Paul Got A Bum Wrap

Two responses to my essay are a common variation of what is generally argued as refutation against the bible, and they are good arguments.

The first argument is to look at all the garbage offered as punishment to those who “curse their parents” or the severity of death for the smallest infraction. Who in the world, in this enlightened age, would want to follow those prescriptions?

Nobody of any intelligence, and I agree with that.

Second argument is that you can make the bible say anything, and that is precisely the strength of my own argument, as is the first argument, above.

What does the Old Testament law say in the words of Isaiah, called the “universalist” prophet?
How about the presumption of innocence? (Isaiah 54:17)
Right to face your accuser, with God’s vindication(Isaiah 50:8)
Right against self incrimination is also implied in both these scriptures.
Also, you will notice in Deuteronomy 19:15 that two witnesses are required for all acusations and those witnesses are not to be provided by the government. The two main biblical examples I can think of where the state provided witnesses was in the story of Ahab and Naboth (not too good), and Judas betraying Jesus (also not so good).

The Supreme Court, in fact, recognized that our right against self incrimination has its analogue in the bible (Miranda vs Arizona, footnote 27).

Of all the stupid, ridiculous laws in the OT, the main teaching in every case is that the accused is to be protected, not only in personal cases, but also against usury laws, and even slaves were to be freed if they escaped to another free man(Deuteronomy 23:15-16).

The laws were given with the constant reminder that “you were once strangers in a strange land”. The implication from this was that recognition of justice always took precedence over the “majority rule”.

In the New testament, you will see that Jesus, in is great “thesis on the law”(Matthew chapters 5-7), recommended that any two individuals could settle all matters out of court. So, while he said that not one jot or tittle of the law would be done away until all was fulfilled, he actually placed the settlement of arguments within a framework of “two or three”.

You will see that Jesus expanded on this principle in Matthew 18:15-18, where he pointed out that any two people could settle trespasses between themselves, using the “two witness” rule of Deuteronomy 17 and 19.

As Jesus pointed out, “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose will be loosed in heaven”.

This doesn’t imply that some human can become a recognized power of God, but that any two people could simply decide among themselves to settle a matter, and it would have God’s recognition.

Further, said Jesus, if it couldn’t be settled between two or three, take it before the community or the church. He didn’t recognize government as official arbiter. In fact, Jesus said if your adversary didn’t want to accept the conclusion of the community, treat him as a “gentile or tax collector”.

That doesn’t indicate that Jesus would want matters settled by tax collecting powers of state.

Also, Jesus did not approve of the legal system within Jewish culture. While he admitted that scribes and Pharisees “sit in Moses’ seat”, he then went on to condemn their actions, calling them hypocrites.

Scribes and Pharisees represented the popular legal “lay” authorities of the day, yet Jesus said they “shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in”.

If you compare that to Matthew 18:15-18, you will see that Jesus allowed any two people to settle matters outside of “Moses’ seat”.

This same message is copied in Luke 11:52: “Woe unto you lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves,, and them that were entering in, ye hindered”.

This is merely the repetition of a teaching in Isaiah 29:11:

“And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a closed book that is sealed…”

Verse 16: “Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, he made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that frameth it, he had no understanding?”

Jesus’ teachings merely returned the idea of government as it was intended to be, taught to children, and children’s children, remembering the idea of mercy, presumption of innocence, and not condemning. “Judge not that ye be not judged”.

Second argument: You can make the bible say anything. Exactly! And this is where Paul’s teaching is quite valuable. Can we have any legitimate, “approved” understanding of God? Not according to Romans 8:7:
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the laws of God and neither indeed can be”.

This leads us to a very logical result corresponding to the argument above:
Any attempt to organize people according to God’s law would inevitably lead to a confusion of disagreeing concepts as to what God’s law is. If you don’t believe that, simply look at the continually splintering groups of ex-WCG members who can’t find the proper “handle” on truth.

But that’s exactly what Jesus said would happen for such people in Matthew 10:34-38.

So, if the carnal, natural mind cannot be subject to God, and if all attempts to follow Jesus result in splintering and speciation, even to family members, we cannot assume, under any process, that if there is a God, “He” doesn’t desire us to unite, but rather to begin thinking as individuals.

Jesus said “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees”. And what does leaven do? It grows, expands, includes more and more until it exhausts all possible growth, and then it collapses.

This compares generally to a process called entropy. In any organized system, the attempt to expand that organization will result in chaos of related systems, simply because energy can neither be created nor destroyed. The resulting breakdown of order in relate systems, chaos, is the process generally recognized as entropy.

So, “you can make the bible say anything”. based on the teaching of Jesus and Paul, what does that tell us?

It tells us exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 18:15-18, that there are no legitimate authorities. The presumption of innocence is to override the power
of an “eye for an eye”, which Jesus specifically prohibited to his followers.

So, the natural mind cannot be subject to God, there must be the presumption of innocence, and we cannot directly exercise an “eye for an eye”, which means we have no power whatever to control or organize or rule over others.

But then, Jesus told us that he who would be greatest of all should be servant of all.

But let’s take Paul’s teaching in Romans 8:7 and see where he went with it. If there is no power of the mind to organize according to God’s law “legitimately”, can there be some decision procedure, some algorithm, some ‘freewill” act by which we can declare ourselves God’s elect?

Paul said it can;t be done, as we see from Romans 8:29-30. The logic is simple enough: if God foreknows, predestined. called, and glorified his own children, there simply is no decision procedure whatever by which we may recognize ourselves as “elect”. Can’t be done.

And in case you think Paul might have meant something else, he repeats the idea more directly in Romans 9:16-22. There simply is no decision procedure by which we may organize ourselves as God’s representatives.

This is fully consistent with Jesus’ teachings, who said we could settle matters among ourselves by ourselves, that we could exercise the rule of law that recognized presumption of innocence, right to face the accuser, trial by jury(1 Cor 6) and right against self incrimination, also provided in Isaiah 54:17.

These are all principles incorporated into the US Constitution in the form of the Bill of Rights.
Further, Jesus‘ teaching that we are free to settle matters within the church and outside of courts is recognized in the First Amendment.

So yes, you can “make the bible say anything”, but that is the very reason why both Jesus and Paul pointed out that we are free to develop our own social process, always remembering that we are no better or no more exalted than any other person in our standing before truth. All men and women are created equal.

If any religious leader says otherwise, he’s simply a liar.


Intelligent Design? Prove It!

In the past few years, new discoveries in science and genetics are creating revolutionary understandings of how we got here, what our “meaning” is, and how life seems to operate.

One great summary of this new knowledge is a book called Survival Of The Sickest, by Dr Sharon Moalem. In it, Dr Moalem points out that diseases we have today may have been necessary adaptive responses to the past. In a new field called Epigenetics, Dr. Moalem writes that Lamarckian transmission, a notion that was discredited in the past, has now become an accepted idea within the field of Epigenetics.

What is Lamarckian Transmission? It is the idea that we evolved through “acquired traits” developed by different species. A giraffe, according to old Lamarckian ideas, got its long neck by constantly reaching fore the higher leaves that became increasingly hard to reach on trees.

What Epigenetics now shows us that it is possible for gene expression to occur as a result of influences from our environment. A recent cover story in Time magazine points this out.

Without getting involved in details, the human body is composed of “germ cells”, those cells which are contributed by our parents as the basic building blocks that make “you” and “me’ unique. But there is now evidence that the body carries a large majority of genes that used to be called “junk DNA”, which Dr. Moalem points out is actually related to viruses.

This is called “non-coding DNA”, not used in the normal process of cell building in our bodies, but seems to be a kind of database or library to which our bodies refer whenever we need to adapt to some new disease or infection. These very genes are also known as “jumping genes”, which were discovered by Dr Barbara McClintock several years ago. These jumping genes actually follow certain patterns that cause them to “jump” to certain areas that activate gene expression in our own bodies.

In fact, writes Dr, Moalem, “Jumping genes are very active in the early stages of brain development, inserting genetic material all over the developing brain, almost helter-skelter, as a normal part of brain development. Every time one of those jumpers inserts or changes genetic material in brain cells, it’s technically a mutation. And all of this genetic jumping around may have a very important purpose–it may help to create the variety and individuality that make every brain unique. This developmental frenzy of genetic copy and paste only happens in the brain, because that’s where we benefit from individuality”.

Imagine that. Our parents provide the core, the germ cells that create the basic blueprint of us, and then our bodies access a “library” of former viral DNA from our collective history that begins to jump around and shape us as individuals. What appears here is a combination of heredity and environment shaping our individual destinies. Dr. Moaelm points out that a chimpanzee, simply by stroking the head of its offspring, can affect the genetic expression of that offspring!

How far does this process of genetic engineering go? Howard Bloom, in a book called Global Brain, writes:

In a crisis, bacteria did not rely on deliverance via a random process like mutation, but instead unleashed their genius as genetic engineers”.

Bacteria? “Bacteria were the first to use the tools which now empower biotechnology’s genetic tinkerers: plasmids, vectors, phages, and transposons–nature’s gene snippers, duplicators, long distance movers, wlders, and re-shufflers….the millions–and often trillions–of bacteria in a colony used their individual genomes…as individual computers, meshing them together, combining their data, and forming a group intelligence capable of literally re-programming their species’ shared genetic legacy in ways previously untried and unknown”.

For bacteria, from ancient times, there was “memory” stored in the reactions of genetic shuffle, absorbing viruses, which Bloom describes as “the bacteria’s collaborator and its foe. Viral assaults devastated bacterial colonies–yet they tested bacterial intelligence, tweaking bacterial ingenuity, and amplified bacterial skills. Viruses also pried loose genetic pages from the creatures they attacked and inserted them in the DNA library of those they visited next while on their predatory rounds. Thus they became couriers through which bacteria swapped molecular pamphlets of new tricks and old collective memories”.

The virus as a “courier” of collective genetic history, has been stored in the creative “library” of the human body, and inserted as “jumping genes” in the developing brain, allowing us to respond to the necessary cues and genetic repsonse of individual stress.

This would mean that the way we think about life actually affects gene expression!

In a very real sense, “As a man thinketh, so is he”.

The germ cells that brought us into existence is not affected in the process of building our bodies, but the expression of genes stored in the “history” of our bodies, genes that once were the couriers, the viral invaders seeking to replicate themselves by hijacking our own replicative system, now compose the library of defenses our body uses when attacked by yet other viral or bacterial invaders.

But this does suggest a “design of intelligence”, if not “intelligent design”. It suggests that early life forms developed strategies that were quickly(by evolutionary standards) used to build ever larger systems, but always keyed to the core building blocks, the germ cells of each and every species.

But in each species, there is always the exchange of genes via viruses, from one species to another, as in Avian flu, swine flu, various flus and plagues that have infested civilization for centuries.

What does this mean in regards to the development of religion? perhaps a later essay.


What Do We Do Now?

What are the responsibilities or duties of those who are now outside the WCG or any of its offshoots?

Are we really a part of anything? Are we even important in the scheme of things?

To that I answer Yes! We are now more important, as individuals, than we ever were as members of the WCG or any group that we can name!

It all boils down to the same questions we heard so many years ago: Who am I? Why was I born? What is my purpose?

Is there a God? What is my relationship, if any, to that God?

When you walk away from the various WCG offshoots, you are now forced to ask that question of yourself. Not as part of a group, but as an individual! We might ask “Who am I NOW?”
“What do I do NOW?”, “Am I important as an individual NOW?”

You are more important now than ever before! You, of all the masses and millions who exist on this earth, are able, perhaps for the first time in your life, to ask the above questions, As an individual, and that alone makes you more important than the masses of people who dare not step out and live as individuals!

You and I have now discovered that there is no church of God we can join. We have now discovered that all the religious organizations of men are a farce, a scam, and we have been suckered for the final time.

But really, isn’t that exactly what the bible told us all along? Can we organize in the name of God? Can men rule over us in the name of God? Does any person on this earth have the right or the authority to represent God on our behalf?

No, and they never did! What did Paul tell us in Romans 8:7?

“Because the carnal(fleshy, natural) mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, and neither indeed can be”.

If your natural mind is not and cannot be subject to the law of God, who, then, can make you subject to that law? Well, God would, IF we could prove there is a God, right? Can we prove it? No! We simply can’t! We can hope there is a God, believe there is a God, and do everything possible to make others agree that there is a God, but we simply don’t know!

So, let’s assume someone comes up to you and say “I represent the truth! I know why you were born! I can tell you what you need to know!”

If you’re like me and most others who have left the “true church”, you’re going to say, “Yeah, right, head on down the road, Jack, and don;t let the door kick you in the rear as you leave”.

If there is one thing that we can agree on, those of us who have taken that step to freedom, we know better!

If somebody comes around saying “here is Christ!” We can look them squarely in the eye and say “Prove it!”.

But they can’t, and we know they can’t!

But isn’t that exactly what Jesus told his followers in Matthew 24, the big chapter that HWA used to show us the ‘Key to Revelation”?

Jesus told his followers “Take heed that no man deceive you, for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many”.

Does that mean we should listen to no one who comes claiming that THEY are Christ? Who’s going to be deceived by that nonsense? Of course no man living today is Jesus. We know that from simple logic. If there was Jesus, he lived two thousand years ago, and he was put to death. No man coming today can be him.

Old Herb actually had a point. If any man comes in the name of Christ, or saying “lo, he is here, or there”, Jesus told us plainly to “believe it not!(Matthew 24:23)”.

Of course! If the natural mind is enmity against God, and cannot be subject to God’s laws, and a whole bunch of people come claiming to either be the Christ or represent the Christ(messiah in that time), how in the world are we going to prove it? You can’t prove it. It’s impossible!

If it were possible, why are there an estimated 38,000 versions of Christianity? Why does the number keep growing? When I was a boy, it was estimated at over six hundred. Now, it’s over 38,000!

God did not create us to stand around and follow orders like some kind of robot! If he had, we would be able to prove what those orders are, know how to obey them, and understand them completely.

But here’s the problem: if we can do that, we can program those same orders into a computer, and make that computer a perfect representative of God! If we can understand it, we can translate it to language. If we can do that, we can translate it to algorithms, and if we can do that, we can fully program God’s law into a computer! But we can’t do that!

How do we know? Romans 8:7! The natural mind cannot be subject to God’s law! Godel;’s theorem! In any consistent axiomatic formulation of number theory, there exist undecidable propositions. In other words, we know from both the Bible and ,mathematics that there is no way any man or group of humans can represent God by any process of law!

Did Jesus tell us that? Yes, in Matthew 24:23! Did Paul tell us that? Yes, in Romans 8:7!

You cannot join into the collective, finite, rational, logical laws of men and expect to be the son of God! It cannot be done! Paul told us this emphatically. God foreknows his children, he predestines his children. he calls his children.

Who is “called”? I have no idea. Who are “elect”? Not a clue. But neither does anyone else on this planet!

Jesus said that you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free. What is the truth? The truth is that I am the truth. YOU are the truth, YOU are the individual who has a right to live freely according to your conscience, and no other person has the right to tell you otherwise!

Those of you who have come this far, YOU are the “salt of the earth” to which Jesus referred. YOU are the individuals now prepared to “come out and be ye a separate people”. YOU are now empowered, AS INDIVIDUALS, to question the rules and powers of men, to live by the rules and freedoms that God grants you, here and now, on this earth, at this time.

“Our father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”

It’s is not and CANNOT be about collective rules and laws and governments. It’s about YOU as a child of God, a free individual, now empowered to think, to question, to learn, and to grow!

YOU, the individual who reads this, are free! You are free from the collective will of men, free of collective religions, free to live by your conscience, free to live peaceably with all people, free to demand that you have the right of your conscience.

This “alienation” that you are now feeling is actually the greatest gift you can be given! You are more than rules, more than laws, and more than the collective will of men. You are free before God!