Why I Hate Religion.

“Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” by spoken-word artist Jefferson Bethke has received more than 10.2 million YouTube views as of Saturday night since it was posted just four days ago, eliciting more than 100,000 YouTube comments and plenty of debate elsewhere on the Internet.


From his YouTube page we read: “In the scriptures Jesus received the most opposition from the most religious people of his day. At it‘s core Jesus’ gospel and the good news of the Cross is in pure opposition to self-righteousness/self-justification. Religion is man centered, Jesus is God-centered. This poem highlights my journey to discover this truth. Religion either ends in pride or despair. Pride because you make a list and can do it and act better than everyone, or despair because you can’t do your own list of rules and feel “not good enough” for God. With Jesus though you have humble confident joy because He represents you, you don’t represent yourself and His sacrifice is perfect putting us in perfect standing with God!”

Your thoughts?

Politicians, Priests and Pornographers Part III

Exploring The Common Denominator

Pornographers.

The Miller test.

Developed in the 1973 caseMiller v. California. There are three parts:

[1] Whether “the average person, applying contemporary community standards” would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.

[2] Whether the work depicts/describes, in apatently offensiveway, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable state law.

[3] Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

The work is considered obscene only if all three conditions are satisfied.

Patently offensive.

The phrase first appeared inRoth v. United States, referring to any obscene acts or materials that are considered to be openly, plainly, or clearly visible as offensive to the viewing public.

The Roth standard outlined what is to be considered obscene and thus not under First Amendment protection.

According to the “Roth Standard” a work is obscene if:

[1] The dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to a prurient interest in sex.

[2] The material is patently offensive because it affronts contemporary community standards relating to the description or representation of sexual matters.

[3] The material is utterly without redeeming social value.

The Roth standard was largely replaced by theMillertestestablished byMiller v. California(1973).

Armstrongism

So what does Armstrongism have to do with pornography? More than you might think! Lets look at the Miller test.

“Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”

It is a well known fact that the groups known as the Churches of God have built a cultural tradition that has never contributed a single thing to the advancement of knowledge or understanding in either religion or the sciences. Most reasonable people recognize this. The reality is that the churches have never had anything to offer that was supported by concrete evidence. Baseless, if not wishful claims filled the pages of the Plain Truth, the Good News, Tomorrow’s World, and countless other publications.

To serve as an example, take the October, 1969 edition of Tomorrow’s World where we read:

“There can be no doubt that the present Royal Family of Britain are the direct descendants of the ancient Jewish King, David, and that Queen Elizabeth II sits upon the very Throne of David, and that one day in the near future there will be another crowning – perhaps the last in this age – on this Throne before the Messiah comes and takes over the very Throne which He was born to Occupy – the Throne of His earthly father David.”

The quote above tells us that “There can be no doubt.” Really? British Israelism rests upon a method of interpreting prophecy which reduces the Scripture to the level of a cross-word puzzle. Texts are torn from their context, and misapplied without the slightest regard to their original meaning. How can the churches of God be so willingly ignorant of the most basic tenets of this fallacy and so eloquent in the denunciation of modern scholarship? With this in mind, how can we take any of the churches of God seriously?
—Taken as a whole, the theory of British Israelism lacks serious
literary, artistic, political or scientificvalue.
See the Miller test, rule #3

The Missing Dimension in Sex

Of all the books ever released by the Worldwide Church of God, this has to be the biggest embarrassment of all. With comments by the author Herbert W. Armstrong, we learn these little tidbits of information: “Many men themselves do not realize it, but the left testicle hangs a little lower in the scrotum than the right.”
And another favorite:
“Many girls, participating in “necking” on dates, do not realize at all that the boyfriend is sexually aroused, ready for and desiring coitus, in a matter of five or ten seconds’ time.”
And speaking with the authority of Jesus Christ we read:
Just about every so-called “authority” whose book I have seen, and the medical associations, universally chorus the minor discordant error that masturbation does no harm. I say to you on authority of Jesus Christ and the Word of God that it does do harm – not only physically (even though temporary), but psychologically, emotionally, mentally, and most of all, MORALLY and SPIRITUALLY.”

Leaving little to the imagination, Armstrong injects on to the reader, pictures of the female clitoris, and male penis. He goes into great detail on how to stimulate your sexual partner, and achieve an orgasm. With his infinite wisdom, Herbert instructs us as to what position to take during intercourse, and the evils of masturbation.

What strikes me as I read this book is the dogmatic approach he takes with the subject. Not only does he present himself as one of the “Masters and Johnson” authoritarians on the subject of sex, he is prophet, dating coach, lawgiver, judge, child rearing professional, marriage expert, and biologist!
—T
he dominant theme of the material taken as a whole, appeals to a prurient interest of the average person. We see in the psyche of Herbert W. Armstrong “A morbid, degrading and unhealthy interest in sex, as distinguished from a mere candid interest in sex.” Knowing the history of Armstrong and some in his cult, I label this book as religious pornography.
See the Miller test, rule #1

Compromising your integrity

One of the most compelling issues we have facing us in these times falls under the heading of Integrity. We are living in a new age of immense abundance in the areas of information, communication and possibilities. This new level of intensity can open many doors to almost anyone who wants to accomplish anything.

But the more we stretch ourselves toward accomplishing what we want in life, the more we are presented with the question of whether or not to break our own rules and make compromises. What we have come to recognize as our own truth comes under the heading of personal Ethics.

We describe ethics as:

Rational thinking.

Personal behavior intended for the highest good or best interests for all of society.

Honorable ways to accomplish goals.

When we compromise our personal ethics, it often happens very subtly, with escalations of commitment and expectations over time. When we find ourselves acting in opposition to our values, this creates an internal experience of being divided. This, in turn, leads to varying degrees of discomfort and psychological conflict. This is known as cognitive dissonance.

Just how far would you compromise your ethics in order to get ahead?

Let us look to pornography for an answer.

The pornographer recruits by exploiting:

Greed, in order to manipulate the moral integrity of the performer.

The excessive sexual desire or addictions of the performer.

Revenge against boyfriend, girlfriend, or *parental authorities.

Moral weakness of the performer.

The want of fame or notoriety.

*Neglect or abuse. Childhood trauma or other underlying influences.

The performers compromise their ethics (if they have any) by acceptance of the offer.

They:

Selling out future opportunities in life.

Souring of relationships they may have with others outside the realm of their work.

Believe they are taking charge of their lives while they degrade and humiliating themselves.

All of us (the performers) who have been part of the Armstrong religion are guilty of ignorance and/or compromising our ethics. Our ethics are what defined us before the church experience and what defines us after. We must retain the ability to be honest with ourselves and admit that we have in the past, shut out of our minds, that inner voice of reason that we had been suppressing. As performers, just what were we thinking when:

We degraded ourselves by embracing Armstrong-ism?

We sold out what could have been a brighter future?

We shunned family and friends outside of our scope of believe?

We thought of ourselves as members of Gods true church at one time, the stark reality was that the ministry used us like ATM machines, abused and exploited us. Upon realizing these facts, we stood before the world as fools, degraded, humiliated, stripped and flogged. Like pornography, the Armstrong religion destroyed our marriages, families, and relationships. We became desensitized towards our fellow man, raging at the world in condemnation. But we were no different than the pornographer or recruit. We sold our integrity down the river when we accepted the twisted premise of the religion and all the baggage it came with.

The pornographers are those who exploited our weakness’s, recruited and maintained us in the religion. Of the participants, the Armstrong religion is an imitation of the master-slave, conqueror-victim paradigm. The masters exploited, the conquerable bowed a knee in submission.
—The religious group protected ministers, and members who were child molesters, adulterers, thieves and stalkers. The member who complained is demonized and expelled. The “work” is patently offensive by its representation of being a religion and by who and what it values. “By their fruits you shall know them.” Matt. 7:16
See the Miller test, rule #2

Conclusion

We have compared three types or classes of people here. The politician, the priest, and now the pornographer. What they all have in common is the basic art of deceptive practices. If we are to believe that one is superior to the other, we are still walking in error. People who never learn this lesson will always be a easy mark for the con man. Whether in a thousand dollar suit or in torn robes, the basic underlying factor here is that men desire power over another. It is a basic theme throughout history. The master and slave relationship.

In the slave relationship, one has little recourse to avoid the consequences. Yes, we all have compromised our integrity at one time or another. The true test of our character is if we allow ourselves or families to continue in error. To shut ones eyes to facts, to stop up the ears and refuse to hear, to not protest injustices, all of this is to accommodate whatever or whoever your master is.

The master knows no bounds. Like the pornographer, he exploits the weakness of the human being, allowing you to degrade and humiliate yourself. Yet you can change this relationship at any time. You can withdraw your permission from this person or group that comes between you and your God. The rock-solid principles of freedom of thought and freedom of speech takes moral integrity and ethics to put into place.

Think of it this way. Armstrong-ism is like walking into a crowded room and telling everyone there that its an open party with unlimited access to alcohol and sex. What could be the outgrowth if the host doesn’t have the ability to manage the crowd?

Social chaos in the church and in your family.