Smug

Smug Pastor
Smug Pastor

Herbert Armstrong was smug. He had an explanation for everything. He believed that God personally revealed everything really important to him. He was a gnostic. He wrote booklets: Does God Exist, Seven Proofs God Exists, The Proof of the Bible. He was cock sure. At the same time he was so arrogant that he claimed that everybody who did not agree with him was wrong. He left the Church of God Seventh Day because he thought he was so much more brilliant and smart than they were because he had absorbed and knew all the secret knowledge of Greenbury George Rupurt and they didn’t. That made him superior to them. He considered himself a qualified teacher. He claimed he was the first one in over 1900 years to bring the really really true gospel to the world. Everybody else was a failure. He claimed that science didn’t have the answers. He did. There are just a few little things wrong with his world view:

  • He claimed that British Israelism was the Key to Prophecy but it has been disproved scientifically by DNA evidence and made him a spectacularly failed false prophet as a result;
  • He claimed to have reestablished the true church from an unbroken line from the time of the original apostles but it has been proved that his church history was histrionics and total fantasy which not even the Church of God Seventh Day supports;
  • He prophesied over the radio on the World Tomorrow Broadcast during World War II that the United States and Britain would lose the war to the Germans (this caused the United States Government some heartburn and his broadcast was suspended for a time);
  • He predicted that the Great Tribulation would begin in 1972 and his church would be taken to a place of safety;
  • He predicted that Christ would return in 1975;
  • His claim that he brought the true gospel to the world has proven problematic;
  • His Proof of the Bible uses prophecies of the Old Testament to prove the entire Bible true, even though some of the referenced prophecies have failed;
  • His Seven Proofs God Exists claims that the existence of God can be proved because He is the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.

Let’s examine that last point for a moment. Ahmed Farag Ali at Benha University and coauthor Saurya Das at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, have shown in a paper published in Physics Letters B that the Big Bang singularity can be resolved by their new model in which the universe has no beginning and no end. The new theory works better than the current Big Bang Theory — it solves a lot of problems and the Math is better. If this model is true, then God did not create the universe and He certainly doesn’t sustain it, because it has no beginning or end. What this would do to the idea of the existence of God is unclear. What role would He have? Was He a product of the universe at some point? Could God be an Emergent Property? Is He an advanced Being with highly advanced technology humanity would never be able to understand? Did He create life? Or did He sort of shepherd circumstances to make life appear? Is He really The Designer He was claimed to be in the Booklet? Is God The Lawgiver or are the laws of physics eternal, making God a sort of glorified Hall Monitor? The other problem with this is that the Bible may be terribly unreliable, since many of the books in it seem to be forged. There are at least 40 gospels floating around — it’s a little difficult to claim that you are bringing the one and only true gospel since there are so many of them. How could it really be a reliable guide to exactly who and what God is? And did Jesus actually exist? Historians of the time don’t seem to have mentioned him.

Not to worry.

Armstrongists are assured in their own minds that Herbert Armstrong had all the answers. They claim that they have the answers because they believe what Herbert Armstrong said. They have special revelation from God through Herbert Armstrong.

On the other hand, they point out that Science doesn’t have all the answers. Therefore, they conclude, science is worthless and people should listen to them, particularly when their views don’t agree with the scientists because the Armstrongists claim special knowledge from God and scientists have doubt. Certainly, atheists who depend upon science are just plain wrong. The Armstrongists are supremely confident that they are right. They are smug.

Here is an example from Banned by HWA!:

Anonymous said…

What another load of garbage you keep posting. You cant be serious! You keep thinking the GOG people are in a “cult”, thats just a word people like yourselves throw around to degrade others in the hope of achieving something sinister. That would make any person who goes to any church or part of a political system or sports team for that matter, part of a cult, how simple minded are you.

The real reason you keep this rubbish up is because you once understood the truth, you had the sword the sheild the breastplate and the belt, but you couldnt continue the fight, why? I’ll tell you why; because you have a big yellow streak running down your backs thats why!

To know the truth and then throw your talent away instead of building on it is as cowardly as you can get! You are not the type of people anyone would want in any army. You would throw your arms up in the air and say, “oh this is too hard, I want to get back into the lust of the world it’s a lot easier there”, and then complain about those who fight on.

To justify yourselves you complain about and try to bring down COG people who are out there continuing the fight to defeat satans lies and deceptions by preaching the gospel of the coming kingdom.

When will you get over the fact that we dont follow any man but Christ. All you do is twist the truth like satan himself. Why dont you complain about the apostle Paul how he persecuted the church prior to his conversion, could you imagine if all you perfect souls that comment on this site were around then, what Paul would have to deal with on top of his other persecutions.

Why dont you offer any other solutions if you think your so right. You dont because you dont have any thats why. Its a lot easier pointing the finger at others instead.

You people hound others because they believe in the truth while justifying yourselves because you are spiritually yellow right the way through! It’s hard enough to know the truth but to ridicule it the way you do after you once believed is the biggest act of cowardice!

What you need to do is stop thinking your helping people and wake up! Yes it’s easier not to tithe or develop or grow in grace and knowledge but we choose to and nothing you or your regular scoffers can say or do will ever stop this powerful work from going from strength to strength.

Thats what you’re so sore about isnt it, really, knowing more people are hearing the truth and applying it to their lives while you wander around aimlessly. You dont like being a minority. If you think you know the truth then lets hear it so we can check up on you, but you wont do that because you dont have anything but whining and complaining to offer. Like i said before, the color I see is yellow all over this site.

May 16, 2015 at 12:43 AM

Apparently Armstrongists know everything except how to use apostrophes. And maybe capitals.

Mechanic Getting Started
Mechanic Getting Started

Perhaps we can put things into perspective with a quote from Tony Reno over at Quora:

First, I know other people are going to correct the OP and point out that atheists don’t need to believe in science, but for the sake of my answer, since I’m an atheists who does, let me take it from my point of view.

Imagine my car is stalling on the highway, and I don’t know why. I take my car into the local mechanic. He’s got a small shop, but he’s my friend. He’s fixed several of my cars in the past and I trust him. I ask him to find the problem.

Mechanic Doing Systematic Checks
Mechanic Doing Systematic Checks

He starts working on it, takes the engine apart, runs diagnostics. About this time the local pastor comes in to visit. My mechanic comes out and says, “It’s not the spark plugs, not the wiring.”

I ask? “Do you know what it is yet?”

Mechanic: Not yet.

Pastor: I know what it is.

Mechanic, rolls his eyes.

Me: Really. What is it?

Pastor: God doesn’t want your car to run.

Me: I think I’ll let the mechanic work on it a bit longer.

Mechanic comes back after a while: Well it’s not the fuel line. The coil seems ok too.

Pastor: I told you what it was already. I don’t know why you keep working on it.

Me: Pastor, are you going to fix my car?

Pastor: Well no. I’m just letting you know that God doesn’t want it to run.

Me: Pastor, if you are not going to fix my car, would you please shut up and let the mechanic do his job.

You see, religious people don’t care if I learn what I need to. To them, “God did it,” is all they care about.

Me, I actually want to know the answer. I care about it. I might not need that particular car to run, but I still care about the answer.

Mechanic at Work
Mechanic at Work

When the pastor says he knows the answer he’s totally discounting the work the mechanic has already done. The pastor doesn’t care that the mechanic has done tests and knows things. The pastor is only trying to look smug and important, pretending he has that secret knowledge that the mechanic didn’t have.

But did the pastor know that the spark plugs were fine? Did the pastor know that the wiring was fine? Did he know the coil was fine? No, the pastor didn’t know any of those things.

The pastor is sitting up there with his clean hands and his smug answers and is making a mockery of the years of study and the dirty hard exacting work that the mechanic is doing to find things out.

Do you think the mechanic deserves that kind of treatment?

Pastor: Oh, I know you’ve looked really hard. But you didn’t find the answer. That’s because I already know the answer. No, I didn’t look at the engine. No I didn’t study the instruments. No I didn’t get my hands dirty. No I didn’t run any tests. But none of that matters. I know the answer. God doesn’t want the car to run. That’s your answer.

And you wonder why mechanics might be angry with you? You wonder why car owners might be angry?

Not every atheist is angry, because, as I’m sure people have pointed out, not every atheist cares. But those of us who do care about the car, those of us who appreciate the years of study that went into the mechanic’s discipline, those of us who appreciate the fact that the mechanic is willing to get his hands dirty, take the engine apart, check the instruments out, those who appreciate that these jobs aren’t easy, we wish …

I know it’s a lot to ask …

But we wish you’d quit acting so smug and sure of yourself.

We wish you’d realize that you aren’t fixing the cars.

We wish you’d realize that you aren’t even looking at the engine, much less rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty.

We wish you’d appreciate the hard work that is happening.

We wish you’d realize that even though you don’t really care about the right answers, some of us do.

We wish you’d get out of the way and let the mechanic do his job.

Does that not make any sense as to why the smug behavior of claiming that you know what’s wrong with the car when you are not even offering something that will fix the car, just making a pronouncement, doesn’t go over well? You don’t care what’s wrong with the car. You just want to seem smarter than the mechanic, but unlike the mechanic, you aren’t willing to get your hands dirty and look at the engine.

And in case you are thinking that there are no broken cars involved, you don’t know how science works. Many modern medical instruments come from studies in physics, from detector technology used in studying stars. Science actually gets somewhere. A pastor sitting back and saying, “God doesn’t want your car to work,” is just getting in the way.

Problem Found and Resolved
Problem Found and Resolved

It is clear it’s even worse with doctors.

It's Springtime

Armstrongist Minister Just After Coming Out Of Hibernation
Armstrongist Minister Just After Coming Out Of Hibernation

And you know what that means: Armstrongist leaders come out of hibernation after a brief winter respite to grouch about stupid stuff that doesn’t mean a thing to anyone but them — it’s embarrassing as they come loaded for bear to bare their grouchy opinions of what’s wrong with the world. It gets to be unbearable.

They quickly get their bearings and start bearing down on their prey:

Armstrong Ministers Quickly Find Their Bearings
Armstrong Ministers Quickly Find Their Bearings

It isn’t long that they are all grumpy about rabbits:

Bunny With Eggs
Bunny With Eggs

They can’t bear the thought that people would ever think that bunnies would lay eggs — and not just eggs in some cases, but chocolate eggs — so they come out with The Plain Truth About Easter, baring their souls and insisting that Easter is pagan and that bunnies can’t lay eggs. This is silly of course because no one really thinks that bunnies lay eggs (wink, wink). It’s all part of the fun of spring time and there are fun social customs associated with the spring equinox that have a long tradition of history. There are even Easter Egg Hunts on the White House Lawn. This drives the grumps of Armstrongism to despair. They just can’t bear the thought that something was so, so, so… Pagan, could ever be part of any sort of Christian associated practice.

It’s silly of course. No one really believes that bunnies lay eggs and in the scheme of things it’s pretty harmless. Of much more concern is the fact that until Easter no one can wear white.

This is a big time of year for the Armstrongists as they bang the drum to drum up business based on, well, it’s so wrong! They are so obsessed about this that they have booklets decrying the practices of what they view to be deeply rooted in paganism.

After this, they settle down a bit for awhile and have some pretty barren months until the long hot summer is over (winter south of the Equator) and fall sets in. Then they start in again with their rants about Holydays or Holidays, which is rather ironic because the only real holiday in the United States around that time is Labor Day, which, if you think about it is kind of a misnomer, since people don’t generally work on that day and take it off: You’d think that’s a day they would work, since it’s Labor Day… get it? What they are aiming for is to expound the message of the Feast of Tabernacles to declare that an ancient Bronze Age observance of physical rituals by Israelites (who didn’t actually keep it centuries at a time) some how pictures Christ reigning a thousand years with a rod of iron, which he is just going to hand over to them so they can abuse people, not realizing that no one can really keep the Feasts, since there is no temple, no altars, no Levite priests to offer animal heave offerings and no Sanhedrin to keep the whole thing together, not to mention which, the Jews themselves know their calendar for the schedule of keeping these things is wrong but they can’t fix it because they haven’t had a Sanhedrin for something going on 1,700 hundred years or more. One wonders how physical rituals given to a physical people who didn’t have the Holy Spirit could actually be all that spiritual when practiced in the 21st centuries supposedly by Christians, albeit, Olde Testament Christian Pharisees. Of course, one of the things they don’t mention up front as part of their sales package is the Day of Atonement, which, calling it a feast is sort of stretch, but given that United declared recently that old and infirm people can eat and drink on that Day because of health reasons, there may not be as much a tough sell on the matter.

Things go on after the Feast without too much major maladjustment up until right around Thanksgiving, then they unleash again about all the pagan practices of Christmas and New Years. This is rather ironic, because behind the scenes, these people use the Winter Solstice holidays to have their happy time of their Winter Festival, which is sort of like the Feast, but not really and sort of like Christmas / New Years and more really. Of course, there’s some dissent by some objecting to the obvious cognitive dissonance of keeping worldly holidays in much the same way and in the same convention centers used by the great unwashed pagan Christians who do keep Christmas and Easter. It would be interesting to check for sure, but it is probably the case that the drinking patterns of the two are probably very similar, except the Armstrongists may have an edge.

It is shortly after this point that the Armstrongists go into their dank caves to hibernate until it’s spring again, only to start the cycle all over again.

Of course, these particular creatures may have meetings. They don’t always agree — especially when they are of different social groups competing for the same resources:

Armstrongist Ministers Disagree At Conference
Armstrongist Ministers Disagree At Conference

Something about baring their teeth, but I won’t go there.

Of course, we can do a lot to fix this problem. It’s an environmental issue. First of all, there are too many of these creatures for a sustainable ecology. They war over turf. There’s not only not enough to go around, but you’d be surprised how much litter they leave in their wake. The booklets and magazines don’t always get recycled and it’s a real problem for the environment. There’s another problem: They produce toxic waste and much of their material is from recycled garbage. If it looks familiar, you’ve seen it all before.

Now some who are not familiar with this species may wonder about the issues presented here. It’s wild and crazy out there. Sometimes you have to know where to look. Often you need to be vigilant to be careful you don’t broach their feeding grounds. If any need assistance, Google should be able to help. They should be avoided at all costs.

There is only one way to be sure to control their numbers: Don’t feed them. The best thing to do is starve them of tithes and they will move on to greener pastures… so to speak:

Please Don't Feed The Bears
Take away their tithes!