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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Interpretation of Ancient Scriptures

This was a post on a forum called the 'Ironwolf Forum' on 24-08-2008 :-
"Events of the weekend now passing have done nothing but absolutely convince me that romanized Christians (and before you start with me, ALL Christians have been "romanized", since the whole of modern Christianity has descended from the Councils of Nicea beginning in the 4th century --- no matter how much they protest that they aren't) are in thrall to a man-made god of a very different sort than they would have us believe. A god of a very different sort indeed. Most especially the self-appointed leaders of same."
"It's true, it's true, men make their own gods! But why do they make them so evil?"

Maybe it's just the interpretation of the ancient scriptures.
For example, the knights and 'soldiers' during the Crusades thought they had found justification for their violent actions in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible.
A candidate for interpretation and justification: "Do not be discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." .. 2 Chronicles 20:15.

Maybe we can go further back than Nicea, and further back than even the first Christians and Gnostics, -- to a time when a group of disciples were called 'The Way' (or Urxa in Aramaic). They had gathered around a prophet called Yeshua. The Greek speaking people decided to call him Jesus. The original teachings of Yeshua that can be filtered out of the Gospels (both kinds) have been found to be different to the teachings that came after Yeshua. (Eg. Saul of Tarsus/St. Paul.) If my interpretation is correct, the original teachings were far from being evil. Check the Sermon found in Matt. 5,6,7.

Maybe even more adventurous souls can go back over 600 years before Yeshua to the first prophet called Zarathustra (or Zoroaster in Greek). His followers worshiped a god called Ahura Mazda. The exiled Jews in Babylon/Ancient Persia would have been exposed to his religion. Long before Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, it was Zarathustra who first saw a single supreme being, a struggle between good and evil, a saviour, and a last judgment. Zoroastrianism still has followers today in parts of Iran and India, and small pockets in other parts of the world.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, like the forum poster (above) hints at, who needs romanized Christianity, man-made evil gods, and self-appointed leaders? -- especially when it is possible to find a different kind of god if you go further back in time.

This was the reply from the forum poster :-
"Even if you do "find a different kind of god if you go further back in time" --- it's still a 'god'."
"Men make their own gods. That is a truism I always believed, intellectually, but events in my life are cohering in a manner that is beginning to convince me of the notion that it is absolutely, inherently, 100% true, beyond all doubt."

Legal Challenges to Religious Cults

It appears to be possible to sue religious cults. There was a case in the United States about 23 years ago (below). However the cult looks to be more extreme than most religious cults, with evidence of cruel and degrading treatment. Maybe the 1988 case could be regarded as being "case law" that can be quoted by lawyers in new cases...

Aggressive Christianity - Mother of 3 sues cult- tells of life in shed
The Sacramento Union, USA, March 16, 1988
by Trinda Pasquet

A former member of an unorthodox Christian sect in Sacramento filed a $20 million lawsuit Tuesday, alleging the group forced her to live in a shed with no toilet and little food for 10 weeks.

Christianity Missions Training Corps - also known as Free Love Ministries -- is also accused in the suit of turning Maura A. Schmierer's family against her and forcing her to sign over all her worldly possessions to them, including her share of a home in French Gulch. In an interview Tuesday, Schmierer said she and her now ex-husband, Steven, were the first to join the organization, founded by Jim and Lila Green, in 1982.

The sect of about 15 members patterns itself after the military and operates out of four communal houses or "barracks" in the 2200 block of X Street. Members wear militaristic uniforms and are given rank in the "army of God," Schmierer said. Their warfare is against the devil and other "evils," such as homosexuality and Rock 'N 'Roll music.
Schmierer said she was afraid to leave the religious group after the Greens, her husband and two other members decided on Jan. 10, 1987, that she had "fallen under God's judgment" and had been "forsaken."

Schmierer's alleged sin was "spiritual adultery," which she interprets as meaning that she put her family before God.

The mother of three said she was removed from her family and forced to live in "intolerable conditions" for the following six months.
According to the lawsuit, which seeks $20 million in punitive damages and unspecified compensatory damages, the organization changed Schmierer's name to "forsaken" and moved her into a workshop. She was dressed in a black scarf and a sack dress and ordered to perform menial tasks, the suit said. Her children - ages 12, 6 and 5 - allegedly complied with orders to call their mother "forsaken" and avert their eyes from her when they saw her in the compound, the suit said.

In late January 1987, Schmierer said she was moved into a 5-by-12-foot wooden shed, in which she could not stand upright. The woman said she and another banished member shared the damp shed without toilet facilities or windows. During the 10 weeks she spent there, she was fed an average of six small, stale peanut butter sandwiches every day, the suit said.

When she was served with divorce papers Feb. 9, 1987, Schmierer said she signed them thinking they were a test of her loyalty to the group and that if she objected she would not be reunited with her family.

In March 1987, the suit said Schmierer and two other female members were advised at a meeting that their husbands were divorcing them for "spiritual adultery." The three women were then allegedly ordered back to the shed, where they remained for about five days.

One of three women reportedly left the compound and Sacramento police were phoned, the suit said. Police searched the compound and shortly thereafter the shed was destroyed by the defendants. Schmierer said she spent the next three weeks in a basement and was then moved into a bedroom for six weeks.

At one point, Schmierer's 5-year-old son was allegedly accused of being "possessed" because of misbehavior. The defendants - which include the Greens and Schmierer's ex-husband - allegedly changed the boy's name to "demon," moved him into Schmierer's bedroom.

Jim Green, the organization's brigadier general, finally ordered Schmierer to leave the compound in July 1987, refusing to let her take her children, the suit said.
For the next three months, Schmierer was away from her children until a court awarded her custody.
[emphasis by me]

"In 1989, the court ordered ACMTC to pay Schmierer $1.2 million; they had lost the lawsuit by default. Not too surprisingly they didn't come up with the money, so Blasier had their compound seized by the court. When an attempt was made to assess its value, however, Free Love Ministries had vacated the premises, which was found to be in ruins. They had apparently demolished the Sacramento compound shortly before fleeing to one of their missions in Mozambique, though the Greens deny this. Neighbors, however had observed them tearing down parts of the buildings, and loading them into vans."
(Also: http://www.apologeticsindex.org/a14.html )

So it is possible to sue religious cults, but getting the cult to "come up with the money" looks to be a lot harder...
With regard to churches like the 'Church of God - Preparing for the Kingdom of God', it is thought that most of their money isn't even in the USA! --- Switzerland was mentioned not so long ago as a location for their 'secret' bank accounts.

Self-Appointed 'Prophets' are Mistaken

Self-appointed 'Prophets' are mistaken about which people are included in the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation!!
The Book of Revelation #14 describes the 144,000 as: "These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins" ... "And in their mouths was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God."
Without getting into too much sordid detail, they are unlikely to pass any of those conditions.
(The translation from the Peshitta Aramaic is very similar, except that it uses the word 'pure' instead of 'virgins'.)

If there are any more doubts about the 'Prophets' or the 'Witnesses', Revelation #11 further specifies that 'The Witnesses' (clothed in sackcloth) are able to spit "fire from their mouths and devour their enemies ... And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues as often as they desire."
Likewise, I would be extremely surprised if the 'Prophets' or the 'Witnesses' can pass any of the conditions listed.
Obviously, it is the old story about picking what you want to believe, ignoring the rest, and even inventing new doctrine, in spite of the dire warnings in Rev. 22 : 18, 19.

For further information, please see this blog post :-
The Two Witnesses of Revelation by Dennis Diehl

The Lessons of War From History

I think it is great that people remember the lessons of history. They remember the bad times when despots and dictators became too bold and invaded bordering countries in order to conquer their part of the world. An example within memory of most people today is when Saddam and his 'generals' invaded Kuwait, and later launched many missiles into Israel and Saudi Arabia. (Invasion started: 2 August 1990. ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War )
(See also: "Iraqi Missile Strikes" into Israel for six weeks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War#Iraqi_missile_strikes_on_Israel_and_Saudi_Arabia )

Older people will remember the appeasement folly at the start of the Second World War.
The "flawed" (Munich Agreement) treaty signed by Neville Chamberlain in 1938 was called 'appeasement' -- meaning, the policy of acceding to the demands of a potentially hostile nation in the hope of maintaining peace. The golden rule is probably never trust the word of a despot or a dictator (or a common criminal for that matter). A dictator, in particular, doesn't usually care what other people say. In the end, dictators do exactly what they want to do (and they make their people do it) -- that's the definition of a dictator.

If the leaders of Great Britain, France and Poland had been blessed with enough foresight in 1938 they could have lined up their combined forces along the Polish border and rejected the advancing Nazi forces.
In the modern world it isn't hard to know when a hostile nation is moving their armed forces into battle-ready positions. There are lots of satellites that can help with that sort of intelligence. So having enough foresight, or making educated predictions isn't quite so important. The leaders can make decisions based on solid facts.

By the way, most people want a peaceful world, but realistic people know that occasionally the human race produces despots or tyrants, and countries must maintain credible *defense* forces, so that the potential invaders won't be quite so bold. ... Also, in the nuclear age (since the Second World War) there has been a concept known as "Mutually Assured Destruction" -- it would be M.A.D. for one nuclear capable country to attack another. The concept is responsible for maintaining relatively sane relations between the nuclear capable countries.

Feather and Hammer Dropped on the Moon

"At the end of the last Apollo 15 moon walk, Commander David Scott performed a live demonstration for the television cameras. He held out a geologic hammer and a feather and dropped them at the same time. Because they were essentially in a vacuum, there was no air resistance and the feather fell at the same rate as the hammer, as Galileo had concluded hundreds of years before - all objects released together fall at the same rate regardless of mass."
"During the final minutes of the third extravehicular activity, a short demonstration experiment was conducted. A heavy object (a 1.32-kg aluminum geological hammer) and a light object (a 0.03-kg falcon feather) were released simultaneously from approximately the same height (approximately 1.6 m) and were allowed to fall to the surface. Within the accuracy of the simultaneous release, the objects were observed to undergo the same acceleration and strike the lunar surface simultaneously, which was a result predicted by well-established theory, but a result nonetheless reassuring considering both the number of viewers that witnessed the experiment..."

Click on the links in the article to see 'Quicktime' videos of the demonstration.
Note that you may need Apple's Quicktime player installed on your PC.

In case you're wondering - yes, it is essentially a vacuum on the Moon because it doesn't have enough gravity to attract and retain an atmosphere. Moons and smaller objects in Space are not big enough to have a strong gravity.
The Earth captured the Moon because it is so much more massive than the Moon. The planets in the Solar System are a very long way from each other, and therefore they don't attract each other. The Sun retains its planets because it is so much more massive than the planets.

By the way, if the planets ever form a rough lineup on one side of the Sun *nothing* is going to happen!! -- and if some people tell you that the Earth and the Sun are going to lineup with some part of the Milky Way you can tell them that *absolutely**nothing* is going to happen!! The distance between our Solar System (on one of the outer rings) and the center of the Milky Way is about 30,000 light years. A light year is the distance that light travels, in Space, in one year. (wow!) So it is very safe to assume that those people don't know what they are talking about, and they are just trying to scare you, and make money from books, videos, and even survival kits!!
See the graphics of the Solar System and the Milky Way on this page :-