can't save me if they are proved false."

And so it goes for people that suddenly realize religion is another name for politics. They are so overwhelmed with the deceit, greed, and lust that they suddenly hate what they once loved. It is their Galápagos moment. Problem with a Galápagos moment is that you lose sight of the purpose of life, and the good in humanity, religion, and morality.

Conversely, a Damascus moment will make you lose sight of the good in the sciences, or competing creeds.

Reason dictates that we consider alternatives to our perceived realities. Logic dictates that we learn from the experiences of ourselves and others. Creeds give a quick guide to wisdom. Sciences explain the temporal world. A smart person will work in all media of wisdom and leave none to chance.

Anonymous said...

Gary and Goober, you exlain the process accurately.

I have not "enjoyed" this journey. Someone told me "you know we write our own script before we incarnate." Aside from wondering about if we do or not, I told him, "Then next time I am going to suggest there be no drinking as I would have had to be drunk to write this one."

The last decade has been very difficult and I wish I had been younger to have more energy to go through it. Relationships have failed, I suspect due my ever thinking mindful stress and depression.

Aside from the mental experience, WCG has left me and many good guys who meant well stranded with a pat on the head and a hearty, "be warmed and be filled," for what we thought was the right thing to do and way to be. The Tkaches did nothing for anyone in later years save for themselves and mostly their Imperial school cronies.

May the Karma Fairy pay them a visit.

I have wrestled with anxiety and occasional panic in seeing things as they seem to be and the fact that life really does seem about 15 minutes long.

I feel very badly about a failed marriage (My parents just celebrated their 72nd) and about the physical and perhaps a bit of psychological distance between myself and sons at times. I may be imagining that but that's me

Of course, everyone of these experiences plague Christians, Buddhists, Jews and New Agers too.

I don't often quote "Cher" but once she said, "My life has not been fact it has been downright messy at times. But it is just me, doing the best I can." (or close to that)

I quietly took antidepressants when pastoring because of all the drama in WCG and no way to stop it. I got counseling outside WCG at the same time just to cope with watching the disconnect go on and on. I also encouraged members to do the same if they needed to.

I also realize that I am just one person with one experience but sharing it helps me grow through. My hope is that the consciousness behind my eyes and in my head is a spirit trapped in a limmited five sensed carbon based wetsuit. I like that concept. I's not in the Bible, or is it?

Thanks Gary for allowing me to be helpful. That is my intention. I know you know more about it all than most can possibly imagine and I thank you.


My minister friends and many congregants noted that "you are always ahead of your times," and "You say things I am only thinking." The latter ususally at ministerial luncheons after Festival sermons or after my debate in Dallas last year where I debated Art Mokarrow before one of the spliinter churches. There is a price for both those qualities.

Anyway,I also talk too much :)

Sory if ey have missspelled enything.

Douglas Becker said...

Herbert Armstrong was abusive.

Herbert Armstrong set up an abusive system.

The Armstrongist venue is one of abusive dysfunction built on fantasy: The main fantasy was that Herbert Armstrong was the most important person to have ever lived.

Herbert Armstrong supplanted God.

I have been attending Sabbath keeping churches with my wife and attended Feasts with those who have never been tainted by Herbert Armstrong, the heretic who rebelled against the Church of God Seventh Day in his arrogance. It has taken years to extricate ourselves from the idolatry of abuse Herbert Armstrong set up.

Herbert Armstrong brought the lie of British Israelism to the masses and then fashioned his false prophecies from it, not unlike being an L. Ron Hubbard founding a Sabbath Keeping Dianetics Scientology with the Science Fiction of an alternative earth history. Herbert Armstrong brought insanity to the earth through his psychotic delusions.

If you want people to be angry, lie to them.

If you want people to be furious with you, tell the truth.

Being against Herbert Armstrong is to be against the precepts of Satan the Devil, who transformed himself into a minister of life but was a whiten sepulcher full of dean men's bones -- a false prophet, a ravening wolf in sheep's clothing.

So here's a challenge: Look at II Timothy 3:1-5 and explain to us all why you defy the very Word of God -- "from such turn away".

Your wickedness in not accepting the truth has led you into superstitious slavery and it is evident, juan who knows nothing, in your holier than thou attitude that you are not listening to the judgments of God, otherwise you would turn from your evil wickedness.

Meanwhile, you might consider, you juan who knows nothing, your own abusive behavior as the sin of the cesspool in which you are so comfortable to continue wallowing.

Anonymous said...

If it helps...I just finished a corporate chair massage gig and a rather homeless type approached me in the parking lot, telling me he was honest and didn't have a gun and would stay away if I wanted, but could I give him some money etc. I called him over, said "sure, here" and gave him a wade of ones. We hugged, and before I got back in care I got a text from an unscheduled client who paid me much more than I gave away...


Norm said...

Perhaps Juanwhoknows tried to pray away Dennis' posts, and when they didn't go away he resorted to his angry post.

In other words, perhaps he found Dennis' post on the subject of prayer to be correct, and all he could do short of freaking out about it was writing what he did.

Casey Wollberg said...

Juan is beneath contempt, but this Goober has made some remarks that don't pass muster with an atheist like me.

First, he uses weasely language like, "some scientists." Which ones? And how do they stack up to the "some scientists" who do not report such experiences? In truth, atheistic views are overrepresented among scientists and this has been trending upward for almost a century.

Goober claims that "time and experience opens them up to a premise of a higher power as they near the certainty of their death." Of course he cites no references for this claim. Christians are especially fond of fabricating death-bed conversion stories for prominent non-Christians. It seems to be one of their favorite forms of lying for Jesus.

I don't even know what to make of this:

"What if Richard Dawkins is as much a huckster as the smoothest televangelist? What if die like Nietzsche? They can't save me if they are proved false."

The only part that makes sense is ludicrous. Dawkins doesn't evangelize unsupportable nonsense like your Sunday preacher, he merely popularizes verifiable facts and solid arguments. To conflate the two activities is a staggeringly stupid false equivalence.

"They are so overwhelmed with the deceit, greed, and lust that they suddenly hate what they once loved."

Another common tactic. Religious types can't conceive of any other motivation but emotional urges, so they project these onto apostates. In my experience, people reject religion because they have carefully examined the evidence and have found religion and its claims to have failed the test of inquiry.

"Problem with a Galápagos moment is that you lose sight of the purpose of life, and the good in humanity, religion, and morality."

This is a particularly pernicious slander commonly heard out of the presumptuous mouths of anti-atheist bigots everywhere. The idea that good can only come from an imaginary friend is outrageous on its face, but to pretend that non-believers are somehow morally inadequate is beyond the pale. Where are the crime statistics supporting this bald assumption? They don't exist, of course.

Listen, goober, these things are human conventions. We make our own purpose and morality is deeply rooted in the good earth of nature and nurture. Everything good comes up from the mud, not down from the sky. We who know this fact are no less capable of appreciating and bearing the weight of the human condition than those who are ignorant of it. And I challenge any of you to find a real life atheist who is ethically inferior to you. Good luck.

Goober leaves us with one final proviso: "Creeds give a quick guide to wisdom." Who knows what he means by this, but I will say that wisdom doesn't come from creeds and it doesn't come quick. Wisdom is hard-won by experience. And my experience has shown me that believers will always perform the most amazing feats of projection and deceit in order to make themselves feel more comfortable with a fragile faith that is rightly threatened from all sides. This reaction often comes in the form of slandering atheists. And I tell you, we don't deserve it.

Goober said...


I wrote "some scientists" because it is an observation I found with "some scientists" in a group of scientists that were all agnostic or atheists in one forum I was a member of. It is not intended as an all or nothing statement of all scientists, or all atheists, or all experiences on all forums. If I wrote ALL all the time, you would no doubt read me the riot act with just cause.

I stand corrected: You have read me the riot act for the use of the term "some" in my observations, without just cause.

As for the phrase "road to Galápagos moment," that was an observation made by an older, mellower atheist, who happened to be a scientist (though not all scientists are atheists nor all atheist scientists nor all so mellow as this fellow).

But you see Casey, if I wrote like that we'd be here all day. You may enjoy wrestling with the nuances and minutiae of semantics but I have better things to do with my time. I am, after all, writing in a little comment box on a blog in the middle of nowhere.

As to the reason why the man used the phrase "road to Galápagos," it was a consequence of a question I asked thus AS A PRACTICING ATHEIST: Why do I admire "some" atheists as kindhearted, quiet, scholarly, humble, charitable, considerate, temperate, and balanced individuals (including the man whom I questioned) while I conversely despise the company of boastful, hateful, bitter, and spiteful atheists?

I think the Galápagos/Damascus metaphor he gave me has proven exceptionally correct in my life and observations(see also my original posting).

As it turned out, I had my fill of the latter form of atheists at the forum. Bullying thumpers and so-called cretards was one thing (and easy sport), but as time progressed, the little Eichmanns turned on other atheists with their endless arguments and cruel tactics. So, I bid my atheist "friends" goodbye, and set out on my own course for understanding.

As a result of this experience, and other personal experiences I don't wish to share, I returned to a belief in God (but not as I knew God prior to my Galápagos/Damascus moments).

But I never forgot the kindness and wisdom of my atheist friends and teachers whom I admired, nor the cruelty of the atheists that acted as little Eichmanns as they wrestled through their Galápagos moments on that ONE forum.

Thank you for clarifying, and allowing me to clarify "some" of my experiences, with your illustrious comments, as well as my own.

Casey Wollberg said...

"But you see Casey, if I wrote like that we'd be here all day. You may enjoy wrestling with the nuances and minutiae of semantics but I have better things to do with my time. I am, after all, writing in a little comment box on a blog in the middle of nowhere."

It's not that hard to be precise, goober. But I understand: it's easier on your position if you can talk about it with broad, sweeping generalizations--like saying "scientists" (plural) when you are referring to one person claiming to be a scientist on an Internet forum. Meanwhile the actual data suggest quite a different scenario to the one you are championing.

"Why do I admire "some" atheists as kindhearted, quiet, scholarly, humble, charitable, considerate, temperate, and balanced individuals (including the man whom I questioned) while I conversely despise the company of boastful, hateful, bitter, and spiteful atheists?"

The answer, of course, is revealed in the descriptions you chose. You admire those atheists who don't talk too much about their atheism, who are "quiet" and "humble". You like them because they don't remind you of the fact your beliefs are unsupportable. Those that do you malign with terms like "hateful" and "bitter." That is surely your emotional reaction to their arguments, but it is not justified to call someone names because you can't defeat them in a debate. And this is what you're doing. And, to me, that's spiteful and arrogant to say the least.

Here's the rub. Atheists are people. Okay? You don't serve the purpose of clarity by lumping them into two categories (quiet atheists and bad atheists) based on what is convenient to you. Going so far as to slander them because they dare to argue their positions passionately (even amongst each other, gods forbid!) only reveals your own paucity of humanity and an intolerance for ideas that make you uncomfortable.

Still not convinced you're wrong? Try this on for size:

All theists who try to support their theism with arguments are arrogant, stupid, and dictatorial, like a bunch of uppity little Eichmanns running around the Internet. They're nothing like those respectable theists who keep their mouths shut and defer to atheists when it comes to the question of God's existence.

See how that doesn't work?

Now when are you going to take back your petty aspersions?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't make much of the following, but it just so happens that a friend sent this to me yesterday:

Jake, the rancher, went one day
To fix a distant fence.
The wind was cold and gusty
And the clouds rolled gray and dense.

As he pounded the last staples in
And gathered tools to go,
The temperature had fallen,
And snow began to blow.

When he finally reached his pickup,
He felt a heavy heart.
From the sound of that ignition
He knew it wouldn't start.

So Jake did what most of us
Would do if we were there.
He humbly bowed his balding head
And sent aloft a prayer.

As he turned the key the last time,
He softly cursed his luck
They found him three days later,
Frozen stiff in that old truck.

Now Jake had been around in life
And done his share of roaming.
But when he saw Heaven, he was shocked --
It looked just like Wyoming !

Of all the saints in Heaven,
His favorite was St. Peter .
So they sat and talked a minute or two,
Or maybe it was three.
Nobody was keeping' score --
In Heaven, time is free.

'I've always heard,' Jake said to Pete ,
'that God will answer prayers,
But the one time I asked for help,
Well, he just wasn't there.'

'Does God answer prayers of some,
And ignore the prayers of others?
That don't seem exactly square --
I know all men are brothers.'

'Or does he randomly reply,
Without good rhyme or reason?
Maybe, it's the time of day,
The weather or the season.'

'Now I ain't trying to act smart,
It's just the way I feel.
And I was wondering', could you tell me
What the heck's the deal?!'

Peter listened very patiently
And when Jake was done,
There were smiles of recognition,
And he said, 'So, you're the one!!'

That day your truck, it wouldn't start,
And you sent your prayer a flying,
You gave us all a real bad time,
With hundreds of us trying.'

'A thousand angels rushed,
To check the status of your file,
But you know, Jake , we hadn't heard
From you in quite a while.'

'And though all prayers are answered,
And God ain't got no quota,
He didn't recognize your voice,
And started a truck in Minnesota '!


On the other hand, some other verses that may cause one to wonder more about prayer could very easily be verses like as follows:

John 17:9 “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.”

Jeremiah 7:16 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.
Jeremiah 11:14 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble.
Jeremiah 14:11 Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good.

John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

Make it a delightful day!

John G

Anonymous said...

I was just asking why the NT scriptures that are said to be spoken by Jesus and which seem unambiguous, do not deliver what they seem to be saying.

We can all come up with a hundred reasons and reasonings around why they really have conditions to them and don't really mean what they seem to say or do but it depends. But that is not what they say.

It is always typical to attack the questioner and not wonder about the question.

Anonymous said...

Where in the world is Juan? I know he's reading this. Just juandering...

Casey Wollberg said...

@ Anonymous: Jake the rancher should have done a little research into how prayer works.

Anonymous said...

Casey, you're a douche.

Casey Wollberg said...

@ Anonymous: Hey, great argument! It really proves a lot. About you.