Thursday, February 13, 2020

Why Herbert W. Armstrong's Teachings Create So Many Atheists


Why Herbert W. Armstrong's Teachings Create So Many Atheists

Forgive me, readers, for being so presumptuous. I have assumed with my title that many people who leave the Church of God community become atheists. This may or may not be true. Thus, we really have two questions:

Question 1: Do a high proportion of those who leave the Church of God community become atheists?

There is a very real possibility that the answer to this question is No. I don't have the data to answer it definitively. If someone has it, I'd like to see it. I've heard the idea being thrown around before so I think the answer might be Yes. 

Personally, the moment I left the Church of God community was the moment I became an atheist. I believe that there was something in Armstrong's teachings that connected those two events, and I have the feeling that other people (consciously or unconsciously) feel the same thing. Thus, the next question:

Question 2: If so, why?

What follows is five reasons that Armstrongite teachings could prime the brain for atheism. Here is the overarching theme: the evidence and reasoning that Armstrong provided for his peculiar beliefs were such that once the believer started to doubt, they realized they were not just doubting Armstrongism, but the very existence of a deity itself. 

An analogy, to make it more confusing: You are on the edge of a cliff. The solid ground, of course, is vanilla Christianity. With each argument and belief, Armstrong is leading you off that cliff on what you think is a solid bridge. Suddenly, the foundations of that bridge begin crumbling. You are no longer standing on solid, deistic ground--you are walking a plank that has just been sawn off. You fall--but not back onto the ground of traditional Christianity, but into the abyss. Atheism, humanism, skepticism, mysticism, whatever-you-want-ism, awaits. Armstrong, with his bad arguments, has inadvertently made a good argument for non-belief.

Now for the five reasons.

***

REASON 1: Biblical Inerrancy is Dogmatic, Extreme, and Flimsy

Biblical inerrancy is frequently criticized within the Christian community, and for very good, self-preserving reasons. If the Bible is meant to be right about everything, tough luck, because a quick Google search will tell you the mustard seed is not "the smallest of all seeds" and it grows to the size of a large shrub. Better, traditional Christianity tells you, that a parable is a parable, and not The Royal Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers. All the smart, Hellenized, early Church Fathers knew this, and believed the creation stories were not to be taken literally. Fundamentalism, and its huge emphasis on inerrancy, is a rather modern phenomenon, a reaction to the fact that humans were wrong about nearly everything before the scientific method was developed. 

The problem with inerrancy and what can happen to people when they stop believing it is not unique to Armstrongism, so I won't dwell on it here. I'll just take the time to mention that the fall from inerrancy seems usually to be hard and fast. One doesn't notice a single discrepancy and give up the whole theory. One of the most effective ways to deal with cognitive dissonance (the experience of coming across facts/beliefs that run counter to one's worldview), as Leon Festinger first observed, is simply to ignore them. But sooner or later the sheer number of them builds up and ignoring them is no longer an option. When the change-of-mind comes, it's with an overwhelming number of discrepancies, not just our little mustard seed.

REASON 2: The Prophecies Were So Specific and Foundational to a Belief in God 

Take, as a main example, The United States and Britain in Prophecy. Here, Armstrong tries to convince us the monarchy of ancient Israel never disappeared but was actually transferred into the British monarchy. In the middle of explaining that God had promised to keep the line of King David alive forever, Armstrong asks us:

"Can one wonder that men like Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll lost faith in the Bible? They saw these unconditional promises, but they could not see how they had been kept. Yet, if we have patience, we shall see!"

As a child, this passage was always very striking (and convincing) to me. Here's the syllogism Armstrong is trying to create:

1) Smart people, like Paine and Ingersoll,* saw that God promised something.
2) Those smart people saw the promise was not kept!
3) Thus, those smart people were justified in losing faith in God.
4) But God actually kept those promises.
5) Thus, we are even smarter than those smart people, who should have continued believing in the God Who Keeps Promises!

But this is a dangerous game that Armstrong was playing, especially when he made this Davidic prophecy such a central doctrine in the Church. Implicit in this extended syllogism is the idea that one should base their faith on whether God keeps this Davidic promise. Here's my formulation:

1) If God keeps promises, we should believe in Him, but if He doesn’t, we are justified, like Paine and Ingersoll, in losing faith.
2) God is not a God Who Keeps Promises, because British-Israelism and The United States and Britain in Prophecy is complete nonsense. 
3) Thus, we are justified in losing faith in God.

Now, all of these syllogisms are specific to Armstrongism and have nothing to do with a traditional Christians' faith in God.

But you didn't get to decide not to get caught up in the emotional investment of these specific beliefs being true, and your faith being intertwined with Davidic promises that turned out to be bogus. You bought in to the Armstrong package deal and now the interest payments are due.

The same goes for the belief that Germany is Assyria, or that Herbert W. Armstrong was the "end-time Elijah." You may not have entered the game thinking your faith in God was contingent on these specific beliefs/prophecies being true. But someone down the line, they may have gotten mixed up, with a similar sort of syllogism I've described above. 

* I feel the need to defend Paine and Ingersoll here from the gross distortion of their beliefs which Armstrong paints. Anyone who reads even a few pages of Paine or Ingersoll would know that their unbelief had nothing to do with this Davidic promise. There were dozens of other reasons. 

REASON 3: Armstrong's God Just Could Not Have Used Evolution

Early in The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, the author tells us of the dual questions he studied when converting (essentially) to a branch of 7th-Day Adventism: they were 1) Divine Creation vs Evolution and 2) Saturday vs Sunday worship. I always saw these as the equivalent of: 1) Does God exist and 2) What type of God is He? 

First we decide (1) God exists (because evolution is false), and then we decide (2) that everyone else (traditional Christianity) has been worshiping Him wrong.

You might not see it in those terms, but I'm sure some people did. The way Armstrong talked about evolution let you know that there was a serious dichotomy happening. Either God made you, or you were made by chance--and that's just not the way that God operates. In syllogistic form:

1) Either God created you or evolution created you.
2) Evolution is Definitely Not True.
3) Thus, God created you.
4) (Also) Thus, God exists.

This is similar to what happened above with inerrancy. Black and white thinking. It must seem strange to the 40-or-so-percent of Americans that still don't believe in evolution, that most educated Anglicans believed in evolution within a few decades of Darwin's publication in 1859. Their syllogism runs a little differently:

1) God could exist and evolution could be true.
...
...
x) Thus, God exists and evolution is true.

So, what happens when you buy into the first syllogism and you read a biology textbook? Line 2 becomes "Evolution is Definitely True" and suddenly God ceases to exist. 

Now, I've been giving the impression ("black and white thinking", "buy into") that Armstrong's syllogism was wrong, or simplistic. Obviously, I'm trying to convince you of something entirely different with this article, not discuss the Evolution vs God debate. But even after trying to distance myself from everything related to Armstrongism, Armstrong's syllogism is still a more convincing format than the second. Whether this is because I'd been primed for years by Armstrongite logic or whether it really is the case that the two cannot co-exist, you'll have to decide for yourself. To me, if God had really used evolution as the human design implementation, I'd have to believe that for at least 3 billion years, God had been running an Earth-wide cage-fighting competition between all species--each generation weeding out the weak species and replacing them with fitter, more agile ones capable of killing, eating, outwitting, or (in the merciful cases) co-existing with, the other species. With this kind of competition, you could fit the half-decade-long Holocaust in as a commercial break in between the real slaughters. 

Again, if you grew up with Armstrong's Evolution vs God dichotomy, once you escaped the Church of God community and went out into the real world with a curiosity about nature, you might just find yourself an atheist.

REASON 4: Mainstream Christianity Was Criticized with Atheistic Arguments

During one conversation where the older men in the congregation were talking about How Obviously Right Our Religion Was, I heard the following argument:

"The One True Religion cannot be one of the large religious denominations. Those religions, like Catholicism or Islam, believe that they have The Truth but they condemn everyone who does not believe them to eternal Hell! This means all the rest of the people who were born in the wrong region (the Middle East if Christianity is correct/Europe if Islam is correct) are condemned because of geography. Surely the One True God wouldn't be so unfair. Thus, our religion is right."

What strikes me about this argument is that it's actually pretty good ... right up until the end conclusion. And, it's a typical argument used by ... atheists!

If you inspect a number of the arguments the Church of God community used against traditional Christianity, you'll find many atheists use them as well:

- Catholics started Crusades against unbelievers, created Inquisitions against heretics, and were in general just Very Bad throughout history.
- Protestants can't agree on anything, even though they read the same Bible, because they obviously aren't guided by God.
- The Trinity is nonsense, born of an intellectual devotion/constriction to the ancient Greek philosophers.
- Christians don't actually follow what the Bible says, they just make up their own rules as they go.

Of course, there were plenty of arguments Armstrong used which atheists wouldn't dare try: "The Catholic Church is the Beast of Revelation," etc. But if you were the type to notice the glaring deficiencies with mainstream religion, you might already be half-way to unbelief. Perhaps this is the secret to why Armstrong, with his death and the fall of his movement, produced so many atheists. 

REASON 5: Armstrong Was Right About the Pagan Influence in Christianity

I've found, after leaving the Church of God community, that the only thing Armstrong seemed to be right about was paganism's influence on Christianity. Yeah, he was wrong about Nimrod. Like, really, really wrong. But Jesus not being born on December 25? Christmas being the December Solstice celebrations? Easter bunnies and eggs not being Christian? Local communities just absorbing Christian customs and applying them to their existing gods? 

Yes, all these things are true, and they remain weird facts that you have to process upon leaving the community and deciding whether or not you want to remain religious. I have Christian friends who tell me that it all doesn't matter, "as long as it brings attention to Jesus," but the argument doesn't ring true. Many Christians really believe the birth narratives and pastors will preach them as if they were true. For all the negatives of Armstrongism, you aren't going to leave without taking with you some skepticism of the traditional Christian stories. That stays with you. 

***

So ends my five reasons. There are probably more. If you think you know one, please leave a comment. 

Please note I am also very uninterested in hearing about why these are not good arguments for atheism. I am not here to debate the issue of whether these are true--only whether Armstrong taught them, and people later used them (consciously or unconsciously) as arguments for their own non-belief. 

submitted by Kieren Underwood


33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kieren seems mistakenly to equate theism with Abrahamic religion. Little or nothing in Kieren's analysis should cause him to doubt all theism just because Armstrongism correctly pokes holes in many aspects of popular Christianity. Taoism and Buddhism, and even many strains of Judaism, don't need to collapse as options because of HWA's critique.

For that matter, HWA and his successors have correctly pointed out some errors and oversimplifications in Darwin's theory. However, actual scientists have also pointed out those problems and in most cases have offered better explanations than Darwin originally offered. Why is Kieren willing to take HWA as the last word in critiquing popular Christianity, while he is willing to look beyond Darwin and try to understand real science? If Kieren were to make a project of studying real theology he might or might not remain an atheist, but he would at least see that HWA's critique is far, far weaker than he now seems to realize.

Anonymous said...

Those religions, like Catholicism or Islam, believe that they have The Truth but they condemn everyone who does not believe them to eternal Hell!

False. Those religions are so big and varied that we can't make one generalized statement that won't prove false for some adherents, but in fact there are many Catholics who understand Purgatory as the destination for the vast majority of humanity, where they will learn the Truth and will pay for their sins so they can enter Heaven whether or not they spent their physical lives practicing Catholicism. The same is true within Islam, which promises People of the Book (Jews, Christians, and a few others depending on which sect you uphold) a place in Heaven based on their faithfulness to the Book they received.

Protestants can't agree on anything, even though they read the same Bible, because they obviously aren't guided by God.

This one may have worked 50 years ago, but now it indicts the Churches of God every bit as much as it indicts the Protestants.

TLA said...

Kieren - you definitely have a talent for writing.
Do you plan to become an author?
I count myself in the agnostic category.
Somehow everything got started- but not like the Bible account. This to me is the biggest mystery, regardless of what is the first cause.

Anonymous said...

...all these things are true, and they remain weird facts that you have to process upon leaving the community and deciding whether or not you want to remain religious.

No, they have nothing to do with remaining religious. You can "remain religious" without being either a mainstream Christian or an Armstrongist/Flurryite.

Kieren seems to retain a lot of trust in and respect for Gerald Flurry, in that he is willing to accept the Flurry/HWA critique of Christianity, even though he seems willing to reject the Flurry/HWA critiques of science and reason. Kieren's mind would likely be blown by a serious discussion with a genuine "liberal Christian" theologian who would have no patience with Kieren's simple binary views of religious doctrines and scientific facts.

Anonymous said...

The real scandal is not that people become atheists upon LEAVING Armstrongism.

It is that in order to climb the ladder and become an Armstrongist leader, it helps to have ALREADY become an atheist! It's hard for me to imagine that HWA or GTA believed in a God who would hold them accountable for their ongoing and willful sins. Even the second-tier leaders like Spanky Meredith and David Hulme seem to be so morally adrift that they can't possibly be understood as believers.

I would be interested in Kieren's perspective on Gerald Flurry. Is Gerry a true believer in his Prophet/Apostle status, or his ambitious son Stephen an unbeliever who is blackmailing his drunkard/queer/senile Dad into putting on a show in order to live a comfortable life as a tithe-farmer?

RSK said...

Well, I dont know that Armstrongism produced a particularly higher number of atheists than any other sect in particular, but you do make some good points about arguments that could easily be made from the nontheist viewpoint.
Anecdotally, I dont keep contact with many former COG members because most of the ones I know dont seem to have shed that peculiar uptight, non-humorous mentality that the COGs seem to have cultivated.

Anonymous said...


“REASON 5: Armstrong Was Right About the Pagan Influence in Christianity” – KU


That is a very interesting point.

The Roman Catholic Church and its numerous Protestant daughter churches do have a really strange hate-on for the things that God commanded in the Bible, such as observing the weekly Sabbaths and the annual Holy Days, and the laws about clean and unclean animals. They seem to think that everything God came up with was meaningless, arbitrary, wrong, bad, obsolete, and needed to be done away with. At the same time, they seem to think that their own, unbiblical, man-made, pagan-based customs have great meaning and are very important.

In fact, some Catholic priests, and even some Protestant leaders, now hate God's laws against such things as homosexuality and transvestitism.

Maybe the natural, carnal mind really is hostile to the laws of God.


On the so-called COG scene, That False Prophet Gerald Flurry wants people to reject God's commandment to honor their parents and instead observe his own “No Contact” tradition that he and Satan came up with in God's name.

Near_Earth_Object said...

Making an immediate leap from the God that HWA taught to atheism is hurried and probably ill considered. It disregards the genuine possibility that HWA's presentation of God may contain some real and unpalatable biases.

It takes time and research. And you can end moving in the wrong direction. One of my first encounters with Christian Theism was to crash into Calvinism. Calvinism is without any theological or philosophical merit. The Reformed need to be reformed.

Adopting atheism is an extreme position and it suggests that the decision was made with circumspection. I do agree with another blogger that atheism and Armstrongism (and other fundamentalist relligions) have similarities.

Anonymous said...

Doctors used to nearly drown mental patients, then to revive them, give them a smoke enema. Literally, blow smoke up their butts. Kellogg, a doctor and SDA member, developed corn flakes because he believed spicy foods inflamed passions, which led to masturbation, which led to illness and even death. You can find many examples of stupid things taught in the field of medicine. But does that mean we give up on medicine altogether? I think Ron Dart said that just because the messenger is corrupt doesn't mean that the message is corrupt or I would add, all related messages are wrong. I left WCG after 4 years with two at AC in Pasadena. But I could distinguish between what HWA taught and what I think more genuine Christianity teaches. To become an atheist because of one's experience with HWA or Peter Popoff, or any other con artist shows that you can't distinguish between a the con and what might be true. We don't give up on medicine because of Kellogg, or democracy because of ____________(fill in the blank) or love because your last partner turned out to be a creep.

Anonymous said...

I think Anon 11:32 comments are getting to the heart of the problem.
Does the scheming and never ending troubles turn the faith of the leaders into unbelief? or is atheism the result of apathy?
Thanks for your comments 11.32.

nck said...

Are people born as innate believers, or is it a cultural layer that is taught.

HWA was not a practicing believer anymore when he was challenged. This coincided with the Darwinistic challenge upon American society in the 1920's that spawned "fundamentalism" as a reaction to darwinism encroaching a Formerly Christian society or identified as such.

The USA was still seeking an identity before WWII.

So the question is not if HWA spawned atheism. HWA fave us "rational reasons" to postpone a return of our society to a "natural atheist" state of being.

So HWA, should be applauded by Christians to at least have postponed the natural cause of returning to a rational state, through an attempt of rational Christianity, which is a contradictio in terminis.

The first chapters of the Autobiography are fully dedicated to HWA fighting cultural darwinism creeping upon US society, in the same manner some today are fighting cultural Marxism.

Both are unstoppable processes since Marx was right in his theory on the accumulation of wealth and Darwin is even embraced by Christians. The process is inevitable and irreversible and HWA played a part in temporarily halting the process during the Cold and Cultural War to provide the USA with ax unifying dominant culture or identity for as long as it was needed.

Then the Globalist World Tomorrow will be upon us and peace will be enforced and a glimpse of that can be seen in modern China and surveillance capitalism in the west.

Nck

Anonymous said...

Excellent summary. One mistake is that Herbert Armstrong was in fact not correct about the paganization of Christianity, at least not in the way he told the tale. There was a certain paganization of Christianity, but mainly in the Medieval period as local customs were adopted into pre-existing Christian worship. In antiquity, however, there is little to no pagan intermixing, as the early Church fathers were dead-set against any incorporation of paganism.

The oft-repeated tale that Christmas, for instance, is a convenient Christianization of Saturnalia or Brumalia or Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (notice how those making the claim can't even get straight which it was supposed to replace) is now being better understood as a post-enlightenment era myth of the History of Religions school of religious studies. There are better, more evidentiary, explanations for the origin of the Christmas celebration that involve no paganism and in fact derive their much more likely source from second temple Judaism.

Tonto said...

Its simple. In regards to this life, and the end destination, Armstrongism way over promised and very much under delivered.

People were promised a 5 year or "just around the corner" "Jackpot" , and the events never happened.

Armstrongism was not just a personal philosophy , but rather a tradeoff of short term heavy denial and sacrifice , in exchange for a big payday, and/or protection in the present life as well.

Disillusionment and betrayal led many to atheism and nihilism as a result. Others "evolved" into a personal philosophy and relationship with God, while others simply continue the game by seeking a new replacement guru because of "sunk costs" to keep the dream and illusion of HWAs sales pitch going.

Tonto said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kieren said...

@Anonymous at 11:00am

What do you mean "real" theology? And why do you assume I've read none of them? What about Paul Tillich, Rudolph Bultmann, Albert Schweitzer, Margaret Barker, James M. Robinson, Burton Mack, David Frederick Strauss, C.S. Lewis, John Dominic Crossan, Peter Brown, Walter Bauer, E. P Sanders, or Adolph Harnack, all who I have read?

Do they count? Or are they just not your "real" theology?

You should really be more careful when assuming the writer is ignorant, especially when you don't even understand that I'm not giving arguments for my own atheism--just atheistic arguments delivered by HWA.

Kieren said...

@Anon 11:32

I'm not sure if Gerald Flurry is a True Believer or a knowing fraud. I'm sure you know, it's actually pretty hard to know what's going on with those guys. I even lived with Stephen Flurry, in the same house, for a whole year (when I stayed in Edstone, England)... and I still don't know how on-board he is.

But he gives an hour-long podcast each day about it, and if you really didn't believe it, I imagine the psychological toll from speaking things you don't believe day-in, day-out, would be enormous.

Allen C. Dexter said...

It took me decades to completely shake the faith delusions in my mind, going first to agnosticism and finally to full blown humanism and atheism. I saw through churches long before I cast off theism totally. It was a long, slow process involving much research, study and thought.

Kieren said...

You're right... perhaps I should have worded that "remain Christian."

FYI, I dated a liberal Christian for a year after I left the PCG. No, my mind was not blown. No, I do not retain any intellectual respect for HWA or GRF.

Anonymous said...

I'm still a Christian even though I harbor doubts. Most of my friends are atheists; they say I'm "God-haunted".
That's a perfect term to explain why I keep believing despite all the doubts.
In my God-haunted belief, I believe Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Davidic promises.
Much of what HWA and this author believed was paganism rebranded as Christianity is mistaking either the pagan practice or the Christian belief. However, I do see historic evidence of pagan stuff becoming Christianized. That's also a metaphor for all sinners becoming Christians.
I thoroughly enjoyed the article and believe that each of the five reasons have merit.

Byker Bob said...

Heh heh heh. Pull my finger! Aw, HWA was such an unintentional gas sometimes!

BB

Anonymous said...

Allen C. Dexter
Despite your 'much research, study and thought,' you came to the wrong conclusion.
Answered prayer proves Gods existence.

Ed said...

Religion is based on a lot of false assumptions, the number one false assumption is the divine inspiration of the bible. The bible is filled with many contradictions, errors and stories about historical events that have been proven to have never happened or if they did where greatly exagerated. I don't know if I am an athiest or agnostic, but one thing I do know is that I can never picture my self ever being a part of any organized religion ever again.

Anonymous said...

Tonto writes about disillusionment and betrayal but what about the dangers of deception you create yourself Tonto ?

Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death
Is one who deceives their neighbour and says, I was only joking.

Anonymous said...

Kieren at 5:35 PM still shows the arrogance of a HWA College kid and PCG HQ employee. Also, he ignorantly assumes that "Christian theology" is the same as "theology." Kieren, if Martin Buber is too antique for your tastes, take a look at the work of Pinchas Winston and Donniel Hartman and get some idea of how Jewish thinkers make sense of their texts and their world. You may find it equally unconvincing as PCG and Christian approaches, but at least you'll gain some sense of how outsiders manipulate the Hebrew Scriptures for their own novel purposes, as compared to how the Jews handle their own texts.

Anonymous said...

Kieren, you give HWA far too much credit. His "teachings" were secondary to the real point of his ministry, which was, "Send me your money and let me do your thinking for you, and I'll save your ass from the bad stuff you fear."

From there, all he had to do was to keep you fearful and he would have your loyalty and your money. The "teachings" were simply a tool to keep you feeling special on the one hand, and terrified on the other hand. The content of the teachings could vary from year to year, but didn't really matter. The point of it all wasn't whether Ethiopia was or wasn't the King of the South. The point wasn't whether or not Pentecost was on Monday. The point wasn't whether you could ever remarry after a fraudulent or immature first marriage. The point was to lure you into letting HWA make those decisions for you, at which point his ministers could ruin you if you dared to point out changes in those teachings.

Anonymous said...

4.44 AM
Exactly. The parable of the talents is a social system that respects members rights. HWA turned this on its head by having a social system where members have no rights. Everyone acts by permission, with the ministers having the right to veto every decision a member makes. The church informally claiming that rights don't exist, is a lie. The reality is that ministers have all the rights, while members have none.

Stoned Stephen Society said...

Thank you for this thought-provoking post.

Anonymous said...

Kieren, at 5:40 PM you gave a thoughtful answer about the Flurry family preaching things they don't believe. Consider, though, that GRF waited for many years before confirming that he was That Prophet™ even though he hinted at it in printed material as early as 1994. Was GRF hiding something he believed all along, or was he waiting to make a new claim to ensnare his followers (as with his eventual taking of Apostle rank, which he clearly didn't believe at the start)? Consider also that Stephen bailed his drunk father out of jail in 1993, and helped him keep quiet about it for several years until unimpeachable sources let the word out.

In other words, those two are practiced at believing things different from what they share with their audience. As a result, I'm certain that the two of them aren't sharing everything they know/believe. But what are they hiding? Do they think they are John the Baptizer and Jesus? Do they think they have some other special prophetic role? Or are they aware that it's a scam and that they are in it together? Or is Stephen cynically manipulating for his own ends an alcoholic father suffering from dementia?

More and more, I am coming to the latter conclusion. It actually fits within the pattern of adult children of alcoholics, who desperately seek to have control over their lives. But it's only a guess, and it's sobering to be reminded that even after living with him for a year you couldn't read him yourself. Quite a specimen, he is!

Kieren said...

I don't find it at all strange that someone would want to hide anything criminal (in this case, the relatively minor offense of drink driving)... I'm sure if we were in a position of power, we wouldn't go out of our ways to let people know about. Also, I dont think GRF drinks anymore.

Stephen definitely is strange and hard to read... he had his favourite (students) who he would get close to, and the rest were all kept at a distance.

I think you just need a lot more evidence to make any real judgements. It's easy to make a wrong graph when you only have a few points to go off.

Kieren said...

Thanks for the insults and the ad hominem.


I've read Martin Buber and Spinoza is my favourite philosopher.

Please continue to call me ignorant and get my reading history wrong every time. It's very endearing.

Anonymous said...

Looking back, I grew up in the Worldwide Church of God, and it is easy to see the destructive effects it has had on some if my friends who were like me , a generation who were raised in it. Christ was de-emphasized & am idolatry of HWA in a stalin like cult personality cult grew up in his place. Some of my friends never really got to have good relationships because of meddling by jerk ministers. It always stood out to me the words of Christ to the thief on the cross seemed to convey a different gospel than that of HWA or Flurry

Anonymous said...

4.56 AM
I suggest you read the whole bible rather than just a few verses, such as Christ's words to the thief on the cross. As Kieren expressed it, 'it's easy to make a wrong graph when you only have a few points..'

jim said...

7:02,
Someone writes about how WCG injured him and in your short reply you convey defensiveness, disdain, condescension, presumption, etc.