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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

1975

I had originally planned to post a previously written entry here today, but since the topic of 1975 spawned some interest in some of the comments yesterday, here are some of my thoughts and recollections of what conditions were like in Pasadena during that era. It was indeed a pivotal time period for many reasons. Let me preface my remarks by noting that I personally did not leave WCG because of cruelty. I left because it became obvious to me that WCG was a bogus church, did not in any way have the witness of God behind it, and had been propped up and supported by intellectual dishonesty (end justifies the means) in many ways. I think that by the end of this article, we'll plainly see that following the events of 1975, the church took on a decidedly harsher undertone.

Looking back on the latter portions of my childhood and teenage years, I'd have to say that we did not have cruel, authoritarian, snoopy ministers, at least not in our area of the country. If you like Allen Dexter, you probably would have liked most of the people who preceeded him, those with whom he worked on a daily basis, and those who immediately followed him. Frankly, I have never seen any of these gentlemens' names on the lists of abusers here on the PT website, or any of the other ex-WCG sites over the past ten years. Let me list a few of them for you. There was Wayne Cole, Carlton Smith, Guy Englebart, Raymond Cole, Walter Sharp, Reg Platt, and Ivan Sell. While I don't pretend to know everything that went on in our district, I only knew of about 6 to 10 disfellowshipments over about a decade. Some of those were due to out of control alcoholism, and a couple more were due to schizophrenia, which of course was labelled as demon possession. When these people were marked, the minister generally expressed that he hoped they would repent so that they could be welcomed back. It was not as if they were seen as suddenly being enemies of God and country.

From my list above, Wayne Cole eventually got the axe during the receivership era, because he favored cooperating with the state authorities. His brother Raymond started one of the early splinters immediately after HWA modified some of the original church doctrines. Raymond passed away a few years ago. At last report, there had been a Walter Sharp sighting in Pasadena at the former AC campus, as he and his wife were touring the USA on their Harley Davidson. I have not heard any recent news concerning the other gentlemen on my list.

For those of you who came along sometime after 1975, let me just say that during that era it literally appeared that World War III was breaking out at headquarters. On a day to day basis, we did not know which way events were going to turn. For the previous ten years, some in the field ministry had had grave misgivings about the interpretations of certain scriptures and the ways in which this influenced the church's doctrinal approach and in many cases negatively impacted individuals in their congregations. HWA had been approached, had agreed to review the concerns, but had postponed and procrastinated until there was an increasingly open revolt. If memory serves me correctly, the main issues concerned divorce and remarriage, the church's teaching regarding medical care, and some of the details related to tithing. Dr. Ernest Martin, who was one of the primary researchers, and one of the few actual legitimate Biblical and historical scholars apparently became so frustrated with the endless delays that he began openly sharing some of his research. Others in different areas of the world were also doing this on a local basis. As if to add gasoline to this fire, the full depth of GTA's addictive sexual activities became known, churchwide. At one point, he had actually been reinstated to his position within the church and college, only to relapse into what was by this time a pathology.

As HWA, Stanley Rader, and others wrestled to regain control, an alarming percentage of the field ministry left, for reasons of conscience. This mass exodus caused a radical change in the corporate culture of WCG. The fallout from this affected lay members and employees as well. One morning, I showed up for my shift at AC Press, and was ushered into a rather somber meeting. Forms were passed out, and we were told that in order for our employment to continue, we had to sign oaths of loyalty to HWA. Long term deacons, using some of the college's vans and camera equipment, parked surreptitiously in the vicinity of meetings conducted by Dr. Martin, Al Carrozzo, Richard Plache, and others. In this undercover sting, the deacons photographed any WCG members whom they observed entering the meeting halls. The dormitories at Ambassador College were also electronically bugged. The accounting department, in a joint project with the MIS department, was instructed to review the payroll and tithing records of employees in various departments, an early detection of possible mixed loyalties. There were also frantic member letters, exemplifying HWA's most embarrassing overuse of punctuation and variations in type size, telling of Satan pulling out all stops in his war against what he called "God's Church".

There had been persistent rumors for months amongst employees, staff, and local members in Pasadena concerning secret overseas bank accounts, expensive art collections secreted in the basement storage areas of some headquarters buildings, and extravagant overseas junkets involving HWA, Stanley Rader, Osamu Gotoh, and others, some of it allegedly funded by misappropriation of third tithe funds. A cadre of members and former members contracted with a prominent Southern California attorney in an effort to force financial accountability. The courts felt that there was sufficient merit to their allegations to institute receivership proceedings, but over a period of months the church managed to totally obfuscate the effort, and ultimately had enough lobbying power with the state legislature to get a special law passed that essentially quashed the receivership and investigation. While church officials later credited themselves as having helped preserve the civil liberties of churches throughout the USA, and protecting the Constitutional separation of church and state, the end result was that there never was any sort of financial accountability. As if this were not enough, in the background of all of this, a number of prominent ministers' kids were both indulging in and selling various kinds of dope at Imperial Schools and Ambassador College.

It is difficult, in retrospect, to imagine how WCG could possibly have survived this perfect storm.
They were on the front pages of many newspapers, and the lead story on TV news, day after day after day. This fact did not lend itself to the recruitment of new members!

I was not around much after 1975. Having discussed this with those who were, and having read extensively on the subject, I believe that policies and procedures were gradually put into place to prevent even the remotest possibility of a similar revolt ever again. You'd have to guess that the field ministry, after that point, was instructed to be very suspicious of members, and to take a hard line with possible dissenters to the official doctrinal stances, and even to closely monitor the tithing patterns of members. Eventually it was a total lock, the final ones being applied during the "back on track" era. As we look back on all of this today, it is plain to see that all of the additional suffering, confusion, and general misery were for nought. Gamaliel, in the end, was proven right, in living color right before our eyes!

BB

To learn more about the Worldwide Church of God during the mid 1970s, check out Ambassador Reports, archived conveniently right here at The Painful Truth Website.

30 comments:

Allen C. Dexter said...

Excellent summary and insight. Although I was only on the outskirts after 1975, I was close enough to the action to know there was an abrupt change. The organization was abusive before, but it became overwhelmingly so after that date.

I, too have found memories of some genuinely fine people like Carlton Smith, the Coles, etc. All of us in those early years started out as genuine dedicated servants of what we sincerely believed was God's work and people. Some warped a lot, others less and some got out altogether, as I did.

Neotherm said...

The WCG always accorded people perquisites and compensation based on their status in the elaborate WCG hierarchy. In many cases, that status was determined by family and political connections ("God works in families"). The events around 1975 really just revealed that and made it blatant.

If members and some ministers made mistakes, they were summarily disfellowshipped. Yet HWA was patient, even indulgent, with GTA. I believe that many members were cognizant of this disparity in treatment. For some people this was revolutionary.

-- Neo

Corky said...

I remember 1975 - that was the year that my mother was too sick to go to the FoT. She died in 1978 from believing the doctrines of HWA's WCG about doctors etc.

That was the year that I left the WCG - on "the last great day" of the "feast" of booze. While everyone else was getting ready for the morning "service", I was packing up to leave.

That was the year that all the excuses about why Jesus' return did not happen dripped from the mouths of "god's ministers".

That was the year that I woke up and realized it was all bullshit.

Purple Hymnal said...

Fuck, I just typed out a long comment, basically proving the "get the church back on track era" was every bit as Bob has guessed it was, or even worse.

Will try and recreate it when I get home from work tonight. Argh!

Ralph said...

Corky, I'm very sorry to hear about your mother and the probable suffering caused by HWA's doctrines. I'm sure that happened to many people, and I'm not offering any justifications. I think we all agree that HWA was wrong.

I had a friend who traveled across the states with me back in 1970, when we worked with AC as I described earlier. About two years prior to that, he had been in a car wreck and had been thrown through the windshield. His body was flung about a hundred feet away.

In keeping with his beliefs, he refused a transfusion. His doctor said "You might die", but he still refused.

He didn't die, right away, but he had been a very dynamic church member, even groomed at one time as a possible local elder.

Gradually, we noticed that he lost ability to concentrate. he might burst out laughing for no reason. He began to fit the general desctription, even among us WCG'ers, as "weird".

The loss of blood with no transfusion had caused long term damage. He began to have blackouts.
His family and churc members stayed close by, just in case.

Strangely, he and i traveled across the states, and I'd give him the keys to drive for miles while i slept in the back seat of the car. Never had a problem.

When we returned from the college, his family allowed him to drive the few miles home, and I am told he blacked out and nearly killed them all on the mountainous turns near his house.

He died alone, when he blacked out and fell, his throat crushed across a small garbage can. They found him the next day. He was 25.
He was a good friend.

whatmeworry said...

I graduated from high school the year we fled to the place of safety, 1972. (notice my sarcasm) And like most every dutiful teen applied to Ambassador College promptly after that. I was a mediocre to awful student, and was definately NOT Ambassador material, so for the next 2 years in a row I was rejected and attended a local community college. My mom paid the application fee the third year, and as luck would have it, I was accepted to Pasadena campus in January of 1975. I was not a "green horn" to the workings of the politics of Ambassador College, I attended SEP in Orr, MN 5 years, yet when I arrived in Pasadena, the atmosphere was that of quiet bedlam. I have talked about "zeitgeist" before, and there was some crazy undercurrent, something I just couldn't put my finger on that made most people act like there was some big secret, which now I know there was! I had some trouble with financial aid the first day, and was sent to Social Security in Pasadena to get my child support checks sent to the college as my father had died some years earlier. After 3 days, when no one at Ambassador could be pinned down or offer any assistance to my plight, I was asked to turn in my dorm key and go home. So I did. My mom thought I was a loser until about 10 years later an ex Ambassador official told her that it was the best thing that could've happened to me.

Byker Bob said...

Deaths because of the medical doctrines were certainly one of the problems associated with WCG prior to 1975, as well as after. And, duplicity was often employed to make certain that the church was not made to look bad.

That's another statistic I could add to my post. During the time period I described, I knew of five deaths in our district. One young man went off his insulin, as an act of faith, and eventually succumbed. Two young girls, one black and one white, died because their parents did not obtain proper medical attention for some totally curable illnesses. Finally, a young couple lost a pair of twins which could have been saved through a C-section operation.

I realize that that time period, even in the secular world, was comparatively naive. Heck it was only a couple of years later that we lost Elvis for lack of knowledge regarding interventions, and treatment of addictions. But, in the religious community there is often a trial and error process associated with faith. In ancient Israel, when the high priest entered the Holy of Holies on the wrong day (and knowledge often became lost during the rule of bad kings and in times of captivity), that high priest died.

There is nothing wrong with having faith in God for healing. But, if a trend of death emerges, those in positions of establishing doctrine or teaching should re-evaluate whether God is working in the way they believe He is. In other words, instead of using an Abraham and Isaac model and relating it to faith and the healing of one's children, we would all have been much better off if they had looked at the lessons of correction associated with these deaths of the high priest.

Unfortunately, PCG has retained the 1950s WCG beliefs regarding healing. They still compare medical professionals with sorcerers, not realizing that 1) Physicians are not pagan shamans; 2) There are totally secular hospitals, or if one prefers, Jewish ones; and 3) Many hospitals have been established by Christians who believe in and worship Father God and Jesus Christ.

People still do die in hospitals, but not in such great numbers involving relatively simple and totally curable illnesses. And, there are other benefits medical science offers to quality of life, such as preservation of one's mobility and senses. It is very beneficial for a Christian to be able to read and to hear. Just as some ACOG members have lost their lives, others have lost eyesight and hearing abilities.

BB

Neotherm said...

I recall an event that happened in the mid-Seventies that I believe is telling concerning the mind of true believers then. At Big Sandy, a minister, I do not recall whom, gave a sermon stating that the book of Acts was never complete. I think Acts does not have an "amen" in closing or some such. The minister asserted the HWAs co-worker letters, written during the GTA crisis, would become part of the book of Acts. You know, typical Armstrongism, the minister shouting into the microphone "The book of Acts has neve been finished, brethren!!!" and the faithful sitting on steel folding chairs in the Field House totally agog.

The whole idea was beyond the pale but for the true believer, this was exciting and showed how engaged the WCG was in the activities of God on this earth.

It now strikes me as being very ego-centric, naive and self-important (isn't that what is troubling at children). But that is with the perspective of time.

-- Neo

Ralph said...

Well, they always taught that 1975 would be the year God revealed himself. Looks like he did. And he wasn't on HWA's side.

Purple Hymnal said...

"following the events of 1975, the church took on a decidedly harsher undertone."

I can vouch for this, as one who grew up in the "back on TRACK" era.

"Some of those were due to out of control alcoholism, and a couple more were due to schizophrenia, which of course was labelled as demon possession."

There were at least two schizophrenics who were disfellowshipped in at least one congregation I attended, but during the "Get back on TRACK" days, ANY mental problem was cast-out-of-the-church-worthy. This included depression, unemployment and in one case I remember vividly, inconsolable grief over the death of a child.

"It was not as if they were seen as suddenly being enemies of God and country."

Another early memory, my parents discussing the "new" D&M policy. Members are instructed to cross the street, rather than cross paths with a D&Med. This was routine procedure, by the mid-80s.

"..a number of prominent ministers' kids were both indulging in and selling various kinds of dope...."

Charming. The little hellions that passed for the demon-spawn of the of the Levitical priesthood always did live by a double standard; they could probably have gotten away with cold-blooded MURDER during the "back on TRACK" days, and nobody would have batted an eyelid!

Is it any wonder Junior is such a flaming hypocrite? He comes by it honestly, every pastard's kid I ever encountered was exactly the same.

"You'd have to guess that the field ministry, after that point, was instructed to be very suspicious of members, and to take a hard line with possible dissenters to the official doctrinal stances, and even to closely monitor the tithing patterns of members."

Actually, it was Headquarters that monitored the tithing/offering patterns of members; this was accomplished through the use of the "member's serial number" (Talk about the Mark of the Beast!) that had to be written on every single envelope sent in to the church.

These were then processed and tracked through the Data Processing Centre, and any discrepancies flagged by the computers, saw Headquarters instructing the pastards to lay down the law.

As for the doctrinal stance, I didn't find some of the ordained ministers I grew up under, to be "hard-liners" in the sense that they disfellowshipped one or two people a week, or anything. Matter of fact, all of them are now dancing on the bandwagon for Jebus, just so their pensions will be safe.

It was my experience that the lay-ministry were often the "hard-liners", and the ones who caused the most grief for the general membership. (Tattling to the pastor/assistant pastor constantly, reprimanding/inspecting members and their houses themselves, etc.) Headquarters' solution to this was to send "liberal" (they weren't, not really, but we thought of them as such, especially in comparison to the assholes in the lay-ministry) pastors into "conservative" strongholds, and vice versa, hard-liner Gestapo Old Testament turds were installed in "problem areas" where the lay-ministry was too lax.

That's just my observation, as a member on the ground, that's not to say Headquarters operated this way knowingly, or that this was part of their grand "God's government on Earth" or anything. But it wouldn't surprise me....

"As we look back on all of this today, it is plain to see that all of the additional suffering, confusion, and general misery were for nought."

It was especially all for naught, after the changes. That was, by far, the hardest pill to swallow, and is why the church ended up so broken and undermined as it has been. (Even their desire for an evangelical mega-money-making-church never came to fruition! Gee I wonder why....)

Purple Hymnal said...

"And, there are other benefits medical science offers to quality of life, such as preservation of one's mobility and senses."

Not to mention long-term health. I was born on the cusp of the church transitioning away from the "doctrinal" position that medicine was pagan, and I wouldn't be alive and typing this today, if they hadn't.

That said, I did not receive childhood vaccinations, and subsequently got measles, rubella, and whooping cough, not to mention the fact that I always came down with whatever ailment that was going. This has resulted in my having long-term health problems to this day, that will probably always be with me, and which could have been easily prevented.

That said let me clarify the church's stance on use of modern medicine, during the "Get back on TRACK" era: We were absolutely allowed to see doctors, go to hospitals, etcetera, and as I say, I would not be alive, if we hadn't been.

However, the story of Moses raising the serpent on a pole, and the caduceus being a pagan idol the worldly worshipped, was still exhorted from the pulpit. Medical "repairs" (i.e., appendix/tonsils need to come out or you'll die of blood poisoning, broken bones, and the like) were perfectly A-OK; anything else "minor" was to be left to faith.

(I do remember the terrible ear infections I used to get, before the policy was changed, and I was "allowed" antibiotics.)

Let me also explain that, while it was no longer a salvational or doctrinal issue, during the "Get back on TRACK" days, if your child was in and out of hospital and doctor's offices regularly, the membership could be absolutely counted upon, to stigmatize you. We were absolute pariahs, because of our obvious "weak faith".

Again, this was the stance taken by the lay-ministry. To their credit, none of the asshole pastors I interacted with EVER questioned my family's faith, due to my multiple disabilities, the way the lay-ministry CONSTANTLY did.

This became particularly more troublesome in my second congregation, than my first, which resulted in me socializing with ONLY two other children, out of about 75, when I was young.

In retrospect, I am convinced the deacons and deaconesses instructed parents of the church that I was demon-possessed, or very nearly so, and this was part of the reason why we were ostracized.

So, Herbie changed the healing doctrine, but a lot of the members and lay-ministry still held fast to it. And how.

Purple Hymnal said...

"You know, typical Armstrongism, the minister shouting into the microphone "The book of Acts has neve been finished, brethren!!!" and the faithful sitting on steel folding chairs in the Field House totally agog."

I remember repeated iterations of this sermon, during "Get back on TRACK." IIRC, Waterhouse was especially fond of using this one as well, although ISTR taped sermons from HQ along the same lines, right up until the year of the changes, in fact.

Anon said...

Byker Bob said: "There is nothing wrong with having faith in God for healing."

Lack of answered prayer was a significant part of me losing my faith in faith. It's interesting how often believers claim to be healed yet I've not seen a single case of car accident victims who suffered limb amputation being healed.

The bible makes it pretty clear that all you need to get an answer to prayer is to believe. The scriptures are really clear yet prayers remain unanswered. Believers carry on about it not being God's will, yet the scriptural promises clearly state you just have to believe.

So, I do take issue with the original statement about there being nothing wrong with having faith in god for healing.

It is nonsense and full of false hope.

Now, if you sacrificed a goat as well as prayed for healing, maybe you'd be on to something.

anonSeven21

Purple Hymnal said...

"Now, if you sacrificed a goat as well as prayed for healing, maybe you'd be on to something."

When in Samaria....

Byker Bob said...

A-7-21: Obviously your opinions make sense to you. And, I'm glad you are happy and fulfilled. I'm happy to see any improvements at all in the lives of former Armstrongites.

BB

Neotherm said...

When 1975 came, we had already had a warning that things were going to be different. For years ministers preached that that we would flee to Petra in January of 1972 in order for the 1975 date to be right.

But when 1972 came, that date was radically re-interpreted. Now it pointed to the commencement of construction on the auditorium in Pasadena. From this one got the drift that there would be other radical re-interpretations.

Probably the slimiest use of prophetic failures was the condemnation of the lay membership. I think it may have been Waterhouse who said Christ could not come on schedule because the lay membership was so spiritually flawed. HWA had the schedule right, it was us ding-a-lings in the audience who screwed things up. This was a pathetic and unethical transfer of blame.

-- Neo

Ralph said...

It's interesting that lack of direct evience for healing is seen as somehow proving there is no God. Both the Jews and Jesus warned that "signs and wonders" were not any indication of truth. Something is true for one very basic and simple reason: it's true.

The simplest example of this are the scrioptures I've shown which are consistent with exactly what we see around us. They aren't dependent on miracles and they don't need supernatural assistance.

Wouldn't it be so nice if there was a God who put his approval on just the right statement of truth by healing every person in that group? People would flock to that one select group and do exactly as the preacher said, follow him in lock-step(goose-step), and probably kill anyone who thought otherwise.

OTOH, what if the lack of healing actually was a sign of God's disapproval? If you can't get it right, you may die, or your spouse may die, or your children. Obey or live in terror if you fail.

There would be a great God, wouldn't it?

Anon Seven 21 is clear evidence that people like to believe in absolutes. "Either do as I ask, or I don't believe. Screw you, God. I didn't get what you said I'd get".

Yeah, that's maturity. HWA was wrong. Didja ever stop to think that's exactly what you're supposed to learn out of all this, that you must think for yourself and actually live free?

Have you actually considered the implications of Matthew 10:34-38?

You learn to do what's right because it's right, God or no God.

Paul told us there's no way to organize in God's name. Jesus said not to follow anyone who claimed to be Christ, or Messiah.

But of course, we think that because there's not some special group that has miracles and incredible healings to prove itself, there's no God.

There's advanced logic, for ya.

Corky said...

Neotherm said...
I recall an event that happened in the mid-Seventies that I believe is telling concerning the mind of true believers then. At Big Sandy, a minister, I do not recall whom, gave a sermon stating that the book of Acts was never complete.

You know, armstrongism aside, the man had a point. Who decided that there was not to be any more NT scripture and closed the canon?

Did they think that "inspiration of God" ended? If so, why did it end and what does that imply for Christians living after the death of the apostles?

Ralph said...

From what I've read of history, Jews were careful to close the OT canon because other pre-christian type religions were trying to add on, and the Constantine religion did the same because there were so many others.

The Jews, of course, solved the matter by adding Mishna Gemarra, and Talmud.

All the more reason why Matthew 24:23 would be correct. Don't be following people around.

The argument from the Jews is that God revealed himself nationally, so there was no denying it, which also conforms to Paul's statement in Romans 1, and then Paul turns around and said God never intended to start any religion, because only those born as isaac, and under the same conditions as isaac, were actually "elect".

If so, any "Acts" added to the BIG BOOK would be irrelevant anyway.

Purple Hymnal said...

"Who decided that there was not to be any more NT scripture and closed the canon?"

Constantine. And, if you read all of the literature that DIDN'T make the cut, it becomes painfully obvious, why only those few books were "canonized"; they were the only books that allowed the pagan Roman church to exercise crowd control on every citizen of the Empire.

That includes the false gospels and pseudo-epistles of (not)"Paul".

Robert Price contends that "Paul" in the narratives (this theory works if one presumes the narratives are true, and not just mythology), was actually the sorcerer Simon Magus!

Really, nothing in the Romanized canon is to be trusted as authoritative, in any way, shape or form.

Purple Hymnal said...

"The argument from the Jews is that God revealed himself nationally, so there was no denying it, which also conforms to Paul's statement in Romans 1, and then Paul turns around and said God never intended to start any religion, because only those born as isaac, and under the same conditions as isaac, were actually "elect"."

I hope I have made it more than clear, in this and other posts, that the text you are quoting is not to be trusted either; which includes when it says not to be trusted!

Again, you're tying yourself up in endlessly circular logic, and making your own life much more difficult than it needs to be, Ralph.

If you choose to interpret my above statements as "ad hominem attacks", then you are just proving ALLEN'S points, about reality tunnels, and how there is NO objective truth; you say I'm attacking you personally, I say I'm attacking the ideas that are forcing you to twist your mind into the necessary contortions required of your mistaken and ill-used "faith". Are either of us right? For ourselves, we are each right, but it has already proven absolutely impossible, for these opposing viewpoints to be right in reverse; this confirms the nature of subjective reality, and more than reiterates the point that there is NO ultimate truth, for any one person, that can be applied to any other person on the planet. We are all inside our own heads, and always will be.

Most especially when we make up false gods to dwell in our heads with us.

And, with that said, I will note "in conclusion" (as Waterhouse would have said) that YOU, Ralph, are the one who has consistently engaged in ad hominem attacks, real and unprovoked ones, whereas you are choosing to view (through your own subjective "reality tunnel") open dialogue and free debate, as "ad hominem attacks".

Ralph said...

Well, let's see, Purple, the text i quote is not to be trusted, good, then we arrtive at an inevitable conclusion: there exists no decision procedure by which we can get from here to God, and there is no reason to follow anybody saying "here is Christ".

But wait! That's what Paul and jesus said! So, the text can't be trusted, which sort of leaves us at the same conclusion either way. How about that!

The problem, Purple, is that you keep accusing me of endlessly circular logic, but you have yet to explain how it is circular.

Are you saying there actually IS a way we can get from here to God, and that there actually does exist decision procedures to do so?

Are you further saying that there actually ARE religions somewhere that we can choose to follow truthfully?

I thought that you agreed that we can't get "there" from "here".

If I'm practicing circular logic, and you have agreed with that same logic, I guess we're both doing it, and guess what?

You still prove my point, since I've maintained all along, right along with the statements of Paul and jesus, that we can't logicaly come to such conclusions!

I guess it IS circular logic, since it always comes back to the same logical conclusion!

Actually, your statement that there is NO ultimate truth, would be an ultimate truth in itself. To say there is no ultimate truth, must in itself express an ultimate truth, the truth that there is no ultimate truth, which is a contradiction, so you just proved yourself wrong.

OTOH, if you simply agreed with Godel's theorem, which says specifically that there exists no axciomatic process by which we may contain all truth in one system, then you have a mathematical statement that is correct.

If you say there is no ultimate truth, it's like saying "this very statement is false". But if it's false, then it's true, and if it's true, then it's false!

"There is no ultimate truth" must be an ultimate statement of truth that there exists no ultimate truth. That's a kind ofultimate contradiction, so you prove your logic flawed.

OTOH, if you state there is no ultimate treuth for any one person, then you merely confirm Godel's theorem, which states that complete, consisten truth cannot be contained in any single package, which leaves us with exactly the same conclusion you stated earlier: You can't get "there" from "here". There exists no possible decision procedure to get from "here" to "God" even assuming there is a God, which is exactly what Paul tells us in Romans 9:16-22.

Well, let's look at my reality tunnel. I have at no time suggested "collapsing comments" or trying to in any way censor any person's attacks. Quite the contrary, I have encouraged open debate to prove me wrong, repeatedly, and the evidence is pretty much everywhere in this blog.

I have never denied that all of us live, and must live, within a reality tunnel. In fact, that has been my position before Allen ever mentioned the subject, that there exists no possible decision procedure to get to "absolute truth" and I have quoted Godel's theorem several times before Allen even became editor of the blog.

In fact, I have even admitted to character failings. I've admitted to being an asshole, hard headed, ready to fight at the drop of a hat, and even conceded that I may be a "military experiment gone wrong", as someone wrote, and guess what, even with that concession, I have stuck to one singular point through it all: prove me wrong.

And Purple, you have still failed miserably on every count.

Ralph said...

And now, Purple, ldet's take your main argument, that all human minds are subjective, that they cannot determine existence of truth or God in anyt ultimate sense, and therefore, what we cannot possibly know cannot possibly exist.

Again, you provide a contradiction, since you're saying both that we cannot know any ultimate truth, and stating that no such truth exists. But in doing that, you state, in effect, that we can know what we cannot know.

But, if you wish to make that your argument for the subjectivity of the brain, then you have merely agreed with Godel's theorem, which I represented to demonstrate the mathematical truth corresponding to your assertion.

However, your own argument is exactly the strength of Paul's(or Simon Magus, or Joe Shit, the Rag Man, or whoever) argument.

Because what Paul has stated clearly in Romans 8:7 is that first, the carnal or natural mind cannot be subject to God, which would produce exactly the result you are stating, and because the mind cannot be subject to God, then any decision procedure of any human brain will not produce ultimate knowledge of that God, again consistent with your conclusions.

Therefore, if there is a God, then any decison procedure he/sh/it/they make CANNOT be dependent on the authority of any human mind.

That fact, which you keep repeatedly arguing, is verified in Romans 8:29-30. Since our minds are obviously subjective, since we cannot know truth or "righteousness(there is none righteous, no not one)", then it would be impossible to trust any human decison procedure, including Panentheism to provide truth in any complete, consistent package. Ergo, we have Romans 8:29-30 as a logical result.

Further, you argue that because of our subjectivity, there is no reason to believe in any human concept of God or any God at all, since it would be useless, and that leads us logically to Romans 9:16-22. Therefore, Paul, or Simon Magus, whoever it was, has anticipated all your arguments.

You lose again.

Purple Hymnal said...

"And Purple, you have still failed miserably on every count."

Yes, Ralph, I failed to connect with you, and only served to further your self-delusion, and made your confirmation bias grow even deeper. That is what you want, though, and that is the sum and entirety of your pale, empty existence. I cannot do any more than what I have already done.

"You lose again."

I lose nothing Ralph. I am free. You are the one who is lost, who does not want to be found. That is your choice, and I must respect that choice, no matter how weary and sad it makes me feel.

Ralph said...

Purple, you are freee to say anythng you wish. For example, i can say the moon is made of green cheese, but proving it, that would be something else.

What you've said in every case, in every response,is to simply state your opinion as authoritative, bit then again you state that there are no authorities.

IOW, "This is so because i have decided it is so" and then turn around and say "BVut of course all thinking ids subjectivre and there is no ultimate truth for any of us".

Again, a logical contradiction.

OTOH, I have agreed with your basic statement of subjectivity of human decisons, and show plainly and logically why Paul's statements agree with them.
You, however, simply say that your opinion must be so because you say it is so, and then argue with equal conviction that all opinions are subjective and therweofre of no authority.

But you see, logicaly, that would mean exactly as you said earlier, that there exists no process to get from "here' to "there", which is eaxclty what i have said, and what Paul has shown, and what jesus also stated.

It follows logically from your arguments, and i agree with those arguments.

So, let me see if I underastand you. You argue that your opinion is true in regard to God, and then argue that there exists no ultimate truth, which is itself a statement of ultimate truth, thus contradicting yourself, and saying there can be no truth about the bible, which clearly supports your position as truth.

You're so funny.

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Purple Hymnal said...

Hmmmm, well I for one, find that spam ad rather discouragingly apt, but it may just be me....

Ralph said...

Purple: like religion, it's all about growth.

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