Expanded Theological Discussion for Spiritual Seekers, Believers, and Everyone Else

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Tue, Jul 26, 2011 - 1:58am
silveralchemist
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Don't listen to my BS.....

"Seek not to follow the footstep of the great masters, but instead seek what they sought"

"The kingdom lives within you"

"You will do even greater works than he"

I do not know the answer to your questions. Only you do. Everyone wants you to listen to their ideas and believe their explanation. We look for answers in books, in movies, in tvs, in other people; but the answers live in a place that we look last. They are within us.

"Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't...you're right!"

And I hope you don't listen to my BS either :-)

Peace and love all

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 - 2:24am silveralchemist
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Within Us

@Silveralchemist. You covered a lot of ground. Kudos. You are thinking, and that .......... Check out this book The First American,The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklinn(H.W. Brands) The BS is neither.

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 - 11:26am
Larry
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@Stephanie

As always, you show a kind heartedness and calm voice of reason that is the example Christians should follow.

Having read the "cult" message that you referred to, I felt no need to respond (that and much else to do), especially since I saw nothing in that message that I wasn't already aware of and had researched and reconciled as nothing more than (popular) myth and misunderstanding. However, I was tempted to take that opportunity to provide information that would dispel those popular yet erroneous myths.

If time allows today or soon perhaps I'll put together something useful and credible that might bring more understanding to the myths surrounding the Jehovah's Witnesses organization. Not to "sell" or pitch anything... and not just to disprove, but to illuminate, clarify, explain, demystify and such...

People's words are sometimes the only window we have to understand them, particularly and obviously on blog forums. While our words don't reveal a full representation of faith, heart, attitude and aptitude, they do convey much about us. Those of us that consider ourselves Christians are spiritually compelled, both as a desire and a duty, to spread the good Word and testify to our faith. We just have to be careful that we don't push our religion, ridicule others' religions or confuse scriptural teaching with our own bias or philosophy.

More to the point, if we speak of religion or the bible, we should all feel an obligation to provide more than opinion or internet myths without providing supportive scriptures or at least a reasoned, logical rationale for our declarations. Most if not all of us fail to some degree in remembering this. In zeal or if we feel threatened, we each can overstep the boundaries and, by negative example, demonstrate something we don't want or believe. Hope that makes sense.

In the end, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Anyone who worships Jehovah God is good. Anyone who worships Jesus is good. Anyone who faithfully reads and studies the bible is doing a good thing. Anyone who tries to live a life with integrity, modeled after our Christ is, in my book, spectacular and doing well.

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 - 2:52pm
OC15
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Not much time but just wanted to mention to Larry.

Larry,

Please read all of John 1:1, further Colossians for example.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend[a] it.

Colossians 1:16-17 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

In these verses Paul states that Jesus is the creator of all things. All things include everything, there is nothing excluded. If Jesus was a creation of God then he would be part of “all things” and this verse would be in error by stating the Jesus created all things.

1 Colossians 1:16-17 because by means of him all {other} things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All {other} things have been created through him and for him. Also he is before all {other} things and by means of him all {other} things were made to exist, {NWT}

Notice that the Jehovahs inserted “other” in this text to imply that Jesus is part of “all things created.” There is no legitimate reason found in the Greek text to do this. No reputable Greek scholar would insert “other" into the text. The Greek word for all things is “panta .” The Greek word for “other things” is “loipoy”. Note that it is not found in the Greek translation below.

Colossians 1:16 ho’tien autoo' ekti'sthee ta' pa'nta en toi's ouranoi's kai' epi'tee's gee's, ta' horata' kai' ta' ao'rata, ei'te thro'noi ei'teKurio'teetes ei'te achai' ei'te exousi'ai, ta' pa'nta di autou'kai' eis auto'n e'ktistai.

Colossians 1:17 Kai' auto's estin pro' pa'ntoon kai' ta' pa'nta en autoo'sune'steeken.

Note that this word is not found in the translation of Col 1:16, 17 nor in the entire book of Colossians.

Kindly, I think it is JW who have mistranslated. Does it not seem strange to me that no one would have known how to properly translate the Greek to English until the late 1800's?

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 - 5:16pm
Larry
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@OC15

Thanks, I just popped in to comment and see yours. I'll check it out. Maybe my comments next will overlap some of your same subjects. Apologies in advance for the long 'novel'.

I didn't have time to write a short one. :)

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 - 5:52pm
Larry
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OC15

Just read yours. Thanks for the sharing. Since neither of us is fluent in Greek, Aramaic or Hebrew, I think it unwise to get in the weeds too much on the finer points of interpretations. Besides, I have enough trouble with the English language :)

If you haven't seen my other message on the 24th, please do. I think my observations about the trinity, God Father and Christ Son, along with rationale on differences with interpreting John:1 has been amply covered. Maybe some of my above comment also addresses some.

For the life of me, and I'm just guessing here, the verses that clearly point out God and Jesus as separate entities are all over the bible dozens and dozens of times... in plain English. I've included a few above. Yet, the trinity concept relies on one or three verses that can, with any reasonable analysis, be seen as vague. I also think the Greek interpretation signifies Father "God" and Son "a god". And I believe Jesus is Christ and had a hand in all creation.

I pray that one day I'll know why and when the trinity concept/doctrine/belief came to be. It's not mentioned once in the bible. Oh, I could stretch a few verses to make it appear to mean that, using some imagination, but at some point I'll continue research. Yet most Christians cling to the trinity... as I did for decades. We heard it from birth and never questioned it.

We know about the Nicaea Council. I plan to dig more. Until then, I guess I've come to my beliefs based on new enlightenment about scriptures, based on study of the bible and based on my own spiritual 'mid-course correction'.

Whatever the case, I love good people that care about such things, regardless of which turn they take in the translation/interpretation road. I'll bet God does too. He probably smiles at our futile efforts to understand what man cannot know but He loves that we have faith, He loves when we walk the good walk and He loves that we care enough to seek the truth.

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 - 6:01pm
Larry
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@Watcher and others...

Watcher,

You’ve made quite a few assertions about Jehovah’s Witnesses in your earlier message(s) directed to me. These are actually myths that you promote and they are pretty commonly distributed on the internet. Instead of ignoring and considering the source so to speak, I’ll spend time on the chance that one person might be curious to know the truth and are able and willing to read a comparatively long response.

It takes only a few moments to search for propaganda on the internet and then clip/paste portions on a blog. Like throwing grenades: quick to pull the pin and toss but the mess takes a while to clean up. Watcher, you said, “I will take the initiative and oppose them in Christ, in love and with Scripture”. Duly noted, you have opposed, and I’ll take your word on love, but I haven’t seen scriptures from you. It is my sincere hope that you would take initiative by finding and showing me scriptures that would change my mind or expand my knowledge.

We live in an attention deficit, sound-bite culture, where collecting and casually dispersing grossly erroneous and hurtful statements from drive-thru, anti-God, anti-Christian and in this case, anti-JW websites is easy. Referencing anonymous “authorities” without any effort or attempt at substantive proof is easy. Reading, understanding and citing scriptures from the ultimate source takes more time and more care. From that comes truth. Not pushing the ‘easy button’. This lazy tactic of repeating lies and half-truths serves no good purpose and is not instructive or helpful to anyone.

If we are to have integrity as individuals, particularly if we feel the need to promulgate condemnations against a religious organization, we should at least put in the time to check credible sources and known facts. Your only “fact” was that you attended Kingdom Hall with your parents. Were you too young to assimilate what you heard when you attended as a youth? Only you know the answer to that. I ask this because I assume you were a child and, like most children, naturally limited and unable to appreciate what you saw and heard.

For whatever purpose, you continue spreading untrue myths about Jehovah’s Witnesses. I'll give benefit of doubt as I always try to do and assume you just don't know the truth of what you speak of, or that you believe your are saving Christians by attacking an evil cult, or you simply think your beliefs are being challenged. Perhaps they are challenged, but not by me. Think on that.

I've seen much if not most of these websites when I was doing my own exhaustive research on the JW organization. I found most of these "culters" lack credibility, they buy (and sell) disinformation. I don't waste time trying to determine whether they do this because they are good-hearted but misinformed, hateful, cynical, or if there is a more dark and dubious reason behind their work. Only God knows and I am not interested in what their motives are.

I’ll address the lies, half-truths and misconceptions that you’ve heard and passed along to this thread, not just for your sake and for the sake of others here that might want to open their minds and hearts, but also in defense of an organization that I have come to know and respect.

When we have disagreements we should remember that, "it is impossible to reason a person out of something they were never reasoned into". After reading your comments I'm afraid that is what we may have here. But I will try and bring biblical clarification to this anyway, again, for the sake of others. After all, neither your opinion or mine really make any difference except to ourselves.

Now, to specifically address the myths: Your statements follow (in bold) with my answers/clarifications below them. For scriptures, I’ve used the common Christian bible):

“The Christian community classifies JW's as a cult”

This statement proves what exactly? Majority rules? Not with Christ… certainly not in Noah’s day. That same mindset hasn’t worked very well for the vast majority of Americans that pay attention to the media shills that pump the Dollar, Bonds and equities and call gold investors “bugs”. But they are in the majority. As were the “flat earthers”, witch hunters and such of their time. Following the wrong herd can sometimes run you off a cliff. You get the idea.

But seriously, I certainly wouldn’t dispute that many Christians think that JW’s are a cult, and I can’t go to the scriptures for a direct answer to that observation. Plying you with links of other “counter-authorities” would not be a wise use of energy and time. It’s easy for me to understand this misconception because before I looked for myself, researched then got involved I thought that too. Besides, JW only believes that truth can be found in the bible. I suspect most that criticize them have not studied the bible and are parroting what they hear from ignorant people.

“JW's deny the divinity of Jesus Christ”

This is false, and whether you know it or not, you cannot prove this. JW’s only teach what is in the bible. Therefore, they teach that Jesus is The Messiah, He is the Lamb, the King, the Shepard, our Savior and our Christ. Jesus spoke for God, hence, He is the “Word” (John 1:14). He is Jehovah’s “firstborn of all creation” and God used Jesus when He created all other things (Col 1:15-16). Jesus is God’s “only begotten son” (John 3:16). Jesus lived in heaven before He came to earth (Micah 5:2). Jesus is not equal to God, because God created Jesus. These things are all in the bible and taught by JW’s. If we can believe what the bible says (and what JW believes and preaches), we can believe that the JW’s are correct and Jesus is a divine being.

“They (JW’s) also have strange prophetic teachings like only a literal 144,000 are part of God's government”

Again, the Jehovah’s Witnesses adhere strictly to the bible. Read here:

“Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.” (Revelation 14:1-5)

As anyone that reads and believes the bible and has eyes that can see, there will only be a chosen few in the Heavenly Kingdom. Jesus will rule over the Heavenly Kingdom and Paradise earth as King. Contrary to today’s mainstream Christian beliefs, those of us that are not Apostles or the most pure and righteous will not be in heaven. Yet, those that know and love God and His Son will be resurrected and live in peace and harmony throughout eternity, as promised, on Paradise Earth.

“For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:9-11)

“JW's also believe that Jesus has already returned and began to reign in 1914”

Another untruth. Actually, it is a twisted half-truth, which is worse. Again, JW’s teach what is in the bible or bible based. They do not teach that Jesus has returned. Believe this… you would know it if He had already returned.

1914 was a significant year in bible prophecy. This involves math and reading many scriptures. JW’s have dedicated decades studying bible prophecies to understand what is revealed and arrive at the dates for such occurrences. This will require study for those inclined to find the truth, as it would take a complete thread to explain. That, and I could not possibly explain it better than the JW’s, linked here:

https://www.watchtower.org/e/bh/appendix_10.htm

Reading this and the referred verses will take time, but it is important that we all know. This date marked the beginning of the “last days” (Rev 12:7, 9, 12). We will see signs of a coming Armaggedon: nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom (Matthew 24:7); Food shortages (Mat 24:7); Great Earthquakes (Luke 21:11); Pestilences (Luke 21:11).

Aside from these world developments, the bible foretold that the last days would be marked by a change in human society. The apostle Paul described what people would be like in the last days:

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.” (2 Timothy 3:1-9)

“JW's also believe that everyone that is not a JW is part of Christendom that is doomed to die in Armageddon.”

False again. Are you seeing a pattern here? I cannot disprove what you cannot prove. If you’re with me so far, do you see the misinformation being spread? That is not what JW’s teach and it is not what the bible teaches. Instead of finding and referring you to chapters here, I’ll send you back to re-read the verses listed above. JW’s don’t see themselves as an exclusive club.

There are many good and righteous people on earth of all faiths, creeds and colors. Jehovah’s Witnesses simply strive to live up to the qualities described in the Bible. They consider the bible to be the Word of God. Having witnessed the Witnesses this entire year and getting to know them well, I can tell you that God will spare as many from harm as possible and select them for Paradise earth and in some cases, JW’s will be included among those selected from the tribes of the world to serve in heaven.

As far as Armageddon goes, there is much written. I’ve selected a few verses that add knowledge far beyond my pay grade:

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:36-44)

“You (JW’s) don't permit blood transfusions even if your child will die”

Finally. Truth! Congratulations. But there is much more than is reported or understood on this topic, which is also complex. Many if not most blood transfusions are not necessary, as there is much better medical knowledge and technology as well as safer fluid alternatives. The military is now considering bloodless treatments. I’ll attach a few articles and a scripture that should settle the matter. We certainly don’t want to break God's instruction. Even if this command was not in the bible, we already know how many die each year from blood infections and transmittable diseases due to transfusions. God is wise.

For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.” (Acts 15:28-29)

https://www.examiner.com/signs-of-the-times-in-phoenix/life-saving-blood-transfusion

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Tue, Jul 26, 2011 - 10:26pm Larry
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The Trinity

C. S. Lewis devotes book IV of Mere Christianity to the doctrine of the Trinity. Chapter 1 is "Making and Begetting", where explains the significance of the phrase "the only begotten Son of God". If you have never read this work, I highly recommend it.

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 - 10:27pm Larry
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Larry, thank you

Larry wrote:

You get to know God the same way you get to know history, math and science. You study. The bible will teach you all you need to know about God, Jesus, history and the future. Pretty amazing stuff. But don’t feel alone. I’d venture to say that most people who profess to be Christian have not read, much less studied the bible. They get to a place of comfort with the basics and pretty much coast from there.

Yes, I do intend to get to know God and I will profess I've not read a lot of the Bible. Tis on my to-do-list which unfortunately gets longer with each passing day. As for salvation, I understand this is not in the cards for me yet - I know I have a great deal of work to do before that presents itself to me.

Thank you again, I was expecting to be kicked to the curb being an outsider and all. You give me great hope :)

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 - 10:41pm
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Gil, I completely agree with everthing you said

and I am so looking forward to getting away from the noise of everyday life and spending time in and amongst nature to show me the true way.

Have you read "The Celestine Prophesy" by James Redfield?

This book was given to me by a near stranger with the instruction to read it and then give it away to someone else and lead me on my current path to find alternative answers. It was very inspirational to me.

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 - 12:41am
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For Ginger

I'm responding to Ginger's comment from the Thread of Faith...

ginger wrote:

Stephanie, thank you for your encouragement to me. But as you can probably guess.. I am torn. Basically, I AM an evangelical Christian ...of the fundamental nature.. just like Chin. I believe the Bible to be the 'infallible' word of God. ...I mean ...if you think about that.. ..who believes in a 'fallible' word of God? :D .....Wouldn't give me a lot of confidence in what I believed if I thought it was not devinely inspired and true to the letter. But having said that, I am also not one who thinks we should turn others away. That was the confusing part for me of what transpired. Because I AGREE with Chin.. that you should stand strong for your faith in Christ and not back down about what you know the Truth to be. ...But I also know that Christ wouldn't have been in a place to minister to others if he had not gathered with all and ministered to all.

Hi Ginger,

Thanks for your comment! Just to elaborate a little bit. Many Christian denominations do not focus on the Bible being literal. The church denomination I grew up in sees the Bible as "authoritative" but not "literal" or "inerrant." I was never taught in church that Genesis was literal - it was an allegory, a means of telling a story in simple terms that would otherwise be too complicated to explain.

You speak of having "confidence" in the Bible...personally, I find allegory and myth to be hugely powerful and whether or not a Biblical story is literal or mythological doesn't really have any bearing on its impact for me spiritually. Jesus taught in parables for a reason, right?

At any rate, it may be hard to understand how the Bible may not be the main focus of being Christian if you were raised in an evangelical context, but let me try to explain:

For many Christian churches, the focus is not solely on the Bible. The focus can also be on the liturgy - the "rituals" of the church, for example, the structure of how a church service is performed. Also, in both the Catholic and Episcopalian traditions, there is a tremendous weight put on the idea of "apostolic succession," meaning, the idea that all the priests have come down through a line of teaching straight from the original apostles. This is why Catholics also feel the Pope can be a representative on earth - he is part of the "apostolic succession." He is direct in a line of priests descending straight from Jesus.

As part of this apostolic succession, churches that are more liturgical often believe that tradition and knowledge passed down through the generations also make up the wisdom of the church - not solely the Bible.

Because I grew up in a liturgical tradition, as opposed to a Bible-focused denomination, I resonate more with a structured church service and the liturgical year as a "framework" for Christianity. For example, the church "seasons" such as Christmas, Lent, and Easter, hold great significance. Every year on Palm Sunday I could expect as a child to come home with a cross made out of palm leaves. I got ashes on my forehead on Ash Wednesday. This meant something to me, it gave me a structure and a sense of the sacred.

I was given a Bible for my Confirmation, but did not read much of it except for that great passage in Corinthians about love.

Don't get me wrong - the Bible is a very important part of a liturgical tradition. I'm used to a church service with a reading from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Gospel. It actually surprised me to go to a Baptist service once and find out that there weren't any Bible readings set up in the way liturgical churches have them! All the service was, was a bunch songs and a very loooong sermon!

The one thing that really surprised me was to learn that not all churches do Communion every week. I grew up believing this was the most important part of church! To this day, I believe the Eucharist is the most sacred, profound, and beautiful part of any church service, and it blows my mind that it's not done weekly in many churches!

But that's just me. :-)

The short version of this story is, you can believe wholeheartedly in Jesus, and not believe in the literal Bible. And since there's nothing in the Bible that says you must believe that the Bible is the literal word of God as a prerequisite to being saved, well, I don't think it's either here or nor there when it comes to defining a Christian. :-) Others may disagree.

I hope that helps.

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 - 1:15am Bobbi
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I did read The Celestine

I did read The Celestine Prophesy several years ago. I remember it as a book that was hard to put down once I got started.

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 - 4:13am
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The Bottom Line

The bottom line when searching religion is really one simple question...Is the Resurrection of Jesus literally true? If it is, it validates every other claim made by Jesus during his life. If it isn't true then christians, including myself, are wasting our time.

It doesn't matter whether the bible is all literal, or whether some words were not copied or translated perfectly, or whether they got all the books that should be in the Bible. The early church didn't even have the "bible". It matters whether Jesus really is who he said he was and the proof or validation of that is the resurrection. Churches today tend to focus on the crucifixion. Not so with the early church leaders. They focused on the resurrection. No other religion makes a claim anywhere close to it. If it is not true then all religions are basically the same. All are the efforts of mere men trying to attain righteousness by there own works. Even reincarnation is another form of attaining a "level" of goodness on your own. Just takes a little longer :^). But if the resurrection is true....well then that is a different story. That is THE issue that has to be resolved in a person's heart and mind. Many things in christianity have to be taken by faith, the virgin birth for instance. The resurrection, however, has circumstancial evidences around it. Josephus actually talks of it in his writings. How do you explain why a small group of men, who were depressed, discouraged and in despair because they had just watched there leader,who was supposed to change the world, die a horrible death, suddenly become so confident and filled with zeal that they changed the world. Why? What happened?

I actually agree with much of what Stephanie wrote in terms of the Eucharist and Apostolic succession etc. Luther moved in to some good things but also left some good things behind. "sola scriptura" was a great battle cry in his day but the pendelum may have swung a little to far the other way. But all of these issues are peripheral to the central issue that makes christianity , well christianity, and that is the resurrection.

This Too Shall Pass
Wed, Jul 27, 2011 - 4:34am
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Stephanie

Stephanie

Just a suggestion. I would edit out the posts of Larry and those responding to him and make it a separate thread. It's a shame to drift a thread with long posts about JWs. Then anyone interested in JWs can go to its own thread.

*****************

Watcher,

It is my sincere hope that you would take initiative by finding and showing me scriptures that would change my mind or expand my knowledge.

If we are to have integrity as individuals, particularly if we feel the need to promulgate condemnations against a religious organization, we should at least put in the time to check credible sources and known facts.

Larry,

I have a M.Div, so I know more about JWs then just childhood impressions or from internet sites. I'll be happy to show integrity and use Scriptures.

The truths, (or should I use the word 'myths' like you do), JWs espouse are easily dismissed by studying the history of doctrine back thru the Reformers and then back to the early Church Fathers. The Arian debate was settled a long long time ago. Great Christian commentators like Adam Clarke, John Gill, Matthew Henry and Albert Barnes who know history and languages have one thing in common... they point to Jesus Christ and are in agreement that salvation is all of grace by faith in Jesus Christ. Quite simple really. The more I learn, the simpler it gets.

So you address my post to possibly help one person believe as you do? I then will take the time to address your post to help that one person stop and think twice about becoming a JW.

“The Christian community classifies JW's as a cult”

To determine whether a community is a 'cult' requires defining what a cult is. A Christian cult is a group that has separated itself out of the mainstream of Christianity. That is not a bad thing if this group is true to Christ only, the Bible only and the Gospel only. The group that breaks out off mainstream Christianity and holds to the truth about Christ, the Bible and the Gospel is called in the Bible, the Remnant. The Protestant Reformers separated themselves from Catholicism and can be classified as a remnant rather than a cult... since the battle cry of the reformation was:

  • 1 Sola scriptura ("by Scripture alone")
    • 2 Sola fide ("by faith alone")
      • 3 Sola gratia ("by grace alone")
        • 4 Solus Christus or Solo Christo ("Christ alone")

          Compare the JW organization according to these principles.

          They don't hold to the Bible alone since they have a founder, Charles Russell, and everything must be interpreted according to his understanding and the Watchtower Society's interpretation of the Bible. They have even produced their own Bible in order to twist the truth about Christ's divinity. A cult always has someone with authority equal to the Bible to interpret the Bible. They alone are given the authority to interpret it. Extra authorities are always the first sign of a cult. The evidence is that the only literature found in a JW Hall or home is Watchtower literature. They are discouraged from reading anything other than what their leaders write. Very cultic.

          And they don't teach salvation is by grace thru faith in Jesus Christ... alone. The Bible teaches that a sinner becomes a child of God by putting their faith in what God did for them (grace alone) in His Son Jesus Christ. That is what set Luther free and sparked the Reformation!

          God put sinners right with Himself solely by what Jesus did for sinners. All the sinner can do is accept it as a free gift and then show gratitude and appreciation by odbedience and works....not to be saved...but because they already are saved.

          Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."

          Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (This is the verse that set Luther free from trying to save himself.)

          A Christian cult always adds works and believing certain doctrines to the gospel in order to be saved.

          “JW's deny the divinity of Jesus Christ”

          This is false, and whether you know it or not, you cannot prove this. JW’s only teach what is in the bible. Therefore, they teach that Jesus is The Messiah, He is the Lamb, the King, the Shepard, our Savior and our Christ. Jesus spoke for God, hence, He is the “Word” (John 1:14). He is Jehovah’s “firstborn of all creation” and God used Jesus when He created all other things (Col 1:15-16). Jesus is God’s “only begotten son” (John 3:16). Jesus lived in heaven before He came to earth (Micah 5:2). Jesus is not equal to God, because God created Jesus. These things are all in the bible and taught by JW’s. If we can believe what the bible says (and what JW believes and preaches), we can believe that the JW’s are correct and Jesus is a divine being.

          Out of your own mouth you deny the deity of Christ.

          One thing I notice Larry about the Scriptures Arians (JW's) use is that they fail to understand the humanity of Jesus Christ. Jesus as a human did have a beginning in Bethlehem. It is this human with a beginning that is referred to as His only begotten Son. What Arians fail to see is that it was GOD who came down and tabernacled in that Seed within Mary.

          John 1:1-3 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.... 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us..."

          I don't think the Word can be any clearer. The Word was with God, the Word was God. He was there in the very beginning and everything was made by The Word and The Word became flesh....and dwelt among us. That is Jesus my friend.

          God, The Word, took a a body. He was not created by God. The only part that was created was the human body that He indwelt.

          Philippians 2:5 "Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

          The Word "emptied Himself" or laid aside the form He had as God in order to take on a human form and took on the Name, Jesus. He wasn't "Jesus" as The Word before He was born in Bethlehem. God bestowed on Him that name...the Name of Jesus at that time.

          God took to Himself a human form. That is the sacrifice. This was to show His love for His creatures. Satan lies about God and said God cannot be trusted. God to prove how much he loves His creatures and so can be trusted, became a creature. God is so awesome. :-) God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.

          All you have to do is see passages in the OT that use YHVH and then are applied to 'Jesus' in the NT to see that Jesus and YHVH are the same being.

          See this link for the arguments. Saves me the time to type it out.

          https://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/deity.htm

          In John 8 we read this: 58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM."
          59

Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.

Notice that these men understood precisely what Jesus was saying. And because He obviously also understood what they were asking, His reply is all that much more significant. He was telling them He was God, using the name Jehovah Himself had revealed to Moses at the burning bush, "I AM." He could have made no stronger claim of deity. If that had not been His meaning, if he were claiming only to be the firstborn angel, He would have said, "before Abraham was born, I was."

“They (JW’s) also have strange prophetic teachings like only a literal 144,000 are part of God's government”

Again, the Jehovah’s Witnesses adhere strictly to the bible.

It's not that 144,000 is not in Revelation. It is that you believe only JW's are the 144,000. That is cultic my friend. Furthermore, to take that number literally is a exegetical mistake. The number is clearly symbolic of those who are saved. 12x12x1000 (12 is symbolic of God's people. There were 12 tribes and 12 Apostles. 144,000 represents those saved in the OT and NT, imho.)

Your claim that your belief is a result of strictly adhering to the Bible is a LIE. Your belief is a result of adhering to Chas. Russell and the Watchtowers interpretation of this number. When you learn the difference you will be set free. Larry, you have the internet before you my friend. Read what former JW's have to say. That is what opened my eyes.

“JW's also believe that Jesus has already returned and began to reign in 1914”

Another untruth. Actually, it is a twisted half-truth, which is worse. Again, JW’s teach what is in the bible or bible based. They do not teach that Jesus has returned. Believe this… you would know it if He had already returned.

1914 was a significant year in bible prophecy. This involves math and reading many scriptures. JW’s have dedicated decades studying bible prophecies to understand what is revealed and arrive at the dates for such occurrences. This will require study for those inclined to find the truth, as it would take a complete thread to explain. That, and I could not possibly explain it better than the JW’s.

So what do you believe happened in 1914. We're waiting. You call my statement a lie and half truth etc. and then tell folks they have to go into a deep study to find the truth. Hogwash. No one other than JWs believe 1914 fulfilled a prophecy. I learned a long time ago that when only one group of Christians believe something to be very VERY wary and that it's probably not true.

Many JWs left because of this false prophecy. I would encourage anyone to google "former Jehovah Witnesses" and hear the truth from their own mouths after awakening to the truth. https://www.xjw.com/ for example.

Men who were leaders in the Watchtower will tell you how wrong the JWs are....about many things. Get as far away as you can. They are good people and kindly, but they are deceived about God and the way to everlasting life.

Don't believe anything I say. Check it out for yourself. My desire is that people find God's love. That is what changed my life. His love is what fills me with joy and gladness. "He demonstrated His love in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Rom. 5:9

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 - 11:56am
Larry
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@Watcher

Watcher,

Thanks for taking all that time to state your beliefs and provide the scriptures that you feel support them. You’ve obviously gone to great effort to find and organize scriptures and articles to get your points across and that is always a good thing. Plus, I think this latest comment from you is a much more reasoned and respectful argument than your first.

That being said, I respectfully disagree with half of everything you say that attempted to contradict my earlier comments on the subjects. :)

We obviously don’t agree, but that is fine by me. There will be disgruntled JW’s and traditional Christians that preach against JW’s until the last days, perhaps to THE last day, but that is not something that I can change. You hold firm to the idea that JW’s are a cult. You can live with that and so can I.

I’ve provided ample scriptures to support my beliefs in prior comments. Assuming you carefully read those scriptures that I provided, you clearly see that they (from the bible we both use as the written authority) support my beliefs and discount the “myth” status you’ve given my beliefs.

You said, “Out of your own mouth you deny the deity of Christ.” How could you say that? Did you skip those scriptures and paragraphs that I provided? Are you saying that the bible denies the deity of Christ? Or were the scriptures I provided just ones that you disagree with? In no way could any reasonable person who read what I wrote and read the scriptures that I provided come to the conclusion that I said or inferred anything resembling that.

As far as the scriptures I included that support what I did say, I’ll let them stand on their own. Interpret them to the best of your ability.

You’ve done some side-stepping of scripture. One the one hand, you point to a “strict adherence to the scriptures”. From that position, you then cherry-pick scriptures (interpretation/translation notwithstanding) and provide them to buttress your points. That’s fine and good. But then, when it suits, you discount other scriptures where it suits you. On top of that, you put more words in my mouth by continuing with another myth. Per the following from your comment:

“It's not that 144,000 is not in Revelation. It is that you believe only JW's are the 144,000. That is cultic my friend. Furthermore, to take that number literally is a exegetical mistake. The number is clearly symbolic of those who are saved. 12x12x1000 (12 is symbolic of God's people. There were 12 tribes and 12 Apostles. 144,000 represents those saved in the OT and NT, imho.)”

See? From the first sentence above, you show, when an actual scripture doesn’t support your myth, you discount it and continue immediately after with a lie in your second sentence. JW’s do NOT believe only they are the chosen 144,000. Did you not see my comment earlier on this subject? In reality (FACT), only a very few have stated that they are destined to be a part of the number. Who knows if they will be? I certainly don’t. Safe to say you don’t either. The vast majority of JW’s do not believe they are pure and righteous enough to be counted in the 144k. I’m glad you at least ended your thought with “inho”. That is obviously the truth. It is your opinion, not mine.

Look, this is obviously going in circles. My purpose is not to bash non-JW’s. My purpose was initially to introduce an organization that I’d discovered that is worthy of consideration. That’s it. Beyond that, after exhaustive research, I came to the conclusion that they have it right. By this, do I believe all others are doomed? No way. Let me bold my opinion so that it can’t be missed:

Regardless of which bible you read, which translation you subscribe to or which church or religious organization you belong to, all God loving, good-hearted people of all faiths will be saved if they walk the walk by living an honest and good life. The wicked will surely perish.

There, I said it. And my words and opinion is my own, not clipped and pasted from someone else’s writing. Do I think everyone is suited to be a JW? Nope. The JW’s, whether you understand them or not (I think not), are immersed in the bible, they study it constantly. Their mission in life is to spread the Word; that is, the Word of Christ our Savior. They do this through their “field work”. This takes lots of time and energy, and it can be very humiliating, as you might expect.

But they persevere, through insults, door slams and sometimes outright threats of physical harm. In some countries, like Russia, they have been beaten, jailed and persecuted. But they continue because they believe it is their mission, given to us by our Savior. It was his purpose and it is their purpose. It’s certainly not easy being a JW. They really focus on getting to know the bible, they do walk the walk and give of themselves because they try their best to do what Our Savior and then His apostles instructed us to do.

We could sit on our computers all day every day searching for articles that support our viewpoints. We could bend and twist the “real” meaning or go through contortions parsing the Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew translation of scriptures, and we could find ample support for any and all religious organizations until the cows come home. We could also find articles that denigrated any group we wish. This can be educational and enlightening but at some point this does nobody any good. Particularly if we don’t truly meditate on what each of us is saying to one another.

Within minutes on the internet we can find websites dedicated to bashing all Christians, Jews and even God. We can find sites that praise the evil one. We can find anything and any place that supports, not so much what we believe, but what we would like to believe. God’s spirit and what we read and understand in the bible can lead us to the right places.

Our free will that God created in us can lead us in many directions. We know how God wants us to live. We’ve been told. Yet, His blessing and our spirit can be overridden with that free will (Eve), if we allow man’s pronouncements, doctrines, interpretations, opinions to override where God wants us. Our intelligence can fail us in this regard. Our souls can be swayed through many channels, whether through articulate logic, tradition, comfort, pleasure, fear of persecution… many things.

Out of time, I’ll just say that I truly appreciate the thoughts and the efforts of others here. It’s all good if it is honest and comes from the heart and respects God. We are not known just by our works (or the details of our religious beliefs or our interpretations), but by our heart. God likes for us to have faith, AND to come to Him by reason. God will forgive us if we get parts of the bible wrong. He knows that man has “fooled around” with the teachings of His Son. That’s what man always does, since the evil one rebelled and was cast out of Heaven.

Beyond all of the complexity and confusion around churches and religions, God knows our heart and He knows our works. God wants us all to be with Him and surely He will forgive our ignorance due to the confusion of humans. Without change of heart and repentance, He will not forgive the devious ones who purposefully pervert His Word or the wicked ones that enslave us, steal from us, lie to us and sin against us.

Finally, in a similar way as I noted somewhere yesterday, I really think God gets a kick out of our discussions. How could He not be pleased? Oh, He may wince when we get some details wrong and He may lovingly, understandingly laugh at our ignorance of Heaven and everything below, but I pray that He blesses us all with our interest in Him.

He knows and loves us all. Of this I am certain.

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 - 12:30pm
Larry
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@Watcher

One last thing: You said: "Just a suggestion. I would edit out the posts of Larry and those responding to him and make it a separate thread. It's a shame to drift a thread with long posts about JWs. Then anyone interested in JWs can go to its own thread."

While this suggestion of yours is odd, since it was comments like yours that motivated my response. And as I said, your myth hand grenades were quick to throw but clearing the rubble took some time (long posts). If I wanted to set up my own JW thread, I'd certainly ask permission... But I don't. That, and I'm not qualified to do that. I don't consider myself an expert on JW. If anything I've added to this or any other thread is deemed offensive or unwayed, I'd rather they we simply deleted, not moved. I'll abide by whatever Stephanie chooses to do there. She has proven herself to be a fair and good moderator.

But I'll ask: would you rather be free to promote myths about JW and have those stand without discussion or rebuttal?

Again, I'll say, my purpose on this thread is NOT to promote JW's, or to win people over to my particular beliefs, my religious affiliation or my interpretation of translations. Those came from a comment I made on the Christian thread, because I wanted to let others know. Whether that was right or wrong is debatable, but certainly I will concede to the wishes of the thread originator and the moderator. Blogs are, in a way, mini--governments. It is a free society. Blog hosts can make the rules. If we wish to reside in them, we obey those rules, From what I've seen the rules are very fair.

My interest began as simply a Christian joining a Christian thread. Further, my interest increased because of our common interest in gold and silver investing, world affairs, preparation for the end of the Keynesian experiment and such. I didn't come here with an axe to grind or a JW agenda. Only to share experiences with others with faith. That's all. I didn't come here to sell, buy or push anything. Most of all, I didn't come here to constantly defend JW's and debunk lies and myths about their beliefs. But, right or wrong, I did my best to react honestly to things said that I know not to be true.

Know that I have no interest in continuing to comment on any JW. Again, it's not why I'm here. I enjoyed some of it and, in the process of trying to clarify and correct errors made in the organization's beliefs, learned more from the experience. But again, as I've said, I think we all know where we stand. To continue going in circles would not be something I or anyone else would want to do.

Lastly, I've dedicated much more time on this computer of late. It's time for a break and move on to other things (applause heard). But let's make a gentleman's deal and save ourselves from intervention or wincing from those that tire along with me with the conversation: You won't continue pasting JW myths on the thread and I won't bring them up.

Fair enough?

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 - 3:50pm Watcher
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JW thread?

Watcher wrote:

Stephanie

Just a suggestion. I would edit out the posts of Larry and those responding to him and make it a separate thread. It's a shame to drift a thread with long posts about JWs. Then anyone interested in JWs can go to its own thread.

Thanks for the suggestion. If anyone else wants to weigh in on this, you are more than welcome. I was feeling that the discussion was polite, and since it does cover a lot of theological ground, it did seem to fit in this thread. At some point I figured you guys would reach the natural conclusion of the discussion, so I didn't see it as being disruptive overall.

I have noticed there are also other subjects that have been brought up that perhaps folks want to create their own threads for, i.e., "The Celestine Prophecy," which isn't a theology book, and since it's more of a self-help book of sorts, might merit its own topic if folks wanted to share about it.

Thank you!

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 - 3:57pm Larry
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Larry wrote: If I wanted to

Larry wrote:

If I wanted to set up my own JW thread, I'd certainly ask permission... But I don't. That, and I'm not qualified to do that.

Larry, you may not consider yourself qualified, but you certainly don't need to ask permission to set up a new thread. The beauty of this site is anyone can create a new topic at any given time!

Just so you're aware, all that is necessary is to visit a forum folder (for example, Everything Else: https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/forums/everything-else), and click the "New Topic" button in the upper left corner.

I encourage anyone who wants to start a topic on any subject to do so. Thanks.

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 - 5:38pm
OC15
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Religion v. Relationship

Not to pick on you Stephanie but I'm going to use a quote from you because it makes for a great illustration of how the world (and to a great extent "the church (I'll use that loosely)) views or has done a job turning Christianity into just another religion. "For many Christian churches, the focus is not solely on the Bible. The focus can also be on the liturgy - the "rituals" of the church, for example, the structure of how a church service is performed."

This is MUCH of what you see in churches today but this is NOT Christianity. Religion says you need to do something to make yourself right with God so that in the end he'll let you in. I've got to punch my Sunday time clock, go to confession, take communion, give some money, get confirmed, pray this way, volunteer for this, cross myself before that. Most churches that do this, which I wouldn't be shocked if it were most churches, don't read the Bible. If they do, it's just in passing. I'm sorry if this is what you think Christianity is, but when you understand who the God of the Bible is, it is literally ridiculous. This is not to say these are not good things. But what has happened is they've been made into God things. And it's an epidemic. This is why people are turned off by Christianity because of the disinformation (as Turd would say). They see their friends doing the same exact things that they do, except they go to church. And the logical conclusion to them is "Christians are no different than me, why do I need to do that?" (for example). Well, if the rituals were what it was about, I'd say they are right. The enemy has done a good job of making Christianity out to be just another religion about it's particular set of rules.

Jesus constantly butted heads with the Pharisees on this issue. See Luke 11:37-53 where he says they only "wash the outside of the cup" and calls them "white washed tombs" among other things to illustrate that they "had all the rituals down". But that their hearts were wicked. And this is what matters to God, the condition of the heart. See also Isaiah 29:13 "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught". They neglected loving people, the 2nd greatest command next to loving God.

The thing about religion is that it either leads to pride or despair. Both of these are illustrated in the Luke passage. The scribes and pharisees represent the proud and those they teach represented those in despair. The scribes and pharisees knew all the rules, had all the scripture memorized, gave what they were supposed to, prayed all the right ways, wore all the right clothes. They had all their liturgical boxes checked. And this made them proud. On the other hand, it made those commoners they taught feel like they would never be good enough. Verse 46 "...woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them". How many people do you know that just get burned out with church because there is just no benefit to the rule keeping, when that is what Christianity is made to be.

You know God gave us a mind to reason and think about the things we involve ourselves in. This is part of what it means to be an image bearer of God, not so much that "made in his image" we look like him but that we were made with His qualities. It astounds me how people can go to church, say they believe the Bible, believe everything some guy in fancy robes tells them, and yet never open the book to see if what he's saying is true. Would you ever go to a college class, for example, hear the professor tell you that he believes everything in your text book, will promise to teach you all that's in it, and yet never open it to see if what he's saying is true? Then why on earth to people go to the same church and never open the Bible? I'm not meaning to offend anyone but have you ever thought why you would 10 "Our fathers" as a penance for stealing or why would you repeat the same prayers over and over and over and over again. Why would you simply not ask God to forgive you for stealing? The prayer has nothing to do with the transgression. This is like my child running up to me, asking me for chocolate ice cream over and over again but really he wants to go to get some toys. This is why people are leaving and disgusted with the church. The teachings make no sense. It's all about the religion of practicing rituals, hearts aren't being regenerated, and no one is really changing.

God is about relationship. This is why Jesus taught parables. So that people could understand the kingdom of God using concepts that were familiar and relative to them. Christianity is really about realizing that there isn't anything you can do to reconcile yourself to God. This is why Jesus came. This is what Christianity is about, Jesus being our way back to God, and pursuing that relationship with Him and sharing that with others. Just as we are all trying to share with others the truth about this manipulated monetary matrix we live in, I would encourage others to shed the preconceptions they have about Christianity being about "their set of rituals".

Remember this, just because someone is in a church doesn't mean they are in Christ.

Larry, what you would cite as evidence of inequality between Jesus and Jehovah God, I would call an issue of deference. These verses where Jesus is referred to as Son is an issue of deference. In coming to earth he laid aside his divinity and humbly took on the form of a man. He was fully God and fully man at the same time. They are equal but Christ defers to the Father. My wife and I are equal but if we have something we really disagree on she humbly defers to my decision. I understand this would not fly in many households, but she trusts in my decision making because I submit myself to Christ's authority and don't make any decisions rashly or personally take advantage of my headship of the household. We share everything with each other and trust each other explicitly. There are some things of God that we will never know until the resurrection, because now we only know in part but will fully know then as Paul writes.

In John 8:58 Jesus tells the Jews "before Abraham was I AM". They would have known exactly what that meant because this is how Jehovah revealed himself to Abraham in Exodus. Christ identifies himself as being the "I AM".

John 10:30-33 - Jesus says "I and the Father are one". Keep in mind Jesus had these types of conversations with the Jews all the time though just a few are recorded. They reply to his statement in verse 33 by stating "We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” This is why He was crucified by them, for blasphemy, for claiming to be God.

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 - 8:07pm
Larry
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@OC15

Great comment and spot on brother man. Or at least I agreed up until my name appeared. Before 'Larry' I was 100% with you. After that, not so much. All I'll say is, Jesus is not a word trickster. What He said and was quoted as saying throughout the bible was, His Father was... well, you know. I just can't see Jesus praying to Himself or sitting at the right hand of Himself in Heaven. There is more to understand... but I've said enough on the subject.

We may all arrive at different places of understanding or the same place at different time, or we may never agree amongst ourselves, but the lesson I'll take from the entire trinity and JW discussion is that it becomes easy, just as it is in all communities, societies and governments, to throw ideas and people away if we don't agree with them or if they are in the minority. That's not a complaint, just an observation of a truly classic scenario that has played out in real time over this and the faith thread over the last week or so. Truly classic and instructional.

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