Email: Sweet and Sour
(Mail from Kooks, Nuts and Loonies is on another page)
Email, Indexed by DATE
Ed has over 500 pages of testimony from hundreds of people testifying about the abuses from and by the WWCg headed up by the infamous Herbert W. Armstrong. (HWA) Ed is doing just as HWA preached! He is calling an ace an ace, and a spade a spade. He is proclaiming the truth and sparing none.
Since YOU made such a claim, that Ed is: "The only thing there is to say about someone like you, is that you are a total nut, with a destructive mission against Herbert Armstrong. You're obviously a coward who doesn't want to hear from anyone who is able to discredit you. You are truly EVIL."
Now Annette, you have made this accusation, and I would like to see in print what exactly makes you think that Ed is a "nut, on a destructive mission against (a dead man) HWA, and a coward, and evil". Ed has hundreds and thousands of people that will tell the truth about the WWCg and HWA. Proof exists about the evil of HWA and the behaviors of the WWCg.
You made the comment that ED is a coward who doesn't want to hear from anyone who is able to discredit him. Now you should have the courage to stand behind your own words and EXPLAIN YOUR ACCUSATIONS. How much have YOU studied the history of the WWCg? How many REAL x-members have YOU interviewed? How much have you dug in the libraries of this country, and the court houses, and news papers and gathered information to prove or disprove what is stated on the web site of the PAINFUL TRUTH? HUH? HOW MUCH HAVE YOU DONE? What do YOU have to back up YOUR words?
If you have information that you have not shared, I challenge you to get the truth, YOUR truth on the web site for all of us to see. Don't just throw nasty words at ED. Back them up with something solid, like the proof that exists about the WWCg and HWA, or I suggest you keep your mouth shut. Anyone can name call.
You accuse Ed of being on a "destructive mission" against Herbert Armstrong, and that he doesn't want to hear from anyone who can discredit him. First of all, you're begging the question of just who has been able to discredit him. If you can provide evidence that disproves the main contentions made on the PT site, and do so in a civil manner, Ed has promised to make changes in site content. As for a "destructive mission": Annette, HWA and his many cronies and minions did all the destruction long ago; a lot of us are trying just to pick up the pieces amongst the wreckage.
Yours for truth,
I'm sorry. I finally found your faq. Anger corrupts. You sound like someone who was once a dedicated member but became upset with hipocracy, conspiracy, and corruptness in HWA's church. You sound like someone who gave up on the truth because of sin. I agree with you that the "New improved" Worldwide Church of God is a load of crap. I admit that when the "changes" came about I was upset. But instead of getting angry, I had the faith of a child, being as how I was a child of 12. I had faith that God would lead me where I needed to go. He lead me away from Worldwide Church of God and with an understanding long forgotten, that ANY man made organization is corrupt! From Catholic, to Protestant, to Lutheran, to my current affiliation of UCGaia (United Church of God, http://www.ucg.org). I do not bow down to a man, I do not follow a man, or a church. I follow a God. Anyone who follows a man, is a fool! Men are weak and their minds are easily corrupted by Satan the Devil. No man is perfect. Men are responsible for their own actions! That includes being mislead. If a woman asks to be raped, SHE IS IN THE WRONG! We can't be like the 5 maidens weren't cautious enough to bring extra oil, we can't be like all ten for that matter, they all fell asleep! They were held accountable for their actions. I was born on this earth. I am not perfect, I have sinned, I have been mislead, and because of it, I will die. The wages of sin is death. If we weren't held accountable for being mislead, we'd all live forever! Th original sin was brought on by lies and deception. Adam and Eve were held accountable for being decieved, why would we be immune to it?
You remind me of my father. A dedicated man who gave up. Was it Peter who said if you want proof that God exists, look in the mirror?
I know for a fact, HWA never said, "I have all the answers." In fact as a 25 year member, you should know that he constantly spoke against people saying this is it and its completely right. Only one person can do that, Christ.
I cannot stress one word enough. Faith. You must have faith. If you give up, Satan has already won you. Not faith that God will turn the church around, but faith that God will show you the way. You were obviously called, but "many are called, few are chosen". (mat 20:16) Don't just be called, be chosen! Pray that God will open your mind to the truth.
I would like you to know, in my congregation, I cried and many others deeply grieved at the sale of Big Sandy and Pasedena. Don't you think we felt betrayed, abandoned? We got over it! The downfall of a church is no reason to give up on God.
This life is NOT all there is! READ YOUR BIBLE! Ask for God to show you the truth, and to close your mind to evil! If you have FAITH that he will, why not? Why are YOU scared to see the truth? you say I'm scared, when you're the one hiding! Waiting for someone else to prove you wrong!
HWA may have said that Worldwide Church of God was the only true church, but it was never his intent to say that you had to be a member of the church to be chosen! God has many sheep in many different flocks. I have met several poeple who believe the same things I do, but have never even heard the name HWA or GTA or Worldwide Church of God!
Why must you be all about exposing other people's and orginization's sins? You who are perfect,cast the first stone!
Who are you to call HWA a liar when you haven't even read the book he taught?!?!?! Its called the ressurection! There is no "eternal death." It was not meant that all were to be chosen. There is a first, second, and possibly a third ressurection. The first being for those who were chosen. The second being for those who were called and not chosen and those who weren't called at all. God doesn't wish any should perish, but that all should inherit eternal life. (II Peter 3:9)
You said, you have not found one person to be able to defend their beliefs. Well, here I am, I'll be your whipping boy as a boy now of 16. Please bear with me, some of the things I wrote were written at 90 miles an hour. I admit, I did get a little angry. I'm sorry. I'm not trying to change your mind and make a beleiver of you yet, only you can do that. You have to come out of your shelter of hatred of past sin. You need to forgive and forget, you're right, "Forgiveness means letting go of the pain and anger. But it doesn't mean restoring your relationship with the person." But you haven't let go of the anger! You have let it overcome you, destroy you, and blind you. I don't know why I'm writing this. My heart tells me its hopeless, useless. My mind says theres hope and a chance.
Pray, have faith, and re-read your bible with a clear, humble, open, calm, and peaceful mind.
Sorry, Andrew. Too much Bible quoting for someone who has disproved the Bible.
I would suggest that you read more of my pages before you judge me. I probably know the bible as well as you, if not better, since I studied it EVERY DAY for 25 years of my adult life. You are only 16! I do not reject it because I haven't read it. I reject it because I have read it and it is not from any God I would want to worship. I have proved that.
Prove to me that the Bible is God's word, without using the Bible.
If you want to disprove anything on my website, you will have to tell me which page address it is and quote, verbatim, what paragraph you want to disprove. If it is just your opinion that it is wrong, don't bother. I need proof.
And be very careful about what you are supposedly quoting me as saying. I notice quite a few things in your message that I never said or even came close to saying. I don't have time for answering so many vague and just wrongly premised questions.
You ought to get your nose out of that bible and read The Age of Reason or The God Part of the Brain or The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You to Read. Your mind has been shaped and molded by your parents and society to accept a myth as the truth; to put your faith in a fantasy. You have a lot to learn, believe me.
You are so far into the pit, you have totally given up on God. I'm not judging you. This is what it is. I'm not saying I have it right, repent you sinner! No, I'm saying, woah buddy, you need to do some praying. You're so mad at God that you won't take anything he gives you.
You asked me to show to give you proof that the bible is God's inspired word. I can't do that. No one can. You must do it for yourself. You must pray. Pray for God to give you faith, not to blind your eyes by evil, but to open them to the way he wants you to live. If you want proof of God's existence, pray to him, and ask him to show you a sign. He will. I've done, I've seen it. I've asked for hope when I was completely down on life. And I asked God for hope, to show me, he's still in my life and watching over me. And he did. At your current position and your way of thinking, YOU'RE the one who won't be "confused by the facts."
I have a good relationship with God. And if you want one, you need to take this opportunity and change.
You were called, but, unless you do something, you won't be chosen.
I'm not telling you how to live your life, thats your choice, and frankly, I don't care. I'm just reaching out as a concerned brother. For the sake of your wife who died totally devoted to the church, do something.
P.S.-As for having "disproved the bible", you haven't disproved anything. Just given up. I won't write you anymore unless you show that you want to change. So, I pretty much do not expect to be writing you again. I think you're so far in the hole, theres no hope for you. But thats me. God still has hope for you, he hasn't given up. Don't give up on him.
Well, at 16 years old you are certainly wise beyond your years. Certainly wiser than Socrates who lived by the principal that all he knew was that he knew nothing. I'm sure all knowledge about God will die with you.
Since you know everything about God, we have no further need of communicating. I will be blocking your email from now on, just in case you can't resist throwing your bible and Christianity at me.
Please stay away from The Painful Truth. You can't handle the truth and you don't deserve it until you grow up and realize how little you know.
What a great site. Informative, documented and cluttered with lots of fun stuff, too.
Your perspectives and answers on the FAQ page are right on the money. I think you're having way too much fun with this -an inspiration to anybody on the inside who wonders if there's life after the Worldwide Church of God. Keep it up.
I tried to get the "Question of Balance" page, and get an ad for tripod instead. Thought you'd want to know.
Also, thanks for putting the emails from Sharon and myself on the skeptic piece. I think that shows how we can work together to enhance our understanding with welcome insight. Sharon is quite a gal, esp. for her age. No one is supposed to be that smart so soon!?! :-). She is so refreshing! The articles have all been really good. John B. sure knows how to reach us all where we have shared the same emotions and experiences of our hindsite/insite!
I can see a healthy change in how the subjects are going. Take heart, ED, you are doing something very worthwhile!
Hello again John,
You keep out doing yourself! Your words on both recent articles echo all the thoughts and feelings I have gone through these many years. I hope that all the readers are being as cleansed by them as I have.
It seems we need to know the whole wwc experience, as we "true believers" experienced it, was NOT all in our head! (Even if that is where it took place):-)
It does appear that those who were NOT true believers, really were not affected in the same way. Is it because we are the type of people who somehow totally dedicate our heart and soul to what we believe in? And others just do not have that commitment? It is hard to understand.
I guess having been raised in a home where truth was so important, I locked on to what I believed it was at the age of 28, and a bible literate.
The "calling thing" was my downfall, since I never could understand why God saved me at the age of 7 when I had a lung removed due to infection. That was my set-up for the "calling thing". It helped me to understand this later so I could see how such a dedication could be. After all, there is NO HIGHER CALLING THAN GOD is there? now as far as the article on slave mentality, that was excellent and reminded me of a book I read by ERIC FROMM, "ESCAPE FROM FREEDOM". He essentially said what you did. You may have read it, if not, it would be a great enhancement on your version.
Yes, you are correct when you say that most people fear freedom and return to the "safety" of the past, or "familiar" as Bradshaw said. Until the cycle is broken by choice, it will continue.
I think your articles and Ken P-the Scribe's, are really a way of breaking these cycles and helping us all on the path of healing.
Another book by FROMM is "MAN FOR HIMSELF". Also worth reading. Being physically limited all my life, I have become a walking library, so I hope no one gets tired of all the books I offer on various subjects. Thanks so much for the continuous sharing of yourself. I look forward to the next ones to come!
Hello there, Ed.
Your site is so busy these days, I've been having trouble finding time to read all the updates. As usual, your responses are on the money and I like the way you respond to the troubled writers.
Well, you asked for it: a broken link. Or maybe it's just me. I can't get to Page 2 or the 1/20/00 Update from ANY of the links in Kooks, Nuts, Loonies.
I just finished reading John B. article on Slave Mentality. A fantastic piece of writing! I have just been an unwilling witness to the power of Slave Mentality in my own home.
Tonight, I decided to talk to my husband, (a devoted lifelong member of wcg) honestly about religion, and I asked him very calmly and quietly if I could make a request of him. I asked if he would be willing to step away from religion for awhile, and just take a break from it. He wanted to know why I would ask something like that, what would I hope that he would gain from that. I said "an open mind...maybe a different perspective on things." He says that he does have an open mind, and he can't deny what he believes.
He told me he is deeply hurt that I could even suggest such a thing to him. He loves God and Jesus and he knows there is a purpose for his life, and he knows that God and wcg have brought about a true change in his life. (While I'm thinking quietly to myself, yeah, a lifetime of bondage.) He went on about how he could not even fathom such a request as I was making.
He asked how I could deny the existence of God (I've never said to him that I do, but secretly, I have serious doubts about it, and definitely don't think there is some god out there who gives a fig, or a fish, about earthlings.) He asked if I believe in evolution now. I said I haven't studied it enough to have an opinion one way or the other, so of course, he stated that if I could even consider such a thing, that I am denying God and his power.
He said he would be willing to quit attending wcg for a while and attend some church near our home, if it would mean that I would go with him and be willing to open my mind and heart to Jesus. Well, by this time, of course I'm realizing that to have brought this up is a huge error on my part, so I apologized, and told him it was certainly not my intent to hurt him. That hurting him was not the point at all. That I had simply hoped a different viewpoint would make conversation between us easier and more interesting.
Well, now he is all hurt, he says he never stops praying for me, that I will come to Christ. By this time, I'm ready to puke, and wondered how I could have been so stupid as to have ever broached the subject. I have just witnessed firsthand how a person's mind can be so firmly entrenched in an idea (especially if it's religion) that it is just IMPOSSIBLE for that person to even faintly entertain the thought of something different or new.
I should have known....
I see that it is hopeless, but I just needed to spill my guts before I explode.
I don't think I'm going to find it very easy to go to sleep tonight, thinking about all this, and wishing I had not said anything. Oh yeah, one more thing. He said he certainly wouldn't want to read what I've been reading (lies on the Internet, no doubt) because of the way it makes me think, and the ideas it has put in my head. I asked him, "Have you forgotten all those years when wcg told us not to read any literature but their own, lest we be given ideas that would turn us from God's way? Look where that got us--years of blindness." His response was once again how hurt he was....
I am just amazed by this. I truly thought there might be a better reaction from him, but I have to remember that there was a time when I, too, could see nothing but what wcg fed to me through their filter, so I don't know why I should be surprised.
Thanks again, Ed, for your wonderful website. I firmly believe that it has accelerated my journey toward mental freedom and my escape from Slave Mentality.
AS A MEM OF Worldwide Church of God SINCE 19 64 TRY IT WE FOR PER # HAVE HELPED MORE TO BE RATED IN TOT 100 OF ALL WHERE ARE YOU RATED THANK GOD FOR LIFE JAS.5
All the stuff lately has been inspired by what others have written. The self esteem stuff was very important to me but I hadn't thought about it in a long time. When I read John O's piece on alcoholism, it all came back to me. And that triggered the slave mentality thing.
What's amazing is how much we are all the same, though most of us never knew each other. Fundamental truths shine brightly no matter who voices them. It's gratifying to me to see how others are affected by these things. I wasn't the only one who experienced or understood them.
The name Eric Fromm does ring a bell, but I haven't read any of the works you named. There must have been something that I did read, but I don't know what it was. The name is very familiar.
I also enjoyed your point of view on skepticism. I think you hit it on the head--if people were a bit more skeptical, they might be a little less likely to fall for phonies (or, as my mother used to put it, to "swallow them whole").
You keep 'em coming, too. Who knows how many victims still might be freed if we keep exposing the facts.
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2000 3:21 PM
Subject: Annette, can I ask....
Annette, Can I ask you a deep question? Would you trust HWA with your daughter, overnight, in a Motel 6?
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 15:52:06 -0500
[You are not talking to somone who doesn't know Armstrong]. Who are you evil people who have nothing better to do?
That was a good letter (1/24/00) from John B, and he is so right when it comes to forming a common bond among the many contributors to the site . . . even though we've never met each other. We've all gone through so many of the similar problems.
There's seemingly a spiritual connection here, between John B, Joanne, Sharon, Louise, and many, many others. We've all hurt much the same, and now there's an overall commitment to helping others who will listen.
But that's the problem. How many out there are really listening? Your site is now picking up comments from all over the world, so people are obviously reading it. And certainly, they may read it, but are they really "listening?" Let's hope all the article points mature in time, and sometimes that can be a long, agonizing wait, but I do think that people will eventually get the message. Anyhow, we can only hope.
Keep up the fun work. JohnO.
P.S. Who was that wild person who sent the first and upper cased message on 1/24/00?
I have no idea who that person was that sent that message, or what the message meant, for that matter. Does God choose the weak-minded of the earth to represent Him? Maybe there was a mistranslation or something.
Who is reading the site and learning from it? All we can do is plant the seeds of freedom. Who knows if or when they will sprout and grow? I think that even the complainers, that say all that on the site are lies, will read the "lies" just out of curiosity. Then their minds are forever poisoned with the truth. They will be forced to think about what they have read on The PT whenever they hear or read something contradictory. They may not accept the PT version, but, at least they will be thinking, somewhat.
Got a private message from the Netherlands a couple days ago. The Cult was indeed worldwide.
I have really enjoyed Alex recent efforts. I derive no small amount of comfort from knowing that high-powered West Point types were possibly made bigger fools of than us lowly, know-nothings that they lorded over. I can forgive myself for being suckered into the Herb Garden, because I truly am nothing. But you will never get the West Pointers in the church to admit that their life efforts will amount to nothing in the grand scheme of things! No, they are VERY proud of the harm they caused. When Chuck Snott was pastor of Santa Rosa, guests to his recreation room were first treated to seeing his army boots mounted on a PEDESTAL next to the door as you entered. Looking up, his ceiling was adorned with the parachute that was used to descend upon and destroy citizens of countries other than our own. Nice imagery, Chuck. Or, is that Up...chuck? (Oh, by the way, please add Chuck to the list if he isn't already there. Among other complaints, he once told me that I was the coldest person he had ever met, including all of his years of military combat. And that was only because I was trying so hard not to cry, because the last time we "counseled" he had commanded me not to cry! Now, every time a normal person would be crying, I feel a strange urge to salute! Thanks, Chuck.)
No, these guys were so covetous of the power they once exerted over their subordinates in the military that finding Herbert Armstrong must have been the happiest thing to happen to them since their retirement from military command. They spent years of their arrogant lives believing that they could "execute" someone by disfellowshipping them from Herbert's church. Imagine. These men, graduates of West Point tactical training, the finest military training available on this blue-green earth, made complete fools of by Herbert W. Armstrong!
I feel a little better every time I put the whole sorry thing into a better perspective! When it comes to religion I now follow the old Gentile wisdom, "To be forewarned is to be foreskinned!"
I was just reading your interview with Carroll Miller about Joe Tkach & the airplane factory (I think). Miller said Waterhouse made up the story about the 2000 workers threatening to strike if they fired ol' Joe over the Sabbath.
You know, it's been a long time, Ed. But I didn't hear that story from Waterhouse. Unless I'm sadly mistaken, I think old Joe told that one himself. Maybe at the Pasadena feast in 86, I'm not sure. (I probably also heard it from Waterhouse, but I'm equally certain I heard it from Tkach.) Not positive, but damn close to it.
A friend of mine would like this questioned answered. I'm not to good with answering this. Could you help me out here.
Here is the question:
" I've wondered for some time whatever happened to Garner Ted. Didn't he get caught up in a sex scandal of his own a few years ago? I used to read the "Plain Truth" back when I was married, just to irritate my fundie bible church husband. HE HE"
I think the best way to get info about GTA would be to get Ambassador Report #2. It has an extensive article in it titled: "In Bed With Garner Ted." Subtitle "America's Playboy Preacher." This was printed in 1977.
GTA had numerous sex scandals. I haven't kept up with them. The latest one was with the masseuse in Texas. She got him on video tape and filed charges against him. I think he settled with her, out of court.
So nice to hear back from you. I continue poking around in your site...no matter how long-gone I am from my Worldwide theological roots, I seem always but a heartbeat away from remembering the loss and the pain which clearly is shared by so many.
I haven't a clue if you've come across the cartoon attached (who knows, it might even be tucked away somewhere on your site) but it so perfectly portrays the power of the cult. If we wish to reclaim our lives, if we wish to help others on their journey out of the cult, THIS is the obstacle.
My parents entered the Worldwide when I was twelve, spending 25 years on the inside. I've witnessed the workings of the Worldwide organization from many vantage points -as a child, a teen, an Ambassador student, a wife, and a mother. The church has been many things to me...but it has never been my friend. Read it again. Make no mistake about it...it has never been, nor will it ever be YOUR friend either.
I assessed the church environment at the ripe age of twelve and determined that my life was over (given that the prophetic theological positions of Herbert Armstrong were true). I gave up every dream, every friendship, every fanciful childish delight to pursue a way of life that murdered my soul.
There was a time when I said I grew up in the church. Nothing could be further from the truth. Children do not grow up in the church. They deform and mutate. The amount of psychological, emotional, sexual and spiritual damage done varies from individual to individual only in matter of degree.
And it all doesn't just go away when you leave, does it. If I may, no truer words were ever said:
"The sad truth is cultish thinking is portable." (A Psycho-Sexual Analysis of Authoritarian Worldwide Church of God Polity by William D. Meyer). Sorting out the mischief done to us is a life-long process.
As I read through some of the email on your site, Ed, my heart just breaks. Thank you for making available to these victims avenues to vent, pour out their anguish in a forum where they can begin reckoning with the harm they've endured. Thank you for sparring with mindless advocates who continue to staunchly defend their pet decade of Armstrongism. Thank you for standing centered in sanity, reality, and offering support in so many helpful ways, providing sources and links to assist in the healing process.
Thanks for your message and support. You are right, it never goes away. When people say "get over it," they don't know what they are talking about. Some very great points, well made.
Thanks for your reply to my previous email regarding your web site it came as a very pleasant surprise. If you are interested I have laid out an overly long response to question "Is God evil?". You may find it interesting but if I have presumed too much in sending this long email then just delete it nothing lost, I guess. I did not send it as an enclosure because I don't know what software you are running (it was written using Microsoft Word97). If you delete this now thankyou for at least responding so well to my first email. Does the Bible demonstrate that God is Evil?
As you have shown, the Bible contains many accounts in which God has been, or appears to have been, the instigator of actions which many people regard as evil. For example, what can we make of God's destruction of all life on this planet apart from Noah and his immediate family? (Genesis 6:5,7, 7:23) Was God committing evil acts when he inflicted plagues and pestilence on the people of Egypt? (Exodus 7:3-4, 13-14, 10:1.20). These actions, and many others which God evidently initiated, or commanded of his worshippers, certainly appear to be at odds with the Bible's own claim that 'God is love'. But is this really the case, or are God's actions both understandable and acceptable?
You asked the question, "How can this God be any better than Hitler, or HWA or any of us?" It is likely that you named these men because they are two examples of countless people who have initiated untold pain and suffering. I am also inclined to include many so-called 'heroes' who, in the names of peace, justice, freedom, or even in the name of 'God', have also been responsible for untold suffering.
My question regarding those who bring about suffering and pain is, "By what right do they do these things, and by whose authority?" I am not a historian but it appears to me that the majority of the people in question are acting on their own behalf; they have neither right nor authority. Who, or what, gave Hitler the right to implement the so-called 'ethnic cleansing' that led to the murder of millions of Jews? Who, or what, gave the officials in Japan the right to bomb Pearl Harbour? In my own view these people had no more 'right' than you or me. You could say that in this respect we are no better, or no worse, than those who have committed atrocities. My view is that self-declared authority, or right, is worthless.
Some will claim that their authority comes from other people. It is said, for example, that a 'democratically elected' leader has been given the 'authority' to make important decisions, regardless of their impact on others. Yet I am certain that when people vote they hardly expect their elected leader to bring about conflict, pain, suffering and misery. However, this is exactly what some leaders do when, for example, they declare war, or choose to engage in war. If people can truly give other people authority to act as they wish then, on this same basis, I now authorise you to go out and murder anyone you choose.
Now for the most difficult question, namely, what of those people who claim that their 'right' and 'authority' come directly from a 'higher source'? In the context of our discussion the 'higher source' is God (YHWH of the Holy Bible). We both know that any person can claim to be 'authorised' by God, or to be 'directed' by God in heaven, or to have been given the 'right by God', or to be 'inspired' by God. I think that we will also agree that many of these people are lying. When I say this I do not mean that such people are 'deluded' or 'convinced', but that they are knowingly and deliberately lying. They understand, just as you and I do, that great numbers of people will pay attention to them if it appears that they are actively 'working' with God's full authority. After all, God is the most powerful being, person, or entity, in the entire Universe, right? God is superior to man in every respect, right? God created all things and so is above all things, right? Without quoting numerous scriptures I think that you will agree that these are some of the things that we learn about God from the Bible.
Let us accept, for the moment, that God is everything he claims to be, and that he is the 'Supreme Being'. In this case God clearly has the undisputed right to give people authority to act on his behalf. This is not the authority given by equals, as was the case with people giving other people authority, rather it is authority given by a real superior. We see this clearly in the case of the man Jesus who stated that his authority came directly from God in heaven (for examples refer to Matthew 28:18, John 5:22, 27, 43, 7:17-18, 8:28). As one who loves the Bible I accept Jesus' claim to authority, but I am extremely wary of other people who make the same claim. As a nominal Christian I also believe that Jesus is the perfect example of one whose authority comes directly from God in heaven. Jesus did not maim or murder his fellow human beings, neither did he order anyone else to do anything that we call 'evil'; rather he practised the very commandments which he stated were the underlying principles of all God's laws and instruction. These, as you know, are first to exercise love of God, and second to exercise love of neighbour (Matthew 22:34-40). The real problem is to understand exactly what it means to love God and to love neighbour - but perhaps this is a topic for another day. It may certainly go a long way to answering your questions about the identity of true Christians.
The preceding discourse was presented in an attempt to illustrate exactly who has any 'right', and from where a person can receive 'authority'. As far as I am concerned only God has any 'rights', and only God can give others 'authority'. If God does not exist then I assume that people will just carry on as they are until there is no one left to care.
Now we come to the crucial question, "Is God evil?" I can not dispute that some of the acts attributed to God are, by human standards, horrific. Moreover it seems that the very God who commanded his chosen nation of people not to kill others is himself guilty of 'mass murder'. Yet there are some important teachings in the Bible which may put God's actions into a different light.
As you are certainly aware the Bible teaches us, without any doubt, that the root cause of death is sin. When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God's direct command by eating some of the 'forbidden fruit' they immediately placed themselves under sentence of death. It was not the fruit that killed them - it was their disobedience of God, which is sin. I was astounded when I eventually learned, from the Bible, that the reason all people die is because all people sin (Romans 5:12, 6:23; James 1:13-15; 1 John 1:8,10). Of course there are many ways in which we can die; disease, famine, accidental injury, and so on, but the fact remains that no matter how or when we die we have already placed ourselves under sentence of death through sin. If it were not for the teaching in the Bible then I believe that all people would be in a very sorry state. All we would have to look forward to in life is everlasting death. However, as we may agree, God has provided a 'way out' for all people by means of his Son, Jesus. In other words God has stated, through his chosen Bible writers, that by means of Jesus people can receive 'everlasting life'. Again I do not want to enter into a detailed discussion on this point; I simply want to indicate that God has clearly purposed to bring an end to death in this world - though that time has clearly not yet arrived.
One interesting point here is that God, the creator of all things, certainly has the power, the authority and the right to extend peoples' lives indefinitely. Is God therefore a 'murderer' because he allows people to die? No more so, in my view, than the judge and jury who find a person guilty of a crime that calls for the death penalty. But bear in mind that an important difference between God and a judge and jury is that God does not make mistakes.
Now to God's 'evil' acts. In all cases, possibly with the exception of Job, the so-called 'evil' acts perpetrated by, or commanded by, God were carried out against his enemies. The people who lived on the earth prior to the great flood were no friends of God. The Egyptian pharaoh, who refused to allow the nation of Israel to go into the wilderness to worship the true God, was no friend of God. The people of Egypt at the time of that pharaoh were no friends of God. The Egyptian army who would have crushed and destroyed the people of Israel at the Red Sea, but who were themselves destroyed, were no friends of God. The various people and nations who opposed God's chosen people, the nation of Israel, were no friends of God. And so the list goes on. Many of those who were enemies of God were destroyed, either by direct action from God, or through chosen people who had been given authority by God. Samson might be just one example of such a person, though there are other examples given in the Bible.
Does God have the authority and right to destroy his enemies? Those who accept that God is the supreme being can not question his right, or authority, to do whatever he chooses, simply because there is no higher authority than God. But what do we make of Jesus' words when he tells us to 'love our enemies'? My view is that we are told this because we, the people of this earth, have not been given the right or the authority to destroy our personal enemies, even if we perceive them also to be enemies of God in heaven. If we assume this authority then we are, in effect, putting ourselves on the same level as God in heaven. This is why people who commit atrocities, for whatever reasons they may claim, are wrong - they have no authority, and no right, to commit such acts. Those who say they are victorious in war because they were fighting for God are either seriously mistaken or deliberately lying. Many people who present themselves as 'servants of God', and then cause untold pain and misery, are clearly not acting with any authority from God.
I am not sure whether I have made myself clear in this long reply. Obviously I am attempting to explain God's actions, not only for you, but also for myself. I do not readily accept that God is 'evil' because if he is then the entire Bible is a complete nonsense. At the outset you said that there is a lot of wisdom in the Bible, but that you have to sort out the wheat from the chaff. The only problem with this is that we have to be sure which parts of the Bible are 'wheat' and which are 'chaff'. If, for example, I start discounting this and that, accept some scriptures and reject others, or devise interpretations which suit me personally, then I am left with nothing meaningful. It seems to me that many have tried these things before and have failed dismally. Some have evidently deliberately done these things in order to satisfy their own, selfish desires.
Ed, if you have taken time to read this then I am truly thankful. Not because I think I have presented meaningful answers or even good reasoning, but because it tells me that you really care. Despite your past experiences I think that you still yearn for truth - not the man-made rubbish which we sometimes discern, but the truth that comes only from God by means of the Holy Bible.
I wish you and your family well.
I read the whole message. You are trying to defend the God of the Bible by using the Bible and assumptions from the Bible but you have not presented anything new.
Since I do not accept the Bible as any authority or as being divinely inspired, your defense doesn't particularly affect me.
Just one point: How can "God" have enemies? How is it that those that do not agree with the God of the Bible, can be designated as his enemy and therefore worthy of destruction? What a petty little baby god this must be. My advice to this god would be to GROW UP.
And I would say that people are in a sorrier state because of the Bible than they would have been without it, but that assumes that some other religious "holy book" would not turn up miraculously, "from God", with no proof other than "well, all these people believe it and they can't all be wrong" and be accepted, unproven, as God's word. And, since, in recorded history, "there are more than 20 other claims of people being invested with divine honor and claiming to be Messiahs, Saviors and Sons of God, descending from heaven, taking the forms of men, clothing themselves in human flesh, furnishing incontestable evidence of a divine origin, by various marvelous works, and superlative virtues; and finally these twenty Jesus Christs (accepting their character for the name) laid the foundation for the salvation of the world, and ascended back to heaven" (from the book: "The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You To Read"), if Christianity had not succeeded in foisting their particular book and religion off on 30 percent of the present population of the world and killing off those who disagreed, then some other religion would have.
Your presumption that "if God is evil, then the Bible is nonsense" is wrong. The bible is nonsense, at least a lot of it (it would be very difficult to write a book where everything is untrue or bad), therefore, the so called God of the bible is evil. But don't worry, this god does not even exist.
What it comes down to is: Men are evil. Men write an evil book and blame the evil on God to scare people into following them. You can sort the wheat from the chaff from this book just like you can from any other book. Try to step back from it and examine it as just a BOOK. You probably can't do that.
If there is a God at all, he is very uninterested in human beings, or so it would seem, I'm sure, to all the innocent deaths and murders done in HIS name down through the ages. And the same would be true for all the many deaths in natural events and wars where, I am sure there are many people praying for intervention, as they die, un-helped. But, I guess God is just too busy helping some Born Again Football Player make a great run or catch that wins the game so that he can PRAISE GOD on national TV and just turn my stomach inside out.
Okay, perhaps you missed my point. Forgiveness means that you are willing to give someone a clean slate. Sure, you don't have to allow them to write on it. You can leave them behind. But that is not what your site is about. Your site is about vindictiveness, revenge, and hate.
I did not judge you without hearing. I read what I could, but most of the site was not loading. The titles and descriptions were informative, though.
Your FAQ was just another example of that. Forgive us... as we forgive those who trespass against us. Remember, that goes both ways. Do you want God, for all time, to remember your sins, publish them, and hold them against you?
If you want to believe that you are acting as a historian, then take a closer look at what a historian does. They present the facts with as little bias as possible. Historians draw no judgments, the readers of history draw judgments. Historians record the good and the bad, and frankly, I doubt your ability to do so.
What it comes down to is that you are deceiving yourself if you think your web site is somehow noble, just, and right.
(notice that I am not disputing that any of your claims are true)
My original thought was that bitterness skews the perspective, and you have proven that beyond a doubt.
I would bet that you would not publish this series of letters. Especially not in a way that they would be seen or read. That would expose too much.
Well, I did publish your first message: email25.htm
Just for historical accuracy, what is your name? Seems like you have gone to just a little trouble to conceal your name, unlike some who attack me. At least they have the courage of their convictions, wrong as they may be. I can respect them, at least for that.
Why do you hide behind anonymity? My name is out there for all to see. I stand behind what I say. Why don't you do the same?
I will publish this just to show people what a coward you are but any more messages from you must include your real name.
Judging by your irrational and confused statements, and your judgementalism without basis, and your cowardice, my guess is that you are a "minister" of one of the xCG's. If not, you would be good material for one.
And, er... "DropHammer," possibly some Viagra might help you with your "problem."
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