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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Faith and Hope

So many evil deeds are carried out every day throughout the globe. I sometimes can't bear watching TV news or reading newspaper articles about war atrocities, genocide, and the enourmous cruelty carried out by individuals against other individuals for no apparent reason other than the thrill it gives to warped minds.

One of the most tragic murders I've heard or read about locally in recent years happened on Halloween in 2005. The victim was an attractive, unmarried woman, 25 years of age, who earned her living as a freelance pholographer. Apparently she was a happy, family-and-church-oriented daughter, sister, and aunt who lived with a friend next door to her parents.

While on a photo shoot, from what newspapers reported and what scant information can be pieced together from one of the two convicted perpetrators, she alledgedly was kidnapped, stripped naked, spread-eagled and bound in a bed, repeatedly and brutally raped, tortured with a knife and finally shot numerous times. This young woman was humiliated and tormented until her life was snuffed out. Her lifeless body was then burned.

A shirttail relative of this horribly abused, victimized woman and one of my co-workers expressed to me her belief (faith) that the murdered woman did not experience any pain during her ordeal since God was watching over her!

"Why would you think that?" I asked.

"Because it just makes me feel better," my friend pitifully replied as tears welled in her eyes. "And she was a wonderful Christian!"

I said nothing in an attempt to reason with her. I just gave her a big hug and let her cry.

I would describe this dear friend as devout, morally scrupulous, generally thoughtful, and polite. She is a widow and a caring mother and grandmother. She is a dedicated, knowledgeable employee in a women's health clinic. She works tirelessly for her church and attends mass regularly. Yet, she had no objective proof for the validity of her statement. She only had "faith" that her God protected this young woman from actual, physical pain because, otherwise what happened was too horrible to contemplate. I wonder if my friend thinks that God also watched as the young woman cried out for mercy while she was raped and mutilated; or did he simply turn his back on her after he fixed it so she at least wouldn't feel physical pain.

To me this is a graphic example of what faith (firm belief without logical proof) does to a person. It distorts rationality. If my friend's God has the kind of power to eradicate pain, why didn't he step in and prevent this senseless atrocity from happening in the first place?

In several thesauruses (or thesauri), the words "faith" and "hope" are synonyms. To me, no matter how strong a person says their "faith" is, it's really just "fervent hope."

108 comments:

Allen C. Dexter said...

Good article with excellent questions that show the irrationality so many people of faith cling to. Royals used to also think that the common people didn't feel as they did.

Neotherm said...

Betty:

As an aatheist, you would view this murder as just another event in your environment. It has no tragic content or any other content for that matter.

In fact, if someone wants to place it in the context of faith, that also has no meaning from the atheistic perspective.

If you saw a twig fall from a tree in you backyard, it would just be an event involving physics and chemistry.

It is the same with the murdered woman and the woman of faith.

The real question is why would you care and why would you pose this question?

-- Neo

Betty Brogaard said...

Neotherm,

I care because twigs are not sentient beings. I care because theism is not only false, it is harmful. I care because atheism is the absence of belief in a god, not the absence of belief in rational humanity. I care because the average believer has been conviced to believe in a god (or gods) through emotion and not intellect. I care because I abhore cruelty. I care because this is the only life we have. Until someone comes up with objective proof otherwise, there is none.

Corky said...

Good comment to Neo, Betty. Christians can't help it, they get twigs and people mixed up all the time.

A twig doesn't have any feelings so naturally, an atheist doesn't have any feelings either.

You have to believe in stupid crap like gods, demons, angels and virgin births to have feelings of sympathy or to empathize with another.

In spite of what the believer hoped, the woman in your post suffered indescribable fear and agony.

Anonymous said...

Betty,
Excellent response to Neo. I remain astonished at the questions that Neo asks regarding why would an atheist feel emotions of any sort, since anything that an atheist experiences in his or her life is just "an event involving physics and chemistry."

As he first stated these types of questions or made his comments, I thought he was just throwing out bait, trying to get a rise out of you, or other non-believers. However, he has made these statements frequently enough that I think he truly believes them.

To Neo: Yes, atheists have emotions just like yours, ranging from fear and anger, to compassion, love, awe, and empathy for others. You are free to believe that only Christians created by the Yahweh god creature that you serve could possibly possess the "good" emotions, such as compassion, love and empathy.

However, I can confirm to you that the unbelievers that I know have those same good emotions, even unbelievers who have been atheists all of their lives, having never been indoctrinated with a god-belief by their parents or their culture.

I know that unbelievers have these good emotions, and demonstrate them every day by their acts of compassion toward others.

You wrote, "As an aatheist, you would view this murder as just another event in your environment. It has no tragic content or any other content for that matter."

I think this is a judgment and projection that your god-believing mind requires you to make about atheists, because if atheists can be good, then it totally shoots your deep belief that only the Christian God is the author of anything good all to hell, doesn't it?

Sorry to break this to you, Neo, but there are lots of non-believers in the world with high morals, who demonstrate, even by your god's standards, or maybe especially by your god's standards, all of the good emotions that you think only Christians can possess. These good people experience love, compassion, empathy, and a sense of tragedy, fully as much as any Christian.

I realize that you have no concept of how condescending your comments are. Betty's responses to you demonstrate what a high-class person she is.

AnnMarie95

Neotherm said...

Betty:

You wrote:"I care because twigs are not sentient beings."

As an atheist, why do you care about the difference between a twig and a sentient being? They are just meaningless phenomena in your environment.

It may even be that you might regard a twig as less threatening than another sentient being. After all another sentient being may compete with you for resources such as food and water. One less sentient being, means one less competitor. Your genes instead of hers.

You have really listed out a number of "Mom and Apple Pie" statements that anyone could side with and are not the private property of atheists. Certainly they do not counter Christianity. In fact, atheists probably would have trouble coming up with a reason to support these pro-humanity ideas.

You wrote: "I care because theism is not only false, it is harmful."

What do you mean by the word harmful. Does this mean that it goes against natural selection? Maybe this guy murdered the girl because he perceived that she was a competitor for some scarce resource. From that perspective maybe there is nothing to be concerned about. After all, he survived and she didn't. Isn't that the only purpose?

You wrote: "To me this is a graphic example of what faith (firm belief without logical proof) does to a person. It distorts rationality."

The is begging the question. You have assumed without proof that you are rational and she is irrational.

Once again, why would you care what she believes? Your value system is rooted in evolution and natural selection. Since most of the world is theistic of some sort, natural selection seems to have moved humanity in that direction. Aren't you going against what Nature has done. That might well be our definition of irrational.

-- Neo

Allen C. Dexter said...

I am an agnostic but as concerns the "gods" extant in the world and Christianity, I am definitely an atheist. I concider Neo's god and his religion an illusion and his reasoning totally irrational.

I believe I have a high level of moral and ethical precepts that form the basis of my view of life and my opinions and realationships with other humans. I am sick and tired of the condescending attitude people like Neo have toward those of us who view the world and life in a non-religious, non-faith context. It's tottaly self-righteous and repugnant.

Betty Brogaard said...

Thank you, Anonymous. You covered just about everything I would have in your response to Neo. I appreciate your well thought out answer.

I think that one question from Neo that I didn't try to answer was: Why would I pose this question? Actually, I didn't pose any question (except to my friend after she made her statement about her faith). But I wrote this blog because, hopefully, somebody who hasn't before will finally begin to see the logic of unbelief.

Ralph said...

Neo asks why should the atheist care. The atheist asks, why doesn't God care, assuming he exists? Obviously Betty cares, being concerned enough to ask the question, and Neo, rather than demonstrating the possible reasons whyt it would be allowed, attacks the atheist instead.

"How dare you question my God? You don't even believe he exists, so what gives you the right to question?"

It seems to me that if God is looking to save people from their atheism, this would be a good time to show his power. Neo claims to know something he cannot prove, and he also claims that atheists lack something he cannot prove or demonstrate.

The implied question is, "How can you know if you don't believe?"

But Neo obviously believes, and he still doesn't know, which brings us back to Betty's toughts on "faith" and "hope".

But Neo hasn't even turned to Isaiah 45:7, where God admits to creating both peace and evil, responsibility for the brutal actions of the rapist.

If Neo could display any superior knowledge whatever as to why God permits bad things to happen to good people, he would have answered your question without hesitation, but since he had no answer, he could only attack your "obvious" lack of faith as the true culprit.

OTOH, why would a God who expected us to learn stop such an action? Would there even be the need to ask if there was a God who stepped in and saved us from ourselves every time we screwed up?

The question for believer or non-believer is not "why wouldn't God stop this?", but "What can we do to eliminate the occurrence of these incidents?"

The logical contradiction for both sides is to assume that "God" exists outside the reality of our existence to stop these things, when in fact nothing would be achieved of any useful nature if He did, since we would simply wait for him to deliver us from every misstep and bad choice.

I'm certainly not blaming the lady who was raped and brutally murdered, but I am blaming a system that has no process of monitoring or providing security to help prevent such actions.

We wish for freedom, the right to do as we wish without human interference, yet we then get all pissed off because God, if there is one, didn't step in and prevent it.

Technology sets people free to live independently in ways never dreamed of a century ago, yet that very freedom allows individuals to walk innocently into situations that probably would not have happened a century ago.

Humans created this world, and the freedom accompanying it, along with the alienation that permits psychos to wander the streets just as freely.

God's fault?

Corky said...

Neotherm said...

As an atheist, why do you care about the difference between a twig and a sentient being? They are just meaningless phenomena in your environment
.

Why do You care, Neo? If you do care about the difference between a twig and a sentient beings, then it's the same reason that you would care.

Of course, if you don't care then possibly you are a sociopath, which I'm beginning to believe you are.

Tell the truth, you only care about people because you Bible says you have to, isn't that right?

Many narcissistic sociopaths existed in Armstrongism and you can usually tell who they are because they say the same kind of things as you do.

Betty Brogaard said...

I apologize to all. I see that I did ask a question other than the one I asked my friend: It was: "If my friend's God has the kind of power to eradicate pain, why didn't he step in and prevent this senseless atrocity from happening in the first place?"

Actually this is a rhetorical question, as something that doesn't exist has no power to do anything. And please--it does no good for anyone to quote scripture to me as the Bible was written by humans for the control of humans.

Neotherm said...

Corky:

We are not talking about me. I feel compassion for other people because God built that into me as a human being. Other people are created in the image of God and for that reason they are important.

We are talking about why an atheist who has no God, believes in no law and regards himself a product of mutation and natural selection would have any concern for other people.

So far you have not convinced me of anything and making a breathtaking leap for your own personal philosophical inadequacy to an accusation of my being a sociopath is hollow.

Please stick to the point and tell me why you and you fellow atheist can justify concern for others. If it is truly that you feel these things for the same reason I do, then you must be a
Christian Theist.

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

Neo stated, "Please stick to the point and tell me why you and you fellow atheist can justify concern for others. If it is truly that you feel these things for the same reason I do, then you must be a
Christian Theist."

Neo, you crack me up! Do you not realize that the atheist can make a similar statement about you?

Since we know without doubt that atheists demonstrate every day that they have empathy, love and concern for others, and since you, Neo, possibly feel those same good emotions also, then it must be because you are an atheist!

AnnMarie95

Ralph said...

First of all Betty, as I pointed out, it is not even mathematically possible for anyone to say there is no God, as there exists no axiomatic system by which one can demonstrate such a level of truth.

Second, to say, Please don't use the bible as I consider it to be a book used for the controlof others, is merely your opinion, and I have shown direct statements emanating logically from Paul and Jesus which show decisively thathad we accepted it as stated, we would ot have been scamed in the first place.

If you wish to state something as you opinion, then do so. But don't put opinion in front of people and say this is truth because I say so.

Your "proof" is as tautological as Neo's.

The Painful Truth said...

Neo said...

"We are talking about why an atheist who has no God, believes in no law and regards himself a product of mutation and natural selection would have any concern for other people."

Neo,
Why would I spend my own hard earned money, my time (which is my life) in order to allow others to be warned about Armstrong-ism through the pages of the Painful Truth? Is it Money? Power? Prestige?

Why would I spend my own hard earned money, my time (which is my life) in order to allow others to be warned about the hazards of the corporate American church?

Why do I spend my time (which is my life) putting up a blog to allow both sides to share their ideas? Amusement?

Why does Ralph, or Corkey, Betty, and Al spend their time (which is their life) in opening up new ideas and opportunities for understanding in order to assist others? Is it pride? Arrogance? Misplaced concepts?

The truth is Neo, we believe in the human race. We love other people. We care for our fellow man. This is not a difficult concept for us.

Today I finished up a road trip after attending a wedding of a nephew. When I sat down for breakfast, I looked around the restaurant at others. I wondered if any of these folks spent their lives purposely hurting others. I also asked myself if any of these people spent their time (which is their life) doing things that helped others. You know what my conclusion was? Yes to both.

My observations: The vast majority of mankind reaches out and produces the greatest advantage for their families and their fellow man. It is much easier to live a life of mutual respect and decency than to allow oneself to be self centered and to go forth hurting their fellow man for sheer defiant pleasure or self righteous arrogance.

However there is the other part of humanity. Those who stand only for their own self centered selfish purposes.

The question for you my friend is, what do you bring to pass for the advantage of your fellow man?

Allen C. Dexter said...

Beautifully said, Painful Truth. To paraphrase a scripture I remember, You and I and others are demonstrating our concern and love for our fellow man by what we do (our works). None of us have perfect knowledge or understanding, but we do care and we demonstrate that by our dedication to this task.

Corky said...

Neotherm said...
Please stick to the point and tell me why you and you fellow atheist can justify concern for others. If it is truly that you feel these things for the same reason I do, then you must be a
Christian Theist
.

It could also mean I'm a human being like you are and that's the reason why. At least, I'm hoping that you are a human being.

You seem very narcissistic though, whether you are a psycho sociopath or not. There is one thing for sure, you are very confused, troubled and unhappy.

You know nothing about human evolution or even evolution in general. I can tell that much by when you start spouting off stupid shit like I don't believe in law because of natural selection.

I think you're a nut. Prove me wrong.

The Painful Truth said...

Neo, are you part of the "The Church of God at Northeast Ohio?"

Allen C. Dexter said...

Just another word to Painful Truth. I'm glad you had the chance to take a trip and enjoy the happy occasion of a nephew's wedding. I am amazed at the amount of time and effort you put forth and want you to know it is appreciated.

Such indulgence in human joy may be deprecated by our self-righteous religious counterparts, but we non-believers really do have the same feelings and joys common to all humans. You don't have to grovel before a cosmic dictator to have feelings of love, concern and compassion.

Ralph said...

Yes, PT has shown amazing patience and willingness to listen to all sides, and I feel indebted to him for this.

Ralph said...

Whether you're atheist or professing christian, whatever that means in 38,000 flavors, the question, to me, seems to boil down to this:

Assuming the universe actually does operate by such princiles that it is complete and consistent in all facets, and something of such brutality does occur, should we expect intervention from some power outside that reality to alter the predictability?

IOW, God or no God, should the universe operate in such a way that humans can discover the processes by which such future actions can be avoided, or should there be a power that can eliminate such actions altogether, so that we never have to worry about such events?

That would be equivalent to saying that no matter what we do, it will work out, and we can do as we wish without ever fearing consequences.

This would mean that cause and effect, the very processes by which we can determine predictable laws, is simply by-passed at points we have no ability to foresee.

Did anybody watch the movie "Minority Report"? The human being would have to be stopped from such actions before even being able to contemplate the action.

Such action would require either a God-like understanding of all implications of every action in order to stop it, or it would require a human system designed to prevent "evil" from occurring and punishing the individual before it can occur.

Your choices would be, as Allen pointed out, either a "cosmic dictator" or an earthly dictator.

The present solution seems to be that if enoutght people vote and approve a thing, that makes it legal and enforceable if not moral.

The problem is, one control necessitates anothere control, and another...into infinity. That is the legal analogue of Godel's theorem.

Another alternative would be to make a natural mind such that it is automatically subject only to those actions that guarantee no harm is done. Then we have the conclusions of the recent Will Smith movie, "I, Robot".

If the human mind is capable of such algorithms, then we could certainly create a computer mind that acts purposely "for our own good", as in the "I, Robot" movie.

The question is then asked "If God exists, why would he allow this?"

I would ask "If God exists, why would he not allow it?"

To intervene and eliminate one evil means that it would be necessary to intervene and eliminate all evil, which would destroy the very fabric of cause and effect in any moral sense, as well as our ability to see the universe as a complete and consistent system that must include the good with the evil.

The natural mind is enmity against God. It cannot be subject to such laws. If it were, it would of necessity be a robot.

Allen C. Dexter said...

Ralph, very concise and understandable. I can find no flaw in what you state.

Tony said...

"I would ask "If God exists, why would he not allow it?"...

If you look at the christian bible, promises are made that if you believe, your prayers will be answered... These promises are clear and strong.

I'm confident this devout young woman prayed for protection. Why wouldn't god keep his promise?

The answer of "the christian god doesn't exist" works very well for me.

Ralph said...

Tony, of course the christian god doesn't exist. Never did. Since there exists no process of human decision-making that can define God, any such God would not and cannot exist in what we recognize as reality.

As to God answering pryers, you would still have the problem as to defining what constitutes an answer. Is there an all knowing God? Then the rape and brutality described by Betty was known to happen from the very beginning. That is, it could not NOT happen.

So you would have to assume that if God answers prayers and can change the course of evil to good by our request, it would depend ONLY upon our request and our belief.

That doesn't fit the model either. It would assume that an all knowing God would alter his own foreknowledge in favor of our requests, thus making the entirety of the rest of his foreknowledge uncertain, unless, like some kind of computer balancing sheet, there were compensating factors across the board that brought everything into renewed balance.

There goes omniscience right out the window.

But the clear guarantees of answered prayer are based on obedience, which boils down to my earlier statement regarding reality. If we could do anything we wished, and then simply petition God to answer prayers according to our needs for exemption from consequence, what is learned in the process?

So, whether the christian god or any other type of god exists is irrelevant to the question. If the universe is composed of moral decisions, and if the universe is such that wwe can discover predictive and predictable outcomes as the result of laws, then it becomes our responsibility to learn of those outcomes.

There are certain alternative ways we can look at reality:
1.The universe exists in completeness and consistency. Truth conforms and corresponds to all truth and God is reflected in that truth, which is discovered by trial and error, cause and effect.
2.The universe exists as described above, but there is no God beyond that existence, so we must learn how to arrive at needed goals by trial and error, cause and effect.
3.The universe is incomplete and inconsistent, so that there is no way to ever arrive at a complete understanding of reality, since reality itself is neither complete nor consistent
4. Same as above, but in order to arrive at truth, we must believe in a God who is complete and consistent and able to override our weaknesses by grace.

If you choose (4), you cannot depend on your knopwledge and experience to produce necessary learning, and you might depend on God, but what would you use to determine truth, since the universe itself is incomplete and inconsnstent? God would be a purely whimsical being, with no guidelines for comprehending him/her/it/them.
If you choose (3) you have the same conclusions, God or no God.

With (2), you arrive at truth ultimately because truth is consistent with all truth, and you find solutions with no experience of God.

With (1) you have the same result but discover that God existed consistently with that truth, since truth is consistent with all truth, so your choices are basically the same whether you choose (1) or (2).
To assume that God would interven to alter the consistencies of truth, you would have to assume that God is inconsistent with truth and will alter the results of cause and effect.

If God exists in truth, then he must exist in a universe consistent with (1) or (2). In neither of those universes would you expect God to intervene and act inconsistently with truth as we discover it.

Tony said...

"But the clear guarantees of answered prayer are based on obedience..."

I disagree.

"And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." Matt 21:22.

I believed. I prayed. No answer. I believed and prayed earnestly. The biblical promise is simple and clear.

I no longer believe.

Cosmopot said...

While doing my time in WCG, and then UCG, I was always told that "God is doing this, and God is doing that", "God blessed me with a job", "God blessed me with a car", "God decided to let so and so die rather than heal them", etc. etc. etc.

Finally I came to understand that there is no god doing anything, but rather, THINGS JUST GO THE WAY THEY WILL.

I'm not saying that God doesn't exist (I can't prove that one way or another) I'm saying that I don't see any kind of god doing anything in peoples lives, but rather things just seem to follow their own course.

Regarding "faith and hope".
I agree with Betty, they're practically synonymous.

I came to realize (for myself) that my "faith" was just my own acceptance of something as being true even though I had no proof. And it was fueled mostly by my "hope" that it WAS true.

I also realized that, if there was ever a perfect tool for the con man, "faith" was it.

Regarding the existence of God (because people talk about it alot on this blog) all I can say is this: When I look at something like an orange tree, or any other tree that grows food, with all the colors, varieties, flavors, etc., it's difficult to believe that it is the result of mindless, unconcious matter. And that matter (with no more awareness than a rock) would just happen to form itself into those kinds of things.

It looks too much (to me) like the result of an intention by an intelligence that knows exactly what it's doing.

But that's as far as I can take it.
Anything more is just my own speculation.

OTOH, it's equally as difficult to believe that people rose up out of their graves and were walking around Jerusalem after the crucifixion, without any secular records of such an event.

I don't confuse the Bible with God.

If my comments don't make much sense, or seem unclear, it is because I made my exit from UCG not all that long ago, and my head is still spinning, and my beliefs are in a state of flux.

And talking about not making sense, that video "23 minutes in hell" is one of the craziest things I've ever seen.

Byker Bob said...

First of all, it is no greater or lesser tragedy for someone to be murdered, raped, tortured, or victimized in any other painful way whether they be non-believer or believer. All of our bodies respond the same ways to negative stimuli! So, we all start on equal footing, regardless of belief or non-belief.

The greater question is why there is such inhumanity. I believe that either believers or non-believers would agree that free will is a good thing. Those who willingly choose to do good things for right and pure reasons, without duress take the one road to which free will leads. But, there is also the opportunity for selfish, or mean spirited people to make wrong and hurtful decisions. How and why people make such value judgments and decisions can be a combination of many factors, such as the teaching or training they received in their homes, and the basic personality or nature with which they are born.
But, this is not always true. We have outstanding examples of people who grew up in horrible, crime ridden neighborhoods, and in broken homes, who took the high road, and seeming sociopaths who came from "good" homes in affluent areas.

I believe that there are passages in the book of Romans that cover the need for God-appointed human authority to regulate and deal with those who make the wrong choices. Humans are given stewardship over people's free will. Those who consistently make right and beneficial, altruistic decisions do not really require any law.

God help any of us if we're faced with extreme pain, or subjected to things which are abhorent because of our respect for God's laws. I've often wrestled with one thing myself, and frankly I don't think this thing has anything to do with what happened to the victim in Betty's post, but what if I found myself commanded under the penalty of beheading, sodomy, or torture, to renounce Jesus Christ? I pray that my love for Jesus would be so strong as to overwhelm any physical pain, or torture, or death that inquisitors could impose, but I know how weak the human mind and body are. It would be really easy for someone in the comfort of a couch in their living room to say they wouldn't cave in, but the prospects of the real thing are horrifying. God does promise to love us and to never leave us, and not to test us beyond what we can do with His help, which is reassuring.

Faith does not always provide definitive answers, but it often helps us in dealing with the situations which affect all of humanity. God allows it to rain on the just and the unjust, alike.
If you read the messages to the churches in Revelation, God's pattern is not to remove people from unpleasant circumstances, but to help them in getting through them.

This is a hard topic, no matter which side of the fence we happen to be on. But, it illustrates one of those pinches in which I'd much rather have God's help than Darwin's, Paine's, or Neitche's.

BB

Ralph said...

So you're saying that as long as people simply believe and do as they wish, they are to receive answers?

I don't know the circumstances of your prayers or beliefs, and I won't proceed to judge, but the existence or non-existence of God isn't dependent on whether one believes or not.

The isue still remains as before. If the universe is complete and consistent, and truth is consistent with all truth, then answered prayer will proceed in accordancwe with that truth rather than being inconsistent.

I prayed very hard that my mother wouldn;t die, because my father so deeply loved her that it would crush him emotionally, and it did. My prayers weren't heard. My father collapsed into a depression that later turned to Alzheimer's, and he stopped even remembering or trying.

I also prayed when I deserted from the marines, and there is no reason whatever why I should have won, yet I did. I not only won, but gotr an apology and meritorious promotion from a court martial for desertion.

Had I not won, I would have taken my own life, because I woud not allow them victory over me in any sense.

I still ask myself, what was the point of winning that court martial? What did it prove? It kept me alive a lot longer so I could continue to ask the question.

But I believe in God, AND I believe that Ayn Rand is correct. I believe that we are to use reason as a weapon againast all forms of power. From her writings:

"Guilt and fear are the disintegrators of a man's consciousness or of a society's culture. Today, America's culture is being splintered into disintegration by the three injunctions which permeate our intellectual atmosphere and which are typical of guilt: don't look-don't judge-don't be certain.
"The psycho-epistemological meaning and implementation of these three are: don't integrate-don't evaluate-give up".

Rand was Jewish, but she was atheist. She wrote that men have a weapon against the power systems of the world: reason. They can stand against any collective power if they can prove themselves right.

Neither religions nor governments operate by reason. Government is the embodiment of force, and religon is its handmaiden. If "Attila" fails, the "witch doctor" stands ready to convict and convince.

Ayn Rand believed that truth existed, that systems could be logically integrated by any questioning mind, that truth is consistent with all truth, and that God or a human concept of God cannot fit within that process of system building.

I agree with that.Every human mind must prove, must know, must learn for itself, and it must suffer for itself if need be. Ayn Rand also pointed that out.

Paul wrote that the natural mind is enmity against God and cannot be subject to the laws of God. The results of that would be no organization that can ever prove or represent th4e existence of God by any collective process of reasoning. No person can hide from truth by burying his existence in any group. Either s/he takes responsibility for what s/he is as an individual, or s/he believes a collective lie.

Can any collective idea of men represent God? Jesus said no, and Paul said no. The rejection of such concepts, therefore, would be an embracing of truth from both a logical and biblical perspective.

I don't believe in God because of answered prayer. I believe in God because truth is consistent with all truth, and because I AM, I exist. God is either part of that or not, but in either case, I will not deviate from complete faith in truth.

Retired Prof said...

Ralph is right about what would constitute a miracle: god would have to break his own rules. That’s called “cheating.” If there really is a god and he really is almighty, he can do it, of course, but would he?

A good mnemonic to help you remember this principle is Ambrose Bierce’s definition in *The Devil’s Dictionary*:

“MIRACLE, n. An act or event out of the order of nature and unaccountable, as beating a normal hand of four kings and an ace with four aces and a king.”

I am often struck by how one-sided the idea of “miracle” is. It has been said that the Dutch boy who recently survived a plane crash that killed everyone else on board was the beneficiary of a miracle. The other passengers were simply done in by the impersonal effects of immutable physical laws. Some years back, a canoeist on a stream in northern Wisconsin floated past a tree that had been partially gnawed through by beavers at precisely the moment when it toppled. As squarely as if it had been aimed, it came down on top of her skull and killed her. The local paper quoted a law enforcement officer who mused about how the ways of god are so mysterious that we will never figure out what purpose he had in mind, but he must have had one. I think every paper that ran the story received outraged letters from readers chewing that poor man out for attributing an unfortunate event to god.

Two events, statistically unlikely but entirely within the rules. Believers think it is okay to call the outcome they like a miracle but not the other one. They gladly give god the credit but not the blame.

Now if the victim in Betty’s story really did receive the numbing grace of god during her rape and butchery so that se could meet her horrible demise with peace in her soul—if it happened just that way, it was a true miracle. Physiological and psychological rules were broken. Trouble is, we have no evidence whatever that her equanimity was anything but the product of her tender-hearted friend’s imagination.

Ralph said...

"God allows it to rain on the just and the unjust,alike".

That reminds me of a dispute I got into with a local county commissioner. I was harping on the unnecessary bureaucracy, and he made the statement that a little bureaucratic rain must fall on the just and the unjust.

I responded "Even if I know that bureaucratic rain trickling down my back is filtered through your kidneys?"

Got a good laugh out of that.

It's too easy to say, "God makes it rain on the unjust, too".

Who gives a crap about the unjust. They ought to get some rain. Serves them right. It's the good guys that need a better situation. Usualy the religious leaders make that statement and then say "Keep them offerings coming in, folks. We can't make the world better unless you believe".

Yeah, right. I deeply believe that I am free to live my life in a moral fashion. I also deeply believe that I am subject to no collective power, church or state. If a little rain falls down my back, it won't because I wasn't keeping a close eye on the zipper of my minister or government representative.

Tony said...

"So you're saying that as long as people simply believe and do as they wish, they are to receive answers?"

I'm saying the scripture I quoted says that.

Purple Hymnal said...

"She only had "faith" that her God protected this young woman from actual, physical pain because, otherwise what happened was too horrible to contemplate."

Given your friend being Catholic, her attitude is really no surprise, Betty.

Purple Hymnal said...

"I care because atheism is the absence of belief in a god, not the absence of belief in rational humanity."

Atheism is also NOT the absence of compassion and morality, a point on which Neo blindly continues to disagree. Give up, Betty, it's like talking to a brick wall; as far as Neo is concerned, all unbelievers are little short of psychopaths, and no evidence to the contrary (Something about "By their fruits shall ye know them", eh what, Neo?) is going to convince him that you and I are not in that category as well.

So much for his accusations on an earlier post about the atheists stereotyping and attacking the unbelievers.....

Purple Hymnal said...

"We are talking about why an atheist who has no God, believes in no law and regards himself a product of mutation and natural selection would have any concern for other people."

Because we're just as human as you are, Neo, whether you're comfortable with that fact or not. Concern for other people, compassion, morality, these are all things that have enabled the survival of our species over countless millennia, down to this very day.

Purple Hymnal said...

"If it is truly that you feel these things for the same reason I do..."

We don't feel those things for the same reason you do, Neo, but we DO feel them.

Can you reconcile that fact with your worldview? What have you got to lose, by believing this is true? I don't think even Bob would deny that atheists feel compassion and concern for others! Why is it so anathema to you, the fact that non-believers have the same basic human emotions as believers?

What do you have to lose, by letting go of the belief that we aren't even human, Neo?

Purple Hymnal said...

"Neo, are you part of the "The Church of God at Northeast Ohio?""

I was under the impression Neo was attending a Gracie congregation somewhere on the left coast, after he let his affiliation with Pacific Yearly Meeting (West Coast Quakers) lapse.....

Ralph said...

Then, Tony, you selectively believe what you wish, like we all do?

Purple Hymnal said...

"If my comments don't make much sense, or seem unclear, it is because I made my exit from UCG not all that long ago, and my head is still spinning, and my beliefs are in a state of flux."

Welcome to the other side, Cosmopot! Please don't let the rantings and ravings of us ex-members (myself included) contribute to your head spinning....I can't speak for you or your circumstances, but I found it invaluable, the time I spent taking a good long break from everything concerned with religion, churches, and spirituality; that way, when I came back to studying/reading about it, and everything connected with what had happened to the church, I was able to approach it with "a clean slate", and not nearly as much of the sheer terror that I used to feel, when considering those matters.

As for the rest of it, let me be the first one to offer my condolences for the loss of the promise of the bright and shining future we all had, when we were in the church. It sucks, and I'm sorry, but the Kingdom you and I, and countless others, have waited all of our lives for just isn't coming. Even if it did, it would look nothing like the one we were promised, and we certainly wouldn't be the ones holding the keys!

I can promise you this, however: Now that you are free of UCG's insular mind-set, and free of tithing your (and your family's, if you are the head of your household) money to the Council of Evil, I can absolutely guarantee you that you do have a bright and shining future, full of hope and promise...and peace...and joy...in the here and now, right now, right here, at this very moment, no matter how disenchanted you might feel.

Look around you. Look into the smiling faces of others, and if they're not smiling, smile at them anyway. Kiss your kids. Smell the flowers. Turn off the six o' clock news and burn every newspaper that crosses your path. Pet your dog/cat/bird/etcetera. Breathe in the fresh air of a brand-new day, every morning, no matter what went on the day before.

I won't lie to you: It is going to be difficult, and depending on how long you were in the church, you may never be free of your unsociable moments. Just roll with these bad days, and enjoy the rare moments when you do connect with others (in "the world"), really connect with them, which you wouldn't have been able nor willing to do, while you were in the church. We are all humans here, regardless of what any of us believe or do not believe, behind our own eyes.

I can absolutely guarantee you that the horizon of your life is now much brighter, than "God's government on Earth" ever promised to be. And if you still want to be a leader, and set a Godly example? You can do that, in the here and now. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Talk to the homeless. Help the poor. Join a committee engaged in social change.

The opportunities are endless, and your future is only just beginning, Cosmopot. Welcome to the rest of your life, and may it be happy, and fulfilled, and free of the spectre of Armageddon around every corner.

I can't tell you it won't be a difficult journey, leaving the church. But I can tell you it will be a worthwhile one, and I wish you all the very best, both you and your family, in your lives from this point forward.

I wish you peace.

Ralph said...

It seems that Neo forgets something from his own bible(as if I haven't already demonstrated that).

"...God is testing them to show them that they are but beasts. For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of the beasts is the same; as one dies, so does the other...man has no advantage over the beast..."(Ecc.3:18-19)

So, if men are basically animals, and if the natural mind cannot be subject to God, beliefs alter very little. Every system of human organization would be little more than a sophissticated level of herd instinct, with the same bureaucracies.

Ralph said...

Cosmo, I'm taking offerings now. HWA was not suitable because he wasn't claiming enough. A fifty to seventy five percent tithe will get you what I want or your money back.

Guaranteed! If If I'm not 100% satisfied with your 75% offering plus occasional laons to keep the work going, I'll refund what's left of your money if God will send it back to me.

But keep in mind, if your faith isn't strong enough, it's your own fault. I can't be held accountable for everyone's faith level.

Seriously, I would worry just a little about "Armegaddon", because from what i see our government doing with our printed money created from thin air, I don't feel too secure.

I suspect we're all going to be visiting some soup kitchens whether we like it or not.

Purple, do I really have to smile at people that don't smile at me? Can't I just kick their butts to make them more aware of facial expressions?

The Painful Truth said...

Byker Bob said...

"I believe that there are passages in the book of Romans that cover the need for God-appointed human authority to regulate and deal with those who make the wrong choices."

Prison or military induction is the answer. When you take their free choice away and accompany it with some good old fashion ass-kicking, sometimes that can change a life for the better.

Tony said...

"I can absolutely guarantee you that the horizon of your life is now much brighter, than "God's government on Earth" ever promised to be."

I concur with Purple Hymnal on this.

My life, post WCG / post Christianity, is far happier and far richer than it ever was when I was trapped in the mindset of belief in the christian god.

Neo just doesn't get it when he rants against those who no longer believe.

For anyone, if you found out that the bible was false and jesus never existed, you wouldn't suddenly go out and start stealing your neighbors possessions or kill the next person that makes you angry.

Why not? Because our core values go much deeper than religion. The core values of not killing and stealing are the core values of all religions and societies. They don't need a christian god to come to life.

Purple Hymnal said...

"Why not? Because our core values go much deeper than religion. The core values of not killing and stealing are the core values of all religions and societies. They don't need a christian god to come to life."

Exactly! Those core values come to life through our lives.

Funny, that. Isn't it exactly the same thing the christological figure teaches, in the allegories of the Christian canon?

Ralph said...

Okay, the core values of not killing and stealing are the core values of all human life. If you found out that there was no Jesus or the bible was false, you wouldn't go out and kill peope who make you angry.

Unless of course, you are in the marines. I found, to my dismay that in spite of all the pre-conditioned ideas of christianity in general and the WCG influence, that I could kill quite easily and without missing sleep. And even better, I could do it with government sanction.

It is quite easy to kill any enemy combatant if you picture him wearing a brown smokey hat.

When I became a civilian, the silver smokey hats of the police and higway patrol were just as detestable.

Actually, the butt kicking recommended in my case released this marvelous reptilian will that that never cared much whether i was killed in the war, only if i won the immediate battle, against whatever enemy.

I realized I was more of a "beast" than my christian society had conditioned me to believe, and I found it quite liberating. In fact, I can proudly say that I was in fact, as someone said, a military experiment gone terribly wrong. At least for the military.

^The issue that BB brought up, regarind the power of law in Romans, that was exactly the kind of authoritarian reasoning presented to me in my court martial.

But if government is the extension of the power of God, where does the individual have the right to look government or religion squarely in the eye and say "You are wrong!"

My argument was not in any sense dependent on God. It was only dependent on the power of logic and reason to prove the truth of my actions.

Because I was a good person? Not at all. I was a trained killer who had been conditioned after two years of attempted intimidation to kick the shit out of anybody who wanted to control me. I'm still that way.

I was everything a marine was not suppopsed to be, yet the marines heard my argument, apologized, and promited me meritoriously.

My argument never came from the power of God, never came from dependence on anything other than the power of reason to demonstrate truth, yet the power of government, as extension of the so-called power of God, said I was right and they were wrong.

Does that disprove the god of the bible? Of course not, since Paul alreadyt wrote thst the natural mind is enmity against god and can;t be subject to his laws, which means that there can be no collective religious authority to represent God, and if no religious authority, then certainly no government authority.

Any God not consistent with truth is simply not God. Any God which a person worships that causes "estrangement from self" is not God.

There is only one standard to demonstrate the true worhip of God, and that is truth itself.

Does one need a collective christian God to justify morality? No. Does one need anything other than reason? No.

Do we live in a society that teaches us that? Hell no!

Ralph said...

My time in the marines gave me a most interesting perspective toward all authority. During the Revolutionary War, the punishment for troublemakers was the biblically prescribed forty lashes, issued to bonded servants or slaves.

George Washington requested that the punishment be stretched to a hundred lashes to instill the fear of God into recalcitrants.

Had I been one of those, and I most likely would, based on my time in the military, I would be looking for one specific target in any battle, the one wearing the general's stars. Had he crossed my sights, John Adams would have been the first president.

Anonymous said...

Neotherm said:
"It may even be that you might regard a twig as less threatening than another sentient being. After all another sentient being may compete with you for resources such as food and water. One less sentient being, means one less competitor. Your genes instead of hers."

It sounds like neotherm either does not understand evolution and atheism, or he is deliberately misrepresenting it, to make it appear something that it isn't.

Have you ever heard of the concept of cooperation, neotherm? That is how humanity and many other species on this planet evolved to pass on their genes! You see it every where you look... insects, birds, mammals, plants, reptiles!!! All evolved to the best method that ensures they can pass on their genes.... through cooperation. Humanity evolved the family unit and extended family unit, and even social interaction based on cooperation to ensure survival. Do you think that a lone individual could kill a mammoth as easy as a group of people working together in cooperation?

If bees and ants decided to believe in a god that forbade obedience to their queen, and no longer cooperated as a means of survival, they would soon be extinct!

Open your eyes and look around and you will see that their is even inter species cooperation that benefits both species and ensures their survival.

It is really rather dishonest to claim that without a deity in a persons life, that they would revert to some sort of savage inhumane murderer.

The odds are that the rapist/murderers were god believers. They can commit attrocities like that and justify it in their minds by simply asking for forgiveness and all is washed clean!

Thomas Munson

Ralph said...

The only problem with that explanation of evolution is that the cooperative group that succeeds to pass on their genes soon learn to destroy other cooperative systems that threaten their own survival. Evolution ths produces not only competitive survival of the fittest, but war, and war produces a machine-like response because a machine-like response is quite valuable when men make war on other men.

And those men who get to win that war also get the female "spoils" of war for more expressive reproduction.

I don't know about bees and ants forbidding obedience to the queen, but that biblical god forbade obedience to king or queen who disobeyed the law.

Of course a god of bees and ants would be far more communist in approach, since they share about half their genes with each other. More obedience, better chances of survival.

However, your argument actually is in favor of the biblical god, since the very process of cooperation that evolved produced empires of god-kings whose power was not to be questioned, and who killed millions in the name of that power right up to and including the christian god-kings.

Israel and Jews, with ther law, were dispersed and actually had the effect of "informing" those very empres and causing a process of individualization, actually causing the masses to revolt against their queens or kings in the name of law and equality, or what Maimonides later defined as due process of law, applying equally to all peoples.

If evolutin produces the machine-like response and war, and war produces laws that reduce ;people to equality, then you have the inevitably of Jesus' warning in Matthew 24 that "you shall hear of watrs and rumors of wars". Or James' statement that "wars and fightings" come from the "lusts that war in your members" because you lust and desire and do not obtain, etc.

This would lead to the next logical conclusion stated by Jesus in Matthew 24 that there would be many coming in the name of messiah or Christ that would seek just that type of cooperative system to organize people in god's name.

So, you have the combinations of church and state, producing wars, since people who now believe in something greater than themselves can kill each other as cogs in the spiritual machine, "Deus ex machina".

So evolutin would produce religions, and wars, and hatred, which leads to the logical conclusion of Matthew 24;23: "If any man says to you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe it not".

So the religious collectivist urge is an evolutionary urge, but the atheist who chooses to think as an individual is actually anti-evolutionary, in the sense that E.O. Wilson writes. Technology, created by the very science that has rejected the collectivist urge to god-kings, is now developing at a rate faster than evolution can affect.

You might even say humankind reaches its 'spiritual" heights by rejecting the evolutionary collectivism of "God".

Cosmopot said...

Purple Hymnal said...
"I was able to approach it with "a clean slate", and not nearly as much of the sheer terror that I used to feel, when considering those matters."

It truly can be terrifying, when dealing with this kind of thing.
And a "clean slate" is exactly what would do the trick.

Thanks, Purple Hymnal, for the kind words and helpful comments.

Ralph said.....
"Cosmo, I'm taking offerings now. HWA was not suitable because he wasn't claiming enough. A fifty to seventy five percent tithe will get you what I want or your money back."

And thanks for the humor, Ralph.

Right now, I'll take all the humor I can get. I need it!!!

Ralph said...

Cosmo, you don't have to be an atheist to follow the truth. You just don't need to follow people. It's adifferent mindset, but you build it a little at a time. If you haven't been introduced to Ayn Rand, I would suggest "For The New Intellectual". It's a collection of her best works in novel form, including "Atlas Shrugged". "The Fountainhead" "Anthem", and a very good intrduction by the same title as the book.

Really good foundational stuff. In economics I like Rothbard, Mises, and Austrian economics, which are all about human individual freedom.

Byker Bob said...

To the Christian, one profound enigma is this: Salvation is based on an eternal relationship with God, and damnation is eternal separation from God. Why do people choose eternal separation in the here and now, before we even "get off the ground?" Good, ethical, well-intentioned people who are contributing to society actually embrace the punishment, and downplay any possible reward. To the Christian, this is counterintuitive.

I had a very good friend who was an atheist. The man was a brilliant intellect, and throughout his career had managed several countries for IBM. I spent quite a bit of time with him and his family, and had any number of scintillating discussions, some of them centering on our mutual non-belief. My friend died of a massive heart attack probably about ten years ago. Of course, I was saddened by his passing, but at that time imagined that physical death was the end, and simply took it as an example of what was eventually going to happen to me.

Some theologians teach that upon the resurrection, reality will be explained to each of us, and we will be presented with a choice, the choice being that of accepting Christ's sacrifice for us. Perhaps that's what Jesus was hinting at when He told Thomas that those who believed without seeing are blessed. In any case, I hope that I get to be present if and when my friend is offered his choice. Believe me, that was one friend whom I dearly hope was not simply lost! I'd want to be able to cheer him on towards the best possible decision.

BB

Ralph said...

BB from the biblical perspective, the penalty for sin is death. Done, paid, fulfilled. We all die.

Any condemnation that occured after that would be double jeopardy. To accept the sactrifice of Christ, therefore, is to select meaning in this life, here and now, and that meaning must be inregard to a freedom from human controls and human laws.

If one would have "everlasting life" as opposed to "eternal" life, the power of someone to put you to death would have to be restrained. Therefore, "he that believeth on me shall not die" as a result of church or state power to put you to death. Yet that is just what both church and state claimed the power to do.

For example, hebrews 2:15: "And deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage".

You can be inbondage to only one human power by fear of death, and that is the state, unless, of course the state combines its power with the church, as Pope Innocent III did by using the "oath ex officio".
16: "For surely it is not with the angels that he is concerned, but with the descendants of Abraham..."

So who has the power over death? Satan. And Satan also has the power over world governments.

That is the context of the absolute presumption of innocence under law. By faith in Cjhrist we are delivered from death, here and now, by the power of law.

The perversion of the idea, however, came with Constantine, who combined churech and state, and made a doctrine of liberation and revolution into one of servitude to the state all over again, the "anti-christ".

The tip-off of this idea is in the "Lord's Prayer", "...thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven".

Duality. Freedom from government on earth and the right to live apart from government interference, as we would expect to live in the same manner in heaven.

Those who attempt to turn this concept of Jesus' sacrifice into a system of authority cannot help but create splintering of authority systems that each claim the sacrifice can only be meaningful within some doctrinal limitation.

But that one act of sacrifice set us free from all such human authority systems, so there is no need to subject ourselves to any human authority, church or state.

So, assuming a person dies without having "accepted Christ", he has paid the penalty in full. There is nothing to protect him from, since the law can do no harm.

If death itself is not the payment in full of law, then the death of Jesus as Paul describes it, and the right of believers to be "dead to the law", would be meaningless, as it is in traditional christianity. Church and state, being under control of the bad dude, tell us that to believe on Christ is to subject ourselves to any earthly power. We are told tha6t to be saved we must join some religion, and once we join a religion, we must render to church what is due, and to Caesar what is due. That Satan, he's a riot!

The Painful Truth said...

Purple Hymnal said...

"Welcome to the other side, Cosmopot!............."

Well said my friend and to the point.

The Painful Truth said...

Tony said........

"Because our core values go much deeper than religion. The core values of not killing and stealing are the core values of all religions and societies. They don't need a christian god to come to life."

A far cry from the demon possession, poverty and insanity that was to overcome those who rejected the so called "truth."

In general, when a society changes so does the religion.

The Painful Truth said...

Ralph said...

"So, assuming a person dies without having "accepted Christ", he has paid the penalty in full. There is nothing to protect him from, since the law can do no harm."

Most excellent. That is very insightful and the correct conclusion. The penalty has been paid.

Allen C. Dexter said...

I agree. Thank you, Ralph, for making that plain.

Corky said...

Byker Bob said...
To the Christian, one profound enigma is this: Salvation is based on an eternal relationship with God, and damnation is eternal separation from God. Why do people choose eternal separation in the here and now, before we even "get off the ground?"

That's just Pascal's wager reworded.

Good, ethical, well-intentioned people who are contributing to society actually embrace the punishment, and downplay any possible reward. To the Christian, this is counterintuitive.

If you understood the fallacy of Pascal's wager, you could probably see why that is.

It is counterintuitive to accept stuff, especially supernatural stuff, without any evidence and really, just plain stupid
.

Ralph said...

To me, the "Babylon Mystery Religion" is actually the law itself.

Our legal system consists of a "priesthood" of black robes who sepak a language which is a mystery to the average person, and makes the person subject to ideas and principles which he has no way of understanding.

Look under "doojie's pen" at http://www.churchofdoojie.com (I'm doojie), and you will see some history tying legal concepts and the Bill of Rights to biblical concepts that challenge our present ideas of law. The most recent article being "Traffic Tickets-Unconstitutional?"

Both church and statre assume that a collective authority can represent the individual, who must then conform to majority rule, but you will see this idea challenged directly in Jer. 5:26-31.

In the US, the common law, which according to Blackstone and Edward Coke, who shaped the Constitutional ideas of the founders, is based on God, nature, and reason. The colonists, according to Justice tory, considered the common law as their birthright, and the 5th Amendment, which protects us from deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law, is actually in reference to common law. "Due process", in both 5th and 14th Amendments, means "lawful judgement of peers" or by law of the land, which is common law.

As Chief Justice Joh marshall points out, the federal government, nor the Supreme Court, does not derive its authority from common law. That, until after the Civil War, was the province of the states, but the states themselves, under the 14th Amendment, no longer have exclusive authority over common law.

This means that any deprivation of life, liberty, or property are no longer subject to Constitutional restraints, but common law restraints, and common law is defined as "lawful judgement of peers", not judges, which also corresponds to Jeremiah 5:31. If the people would condemn the accused, it is necessary, by the premises of accusatorial law, on which our court system is based, for the people themselves to take part in the judgement, which is also recommended by Paul in 1 Cor.6, and emphasized by Jesus in Matthew 18:15-18.

IOW, in accordance with both OT and NT principles, common law demands that the people judge, not a legal mystery priesthood(Matt 23:13, Luke 11:52).

Conviction of the accused is not delegated to a legal priesthood, but must be attended to directly by the people. If they can't come to take part on the process of judgement, then the judgement by common law is not to take place.

The accuser in OT law was required to cast the first stone. In traffic court, the accuser is the state, delegated the responsibilty of vengeance by the people.

This is often referred to by christians under Romans 13, but vengeance is NOT to be sought except as a last resort and only as the last possible alternative. See Romans 12:19 as a lead in to Romans 13.

As Justice Abe Fortas pointed out, no state can extract a guilty plea from any individual, It must be decided by the people, and only as a last resort.

That was once the common understanding of trial by jury.

Byker Bob said...

Ralph,

The idea that man must "join a church" to be saved is a fallacy. A Christian's salvation is dependent on his or her acceptance of Jesus Christ, and subsequent relationship with our Creator. Unfortunately, there do exist some corporate entities which equate themselves with God and His work, placing themselves in between the Christian and God. As WCG members, we used to recognize that the RCG did this, but somehow let ourselves and our ministers, and our corporate entity succumb to the same type of thinking.

Physical death has been metaphorically described as the planting of a seed. Our physical death alone is not adequate to pay for our own sin debt or the death of anyone else. Only Jesus Christ can do that, because He lived a perfect life, and because He is and was the son of God. Now, obviously, those who will not receive salvation are removing themselves from being under the law, and that's something that even I recognized when I was a non-believer. I always said that I didn't like the game, didn't like the rules, and that frankly nobody had ever asked me if I even wanted to be born, or to exist. To me, holding the WCG or Adventist classic doctrine of soul sleep and annihilation, when I placed my bet, the only difference between my atheist/agnostic beliefs and WCG beliefs was the few moments of incredible pain which might end up being part of the extinguishment process.

God tells us that He will write His laws into our hearts. We're also told that the law was created for people who normally choose on the hurtful, selfish, sinful side. The people in the resurrection will no longer be under the penalty of the law because 1) Jesus paid for our sins, and 2) Our nature in the Kingdom, and our character will be in total conformation to God's own Holy nature.

Admittedly, before anyone else has the opportunity to point this out, it is simple and simplistic, intentionally for the common man, in fact so much so that it makes those of us who believe it appear naive.

BB

Ralph said...

BB of course your death pays for your sin the wages of sin is death. Last time I heard the word "wage' I understood it to mean "payment" in terms of actual service rendered. Therefore, if you live, you will die, and if you die, the wage, penalty, repayment, etc for setrvices rendered are complete.

If you say that Christ died so we wouldn't then you get into simple contradictions, since there are quite a few million who believe devoutly and innocenctly in Christ, and they die.

It is appointed to all men ONCE to die, and then the judgement.

As Paul pointed out, it is impossible to decide if you are one of those "elect", since God already knows and has know who they are. Therefore, everybody dies, no exceptions, and whoever the "elect" are, if anybody, the choice is up to God.

There is not one "work" you can perform to avoid death. You will die, sooner or later.

There is not one work you can perform to be "saved" from death, as Eph.2:8-10 tells us.

Whatever you do, whatever you believe or don't believe, will be your choice based on your assumptions. And you will be free to do whatever it is you do, but no matter what you do, you will die.

Simple logic would tell you that if you cannot choose any special relationship to Gd by your works, of God already knows who his elect are, and if it is not up to him who wills or runs the race, then the full payment for sin must inevitably be death, and that's it.

To argue otherwise is to argue eternal life in punishment, or eternal life in heaven or the kingdom of God, whatever.

If the penalty for sin is death, and if you don't "accept Christ", either you don't get resurrected and remain dead(which the bible simply does not teach, even by traditional christian standards), or you get resurrected and suffer some kind of eternal torment while you remain eternally alive, for choices of which you could never have enve been certain.

If you actually do believe in a loving God, te it is simplest to realize that if you die, you pay the full penalty for sin. Once you pay the penalty, then you get a chance to learn what exactly is going on in the next round.

And, since Paul points out that it is impossible to choose 'election" in the first place, I'd much rather have the freedom to be taught the truth in the next round than tio actually live in fear of death in this life, bondage to some religious crackpot belief of men.

Ralph said...

BTW, Jesus gave a real problem to Martha when he said "He that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, but he that lives and believes in me will never die".

How in the world can you believe anything if you're dead? Maybe Jesus was talking about those who believed in him but died anyway, but that is really a contradiction, since Jesus goes on to say that those who live and believe in him will never die.

Is it just possible that Jesus was talking about future events? Maybe those who were dead and then believed AFTER the resurrection? And those who live and believe now will not die in the resurrection?

Otherwise, you got Jesus telling an outright lie.

When people try to justify God by their own ideas, you end up wiyth infinite splintering of ideas. That's why Paul said the natural mind is enmity against God, and that's why Jesus said there is no need to follow men.

We will all die. That is the penalty for sin, and AFTER that, the judgement. Not conviction, but judgement for actions after the penalty has been paid.

Suppose I'm wrong. Then I'm still free to claim my freedom from the laws of men. If I'm right, same thing.

Pascal's wager? Not really, since I'm equally free to tell authorities to kiss my ass either way.

Ralph said...

BB, let's take it a bit further. You say death is not the full penaltyt of sin, but that we must accept the sacrifice of Jesus. Okay, let's grant that, and, as you say, there are no authorities over us.

Then, if we accept the sacrifice of Christ, we are free of the law as individuals as long as we harm no others.

Should we NOT then be free of human auithorities if we DON'T accept Christ?

That would mean that human authorities themselves would have to accept the authority of Christ, would they not?

Out of 38,000 versions, which authority? Some natural mind would actually have to be subject to God in order for us to know how we should live and by what standard we should die.

But if that's so, then the death sentence in this luife, under due authority, would require no further judgement.

If Satan controls government, and Satan controls the power of death, then any human government subject to God would be subject to...Satan.

No wonder we hear "one nation under God" all the time.

As Hebrews 2 says, people live in bondage because of the fear of death. We know we're going to die in this life, so why should we fear the power of government or church to put us to death by believing in the one who overcame death?
If we know we'll die once anyway, and if belief in Jesus frees us of death, the only death we could possibly be free of with regard to evidence in this life is DEATH CREATED BY THE POWER OF CHURCH OR STATE.

To believe in Christ is to be dead to the law. To be dead to the law is to be free in every possible sense from lawful retribution, right here and right now.

Any other belief is simply useless in terms of this life.

Purple Hymnal said...

""So, assuming a person dies without having "accepted Christ", he has paid the penalty in full. There is nothing to protect him from, since the law can do no harm."

That's still circular logic, and Ralph persists in assigning supernatural properties, to a mythical figure that neither lived NOR died long ago at Jerusalem, however....

I would also like to see Ralph justify how keeping God's Laws in the church, "did no harm"....you'll have to stretch pretty far for that one, Ralph!

Purple Hymnal said...

"As Paul pointed out, it is impossible to decide if you are one of those "elect", since God already knows and has know who they are."

Calvinism? Really, Ralph? Come on, you can be more original than flogging a horse that's been dead for at least a few centuries now....

Ralph said...

Purple, you are soooo easy! If you die, Purple, do you believe there is yet a penalty to pay? If so, then you wopuld be in the same boat as BB, who declares that only the sacrifice of Christ ca pay the penalty for sin.

Do you die? As far as all evidence I can gather, we all do, though I suppose there is possibly some type of "Highlander" who changes his identity every 70 years or so.

Therefore, if there is any penalty whatever regarding any lawbreaking it would have to deal with the "here" and "now". The only possible logic that the sacrifice of Jesus could propose is freedom from the law of both church and state here and now.

This would mean:
1. If Jesus did ie for "sin" or lawbreaking, then the only useful purpose for it would be to set us free from authority systems of humans here and now.
2. If that is the case, there is no use in following or believing in any authority system, which means gnosticism, myusticism, narcissism, or any kind of ism.

I seem to be free than you, Purple.

Of coyurse keeping "God's law" in the church did a hell of a lot of harm, but if you had simply read Matthew 24:23 and Romans chapters 8 and 9 as written, you would have no need of joining any church in the first place. The damage was done by you or your parents' willingness to follow a man in spite of Jesus' plain statement to follow none of them. You lose again.

Calvinism? Calvin taught predestrination with a few going to heaven and the rest predestined to hell. Where have I ever said that? Are you still using bullshit ad hominem?

Assuming predestination, with a few actually bweing selected to be servant/leaders in the kingdom of God, with the rest being taught at a later time, no one ever dying again, ain't Calvinism by a long shot.

You still make me laugh.

Ralph said...

Well, Purple, throw in a superstitious ancient book to disprove another superstitious ancient idea. Now that's logic.

Ralph said...

My posts seem to have been erased, or I can't pull them up on my computer.

Anyway, again, you resort to ad hominem, Purple. I have assigned no supernatural proerties to Jesus by anything I have said.
Let's again use your own statement as a basis. Jesus never existed. Then if we go to Matthew 24:23 and read that someone, not Jesus, said that if anyone says "Lo, here is Christ, or thwere, believe it not", the statement would be equally true. The statement is true simply because it says there is no point in following anyone called Christ or messiah.

Now, if Paul argues that because a son of God died, the penalty for sin is paid by that son of God, we are merely talking about the physical aspects of law, which undeniably exist and are used by all authority syustems to subject other humans.

Since, even by Talmudic doctrine, all Jews were "sons of God", the unjustified death of any one of them would be a tragedy, but it would also be a point to remember that no other such person should ever be put to death innocently again. Therwefore, Jesus "died for our sins', without ever incorporating any necessary divinity to his existence.

But let's assume a Jesus was manufactured from a number of people innocently put to death. Even excluding any process of divinity, the teaching is still to be admired, since it focuses on the unnecessary putting to death of any human by another human authority.

Of course, you would argue for a still small voice to guide you, but that stil small voice was followed by children at Salem in the witchcraft trials, and who knows how many persecutions of innocents in the name of Christ, which is exactly the oppsite of what Paul taught.

Now, as to Calvinism. Calvin committed a grave error on two points:
1.By using Romans 8:29-30 as his source, he had to prove that he was somehow one of those 'elect" whom God had predestined.

There is no such proof by which anyone may do so. Therefore, he exercised illegitimate authority.
2. he stated that the elect went to heaven while everyon else was predestined to hell, a doctrine that Paul nowhere teaches.

So Purple, by throwing a label at me with no proof, guess what that makes your argument? Ad hominem, that's right.

You can't seem to learn, can you?

Retired Prof said...

Calvinism dead for a few centuries, PH? Not that long. It may be dead right now; I haven't checked for a pulse recently.

In my teen years, though, it was alive (maybe not well) in the Primitive Baptist Church, in which my grandparents grew up. Grandpa explained to me how satisfied it made him feel to know that, whether he was predestined for salvation or damnation, the question had already been settled. Since the decision was out of his hands entirely, he could relax and get on with his life.

The next generation mostly became Missionary Baptists, and most of their children followed along, but one cousin kept a healthy dose of fatalism. Once in Viet Nam, he and his buddies were pinned down by enemy fire in a place that was safe enough for the time being. They just couldn't leave without exposing themselves. Their wait for reinforcements stretched for a long time, and my cousin developed an appetite for refreshments. He said, "Hey, I'm going to fix a cup of hot chocolate. Anybody else want one?"

The others were astonished and horrified. They thought maybe the tension had gotten to him and he had gone off his rocker. He said, "What's the problem? If a bullet's gonna hit me, it's gonna hit me, and I might as well be full of hot chocolate when it happens."

I judge a religion not by whether it is true or logical (never found one that met those criteria) but by how well it helps its practitioners make it through their daily lives and meet their crises, while discouraging them from doing nasty things to other people. Calvinism doesn't work for everybody, but for my grandparents and my cousin it seemed to do the trick very well.

Byker Bob said...

Ralph, I'm beginning to understand what the Purple one is saying about circular logic. I'm still waiting for the one about whether God is so all powerful that He could create a rock so big that even He could not move it.

A sinful human being dies. But, there is no way that a sinful human's death can pay the penalty for his sins in such a way as to bring him into God's Kingdom. We're talking about physical death, and eternal spiritual death here. Two completely different things. It is appointed for every man to live and die once. The next life is optional, and up to us. If we accept Jesus' sacrifice, and make Him our Lord and Master, we do not need to die the second, or spiritual death.

That is the Biblical teaching. If I did not believe in the inspiration of the Bible, perhaps your reasoning would mean something to me, or make sense. But, then, it would all be meaningless, anyway, which is part of the reason why I can no longer be atheist or agnostic.

I also don't believe that Satan is the god of this world, as HWA always stated. I believe that the world turns on free will, and that God has a plan, and is in control. He utilizes that twisted and sneaky snake Satan to fulfill His purpose, which is for His children to build Christlike character, and the restitution of all things. We've got to have a point of resistance to build our spiritual muscles (character).

We Christians are free from the bondage of the law, and from the bondage of sin. And, I agree with you to the extent that God does expect us to be fearless in our faith, but obedient to the civil authorities as both Jesus and Paul taught.

Were you a logician in your previous life?

BB

Ralph said...

Who said anything about anyone's death getting them into God's kingdom? The bible, your bible you like to rea, says the wages of sin is death. You die. All die It is appointed to men ONCE to die.

Even your acceptance of Christ will not get you into God's kingdom, because Paul has plainly taught that there is no way you can make that decision, or do you make shit up as you go?

Since you complwetely ignore the logic of Paul's basic teachings in Romans 8 and 9, then you can decide whatever you want about the bible anyway, in spite of the fact that Paul has directly stated that the natural mind is enmity against God and cannot be subject to God, which gives you absolutely nothing to prove any special relationship anymore than a Zen Buddhist.

You cannot prove there is anything at all beyond this life, and you cannot prove that there is anything at all that will somehow save you from death.

I go with the facts of physical evidence and show the correspondence between reality and the plain statements of the bible while you argue whatever makes you feel good.

If you really want to challenge me, go for it. I've already seen that you have nothing of logic to offer, even by your own statements.

Ralph said...

We are to be obedient to the civil authorities only to the degree that they honor our obedience to God. If you look atr your own damn law books and read a little history, you will see that.

I've gone to great detail to explain and show the historic connections between the bible and the bill of rights, but you, in your christian love, believe what you want.

it is precisely your own statements in arguing for what you believe is true that leads to the splintering and speciation we see in christianity today. But of course you argue that somehow, some way, you know something you cannot prove to anybody.

As a professing christian, all you have is subjectivitry. If you actually tried to arge from any logical position, you would have to admit your own bankruptcy.

Ralph said...

Now, as to Calvinism. Since Calvin develope dhis theology from Romans 8:29-30, he would have to prove that by some process he was actually one of those chosen. In fact, he could offer no such proof, as no one can. Therefore he completely misrepresented himself.

That was his first flaw. His econd was to prezch that a few went to heaven and the rest went to hell, which I have never in any way advocated, not even remotely.

So, Purple, by labeling my statements as Calvinism without even stating any agreement/disagreement, you first built a straw man to knock down, and then you use a form of ad hominem while again ignoring the truth or falsehood of the statement. You never learn, do you?

Now, regardi nt my intent to allow a supernatural power tro Christ, I've explained this in detail so many times even one as slow as yourself should grasp it by now, but one more time.

Whether jesus was supernatural or whether he ever existed is irrelevant. Should anyone look for any true religion that represented him, it would be a waste of time to do so. Therefore, Matthew 24:23 is true, whoever wrote it.

And, since there is no way of recognizing the true religion, the natuirla result will be a splintering and speciation as one claiming to be jesus said in Matthew 10:34-38. Since both statements correspond to truth, they do not require any supernatural power to prove their truth.

Since the statement in Romans 8:7 shows that the naturla mind is enmity against God, then every attempt to "prove" God's existence by any process of human thought will result in a continual splintering of religious ideas, again fully consistent with Matthew 24:23 and Matthew 10:34-38 so we have truth demonstrated by correspondence with reality, which is actually the only scientific or philosophical way we have of discovering truth(much better than than that gnostic nonsense you quoted).

Since these factors combine to show that no one can ever arrive at any proven truth regarding God, it would stand to reason, following from logic, that if there is a God, then it would have to be Gd's choice that mattered in any selectio n of 'elect" and not any person's. That, Purple, is what is called simple, very simple logic.

And since we cannot derive definitions of God by our natural minds, and since God already knows his children anyway, then it also follows that we cannot derive any possible choice to get from "here" to 'there', which you yourself have admitted.

Now if this is totally wrong, you would still be just as free, since there is nothing you could do to alter your destiny in any sense regarding God, if no God existed.

No need, therefore, to get all wrapped up in such thoughts.

Whwen are you gonna stop throwing out ad himinem crap and actually respond to my arguments?

And BB, if you want to jump in, you already show you're playing with notrhng showing. The best you have is belief.

Ralph said...

And BB, you don;t believe Satan is the God of this world? Absolutely amazing. Now I know you;re making up shit as you go.

Matthew 4 and Luke 4. The giovernments of the world belong to him. Pretty plain to me.
But the simple fact is, you have to interpret as you go, because your natural mind runs into contradiction s, and you have to do it, just like the rest of the 38,000 versions.

You have nothing to offer but subjectivity and even claim it as your defense. How could anyone ever prove you wrongif you never deal with any type of logical facts?

The Painful Truth said...

Retired Prof said...

"I judge a religion not by whether it is true or logical (never found one that met those criteria) but by how well it helps its practitioners make it through their daily lives and meet their crises, while discouraging them from doing nasty things to other people."

And that is a damned good basis as to reaching a judgment of the persons character. Some folks really do live their religion. They do feed the poor, cloth the infidels, assist the orphans. In these people their religion is part of their lives.

Religion is not always bad. In some people it brings out the best in them. In others, mass murder. Such is the world we live in. But to condemn with a broad brush all who embrace a religious belief as sick puppies, well that is just plain wrong. Who on this blog would shit on Mother Teresa for her good works?

In the world of the Armstrong cults the objective of the religion is to save your own ass. Is that religion? Sure it is. A one sided save your sorry ass religion that supplies the cult member with the excuses they need to justify their lack of concern. Such excuses as "God is not trying to save the world at this time."

Anyone remember that? Sure you do.

Ralph said...

BB, Ayn Rand had you in mind when she wrote this passage:

"Men have a weapon against you. Reason. So you must be very sure to take it away from them. Cut the props from under it. But be careful. Don't deny outright. Never deny anything outright. You give your hand away. Don't say reason is evil-though some have gone that far and with astonishing success. Just say that reason is limited. That there's something above it. What? You don't have to be too clear about it either. The field's inexhaustible. 'Instinct'-'Feeling'-'Revelation'-'Divine Intuition'-'Dialectical Materialism'....You tell him there's something above sense, that he must not try to think. He must feel. he muast believe".

BB, you, like Purple, are now ready to attack my logic, but not directly. You present your own straw man, the argument about being omnipotent and beaing able to create a rock he cannot lift, and what's funny, you then use that very idea to "prove" your own subjective view of God!

Never attack outright. Never show the flaw in logic, just attack the idea in general. You and Purple must unite because you both have no argument against the force of reason.

Belief. That's all you have to offer, belief with nothing, not even biblical trruth, to back it.

And you conclude with "having a wonderful time. Wish you were here!"

Where, BB? Where?

Corky said...

Ralph said...
BTW, Jesus gave a real problem to Martha when he said "He that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, but he that lives and believes in me will never die".

What was really meant was that Jesus would return before all of them died - as it says over a hundred times in the NT - but even if some of them did die, yet they would live. The same thing that Paul said in 1 Cor. 15:51-52.

Of course they wouldn't die, they would be "changed" (translated) like Enoch was without seeing death.

But, 2,000 years later and no Jesus - a no show if ever there was one. No wonder that when that generation passed away there were some saying "where is the promise of his coming?" A very legitimate question since it was also said "the end of all things is at hand" - way back . . . when?

Ralph said...

And Corky, there you have proof of the fact that jesus said not to believe that crap. It would just lead to confusion and disappointment.

Ralph said...

BB, your argument on government and submission to government according to Romans 13 has a serious flaw.

"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God".

I shouldn't have to quote from the Declaration of Independence for you to realize that the United States exists for the very opposite resons which christianity proposes in support of that very government.

By the christian's own argument in support of Romans 13, there should have been no Revolutionary War , and subjwection to British rule would have prevented the Civil War, since slavery would have been abolished withot need of a war.

By declaring the right of independence, that all men are created equal, an entire race of men and women were enslaved, not only in each state, but in preventing the slaves from escaping to freedom, a direct violation of both common law and biblical law.

In any case, according to Romans 13, by christian standards, the United States is not a legitimate government, nor should we be sending our taxes to Washington, but to England or maybe even Rome.

If, by Jesus' statement, as underatood by christianity, we should render to Caesar, it should be remembered that we have no Caesar, and therefore no one to whom we should render taxes.

Either the power of government to execute vengeance is secondary to the rights of the people to judge by non-vengeful alternatives, or the US is not a legitimate government.

Corky said...

Ralph said...
And Corky, there you have proof of the fact that jesus said not to believe that crap. It would just lead to confusion and disappointment.

But, it was Jesus himself who said it and Paul who repeated it. Was Jesus wrong? Was Paul wrong?

Yes, they were. "The end of all things" was not "at hand" and those first century followers all died. So much for the idea that who ever believed in him would never die and for those who would be alive and remain until the return of Jesus - and be caught up into the clouds and meet Jesus in the air.

There are over a hundred passages in the NT that say it was "a short work", Jesus would return "shortly", that is was "the last days", "last time", "this generation" of Jesus and his disciples. It was all to "shortly come to pass" etc. etc.

They were wrong.

Jesus plainly said that in his first century generation "all things" would be fulfilled.

I reckon not, he hasn't returned and it turns out that comparing that generation to Noah's generation was as wrong as wrong can possibly be.

It was all supposed to happen in their lifetimes - the return of Jesus, the resurrection, the judgment and everything but it didn't.

Then somebody said, "well, with God a thousand years is one day and one day is a thousand years" and thus began apologetics.

Heh heh heh, they had to come up with some kind of answer for those who were saying, "where is the promise of his coming, since the fathers have all died everything is still the same".

An apostle could not have written the apologetic about the thousand years to God as one day thing because all the apostles (fathers) had died, these are second or third generation people who were leaving "God's Church" and pointing out the obvious.

"Where is the promise of his coming"? A good question for today too and I don't think Jesus will be coming back tomorrow either. I also don't think anyone will ever see Yahweh God standing on the Mount of Olives either.

Byker Bob said...

Ralph, I have no problem with you. We're just coming from different places. Having followed your posts for the past several months, basically I understand that you have reduced God to law, theorems, mathematics, and logic. That's all ivory tower stuff, largely irrelevant to the common man. I feel as if you are just as much in want of or search of a greater concept as are the atheists and agnostics. You leave nothing in your life to create passion, enthusiasm, motivation! It all becomes so Kafkaesque. Not that I was looking for anything to pattern my life after at this late date, but I really don't believe you present a very viable alternative for anyone else who is.

This is just coincidence, but have you noticed that your guiding theorem bears a name which is the combination of two names for God?
God, and El?

Peace out,
BB

Ralph said...

Can't argue with that. Never try.

What I AM arguing is the pragmatic uses of such ideas in terms of government and law. It was Jesus and Paul who also pointed out that there is no way we can organize in God's name, since any attempt will end up in the breaking apart of families and even nations.

The Jews never looked for "the promise of his coming" at least not in terms of Jesus returning. They still got a shigle out ion front of the synagogues: "Wanted, messiah".

What HAS happened, in all cases in which christianity has been attempted, is exacly what was said would happen. The harder people tried to believe, the more theyt had to come up with new ideas to make it all work.

Actually, this is little more than an evolutionary process, but if you believe in something outside and above this reality and it keeps failing, either you give up altogether or you start looking for better ways to explain why it failed. But of course it always fails, which leaves us right back at the premises of Romans chapters 8 and 9. There exists no decision procedure to get from here to God. never did exist, and every attempt to prove it ends in failure, as it must, since we now know that even in the search for truth itself in any complete, formal axiomatic system, must end in infinite splintering.

The real problem which would have existed is if it had actually achieved success, if Jesus had been resurrected, returned to take over his kingdom, and ruled with a rod of iron.

The actual success of such an idea would have been failure for humanity, since what we once sacrificed in the interest of religion, we now sacrifice in the interest of government. Once, we tried to combine the two. That failed and was replaced by separation of church and state.

There are still some hangers on who honestly believe that government, created by the same minds that orgaized religion, can succeed where religion failed.

From what I'm seeing about our economic system at present, it appears we're on the verge of spectacular failure in that regard as well.

So, the basic idea that remains is the realization that we must find new concepts of government that are based on dynamic infiormation exchange and not on vengeance. On the presumption of innocence and working out of legal problems first at the local level.

Destruction of the old mechanical paradigms that produced the church/state bullshit we see today.
It's already happening.

Purple Hymnal said...

"This is just coincidence, but have you noticed that your guiding theorem bears a name which is the combination of two names for God?
God, and El?"


***Cue David Attenborough voice-over***

"Here, we observe a formerly native Armstrongite employing his natural idiom; so steeped within their neural synapses are these coping strategies, even they are not aware of continuing to employ them, despite having abandoned the outer trappings of the systematic theology of their church.

"You will notice in the above phrase, the Byker, Bob, employing the use of isogesis, to reach an ontologically-acceptable conclusion that supports his perspective, which also highlights the Armstrongite's innate use of confirmation bias.

"In its native state, the Armstrongite employs isogesis and confirmation bias with such terms as "berith ish" to mean British, an isogetic bulwark from deep within the core of Armstrongism itself. Of course, this coping strategy relies solely on the deeply-flawed Middle English translation, of a series of texts that were produced, whole-cloth, in the fourth century Common Era."

Ralph said...

Oh bullshit, BB. Godel's theorem is the basis for the entire axiomatic process of thought. It demonstrates from its own statements that there exists no axiomatic formalization within number theory(and therefore all such axiomatic systems of sufficient complexity) which can be complete and consistent.

That means, as Purple said, you can't get there from here. Actually "Godel" is spelled with a "umlaut" over the "o", which gives it the native Austrian sound similar to "Girdle" without the "r" sound. Americans usually tend to say "Geddel".

It would be 'Ivory tower" in the biblical sense, except for the fact that Paul has shown a parallel to the process in Romans 8:7. Assuming there is a God, and God is consistent with all truth(and why wouldn't he be?), it would be as impossible to form a decision procedure, no matter how formal, that can demionstrate any relationship with God.

I hate to keep harping on the same thing, but Paul goes to great length to show the parallels that exist in this regard.

IOW, it is the basis of what you would call the gospel. There exists no decision procedure by which you or anyone can demonstrate a special relation to God, and the reason is quite simple: God does the choosing.

Whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not, there it is. To say other wise is to con people into believing they can actually make such decisions by a "free will" process that can only result in further confusion and splintering of religious ideas.

Of course I can argue that you believe what you do because you;re supposed to, and there would be sufficient evidence to illustrate that point. Since no mind can possibly make decisions to get from "here" to 'truth' or to "God" by any axiomatic process, the natural result would be exactly the speciation we see around us, which means that you are "supposed to" believe as you do, simply because the effort to hold such a belief will inevitably result in a necessity to claim subjectivity as the basis of your beliefs, as all other christian religions are forced to do.

Ivory Tower or not, your thinking, regarding any subject approachng infinity as "God" must do, will inevitably end in exactly the thousands of verisons we see today.

There's nothing wrong with holding the belief, but your "wish you were here" statement seems to indicate you have discovered something beyond human power, which you have not.

And, even giving you the benefit of the doubt, it would not be open to "freewill choice' on the part of others, since there is nothing you can truthfully demonstrate that we are able to choose.

Byker Bob said...

One of the hallmarks of a true intellectual is that he or she is able to communicate effectively with people up and down the intelligence scale, making knowledge accessible to their particular level. When you meet a true intellectual, you feel comfortable, he or she does not seem difficult to understand, and such a person's underlying sense of security does not create a need to intimidate, or to indulge in meaningless contests. I don't claim this status for myself, but I certainly recognize it when I see it.

God is the ultimate intellectual, and created the entire human ecosystem, each component of which is both functional, and necessary. That is why I believe that all we need to know about salvation has been made so simple. Basically, anyone with an average IQ can comprehend, given an open mind.

One bit of embedded baggage from WCG is that we were taught that "God's Truth" was based on special insider information, knowledge of massive conspiracies in the history of the church, and offbeat and unprovable theories. This was presented based on alleged special revelations to a very flawed man who was deignated as "God's Apostle."

Given this background, who would be surprised to find ex-members looking for a new set of insider information, additional conspiracies, and yet more theories? It perfectly fits the thought patterns which were part of the brainwashing we received, and it requires years and years to shed.

Also, what would be the ultimate indicator that any of us have been truly healed? I can't think of a stronger acid test than that of being able to communicate civilly with those who are still stuck in the Armstrong cults, without causing them to refer to us as "bitter", or "demon possessed."

BB

Ralph said...

In other words, BB, since you have no response to my statements, you're going to bullshit your way around it. Tis is called Straw man, and it's is ridiculous as Purple's arguments.

The facts are simple, have been presented simply, and since you have no answer, you;re going to run in all possible directions to avoid it.

The natural mind is enmity against God and cannot be subjec to God's laws. This results in twp basic conclusions:
1.There can be no true religon representing God because no human mind can be subject to God's laws.
2. Any attempt to do so will result in exaclty the kind of splintering of religons you see today.

Since the natural mind cannot be subject to God, iot follows logically that no one can make any natural choice to have any special relationship to God, which is what Paul tells us in Romans 9:16-22.

Jesus himself confirms this in John 14:17, Matthew 10:34-38 and Matthew 24:23, as well as John 6:44

What gives extra force to these conclusions is Godel's theorem, which tells us that in any consistent axiomatic formulation of number theory, there exists an infinity of undecidable propositions. Result: it is impossible to place all truth in one package, which yields the same results as those logicall following Romans 8:7.

But Paul takes ot a step further logically. he points out that it is impossible to make such choices because God already knows, and has known from the beginning, who his children are(Romans 8:29-20, Eph. 1-4).

In terms of your arguments about true intellectuals above, it means that if such truths can be communicatged that show special relationships to God, then we can demonstrate it by algorithms that can be proven, since anything that can be translated into language can be translated into algorithms and programmable.

"God's truth" is not based on informatin that can be gained by human effort. It is "insider" to the extent that only God controls the process, as he did with Abraham regarding Isaac.

The results of that, far from enslaving people, makes it completely impossible for any human sysytem of authority top claim authority in God's name, and if they do, we have a way of telling them they're all full of shit. And best of all, we can do it biblically!

As I said to Purple, prove me wrong. You can't.

Purple Hymnal said...

"In other words, BB, since you have no response to my statements..."

Don't feel bad, Ralph, BB evaded answering me as well (although to be honest I thought at first he was going to go on a classic anti-intellectual rant; pleasantly surprised he didn't). So much for "always be ready with an answer", eh?

Regardless, it speaks volumes, that the Christian cannot provide an answer for EITHER of us; you a Deist and me a non-theist.

Telling, that, no?

Ralph said...

Purple, that may be a good description of me, a deist. I truly admire Jefferson.

Long before I joined the WCG, I was a seeker(there's one born every minute).

I went to a revival meeting one summer night when I was about 11 years old, and it was one of those dry, summer nights when the lightning was blasting nearby, and the church lights went out.

There were candle holders on the walls spaced every few feet, and the deacons lit them, and then the preacher got started with his story of the teen-ager who refused to accept the Lord, and that night lost control of his car and went to hell, unprepared to meet God. I figured I might get struck by lightning any second, so I went down first opportunity.

People hugged me, the preacher hugged me, my parents hugged me, but I was just glad I wouldn't go to hell if I didn't get lightning struck.

Next revival, I wasn't too sure, so I wnet down again. The preacher asked me why I was coming down, and I told him I didn't feeel anything special last time, so I was coming down again.

The preacher shook my hand with a little less entusiasm this time, and everybody was polite. Mama and dad hugged me, but they didn't seem too excited either.

Never felt any different so I made up my mind I was going down every damn time they had a revival until something special happened.

Got so the preacher toned down his sermons and said maybe hell wasn't really that bad after all, and we might just remain at our seats and ask forgiveness.

I went down anyway, the pianist played, but with little enthusiasm. Some people shook my hand, some left. Mama and dad smiled at everybody as they left and waited for me at the door.

Shortly after that, the preacher suggrested I might find God in another denomination. That's when I started smelling a rat.

Byker Bob said...

Basically, I believe in helping people find Jesus Christ. Arguments, responses to taunting questions, or responses to people whom we all know are simply trying to trip up or mock God, Christianity, or Christian people do not serve that purpose, and are therefore totally useless, except for the amusement of a small minority of our non-believer friends.

If I knew for a fact that Purple, Ralph, Corky, or any other non-believer were trying to resolve personal issues, get rid of nagging doubts created by Armstrongism, or find the answers which would lead them to accepting Jesus Christ, believe me, I'd spend hours and hours and hours trying to assist in any way I could. You guys would even have my cellphone number! Frankly, that is not the case. In most cases the questions are coming from people similar to what the courts call "hostile witnesses."

Also, this issue has nothing to do with intellect. Why do people seem to delight in promoting the idea that someone with an opposing view lacks intelligence? God's plan is fully able to be understood by people up and down the intelligence scale. It's not so much intelligence that is required, as it is an open mind, and a willingness to obey God.

People often cite the seeming confusion, or diversity in Christian beliefs. What I have to say to that is that nobody can possibly be 100% right. I applaud sincere Christians everywhere who attempt to live by God's word. Not pseudo ones who try to write their own Bible in an attempt to be more righteous than God, but the ones who are making an honest effort, praying, studying, and trusting Father God to make up for and correct their human deficiencies.

BB

Purple Hymnal said...

Ralph,

"Purple, that may be a good description of me, a deist. I truly admire Jefferson."

I think we, after many months of contention, have finally come to a truce of some sorts? I certainly hope so! I also hope you realize that, for all our contentious ripostes on this blog in the past, I have no problem with you being a Deist (or a deist, if you prefer), just as I have no problem with Neo and BB being Christians, or Corky being a fundie atheist, or James and Allen being Deists-with-a-capital-"D".

Your description of your childhood experience at a revival was compelling, thanks for that, Ralph. I used to have a similar attitude, when I was a kid, taking things at face value, believing everything we are told, by those we "trust" -- be they our parents, teachers, preachers, or holy books. I think we all were like that; it's endemic to childhood, don't you think?

I'm grateful I am free of the church, however, otherwise I never would have divested myself of that attitude at all! But it is telling, as to how religions can influence (Seek to influence?) children, and not always for the better!

Speaking for myself, personally, I wouldn't call myself a seeker (Because, as you adduced earlier, I believe "there is no 'there' there."), but I am interested in reading about the different religions and religious beliefs, that are extant in this world. Thing is, I don't restrict my reading to just the Christian religion, or solely Christian "scripture".

As a matter of fact, reading about Christianity, often makes me feel like more of an alien to this world, than I already am! Just try reading a Wikipedia article on Christianity, ANY of them; you will find a plethora of incomprehensible terms, each one of them leading down a rabbit hole of its own! For example, I started out reading a Wikipedia page about a defunct Anglican youth group, and somehow spiraled down to the holy importance of the Anglican popes having to stand on a rug with an eagle on it when they are preaching! In between, I encountered a confusion of explanations surrounding a bunch of other things, that did not make much sense at all to me.

People born and raised as Christians, somehow, have an understanding-by-osmosis, of all these things; as I was raised with as close to pure "Armstrongism" as it can get, I have long since accepted the fact that I will never be able to wrap my head completely around the Christian mindset, which I am OK with. Other ex-members of the church might not be, and that's their prerogative. As long as they allow me to act on my prerogative, which is to be slightly puzzled, to completely uninterested, when it comes to Christianity.

Since "The One True Church" ain't one, ain't true, and definitely ain't "The Church", anymore, while I can explain and understand all the vagaries of Armstrongism, just as well as the Christians can explain the vagaries of Christianity, I have no logical reason, nor religious compulsion, to do so at all, anymore, let alone to live by its "precepts". Thing is, I can't get "there" with Christianity, either, because I see it as the flip side of the same coin; just another religion, and a most confusing one, at that!

That's where I'm coming from, at least, and I hope everyone here can respect that. Even if I don't agree with some of you, some of the time.

Ralph said...

Purple, I don't have a problem with that. It doesn't matter what anyone believes, because all beliefs are incomplete in understanding, and therefore will be filled with error.

Several years ago, I sought out different groups of ex-Armstrongites to discuss my ideas with, and I was a bit shocked to see that they had become insulting and even vicious. There was no detachment or willingness to discuss anything simply for discussion.

I got kicked out of quite a few groups simply because my ideas didn't agree with the pack. This was not really hurtful as much as surprising, since I had already gone through a very physically intense battle with the marines.

By the time James asked me to write some articles for him, I was pretty much of the attitude, "Bring it, sucker, 'cause I'm gonna kick some ass".

I don't like having that attitude, and it is not my natural way of dealing with things, but experience has taught me of necessity that sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and stand your ground. My experience in the matrines has made me a lot meaner than I would like to be, but siometimes it's really nioce to step back into that insane world where nothing matters and fear is an alien word.

After I got out of the marines, I spent about ten years with no conscience. Actually, it felt good. And then one day, I realized that I didn't feel, and really couldn't feel, anything directly except rage.

I remember sitting at a bar one night, just sippong on a mixed drink, and the girl who worked as a bartender there just put her hands on my shoulders and let them fall on my chest.

It was like an aelectric shock. It suddenly occurred to me that no one, man or woman, had even touched me, even slightly, in years. I had become so determined never to be controlled again, never to be ruled by anyone, that I drove away all tenderness, all love, all emotion. I was determined to do only one thing: win. never be controlled, never be beaten, never be intimidated.

So, we all have our scars here, and they all run deep for us.

Purple Hymnal said...

Yeah, I'm not real big on physical contact either, Ralph, but I don't think that has anything really to do with the church. Thanks for that explanation, it does help us (I think) to see where it is you're coming from more clearly.

"It doesn't matter what anyone believes, because all beliefs are incomplete in understanding, and therefore will be filled with error."

So do you acknowledge that this could also apply to your beliefs, Ralph? Because that is the sign of maturity in understanding, IMO.

One that I hope I have put across about my own studies and interests; as I have repeated ad nauseam, reading the contemporary translations of the Gnostic and other texts, from long ago and far away, are of interest to me, and I find them of use for myself; I have absolutely no delusions whatsoever that they are any form of ultimate "truth", nor that any such "truth" exists (which is where you and I part ways, Ralph, but that's OK, too).

I try to utilize the allegories contained in some of the texts, through the practice of meditation, to help me connect with others. Not always, and not perfectly, but bit by painstaking bit, step by step.

It isn't always the gnostic texts I utilize in this manner, either. Because it isn't so much about which are the "correct" holy books and which of the self-proclaimed holy men are "true"; it is about the spark of human consciousness that we all have, each one of us, like it or lump it (whether one chooses to deify that human consciousness, or otherwise).

The ultimate goal of life, all life, I believe at this point, is learning how to recognize that spark of human consciousness, in ourselves, and others, and to act from a place where we feel connected with, connected to, humanity as a whole.

(Yeah, I know, it's a lofty goal, and not one I have any delusions of ever achieving personally.)

That's my take on it, anyway.

Ralph said...

Nope, doesn;t apply to my beliefs, for the very simnple reason that I have stated many times that there exists no decision procedure by which we may proceed towatrd truth in any complete, consistent fashion.

My beliefs are merely beliefs, but my realization of truth is truth.

Allen C. Dexter said...

We all see through that hazy glass. I know I don't have perfect knowledge and understanding. I'm glad to see the willingness of others to admit to the same.

Ever since the security of WCG went aglimmering into the ether, I've been in a constant state of flux. Ralph is right when he says there is no way to get "there" from here. There are some things I'm absolutely sure of, and that's one of them.

So, we have a lot in common -- all of us. First and foremost, our cult past.

I still have hope there is an afterlife so some of these damn questions can maybe get answered. Is that a delusion? Maybe. I've been deluded before.

Corky said...

Allen C. Dexter said...
I still have hope there is an afterlife so some of these damn questions can maybe get answered.

You just put your finger on the answers, "I hope there is an afterlife". That's what it's all about. Everyone wants to live forever and no one wants to die. Unless, of course, one is not in their right mind.

It's just a wishful thing - a useful tool to control people and to get them to do stuff they would not normally do, the least of which is paying tithes to pretentious parasites.

Purple Hymnal said...

"Everyone wants to live forever and no one wants to die. Unless, of course, one is not in their right mind."

LOL, I guess that means I'm not in my right mind!! But, I'm still half-afraid my brain's last-gasp "near-death experience" is going to plop me right in the middle of the Third Resurrection, so there is that....I can certainly empathize with those who try to find an "out" because they're still living in fear (literally -- and it's not much of a life, believe me) of that ultimate end.

I, on the other hand, have no fear. I will happily do a swan-dive into the Lake of Fire, laughing all the way down. At least I don't have to worry about any early childhood religious programming, that's going to make my brain render anything as hilariously ludicrous as the evangelicals' version of "hell". If it's anything like the TV show Supernatural, I'm signing up for the demons' side, anyway. Hey, I've already had one UCG member say I was demon-possessed, might as well go "whole hog", eh? Heh heh heh.

All joking aside, while I fully expect to experience the Third Resurrection (not in a literal way, but in a mental one) when I finally pass from this "vale of tears", I am no longer afraid of it, in any way, shape, or form. And for that, I am truly grateful.

Allen C. Dexter said...

Just to clarify, I'm not afraid either. If consciousness continues, great. If not, oh, well.

I'm going to live life to the full as much as possible. It may be the only game around. But, I still have my "druthers." Druther win the lottery too.

Purple Hymnal said...

Hah, I think I'd rather win the lottery, than have any "afterlife". How would that even work? None of the "afterlives" promoted, seem even remotely credible! Well...except this one, maybe. :-D

I dunno, I've never really thought about it closely, since it wasn't a part of the church's theology, nor of our "understanding" at all.

I guess you could say the whole concept of "afterlife" is a complete non-starter for me, and always has been...both in the church, and out of it, as I am now.

Ralph said...

I don't worry about dying. I just dread that crap your body puts you through before you die.

My dad sat down at supper, ate his meal, and sat in his favorite rocking chair. They found him there, with a smile on his face. I wasn't there, but I feel good about the way he went.

BB insists there's some choice3 we have to make to enter a kingdom of God, but we still die, whatever choice we make.

I can only conclude logically that whether there is an afterlife or not, death must be the final payment for everything. If there's a resurrection, great. If not, I did what I believed was right.

Which takes us to the whole reason for living a moral life. If we could prove beyond doubt that there was a God who rewarded or punished according to acts in this life, we'd all do as good as we could so we wouldn't have to burn in hell. Nothing gained, and notrhing learned about human behavior. Everyone would try really hard to do good, and God would havre all these "slippery slope" decisions.

You're standing in judgement, and God says "Son(daughter), you were so close, but there's thi one thing you did that just overbalances the scales. I'd like to offer mercy, but if I do it for you, then I have to start fudging on everybody".

OTOH, if there's no evidence of any reward, if you simply die, whatever ytou do, you will do because you have chosen to live a certain way. Of course, because you can't know for sure, you may have a tendency to 'cover your ass" by using a form of Pascal's wager, so there will be numerous ideas about how we may please God.

So, judgement comes again, and God has to decide among over 40,000 versions of belief in him, not to mentjon the non-christian ones(I forgot, they don't count anyway, except to their own Gods).

But if the penalty for all lawbreaking is simply death, then God has a lot of wrk cut out for him.

Basically, that's what Paul says. Romans 11:32. God concluded them in disobedience(unbelief) so he might have mercy on all. You can't get "there" from "here", so all decisons lead to the ultimate "wages" for sin, which is death. No special deals, no secret dogma or doctrine, no way to earn special rewatrds. You live, you die, and then you start getting judged according to your works.

Simple enough. God chooses an aelect by his own system according to his promise to Abraha. The make the first resurrection, then a thousand years later, everybody else gets a shot with a clean slate.

So, whoever is elect will die, get resurrect first, and prepare to teach everyone else. Then the rest get taught by those with experience. If true, no one has anything to worry about. If not ttrue, same thing. We all die anyway. But in this case, Pascal's wager is simple. Since we die anyway, we choose to live a certain way as we believe is right.

Obviously our choices will reflect hundreds of thousands of different ideas, but we do so freely, because we can't do otherwise. God does his own thing with his elect(or not) and we still die anyway. Seems simple to me.

Purple Hymnal said...

"So, whoever is elect will die, get resurrect first, and prepare to teach everyone else. Then the rest get taught by those with experience. If true, no one has anything to worry about."

Yes, that's right Ralph, we would have nothing to worry about. Except for the fact that we would be living in a world that makes Hitler's Third Reich look like a hippie flower-children's commune from the 1960s.

Where's the registration queue for the Lake of Fire? I want to make absolutely certain my name is in the Book of Death, ahead of time.

I cannot believe you're applying Pascal's Wager to teachings from the church, Ralph; have you truly left nothing of our shared past behind you?

Ralph said...

Purple, where, in any of that statement, can you show the flaw of my reasoning?
I merely presented the logic, either way in which freedom is the resultant conclusion, You merely bitch and nag.

Purple Hymnal said...

"You merely bitch and nag"

Oh and THAT'S not an ad hominem attack, is it?! Maybe if James wasn't drinking your Kool-Aid, he would get off his ass, and give you the same warnings he's given the rest of us, for daring to disagree with your holy "all truth"!

Ralph said...

I said you do nothng but bitch and nag, which is an insulting way of saying ad hominem.

Should I simply say, more ad hominem?

You have offered absolutely nothing of any valuie to chalenge mystatements. The best you've managed is to complain, bitch and nag. Seems truthful to me.

Purple Hymnal said...

"I said you do nothng but bitch and nag, which is an insulting way of saying ad hominem."

No, Ralph, that WAS an insulting ad hominem. Yet you have been, since the inceptiion of this blog, absolutely free to engage in whatever ad hominem attacks YOU wish to (and they ARE clearly ad hominem attacks), whereas if anyone questions what YOU, alone, YOURSELF, believe to be "the ultimate truth", that is automatically classed as an ad hominem attack...whereas, we are only debating why the ideologies you are presenting, do not work FOR US.

You, on the other hand, are personally attacking, us, and misinterpreting our disagreements with your ideologies, as personal attacks on yourself, which they are not.

Still, this site is allegedly supposed to be one where ALL are free from personal attack or ad hominem invective; can you explain the clear double standard that exists, where you are concerned, Ralph? Because you've gotten away with some pretty pointless cracks, whereas people on this site have been rebuked, for merely choosing to disagree with, or debate, your own personal "all-truth".

Can you explain that double standard, Ralph? It is beginning to wear rather thin, several months on, you know....

Ralph said...

Purple, I've stated from the outset, PROVE ME WRONG. You have not.

An ad hominem attack is defined basically as an attack "to the man" while ignoring the arguments.

Again, let's list your arguments:
I'm in "exile" (from what? You never define yourself.)

Accusation of Victorian mqath(which means what? You never define yourself.)

Attrempting to get m statements cnsored(which should require no explanation.

You have every right to disagree with my statements, but you keep accusing me of "my truth" when I have repeatedly shown why it is a mathematical fact suppoprting my statements, which makes it not just "my truth", but TRUTH, as far as it can be defined.

I have met every argument your presented, responded to each and every one as capa bly as possible, shown you the flaw in your logic, and you still keep up with the same crap, which amounts BITCHING AND NAGGING.

Quit talking ABOUT what I say and show the flaw in my statement. How much simpler casn I be? How much more obvious?

I accept all accusations all insults. I'm an exp-marine with a fuckking temper like a rattlesnake, a self professed asshole, a son of a bitch.

Now PROVE ME FUCKING WRONG!

As we say here in the country, either shit or get off the pot!

Purple Hymnal said...

"Purple, I've stated from the outset, PROVE ME WRONG. You have not."

I'm going to get in a last question again, Ralph, if you don't want to answer, that's fine too, as I believe this post will soon be falling off the front page anyway. So, my question:

If you are so certain that you have found this ultimate, universal truth, that you will take all facts and view them from whatever angle fits this truth, why do you want me (or, indeed, any of us) to keep trying to prove you "wrong"?

You keep saying we can't, and that's patently obvious; but, as Allen has said, we are here, on this blog, posting about the church, and our experiences both in and out of it, for the benefit of those who may only be watching from the sidelines, as it were. Those who are still too afraid to get involved with discussions like this, as we all once were, ourselves.

None of us, not one of us on this blog, who have not accepted your individual interpretation of "ultimate truth" as our own (and I put that in quotes because, as I believe, there is NO "ultimate truth", period), let me repeat that, not one of us is posting on this blog solely to argue with you, Ralph.

This blog does not exist purely for you to come out the winner on every post in the comments. I'm almost certain that wasn't the goal James had in mind for the blog, when he started it.

That said, I think you're starting to get that idea yourself, if your most recent, more revealing (and much more personable, I might add) comments are any indication.

As I said above; more about your grandkids, less about your personal ultimate truth. We have heard your arguments, there is no need to repeat them again and again.

Tell us more about your grandkids, Ralph. That's really what I want to hear about!

Ralph said...

You can't prove me wrong. As soon as you yield to that fact, we move forward.

Second point, I didn;t post my articles as guest editor looking for argument or putdown. You and some top guns came gunning for me, and as I said, I don't lose. I like battles in all their forms.


They're not my grandkids. They're Sharon's, and since Sharin has been through two violent and demeaning marriages(her first husband shoved her head through a sheetrock wall when she refused to give him her first paycheck), she has no intention of marrying me, which doesn't bother me the least, since I don't need some moron with a funny looking collar to tell me I love somebody. If I decided to leave Sharon I'd leave her anyway, marriage or not.

What's so funnyt about our usual argument is that Sharion gets mad and says "Everybody warned me about you, that you are mean, you don;t listen to anybody, and yhou think you're always right".

To which I respond "I told you that whne we met. I am all those things, and I don't give a shit what everybody else says".

My mindset really bothers most women, because they honestly do think it's their Godgiven right to tell me how to live and what to do.

The first time i was engaged, I sat down and told my fiancee everything about me and how I recognized no human authorities, and she said "Oh, it's wonderful! You're wonderful!"

That, I learned, in regard to virtually all women, is pure bullshit. She started trying to change evetrything about me from the first damn day, right down to the way I breathe.

At fist it was kind of cute, until it finally hit me that this total control of my life had nothing to do with our romance, but was a way of life she would expect til the day I died. That's when all those other women started looking real good to me, even better than before, but I now realized that every single one of them though intending to be honest, were going to lie to me exactly the same way my ex-fiancee did.

If I had my own children, no s.o.b. would take them away from me, and I would probably be one of those you see on the news who barricades himself in a houise and waits for the police to drive him out.

Yep, I'm an asshole, and I love it!

Purple Hymnal said...

"You can't prove me wrong. As soon as you yield to that fact, we move forward."

I said as much in my last comment. Let me repeat:

"If you are so certain that you have found this ultimate, universal truth, that you will take all facts and view them from whatever angle fits this truth, why do you want me (or, indeed, any of us) to keep trying to prove you "wrong"?

You keep saying we can't, and that's patently obvious; but, as Allen has said, we are here, on this blog, posting about the church, and our experiences both in and out of it, for the benefit of those who may only be watching from the sidelines, as it were. Those who are still too afraid to get involved with discussions like this, as we all once were, ourselves."


Now, to your comment:

"You and some top guns came gunning for me, and as I said, I don't lose. I like battles in all their forms."

Again, this was how you chose to interpret it. As you have been told repeatedly, this blog is NOT ABOUT you battling the rest of us, nor us battling you. This blog is NOT ABOUT WINNING OR LOSING. We are here to share ALL our experiences, as varied and different from each other as they may be. Different perspectives seems to be the order of the day, if the roster of guest editors so far is any indication. Whether or not the blog has achieved a fair representation of different perspectives from those of us who've left the church, remains to be seen. Quite frankly, it's hard to see, when most of the comments threads are taken up with this "battle" you insist on wanting to "win", Ralph.

This blog is not your personal battlefield for you to leave "corpses" strewn over Ralph, regardless of how much carte blanche James gives you to do so. Once you realize that, Ralph, then we really can move forward.

I think this blog could truly be able to become a universal forum for discussion about all aspects of the church, and what it has left us with, in our infinite diversities. Right now, I'm not seeing a lot of that, and I have not seen it, since the blog's inception. Which really is unfortunate, with Ambassador Watch gone and Otagosh on a much different "track", as it were.

If all you're interested in is fighting/winning/battling the rest of us, Ralph, then unfortunately I'm going to have to take a pass on that. You have presented your perspective, I have presented mine. We don't agree, and that should be the end of it. But there is this:

"Yep, I'm an asshole, and I love it!"

I am too, sometimes. But I don't love it, and I don't want to be one.

I think that pretty much sums up the entirety of all of our exchanges over the past few months, Ralph. You are free to disagree with that, and I respect the fact that you most probably will.

But, that's the crux of the whole thing, I think.

That's it, I'm out. See all of you sometime after Canada Day!

Ralph said...

I will win because you present no challenge. You cannot challenge the mathematical facts, and that's the end of the statement.

I win because I'm right, and i can show from numerous authoritative systems that I'm right.

That's the part you don't like and you'll rationalize any way you can to avoid it.

Whether I'm an asshole or not, as I've said, is irrelevant. What is relevant is the truth/falsehood of my statements, which you have not even begun to challenge.

Ralph said...

Just to take up space, let's look at your statement that there is no truth. We atre then forced to conclude, if so, that of all the infinite possibiklities of truth that are put forth, none are true.

But there are truths, that conform to reality each day, consistent with science and mathemnatics, that are demonstrated as true.

I would have to conclude that you are referring to the idea that there are no absolute truths, no truths that unify all into one truth.

If so, then you have merely stated a version of Godel's theorem, but only in the sense that there exist no PROVEN truths that can unify everything into one single system.

Here's the problem with the statement that there is no such truth. You must first present the statement, including all possible truths, and conclude with proofs, that there exists no such truth at all, not just truths that cannot be proven, but truths cannot ever be proven.

If so, then you have just stated an absolute truth about truth, which contradicts your own statement.

Your statement, of necessity, must be able to look at every single possible truth, compress it into a theorem, and show from that theorem that there can be no such truths.

But you can never do that because Godel's theorem demonstrates conclusively that we do not possess that kind of knowledge. It simply cannot be done, which means your statement is merely an observation of no factual nature.

But what if it is true? Then we still have the samwe conclusion I presented earlier. There exists no decision procedure by which we can show any special relationship to God, which is fully consistent with what Paul and Jesus clearly stated in regard to deception.

Truth = truth, without the necessity of proof.