How a dangerous pandemic works for (God's) good

By Jon Morgan

In these difficult times, almost everything seems to about Covid-19. It is a pandemic that is already bad and looks like getting a lot worse.

However, many Christians feel almost contractually obliged to look for the good side of the pandemic, and this just ends up showing
the bad side of their religion.

Click here to read the rest of this article

66 comments:

  1. Id keep your feelings about Trump out of it, your political agenda or position has nothing to do with your article..

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    1. I would agree. But it is nonetheless an excellent article and insightful and articulate. Minimally, a nine on a scale of one to ten.

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    2. Paul,
      Have you had a look at "Bibleinthenews" this week? Christadelphians seem mightily bothered by Trump's departure and the " Catholic Socialism" that they think Joe Biden will replace him with...just saying.

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    3. You going fishing Joesph?? looking for a bite???. Dunno yet, too early too tell How Biden will go. Whoever is in has an up hill battle agaimst covid.But the USA has got threw this sort of thing before.ask me in a years time!

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    4. What I find interesting in with BITN this week, is how the writer is aligning Christadelphians with conservative christians rather than as Don Pearce would say -'so-called christians' and with Trumpism. The writer is factually incorrect to say that our right to worship has been removed - most of the world's CDs are in UK and in UK public worship is one thing that is not banned - its just that most CDs like most faith groups have chosen to suspend public worship for the time being.

      Then the writer pushes pro-trump conspiracy theories - 'The narrative put forward by the media and the Democratic party in America has been that President Trump instigated the riot at the Capitol. As more facts come to light, this is now being shown to be false'. 'The point is that if Trump can be flagged, “fact checked” and banned from all social media platforms, anyone else can and will be, if the “fact checkers” don’t like your opinion'. Winding up 70 million voters by telling them the election was stolen is not an opinion - its a plane lie.

      This all brings me back to the dangers of not having any oversight - these folks are apparently able to publish a website which states it is a Christadelphian site - even though the views expressed are not shared with most CDs (I hope).

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    5. "Telling 70 million voters....the election was stolen...is a plain lie."

      I have tried to look at the U.S. election objectively, and I don't think "a plain lie" is the correct terminology. Consider the following information from a Washington, D.C. news outlet:

      "A communist Chinese government-linked bank gave $400M to Dominion Voting Systems a month before the US Elections, investigations show.

      An investigation that looked into the Dominion Voting System discovered SEC filings which reveal two instances where its parent company, Staple Street Capital, received hundreds of millions from UBS Securities - which is a Swiss bank that co-owns UBS Securities Co. Ltd. with the Chinese government.

      On Oct 8, 2020, Staple Street Capital filed SEC Form D offerings and a sales amount of $400,000,000 with the Sales Compensation Recipient identified as UBS Securities, the investigation said.

      The investigation also cited that Staple Street Capital on December 2014 received from UBS Securities the amount of $200,000,000.

      A valuable evidence, this strengthens allegations that the Chinese government meddled in the elections to help Joe Biden win.

      Dominion Voting Systems, in addition, was accused by President Donald Trump of sabotage. In particular, miscrediting 221,000 Pennsylvania votes for Trump to Joe Biden and deleting 2.7M votes for Trump. Dominion was used in 28 states during the elections or by 40% of US voters.

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    6. Is this particularly shocking? I don't think so. I am reminded of the 36 year old movie, "The Falcon and the Snowman," based on actual events, which candidly discusses blatant U.S. meddling in the elections of Australia. I think it is also noteworthy that some of the pay-for-access money received by Mr. Biden's relatives has originated from Chinese nationals.

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    7. The approach Trump (and many Trump supporters) took was "If you throw enough allegations of different ways in which the vote was manipulated, surely some of them will stick". This galvanised supporters, but the arguments made weren't accepted by the courts and in many cases were repeated long after being debunked. I'd also point out that, at least as far as I've followed it, the claim from state officials in the crucial states (many of those officials Republicans, I'll just note) wasn't ever that there was zero voter fraud, just that it wasn't a different class of fraud from previous elections, it was detected and corrected for following their usual processes, and the numbers weren't nearly enough to change the result of the election.

      I think this quote I saw the other day is much more reasonable (from a Christian explicitly identifying themselves as not having voted for Biden):
      "In the days following November’s election, I asked my students what was more likely: that a consistently unpopular president overseeing a once-in-a-lifetime health crisis and sputtering economy, who narrowly won his previous election against a deeply polarizing opponent, narrowly lost his current election to a less polarizing and more popular opponent? Or that this same president was the victim of unprecedented fraud and corruption, even though his own party actually overperformed in many down-ballot races?

      Occam’s razor isn’t a perfect tool, but here it proves especially useful. The simpler explanation really is better."

      In February I (reluctantly) thought Trump the favourite. In June I didn't. There's more I could say, but I'll leave it there.

      Voter fraud is off topic for this website. As always, I am hesitant to block any comments, and particularly hesitant to make it appear that I block comments on a topic so that I get the last word, but I don't consider it productive and if the discussion continues much longer I will stop it.

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    8. I could have said alot more above, you make it clear Joesph who you dont support from (the reluctanatly) above. Think you are as close to off topic as i am. Alot more could be said about the courts and voter fraud.Wont comment further, the result is what it is.

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    9. Paul, the off-topic comment was about voter fraud allegations and was intended for Elaine. Your comment was fine, particularly given you were responding to Joseph.

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    10. I have nothing further to add, except that I worked in the U.S. intelligence community for thirty years (yes, an odd place for a Christadelphian to end up, I know), and election malfeasance in the U.S. is much more common than most people might be inclined to believe. Aside from that, I would only comment that it is a little difficult to remedy such malfeasance when all that examiners encounter are blanket refusals to produce the voting machines in question; the only machine successfully retrieved via the courts for a forensic analysis was indeed determined to have manipulated its 2020 vote counts in Antrim County, Michigan. I would provide citations, but I see that this discussion is being closed down, and I understand that we don't want the discussions to meander too much.

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    11. Elaine, while I had no desire for this conversation to continue, I also attempt to ensure that fact is promoted here. So, as a statement of fact, when I searched for Antrim County, the first election related result I got was a statement from Michigan that Antrim County had gone to a hand recount, and the hand recount had confirmed the results of the Dominion vote counts.

      https://www.michigan.gov/som/0,4669,7-192-47796-547883--,00.html

      It seems that the preliminary results were badly off due to a misconfiguration of the voting machines at the county level, and this was fairly quickly detected and corrected, long before the votes were certified (the certified votes that were then confirmed by a hand count).

      To be explicit, I will now go into opinion territory: To me this seems far from the smoking gun of massive statewide fraud to keep Donald Trump out of office. Instead, it looks like a success: Human error at local level was detected and corrected by the standard processes that all vote certification goes through. The system worked as expected, and the final result was demonstrated correct.

      Nor in my opinion is the overall result in Michigan a huge surprise. It is a fact that Donald Trump was the first Republican presidential candidate Michigan went for since 1988. It is also a fact that in 2016 the margin between Trump and Clinton was a little over 10,000 votes. As in the Occam's Razor quote I gave above, with the pandemic and associated economic conditions and a different, perhaps more popular, Democrat candidate, it looks completely unsurprising Michigan swinging back to voting for the Democrat, just like they did between 1992 and 2012.

      Sorry to drag this out, but looking from this side of the Pacific it seems all due process has been followed, the final certified result is completely plausible, and any claims of mass vote fraud or manipulation are speaking in defiance of the known facts. I have no intention of continuing the discussion or fact-checking other claims - this has been done to death over the last couple of months by outlets far better connected to the US than me. But nor did I want claims that appear misleading left without presenting known facts.

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  2. Paul, I disagree (obviously, otherwise I wouldn't have left it in). I thought it was important to acknowledge that it was possible to see some good coming out of a disaster, and that the problem I saw with the Christian vision was not that they were looking for some good, but that the kind of good they were looking for is repugnant. And when looking for possible good I naturally turn to my readings and the opinions of my friends.

    However, though I wasn't particularly aiming for any of these points, it is relevant to the wider picture. Covid-19 is something of a natural disaster, but also something of a human-caused and magnified disaster. That's part of why I acknowledged that the current world isn't perfect. Different leaders in different countries have mishandled Covid-19 in different ways which have contributed to its spread, and I don't know that I would have done any better if I'd been in their place. Some of it was just a rapidly evolving situation and people were caught on the back foot.

    Trump is different, though. To a unique extent he shows contempt for the mere concept of truth or a reality he doesn't like, and that affected the way Covid-19 was handled. From where I stand (in Australia, but with US friends, so it's not affecting my politics but the people I know and care about), that's not a political statement, but a statement of fact. It was abundantly clear before Covid-19, but it is possibly even more damaging in the early US response to Covid-19. I knew the US was going to be in serious trouble a month or two before Trump suddenly pivoted to saying "100,000 deaths would be a success" after having downplayed it, apparently for his own political purposes. The word was out there, it was available to read, and some states (mostly those with Democratic governors) were acting on it while Trump was trying to downplay it. Again, this is not about my political positions, but about the real lives affected, including my friends, and the fact that Trump does not appear to care.

    Finally, though again this was not my intention, Trump is in power in large part because of Christian support. In my experience, Christians and non-Christians alike here in Australia look on in bemusement at how a power group which have in the past been very strong on morality and good conduct supported a leader whose past actions are so contrary to their teachings (commonly quoted number: 81% of white evangelicals voted for Trump).

    The main article's author is from Michigan - one of the states which flipped to give Trump the presidency. I looked up what he wrote before the election, and he didn't endorse Trump. However, he did use some of the same talking points as were used by evangelicals who did endorse Trump. I don't know his actual position, but suspect his article was written so that both "pro-Trumpers" and "never-Trumpers" could read it and agree with it. Michigan has been much better served by their governor who acted early than by the president they helped elect who chose to publicly attack that governor - as in fact he chooses to attack most people who disagree with him. And I hope the voters of Michigan remember that in the coming federal election. Yes, that's something of a political statement and far off the original intention of this article, but Trump's actions affect real people, including friends I care about, and I am shocked by the support Christians have given him.

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  3. Paul, it's Jon's article on his own blog, and he is a publishing editor here, so surely he can write what he wants to? Before you ask,I have never been to the US,(and never Will), have no friends there, don't watch US TV shows, and have no idea how their politics work. In short I don't care about what goes on in the US

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  4. Thanks Joseph. Honestly, there are many weird things about the US, and I'd be happier in a lot of ways to go back to the time in past years when I didn't have to worry about life there or religion there, but I do. It does have some beautiful national parks, though. I don't regret the couple of times I've travelled there.

    On my blog, yes, I publish whatever I want. On here, though, I try to only cross-post posts I think relevant to an audience of Christadelphians and ex-Christadelphians. Sometimes that goes into more general Biblical interpretation (as this post was), but it's valid to call me out on it if posts go too far from that general goal. In this case Paul seems to be objecting to one sentence or maybe two in a 3,000 word post, and I'm comfortable the rest of the post is valid here.

    However, re-reading my comment from the other day, I see that I probably did go too far from my idea of this blog's purpose. It's relevant to the wider issues of religion and politics in the US, but doesn't specifically relate to Christadelphians or the Bible. That said, I must admit I didn't expect that a post I did on Brexit would turn into a discussion on coronavirus, then a post on coronavirus would turn into a discussion on US politics...

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  5. There is a very good chance he will be re-elected. Not a 100% he will go back in but a good chance.
    I think if look back into history many different leaders have worked in favour of some people and not others..you got to remember they voted for him.

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  6. Paul, back in February with the US economy in relatively good shape I thought Trump had a reasonable chance of re-election. If the economic consequences of Covid-19 restrictions persist till the election, it will probably make it harder for an incumbent president like Trump to win re-election, though it would certainly be possible if he sold his narrative effectively.

    Since I'm trying to keep this thread from devolving into a US politics discussion that's all I'll say.

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  7. Fair enough. You will have to be like me and wait until the election to find out buddy.

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  8. Paul, can I just say that's a completely unhelpful comment? We cannot know with 100% certainty just about anything about the future. This isn't limited to presidential elections - it's true of everything.

    That doesn't mean we throw up our hands, give up, and wait to see what happens. Some things increase the probability and some things reduce the probability, and some of these things are things we can influence while others are things that we can't. In my view it is irresponsible to stop considering the future and what we can know or guess about it just because we can't be 100% certain.

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    1. We are all entitled to our political biases and viewpoints. It's just better not to try to promote them when the gist of an article is about the undesirable nature of biases, religious or otherwise.

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    2. Normally on here, when people are saying things like that, it's an attempt to shut down conversation. There are many reasons why someone may wish to predict the outcome of an election in advance, financial investment decisions for example, and diplomatic ones too, which may be some distance from politics. It's curious to me that people are so easily triggered by the sort of casual conversation one might have with friends in the pub.
      All those lurid "videos" produced by Christadelphians featuring images of world (political) leaders along with specious claims such as "Controversy, disturbances, rise and fall of leaders are generating uncertainty everywhere". From the inside, and the out, it's always been clear that at least UK Christadelphians, have a very right wing point of view, and the NSS complaint should have brought this home.
      If such harmless writing that Jon has produced offends you so much, then this may not be the place for you.

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  9. What we can be 100% certain of, is that whoever wins, it will have been "no surprise" and "expected" by Christadelphian Bible "students", and, since it will always have been in God's plan, any ideas that voting one way or another will have had the slightest effect, will be rubbished.
    Just like how God knew that the Chinese wet markets would not listen to the Christadelphian's efforts to impose the law of Moses upon them.

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    1. Leviticus 11:13-19 does indeed forbid the eating of bats, but at the same time it classifies them as birds. This is understandable for an iron age human author. Not so much a divine one. Of course they'll say God was simply explaining things in terms they would understand - but wouldn't that excuse work for every inaccuracy in every religious text? Isn't it interesting how this all-knowing, super-being always manages to sound exactly like an iron age human scribe?

      Meanwhile we have this handy tip in v20:
      "All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you" (KJV)

      So, can they give us an example of these 4-legged fowls? Other translations say "insects", which doesn't really help either.

      But it seems somewhere along the way they got tired of counting legs so they added this escape clause in v42:

      "Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination"

      Hope that's clear :D

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  10. When did i say im throwing my heands in the air and giving up.. you have a good imagination. I just said we have to wait until the election to see if he gets re-elected, after you quoting it will make it harder for him to be re-elected. Stand by what i say ,will wait and see.

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  11. Paul seems to be worried about Jon having or expressing an agenda or a political position. it seems to me unlikely that he has an agenda, but after years of repression as a christadelphian, to have a political position seems to be just part of the process of becoming a normal member of human society.
    I'm actually more interested in what exactly the Christadelphian agenda is. Two separate posts on bibleinthenews.com over the last couple of weeks have repeatedly focused on how the failure of the Chinese and Africans to follow Jewish dietary laws have caused this outbreak. The most recent of these has a strange line, close to the end.
    "And a lot of this can seem to us in the 21st century as obvious, but to some degree, this is because our western culture still has historical roots in Judeo-Christian values. And it is also true that there are some creatures which seem gross to eat that were permitted to be eaten, because they are actually perfectly safe, such as locusts and beetles. And equally, there are some animals like pigs, whose carcasses now have to be treated differently from the clean animals we eat today".
    For reasons that are not relevant here, I am very familiar with the pig slaughter and processing method, and I assume that the Christadelphians are referring to the scalding process employed immediately after bleedout, before dehairing and polishing, used to reduce bacteria levels on the carcass before cutting. What are they getting at? Does a pig become "clean" to them if it goes through modern slaughter techniques? Or is it just that Christadelphians eat pork and need some kind of excuse for doing so.
    A rapid trawl of what Christadelphians are writing at the moment seems to back up what Thom said elsewhere. They are enjoying greatly the suffering of mankind, and relishing the financial damage being wrought. As a means of hedging, they are now claiming this to be like "contractions" before the main event (birth). This is needed of course to protect their position later, when things do recover.
    With regard to the financial damage, with regard to UK Christadelphians, around 80% live on either private or state pensions, so they have little to be concerned about, their incomes are safe. Their Ecclesias are at least partly funded by tax relief handouts.
    Younger Christadelphians are now able to "homeschool", their children, probably for the remainder of this academic year. I wonder how many will continue this when the schools reopen? Are they taking full advantage of the situation to teach them as they should?
    Mark wondered elsewhere on here if many Christadelphians would fall to the "mancott factor", and having been freed from cult attendance for a few months, will never return. Will the young people dive into the baptism pool in vast numbers, or wonder what on earth their elders are up to criticizing society as a whole whilst claiming that Jewish diet laws and prayers are the way forward...will they abandon their upcoming college courses to go and teach the Chinese to eat properly I wonder?

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    1. Joseph, I think being influenced to become distanced from Christadelphianism by Christadelphians in any permanent way, to have an effect, the "Mancott Factor" has to contain two elements. Firstly, doubt, and secondly, a complete shut-off from CD influence. As to the first, perhaps there will be some who do have doubts. As to the second, as far as I can ascertain from friends who are still CDs, there seems to be some continuing contact and influence by means of technology, or by mail. This continuing contact will not bring about the second "Mancott Factor" necessary for an effective separation from the cult. In my own case, for some time whilst still attending I felt there was something not quite right about what I had been born into. So, I was having some doubt, but couldn`t at that time put my finger on the actual reason. Eventually, stopping attending all 'meetings', I did achieve the second of the "Mancott Factors". This enabled my brain to become unscrambled from years of indoctrination, and I eventually then spent many years reading and researching, and found that my doubt had been justified, and that Christadelphians certainly did not have THE truth.
      I do think that the young people within Christadelphianism, especially the older unbaptised, may find the separation in the main from similarly placed friends, will have more of an effect in allowing them to think differently from the constant stream of the ism, by which they have become unconsciously used to being bombarded.

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    2. Here in Australia I have quite a few young people as friends and still belong to several mailing lists. Young people's activities are still being organised electronically, and some of my more fervent friends certainly attend them. I have no idea how attendance numbers compare with more usual times or whether people will treat an electronic only version differently. Similarly, I'm pretty sure most or all of my family will be attending Sunday services electronically weekly, and probably other activities if scheduled.

      I suspect that anyone who does not have doubts, either existing or induced by how God could possibly allow a pandemic like this to happen, will be able to find sufficient activities to keep them involved and will feel it their duty to continue to be involved in those activities. Whether those who do have doubts will find it easier to slip away I don't know. Maybe.

      My personal experience was kind of the opposite - I grew increasing doubts while remaining an active member, and thus seeing that Christadelphians had nothing to counter those doubts. Though I did experience some of what Mancott described after having officially resigned: It freed me to question more of my upbringing more safely, and meant that I'm even more confident now than I was then that I made the right decision.

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  12. Paul, I made a probabilistic assessment based on the information we have to hand, and you responded that we couldn't know till after the election. How is that other than throwing up your hands in the air and giving up on trying to evaluate the situation in advance?

    Actually, it's worse than that, because the results of the election won't even answer the question. It could be more difficult for Trump and yet he still wins the election. Similarly, it could be easier for him and yet he doesn't win the election. In neither case is the prediction wrong, merely probabilistic.

    This is actually the mistake some made evaluating the predictions after the 2016 election. FiveThirtyEight, who in my opinion had the most accurate forecasts, gave Trump roughly 1/3 chance and Hillary roughly 2/3 chance. They justified this with models going down to the state level, showing their predictions and confidence level for each state based on polling data etc., and presenting several valid paths to the presidency for Trump. One of which he took. Trump winning did not invalidate their prediction at all, since they had predicted it to be less likely, but a perfectly possible outcome. It's like playing Russian roulette with a one in six chance of death - the model will predict that you are most likely to be alive after one shot. But its prediction is not wrong if in fact you get the one in six chance and die.

    The reason I go into this at length is because it's not about US politics, but about how we see and interact with the world, and that is something that leaving Christadelphia gave me a different perspective on. You may or may not have been intending this, but your comments sounded a lot like Christadelphians saying "Just wait until after your dead, and then we'll see whether you're right or wrong about there being no judgement". And technically, they are right, we can't possibly know with 100% certainty what the outcome is until after it's happened. But that's too late. We need to make assessments now, and we can't make those assessments based on certainty, only on likelihood. And in that case, I see the many problems with the Bible as a sign that it's unlikely to reflect truth, and similarly I see the many past predictions of Christadelphians that the Signs of the Times are being fulfilled and the return of Christ is just round the corner as a sign that their next prediction is unlikely to be right.

    I can't be 100% certain, but I do have reason to make a probabilistic assessment that it's close enough to certainty as to make no difference, and to judge my actions accordingly. And, in the unlikely case that Jesus does return or that I wake up after death to stand before the Judgement Seat, I consider myself perfectly entitled to say "It's not my problem that you gave me no reason to believe, and ample reasons to disbelieve".

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  13. Thanks Joseph. I think it's abundantly clear from a couple of my comments that I do hold a partisan position on US politics, but was surprised to find a single sentence expressing that position in a largely unrelated article got such attention. No hidden agenda there.

    I've probably said this many times before, but I believe any reliance on the OT law is theologically weak (and particularly bad, as you say, if they want to stress some parts of the dietary law while ignoring others). One of these days they might actually annoy me enough to write the article about this that I've been promising for at least a year and maybe two years.

    Also, as Thom says, even if you decide to admit the dietary laws from the Law of Moses, those laws themselves have things that don't hold up to scrutiny. It's cherry-picking to say that some parts of the law, if followed, would have prevented this happening if you're then going to ignore the parts that are embarassing or you don't think apply. Finally, at least some of those health laws specifically talk about holiness or such-like being the goal, not good health. To me it's a hard sell to take a law about spiritual cleanliness and say that its real intent was physical cleanliness. As with the other one, Christadelphians haven't yet annoyed me enough talking about health laws, but if they do I may write specifically about health laws and Covid-19.

    And Signs of the Times is just rubbish. As I just said above, I can see every prediction based on it has failed so far, so I have no reason to believe the current predictions will succeed. I expect them to take whatever troubles the world and call it a Sign of the Time, but that doesn't make it so.

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  14. I stated a fact. Wait until the election and you will wait. It was not meant to be helpful. You spoke about Trump .. and said wait and see. Don't need a big long lecture about it. You sound like a preacher determine to get your point across.

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  15. "Wait and see" is a common phrase used by christadelphians, to excuse their failed prophesies. "It hasn't come to pass this time but wait and see, it will happen eventually, we know it will." Then when a prediction does hit the spot, as random guesses sometimes do, it will be held aloft as proof.
    This excuse can be used time and again for any failed prophecy until the dwindling members eventually lose patience. (That's my prophecy, just you wait and see!) ;-)

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  16. Paul, I know you were talking about an election, but I found it revealing that you used the same apologetic phrases trotted out by countless CD speakers.

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    1. What phrase am I supposed to say about an election ?? Wondering about about the result? Please tell me..wait ill the election??

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    2. Would wait until the election be better??

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  17. True, true oh so true you just wait and see you'll be the sorry one. That's what that cult says.

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  18. A quick check over on "The Christadelphian" reveals that one of the "silver linings" of the pandemic, is the fact that "Encourage collections to be by bank transfer. The treasurer will be able to divide out sums according to any instructions given".
    It also means that collections are not anonymous, and the treasurer, RB, auditor etc, will not only have a full record of who has been attending, but also who is contributing and how much. How very convenient that is.
    Now I'm a nasty old cynic, but could it be that after two months of no meetings, they are beginning to feel the pinch of there being no collections either?

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  19. There is a Zoom Meeting monthly for people who have left cult groups and other high-control groups. I can provide the meeting information if someone would like to take it.

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  20. Hi Elaine - as an ex Christadelphian who has quite a few scars from being a member, I am interested in this Zoom Meeting.

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  21. Let me ask the facilitator how to create a contact point for you. Thanks for your patience.

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  22. It is pretty unhealthy to interface with the world by constantly looking for catastrophes, pestilences and upheaval. It is a sad and depressing use of our mortal existence here, and it isn't a cheerful or useful way to advance humanity. Shun such crap.

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    1. Unfortunately it's what CDs enjoy doing. They are constantly looking for anything that might signal trouble for the human race, and clapping their hands with joy at the prospect of its downfall. Every problem that besets mankind is seen as a "sign of the times" and proves Jesus's imminent return.
      They seem oblivious however of the many thousands of wars, famines, pandemics, earthquakes, eruptions etc. that have troubled humans over the last 100,000 years and think that these modern problems are something out of the ordinary.

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  23. LOL !!! I can recall as a child sitting in one of their deadly dull "public presentations," in 1979 (!!) listening to The Honorable Alan Eyre (a recently deceased gas bag) droning about how various forms of energy, metals, etc., were imminently facing total depletion, guaranteeing a collapse of the global economy. And I distinctly remember all of the gray heads nodding in somber if enthusiastic agreement. What a waste of the lives Providence so generously bestowed on them !

    LIVE IN THE REAL WORLD. IT IS THE ONLY ONE WORTH YOUR PRESENCE.

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    1. Until I read your post, I hadn't realised that that particular "gas bag" had shuffled off. His book, "the protesters" headed off my shelf, and to landfill a good few years ago, I fancy that I read it at some point but on having a look at an online copy today, I couldn't remember a thing about it so sent it to the Kindle to have a look at later.
      I did re-read the piece over at Christadelphian Research:

      https://www.christadelphianresearch.com/changingexplanations.htm

      And also on Ken Gilmore's blog:

      https://christadelphianevolution.blogspot.com/search?q=alan+eyre

      The book was, I fancy, shoved under my nose only because the recording brother's daughter-in-law ( and at the time my sister in law), happened to be a relative of Eyre's and of course with Eyre having legitimate academic credentials, albeit in an entirely different area, the urge to cling onto that was very great indeed. it just demonstrated the tendancy for poorly educated Christadelphians to grasp like drowning men to any shred of respectability that they can find.
      It's been brought home again to me the entire lack of unity there is between christadelphians, a near random selection of crank ideas and generally argumentative behaviour, simply pushing whatever fad idea seems good at the time. An utter joke.
      Have a look at bibleinthenews this week, last weeks article was so inflammatory it brought complaints to their door, presumably from Christadedlphians because nobody else reads that crap. The explanation issued by arch crank Jonathan Bowen was longer and even more ridiculous than the article itself and this week's article, underlining just how detached from the real world these people actually are.
      Needless to say, UK Christadelphians will be queuing up to hand over their money to listen to Bowen's talks when travel restrictions are lifted.

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    2. In the last CD church I attended, a member is currently circulating articles about the upcoming "Rapture." She is recommending that members leave a written letter for family members to give to the police, so the family members don't get blamed for the Christadelphian's disappearance when they disappear in the End Time. The problem with this? CDs don't even believe in the "Rapture"....... (!)

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    3. They don't believe in the rapture as such, but they do believe that they will be "taken up" and deposited somewhere in the middle East.
      This has been stated numerous times by (for example), Jonathan Bowen, The leadership of Rugby Ecclesia (UK), bibleinthenews, and various Bible schools. I have never seen the belief disputed or denied by the Christadelphians. Most recently, around the start of UK lockdown, Don Pearce stated that (his sister?) had stated that people would notice that Christadelphians houses were abandoned, as the expected "taking up" was imminent, this broadly echoed statements from Swanwick Bible school about four years ago.
      I do know personally of Christadelphians who live in a permanent state of high alert, expecting to be taken up at any moment.

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    4. I don't ever recall any Christadelphian around me making use of the word "Rapture." There are various opinions about how the "End Time" will unfold, so I guess vanishing into the sky and being deposited onto some Judean mountain top is as reasonable as anything else they speculate as being in their future. Which isn't saying much, IMO.

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    5. Joseph, yes, this "taking up" was taught by Cd`s, I do remember, as long ago as way back in the 1950`s. At the time, it created a discussion about "what about the children".

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    6. Joseph, I remember first coming across that view at a Bible camp as a teenager. I found it weird, and found the idea that judgement was at Sinai and would last many years particularly weird (also badly supported Biblically). It did seem though that it was a common view which could be traced back to "The Pioneers". And it does lead to Rapture-like scenarios, even though I don't think anyone would call it "The Rapture".

      Part of the problem is that they are trying to fit together a lot of independent passages by different writers into one magic, perfect timeline - but there's no guarantee that they should fit together, let alone that fallible individuals will link them correctly. And I think a bigger part of the problem is that the Old Testament in particular was never written for or about Christadelphians to begin with.

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    7. A quick search for "The Rapture", will quickly demonstrate that Christians have no agreement as to what will happen. All Christadelphians have done is to choose to believe the bits/order that suits their needs the best, and being collected first, and whipped off to be at some sort of training camp with Jesus, in preference to everybody else, definitely both fits that requirement, and also what Roberts expected.
      This lady needs to remember too, that over the years, the Bible schools have taught that before this gathering up, that the faithful dead are to be raised first, on at least one occasion stating that these raised Christadelphians would enter meeting rooms to be greeted by those still living, so you might reasonably expect the police and general population to notice opened up graves and the long departed heading off down the streets to the local meeting room. Christadelphians also have family that are not Christadlphians, having left the meeting or never joined over the years (my own included), so these people would notice, and understand, that their relatives had been "taken up"
      My guess is that this lady is either confused, wants to make a name for herself, or is attempting to impress a brother or brothers within her meeting.

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  24. Has anybody else noticed that the CMPA website, www.thechristadelphian.com has been offline all week?
    I wonder if they have all been "taken up", or if God is so outraged at the material they pedal, he has sent the angels into the data centre to pull a few plugs out.

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  25. Still is offline today. Although I don't visit the CMPA website regularly, I did about a week ago because I recalled that some while ago they had a CDROM of all magazine issues from 1864-2000 which I want to get hold of for family history research. They don't seem to have it! Perhaps because CDROMs have had their day. Is this resource available anywhere online? Does anyone know where I could get a access to it?

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  26. I don't know when I last went to the CMPA site...

    The Christadelphian back-issues were available through the Logos Libronix system (the Bible software, not the Christadelphian Logos). But I heard it had to be CD because Logos is main-stream Christian software and didn't want to be associated with content that was too heretical. Anyway, the website now seems to be back, and their instructions seem to suggest that a CD is no longer necessary, just a code: https://www.thechristadelphian.com/help/cd-rom-installation/ Which intrigues me because it does mean those resources would be downloaded from Logos directly, and thus they're not keeping it arms-length as I thought they used to. And I don't know where you can acquire a code.

    I see they're promoting "Hez - Chronicles of a Mighty Man" now. No idea how close to the Bible story of David it is, but I think it's an interesting question: If you're standing up for The Truth, how much fiction and authorial license is permitted? I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be happy with the version of Adam & Eve I've written...

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  27. One of my greatest disappointments is the failure of organized religion to provide the emotional support needed in myriad human situations -- despite the pretense that it exists to do so. Repeatedly, both inside of CD congregations and after leaving them, churches that I expected to step forward in times of trouble failed to do so. And I really wasn't expecting much: an inquiry regarding my family's welfare, or maybe a phone call after a hurricane. Instead, chirping crickets were all that we would encounter. We had a damaging storm after I left CD Land, and we'd been attending a Methodist church. The pastor had lured us in with promises about the "supportive community" that we'd be joining. A year after joining, after a massive storm, for four days and four nights, we had had no power or air conditioning, and trees blocked the neighborhood's roads. I later complained to the paid church staff that it could at least have made phone calls to the elderly members and widows with small children. In response, I got strongly rebuked by the sonofabitch pastor, rebuked from the pulpit itself during a service.

    The parsonage house was right next to the church, and on occasion church members in distress would go to the pastor's house for assistance. He made it clear such forwardness was impermissible. In the old days, at that same house, the pastor would invite the widows, orphans, seniors and cripples to his home for Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, etc. Such things are ancient fables now. The church's clergy prattle and fart without end about "inclusiveness" and "community," yet keep you at arm's length. They do not dirty themselves by having any genuine contact with you. And it is NAUSEATING.

    In our former CD church, things were not notably different. We were related to half of the church: aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws. Some lived fifteen minutes from the church. Yet, we being their poor relations, no one invited us into their homes, or included us in gatherings as family members. My crippled father and I were, unless I am mistaken, untouchables in their minds. We had to be tolerated, but there was no "inclusiveness."

    To reiterate, after our expulsion from CD Land, I found things to be pretty similar in several other Christian churches we visited. And, no, this is not just some persecution complex I'm manifesting. And, no, I did not expect very much -- merely to be treated like a member of the "church family" that others kept mentioning to me.

    Better to look to have one's need for genuine human interaction met elsewhere. So many things in life don't live up to even the most modest expectations. And organized religion gets a huge "F" from me when it comes to merely "being human."

    There is too great a price to pay for memberships in such groups, especially when they do not meet even our most basic needs.

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  28. After a long while I visited this site again and nothing has changed, it's still as negative and cynical as before. Will you ever get tired of criticizing others and actually write something constructive instead?

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    1. Ekul, I have accessed this site from time to time for several years. Yes, there is reason for (justified) cynicism now and then, and plenty of positive posts which have given help to ex-Cds seeking support. As for negativity, you view this in the way it strikes you. There is much in the Cd world that is negative in its understanding of, social responsibility, caring for those other than the "household", and the shunning attitude towards family members who have found out the truth about the untruth of Cdism -- to name just three. If you care to look back over comments on the site, if you are fair-minded, you will find much that is constructive, interesting and worth reading.

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    2. Building on Mancott's comment, I think an important part of this site's target audience is people who are feeling alone in seeing problems with the denomination. Perhaps people who are still CDs with serious doubts, perhaps people who have left but are still surrounded by friends or family who are in. To them, posts or comments that seem negative can actually be validating, showing they are right to see problems with the denomination, and they are not alone. I've been there, and this site was one place that helped.

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    3. For a multitude of reasons, it is hard not to be negative cynical when looking at Christadelphian matters. Christadelphian minds look at the world through very cynical and selfish eyes quite a lot of the time, and it is difficult not to pick up on that.

      I was looking at a reference that Marcus Ampe kindly provided, scrolled down the page, and noticed this extract from "The Christadelphian", letters page, October 2020:

      https://christadelphiansoriginsdiscussion.wordpress.com/page/2/

      It's doubly shocking that ideas like that exist in Christadelphia, and that their flagship magazine airs and legitimises such views, without comment.
      At the risk of looking even more cynical to Luke, why is it that Christadelphians would deny their daughters a potentially life saving vaccine as a means of controlling their sexuality? What kind of mentality is that?
      Two of those who died in recent years at my former meeting did so from aggressive form of cancer. They went straight off to get the best treatment science had to offer, regardless of how that might affect their "spiritual well-being", to an old cynic like me, that looks like they put their physical well-being first...

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    4. In the UK we have not had compulsory vaccination laws passed since 1853, when smallpox vaccination was made compulsory, it was controversial at the time and enforced with prison sentences for those who did not comply. The law was revoked in 1948 and voluntary smallpox vaccination ended in the 1970's. What all that means is lots of CDs in the UK, including my parents, were born when we had compulsory vaccination, so why Nick hears alarm bells now ? There is no suggestion from government at present that vaccination will be compulsory. Me thinks he reads too many right wing conspiracy theories.

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  29. Ekul, that is a common silencing tactic. All article authors and most commenters have spent significant time as Christadelphians, and each of us process it in our own time and in our own way. Some have had significant negative experiences, others have found significant problems with Christadelphian teachings and practices, and we feel the need to talk about them. That is completely OK.

    However, no-one is forcing you to read it. If you don't like it, it may not be for you. Feel free to stop reading.

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    1. Ekul, is "Luke" in reverse, as no doubt we have all realised, and perhaps Ekul, or Luke, would care to let the readers of the site know if he (or she), has connections with, or is a member of, the Cd fellowship. If not, how much do you, Ekul/Luke, know about their beliefs?

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    2. Most likely, "Ekul" is a member of some droning CD ecclesia. For anyone searching for pathways out of this cult, this website is indeed a "constructive" and insightful site. For those who want to go through life surrounded by self-imposed darkness and fog -- while no doubt claiming at the same time to have "the Truth and the Light" -- I'm sure this site appears to be a place full of negativism and unconstructive cogitation. In essence, there is nothing more difficult than wrestling with a mind that is already made up.

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  30. This week's "Bibleinthenews" (17/1/21)is a particularly interesting one, one that lays bare the frustrations that Christadelphians are feeling after the best part of a year in which the pandemic that God has sent, a least part in answer to their prayers.


    David Billington has been careful to wrap his words in such a way that it is very difficult to determine if what he is saying is what the religion believes, what he believes, or is just a madcap pointless commentry resulting from him being in his study a bit too much.

    He makes a few statements that are at the very best only a little bit true.

    "Currently freedom to worship as we have known it, has been taken away in a stroke throughout the western world, many Christians even supporting this curtailing of rights. Never before has there been such a removal of freedoms throughout the world so quickly. A few countries have had those privileges restored such as New Zealand and we certainly hope and pray that will be the case elsewhere. However, what has been forcefully shown, is that the freedom to worship, which we may have taken for granted, has been demonstrated to be very fragile".

    Certainly in the UK, freedom to worship has not been taken away. It was restricted for a few months, for very easy to understand health reasons. However, since July it has been restricted only in so much as it has to be suitably socially distanced, and many,many, Churches have done so without incident adopting an approach of more smaller services, a (public) online presence and the use of common sense. What is apparent is that the bulk of Christadelphian Ecclesias went quickly into closing, but CHOSE not to re-open when they could, and choose to remain closed now. They have certainly not been forced, legally or otherwise to do so. In Billington's Canada, similar, if slightly lower numerical restrictions apply, but worship is not banned.

    Note too that Billington describes, on this occasion, other worshippers as "Christians", normally they would be dismissed as, at best, "apostates", in true Christadelphian tradition, is it not strange how all of a sudden he wishes to ally his nasty little cult with them?

    Billington then quotes extensively from the website of "Gab", and website called Th Epoch Times". This paragraph is not clear to me. Is Billington standing in support of Gab and it's contributors? Do the Christadelphians consider Andrew Torba to be a "Christian man", or is this just an open ended quote?

    Billington asks his readers (well Canadian ones at least), to read about "Bill C-6", and calls it dangerous. The link given implores readers to call their MP to stop Bill C-6. That is the MP, and government that Christadelphians didn't vote for or against because they don't vote, and accept that it's a government that their God raised up. But now they want a say in it's governance?...

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  31. His paragraphs regarding social media platforms, the "cancellation" of Trump, and the seemingly teflon coated BLM, perhaps expose that his (and by implication) his religions beliefs, are not so apolitical as they would like you to think. Nobody forces Christadelphians, or others, to use these platforms. The largest of the Cristadelphian YouTube channel hosts 7300+ videos and has 53,000+ subscribers and claims to a worldwide collaboration by Christadelphians. Nobody insists that they must use this free of charge platform, they are completely free to pay for hosting and bandwidth and be entirely free, but guess what? They would have to pay for that, and that is the point at which the so-called "worldwide collaboration" would fall apart. You can smell the fear though. One of our contributors once had them shut down for a while, and people like me regularly check their material for things that stray outside of YouTube rules. Three strikes and they are out, which is what David knows and fears.

    David fears that "Many Christian churches may never reopen their doors when all this is over. Humanists will be rejoicing", once again, I think he means the churches that him and his "brethren" would more normally be calling "apostates", Isn't it odd how when they feel under threat, Christadelphians suddenly want to cosy up to equally faithful people who they have despised for decades if not centuries? He need not fear, they alive and well and making a much better job of going about their lives than his followers are. Last summer I was even informed of christadelphians logging into their closed Zoom services, and then heading off out into the garden with a cold beer to enjoy the sunshine-perhaps this is what he really fears, the loss of power and control.

    "It is vital that at the first opportunity we restore our worship as it was a year ago — and more so. If we want to keep the privilege of these freedoms we need to grasp them with both hands. As much as possible we need to demonstrate how important and vital it is to us as communities to assemble together to worship, to hold Bible Schools and to educate our children. To demonstrate that we are not going to stop. To demonstrate to our children that this is our priority and life. Finally we need to keep preaching the gospel as a witness to our world, that the kingdoms of this world are destined to become the kingdoms of the Lord Jesus Christ"

    As pointed out at the beginning of this rant. They have been free to do all of those things all along, but chose not to, no good bleating now. David is clearly frustrated, sitting in his study with all day and all night to pray clearly isn't as much fun as world tours, air BNB's , Bible Schools and having people nodding their heads to his pronouncments.
    I wonder if the Christadelphians will be taking the vaccine or relying on prayer to protect them? Answers on a postcard please...

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  32. I have strong opinions about the whole "Covid is taking away freedom of religion", and I may write about it further.  If so, I'll probably cross-post here.  Basically, though, putting restrictions on freedom to worship in person during a pandemic (or even preventing in person worship altogether) is not taking away freedom to worship or freedom of religion.

    Here in Melbourne I believe my family members have followed all the government rules, and met in person where permitted but online where not permitted.  And I think the government have handled it reasonably - when there have been serious outbreaks, there have been increasingly strict restrictions on all in person gatherings, and that has included religious services.  They haven't been singled out for persecution of their religion - in fact, anything other than that would have been given them undeserved special treatment that other gatherings didn't get.  When outbreaks were largely under control religious gatherings were permitted with capacity limits and masks required, and with no cases permitted numbers have gone up and the mask requirement has been dropped.  And I'm OK with that - if people want to meet in person and it's fairly safe and they're not getting preferential treatment, why would I try to stop them?  I just won't go along myself.

    “Especially in terms of moral values, the socialism of the West uses pretexts like “anti-discrimination,” “value-neutrality,” or “political correctness” to attack basic moral discernment. This is equivalent to an attempt to eliminate morality as such. … The result is a kind of reverse discrimination against those who believe in God and aspire to moral elevation, with the goal of marginalizing and eventually getting rid of them."
    Does he know what socialism is?

    I would say that the progressives I associate with wouldn't say they are attempting to eliminate morality.  I certainly wouldn't.  Instead, I would say that I think that that kind of Christian morality just isn't good morality.  I think in this case "basic moral discernment" should actually be read "Insistence on the right to discriminate against others on the basis of my holy book".  And it shouldn't require much moral discernment to see that could be a problem...
    My take on the Trump / Twitter points is that it was bizarre what Trump was tweeting, not that Twitter fact checked some of them.
    Can the power of Twitter, Facebook, etc. be abused?  Absolutely it can.  But I think the spin of it as a post-truth, "fact checkers dictate truth" is currently wrong.  It's the same as with morality above: Twitter et al has standards (though possibly not 100% consistently applied), and Christadelphians etc. don't like those standards.

    Hmm, does the references to prayer for the ability to preach the gospel mean that Covid-19 with its restrictions is a result of people not praying to God?  Or is it just another "God moves in mysterious ways"? 

    And yeah, the final conclusion is that they should get back to business as usual (I think many countries are relying on human developed vaccines, not prayer to God, to achieve that, but hey, never mind) and then get on with indoctrinating children.  But people like me show at the least that it's not always true to say "Train up a child, and when he is old he will not depart from it".

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