Old Letters to the Editor

PLEASE USE THE NEW 'LETTERS TO THE EDITOR' PAGE. This one has technical problems.

Christianity and its Persecution of Heretics

In the first century there was no heresy for the simple reason that there was no orthodoxy. The 'heresies' referred to in old translations of the New Testament are merely differences of opinion . Small Christian communities believed what they wanted to, and worshipped as they chose. There were no central authorities, no set rituals, no agreed canon of scripture, no Church hierarchy, and no established body of doctrine. In line with the toleration practised throughout the empire each group of Christians was free to believe whatever it wanted. The natural consequence of this state of affairs was that ideas and practices in different communities diverged.

Towards the end of the second century Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, saw the dangers of numerous opinions developing. He attempted to establish an orthodox body of teaching. He wrote a five volume work against heresies, and it was he who compiled a cannon of the New Testament. He also claimed that there was only one proper Church, outside of which there could be no salvation. Other Christians were heretics and should be expelled, and if possible destroyed. The first Christian Emperor agreed. Gibbon summarises the edict which announced the destruction of various heretics: Read More

Given that we have a chance to finally escape this MONSTER, should we not take it?

Illusion and Delusion

When You Think You Just Know What Tomorrow Will Bring - By Dennis Diehl

I know so many human beings who KNOW how everything in the near and distant future is going to go. They know the details. They know when things will happen, how they will happen, who will cause them to happen, why they need to happen and how they are going to come out smelling like a rose. (I hate that smell).

These are the Bible literalists and fundamentalists who read the Bible and especially what they perceive as Bible prophecy as one would read the news paper or a daily news blog. They see the names of ancient lands as the old name for current world powers. Gog and Magog are the Russians, to some. Ephraim and Manasseh are the United Kingdom and America to others. There are the Kings of the North and Kings of the South in Daniel who they just know are this or that, it keeps changing, country in the Middle East. Europe is "clearly" spoken of in Bible prophecy as is China and parts of Antarctica. Ok, I just made that up. Israel is the Bible God's chosen country and of course people but Palestinians not so much. Genetically, they are identical however. Canaanites all.

Not only do they know which countries are mentioned in Bible prophecy for today, which to them is the end of all time that must shortly come to pass, but some see themselves written into the pages of the Bible. Yep they do! I know the Two Witnesses of Revelation, The Watcher over the world for God, True prophets that live right now on this planet and you can send for their booklets explaining it all, and a whole array of Apostles and True Evangelists.
Each heads up the true church and most hate each other and scoff at their rival insights and predictions.

To date, 100% of them have been 100% wrong 100% of the time.

Here are some charmers and insights of a Pastor Ron Weinland, who has boldly proclaimed himself one of the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11. His wife, conveniently, has been declared the other witness. I knew Ron personally when a pastor myself. Obviously, I have outgrown it and had to move on or live a rather dishonest life promoting what I no longer saw as true. Mr. Weinland, on the other hand, went on to see himself clearly prophesied in the pages of the Book of Revelation. His rivals in prophecy also tend towards the same delusions.

Ron Weinland:
As far as prophecy is concerned beginning in mid April this year we begin a period of what is known as 1260 days, and that’s 3½ years. A lot of people refer to it as the 3½ year period of a great tribulation that’s going to be on this earth. And that’s exactly where we are in time.

Ron Weinland:

A few years ago God made it clear to me that I was a prophet. That time when he first began to reveal that to me I believed that I was a prophet by what’s referred to in Scripture as interpretationally, in other words being able to interpret prophesies and know the meaning. And there were a lot of things that began to be given concerning the end time.

Ron Weinland

Pentecostal Minister:
I am not at ease fully with this yet. God is teaching me things as we go along here. I cannot imagine saying certain things that are going to be responsible for the death of people. But yet again I can, because there are certain things going to take place where God is going to intervene and destroy millions, literally hundreds, a few hundred million right there at the very end and on the very last day before Jesus Christ returns.

Ron Weinland:

Oftentimes people ask me the question of whether or not I feel that I’m wrong, or ‘What if?’ They keep asking, ‘What if? What if?’ How can I answer that? To me there is no ‘What if?’ It is. It is what it is. And there is no doubt in my mind, as sure as the sun’s coming up in the morning, and it’s going down this evening, this afternoon. That’s just the way it is, it’s that clear, it’s that absolute. There is no altering of anything.

This is how Mr. Weinland, Witness One of Two, sees himself. I might add that over the past couple of years, he has modified his mistakes in such ways as to blame those who listen to him for misunderstanding and taking him too literally.

Mr. Weinland's greatest, self hanging quote of all time came last year when the beginning of the Trumpets of Revelation were upon us.

“Three More Weeks” RW March 29, 2008 sermon:

If by Pentecost [June 8 2008] I’m just going to make this real clear to everyone. If by Pentecost [June 8, 2008] it is not powerfully and abundantly clear that there has been a great deal of destruction that will clearly encompass a third of all plant life in the US and at least the clear results of this mingled with blood the death of very much animal life and the beginning of large numbers of human life then I will stop preaching. Just so all the critics and everyone out there will understand. I am true to my word in these things. OK? And for all the critics if by the end of July and for most likely around Pentecost if nothing has clearly caused great destruction and death I will make it very clear that I was a false prophet. I will do exactly what I said I would do on aaaaall those interviews that I have held. To do less. Well. Would be quite insane.”

That was six months ago. He was wrong, as are all to date and yet he did not step down and recently now in November of 2008 made it clear, in the above interview, he was still a prophet. No biggie. He just failed to use the adjective "False." There is plenty of time.

Why do we do this or allow ourselves to have others do this to us? There is a lot of money and ego pumping fame in pretending to know the mind of God and what is about to happen. Even the Apostle Paul used such terms to motivate the faithful in the New Testatment. He told the Church that "time was short," and that the end was closer than when they all first came upon the truth he had for them. One can see the evolution of Paul's dissapointment and need to grow up. Later in the New Testament he says time is still short, but that he fought the good fight and now was going to die. Previous to this, he had declared that "we who are alive and remain will be caught up together in the clouds with the Lord," yet some others, not him, would die before Jesus returned. He was wrong too. Even later, those who dared ask, "where is Jesus," were labeled scoffers and part of the problem and that God doesn't see time as we mere humans do. "A day with God is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day." All this to not admit that the human leaders under God and Jesus were wrong. Blame the people and never apologize for being wrong. Never let 'em see you sweat I guess still applies.

In the Weinland interview, it was the psychologist, not the Theologian, who nailed the reasons why we have this need to think we can know the future. I'll let her speak for herself. She never comments until late in the interview, but must have felt she was in a session with a delusional patient.

THE PSYCHOLOGIST
Susan Tanner
Clinical Psychologist:
"Now many things are not predictable. The world is a very uncertain place. People change their jobs, organisations fold, collapse, you know, There is no guarantee in anything any more…Global threats like war, climate change certainly create anxiety too because the future is no longer guaranteed….…that sort of unpredictability and uncertainty creates a lot of anxiety, and anxiety is often a precursor to depression.Unresolved anxiety sets people up for depression, because you can then feel despondent that well there actually isn’t anything I can do. Because climate change is out of my hands, terrorism is out of my hands… So that can lead to what’s called catastrophic thinking, that imagining the worst scenario of what might happen and then believing that that’s what will happen."

Susan Tanner:
"Apocalyptic thinking can be very useful to people who need to feel a sense of control, and that they therefore feel calm because they know what’s going to happen. Living with uncertainty, living with a question mark is the hardest thing to do for all human beings. We like to know what’s going to happen. That’s why we visit clairvoyants and you know we have our tarots read and all sorts of things…."

Susan Tanner:
"There are massive risks when someone has extreme delusional thinking. There are risks to the individual. And there are obviously dangers to other people and that can be hundreds or thousands of other people, when someone is totally controlled by their delusional thinking. And you know we have lots of examples of that in our history."

Finally, the interview concluded with this observation.

Greg Clarke
THE LITERATURE SCHOLAR

Director of Centre for Public Christianity:
"Stories about the end will always appeal to human beings and that is part of our psychology. What I hope people will do is sort out the truth from the fiction and recognise what we can understand from the bible about God’s view for this world and not tip over into paranoia or confusion or fear, which often has terrible social consequences."

Our world, its politic and certainly its religious views are infested with this kind of need to think we can see the future. The Bible is a record of humans believing and writing to relieve the angst that comes with not knowing. Yet, we don't know. We can't know. And I'd like to think that it's not all layed out like a play where all we ever did was show up and act out predetermined lives with no personal responsibility to change or accept things as they are.

The world of religion is full of humans who should resign as Master Seer's for God because they are not and many innocent yet naive people get drawn to them to their harm.

Bible Origins: Forbidden Knowledge

According to the Bible Origins Website:
"Quite simply, the findings of Science from the fields of Astrophysics, Geology, Archaeology, Anthropology, and Literary Criticism have concluded that the Bible is _not_ the word of God, this precious hard-won scientific knowledge constitutes The Forbidden Knowledge on the Bible's Pre-biblical Origins (please click here for a very fine article on what constitutes "forbidden knowledge" according to the Wikipedia). The "forensic evidence" (physical evidence) unequivocably _contradicts_ (refutes, denies and challenges) the witness' (Bible's) testimony regarding the age of the Universe and of the Earth, how life came into being, and when this occurred. For some conservative Catholic Scholars the earth and the universe was created 5199 B.C. while some conservative Protestant scholars understand this event was in 4004 B.C. _CONTRA_ these dates (being derived from the Bible's internal chronology), Astrophysists understand from data compiled by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope that the earth is 4 billion years old and the universe is 14 billion years old. If the Bible has the age of the earth and universe wrong what else does it have wrong? Archaeology and Geology reveals there never was a Garden of Eden or Adam and Eve, nor was there ever in the earth's geologic history a universal Noah's Flood, and the Exodus -as portrayed in the Bible- is fiction according to the findings of Archaeology. The discipline of Literary Criticism has established that Moses did not write the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, in the 16th or 15th century B.C. as claimed by Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions, the texts were composed in the 7th or 6th century B.C. The counterclaims of Christian Apologists are investigated and their "flawed methodologies" are noted (They claiming that Satan and his Demons have "misled" and "duped" the Scientists and that the Bible is a reliable witness)."

JEWISH BELIEF BASED ON NATIONAL REVELATION

A Rabbi says:

"Of the 15,000 religions in human history, only Judaism bases its belief on national revelation -- I.e. God speaking to the entire nation. If God is going to start a religion, it makes sense He'll tell everyone, not just one person.
Judaism, unique among all of the world's major religions, does not rely on "claims of miracles" as the basis for its religion. In fact, the Bible says that God sometimes grants the power of "miracles" to charlatans, in order to test Jewish loyalty to the Torah (Deut. 13:4). . . .
. . . Judaism is not miracles. It is the personal eyewitness experience of every man, woman and child, standing at Mount Sinai 3,300 years ago."


http://www.aish.com/spirituality/philosophy/Why_Dont_Jews_Believe_In_Jesus$.asp

Wait a minute . . . Didn't all those eyewitnesses die in the wilderness without ever writing a word about it or proving it to other people? Even if Moses did write about it (he didn't) that's still only one witness (not enough) and he died in the wilderness also.

Well . . . "poof", no eyewitnesses.

Noah's Flood, Real or No Real

Nothing simpler. For a start, we would expect to find:

* A global uniform sediment layer
* Global uniform flood deposits
* Uniform fossil layers, deposited globally, and at the same time
* A geological record indicative of a global flood
* Evidence of a massive species bottleneck in all oxygen breathing animal populations on the earth, as well as in the human population
* Evidence of species distribution and diversity indicative of a global flood
* Evidence of all civilizations on the earth at that time being simultaneously destroyed by a flood, leaving massive archaeological evidence for the fact

We would not expect to find:

* This evidence contrary to a global flood
* A geological record which contradicts a global flood
* A species record with no discernible chronologically and geographically uniform bottleneck
* Species distribution and diversity incompatible with a global flood
* Evidence of civilizations on the earth at the time of the flood which were entirely unaffected by the flood and which left no record of it

Christadelphian Admits Problem With Christ's Return

A Christadelphian outlines all the "at hand" and "shortly" problem passages in the New Testament and solves the problem by claiming God has "deferred" the fulfillment for thousands of years. He doesn't explain why this postponement would be so long except to suggest that God is waiting for Christianity to come into the unity of the faith and for the Jews to repent and accept Jesus as their Messiah, an impossibility if ever there was one. Of course, this contradicts the whole idea of the New Testament that it would all happen in that generation and that he would not delay his coming.

An interesting read and a much better apology than 2 Peter.

Christadelphian Religion Plagiarized?

Well, it looks as though Herbert W. Armstrong is not the only founder of a cult that plagiarized his entire set of doctrines from someone else.

Dr. John Epps and Dr. John Thomas sound like one and the same man in their religious views.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Epps

I've always wondered where John Thomas (the founder of the Christadelphians) got his ideas from . . . and John Epps didn't even get an honorable mention in my old ecclesia, strange that, since it is possible that John Thomas plagiarized the whole Christadelphian religion from John Epps (or vice versa?)