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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Philadelphia COG Newspaper Advertisement

This advertisement appeared in a New Zealand newspaper on Saturday January 31. (You can click on it for a larger image.)

It is disappointing that there is some deception in the advertisement. There isn't any indication that the New Zealand organization is affiliated to the Philadelphia Church of God. That would seem to be obvious (to you and me!) when you see that the book Raising the Ruins is written by Stephen Flurry (son of Gerald Flurry, pastor general of PCG), and the Trumpet magazine (supplied as a free subscription) is published by the PCG.

Overall it seems very much like a thinly disguised recruitment drive for the church. There is further disappointment to be found in the coupon. The last sentence is, "I understand this is provided as a free educational service in the public interest and there is never any cost or obligation." Ex-COG people would no doubt argue that it can't be an 'educational' service in the true (secular) sense of the word, and 'in the public interest' is highly debatable to say the least! The phrase 'never any cost or obligation' would only apply to the book and magazine. We know very well that after new people have been indoctrinated there are regular substantial costs or tithes that have to be paid. In some cases, people cannot afford to pay the tithes, and they lose their life-savings in the process.

If you are thinking about being recruited by the PCG, or similar churches, please check these blog posts :-
Armstrongism/Church of God/Ronald Weinland
WCG splinters - modern day cults ??
Key Points About Cults

Monday, January 26, 2009

2012 - The End or A New Beginning?

NOTE: This post originally included an extract from this article :-

     2012 - The End of the World, or a New Beginning?
     by Michael M. Martino Jr., Long Island Press, Jan 7, 2009.

The article no longer exists at the Long Island Press website, and I have decided to delete the extract because it was too graphic for people who have been traumatized by the 2012 hoax. When I wrote the post it was unknown just how much people (especially children and teenagers) would be affected.

The article investigated many areas of the 2012 and Mayan calendar claims.

The descriptions in the article seemed very much like the Apocalypse scenes described by various religious leaders. It was actually one person's prediction for the 'disasters' doomsayers think will begin on December 21, 2012. Is it perhaps a coincidence that the religious scenes and the 2012 scenes are very similar? Maybe the 2012 video, book, and website publishers are not as secular as they like to think -- maybe they are the leaders of a new pseudo-religious movement? Stranger things have happened. The leaders (as described in the article, and as seen in documentaries) are definitely very enthusiastic about their favorite subject - despite having zero evidence to backup their claims. The movement could be described as being largely based on blind faith. [.. to believe in something without having any evidence.] The audience for the claims and theories seem to accept them as automatically being proved, and there appears to be no need for scientific 'peer' reviews, or scientific debates and discussion of alternative theories. (The title of the article is very suspicious - "2012 — The End of the World, or A New Beginning?". Surely that is just another way of describing the favorable changes that are expected during the Second Coming.)


A good example of the deception, invalid claims, and writing that makes no sense can be found on one of the 2012 websites :- http://www.end-of-the-world-2012.com/
"The fact, that the Maya possessed an advanced calendar system and were very experienced in astronomy is undisputed. Many written finds and also structure, arrangement and adjustment of some Mayan buildings which were excavated in the jungles of Mexico and Central America proof [sic] that. Many Mayan prophecies can be assigned to real events in world history, or rather can be interpreted in such a way. Even respectable NASA scientists predict extremely strong solar storms in 2012, which could have influence to the geomagnetic earth equilibrium and even could release a pole reversal of the magnetic fields. If the earth begins to turn in the opposite direction enormous natural catastrophes are inevitable. According to the prediction of the Maya calendar the apocalypse will happen on the 21th of December 2012."

Be wary of any interpretations. Nobody knows if the interpretations are correct, without having evidence that proves them beyond reasonable doubt.
NASA scientists have predicted that solar activity will increase in [ 2013 ] because it is part of the long established 11 year cycle. There isn't any evidence that the activity will be any worse than during all of the countless previous cycles. (Note that the Earth is still very much 'alive'!)
A NASA senior scientist has said that Earth's "magnetic field is plenty strong enough to protect us and is very unlikely to decline (or reverse) for thousands of years."
He has also said that, "The idea of a 'pole shift' is also unfounded. Most people seem to mean a rapid change in the rotational pole of the Earth, but this is something that has never happened and never will. Some people are confusing this with the reversal of the magnetic poles on Earth, which does take place regularly, every few hundred thousand years. But there is no evidence that this might happen soon, and even if it did, the magnetic shift would be gradual and there would probably be no consequences on the planet, certainly nothing catastrophic."
Suggesting that the Earth could begin to turn in the opposite direction is just nonsense, and shows zero understanding of physics.
Also, please understand that the Mayan calendar doesn't predict anything! (other than the start of a new cycle).
As Karl Kruszelnicki writes:
"…when a calendar comes to the end of a cycle, it just rolls over into the next cycle. In our Western society, every year 31 December is followed, not by the End of the World, but by 1 January. So in the Mayan calendar will be followed by - or good-ol' 22 December 2012, with only a few shopping days left to Christmas." - Excerpt from Dr Karl's "Great Moments in Science"..

"The fact that these stories about 2012 are not discussed in science journals, or reported at science meetings ... is a strong warning that Nibiru and pole shift and the like are not real. They represent a hoax, plain and simple."
(NASA senior scientist, David Morrison.)

An Apocalypse article is now showing on CNN.com !
Apocalypse in 2012? Date spawns theories, film

Also, The Times (South Africa) :-
Your Guess is as Good as Mayan

Wikipedia article :-
2012 Doomsday Prediction

What the Ancient Maya Tell Us About 2012 (very definitive) .

Saturday, January 24, 2009

'The End is Coming' - 3 Zits cartoons

Cartoonists and comedians can find humor in most things - including the end-times.
At the links below you can find three Zits cartoons about 'the end' and the Mayan calendar.
(Sorry, I can't reproduce them here without paying a fee.)

01/15/2009 (--- the geometry quiz)
.. reproduced on cartoonistgroup.com _here_

01/16/2009 (--- dating their checks)
.. reproduced on cartoonistgroup.com _here_

01/17/2009 (--- chaos or maybe not)
.. reproduced on cartoonistgroup.com _here_

Zits cartoons are also on: http://www.arcamax.com/zits
The *official site (by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman) is _here_

By the way, there isn't any evidence that the Mayans predicted anything bad would occur at the end of the cycle of their 'long-count' calendar. Most Mayan archaeo-astronomers say that the calendar was designed to reset to after it reaches --- others say it will continue to (approximately 8000 AD) and then reset, without any problems.
More information can be found in the last part of this post :-

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Predicted Disasters Didn't Prevent Inauguration

At 12:05pm Washington time (January 20, 2009), Mr Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States of America. He is unlikely to have been aware that at least two self-appointed prophets said that he would not become the president! An exact quote is: "no new president will take office in January."

The prophecy was made by Ronald Weinland, the pastor of the 'Church of God - Preparing for the Kingdom of God' (COG-PKG). It is a unitarian church based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The pastor later claimed that it wasn't a prophecy! Perhaps he meant to say that he had made a mistake, and he wasn't listening to a deity when he first thought of it. (By the way, a number of his other prophecies have not come true either. He has had to invent a new timeline.)

Another self-appointed prophet who has made similar prophecies is Leland Freeborn from Parowan in Utah. Apparently he is known as the 'Parowan Prophet' and has about 12 followers (known as 'survivalists'). The original Los Angeles Times article is _here_. He said on his Internet home page in August that if Mr Obama lost the election there would be 'riots' ... After the election he said that he still thought the riots may begin before Christmas 2008. (I don't think there were any riots.) The riots would encourage the "old, hard-line Soviet guard" to seize the moment and "rain down nukes on the United States" killing at least 100 million people ... and therefore Mr Obama would not become the next President.
(If you are interested, there is a sad looking series of photographs _here_.)

If the test of a false prophet is that the prophecies don't come true, Ronald Weinland and Leland Freeborn can only be false prophets, and any back-pedaling, back-tracking, spiritualizing, or other excuses won't make any difference.
"Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their 'fruits'." Matthew 7:15,16. (Fruits = bad deeds, bad predictions, un-biblical doctrine, and threats to critics and mockers.)

Transcript of President Obama's _speech_
Analysis of the speech

Friday, January 16, 2009

The 2012 Winter Solstice Non-event

The 2012 Winter Solstice Non-event
by astronomy author Stephen Tonkin

“In his book Fingerprints of the Gods (1996), Graham Hancock, in a chapter entitled A Computer for Calculating the End of the World, states that the Maya civilization of Central America :-

‘...believed that the cycle will come to an end, amid
global destruction, on [...] 23 December 2012 …’
[Note. 1 ]

“This, and similar writings, is possibly one of the triggers for a whole load of ill-considered speculation on the subject. Some people have played with planetarium programs around that date, and noticed that the winter solstice (December 21) Sun of 2012 aligns with part of the Cygnus Rift, a dark part of the Milky Way and have attached some significance to this date as a result.
What these people fail to recognize is that the winter solstice Sun will 'fall into' the Cygnus Rift every year for over a Century.

“An alternative bit of related nonsense … states that the winter solstice Sun is in conjunction with the galactic equator in 2012. Not quite. This conjunction has already occurred in 1998, … and precession is now moving the winter solstice Sun further from the galactic equator.”

_more_ (select the '2012 Winter Solstice' link on the website's left-hand-side)

[ 1 ]

Actually there is little evidence that the Maya predicted any kind of destruction.
From my blog post :- End of the World in the Year 2012 ??
"These prophecies of doom really don't have any basis in what we know about the Maya," said Stephen Houston, a professor of anthropology at Brown University and a specialist of Maya hieroglyphic writing. "The Maya descriptions barely talk about this event." Instead, Houston said, the Maya saw their "long count" — the longest of their cyclical calendars — coming to an end in 2012 but also beginning anew on that date, without disastrous consequences. "Really, it's a conversion of people's anxieties about our times, and finding some remote mythological precedent or prediction of it," Houston said about the origins of the current 2012 myths.
See also :- Scientist Responds to 2012 End-of-World Hype
and :- A Nation of Conspiracy Theorists & 2012 End of World Hype

Wikipedia article :-
2012 Doomsday Prediction

What the Ancient Maya Tell Us About 2012 (very definitive)


Monday, January 12, 2009

A Nation of Conspiracy Theorists & 2012 End of World Hype

A Nation of Conspiracy Theorists Can’t be Wrong…
by Louis Bayard, ‘Salon’, October 2, 2008.

"From miracle diets to creationism to rumors about the origins of 9/11, a new book traces our irrational love of misinformation."

“The U.S. government blew up the twin towers. The AIDS virus was engineered by scientists to kill African-Americans. Chinese explorers landed on American shores in 1421. Crystals will heal you. Aliens landed at Roswell. The Priory of Sion is protecting the secrets of the Messianic bloodline. Barack Obama is a Muslim.”

“If you believe any of those propositions, you are ... well, let's [lean] towards charity: You have been swept along in a tide that the British polemicist Damian Thompson likes to call "Counterknowledge." Moreover, you are legion. Millions of unwary souls from every quadrant of the Earth are swallowing a daily diet of quackery, conspiracy theory, bogus history and faux science. We haven't just turned off our bullshit detectors, we've permanently disabled them. And in so doing, Thompson argues, we've made for ourselves "a thrilling universe in which Atlantis is buried underneath the Antarctic, the Ark of the Covenant is hidden in Ethiopia, aliens have manipulated our DNA, and there was once a civilization on Mars."

All of the so-called conspiracy theories pretend to be knowledge - without actually being knowledge. They are “misinformation packaged as fact.”
The result he [Damian Thompson] says, is "a pandemic of credulous thinking ... a huge surge in the popularity of propositions that fail basic empirical tests."
The author then suggests that the Internet is responsible for transmitting the bad information around the world a lot more quickly than used to be the case.

On that same theme, I recently searched for video titles on YouTube that include the year ‘2012’ and saw a message saying that there were 56,600 hits! ‘End of the World’ is even worse with 402,000 hits! ‘Apocalypse’ is not quite so popular with 24,900 hits.
Using the Google search engine produces :-
"2012 end of world" - 476,000 hits
"end of world 2012 evidence" - 165,000 hits
"Apocalypse" - 21,800,000 hits
“Two Witnesses” - 687,000 hits

The #1 referring search ‘word’ that hits this blog is “2012 end of world”. (Its current position in the Google results is 18.) The #2 referring search ‘word’ is "end of world 2012 evidence". (Its position is 5.)
So I guess I’m not doing too badly according to Mr and Ms Google.
There are many other similar search ‘words’ that hit the blog including :-
"why isn’t there mass panic about 2012" and
"the world end in 2012 is a myth to scare people!!!!!" and even :-
"ten dangers to earth in 2012 according to scientist".

A NASA senior scientist recently wrote that there are 100 book titles on Amazon.com about 2012. He also wrote that many people are genuinely frightened about 2012.

The situation can only get worse in the next three years. According to the Space News Examiner there is a new film called ‘_2012_’ due out in [November] this year (in 72 countries). It will be directed by Roland Emmerich who was responsible for Independence Day, Stargate, The Patriot, and The Day after Tomorrow.

Film 2012 will now be released in November

There is also a Disinformation documentary called ‘2012 - Science or Superstition’.
The promotional video is here :- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DylQeMx6hY
Go here for a review of the DVD.

Are there any influential people out there working in government health departments? If so, I predict that you might have to make plans for an influx of disturbed patients in the next few years. Also, there could easily be many young people putting their education plans on hold because they are convinced that they, and the colleges, and the universities, might not exist after December 21, 2012. (I’m not kidding!).
EXAMPLE: 22 year old stole explosives for 'end of the world,' officials say

See also :- history of 'End of the World' claims featured in the 'Area Wide News'. (Salem, Arkansas.)

Previous posts on this subject :-
Scientist Responds to 2012 End of World Hype
End of the World in the Year 2012 ??
Wikipedia article :-
2012 Doomsday Prediction

What the ancient Maya Tell Us About 2012 (very definitive) .