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Everything posted by Raf

  1. So at this point it looks like I'm on the outskirts of this storm. It won't be great for us, but it could be a whole lot worse. I'm on the southeast coast of Florida, and this storm (Hermine? Ian?) Is headeded up the west coast of the state. That means a lot of wind and rain, but hurricane conditions? Ok, maybe...
  2. By the way (no pun intended), if you had told me in 2002 that 20 years from now I would be an atheist and oldiesman would be a Catholic, I'd have said you were insane.
  3. It was late August of 2012 when I confronted myself about my wavering faith. I was coming to terms with my sister's impending death (from ALS) and my son's autism diagnosis. A lot of people don't believe me, but those two issues did not lead me to doubt God. Rather, they exposed the doubt that was already in my heart. How? I remember asking people to pray for my sister, but I don't remember asking to pray for her healing. And not once did I pray for my son's deliverance from autism. Just for strategies and help coping. That's how I remember it, anyway. I could be mistaken. But I do know at some point in both those experiences, the notion of a miracle was not seriously entertained. I think one of the things people don't understand about losing faith is that it's not a decision. It's never one thing. It's a realization. Over a great deal of time I realized I was not praying the way I used to. Years of asking for something and getting nothing taught me to ask for nothing. The long, slow realization about the nature of the Bible could not be overcome. And, as a straw that broke the camel's back, my search for evidence that first century believers in a position to know for a fact that Jesus was raised went to their deaths rather than renounce that faith... turned up not a solitary shred of supporting evidence. I finally realized there was no longer any belief that I held that could qualify me as a Christian. I had to sort through my thoughts and feelings. Reject God outright? No, I would have to know EVERYTHING to know that (spoiler alert: that's bulls#!t). So I told myself I was agnostic. Then I realized that being agnostic is not incompatible with being atheist. One is a "lack of knowledge" claim. The other is a "lack of belief" claim. You could be both. Most atheists are. I eventually came to the conclusion that the agnostic/atheist dichotomy was not a discussion worth having. Most people don't subscribe to it, and you end up sounding defensive for no reason. When it comes to the existence of any god worth discussing, I am an atheist. Period. When it comes to the existence of some abstract concept of gotchagod, I'm agnostic, but only to the extent that such a god defies definition and testable attributes. Why am I not agnostic? Because Yawheh is a fictional character whose attributes changed over time according to what his creators needed for storytelling purposes, much like Superman and Captain America. He had a wife once. Israel went from recognizing many gods, of whom Yahweh was fiercely jealous, to acknowledging only one, which mad His jealousy wildly irrational. All those other gods? Oh, they didn't exist. Or they were demonstrations of Satan's power. Except Satan is an imaginary character too, whose attributes are comically vague. He bad. No good things. Accuser. Needs Yahweh's permission to murder Job's family. And Yahweh GRANTS IT. What the bloody... Anyway, back from THAT tangent. So now it's been 10 years. Now and then I feel an urge to explore some facet of what I once believed. Not often. For example, I believe the 12 are largely fictional characters. Not all of them. Peter, James and John were real. Judas was a fake. Paul (who certainly existed) refers to Jesus being seen of "the 12" not because Judas was still alive after the crucifixion, but because the story of his betrayal had not been made up yet. But they're just mental exercises at this point. My main concern with religion is that government stays out of its way and that it stays out of government's way. I guess we can say it's not a phase.
  4. Great idea, George. We can all post map screencaps when storms emerge, but this is a great way to keep us posted all the time
  5. You haven't read the site. Your assessment of its content and purpose is without value.
  6. It's honestly bullshit, Bolshevik. It's holding posters accountable for what dishonest people did with their posts. Posting on Waydale was no different than posting on GSC, which you would know if you READ THE DAMN SITE, but you won't do that because your lie depends on maintaining a false narrative of what happened there. The nerve. To go on a website patterned after Waydale, that is in many ways Waydale's legacy, and act as if Waydale was just as much a cult as TWI? I'm not gonna say what you can do with yourself, but you do have my permission to use a cucumber wrapped in barbed wire to do it.
  7. The truth doesn't bother me but your lies do. f-you right back, bro.
  8. Bolshevik, you are seriously out of line with these accusations. Someone fed you a line about Waydale and you're repeating b.s. as history. Respectfully, you haven't the slightest f'ing idea what you're talking about.
  9. Even Nicolas Cage looks like he has no flipping idea what he's doing in this movie, which scored upon release exactly one positive review out of 50 collected by Rotten Tomatoes. Kirk Cameron starred in the original as TV journalist Buck Williams (the character was a news magazine or paper reporter in the books. I forget which). Cage plays the airline pilot [mixed metaphor: airplanes don't have a helm] whose daughter Williams eventually marries in the books. In the upcoming sequel "Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist," Cage's role is being taken over by (wait for it) Kevin Sorbo (late of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and God's Not Dead: Christian Efforts to Misrepresent Just About Everything).
  10. I think they trained us to be jerks by example, but I think it could have been avoided. I did not agree with everything everyone taught, but I respected the hell out of a lot of these Corps trained "jerks."
  11. Ah, the faith blasters. One of the most blatant examples of plagiarism in the TWI canon. The hilarious thing is that outside of the context of this particular teaching, you never really heard Wierwille talking about faith blasters. The faith blasters first pop up in the Q&A section of JE Stiles' book "The Gift of the Holy Spirit," in which he posts a Q about Christians receiving false tongues or a false spirit when seeking God's gift. Stiles wrot "When people ask that question, we know that they have somewhere come in contact with one of the "faith blasters" who go about making statements which have no foundation in Scripture." Not to be confused with Wierwille's Q&A on the same topic in Receiving the Holy Spirit Today, when he answers the same question with: "When I am asked that question, I know that person has come into contact with those whom I term 'faith blasters,' who go about making statements which have no foundation in Scripture." Gotta love them faith blasters.
  12. My plan is working perfectly... Just kidding. I strongly recommend each of you exercise prayer for guidance and wisdom as you explore these issues, because in my experience the observations you're making are A. absolutely accurate, and B. part of a progression that can but need not lead to a loss of faith. I said after the great S.I.T. arguments that one need not abandon Christianity to agree that something was Biblically wrong with how Wierwille taught it and how we practiced it. Some of you agreed with me. Some did not. I'm not aware of anyone having a crisis of faith over it. Same with the observation that the Bible is not the Word of God. It's just not. It never says it is. It is not even aware of its existence as a collection of documents. Why would it be? No matter how you parse inspiration, you can't seriously believe Paul knew we would be reading his thoughts on slavery 2,000 years after he wrote a the Philemon letter. Scripture? This goes in the same collection as Leviticus? Dude, I wasn't even sober! Ok, just kidding again. Once you realize that the Bible is not the revealed Word and Will of God, some things fall into place rather easily. First and foremost, contradictions and errors no longer need to be explained. Whew! What a load off! "Given by inspiration of God" no longer has to mean "God-breathed" in the manner we were taught, but rather in the manner defined right there in the verse: profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness. That's the point of reading scripture. It's not without error. It's not without contradiction. It is for doctrine, of which reproof and correction are subsets. It is very easy to reach that point in understanding and take it a step further, from the position that it has no authority to it has no inspiration at all. I did not arrive at that conclusion (through that process). Neither should you. My rejection of the authority of Scripture did not lead to atheism. Rather, my atheism led to a rejection of the authority of scripture. I guess the relationship is symbiotic, but bear with me. For me, the progression was not "scripture has no authority, therefore Yahweh does not exist." It was the other way around: "I no longer believe Yahweh exists. As a consequence of this belief, scripture no longer has authority to me." YOU do NOT need to go down that path. You can have an entire denomination with a hundreds of millions of followers, let's call it "Catholicism," without believing that the Bible is a perfect book that is error free. The Bible is not the Word of God, but what is IS depends on where you stand. Even as I was writing this post I came to an amusing realization: If one were to accept the proposition that Weirwille WAS wrong about what it means for the Bible to be God-breathed, then you could conclude that the PFAL writings are God-breathed without suddenly having to explain dozens of actual errors and contradictions in the canon. In any event, that the Bible is not what the Bible is talking about when it talks about The Word of God should have been self evident to all of us years ago.
  13. Chronologically, in the order the books and letters of the Bible were written, the Christ who was begotten before the foundation of the world preceded the one whose existence appears to have begun when he was born of Mary. You would think it would be the other way around. Why weren't the earthly biographies/gospels first, leading to later embellishments that ultimately led to the gospel of John and the otherworldly Jesus of Paul? That's what you would expect if Wierwille were right about Jesus being "just" a man.
  14. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Billy Preston was the Fifth Beatle. Not to be confused with Bill S. Preston, Esq, who is not a lawyer. I assume it was Keanu Reeves who worried about being remembered mostly for this movie, and Alex Winter who was.
  15. Our standard practice for threads that have been around for a while has been to allow the conversation to grow organically, even when they stray from their original subject matter. But there's a difference between straying and being derailed. This conversation has become derailed, and the thread is only 10 days old. Debate Wierwille's legacy in About the Way. T-Bone is correct. This thread is supposed to be about the Trinity and whether it is an asset or a liability (with all the subtopics raised in the opening post, including whether the doctrine will make the Antichrist's job easier). Let's stick to topic. Modcat5 posting as Raf
  16. While we're at it, why do we always concentrate on the people Jeffrey Dahmer ate. He met SO MANY people he DIDN'T eat. What about them?
  17. Yahweh is the proper name of the Old Testament God. I use it interchangeably with Elohim, which is a title, not a name. I don't use Adonai because it is an even less specific title than Elohim.
  18. You make the assumption that the stories of the gospels were widely known. I submit they were not. Paul makes no reference to them at all, save the last supper. Some scholars genuinely believe he did not know the story of Judas' betrayal [which is a much simpler explanation for "he was seen of Cephas, then of the 12" than the tortured logic VPW used to prove Judas was alive and forgiven/brought back into the fold after the resurrection]. This would be its own thread and would venture into some fascinating territory, but bear with me: The gospels were not written first, and there is only the tiniest indication that Paul was aware of them. His church epistles were written first, and in them he is adamant that the gospel he's sharing came from God through Christ, not through what he learned from the other big shots in the church. This makes painfully little sense, no matter how many times you read it. Everything Paul describes about the life, death, sacrifice and resurrection of Christ is described from the spiritual perspective [the firstborn of all creation is crucified by the princes of this world, not Mary's son executed for insurrection by a church-state collusion after a sham of a trial]. It's only after Paul writes the epistles, at the earliest, that Mark sets out to write the first gospel. I think it's apparent that the original ending to Mark's gospel is lost. The ones we have are clearly fabricated, but without them the gospel stops almost mid-thought. Point is, the biography of Jesus, at least in writing, is spread years after the spiritual account of what happened spiritually. Acts can't help us because it is written after the epistles and after three of the gospels. And John's gospel introduces anecdotes whose omission from the first three gospels is utterly baffling. You mean to tell me none of the previous writers found the raising of Lazarus worth mentioning? Come on. My belief (which of course is not going to get far in this particular forum) is that the gospel accounts are a fictionalized version of what took place, designed to flesh out the background of the important part of the story: the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ. Mark tries to place Paul's Christ back into history, but by the time he writes it has become difficult to sort out which stories are [even allegedly] true and which are clearly made up. There are LOTS of stories. Mark doesn't trust or use them all. Matthew gives us a Jesus who won't shut up but won't just blurt out who and what he is. Luke does the same but changes the order and gives us a different [incompatible] birth story. Then John gives us a Jesus who won't shut up about who He is and what He means. For me, the question is: How much of the gospel Jesus is an actual historical figure, and how much of him is historical fiction? Was he born in Bethlehem (unlikely)? Was he from Nazareth (very likely)? Did he cause a disturbance at the Temple over profiteering (probably)? Do the gospels describe it accurately (almost certainly not)? Did he claim to be a messianic figure (probably)? Did he claim to be One with the Father, the Bread of Life, the Way, the Truth and the Life? Honestly, it's hard to imagine he said all those things and NONE of the first three gospel writers found it worth mentioning. John has taken Paul's Christ and the synoptic Christ and tried to fuse the two stories into one. It should be noted that while these narratives are being constructed, so are many others that were later rejected. A good percentage are just made up stories (some of them are doozies). I understand that in this forum we are taking faith for granted, but I still think it's helpful to understand that the gospels did not write themselves in a vacuum. Competing Christologies were the norm in the first century. There was no singular first century church that fractured. There were a bunch of competing churches that coalesced (or at least tried to). The ones that held Jesus to be "one" with the Creator God Yahweh eventually won out and did its damnedest to destroy any evidence of its competitors. Sure, we call them heresies now. But back then they were all on equal footing. Did the Trinity doctrine help or hinder? Historically? I don't think it did either. I think it just won (and not fair and square).
  19. I read the original post to be asking and exploring whether the Trinity doctrine has been a net asset or liability to Christianity, its purpose, mission and spread. And that's a profound question. I eventually came to the conclusion that the Trinity doctrine gives its believers an advantage in appreciating the Lordship of Christ, while rejecting the doctrine gave us an advantage in appreciating his faithfulness, obedience, commitment and sacrifice. I'm not impressed by a sinless God. I am impressed by a sinless man. I can say I certainly found it easier to believe Jesus was a man than that he was God. Too much didn't make sense, and I have to wonder how many people over the centuries have rejected Christ in their hearts because its central claim, that God became a man, was so absurd. But you could say that about a lot of beliefs. The virgin birth, for example (or virgin conception). The Great Flood. Lots of beliefs. Is the Trinity really that different? Of course, Johniam's question is also a spiritual one. He sees the trinity as spiritually harmful to those who believe it. So to agree with him is to reject the trinity, and you must disagree with him if you embrace the Trinity. Is it an asset or liability? Does believing it make you a better Christian or does it hinder your walk? Well, that depends, doesn't it? I believe the earliest Christians were not Trinitarian. Paul gives us a Jesus who is subservient to the Father. In fact, Paul speaks nothing at all about Jesus' earthly ministry [the last supper being the only real exception]. Paul is much more concerned about the spiritual aspect of Christ's ministry, the "principalities and powers" behind what took place on Earth. Jesus wasn't crucified by the Jews, the Romans, or Pilate. He was executed by "the princes of this world," which is not a reference to human beings. What's interesting, then, is that the Christ of this spiritual storyline is referred to as "the firstborn of all creation," which can be interpreted a number of ways. The way most consistent with TWI Christology is that Jesus was first... not chronologically, but in order of importance. But other Christians take it literally. Jesus being the firstborn of all creation, to the Jehovah's Witnesses, means that he was the first being created by God, and the agent by which God created everything else. Yahweh and Son, from the beginning. To Trinitarians, that is not a creation of Jesus but a begetting, and it's something that happened before there was any such thing as time. It's not something that can be explained. Just accepted. So there. So what's all this mean? I believe it demonstrates that the New Testament tells two separate Jesus Christ stories. One is down to earth, and the other is, for lack of a better word, cosmic. It becomes easy to see why the early church couldn't settle on his identity. The two stories are not compatible except when one is recognized as metaphorical from a human perspective. Unless he really is God or the first creation of God. Obviously I'm in no position to answer whether the doctrine has helped or hindered God's plan. I think BOTH stories are made up, one largely and the other entirely. But I am fascinated by the exploration of the question. Enjoy. While you can.
  20. If you were born when this movie came out, you could not drink legally when Beavis and Butthead Do America came out. Not legally anyway. Or smoke for that matter, though that didn't stop a lot of people. "I think I have a way out of this. We, uh, call the police, and we have 'em send over one of their sketch artists. And Miss Balbricker can give a description. We can put up 'Wanted' posters all over school..."
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