Saturday, January 19, 2019

PCG: "How much time do you spend thinking about all those wonderful children that you’re going to have with Jesus Christ, your Husband?"

By now in 2019, we should never be surprised at the lunacy coming out of the Philadelphia Church of God, all thanks to the visions Gerald Flurry receives from his god.

Desiring Spiritual Children

Now, consider this inspiring parallel. It is natural for us to desire physical children. In fact, some women have such a strong maternal desire that they have children even when afflicted by grotesque health problems. Still they have children, because that desire is so strong within them. 
What about having spiritual children? We don’t naturally desire spiritual children. That is an unnatural desire. How much time do you spend thinking about all those wonderful children that you’re going to have with Jesus Christ, your Husband? How much do you yearn for sons and daughters in the Family of God? Do you desire with all your passions to have children in the Family of God? We must build that yearning for a spiritual family. 
That is so unnatural that it takes the Spirit of God to truly yearn for that; yet that is the purpose Christ’s Bride will fulfill!
The Bride of Christ must build a natural yearning, a natural desire, to have spiritual children! That desire, however, must come from God. Remember, spiritually we are the woman; we must be building this spiritual yearning within us, where we feel we must have spiritual children. The real family is the God Family! That’s the family God wants us to really get passionate about.
The physical family is here only to help us get into the spiritual family.
This God Family vision really stretches your mind. It is unnatural for us, but it is the way Christ, our Husband, thinks! We must think that way too if we are to marry Him! (Philippians 2:5). 
Imagine what Christ would say if we married Him and then told Him that we didn’t really want children. Of course, this is hypothetical; we would not even be Christ’s wife if we thought that way. If we don’t want children, then we are in the wrong spiritual family! And we won’t be the Bride of Christ.
Christ is determining now if you want to have a lot of children; and by a lot, He means all of humanity. Multiple billions of people will be given the opportunity to be a part of the God Family before this is over.

Why I Don't Believe in Hell or the Lake of Fire

Not really...
10 reasons I don’t believe in Hell

Rather than  reinvent the wheel of my own views on "Is There a Real Hell Fire" I'd like to share the thoughts of John Wright, whose perspectives are my own. I realize that in the COGs and Fundamentalist views, "It's in the Bible" is the ultimate answer to every question about is there a real Hell or Lake of Fire awaiting those who aren't with whatever the program is. I have been cast headlong and often into the Lake of Fire by the faith filled here. Some seem to resent and wish me ill because I have not only evolved out of the World Wide Church of God and not picked a splinter or denomination to continue belief in , but that I no longer take the Bible as literally or authoritative as I once did.  It seems to be something they can't wait to see happen as I am sure it will confirm to themselves that they, not I, was more correct in their views about all things theological and real. 

I firmly believe in each to their own. If YOU think I should go into a Lake of Fire for not seeing the world or the Bible through YOUR eyes, then post your own story and we'll all take a look at it. Don't hide behind your anonymity or fear of your church friends finding you here on Banned. Grow a pair as they say.

Be like the guy in my last birthday card:

Why is it so hard to hire older men?

Interviewer:  "So tell me sir, what do you think is one of your negative traits?"
Older Gentleman:   "My absolute honesty"
Interviewer:  "Oh my, I don't think THAT's a negative trait at all!"
Older Gentleman:  "I don't give a shit what you think..."

Took way too long to get to that point in life, but I have arrived.

That being said, there is liberation being able to say "I don't care what the Bible says" about this or that topic or that it doesn't matter what the Bible says, we know better now, or should. I know those are words that most would choke on. But for me, after years of experience in ministry, all things church, study of origins and theology as well as quick to notice "that just doesn't seem right to me" perspective, , I personally can say that on this topic of Hell or the Lake of Fire, it does not matter what the Bible says. The myth of Hell or the Lake of Fire is a concept that should not exist, could not exist and does not exist. Not only because it clearly has evolved over time in the scriptures and the minds of Bible literalists but also that it simply is lame and shows a God to be less than all powerful, loving and just. You'd think that would be Good News, but it is not to most. Many here just can't stand it if I am not going to be sorry and "think different when you are thrown in it." 

It, like all doctrines and beliefs, has evolved from other cultures before the Bible (Mainly Egyptian)  and is not an original truth to the Bible. It fills our need to know what happens to the wicked since I am trying so hard to be nice and go to heaven or be worthy of the Wonderful World Tomorrow and they can't get away with not being like me. I certainly don't want to do this for nothing.  Religion itself flows naturally from our conscious fear of death and the question of "what is going to happen to me when I die." To answer it, we make stuff up that comforts us. 

" John Wright's work shares a broad focus on what people believe and why. His most recent feature-length documentary focuses on the famous evangelical preacher Tony Campolo and his son Bart Campolo, who stopped believing in God at the age of 50 and stepped away from Christian ministry (Leaving My Father’s Faith, 2017). The film revolves around an in-depth conversation between the father and his son resulting from Bart’s departure from faith. As the son of a Presbyterian minister, John has long been interested in the questions answered by religion"

By John Wright

Do you believe in Hell? If so, and if you’re from the Christian tradition like me, you probably believe it’s a place you go when you die to be punished for things you did while alive. A fiery place of torture worse than any you can imagine. Suffering that lasts forever and ever, and only believing in Jesus can get you out of it. Right?
Yeah, I don’t believe that. Here are my top ten reasons why.
(1) What we call ‘sins’ are just natural human traits
Deceitfulness, selfishness, coveting, idolatry, masturbation, hubris, boastfulness, hatred, lust, envy and many more ‘sins’ have one thing in common: most people do them, because they’re within the range of normal human behavior and easily explained by our biology as expressed in our genes. What supreme being creates life with a set of attributes and then demands it stop exhibiting those attributes under pain of eternal torture?  (Even the less common, more reprehensible sins of humankind – murder, rape, child abuse, etc. – have roots we can often understand and explanations in the social sciences.)
(2) The punishment of ancestral sin is inherently unjust
The doctrine of original sin states that all humans are born sinful, because their ancestors sinned and brought the rest of humanity down with them. But think about that. If our government arrested one of its citizens, tried them and executed them for a crime their parent or, worse, grandparent or, worse, some great- great- ancestor committed, everybody would swiftly cry injustice. We would immediately, instinctively and rightly object that the crime wasn’t committed by the arrested party at all, but by someone they’d never met and who merely happened to pass along their genes to the new, unwitting generation. What kind of God allows the punishment of the wrong person and calls it justice? (Some Christians do not hold to the most drastic forms of this doctrine, that we are collectively guilty because of the sins of our ancestors, or the one known as ‘total depravity’, but instead say that the sins of our ancestors gives us a tendency toward sin. This is little better. No deity I believe in is so cruel as to allow damnation for his creations because they have a baked-in tendency to do things this deity calls ‘bad’.
(3) Punishment for the absence of belief amounts to unbelievable cruelty
Evangelicals believe that salvation from Hell is tied directly to belief in God. But people disbelieve for a variety of reasons that are easy to understand. Sometimes people lack belief because they are predisposed to analytical thinking and have not been able to become convinced of God’s existence. Sometimes it’s because they lack the ability to sufficiently grasp the abstract. Sometimes they haven’t landed upon the ‘right belief’ among the jungle of ideas around them. Sometimes it’s because their personalities predispose them to find peace and happiness in other religious or nonreligious movements and ideas, or because they were born in a country with another religion entirely and taught the falsehood of the Christian one their entire lives. Whatever the reason, what divine entity would make the truth of his existence as ambiguous as it is and then demand that people believe it under pain of eternal torture? (Or, just as bad, demand intellectual dishonesty from people who simply haven’t been convinced? What should they do? Feign belief as though they held it? Fake it till they – somehow – make it?)
(4) Eternally-wrought vengeance cannot be considered loving or just
Jesus specifically refutes ‘eye-for-eye’ justice, so why would the entire cosmic justice system revolve around the same, obviously inferior idea? Human societies have already developed more sophisticated theories of justice which are not based on vengeance. So, then, what God – especially an all-knowing, benevolent one – still holds to it? Vengeance of this kind is simply incompatible with these characteristics of God.
(5) Rehabilitation and restoration are more desirable than retribution
It is better to restore someone than to destroy them. Even human beings know that rehabilitation and restoration are more desirable results than retribution. What supreme being would opt for the latter? An all-powerful God would be competent enough to bring about the former.
(6) A remnant in Heaven cannot be considered a victory
The bible speaks of the broad road that leads to ‘destruction’, interpreted by most Christians as Hell, and the narrow road that leads to ‘life’, interpreted by most Christians as Heaven. But why would God allow a future where many billions of souls suffer forever in anguish while the relatively few celebrate in Heaven? What kind of celebration could that possibly be? Christian theology asserts that God wins in the end. But no victory would be more hollow than managing to hold on to the faithful few while the beloved, unbelieving many spend eternity in great suffering. In any analogous circumstance, nobody would consider it any victory at all. In summary: it’s difficult to celebrate over the sounds of screaming. (You may say that victory cannot be measured in numbers. But the eternal states of individuals are important, if they will exist for eternity as religious people believe. Given this, the only number that makes sense – of humans suffering in Hell for all eternity while a loving, just God exists – is zero.
(7) Hell extends disproportionate consequences for finite acts
Even if we did decide that retribution is a valid form of divine justice, it cannot be disproportionate and also just.(Note:  Forever and ever is a long time) Evangelicals believe that the least of their sins would warrant Hell, all by itself. So a child who lies about doing their homework, for example, would be deserving of eternal torment just for that alone, rather than the punishment being, say, merely to be lied to in return. Not even those most committed to retributive justice would accept this utterly disproportional form of it if they didn’t feel they had to. Moreover, when we see disproportional punishment within human societies, we instinctively and rightly consider it injustice. (Take Hitler, for an oft-cited example. He brutally slaughtered millions, out of what seemed like pure evil. But he didn’t do it forever! His ovens have long been cold, his guns silent. His actions lasted a finite time. So, even eye-for-eye retribution against Hitler would only allow us to ‘kill him back’ a finite number of times. Hell for eternity – even for Hitler – would be disproportionate punishment for his sins.)
(8) Christian ideas of Hell are based on dubious interpretations of biblical words
Modern biblical scholars generally agree that the words translated as ‘Hell’ in the English versions of the bible started in ancient Jewish belief not as a place where punishment was dispensed, but as a subterranean underworld of forgetfulness, a place of unconscious, silent existence for everybody who had ever died. Sheol was the original word that referred to this concept in Hebrew, later translated into the Greek word Hades, which brought with it an entire mythology to the concept of the underworld. This was distinct from the Greek concept of Tarturus, which was a place of punishment distinct from Hades. The originators of these ideas believed they were physical places under the earth. By tracing the concepts through history, it is easy to see that they have been misappropriated and conflated together to create what became the evangelical Christian doctrine of Hell, but that doesn’t give much confidence in the idea of it being true. ‘Eternal fire’, ‘Lake of fire’ and other terms are thrown around in metaphor in the New Testament, before Hades itself is thrown into the lake of fire after all the dead people are emptied out of it (Revelation 20). How can Hell be sent to Hell? It seems obvious that these terms have been dubiously utilized.2
(9) The idea that people are ‘choosing Hell’ is an abhorrent one
Christians often say that people have a choice to make between accepting Jesus’ offer of salvation or rejecting it. If they ‘reject’ it, they are thus ‘choosing Hell’ as their permanent future. The existence of this choice may be obvious to them, but most people do not conceive that there is such a choice to make. For the vast majority of people who live and have ever lived, the details, consequences and existence of such a choice is extremely ambiguous, obscure or even completely imperceptible. They either haven’t been rationally convinced that they must consider the matter seriously, or they have barely heard of it. Everyone, upon having the truth of such a choice miraculously and unambiguously revealed to them, would immediately choose eternal reward over eternal suffering. Nobody in a functional frame of mind would actively choose pain and suffering in the manner that is claimed; that is an obvious truth. It is a falsehood, then, to imagine that accepting the reality of this choice ‘by faith’, out of ignorance rather than knowledge, is a virtue. What would God be testing for, if this is how it works? Gullibility? Why would blind faith in the unseen be the value God wants to reward? What’s so important about blind belief? It doesn’t make sense, so it’s very likely to be wrong.

(10) This doctrine is Christian theology minimizing its own central tenet
The central tenet of Christianity is that God sent his son Jesus to suffer and die for the sins of the world so the people of the world wouldn’t have to. Is this ‘grace’ enough to accomplish the transformative feat of bringing salvation to humankind? Or does the story end with, ‘If only humankind had accepted it!’ Ironically, therefore, Christians who believe in eternal Hell for the unbelieving are minimizing their own Savior’s sacrifice and his power to save. Salvation of the few by blind faith would not be even remotely as powerful as salvation of the many by grace.
There are many more, I’m sure (for example, we could make note of the fact that, from a certain perspective, it’s very easy to see how our worst fears can combine with our ideas about vengeance and our instincts about justice and the desires of organized religion to control, giving us some other very good ways to explain belief in Hell other than its actual existence). But those are the first ten that occurred to me.


Friday, January 18, 2019

PCG: Making Edstone Great Again

See the fun here on Twitter

We have always known that the COG tended to be on "right" side of things politically, even though they don't care enough to vote, claiming the bible tells them not to, or something.

Here are the fun-loving kids from Philadelphia Church of God, Edstone, England, keeping up their bipartisan facade.

Adult Sabbath School: Faith vs Facts.

The Faith vs Facts concept is a volatile topic and one in which "he convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." But it is a topic worth finding one's balance about. While I have come to my own conclusions about the compatibility between science and religion it is a personal topic in which one size can never fit all because of our needs for somethings to be so based in our own life concerns and fears. I would suggest a good read of the comments section. I am sure one will find those who reflect their own gut level reactions to the concept that Faith and Science are not compatible which is my own view.

I would add that perhaps the concept is better understood by noting that Faith as in Bible Literalism and taking stories never meant to be taken as literally true is part of the problem Westerners have introduced to a Middle Eastern and Bronze/Iron Age text. In the churches one often does not understand the concept of Biblical allegory and hyperbole taking everything far too literally such as the first 11 Chapters of Genesis

Hebrews 11:1  "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things unseen."

In my own view and experience, even the author of Hebrews (Not Paul) is saying, "Now faith is what we hope is true, based on no evidence that it actually is true."

That can be a slippery slope when applied in mistaken and naïve ways in the lives of real people and practices. 

"To prove his theory, Coyne breaks down the central question—“Are science and religion compatible?”—into a series of progressive and easily digested sections. He begins with basic definitions: “What is science?” “What is religion?” “What is incompatible?” Next, he considers conflicts of method, outcome, and philosophy. He examines the varieties of accommodationism and explains why each of them fails. Finally, he demonstrates why the conflict between faith and facts matters, highlighting significant impacts of religiously sourced “knowledge”—from religiously motivated child abuse to the running controversy over human-caused climate change."
"We are living today in a genuinely frightening scenario: religion and science are engaged in a kind of war: a war for understanding, a war about whether we should have good reasons for what we accept as true. The sheer fact that over half of Americans don't believe in evolution (to say nothing of the number of Congressmen who don't believe in climate change) and the resurgence of religious prejudices and strictures as factors in politics, education, medicine, and social policy make the need for this book urgent.

Religion and science compete in many ways to describe reality - they both make "existence claims" about what is real - but they use different tools to meet this goal. In his elegant, provocative, and direct argument, leading evolutionary biologist and bestselling author Jerry Coyne lays out in clear, patient, dispassionate details why the toolkit of science, based on reason and empirical study, is reliable, while that of religion - including faith, dogma and revelation - is unreliable and leads to incorrect, untestable, or conflicting conclusions. Indeed, by relying on faith, religion renders itself incapable of finding truth."          

“Faith may be a gift in religion, but in science it’s poison, for faith is no way to find truth.”

“I argue that the toolkit of science, based on reason and empirical study, is reliable, while that of religion—including faith, dogma, and revelation—is unreliable and leads to incorrect, untestable, or conflicting conclusions. Indeed, by relying on faith rather than evidence, religion renders itself incapable of finding truth.”
Jerry A. Coyne, Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible 

“My claim is this: science and religion are incompatible because they have different methods for getting knowledge about reality, have different ways of assessing the reliability of that knowledge, and, in the end, arrive at conflicting conclusions about the universe.”

“Harmonizing religion and science makes you seem like an open-minded and reasonable person, while asserting their incompatibility makes enemies and brands you as “militant.” The reason is clear: religion occupies a privileged place in our society. Attacking it is off-limits, although going after other supernatural or paranormal beliefs like ESP, homeopathy, or political worldviews is not. Accommodationism is not meant to defend science, which can stand on its own, but to show that in some way religion can still make credible claims about the world.”
Jerry A. Coyne, Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible

“We have already compared the benefits of theology and science. When the theologian governed the world, it was covered with huts and hovels for the many, palaces and cathedrals for the few. To nearly all the children of men, reading and writing were unknown arts. The poor were clad in rags and skins—they devoured crusts, and gnawed bones. The day of Science dawned, and the luxuries of a century ago are the necessities of to-day. Men in the middle ranks of life have more of the conveniences and elegancies than the princes and kings of the theological times. But above and over all this, is the development of mind. There is more of value in the brain of an average man of to-day—of a master-mechanic, of a chemist, of a naturalist, of an inventor, than there was in the brain of the world four hundred years ago. These blessings did not fall from the skies. These benefits did not drop from the outstretched hands of priests. They were not found in cathedrals or behind altars—neither were they searched for with holy candles. They were not discovered by the closed eyes of prayer, nor did they come in answer to superstitious supplication. They are the children of freedom, the gifts of reason, observation and experience—and for them all, man is indebted to man. —Robert Green Ingersoll”
Jerry A. Coyne, Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible

Temper Tantrum

Somebody doesn't like us..........

thos blog is infested with a bunch of bigoted, self righteous hypocrites what engage in racist taunts and mockery, censorship of good faith opinionn, all while pointing the finger at they of the cog for their wrong doings... you are just a bunch of stinking hypocrites, and your time to be mocked will be coming eventually......

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Windbag Preachers In The COG...Cast your vote

Growing up in the church I had the distinct displeasure of having to sit through 4-hour sermons by Gerald Waterhouse.  Four hours of mindless drivel that made no sense at all, and most certainly was never biblically oriented.

Holy Days the sermons might be 1 1/2 - 2 hours long with services in the morning and afternoon.

Weekly sermons tended to be shorter, usually 1 - 1 1/2 hours on any given Saturday.

How many of these men could have given their sermon in 15 or 20 minutes and actually gotten their point across?  Just how many Bible verses needed to be quoted before peoples eyes glazed over?  Apparently, ministers were trained to use as many as possible in order to impress the sheeple.

Could Herbert Armstrong have gotten his incessant rants about the "two trees" accomplished in 20 minutes or less?

And then there is Bob Thiel who preaches for 1 1/2 hours on 15 -20 different topics.

Take the poll in the right hand column and let your ministers know how long you are willing to listen to them preach!

Please buy my book with your tithe money, " that way the books will cost nothing personally"

It is 2019 and these are desperate times for many splinter group Church of God leaders.  With so many of them floundering by the roadside with ineffectual ministries, they are always seeking new ways to con followers into giving them money to fund their exculsive "work".

The latest is from our favorite Church of God Chief Pharisee, official zealot and chief bastardizer of the law, James Malm.

For some time now he has done nothing but park his pharisacial butt at the kitchen table cranking out articles and booklets in order to stir up the zeal that he sees missing in all the COG's.  Never has the church had such a zealot that has turned the law into such a burden that it drags people down into a miserable existence. The few that follow him know they can never measure up to all of his lofty demands.

Because his followers come and go their money does too.  Never one to pass up a free handout due to his unwillingness to work, he has resorted to a novel new way to raise money from gullible followers by claiming if they buy his books with "tithe" money they will  never miss it.  It will be almost like it will be a gift from God to them.
I urge all those who purchase our books to use their tithe to do so, in that way the books will cost nothing personally  because they are coming out of funds earmarked for this work anyway.   
This technique of providing the published works directly from Lulu printers saves this work a considerable amount in processing, mailing and maintaining an inventory.  Please do purchase from our official printer Lulu, as other sources will charge considerably more.