Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Thiel and the Racism behind BI

Bob Thiel certainly isn't representative of all the various splinter groups from the former Worldwide Church of God, but having a lot less nous, tact and subtlety that most of the smarter leaders in larger sects he tends to articulate what other groups tacitly endorse or encourage, though not in an overt way.

Bob the self-proclaimed prophet writes thus:
Studies have come out showing what many of us have observed, the USA is becoming less and less white, non-Hispanic, and if the trend continues the USA will no longer have a white, non-Hispanic majority... Those of us who understand that the USA was essentially given to the descendants of Joseph’s son Manasseh as part of the blessings that were promised to Joseph (Genesis 48:17-19; see also Anglo – America in Prophecy), also realize that getting non-Manassites in the land was also prophesied if the nation would not obey God...
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
[T]here are various biblical prophecies that seem to refer to the descendants of Manasseh as Samaria (e.g. Isaiah 9:8-12,21; see also Anglo – America in Prophecy).  Samaria was where Manasseh was based in ancient Israel and Samaria ended up being a land that was full of mixed people where the majority was no longer Manassite nor Israelite.
We are also seeing that type of “Samaritization” happening in the USA.
Now, it should be mentioned I do not expect that the USA will last until 2044, which is when there is projected to be no white majority.
If there is anyone out there who is under the illusion that British-Israelism isn't inherently racist, Bob's vile nonsense is clear evidence to the contrary. Groups like the United Church of God may have dampened down the rhetoric, but the essential teaching remains the same. BI is an Anglo wet dream inherited from the imperialism and jingoism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, racist to the very core. The American version championed by followers of the late Herbert Armstrong is a particularly unpleasant mutated strain that plays on irrational fear and overwhelming ignorance.

Bob doesn't expect the United States to be around in 2044. Apparently he learned nothing from the prophetic fiasco of 1972. My prediction is that it will be Bob and his gullible followers who will long since have disappeared, all fantasies unfulfilled, well short of that date. Hopefully along with all forms of BI Bullgeschichte.

God speed that day.

22 comments:

  1. Setting aside the sociological considerations, the biological foundation for this racism does not hold up. There is no genetic difference between the people of Britain and the people derived from them in the colonies. In other words, there is no Ephraim and Manasseh as Armstrongites model this. This is a fiction and the science of genetics supports the conclusion that it is a fiction. One may also look at the migration records of families to the colonies to understand that there is no distinction across the British derived peoples that permits an identification as Ephraim or Manasseh.

    Samaria was not a province of mxed people racially (the mixing that Thiel suggests). They may have been mixed culturally or religiously. All these people were haplogroup J. If you were to put some Samaritans of any stripe in a police line up with Jews, you would not be able to tell the difference.

    The Hispanics have long been a bĂȘte noire for Armstrongites. I remember in the days of WCG segregation that there was a separate "Spanish Fun Show" at the Feast of Tabernacles at Big Sandy. I remember a Hispanic faculty member at Big Sandy who wanted to marry a white secretary and this marriage was forbidden. He looked entirely European. Note that Thiel wants to exclude the Hispanics from the white count which is simplistic.

    Genetically, the "average" Hispanic on the Iberian peninsula is 70% Celtic, 20% Jewish, 9% Moorish and 1% Arabic. The Moors are a Berber people and closely resemble other Mediterranean people. They are not sub-Saharan Blacks. This mistake is derived from the fact that in the Shakespearean play Othello, a Black is always cast in the role of the Moor. The Sephardic Jews have lived on the Iberian peninsula since ancient times and have pretty thoroughly mixed with the population there. The fact is the Spanish people of Iberia have a greater claim to genuine Israelitish ancestry than anyone from the British Isles. The new world Hispanics are, of course, mixed with Amerindian in some cases.

    Because the Hispanics of Iberia are predominately Celtic, the haplogroup R1b occurs among them with predominating frequency. This is the same haplogroup as the people of Britain. The Iberians are just a southern, darker branch of the same people in Britain. (Even in Hoeh's esoteric historical analyses of Irish history, the Milesians Scots migrate to north Britain from Spain.) The highest frequency of R1b is found among the Welsh and the Basques. Oddly, I heard GTA suggest one time that the people of Argentina were Israelites which certainly goes against the grain of accepted WCG policy.

    Sorry that I have written so much on this but BI is such a lame idea. But then again, resetting the end of the age to 2044, the time of the racial apocalypse, makes sense if you want to have time to play the fear card and generate tithe revenues. Perhaps people should be cautious about Thiel. That is a German name and he is no doubt an Assyrian - no friend of Israel. And David Robinson told a bunch of us after Spokesman Club in Tyler, Texas that the many problems with the WCG at that time were caused by the "German element" in the WCG ministry. A word to the wise.

    -- Neotherm



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    1. I reckon that some people just don't yet "get it" that Assyria doesn't exist as a country anymore nor do they realize that Assyrians are Semitic while the Germans are Aryan people. I suppose it's like some people who think that straight people can just one day decide to be gay and vice versa. These people think that Semites can just one day decide to be Aryan. Takes all kinds to make a world, I reckon, we even have room for crazy people...unless, of course, they decide to be sane one day and the asylum is emptied of its residents...

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  2. US&BC has slipped to #31 on UCG's booklet list. We will continue to monitor this indicator.

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  3. UCG is on the threshold of delicately dropping British Israelism this year as it is preventing growth in white-minority American cities.
    Over at Living the booklet is at #21 - weak but still surviving.
    At Pack's RCG, it's holding at a strong #2 position - damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

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  4. Those who think that the UCG is dropping British Israelism this year need to look at their publications: Case in point the latest Good News for March - April 2015. Note the article 2015 - A Year of Triumph or Trial for America?:

    “Moses’ warning to ancient Israel is especially relevant to 21st-century America. Read it in Deuteronomy 28, where God promised blessings for obedience and curses for violating His laws. God dealt patiently with ancient Israel, and He will deal patiently with us today—but only to a point. Has America passed, or is it about to pass, that point of no return?”

    British Israelism is there in spades and isn’t going to go away, even though it is covered up.

    Now, yes, British Israelism is racist, but there's an even more important component to it: Herbert Armstrong described it as "The Key to Prophecy". In fact, he was so insistent that in the 1950s, no one could be baptized into the Radio Church of God without accepting it. The think is about British Israelism is that it is the key to false prophecy and has produced a lot of false prophets. Armstrongism would not be Armstrongism without it -- prophecy that the United States and British Commonwealth are lost tribes of Israel is so embedded in the religion that it can't exist without it. Armstrongism is for prophecy buffs who just have to have the speculation of the book of Revelation.

    Of course, we know where this all leads. For those who aren't clued in quite yet, I highly recommend, 1975 in Prophecy.

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    1. It seems the UCG quote is very clever, giving Moses' warning a generic character for outside readers while wrapping it in BI phrases to appease the insider morons.

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  5. I find it disturbing that BI is considered by some of you as "inherently racist". The very definition of racism suggests that one race is somehow superior to another. We now know through science, that there really is no such thing as "race", per se. All humans are genetically the same. The theory of British-Israelism merely states that one group of people is favored by God, as a result of a promise that God made to a certain man. It does not suggest that Anglos have any inherent superior characteristics over anyone else. In fact, God implies the opposite!

    The Jews claim openly that THEY are God's "chosen people", and have been for centuries. Is that a racist claim? I don't see anyone here criticizing them over this well-known assertion.

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  6. BI is an extraordinarily useful tool to Armstrongism on many levels. In fact, its usefulness is uncanny. It appeals directly to people of the appropriate ethnic background. One day they are nobody and the next day they are one of God's chosen people because they heard the BI message. This is a powerful hook, a great appeal to vanity, a profoundly effective marketing ploy. It is on the same par as Hitler telling the German people they were superior to all other peoples.

    Another valuable feature of BI is that it permits the dabblers in prophecy to focus many calamitous future events on the US and UK. The fear card has a
    lucrative pay off.

    Many other such observations can be made but, in short, this valuable marketing strategy will always be defended, in spite of scientific evidence that shows BI to be profound nonsense. The thrust of the gospels is the breaking down of the barrier between Jews and Gentiles within the context of a global New Testament. Yet Armstrongism preaches a different gospel that is focused on making that barrier rigid and unyielding. Even though this is not preached from their pulpits in that way, it is a racism encouraged by practice, especially among some Armstrongite ministers from the deep South that I could mention but probably don't need to.

    The domino effect is this: If BI is rejected then predictive prophecy must be rejected. Then if predictive prophecy is rejected, the Armstrongite gospel which is nothing more than predictive prophecy must be discarded. If all of this is discarded then HWA has to be viewed as a heretic. At that point Armstrongism becomes extinct.

    Not a likely chain of events considering the number of people who profit from this religious infrastructure.

    -- Neotherm

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    1. Neo, I agree with you 100%. However, I would take it a step farther. Everything you say about BI applies equally well to using the Bible as the inspired word of God. It is and has always been an extraordinarily useful tool to Armstrongism on many levels. In fact, not just Armstrongism, but to all flavors of Christianity and Judaism today. Indeed, it served the same purpose for the priests, prophets and other self-declared holy men back in the days of ancient Israel.

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  7. well Neo, let's just extrapolate that whole line of thinking further out, and throw the baby out with the bathwater!......ALL Biblical prophecy is totally bogus and has no connection to the present day. What a relief to think that! This means, of course, that the human race is headed for total extinction in the near future due to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

    We don't have to worry about God intervening to save us. Whew!!

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    1. "ALL Biblical prophecy is totally bogus". Exactly right, Larry. Nobody knows the future.

      "This means, of course, that the human race is headed for total extinction in the near future". Exactly wrong, Larry. This statement demonstrates a negative mindset and a lack of understanding of the long-term historical trend.

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    2. No Skeptic, it demonstrates a realistic understanding of history and human nature. The future IS predictable in some respects, and that is what should scare you....

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    3. Larry, clearly your opinion and mine differ. But why stop with opinions? May I suggest a book that was featured on this site several months ago? "The Better Angels of Our Nature, by Steven Pinker cites trends supported by evidence, documentation and proof of the long-term trend of decreasing violence by mankind upon planet earth. Why not give it a read? It might surprise you.

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  8. While BI has much in common with other unfounded beliefs such as a flat earth or the moon being composed of cheese, it differs from the idea of God. Scientific investigation can disprove BI or the flat earth but it can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God. Here we enter into the area of belief and faith. I believe in God as a matter of experiential faith. In some forms of atheism, which I consider also to be a religion albeit godless, the adherents believe as an article of faith in the existence of many universes. This permits them to assert the anthropic principle as an explanation for the highly intricate design of the universe. Science cannot, however, prove the existence of any other universe but our own. It is fanciful to believe that religion is founded on belief and atheism is founded on science.

    -- Neotherm

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  9. British-Israelism = the doctrine that white people have entitlement to have taken and to keep the best natural resources of the world.

    When you boil it down, that's what its about, underneath the rhetoric.

    "See all this wealth in North America (and South Africa et al)? God gave it to us white people--by divine entitlement. It was not our choice or doing. It was God's choice and God’s material blessing on us (not you, unless you become one of us or work with us and benefit too). That is why we late-comers own this wealth in what was your native land, and rightly so, and why you do not. But don't you worry--God gave us all of these bountiful natural resources (that our ancestors obtained by stealing and massacring your people) to administer in everyone's best interests and greatest good for the best interests of all.”

    Imperial ideology in the name of God, pure and simple.

    It is no different than slave-owners and slave-owner wannabes in slavery days hearing pro-slavery sermons directly out of the Bible. It is the same thing, an old, old story going far back in time ... some people claiming xyz reasons why they have rights to other people’s wealth and fruits of their labor and their natural resources and land.

    As for Larry's question concerning whether the Jewish claim to be the "chosen people" is racist, raised as an argument (by analogy) that British-Israelism need not necessarily be racist, here is my answer to that: Setting apart the issue that British-Israelism is not true--setting that aside--I would say the Jewish claim is not inherently racist depending on how "chosen" is interpreted (chosen to serve, chosen to bring light to the nations, chosen to be an example … every child is chosen, special, that is dignity, that is good). It is when "chosen people" crosses the line to claims of title to land, claims to resources, claims to legitimization of conquest, domination and dispossession of other peoples, then it becomes racist. I do not believe secular Zionism, which is simply a variant form of nationalism, was inherently or necessarily racist, but I believe religious Zionism probably is (the secular version unfortunately has played out in racist ways in reality as well). Unlike the wide range of historic meanings discussed by rabbis concerning the meaning of "chosen people" (one thinks of Fiddler on the Roof and the plaintive cry to God: "Couldn't you choose someone else once in a while?"), the meaning of British-Israelism in the Church of God understanding is relentlessly defined (decades of Plain Truth articles as exhibits here) in terms of divine right to natural resources, economic might, victory in overseas wars, and legitimacy of empire, other language for "might makes right" ideology justified in the name of God. Do you see any different or other core message of British-Israelism in its Church of God form than that? Is that a core message you support in your heart of hearts?

    Greg D.

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    1. Greg D.: James Michener in his novel The Covenant points out that the Dutch used the OT example of the extermination or expulsion of the Canaanites as justification for subduing and possessing the land of South Africa. Michener, being a Quaker, no doubt was very incensed by such ideas. But I do not know if the Dutch Reformed Church, like the WCG, in reality advocated this approach. Perhaps, Michener took poetic license.

      I believe that BI was especially popular in the WCG because if retroactively justified some of the more blatant sins of the United States. So it has a strong patriotic element. Suddenly, looking through BI lenses, slavery wasn't really bad. It was what God intended for the dark-skinned people and our founding fathers were just following the divine imperative. Suddenly, the extermination of many Native American tribes and the great diminishing of others wasn't really bad. The conclusion then is that we can be proud of our ancestors after all. They were good conscientious Israelites. I heard a man brag in Spokesman Club back in the Seventies about his pride in the fact that his ancestors fought and killed Native Americans. It was a readily received by his audience including the WCG ministers in attendance. At the same time, the increased sensitivity of many American young people to the plight of minorities in the US at that time was widely regarded in the WCG as a plot being executed by the forces of evil to destroy Israel.

      The Jews are caught between a rock and a hard spot. They must be defensive to fend off attack, which comes frequently for them, and this defensiveness may be seen as racism. On the other hand, they are great supporters of humanitarian causes - like the Quakers. Jewish guilt is legendary.

      Oddly, I encountered in my thirty years in the WCG very few lay members who even spoke about BI. I especially never heard any women talk about it. In a congregation of 500, you might find two or three men who strutted around like White Supremacists spreading the gospel of racism. My guess is that it was a view that afflicted ordained people more than anyone else.

      -- Neotherm

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  10. In the aftermath of all the (false) prophecy failures, and in attempting to make sense of it all, It has become obvious that it is possible to preach the gospel of the Kingdom while being honest and telling everyone that an apocalypse is portrayed in the Bible, and could happen within our lifetimes, or not. We just don't know. There is no need to falsely claim that English speaking people are the modern Israelites who will be punished by the Germans, or modern Assyrians, and that this is imminent and practically guaranteed to take place in our lifetimes. Making all of these false claims is a salesman's or advertising man's technique to create a sense of urgency within people so that they will make irrational and foolish decisions in the salesman's favor. It also doesn't hurt the salesman's cause to make people feel as if they are on trial every day, and if they don't do exactly as the salesman says, they can still lose out. Plain and simple, that is duress. Anything that anyone does while under duress is questionable, at best. It doesn't indicate any love, character or sincerity, just instinctive and robotic conformity. It is also part and parcel of all the enforcement activity within the church, the censorship, and the regulation of matters of personal taste.

    Having said that, any tool or technique is capable of being used effectively, or in unskilled hands, can fall flat, or fail. HWA used these techniques very masterfully to rob people of their financial resources as well as large portions of their lives. He was a religious version of Bernie Madoff. Thiel is more like a penny ante minor street hustler. If he has deep pockets from his massage parlor, he may be able to go on indefinitely, whether or not he ever becomes effective. If his funds are limited, and if he doesn't grow some skills, he'll eventually disappear.

    You can try to explain it away, but I don't know how you can preach British Israelism without it coming off that God is a racist. There is actually better theology. Paul says that Christians are the new Israelites and heirs to the blessings. This is what non-sabbatarian Christians preach, so why couldn't sabbatarian Christians take that same approach? It's still not perfect, if you emphasize it too much, because it can smack of elitism. But at least if you aren't making a favored or ideal group out of one ethnicity, all others who see something in the theology and want to be part of the group aren't going to be made to feel less than.

    Unfortunately, when someone is thought to be a quasi-Biblical figure, almost an example of theophany, his followers don't consider changes to his teachings to be improvements, they misapply the verse that speaks of holding on to the faith once delivered. That is what makes false teachers detestable to us here, and to our mentors upstairs.

    BB

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  11. It should be noted that there is a full spectrum of Anglo-Israelism and this is exposed by Donna Kossy in her book, "Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief" (which you can still get through Amazon.com at a reasonable price) in Chapter 3: There is a great deal of significant racism, including anti-Semitism! Some people assume that the United States and British Commonwealth are the REAL Israelites and the Jews are fakes!

    British Israelism isn't just a benign idea, either. At BritishIsraelism.com in "The Spectacular Failure of British Israelism" I tell the horrible sad story of Randy Weaver. The basis of the tragedy was his believe in British Israelism, which made him a separatist. It would have been OK, but the United States Government got involved. His 14 year old son and his wife died in the shootout. The Feds had to dole out $3.1 million in damages.

    You never know where British Israelism beliefs might end up or who they may influence. Timothy McVeigh cited Ruby Ridge in his own attack in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

    The British Israelism society considers British Israelism benign (and inspiring). They are nuts. All we have to do is take a look at Banned! for the latest outrageous bad behavior of Armstrongists to see how corrupting an influence British Israelism has been: British Israelism was "the key to prophecy" which caused people to think that Armstrong was a prophet of God, and, hence, had power and authority from God. This 19th Century religious imperialism has now extended into most of the 700+ sects of the cult, with the resulting oppression and sometimes less than outrageous neglect. It is Aristocracy at its unfinest.

    British Israelism: It seemed like a benign harmless idea, but it has blossomed into something pervasive and really ugly in the ACoGs, thanks to Herbert Armstrong. And according to Donna Kossy, Herbert Armstrong is a kook.

    I do wish the Armstrongists would try sanity.

    They've tried everything else.

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  12. I just saw a CNN special this weekend on David Koresh and the Waco Siege. I was fascinated at how Vernon Howell degenerated into "David Koresh." I thought about the origins of Armstrongism and its wacky ideas such as BI. It seems to all go back to the psychological needs of a single person as in the case of the first cousins to the WCG, the Branch Davidians.

    A man sat in a library in Des Moines, Iowa and read about religion and philosophy. Later he would claim that he was actually taught in that venue by Jesus Himself - a claim that would be under normal circumstances regarded as preposterous by most. Although HWA has stated that he never claimed to be an Apostle and only that others recognized him as such, he did claim the Apostle-level experience of having been taught directly by Jesus like the Apostle Paul.

    HWA teachings were what God Himself taught to HWA and had the full force of anything in the Biblical canon. Koresh thought he was a messianic figure. He claimed to be the one cited in the book of revelation as the person worthy to open the seven seals. Although Koresh claimed while alive and his followers claimed after his death that he never said he was the Messiah or Christ, his portrayal of his role in opening the seven seals makes this assertion indirectly. The Branch Davidians are being disingenuous. Similar thinking led HWA to assert indirectly and subtly that he was an Apostle.

    Mind you, HWA did not assert that he sat down and had a good Bible Study in the Des Moines Library and came to realize a few things. He claimed instead to have been directly instructed by Christ. Consequently, the word he received was God-generated like the golden tablets of Joseph Smith.

    In the aftermath of the debacle of Armstrongism, we must ask ourselves what psychology drove this dubious claim of divine instruction. All the snide little jokes aside, Vernon Howell and Herbert Armstrong were both driven by the same psychological needs. It was the need "to be special." I think this need exists in all of us but perhaps not at a pathological level. Many of the looney-toon theological ideas of Armstrongism, such as British-Israelism, are designed to somehow feed that voracious need.

    The reason this odd belief is not a joke is that it deceived and damaged many of the people who contribute to this blog. I am amazed when I consider that I used to believe in BI. I thought it was credible history that the academics could not understand. It made me feel "special" just like HWA felt "special" for having been taught be none other than Jesus himself. Perhaps, all the people in the small group that followed him had these same psychological needs.

    What starts as one person's desperate psychological need can lead to some nasty outcomes. I was in the Field House in Big Sandy when HWA pointed out that a young minister had come to him and explained that HWA was the messenger to the Philadelphian Era as described in the book of revelation chapter 3. (I believe before it had always been taught that this messenger was an angel.) HWA seemed very pleased with this and in a lifted voice said that the young minister probably needed to be ordained an evangelist because of this inspired discovery. I do not know how others in the audience felt, but I felt that if you wanted to be an evangelist the right step to take was to stroke HWA's ego.

    There are Branch Davidians who still feel that Koresh's "theology" was correct. There will no doubt always be people with predisposing psychological needs who will believe that HWA is correct. Hence, BI will never in their minds succumb to science and genetics.

    -- Neotherm

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  13. PCG recently have been moaning about immigrants coming into America. One of their recent magazine issues has a cover insinuating that the United States is "Borderless".

    There are Hispanics and African Americans within PCG. I wonder what they must think hearing talk like that from PCG's leaders?

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    1. Yes. We have been a nation of immigrants for hundreds of years now. At what point will the ACOGs realize that even if Anglo Saxons had been the descendants of Manasseh and Ephraim, the USA bears greater similarity to the Samaritans than it does to modern day Israel. That fact is a big nail in the British Israel coffin!

      BB

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