Catching up with the latest issues of The Good News and Tomorrow's World magazines is the next best thing to a do-it-yourself lobotomy.
The current GN, for example, includes colourful attacks on something it calls 'Darwinian Evolution.'
First up to the plate is dear old 'Super-Mario' Seiglie with a bilious article called The Rotten Apples that are Corrupting Society. Seiglie identifies five nasties in all; the other four being 'Marxist Communism', 'Freudian Psychology', the Sexual Revolution and - believe it or not - 'The Banning of God and Prayer'. It's hard to imagine exactly why he has a beef with the last one, given the tradition (which the GN still presumably upholds) of rejecting public prayer outside of their approved church services.
But wait, there's more. Noel Hornor continues the theme with Charles Darwin's Deadly Secret. According to Hornor Darwin is responsible for both World Wars, Pol Pot, and the Holocaust.
Meanwhile the leading opposition rag, Tomorrow's World, delivers yet another homophobic editorial rant by Roderick 'Spanky' Meredith, who seems to have an obsessive affinity with this subject. The old fellow then launches out into an impassioned denunciation of Protestantism (whatever that word means in the twenty-first century), citing that 20-watt luminary Alexander Hislop (The Two Babylons) to prove his points, referring to "his remarkable book", and "this most enlightening work."
Yes, all in all it's a time trip back to a simpler world. A world in which a poisonous anti-Catholic tract written in the 1850s can be regarded as a credible authority instead of a dilettantish embarrassment. A world in which science can become the scapegoat for human misery.
Two magazines doomed to irrelevance: but not without providing some unintentional humour in their death throes.
Yes, their continued reliance on Hislop is embarassing. The phrase "willful ignorance" certainly comes to mind.ReplyDelete
What is remarkable is the fact that "The Two Babylons" was written with the intention of repudiating Catholicism in an effort to prove that Protestantism was the true path. HWA co-opted the book, applying it in a way that was never intended by its author.
Why would fundamentalists embrace Two Babylons when it points out (perhaps poorly) that Christianity is syncretistic?Delete
Modern Evangelicals, like BB, would be more inclined to bash Hislop to avoid the embarrassment syncretism implies.
" "The Two Babylons" was written with the intention of repudiating Catholicism"Delete
So Armstrongites should be careful bashing Catholicism when they retain Catholic Soteriology!
If the Reformation was needed reform, why did Christian god wait 1500 years for this massive blood-drenched showdown?
(with stalemate outcome!) (because their contradictory Canon supports both arguments!)
Why did this same Christian god approve of Slavery all this time?
How shocking it is indeed to learn for the first time, right here from your post that I am a "modern evangelical"! That is certainly not how I have defined my Christianity. As for Hislop, the reason I tend to repudiate him is purely due to his poor scholarship. The syncretism of others, or of specific groups is actually irrelevant to me. Can you cite an example of any religion, or philosophy which is free from syncretistic influences? Jesus, almost by definition was syncretistic, as He validated good behavioral principles, and patterns of thought, some of which appear to have been originally stated by pagans and philosophers. Christianity was originally birthed against a backdrop of Judaism. Syncretism would appear to be one of the propensities of the human race, evidenced throughout recorded history. That is hardly embarrassing.Delete
So far as your questions go, 1) Armstrongism has become very much like the Catholics whom they have established as their enemy. 2) If you personally value the Bible as being more than toilet tissue, you can find many examples of God giving man enough rope and latitude to hang himself. Probably any number of people actually enjoyed quality lives prior to the Reformation, throughout the Dark Ages, depending on their attitudes and behavior. 3). I really believe God hates the kind of slavery that the Israelites endured, or more recently, African Americans. It appears that slavery was seen as a punishment, not the optimal human experience. But, it also seems He had some things to say about the ethics involved for both sides in cases where slavery happened to exist. There are some examples of slavery in the Bible which are more similar to the colonial concept of the indentured servant.
Am I wasting my time here by responding to your post? Are you just a salesman of atheism, looking for confrontation, and not particularly interested in civility or give and take discussion?
"..they retained most of her [Catholic] pagan doctrines" says Meredith of the Protestants. Well so does he (and BB)! Take the Mother/child Virgin Birth myth for instance: One can easily see its evolution and incorporation into the Christ myth when the Gospels are placed in chronological order - complete with mistranslation from the Greek Septuagint (one of the rich sources for the Christ myth along with Josephus, Greek classics, Egyptian/Babylonian/Roman mythology).Delete
Meredith retains one more crucial element of Catholicism: Catholic theology of Salvation contra Reformation!
OK, Minimalist, it would appear that you lean toward the "mythicist" point of view regarding Jesus. This is something that is a relatively new school of thought, and as such, is both hot and controversial in our present times. I once had a "wall" which I had constructed, and, unknowingly, the criteria used in selecting the items for that wall was that they had to disprove not only Armstrongism, but also cast a cloud of improbability over the existence of God and Jesus. This criteria ended up being no more honest than the proof-texting used by Armstrongism to support its history and doctrinal approach. I would simply suggest reading both sides of any issue, following an evidentiary trail as opposed to building a wall. You may already be doing this, I don't know. My "wall" ended up being no more than spiritual novocaine. In the end, we all try to make the best possible choice, placing our bets on what we believe will be the winning side.Delete
Meredith: Percentage of population that are Protestants has slipped from 51% to 18% in 50 years.Delete
That's not just a problem for them, but for him too (and BB)! Christianity is Crashing!
If Uncle Roddy is stating this as fact, he did not obtain his information from Pew or Gallup. Either way, for Christians the compelling issue is not whether one is "in with the in crowd". It is whether one's name is written in "the Book of Life". Obviously, we would like to see as many names as possible in that book, so declining statistics would be disturbing in that respect. However, we serve a merciful God who will hopefully be taking many factors into consideration, such as spiritual rape at the hands of false teachers.Delete
".."mythicist" .. is a relatively new school of thought .. in our present times" BBDelete
How new would you say?
I'll defer to Bart Ehrman on that, Minimalist. He dates it to certain French writers in the 1790s, such as Volney and Depuis. The German scholar, Bruno Bauer got into the act in the 1840s, had no followers, and his theories ended up costing him his job at the German University of Bonn. Amongst English speaking scholars, J.M. Robertson was the first mythicist, publishing "Christianity and Mythology" in 1900.Delete
".."mythicist" .. is a relatively new school of thought .. in our present times ... in the 1790s" BBDelete
Bob, the vast majority of scientific knowledge dates from the 1700's and forward. This includes the germ theory of disease, the physics of Newton, Einstein and many others, Madame Curie with radiation, etc. The fact that a school of thought dates from this era does not discredit it - just the opposite. This was an era where mankind began leaving behind millenia of ignorance and finally started to understand the world around them.
So by "present times" you mean early post-Enlightenment when it was finally safe to advance radical ideas like Historical Jesus skepticism, which is alive and well, but a minority view, right into the 21st century.Delete
In this connection I'm excited to discover today that Eisenman's book appears to be available free:
I'm going for it; he's like a real life Indiana Jones complete with expeditions to Qumran, picking up, it would seem, the baton from Allegro who felt the key to Christian origins lay with the Messianic Essenes overlapping the critical early decades of the Common Era.
Guys, go to Wikipedia and read the article titled "The Christ Myth". The difference between this and the brilliant discoveries of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries is that the ones Skeptic mentioned are credible and embraced by the particular communities in whose fields they occur. Serious scholars are not lining up to affirm this mythical origins of Christ theory, because the real facts have a nasty habit of getting in the way.Delete
Minimalist, who the heck is Eisenman? I am familiar with speculation on the part of some that Jesus had been raised as an Essene, but Ehrman, whom we've actually been discussing, repudiates that idea. I'm sure the Essenes had their own small part in the syncretism to which you alluded. How could they not?
Well Bob, as we both know it's practically impossible to prove something never happened. But frankly, I doubt Christ ever existed. OK, somebody existed, or maybe a couple people, on which the stories were loosely based. But a person who did and said all the things ascribed to him in the gospels? I am quite sure THAT person never existed. The gospels were written with the Septuagint Old Testament open on one side, applied with a huge dose of each anonymous writer's preconceived religious leanings. Every verse that might possibly be construed to be a "prophecy" of a coming messiah was put to use, twisted and misapplied as needed, to point to Jesus Christ. A careful reading leaves no doubt that these verses contradict each other, contradict logic and contradict history. That may have been enough to fool the mostly-illiterate, ignorant people of the past, but people in this day and age should not fall for it.Delete
Well, then, as Jerry Springer used to say as he concluded his show for that day, "Be good to yourself, and be good to one another!"Delete
Guess we've all got to place our bets one way or the other, playing in favor of what we perceive as being the odds.
Agreed, Bob. I'm not a fan of Jerry Springer, but that's good advice. I apply it in my life, to great benefit.Delete
Bets? I'm not a gambling man. But I am a skeptical man.
Yep, the "Good News" that has no good news in it. And, in "Tomorrow's World", where Armstrongites reign as kings and priests (priest-kings?) doesn't sound like good news either...ReplyDelete
It's a known fact of history that when and where religion reigns, ignorance/violence/poverty/inequality/intolerance/crime/discrimination also reigns. Hey, maybe that's why there are more people in jail (by ratio of population) in the USA than any other country in the world. Could it be that most "real" Christians are in Jail? Some 76% of the general population of the USA claim to be religious while some 99% of the prison population claim to be religious. Some 67% of Americans (who claim to be the most educated people in the world) believe that the earth is less than 10,000 years old and that evolution is "only a theory". Some 40% of Americans believe that evolution is not even science. Over one full third of the population of America (over 100 million) live in poverty in the, supposedly, richest country in the world - where approximately only 2% of the population own and control almost everything.
Corky, you really do need to get back on your medication.ReplyDelete
Speaking of medications...one of mine went from a tier one (insurance talk for cheapest co-pay) to a tier four (insurance talk for "you pay most of it, sucker"). Of course, this was to get in under the wire on high priced drugs before the Affordable Care Act keeps them from cheating people in that way. What it amounts to is that poor people will still not be able to afford their needed medications.Delete
The religion Herbert Armstrong taught was basically Protestant, so I can see a foot in the door for those adhering to Armstrongism - wanting and using The Two Babylons to prove their points, mindless of the book's lack of scholarship.ReplyDelete
And, given Seiglie's affection to cheesy popular Christian rage, I find it humorous that he's only a step away from complaining about the alleged "War on Christmas"- and quoting Sarah Palin's latest ghostwritten book in support of his outrage.
The "Good News" not only has no good news in it - it has no news at all! Similarly, "Tomorrow's World" tells us absolutely nothing about our future world. It's easy to smirk about how delusional these people are, until we reflect on the fact that we were once equally delusional. "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest" - these words of a modern sage are very true. The true believers in the WCG splits are there because they want to believe these things. Or, more accurately, they need to believe them.ReplyDelete
Great anti-religion rant, Corky; however, I think some of the statistics you quote may be exaggerated. I don't think 67% of Americans think the earth is less than 10,000 years old; however, even 10% or 20% would be lamentable but true. Also, although poverty is certainly a problem given the Bush recession, I doubt over 1/3 over Americans fall into that category. These quibbles aside, I certainly agree that religion poisons many aspects of American society.
According to a 2012 Gallup poll, 46% of Americans believe that "God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so." (This is the percentage for the general population, and results were 67% for those who identified as attending church weekly.)ReplyDelete
In the 30 years that Gallup has been asking Americans about this, the results have remained fairly consistent.
All this reminds me of the plagiarism of the original Radio Church of God and all the take offs on other ideas since. See the link below:ReplyDelete
I am a member of The Fellowship of Reconciliation, a former member of the Worldwide Church of God and I am still close to those still in the organization. The Fellowship of Reconciliation is going to be 100 years old next year and I believe HWA drew some of his beliefs from this organization as well as many others such as the Church of God, 7th Day.
I blog at www.jcooperFORpeace.org.
I was amazed none of the 23 comments dived into the part about homophobia - "Meanwhile the leading opposition rag, Tomorrow's World, delivers yet another homophobic editorial rant by Roderick 'Spanky' Meredith, who seems to have an obsessive affinity with this subject."ReplyDelete
We have later learned that the most homophobic are actually the ones most turned ON by homosexual behavior. There was a recent BBC documentary on one of our Danish TV channels that confirmed that monitoring either the male penis or the female vagina indicated that humans are indeed aroused even though they don't indicate it on their self-indication remote. What that indicates? Not that everyone is turned on, but that those who spend a lot of time on the subject are actually the ones with the biggest challenges towards it.
I am reminded of this because a once good friend held a sermonette on the subject, and spoke out against it at least four or five times in other discussions - and after he left Armstrongism he went on to live with another man...
My opinion: the Bible is clear on the matter, but man IS free to decide whether he/she will adhere to the Bible or simply life by their own personal conscience. Whosoever will claim Armstrongism was a witness of true religion has drunk off the pot which any reasonably intelligent person will be allergic towards because it doesn't make any sense.
Have a nice weekend everyone. :-)