Can we trust God's promises?

 By Jon Morgan

The words from Mendelssohn’s Elijah echo in my head:

If with all your hearts ye truly seek Me,
Ye shall ever surely find Me,
Thus saith our God.

It’s a song I like a lot (yes, still), and it seems like such a simple promise. But was it ever really true?

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30 comments:

  1. A friend, decades ago, summarized his take on religion with the following expression: "That that is is, and that that isn't isn't. Whatever you can't substantiate with your five senses, don't believe in it."

    No amount of "Faith" or "Belief" compensates for organized religion's attempts to alter the equation of "That that is is, and that that isn't isn't." Instead, religion simply clouds our consciousness in a world that is, granted, already difficult to navigate. Christadelphianism, in particular, creates an alternate reality that is pretty opaque. I'd rather live and die with my eyes wide open, thank you.

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  2. Christadelphianism is a rational, intellectual religion. Its followers are expected to believe Genesis myth as history and science and also are expected to rationally do that. So most ex-CDs exit one rational, intellectual domain and enter another free from having to pretend to believe myth as science and rely on science alone. They would say no, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, was never true, but of course it was for him and is for billions today. Life without mystery must be dull indeed. It was certainly dull in Christadelphianism for me.

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  3. They should thus live the one life they've received. And as far as all of the organized religions go -- rationalism and intellectual analysis do not really seem to be a significant part of the picture. The most common sense "religion" I've encountered was actually Wiccanism, believe it or not, in which nature is worshiped as the higher power, and referred to as "Spirit." And no, I did not become one of its members.

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  4. I am comfortable concluding that all religion is slop and nonsense. Yes, it can serve useful purposes on occasion, but don't let it encumber your life.

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  5. A friend shared an invitation to a Christadelphian talk on Israel, and I was struck by this:
    "Well there's a lot going on in Israel today & we need to keep a close watch on developments. The year 2020 has proven to be exciting with Israel and the U.A.E. announcing a peace accord."

    I am profoundly unexcited. I can kinda understand people in 1967 being excited at a dramatic Israel victory that seemed to bring them closer to their predicted Armageddon, but that was ancient history before I started having prophecies pushed at me, and I'm sure there have been more exciting events in my lifetime than "Israel and the UAE announcing a peace accord". Not sure where UAE was mentioned in the Bible either - 2nd Opinions?

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  6. Jon,
    I'm going to link later to a few crank stories related to this. I don't read this tripe as a rule, just looked it up after you posed the question. I do however follow the comedy show that is Bibleinthenews, and recalled that the current edition (26/09/20) Is highly excited by this too.
    UK newspaper (I use the term loosely) The Express reported this nonsense back in August:

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/1323341/End-of-the-world-Israel-peace-deal-UAE-Bible-prophecy

    However it is worth noting just HOW they report it:

    "END OF THE WORLD fears are being stocked (stoked?) by conspiracy theorists who believe a peace treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is linked to Bible prophecies"

    End time headlines then went on to report on an link to the Express article:

    https://endtimeheadlines.org/2020/08/israels-peace-deal-with-uae-proves-bible-prophecy-is-unfolding/

    ...and quoted this:

    "the treaty could be related to something known as the Gog-Magog alliance.

    Gog and Magog appear in the Bible’s Old Testament as both individuals and lands that will oppose Israel, although their exact nature is never fully revealed. Many have linked the figure of Gog to the Antichrist, who will arrive just before the Last Judgement.

    The names also appear in the New Testament’s Book of Revelation, where it is said Satan will be set forth to deceive the nations “in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog”. According to Signposts of the Times, the Israel peace deal could be linked to Gog and Magog through Ezekiel 38.

    The blog stated: “According to some of the commentaries on Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 38, the location of Ancient Sheba and Dedan was in Arabia. “Present-day United Arab Emirates, which has just agreed to a peace deal with Israel, is located on the Arabian Peninsula"

    Christadelphians, some most probably in good faith, will naturally be attracted to pretty much anything that they feel "proves" their pre-constructed expectations. In recent times, we have seen how they were attracted to, and repeated at the highest level, including in their flagship magazines, the "blood moons" theory of 2014, one Ecclesia even demanding a "cease and desist" from our former editor when I published here about it. Along with the Angel/storms brexit vote intervention. With the rise of the internet, and the current fears, it is easy to see how a group of gullible people can become convinced. It is strange though that none of these groups share fundamental beliefs, just the crazy outlying ideas.
    Like most civilised people, I desire there to be peace in the middle east, not as a precursor to the end times, but as a moving on from the past. Exciting it is clearly not.
    I'd suggest politely declining your friend's request, don't engage in conversation over it, but remain as their friend on the offchance that one day they wake up from their daydream and you can be there as a friend for them.

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    1. I assumed it had something to do with Gog & Magog, but wasn't quite sure how [I thought Sheba and Dedan were somehow supposed to be linked to Tarshish -> Britain, TBH, though I have definitely lost track]. Thanks for confirming. I still think the Six Day War must have been more "exciting" for believers, or the creation of the state of Israel for that matter, even though neither of them led to Jesus' return as expected. Like you, I think that peace in the area would be better for its own sake, not just in preparation for a destructive end times war.

      That particular thing was a general share from a Facebook friend, not specifically targeting me. I doubt they'd come to me in the first instance if they had problems with their faith, but you never know.

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    2. Do you "civilised blokes" as you call yourselves think there will be peace in the middle east??

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    3. The recent news about Israel/UAE is not as significant as some might think. As far as I can tell they have never been at war. The relationship between the two has been slowly improving for some time. This was aimed to "normalise" the relationship. Until Israel becomes serious about normalising the "Palestine Problem" (and the reverse) is Peace likely to be a reality between them?

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    4. Peace in the Middle East would probably be better off than no peace, as in most parts of the world, but I have no idea how likely it is.

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    5. Paul,
      Yes, absolutely there will be peace in the middle east. Are you civilised? What do you think will happen and when?

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  7. Depends what you think civilised means?? I was asking you that question.

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    1. Paul, if you were really just asking a question, I'd suggest a less accusatory tone.

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    2. Paul, no, I don't think it does depend on what I think civilised means. Clearly I think that I belong to a civilised society, and have effectively stated so, and answered your question as well.
      Jon will advise, as he is the boss man here, but I don't think that you alone have the right to ask the questions. If you won't or can't answer the question, then that's fine by me, but it is a bit like the right to remain silent, people can and will draw their own conclusions from that.

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    3. Paul, I am always hesitant to ban anyone, so this isn't a ban, but I reviewed some of your comments again tonight, and you do have a history of short comments that don't contribute to the conversation and that require later clarification. Some of them are condescending, some are nit-picking, and few are helpful.

      This means that if in future there are more such short comments that I don't think contribute to the conversation, I'm less likely to publish them. Not because I don't agree with them - it should be clear from the history that I've published quite a few comments I don't agree with, and not publishing is rare - but because they don't contribute.

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  8. The short answer: Nope. Nonexistent promises from nonexistent entities.

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  9. I wish I believed otherwise, as I was, without knowing it, in the presence of an apparently very contagious COVID 19 patient yesterday, November 14, 2020. Such lovely times, the ones in which we live. I will see if I come down with symptoms in the next two weeks.

    It would be comforting to think of a higher power protecting me. But if I end up intubated and in a diaper, I'll still die a cleaner death than one polluted by religious delusions about divine protections.

    We'll hope for the best.

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    1. Hi Dorothy. Just checking to see how you are going. COVID free I hope?

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    2. Dorothy, even if you do catch it, then depending on your age,and underlying health, even with the very worst interpretation of the data, you are 90%+ likely to survive it. One of my daughters has had it, and it affected her like a bad cold might, being off school and away from friends for months on end has been highly detrimental though.
      There is no higher power protecting you, or the Christadelphians. Most UK Christadelphian Churches (as is their current fashion to identify as) have not met face to face for 10 months now (they never managed to organise properly distanced meetings although mainstream religion did, and has had no infections as a result). The Christadelphians here are convinced and have repeated many, many times, that this is a God sent disease, to serve as a "warning", and his decision to send it was because Chinese people (who didn't know about him) didn't keep to Jewish diet laws, that they (the Christadelphians that is), are allowed to selectively apply to their own situation. That should be clear to all. Remember that Christadelphians have been praying for this for years, and took great delight in previous near "hits" like Ebola, that God-sent plague that only really harmed very poor Africans who had never heard of the Christadelphians either...
      I cannot help but recall, that my former recording brother was so well known at the local Chinese takeaway, that when he called in his order twice a week at least, they knew his voice, name, and order, before he even said it. Funny how he continues to publish and link the anti-Chinese nonsense of the Christadelphians. I suppose being locked down with nothing but a vast room full of Christadelphian books for months on end is bound to have the same effect as keeping a tray of eggs on a radiator.
      It is important for us to keep focused on how Christadelphians behave AFTER this crisis. Will they use all the money they have saved from cancelled luxury holidays and not being able fly their celebrity speakers from Australia into the UK, and from the UK to Canada, and the £600 Bible school fees, to do something useful for everybody, or will it just top up ecclesial funds while they beg another tax payer funded handout? Will Christadelphians working for major drug companies set to make a killing from this, spend their time in China selling their drugs, or will they be educating the locals in the laws of moses? We all know the answers to that...
      Stay well.

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    3. The incubation period has passed, with no symptoms of the disease having appeared. It appears that I did not get infected. Thank you for your concern. We are now all locked back in our houses again, except for walks outside to exercise and trips to the supermarket. It will be a long winter. Everyone, please stay safe.

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    4. Pleased to hear Dorothy. Well, about the lack of Covid anyway, the lockup part sucks.

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  10. Good news, DL, stay safe and well.

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  11. I never truly believed, even during the decades when I tried to believe and pretended to believe. On some level, some part of me always knew it was all nonsense. Live on earth, not in the darkness. Do productive and meaningful things with your life. We all get "the darkness" soon enough.

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  12. "God's promises." I think of some of my devoted loved ones, who lived dogs' lives to uphold their faith, because it was more important to contribute to some church building fund or to toss a twenty in the church basket every Sunday. Their motto was "Give All, and Nothing Take."

    And the rest of the world ate them for dinner.

    No God is worth what many of us endure in living and dying on this dung ball. Get what you can get, and live now. There's no return ticket for this passage, and most of the rest of the world knows it. That doesn't mean you should live immorally, but, as Ayn Rand wrote: Focusing on your own life and welfare is a virtue."

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    1. I missed this comment until now. Interesting. As a Christadelphian, each June (with a few exceptions), we were "required" to attend the Sunday school outing. Which entailed travelling some 50 miles or so in a bus (some did opt out and go in their cars), play games in a deserted field, and then stop at a fish & chip cafe on the way home. The following Sunday we were supposed/asked to donate an equivalent to what we had consumed, plus the bus fare. Every year the collection fell short of the cost.....This despite several members being extremely wealthy, and most others being of average income or above. They were happy to eat their dinner and let others pay.
      "Get what you can get, and live now", "Focusing on your own life and welfare is a virtue"..well the already wealthy former editor of "The Christadelphian" certainly took that one to heart for a decade+ until the dimwits rumbled him. As do my former family in the Christadelphians. Grab, grab, grab, is their motto.

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    2. I suspect in such situations, the kind of people you are describing had on some level figured out that the doctrine they were pretending to follow was Bullshit. And...perhaps through their transgressions, were in some manner consciously or unconsciously defying it. More likely, maybe, they were just rotten people, and using their religion as a familiar and comfortable disguise. My mother had a large fortune, but used to encourage large families with many children to donate food to her. The families were often not in a position to make such donations. She asked for the food, and other freebies, because she had no bottom line morality. All of the lip service she devoted to CD doctrine was a smokescreen to cover her misbehavior and her exploitation of other people. It's probably a common practice in many churches, in many places.

      A church we currently visit allowed a single woman with six children to occupy one of its prime rental properties for a nominal rent. Over time, the woman's children grew up and moved out of the residence. The woman nonetheless pays the same nominal rent, occupies the house all by herself, and shows up to services at the church only once a month, even though the rental house is ten steps from the church. She has various reasons why she needs to stay in the residence, and she articulates the reasons readily. This is no symbiotic relationship. She is playing the fools.

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  13. You can devoutly believe with all your heart that the Easter Bunny is presiding over your welfare, and, after a while, in your mind it becomes true. Listen to the interviews of the Heaven's Gate cult members. Google the interviews, they're not hard to find. These were not stupid people, obviously, but very clearly thoroughly brain stumphed. Don't live your live with self-imposed clouded vision. To see eighteen and 20 year old members of Heaven's Gate discussing the reasons for their imminent suicides, it made me recall several occasions when I questioned Christadelphian doctrines -- and was treated like a lunatic.

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    1. Yes, I have seen those recordings before. They stand as a warning to all of us, that we can all be fooled in the right circumstances, and sadly, here, most of us have been. Our consolation is that we woke up before the kool-aid was handed out.
      You cannot question Christadelphian doctrines. You will be shouted down by zealots who did not even pass their senior school English exams, while the elders egg them on. Leave them to it, and shake the dust off your sandals as someone once said. Well if he existed that is. And actually said that.....

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  14. Christ's teachings, advertised by Christians as being exceedingly remarkable for his times, were actually similar to the maxims taught by some of his contemporaries who had no awareness of his existence. I was reading the writings of Marcus Aurelius, a Roman, and some of his wisdom and insights sound very much like Christ is talking. For example: "When dealing with others, especially inferiors, always treat them as you yourself would wish to be treated."

    The Romans, whatever their faults, were in sundry ways remarkably advanced for their time. Christ may have ended up borrowing some of their intellectual material, rather than the other way around. Turns out there was a very large and active Roman settlement in the locale where Christ allegedly grew up.

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