By 'Fed Up With Religion'

STOP and consider this for a moment.

If the Bible and Christianity were introduced as a NEW religion today, how would it be received?


Imagine, reading the Bible for the first time TODAY with all our experience and knowledge about life and existence and encountering....

A Supernatural Entity that “loves the sweet smell of burning flesh” and demanded sacrifices, that plays favourites and has a chosen people, creates the entire universe in 6 days, a man being made from dirt, a woman from spare ribs, talking snakes, talking donkeys, people living in the stomach of a giant fish, miracles, people walking on water, virgin births, raising people from the dead, strange visions, strange beasts, unicorns, giants, the parting of a sea, feeding thousands of people with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish, millions of animals fitting on a boat... and all of the other stories.

Not to mention all the violence, degradation of women and all the rules and laws...

Now, what if you were told, take this book called the Bible with all this weird and oppressive stuff in it, we don’t know (or won’t say) who wrote it, what it means, when it was written and we can’t prove any of it to you as fact, we can’t prove that some of the people even lived or the places existed... That any of the things happened at all... Now, we want you all to believe this book as literal truth, fact and history, and you will all be judged on your compliance to the rules and laws, the strength of your belief, and you will all be punished for eternity after you die if you fail to comply. Tormented and slaughtered in this thing called Armageddon in the potential future by this Supernatural Entity that we can’t prove exists? Oh, and you’re a bad human being just for being born, a born sinner. You need only read this book and believe it to be saved from your sins.

Would you swallow that?? Think about it... If so, contact me, I have some real estate for sale.

There would be a public outcry if something medieval like that were forced on us today...riots in the streets.

Sure, there would be a few buffoons who would swallow it, there’s proof of that...

Take a look at Scientology for example! We’re a gullible bunch.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful”.

Seneca 4 BC-AD 65

23 comments:

  1. Anon,
    Millions do read the Bible for the first time every day,in the the light of the knowledge you describe. Many go on to become Christians. Why?
    Maybe it is because Christians (the vast majority) don't concentrate on what you might call the "bad bits" and in some parts of the world can still perform a social function.
    Sure, Christianity from a philosophical position is a "bullshit belief system"-and so are many other non-religious things in daily acceptance.
    I note that you missed out one of the most crazy bits of the Bible in your list. The Devil. And Demons. And evil Spirits. Is this because of your upbringing as a Christadelphian, where such obvious references are "airbrushed" out of scripture?

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    1. Fed Up With ReligionSeptember 26, 2016 at 4:00 PM

      Joseph: Your right, a lot of people do focus only on the good bits, there’s lots of kind words and good deeds in the Bible. And there are also lots of kind words and good deeds in lots of other books and ancient texts as well that we can all draw inspiration from.

      We are all more than capable of performing a social function perfectly well anywhere in the world without religion.

      Sure, Religion has such a strangle hold in some parts that it may be difficult at present, and its oppressive nature is so evident that it requires no further comment, but, what I described about Christianity WAS forced on everybody... Violently... over hundreds and hundreds of years until the lines of fact and fiction were blurred. It was believe it, or be tortured or killed. Many have forgotten. Mankind has been fighting to be free from its oppressiveness for millennia. But still it persists. Such is the power of the delusion, and the power of those who control it’s perpetration in society. Even the story of Jesus in the Bible, he was trying to combat religion and they tortured and killed him for crying out loud...

      Many do go on to become Christians, why? That’s the million $$ question. Is it because they don’t concentrate on the “bad bits” as you put it, or do they completely ignore them? Justify them? Rationalise them? Gloss over them? Or are unaware of them? Or are they Naive? Uneducated? Scared? Or just need to fill a void? Lonely? Vulnerable? Or blinded by family tradition? It’s different for different people I guess, but the right information can snap the delusion. I’ve just helped a friend snap out of it. I’m merely trying to provoke thought. In discussion on the subject with Christadelphians and Christians alike, when the craziness and contradictions are discussed or pointed out, they can’t handle it. The walls go up, the battle gear goes on and Cognitive Dissonance kicks in. Much of what they believe has become a fantasy inside their own mind as they imagine all the stories. The story gains its own life, backed up by "group think". One thing is for sure though; they don’t fully understand the esoteric and exoteric nature of the text they are reading...

      Christian/Christadephian, same thing to me really, a few doctrinal differences sure. But the same family tree. It all stems from early Rome. A very old and effective form of mind and behavioural control. Deeply psychological. Reward and punishment, fear and guilt. Works very well with children, as the church figured out...Without fear and guilt, religion ceases to exist.

      Missing the Devil, Demons and Evil Spirits? Possibly as you say, thanks for the addition, although, what’s the difference between the Devil, a Demon and Evil Spirits and a Supernatural Entity that “loves the sweet smell of burning flesh?”

      “Sure, Christianity from a philosophical position is a "bullshit belief system"-and so are many other non-religious things in daily acceptance”.

      I agree with you there my friend.

      “Two things are infinite. The universe and human stupidity.... and I’m not so sure about the universe.”

      Einstein

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  2. The Iliad has the gods liking the sweet smell of a sacrifice, and it's widely regarded as a classic of literature. It's also all true - we know, because an archaeologist used it to find Troy.

    And while you're on sacrifice, don't forget that while right now we have one perfect sacrifice that replaces animal sacrifice and never needs to be repeated, in the future age animal sacrifice will be back. Something to look forward to in the golden age. Maybe you could even be one of the priests supervising the sacrifice?

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    1. Fed Up With ReligionSeptember 29, 2016 at 3:07 PM

      Jakarta Jack: Thanks for pointing out the god in the bible is not the only god that loves sacrifice, violence and death. Seems to be a reoccurring theme...

      The Iliad is true in what sense of the word? Another ancient Greek text, written in a similar mythical style circa 850BC and written an estimated 400 yrs after any fact from oral tradition. I can use the bible to find Jerusalem, doesn’t mean it’s true. The archaeologist had the smarts to interpret what many couldn’t that’s all. Ancient texts are full of hidden meaning, why do you think they get so much attention? That’s how they wrote. If you believe it all to be true in a literal sense, do you believe in all the Greek gods as well?

      What makes you think animal sacrifices will be back, in a future golden age? Is that a religious prophecy?

      One perfect sacrifice? I forgot, so I’ll assume you mean Jesus Christ? Give me one credible reference in history to Jesus Christ’s life and crucifixion outside the bible please? It might help me remember.

      And a personal dig, I’m flattered, thank you, nice pagan reference by the way...did I hit a nerve?...touchy subject... religion. Especially the juicy bits, but you just can’t ignore them.

      “A true friend will always tell you the truth...
      The pain you may feel does not come from their words, the pain comes from knowing what they’ve told you, you’ve known & have yet to make the choice to change....”

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    2. One of my delusions that dies hardest is that interested readers will be able to detect the difference between a parody of an extreme message and the real thing. Maybe I see another failure here? I happen to prefer subtle mocking to outright derision, because the parallels to the real thing are truly there while the conclusion would often be questioned by the very believers who use the same arguments.

      So, for a little more context: a common apologetic statement in support of the Bible as history is that we have many more manuscripts containing part or all of the Bible than of other accepted historical works, and the time gap between original and our oldest copy is considerably lower than that for those other works, so if we take them as history we must take the Bible as history. I'm sure I have heard someone specifically commenting on the Iliad being accepted as history, but not the Bible. I don't know whether they have actually read the Iliad, with its stories of Greek gods quarrelling left, right, and centre, of numerous human descendants of the gods fighting in the Trojan Wars, or of the strange combination of over-active divine intervention and a certain helpness and lack of power in those same gods, but I'm guessing that's not what they had in mind when treating the Iliad as historical.

      So, for the Iliad, I suspect it does have a core of historicity (I'd be less inclined to say the same of the Odyssey, for instance), but that does not involve accepting the Greek gods. And the same can be said of the Bible: you can reject its records of divine intervention without completely tearing it loose from history.

      As for the future golden age, I was (possibly unjustly) expecting you to be aware that in many Christadelphian circles animal sacrifice is part of the standard interpretation, drawn largely from Ezekiel's temple, though not from Ezekiel's account of it but from Sulley's account. Being a priest and supervising the animal sacrifices that the mortal population will be required to make is considered one of the roles of the immortal saints, who are to be "a kingdom of priests". And some do seem to look forward to that role. As to why animal sacrifice is required, the answer is not something logical like "That was predicted in OT times when animal sacrifice was current", but "It is to point back to Christ's sacrifice in the same way as the law pointed forward to it". The "one perfect sacrifice" is a reference to Hebrews (where, yes, it refers to Christ), and was used by Harry Whittaker and maybe others to argue against the whole idea of animal sacrifice in the kingdom. But I think the idea of teachings in the NT superseding teachings in the OT was a little too radical for a group that likes to think it understands the whole Bible, not just the NT.

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  3. More seriously, while the idea of reading a freshly introduced Bible is an interesting thought experiment, it would by definition abandon some of the things that make the Bible and Christianity appeal. It would not have large numbers of people accepting it as normal, both now and in the centuries leading up to now. And it would definitely be suspicious if you were trying to sell a book as thousands of years old, and it had never been heard of before today. Kind of like the Book of Mormon (some Mormons took offence at my characterisation when they asked whether I knew anything about the book of Mormon and I said it was written in the 1800s and purported to be a history of North America. They seemed to think I was wrong and it was thousands of years old and actually was a history).

    Christians, on the other hand, take comfort in the fact that there are a large number of copies of the Bible from a long time ago, that some sections of it can be somewhat historically verified, and claim that it sets itself apart from other religions by claiming to be dealing with real events in a real, verifiable history (take away the realness of the events and the religion goes with it). Things like "In the reign of Tiberius" or "When Pontius Pilate was governor". When we add to this that there have been Christians around for nearly 2,000 years and it hasn't died off, surely there must be something going for it? [naturally, this is not the only religion that has survived the march of history, but in the West mostly people won't notice that too much]. It's also been plenty of time for a multitude of explanations to spring up, probably about all the points you've listed. Just pick the explanation that you like best and dismiss the poor atheist for reading too literally and not understanding genre, etc.

    Yes, there are questions about the historicity, but these can retreat into the comfortable apologetics ground of "It's so long ago that it's lost in the mists of time, so you can't prove I'm wrong. And you should treat it like any other history book" (like the Iliad?) If the claims were made now we might have more evidence on which to evaluate one way or the other...

    So yes, to me the lure of a historical document that has been accepted and interpreted for thousands of years and is still accepted by many completely rules out this otherwise interesting thought experiment.

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    1. Fed Up With ReligionSeptember 29, 2016 at 3:18 PM

      Forgery in the Gospels:

      "When the New Testament in the Sinai Bible is compared with a modern-day New Testament, a staggering 14,800 editorial alterations can be identified."

      "Modern Bibles are five removes in translation from early editions, and disputes rage between translators over variant interpretations of more than 5,000 ancient words"

      "Modern-day versions of the Gospel of Luke have a staggering 10,000 more words than the same Gospel in the Sinai Bible"

      Tony Bushy

      Keep reading, keep asking questions. The quality of the question determines the quality of the outcome. You sound confused to me, like you know but don't want to accept it, in a comfort bubble.

      The veil has been completely lifted, if you want to know that is...but the information is not going to just fall in your lap.

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  4. Fed Up With ReligionSeptember 29, 2016 at 4:05 PM

    Edit: Reference is Tony Bushby,not Bushy. "Forged Origins of The New Testament"

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  5. I do not argue that the Bible has a greater historicity than other ancient texts or other religious texts, just that because it is well-known and widely accepted it has a greater apparent historicity and reliability to the masses. As a result, I think the premise of your thought experiment wrong even though I would agree with most of your conclusions from it.

    And I can just about guarantee that those who argue for a greater historicity for the Bible will dismiss both the premise and the conclusion. What is more, as I alluded to, the history of Christianity is sufficiently long-reaching that there will be a number of attempted explanations of the problems you raise, and a believer is likely to pick their favourite of those and assume you are only criticising X because you are unaware of this explanation, not because you dismiss it.

    One of the saddest things of watching many of the debates and arguments on these topics is that both sides think that the other side is totally uninformed, and if they just knew this fact or that fact they wouldn't make such a ridiculous argument. As a result, those on both sides talk past each other, and both think they have "won".

    I think that view is over-simplistic. I changed which side I thought more compelling, but I didn't need to assume I suddenly gained 20 IQ points or that my religious friends suddenly lost them. As a result, simplistic criticisms of Christianity can hurt me, and will sometimes prod me into making the best defence I know (or can be bothered making). Not because I believe it myself, but because I can see the argument is unlikely to affect any believer. As a Christian, I objected to atheist strawmen being set up and knocked over, and I don't think any benefit is served by returning the attack in kind.

    Not that I meant to say any of that, but maybe it explains a little better why I argue the way I do. Maybe my next comment can be more light hearted. :)

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    1. Fed Up With ReligionOctober 1, 2016 at 1:34 PM

      I understand where you’re coming from. Let me clarify a little. A challenge for me is that I hold no religious bias, beliefs, isms, doctrines, dogma whatever label you want to put on it at all. I have spent allot of time removing them, I won’t get yours if you have any, and I may come across blunt as a result.

      Now I just call it as I see it. Take it or leave it. It’s a complex issue but it’s not. Remove the complexities and you see it for what it is. Lies, misrepresentation, forgery and fantasy.

      Just because the historicity of the bible is more widely accepted doesn’t give it any more credibility in my view, for Christian’s maybe, that’s part of the problem. The credibility and origin of the Bible has been shattered. That you agreed with the conclusions and not the premise alluded to me, Bias, or a gap in knowledge, understanding or acceptance of how Christianity came to be and what it really is (hence my last comment, possibly wrongly assumed). The basis for me writing it was that Christianity should not even exist in the first place. It’s a manufactured religion. It was manufactured and forced down everyone’s throat for political control and financial reasons. THERES NO PROOF. It should be discarded completely as a “belief”. The fact that it does exist is an injustice on humanity and blight in our history.

      Of course a fundamentalist Christian/Christadelphian would attempt to dismiss the premise and the conclusion, that’s what they do. It was an interesting thought and view, that’s why I posted it.

      It proposes what you could call a loaded question or implication that anyone in their right mind should see. It’s a conundrum, a paradox. The premise and tone is “tongue in cheek”.

      They wouldn’t believe it now if it was new without any proof, but they do believe it now without any proof just because it’s “established” in existence? What the %#!?? Conclusion/Premise.

      The latter is a personal failure of due diligence. Ignorance is not bliss. It’s dangerous. The delusion of religion keeps people ignorant, never questioning the validity of their own beliefs. Perfect for the establishment that created it.

      The fact that so much has been written completely disproving the bible as it is widely believed, and the fact that there are still so many believing it, completely astounds me.

      I’m not claiming that anyone is stupid or that I’m smarter than anyone. Everybody is free to believe whatever they want, I really don’t care. What anybody says is not going to affect a believer, unless that person already has doubts. Even then they need to derive answers themselves, but they can be guided along the way as some don’t know where to look or what to look for.

      Ahh, the long reaching 2000 year history of religion... Look, you can raise your children to believe in or worship anything, and, provided there’s the right amount of fear instilled in those that doubt it, they will probably maintain that position for life. And they will raise their children and their children will raise their children, and so on, and so forth...and here we are today. A 2000 year old lie, forced on us in the beginning that we now think is true. It has become a neurological disorder with time. Passed on from generation to generation. There are studies being done now on religion’s effects on the brain. As people leave and wake up and as information makes it way through the public, it will die off, unless the establishment forces their hand again. They have allot to lose. Free minds are not in their best interest. They become irrelevant.

      The institution of Rome and the Vatican has many many things to answer for, and should be bought to public trial.

      The document I alluded to is a good read, if you haven’t read it, look it up. It’s free to download. Thanks for clarifying your position :)

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    2. Yep. Essentially, we agree on conclusion, but not on approach to get there. I'm fine with that, and it sounds like you are too.

      I'm one of those with a good religious upbringing who did not maintain it, but agree with you that most will maintain it. In my experience, it's not easy because you have to change not just the facts you accept, but the way you interpret them as well. And I still can't dismiss Biblical teachings as lightly as you, in spite of logically agreeing with you...

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    3. Fed Up With ReligionOctober 2, 2016 at 12:26 PM

      Spot on and that’s the Rub... you can see it logically, but...there’s a block in there somewhere.

      That’s psychological schism that religious indoctrination causes and it's extremely hard to lose once it’s dug in deep. That’s why they love to teach it to children.

      You have to question everything again as if you know nothing in order to lose it properly...Essentially re-program yourself...Challenge your own world view, and build it back up from scratch.

      That’s why Jesus said “become as little children” and also to the “Blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup”, the cup is your mind, you have to cleanse it. Buddha said a similar thing.

      Easier said than done and it’s different for different people.

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  6. Hmmm not much mention of prophecy in the comments and the current Middle East tension involving USA. Russia and Britain leaving Europe and the political earthquakes.. how convenient ��

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    1. I'll start with a simple answer: The reason these things have not been mentioned here is because they are not relevant to Bible prophecy.

      But of course, you're not going to accept that answer. However, let's expand it out a bit first. And don't forget, you are the one who thought the lack of mention convenient. I can't help it if it turns out that was more convenient for you than for me. :)

      Of your several points, Brexit is probably the most topical, because it is something that changed relatively recently, while the Middle East has been in tension for 70+ years. But, again, it has nothing whatever to do with Bible prophecy. And this isn't just me as an unbeliever grasping at straws to reject the obvious hand of God. While a believer I rejected much of the traditional view of prophecy, and I have many Christadelphian friends who would similarly reject much of it. One I talked with a few weeks after the Brexit vote said he was embarassed by the amount of Christadelphian reaction to Brexit. Not my words, but his. Maybe you should get your own house in order before coming to lecture us on what we should or should not be talking about?

      Asking Google, one of the first articles that came up was entitled "Brexit: no surprise to the Bible reader". But, given your involvement of Britain, Russia, Europe, and America in your comment, just consider all the assumptions that are being made:
      1. That the prophecies from thousands of years ago are intended to be applied right now. In particular, that Ezekiel should be talking about Israel returning from a second exile when apparently his writings were in the context of the first exile (during which there were many prophecies about the remnant returning to the land).

      2. That when Ezekiel talks about "Tarshish", he actually means Britain.

      3. That Europe is destined to become a superstate, separate from Britain and both smaller and more integrated than the current EU.

      4. That when Ezekiel talks about "Gog", he actually means a leader of Russia ("Putin" being the commonly cited name at the moment).

      5. That the prophecies in Ezekiel can be linked up with other prophecies in the Bible (particularly Daniel and Revelation), and that those linkages also point to a fulfilment today.

      6. Given your reference to the US, I think you are also assuming that the US can be treated as a "young lion" of Britain, in spite of fighting a war of independence from them, and then keeping separate from their war effort for several years in both WW1 and WW2 (unlike the dominions, who immediately signed up to support the "Old Lion" and issued "young lion" posters).

      These assumptions illustrate a long conceptual leap between the statement "The Bible predicted Brexit" and, what would be closer to truth, "Based on the traditional interpretation of Christadelphians, Brexit means the situation would be slightly closer to what we think the end times should look like than it was before". I consider that conceptual leap completely unjustified, which leaves me free to comment, as I started, that these things are not relevant to Bible prophecy.

      A couple more things to think about:
      1. If Brexit had not occurred, what would you have said? That the Bible is clearly wrong? Or that you misinterpreted it? Or that you interpreted it correctly and the fulfillment is yet to come?

      2. Do you disagree with the interpretation of your forebears, who used the same passages to argue that Britain would never enter the European common market? Or do you believe that Britain entering the common market was also predicted in scripture? Should we have seen articles with similar sounding titles, maybe "Britain enters the European Common Market: Big surprise to the Bible reader"?

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    2. Moving on to the Middle East tensions, there have been tensions there for a long time. Do you believe they are worse now than they were in say 1948, 1967, or 1973, before and during those years' respective wars? Large numbers were baptised in 1967 fearing that if they didn't get baptised now they would be too late and would be left behind. That is nearly 50 years ago. Nothing has happened, and I don't think the tensions are worse now than then. I hear next year the Christadelphian Office are planning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War (Jerusalem captured) and the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration (a Christadelphian sacred cow, despite, as far as I can tell, having little if anything to do with the formation of the state of Israel in 1948 after UN involvement).

      And now we come to "political earthquakes". First assumption here is that you can take the word "earthquakes" in prophecy and redefine it as "political earthquakes", rather than normal, everyday, physical earthquakes.

      But the more damning assumption is about the magnitude of the earthquake you would require to see this as a fulfilment of prophecy.
      Do you think your parents, grandparents or great grandparents who saw the times leading up to and during the 1st and 2nd World Wars would consider the current events political earthquakes greater than what they experienced in their own life time? To me, history has contained earthquakes and continues to contain them. It has contained "political earthquakes" and continues to contain them. So, to see a meaningful fulfillment of a prophecy about earthquakes, there would need to be something exceptionally significant, or else any time can be claimed as a fulfillment (and history tells us each generation thinks their own time fulfills the prophecy). So, is there trouble and confusion in the world right now? Yes. Does it match the description of "a time of trouble such as has never been"? Not a chance. Even if we limit our search to the start of the Christadelphian denomination, there have been considerably worse times in the last nearly 200 years. And none of them were accompanied by the return of Christ, despite the hopes of believers in those times. Hopes fuelled by the same interpretations of the same scripture. Why should we believe that your convenient pin-point of right now is correct?

      Now can we resume our regular programming of talking about what the Bible actually says?

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    3. Finally, before dismissing this site because this particular article doesn't talk about prophecy, take a little time to look around this site. There is a lot on prophecy here. There is a lot on Steve Pryde's blog, which is linked to. I'm sure there's more in comments, probably including some of mine, though I don't have any specific articles to point you to.

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    4. Fed Up With ReligionOctober 1, 2016 at 11:34 PM

      One thing I’m dying to know is;

      If these prophecies are so spot on, why isn’t the whole world rejoicing that the Christadelphians have “finally cracked the code" of the bible?

      We should be all counting down the days in unison, shouldn’t we?

      My mother keeps giving me these printouts of the political events and the passages that are a “so called match” I take them because she's older and it makes her happy.

      I gotta say, they are so loose...and make no sense whatsoever.

      I mustn’t know the secret of making them fit. Is there a cipher or something?

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    5. Yes there IS a 'cipher.' for believing that you can decrypt Bible prophecy. You have to be indoctrinated, preferably from childhood. Your confirmation bias has to be working in overdrive. You have to override your cognitive dissonance. You have to go along with the group delusion of whatever cult sect you belong to. You have to supress your common sense and blot out of your mind that you might be looking at co-incidence or a false positive. But above all you have to ignore all of the hundreds of Bible verses that contradict your interpretation of Bible prophecy - for example the verses in Ezekiel that say that the Jews will dwell "safely" and in a land of "unwalled villages" at the time of their return to the land of Israel.

      If you are stupid enough to do all of the above it's quite easy to form a belief that Bible prophecy fits world events in recent times.

      Another method is to stick an electric cattle prod into one of your ears and leave it switched on overnight. :)

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    6. Fed Up With ReligionOctober 2, 2016 at 12:33 PM

      Ahh, I knew there had to be something I was missing...

      But I think I'll pass on that, they can have it, that all sounds way to hard to me.:)

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  7. You mean those vague open ended prophecies that could be interpreted to mean almost anything? I find the horoscope predictions in the daily papers demonstrate much the same accuracy, and are about as convincing.

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  8. Thanks JJ for your full and considered reply

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  9. "Christadelphian's cracking the secret Bible code."
    Once I read when a CD guy wrote to his folk " how privileged Christos were to hold the key of knowledge to unlock the hidden secrets of the Bible "
    Well, first world war was horrific, Christians also were thinking that the Lord will appear, then the second world war, even more horrific, again everybody with strong belief, waited for the Messiah. But most appealing to CD's was Saddam sending scud missiles directly to Israel, Jews were attacked, He must be coming now...nothing...And now Russian forces right next door to Israel, CD's are exited, surely this time they got it right, they cracked the code, Russia, big Gog will be in boots and all. When I had been involved a little with CD's, first I was amazed at their knowledge, but with time, I have found that this bunch were some religious crackpots, full on Bible prophesy, return of Christ, with worldly affaires making them experts in Bible prophesy, you can get really carried away with this lot if you not careful. None of their predictions have come to fruition, just more guess work, like some American evangelist's. They hold the key of knowledge? you are kidding me...

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