Letter To My Baptist Friend
By Jim V
We could bat religious belief structures back and forth forever, but it's clear that we can only agree to disagree. You deserve kudos for your intelligence, writing skills and your attitude. You realize that you are in "our" homes, and your disagreement is with genuine respect. There are not many Christians who display rationality and show respect. And you are the first Christian that I know of who admitted that a person can have morals without religion.
The following is directed "to" you, but not "at" you. I will cover 3 areas.
1) Points and counterpoints.
2) Bill Fairchild's excellent and fundamental point about the focus and purpose of The Painful Truth website, and just who we are talking to and why.
3) You have not suffered enough at the hands of religion.
Points and Counterpoints: I must, and will, acknowledge the mistake in "Wooden Stakes" about Mary not knowing beforehand that God would get her pregnant. However, it's a moot point because we are discussing a myth that never happened. No one in history has ever proven the existence of Jesus Christ. There is no credible evidence of his existence, especially when you consider that Christ was a title and not a proper name. The vague references in history could easily have applied to any number of the many men who claimed to be the Messiah at that time. Since Israel was expecting and looking for a Messiah at that time, there were many, many men who tried to accommodate them.
* But the point still stands that God got a young, engaged woman pregnant. And they weren't married. Does this mean God can break his own laws?
* The point still stands that according to the book of myths, God handled an extreme, historic, one-of-a-kind event with utter callousness and even mental abuse toward Joseph. Mary was pregnant and Joseph was supposed to take Mary's word that "it" was from God?
* Christians claim that God has the right to do whatever he wants with his creation. Yet when asked why God doesn't stop wars, diseases and give us peace? Christians then drastically change excuses and then state that we are all free moral agents, that we must make our own decisions, and we have to be accountable. Huh? I think they call that circular reasoning.
* The point still stands that the biblical prophecy of Tyre failed, and Tyre was never forever desolate. Many ancient cities, including Jerusalem, have been destroyed and rebuilt countless times -just like Tyre. Except for the dire prophecy of total, eternal destruction, which never happened, Tyre is just like dozens of other ancient cities.
* The point still stands that God commanded the massacre of multiple tens of thousands of men, women, children and babies without giving them a chance. And it is impossible to say they were "evil" without warning them and giving them a chance to change. They never had so much as a single warning before they were massacred. And it is certainly impossible for any sane person to condemn thousands of "babies" as being so evil that they "must" be slaughtered with a sword.
* The point still stands that God proclaimed cows milk as clean, when it could kill you. There is not one word or hint anywhere in the book of myths that warns about the potential diseases that can exist in raw cows milk. Processing milk into cheese has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with getting rid of the diseases that can, and have, killed countless people. There is a very, very good reason why it is against the law to sell raw cows milk. And when you consider the fanatical mindset of ancient Israel, it is certain that anyone who even questioned God's proclamation would be condemned for blasphemy. Nor is there one word or hint about clean and unclean drinking water, which is about as important and critical as you can get. The ancient writers were ignorant of diseases, their causes, and the fact that diseases exist in raw cows milk and drinking water. And since they didn't know -the God they created couldn't know either.
* The point still stands that God proclaimed potentially harmful food as clean, and proclaimed food that is medically and scientifically proven to be fit for human consumption as "unclean," Again, the ancient writers were ignorant.
* The point still stands that despite "centuries" of God's personal efforts and guidance, Israel failed just like every other nation. And Israel was just as evil. If God already knew that other nations were too hard hearted and evil to save -he should have known that about Israel as well. Israel was no different from the others, and in fact, Israel was the most backward and ignorant nation of their time.
* The other points and facts in "Wooden Stakes" stand as well. If God "stirred up" David to sin by taking an illegal census of the people just so God could kill 70 thousand people -then the God of the book of myths is truly and indeed insane. Especially since God punished David for the sin that God himself caused. (Read your own words about this point.)
But like I said, my friend, we could bat this back and forth forever. All we can agree on is to disagree. I suspect that you had a euphoric sense of triumph and victory when you wrote your rebuttal to "Wooden Stakes." However, if you let it age for a while and then reread it, I also suspect you will be disappointed.
The focus and purpose of The Painful Truth website: All of us were long time members of the Worldwide Church of God under Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong, and lot of other con-artists and criminals.
We have no illusions in the least about "DE-converting" anyone or changing anyone's mind. We know that's impossible because at one time is was impossible to change any of our minds. We were in the church hook, line and sinker. And yes, the Worldwide Church Of God was indeed a hard core cult.
There may be an aspect to this that you find difficult to relate to. That being the enormous mind-control and criminally harsh doctrines of the Worldwide Church of God. Even after a person wakes up and leaves the church, it takes years to recover from the damage.
Because of the severe mind control and indoctrination, it may take years for a person to leave the church "after" they begin to have serious questions and doubts. It may take years for questions and doubts to become strong enough for the person to finally leave, and then it takes years after that to recover. It is a hideous, agonizing and long process.
The Worldwide Church Of God became mainstream, and then spawned many splinter "daughter harlots" just like in the book of Revelation. And there are still many thousands of people locked into a harsh, merciless splinter cult. But many of those people are developing serious questions and doubts -and "those" are the people we focus on and write to. Maybe we can help them pull themselves out of the bondage long before they would on their own. We know all of the buzz words, doctrines and teachings. We know exactly how the splinter harlots think and we know how dark the nightmare is.
It is very clear that you are not a cultist, and you may have difficulty understanding a severe cult religion. At the risk of exceeding the bounds of any Southern Baptists religious experiences, let me explain this. Herbert W. Armstrong claimed that he and he alone was "called" to restore God's truth before the end time. Herbert W. Armstrong absolutely, fervently demanded obedience to God's government, which was the church. And Herbert W. Armstrong loudly and vociferously clamed that "he" was the head of God's church on Earth. Herbert W. Armstrong absolutely condemned "anyone" who rebelled against God's church. Herbert W. Armstrong proclaimed that God himself would condemn and judge "anyone" who rebelled against God's church without exception.
Here's the problem, my Baptist friend. Let me attempt to explain that every splinter harlot daughter has an impossible paradox. On one hand, they "must" declare Herbert W. Armstrong as a man of God. Yet on the other hand, they absolutely cannot splinter off of the "true" church of God without being condemned as rebels against God himself. According to the words of Herbert W. Armstrong himself, it is absolutely impossible for any splinter group to exist without rebelling against God's church, authority and government. How can the splinter harlots rebel against God's government and then claim to be God's "new" true church?
Plus the fact that Herbert W. Armstrong himself rebelled against the very government of God that ordained him as a minister. Herbert W. Armstrong left the Church of God Seventh Day to start his "own" ministry, the Worldwide Church of God. He claims that God called him to start the sixth era of God's church, which was the Philadelphia era. Even if that were true, the splinter harlots today could only be the seventh era -the Laodicean era. (Trust me, my Southern Baptist friend, it is a bad, bad, horrible thing to be a Laodicean.) No other options are possible.
I will not belabor this point to you and I will simply say that there are many, many details that the splinter whores must totally ignore and make excuses for. But the excuses are in vain -they have undeniably rebelled against the government and church of God as taught by Herbert W. Armstrong's own words, doctrines and commands. In fact, Herbert W. Armstrong's last recorded words to the entire church were that our eternal salvation depended on "obeying" the next apostle and leader of God's one and only true church.
I will also point out that this website contains details, proof and documentation of over 200 failed, false and worthless prophecies of Herbert W. Armstrong and his henchmen.
Of course, anyone can instantly understand that if this is only about power, control, greed and money, the answer is very clear.
For the remainder of this, the term WCG'er refers to any and all who still cling to the insane, harsh, cult doctrines of Herbert W. Armstrong.
We have no illusions about changing your mind, and I hope you have no illusions about changing "our" minds. We've already been there, and we probably were a lot deeper into the church and religion than you can comprehend. For your own sake, I hope you can't.
Wooden Stakes was written to WCG'ers, not Southern Baptists or mainstream religion. For example; you seemed almost confused by my point about God's seed impregnating Christians. You may have even shook your head and wondered where in the hell "that" came from? God's seed impregnating his spirit-begotten children is a major, fundamental doctrine and belief of WCG'ers.
This is why we can only agree to disagree. You are not educated, experienced or qualified to analyze, answer or refute an article written to WCG'ers. Nor am I educated, experienced or qualified to write such an article to Southern Baptists. I did not spend 29 years in the Southern Baptist church, and I do not submit articles to other websites that are no longer religious. If I did write such an article to Southern Baptists, it damn sure wouldn't have a title like "Wooden Stakes Through the Bible's Heart." It would be titled something like "No footprints in the sand." Or "Not so softly and tenderly."
The WCG'ers believe the bible says one thing, and you believe the bible says totally different things. You cannot cross-compare the different doctrines and teachings, they are on totally different wave lengths and channels. In other words, you cannot analyze articles written to WCG'ers based on what "you" believe. These are two paths that never cross.
However, my friend, you did make a statement that sent up a "warning flag." You stated that you have a good job, and a bible at your side. Does that mean that every Christian on Earth with a bible at their side has a "good" job? Does that mean that the talents, skills, abilities, education and experience that "you" developed are meaningless? Would you dare trade all of your job skills and experience for a bigger bible? Keep your bible and lose all of your job skills -would you still have a "good" job?
Don't give credit to a nonexistent God for accomplishments that "you" achieved.
If you applied for an even better job, what would be in your right hand? A bible? Or a resume? And which of these two would get you a better job? What if you were one of only two applicants for a million-dollar-a-year job, and you just learned that the other applicant had a huge bible, but a blank resume?
The bible demands faith with no proof, blind obedience and your money. But when it comes to getting a job and supporting your family -you are on your own. Religion will take care of you only "after" you are dead. But while you are alive -you are on your own. God did not get you your good job -you did it yourself.
This will seem insane to any rational person, but there are "religious" people out there who really, truly believe that God will help them get a "parking space." God allowed over 40 million people to be killed in World War II, and God was asleep on September 11, but God is fully awake and alert to help someone get a parking space. (See acts of God on this website.) Herbert W. Armstrong taught that you should send up a prayer for your incidental needs.
God will shrug his shoulders at robbery, corruption, rapes, murder, serial killers, World Wars, child abuse, and massive starvation -but then he will use all of the power of the universe to get someone a good parking space at a mall?
You have not suffered enough at the hands of religion: Your religion doesn't hurt you enough or make you suffer enough to make you question and doubt. Let's face it, Southern Baptists do not conjure up an image of frothing-at-the-mouth fanatics who swing swords. I would be extremely shocked if Southern Baptists had anything to do with murdering abortion clinic doctors. (Although every group has its share of fruitcakes and loonies.)
But the harsh, brutal and destructive doctrines of Herbert W. Armstrong may shock the hell out of you. The church absolutely commanded members to pay 10% of their "gross" income as first tithes. Then the members were commanded to save back another 10% to go to holy day sites and give "generous" offerings. THEN the members were commanded, on every third and sixth year of a seven-year time cycle to pay ANOTHER 10% to the church as third tithes. In addition to all of that, members were commanded to give additional "free will" offerings, emergency funds, building funds, and the continual, never-ending "crisis in the work" offerings that required even more money. And members were told these were absolute, dogmatic commands of God and you could lose your salvation if you did not obey.
Members were left with two options; destroy themselves financially -or suffer never-ending massive guilt and terror for not obeying God's commands.
Guess what The Painful Truth website documents and proves to all WCG'ers? None of this is biblical or scriptural. No such money pyramid exists in the bible. These commands existed only in the mind of Herbert W. Armstrong. This entire financial backbreaking, crushing scheme was a fabrication of Herbert W. Armstrong. No such laws or commands exist anywhere in the bible without twisting scriptures like a pretzel.
Herbert W. Armstrong was a high school dropout who passed himself off as a biblical "scholar" after a "six-month" study of the bible at a library. A library is an excellent place to learn, but it is not an institute of higher learning. Does anyone know of a qualified scholar who educated himself at a library in six months? It takes many, many years of education and experience to become a competent scholar.
Plus the fact that Herbert W. Armstrong had absolutely no training, skills or education in the ancient Hebrew and Greek languages. We're not talking about a bible that was originally written in modern American English. Ancient Hebrew and Greek were the worst languages the bible could have possibly been written in. Any given word can have dozens of definitions, which depends on the context, and Hebrew had no vowels or any punctuation at all.
For example; I will translate the above paragraph into the format of ancient Hebrew. But this is still an English to English translation. This is kindergarten "child's-play" compared to the monumental, horrendous task of translating a long-dead language into either King James or modern English. And since this is English to English, it reads left to right.
plsthfctththwhdbslutlyntrnngskllsrdctonnthncnthbrwndgrklnggswrnttlkngbtbblthtwsrgnlly wrttnnamrcnnglshncnthbrendgrkwrthwrstlngugsthbblcldhvpssblbnwrttnnnygvnwrdcldhvdz nsfdfntnsdpndngnthcntxtndhbrwhdnvwlsrnypncttontll
Can anyone, in this English to English format translation, find the one deliberate error? Then tell me what it is. I'll bet a six-pack that even Bill Fairchild, John O, Fran or Ed can't find the flaw. (Four extremely intelligent people.) Even though you already know what it says.
Now here's a gigantic point. If I wrote a 5 page article, in Hebrew format, would you bet your eternal life on translating it accurately? English to English? But unlike the above one-paragraph example, you would not know what the 5 page article said beforehand. I could write a 5 page article on anything from Aardvarks to Zebras. (rdvrkstzbrs)
How many pages are in the Old Testament? How can you translate a dead language with no vowels and no punctuation into King James or modern English? The answer is simple -it's impossible.
Biblical experts and scholars openly admit to many thousands of mistranslations of the old testament Hebrew. (See footnote at end.) The New Testament Ancient Greek wasn't much better. Greek had many definitions of the same word and switched back and forth between reading right to left and left to right. And even ancient Latin had no spaces between words and no punctuation at all. But my question begs -how can we know how many mistranslations there really are?
In other words, the all-mighty, all-knowing, all-intelligent, omnipotent God gave his own precious, unknowable, divine truth -in languages there are physically impossible to accurately translate. And every WCG'er knows that God's "truth" was not given to the ancients -it was for us "today" -and it was written in languages that are impossible to accurately translate. (Real smart move, God -real smart.)
Sorry, I got off on a tangent.
Another vicious destructive doctrine of Herbert W. Armstrong was divorce and remarriage. Countless tens of thousands of lives, homes, and marriages were destroyed. If you were married for one month when your were 19, and then came into the church after a solid, stable marriage, with children, 20 years later -the church commanded you to separate from your "non-biblical" wife and live alone. Your family must be destroyed -and you could only be with your "original" biblical mate.
This did not occur over years, it occurred over decades. And guess what happened? One day Herbert W. Armstrong needed to get a divorce himself, so he shrugged his shoulders and "changed" the truth of God. All of a sudden, divorces were acceptable. There was not one word of remorse, guilt or apology for the thousands and thousands of people who shattered their homes, families and their very lives. (And there was not one damn bit of help to rebuild the countless thousands of lives and families that were destroyed.)
Although I did get the following statement from Bill regarding this doctrinal change. I heard that pastor-ranked Brian Knowles wrote a letter of apology around the spring of 1974 to every person whom he had ever counseled under the earlier "teaching" and had forced to split up. Also I heard that he said at that time that he no longer considered himself to be a minister of Jesus Christ but rather a minister of Herbert W. Armstrong. He is the only minister I ever heard of in those days who apologized. Certainly Herbert W. Armstrong never did.
By the way, Herbert W. Armstrong's self-serving, self-proclaimed "new truth" from God about divorce cost the tithe-payers 5 million dollars at the very least! (Otherwise, his ex-wife, Ramona, would have spilled her guts about Herbert W. Armstrong's incestuous relations with his own daughter, Dorothy, for 10 years.) Even Herbert W. Armstrong's surviving son, GTA, knew about this and confirmed it. David Robinson blew the lid off of Herbert W. Armstrong's10 years of incest in his book, "The Tangled Web."
All of the suffering, torment and thousands of shattered families -was for nothing. The doctrine was simply changed at a whim -and that was that.
An even greater insanity was the doctrine of getting medical care. When I was 19 years old, I heard Dick Morris, a deacon of the Lakeland, FL congregation with my own ears. He screamed at the congregation that "every" doctor on Earth was a priest of Satan, and that "every" hospital on Earth was a "Temple" of Satan. (This was at the Lakeland Garden Club.)
Members were command to have faith in God, who is our only healer. Medical help was a lack of faith and an abomination to God.
Many people died because of lack of medical care -and the ministers of the church were "commanded" to lie, deny and hold the church blameless when one of the "sheep" died -especially if it was a child. All of this is documented on The Painful Truth website in the Ambassador Reports.
Now for the sickest and most insane part of this...
When Herbert W. Armstrong's eldest son, Richard, was critically injured in an auto accident, his son received only the minimum of medical care -and his son died. When Herbert W. Armstrong's own wife was critically sick because of a life-long medical problem that Herbert W. Armstrong declared she was healed off -she received only minimal medical care -and she died. But when Herbert W. Armstrong himself became seriously ill -he changed the church doctrine -and then received the best round-the-clock medical care that the tithe-payers money could buy.
Countless thousands of people suffered horribly, and even died -all for nothing. The doctrine was simply changed at the personal whim, and personal needs, of Herbert W. Armstrong.
There were, and are, other hideous doctrines -if your job required you to work on the "Sabbath" -you were commanded to lose your job and even your career. It did not matter what it cost you -your home, your family, or your future. You were commanded to obey -and then suffer in "faith."
If I recall correctly, there could be as many as 22 holy days that were commanded to be kept during the year. You were commanded to be there -regardless of your wife, family, boss, job or career.
I ask you a question, my friend -have you suffered because of your religion? And I ask you another question...
Do you think you are possibly qualified to answer, analyze, refute and give advice on articles written to WCG'ers? (This website is for WCG'ers -not Southern Baptists.)
We cannot possibly change your mind -we already know that. But maybe -just maybe -you can understand us and our suffering a little better. Maybe you can now understand enough to know that your religious belief structure does not fit WCG'ers belief structure...
I have made this mild, my friend, else you would think me insane.
Jim V [email protected]
Footnote: Bishop Lowth mentions no less than "between seven and eight hundred errors" in his New Translation of the Prophet Isaiah.
Bishop Horsley, "no less than one hundred and twenty variations" in the small book of the Prophet Hosea, which only contains fourteen chapters.
Newman has also his work of "ten thousand mistranslations" of the Old Testament before the world.
Dr. Conquest has published his English Bible with "twenty-thousand emendations and variations from the common version," which is now before the public.
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