Thursday, December 17, 2015

Jehovah Witness promotion of paranoia

Jehovah Witnesses are a sect of the 19th Century American religious experience, that is a bit like the radical reformation of the 16th Century with several unusual doctrines (there is no eternal hell, the soul dies), among which isolate themselves from outside (birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving are all pagan and therefore evil), or are done to make themselves appear uniquely enlightened (ie Jesus died on a single 2x4', its a sin to receive a blood transfusion). Probably, the most well known belief is their obsession with the end of the world, since they have successfully been preaching the End is right around the corner for the last 130 years, occasionally setting a date that failed to happen (eg 1914).

Since the Witnesses are obsessed with the End Times, like much of American Protestant Christianity since the 19th century (just look at the LDS, SDA, and general American evangelicals for the last 30 years point to just about anything in the newspaper being a fulfillment of Bible prophecy) they publish in their magazine pictures that are supposed to be scenarios of Witnesses meeting under candle light, in what appears to be some sort of underground setting. For those unfamiliar with Kingdom Hall worship meetings--they are generally about 90 minutes long, with a few, simple songs made by the organization (often songs telling Witnesses they need to do field work), and a 30 minute speech by an elder, then 1 hour long "bible study" based out of the organization's own publication--"The Watchtower." During the 'bible study' portion they have a reader read the paragraphs, then a facilitator read the questions and pick members of the audience to answer them. 9/10 times the answer is repeating exactly what was just read. But sometimes, the answers are not spelled out right there and members are encouraged to think for themselves--as in the case with a picture. Here is the picture used for the October 15, 2015 "The Watchtower" article called "Give us More Faith."


Upon asking the question, there will be several people in the congregation who's hands will jet right up and give detailed answers about how the event is when the evil world will outlaw the Witnesses--forcing them to go underground because they choose to be faithful to Jehovah, while the terrible church of Christendom thrive, but alas, Jehovah's kingdom is not of this system of things, so the Witnesses will preserver in the end and be granted resurrection while others will be destroyed. Generally, the more vivid, paranoid, delusional response will merit greater praise from the questioner. I have seen this several times.  In another one from with in the last year, the people made out how there SEEMED to be letter head, meaning of course that somehow the governing body was still functioning but in secret. The purpose of the pictures are generally to guilt their members into doing more field service, or to scare the more lukewarm members into regularly attending meetings. They also, make a point in how the people are not dressed for Kingdom Hall because its done in haste and in secrecy (Witnesses generally dress very formally whether in "field ministry" or at Kingdom Hall meetings--suit and ties for men with no beards, long dresses for women). Witnesses really hate beards, even in this doomsday scenes the male JWs typically still have no facial hair (although for whatever reason they are ok with mustaches, so some men will have big, ugly, bushy ones).

As a side note, the Witnesses often make it a point to make pictures as multicultural as possible and emphasize they are in their meetings while portraying outside religions as being racist, whereas Witnesses wanting people to believe they are the only ones to overcome this.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sunday, Sabbath, first of the week

The Scriptures tells us a few times that the early apostolic church gathered for "breaking bread" ie the Mass, on the first day of the week, which refers to Sunday.
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and he prolonged his speech until midnight.--Acts 20:7 RSV
On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that contributions need not be made when I come. --1 Corinthians 16:2 RSV
Since, this can be problematic for groups with Judaizing, Sabbath-keeping urges like the Seventh Day Adventists, Seventh Day Baptists and other Sabbath keeping Christian sects, some of their apologists insist these verses are actually about the Sabbath, since it has the Greek word sabbaton, which is sabbaths. As seen here:
Ἐν δὲ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων, συνηγμένων τῶν μαθητῶν κλάσαι ἄρτον, ὁ Παῦλος διελέγετο αὐτοῖς, μέλλων ἐξιέναι τῇ ἐπαύριον, παρέτεινέν τε τὸν λόγον μέχρι μεσονυκτίου. --Acts 20:7 Byzantine Majority text (the non Byzantine manuscript are the same except replace τῶν μαθητῶν with ἡμῶν)
Κατὰ μίαν σαββάτων ἕκαστος ὑμῶν παρ' ἑαυτῷ τιθέτω, θησαυρίζων ὅ τι ἂν εὐοδῶται, ἵνα μή, ὅταν ἔλθω, τότε λογίαι γίνωνται. --1Corinthians 16:2 (Byzantine text, other texts vary in spelling had read 'sabbatou')
So the rebuttal boils down to "see this is actually taking place on the Sabbath, it doesn't say 'week.' At first, this rebuttal seemed impressive, until other verses with the same words are inspected that use sabbaton (said savvaton actually). We can look through the Gospel accounts see the phrase "first of the Sabbaths" (μίαν σαββάτων or,πρώτῃ σαββάτου) is translated as "first day of the week":
Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Mag′dalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulcher.--Matthew 28:1 RSV
Ὀψὲ δὲ σαββάτων, τῇ ἐπιφωσκούσῃ εἰς μίαν σαββάτων, ἦλθεν Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνή, καὶ ἡ ἄλλη Μαρία, θεωρῆσαι τὸν τάφον.--Matthew 28:1 RSV
And when the sabbath was past, Mary Mag′dalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salo′me, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.  And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen.--Mark 16:1-2 RSV
Καὶ διαγενομένου τοῦ σαββάτου, Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ Μαρία Ἰακώβου καὶ Σαλώμη ἠγόρασαν ἀρώματα, ἵνα ἐλθοῦσαι ἀλείψωσιν αὐτόν.  Καὶ λίαν πρωῒ τῆς μιᾶς σαββάτων ἔρχονται ἐπὶ τὸ μνημεῖον, ἀνατείλαντος τοῦ ἡλίου. --Mark 16:1-2 Byzantine Text 
Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Mag′dalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons--Mark 16:9
Ἀναστὰς δὲ πρωῒ πρώτῃ σαββάτου ἐφάνη πρῶτον Μαρίᾳ τῇ Μαγδαληνῇ, ἀφ' ἧς ἐκβεβλήκει ἑπτὰ δαιμόνια. --Mark 16:9 (Byzantine Text)  
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared.--Luke 24:1 
Τῇ δὲ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων, ὄρθρου βαθέος, ἦλθον ἐπὶ τὸ μνῆμα, φέρουσαι ἃ ἡτοίμασαν ἀρώματα, καί τινες σὺν αὐταῖς. --Luke 24:1 Byzantine Text (other texts omit ἦλθον and καί τινες σὺν αὐταῖς)
Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag′dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.--John 20:1 RSV
Τῇ δὲ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ ἔρχεται πρωΐ, σκοτίας ἔτι οὔσης, εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον, καὶ βλέπει τὸν λίθον ἠρμένον ἐκ τοῦ μνημείου.--John 20:1 (all major texts)
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”--John 20:19
Οὔσης οὖν ὀψίας, τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων, καὶ τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων ὅπου ἦσαν οἱ μαθηταὶ συνηγμένοι, διὰ τὸν φόβον τῶν Ἰουδαίων, ἦλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἔστη εἰς τὸ μέσον, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν. --John 20:19 (Byzantine Majority, over texts omit "τῶν" (the) before σαββάτων, and συνηγμένοι (assembled).
Since Christ rose on a Sunday and rested in the tomb on the Sabbath, these women were not coming on the Sabbath day since Christ has risen by this time.

We read in Luke's account that the Pharisees fasted twice a "week":
I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’--Luke 18:12
The Greek reads in the place of "week"--sabbatou.
 Νηστεύω δὶς τοῦ σαββάτου, ἀποδεκατῶ πάντα ὅσα κτῶμαι. --Luke 18:12
Pharisees fasted "twice" on a Sabbath? or twice a week? The Jewish custom was to fast on Monday and Thursday--not two times on the same day.

From my search it appears that the Greek word for "week" as used in the LXX is not used in the NT. The LXX uses the word ἑβδομάδας for a period of seven, as in Daniel 10:2
ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις ἐγὼ Δανιηλ ἤμην πενθῶν τρεῖς ἑβδομάδας ἡμερῶν--Daniel 10:2 LXX
In those days I, Daniel, was in mourning for three weeks of days.--Daniel 10:2 NET
Hebrew of Daniel 10:2-- בַּיָּמִים, הָהֵם--אֲנִי דָנִיֵּאל הָיִיתִי מִתְאַבֵּל, שְׁלֹשָׁה שָׁבֻעִים יָמִים
The Daniel Text in both Hebrew and Greek use a words proper to those languages for a week---"seven days."

 Every time any translation of the NT uses the word "week" the word is always some form of "sabbaton."

The New Testament uses the same term for Sunday as found in Jewish literature of the first millennium, for instance in the Babylonian Talmud Tannit 29b its read:
חל להיות באחד בשבת מותר לכבס כל השבת כולה
בשני בשלישי ברביעי ובחמישי לפניו אסור לאחריו מותר חל להיות בערב שבת מותר לכבס בחמישי מפני כבוד השבת
Should it fall on Sunday (באחד בשבת b'echad b'shavat-- in one [of] shavat/sabbath) it is permissible to wash clothes the whole of the week ( השבת hashshavat--the Sabbath/week), [but should it fall] on Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday, before it it is not permissible, but after it, it is permissible;[should it fall] on Friday it is permissible to wash clothes on Thursday in honour of the Sabbath--Mas. Ta'anit 29b (page 94), Babylonian Talmud, Seder Mo'ed
The sentence חל להיות באחד בשבת מותר לכבס כל השבת כולה is translated as "Should it fall on Sunday it is permissible to wash clothes the whole of the week." באחד is "b'echad" that is "In/on One" and בשבת is "on Sabbath/week," here it means "week" and is translated as week. Then at the end the word shavat is used again, "kal hashshavat " meaning either "whole Sabbath" or "whole week" and obviously Jews are not to wash clothes on the Sabbath day. Translators of the Talmud translate the phrase "one of/in Sabbath" as "Sunday" just as the New Testament has always been understood. So,

μίαν σαββάτων in the Greek New Testament is the equal of the Hebrew Talmudic phrase באחד בשבת . Where both texts read "one of the Sabbath(s)" to refer to Sunday, which is modern Hebrew is Yom Rishon.

On this matter, John Lightfoot, a commentator and scholar on Judaism said:
εἰς μίαν σαββάτων " Towards the first day of the week."] The Jews reckon the days of the week thus; באחד בשבת "One day" (or the first day) "of the Sabbath:"  תרי בשבא "two" (or the second day) "of the Sabbath:"--"Two witnesses come and say, בחד בשבא The first of the Sabbath, this man stole, &c ובתרי בשבא and, on the second day of the Sabbath, judgment passed on him."--"The whole works of Rev. John Lightfoot, D.D., Volume XI, Exercitations upon the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter XVIII:1, page 357)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Make your own E-meter: Syfytology

Do it yourself e-meter! An e-meter just an ohm meter. It measures the resistance in an object, add more heat, the resistance needle goes up. According to L. Ron Hubbard and $cientology this measures spiritual energy (thetans). You can buy your own version of the "e-meter" at a local hardware store, its mislabeled as a "multi-meter" generally, or you can buy mine for 2 easy payments of $599.99 and one VERY hard payment of $5,999.99 with calibrations every two years to ensure its holy-ohm integrity for a small fee.

Friday, July 17, 2015

St Maximus the Confessor on Pope Honorius and the Monothelite controversy

Pyrrhus: What dost thou say of Honorius, who clearly taught one will of Our Lord Jesus Christ in his letter to my predecessor?

Maximus: Who is a more trustworthy interpreter of such an epistle? The one that actually wrote it for Honorius, the one who at the time was still alive, and who, in addition to all his other virtues, illumined the whole West with godly dogmas? Or is it those in Constantinople who interpret it in accordance with the whim of their own hearts?

Pyrrhus: The one who actually composed the letter.

Maximus: This same person afterwards wrote for Pope John (who is among the saints) to Constantine, just after he had become Emperor regarding the very same letter of Honorius. He explained that:

"We say one will of the Lord, not of the Godhead and humanity, but only of the humanity. For Sergius hath written: 'As some say that the two wills of Christ are opposed, we in response write that Christ did not have two opposing wills, as of flesh and of spirit, as we ourselves have since the Fall, but one only, that which characterized His humanity by virtue of nature.'"
And the clear proof of this is the fact that he writeth of limbs and flesh [i.e. the Letter quoted Rom 7:23], which means that we cannot apply what he saith unto the Godhead. Straight away, in anticipation of objections, he saith:

"And if someone saith 'Why, when speaking of the humanity of Christ, did you not refer to the Godhead as well?' we reply, for the first part, that our answer was made to a specific question; and for the second part, that there, as ever, we have followed the practice of Scripture. For sometimes it speaketh concerning His Godhead only, as when the apostle saith 'Christ the power of God and wisdom of God', and sometimes concerning only His humanity, as when the apostle saith 'the foolishness of God is stronger than men', and what is weak in God is stronger than men."

Pyrrhus: My predecessor, misled by the pope's manner of writing, understood it in a somewhat naive fashion.
(The Disputation with Pyrrhus of Our Father Among the Saints Maximus the Confessor, Joseph P. Farrell, p.49-50)

St Maximus the Confessor commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:21

On Jesus Christ, the New Adam Who "Became Sin"

Q. [285] How is it that we are said to commit sin and know it (cf 1 In 1:8), while the Lord became sin but did not know it? How is it not more serious to become sin and not know it, than to commit sin and know it? For the Scripture says, For our sake God made him become sin who knew no sin (2 Cor 5:21).

R. Having originally been corrupted from its natural design, Adam's free choice corrupted along with it our human nature, which forfeited the grace of impassibility. Thus came sin into existence. The first sin, culpable indeed, was the fall of free choice from good into evil; the second, following upon the first, was the innocent transformation of human nature from incorruption into corruption. For our forefather Adam committed two "sins" by his transgression of God's commandment: the first "sin" was culpable, when his free choice willfully rejected the good; but the second "sin," occasioned by the first, was innocent, since human nature unwillingly put off its incorruption. Therefore our Lord and God, rectifying this reciprocal corruption and alteration of our human nature by taking on the whole of our nature, even had in his assumed nature the liability to passions which, in his own exercise of free choice, he adorned with incorruptibility. And it is by virtue of his assumption of this natural passibility that he became sin for our sake, though he did not know any deliberate sin because of the immutability of his free choice.' Because his free choice was incorruptible, he rectified our nature's liability to passions and turned the end of our nature's passibility—which is death—into the beginning of our natural transformation to incorruption. In turn, just as through one man, who turned voluntarily from the good, the human nature was changed from incorruption to corruption to the detriment of all humanity, so too through one man, Jesus Christ, who did not voluntarily turn from the good, [287] human nature underwent a restoration from corruption to incorruption for the benefit of all humanity.

Therefore the Lord did not know "my sin", that is, the mutability of my free choice. Neither did he assume nor become my sin. Rather, he became the "sin that I caused"; in other words, he assumed the corruption of human nature that was a consequence of the mutability of my free choice. For our sake he became a human being naturally liable to passions, and used the "sin" that I caused to destroy the "sin" that I commit. Just as in Adam, with his own act of freely choosing evil, the common glory of human nature, incorruption, was robbed—since God judged that it was not right for humanity, having abused free choice, to have an immortal nature—so too in Christ, with his own act of freely choosing the good, the common scourge of our whole nature, corruption, was taken away. At the resurrection of Christ, human nature was transformed into incorruption because his free choice was immutable. For God judged that it was right for man, when he did not subvert his free choice, once again to recover an immortal nature. By "man" here I mean the incarnate Logos in virtue of the fact that he united to himself, hypostatically, the flesh animated by a rational soul. For if the deviance' of free choice introduced passibility, corruptibility, and mortality in Adam's nature, it only followed that in Christ, the immutability of free choice, realized through his resurrection, introduced natural impassibility, incorruptibility, and immortality.

Hence the mutation of human nature over to passibility, corruption, and death is the condemnation of Adam's deliberate sin. Man was not created by God in the beginning with such a corrupted nature; rather, man invented and knew it since he created deliberate sin through his disobedience. And clearly condemnation by death is the result of such sin. Yet the Lord took on this very condemnation of my deliberate sin, that is to say, the passibility, corruptibility, and mortality of our nature. [289] He became the "sin" that I caused, in terms of the passibility, corruptibility, and mortality, and he submitted voluntarily to the condemnation owed me in my nature, even though he himself was blameless in his freedom of choice, in order to condemn both my deliberate "sin" and the "sin" that befell my nature. Accordingly he has driven sin, passion, corruption, and death from human nature, and the economy of Christ's philanthropy on my behalf has become for me, one fallen through disobedience, a new mystery. For the sake of my salvation, Christ, through his own death, voluntarily made my condemnation his own, thereby granting me restoration to immortality.

In many ways, I think, it has been shown in this brief discussion both how the Lord became sin but did not know it, and how humanity did not become sin but did commit and know sin—both the deliberate "sin" which man committed first, and the subsequent natural "sin" to which the Lord submitted himself on humanity's account, even when he was completely free of the first kind of sin. So according to the intended purpose of the text as we have rendered it here, and respecting the proper conceptual distinction between the two meanings of "sin," it is by no means better to commit and to know sin than to become sin. For the former "sin" incurs separation from God, since free choice voluntarily rejects divine things; but the latter "sin" may very well hinder evil, since it does not allow that wickedness of free choice that is based on the infirmity of nature to advance into concrete action.
(translated by Paul M. Blowers and Robert Lewis Wilken, On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, pp. 119-122)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Addressing homosexual (gay) arguments (again)

Who hates gay people the most? The people that support them and encourage them for what they do.
I have had a couple of gay friends and they don't pretend there's is anything healthy or right living the gay life and they make an effort not to. One of them saw the gay pride parade in San Francisco--she was ashamed to be gay because of it. Homosexuality spreads disease, nothing healthy about gay sex at all. The only POSSIBLE benefit of homosexuality is "population control," the problem is that could be done with celibacy, furthermore, if population control is really a serious problem--then suicide should be encouraged (strangely enough many gay rights supporters also support Physician assisted suicide in my experience) for ANYONE.
Gay marriage has absolutely nothing to do with the civil rights movement of the 60's. Gay people can be black or white, there's no threat to gay people voting, buying groceries, getting medical treatment, and getting work. No one can tell that you are gay just by looking at you, unless YOU want to make it obvious. In fact, I remember when there was anti-black push back during prop 8 since black people overwhelmingly voted to ban gay marriage.
Historically, the main purpose of marriage was ALWAYS procreation. In recent years, it has been substituted for money and a tax break by some, who have no business marrying, but at least with straight people they still have the possibility of creating children, even if they are incredibly old there is a long shot of a possibility. Marriage laws even before gay marriage implied procreation since blood tests were often STANDARD in many places to test for STD's. Opening up marriage to homosexuals devolves marriage to largely a form of legal prostitution where the purpose of marriage is financial stability. Marriage laws declined decades ago with divorce being made easier to get, and with the rise of feminism and contraceptives divorce rates shot up. Also, there have been some suspect studies that try to suggest gay people raise children better than straight people, which is absurd, we already know how terrible single parenthood works, why should two men with no woman work better? The homosexuals I've talked to argued they will have a FRIEND step in for that role--in other words a "step-mom" meaning they KNOW the kid will need something they are incapable of giving them.
Also, if marriage is such a bad move, why extend this right to gay people? I had a friend that was divorced, he said "don't ever get married, if you had a business and marriage was a business contract--NO ONE WOULD SIGN IT." And why is marriage called a right at all? Not just anyone can marry, single people cannot marry, obviously, they're denied any possible benefit from marriage. Also, governments have reserved the right to DENY even straight people from marrying if one of them has a venereal disease.…/marriage-requirements-licenses-ceremo… Also, even if someone is a right it does not mean it should be given out indiscriminately, certainly the right to bear arms should not be given out indiscriminately--otherwise it would be just as legal for a felon to have one as a police officer. A person that serially marriages old people for their inheritances SHOULD be prevented from ever having a marriage license. Gay marriage runs on the wrong idea that ALL DISCRIMINATION is wrong, which is not true--those were some examples of GOOD discrimination.  Furthermore, what's getting a piece of paper from the government have anything to do with LOVE? How does the government allowing gay marriage make "love win"? How does saving money by filing jointly "prove love"?
Also, gay rights supporters argue homosexuality is NATURAL, because there are lots of gay animals. And there are! We also see rapist animals--there's a rapist seal raping a penguin of indeterminate sex a few years ago. Another similar story about a research recording the perverse acts penguins practiced--so shocking they were not published, and he wrote in Greek to disguise it. This shows us that animals rape and perform "bestiality"---does this also mean that rape and bestiality are therefore natural, and therefore should be supported and defended legally? We know there is incest even among high animals in nature. We know monkeys have wars and kill each other---so war is natural too. We have seen animals seemingly kill themselves, torture their prey, practice infanticide and polygamy (lions)--therefore all of those should be just as equally legal and defended. Anyone, who defends gay sex/marriage but is disgusted by bestiality or polygamy should learn to empathy with us who find gay sex and marriage equally disgusting. Also, its foolish for gay rights support to insist any man that has 'sex' with a man, or woman that has 'sex' with a woman was born with those tendencies, some people are bisexual, and some people admit they wanted to TEST out being gay and were not always that way.
Concerning the "born that way argument." Even if there was to be found some genetic, hard wired basis for homosexuality, that does not necessarily justify it, or mean it should receive legal recognition.
Oxford scientists suggest rape might be genetic, lets say it is, then what does this mean?
I suppose since these people are "BORN THAT WAY", it ought to be tolerated and laws changed? This Oxford scientist suggests sexual offenders (even straight ones) has "genetic factors" that make them more likely to be "convicted of sexual offense."
'We are definitely not saying that we have 'found a gene for sexual offending' or anything of the kind. What we have found is high quality evidence from a large population study that genetic factors have a substantial influence on an increased risk of being convicted of sexual offences,' said Professor Seena Fazel of Oxford University's Department of Psychiatry, an author of the paper. 'It tells us something about why if we take two sets of brothers, whose backgrounds might look identical, one set has a higher risk of sexual offending than the other – a large proportion of this difference is likely to be due to genetic factors.…/2015-04-09-sex-offending-genes-more-i…
Not to mention genes for aggression.
If people are born with all sorts of messed up genetics, does being born with these messed up genetics necessarily justify morally the actions that may seem to come "natural" from them?
Also, the fact homosexuality is difficult to "cure" or "treat," does not justify it, there are other sexual disorders, even involving children that are generally recognized by modern day psychology as not being "curable," but only treatable.

Can pedophilia be treated?

Yes. Although most experts do not think a person's feelings of pedophilia are curable, therapy may help them manage those feelings and not act on them.--WebMD 
We already know through the CDC that in the USA gay men account for 2/3rds of the new HIV cases. So why promote and accept it?
Finally, gay marriage is built on a faulty idea of what "love" is. Its based on the population definition that its a feeling, rather than having it focus on a legitimate deep concern for another person, making it hardly different than lust. The idea that love is telling someone what they want to hear, not necessarily what they NEED to know. People NEED to know gay sex is wrong.
Most of all, homosexuality is wrong because it goes contrary to revelation received by God, which tells us the natural use for man, is for men and women to have sex within marriage. Homosexual advocates know the Bible is clear about homosexuality being a serious crime in the bible, so they seek a number of pathetic excuses include "shellfish eating is a sin too," "it only condemns abusive gay sex," or "homosexuality is never really mentioned," "divorce is a sin too" (implying we need to look the other way on homosexuality too) among other things. Yet, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Romans 1 are clear about homosexuality. Some try to bring up Jesus never mentioning it. Jesus did mention marriage being for a man and woman, and he did mention the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Furthermore, even if Jesus doesn't mention it, does that automatically validate it? Jesus did not overtly mention rape, or forbid torturing animals, does this mean its all okay?
Anyone that supports gay sex or even sodomy among straight people, or just stays silent on the issue--HATES these people and has no concern for them. If your friend was going to take a drug that would wreck their life would you be silent about it not wanting them to feel bad, or would you discourage them? If you would do the first--you're an a$$, not a friend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Church Fathers on Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God--not because of works, lest any man should boast.--Ephesians 2:8-9 RSVThe Fathers of the Church overwhelmingly teach that Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches that works do not save from sin, but it is faith that saves, faith is not strictly from us, but from God (therefore an unmerited gift); that salvation by faith is a gift of God; that we are not saved by our freewill (though we do have a freewill and it must comply with the divine will), but by the Will of God. This does not deny the Church's teaching on justification by works, since Ephesians 2 is about being saved, justification by works only occurs AFTER salvation has taken place, so therefore works are irrelevant to Ephesians 2:8-9 which is why they are only mentioned in verse 10. Nor was it ever seen as denying baptism saves, since it was taught by the fathers, and was never seen as a "work" that we do, but also from God.St John Chrysostom (4th century Greek Patriarch of Constantinople):
Ver. 8. "For by grace," says he "have you been saved." 

In order then that the greatness of the benefits bestowed may not raise you too high, observe how he brings you down: "by grace you have been saved," says he, 
"Through faith;" 
Then, that, on the other hand, our free-will be not impaired, he adds also our part in the work, and yet again cancels it, and adds, 
"And that not of ourselves." 
Neither is faith, he means, "of ourselves." Because had He not come, had He not called us, how had we been able to believe? For "how," says he, "shall they believe, unless they hear?" Romans 10:14 So that the work of faith itself is not our own. 
"It is the gift," said he, "of God," it is "not of works." 
Was faith then, you will say, enough to save us? No; but God, says he, has required this, lest He should save us, barren and without work at all. His expression is, that faith saves, but it is because God so wills, that faith saves. Since, how, tell me, does faith save, without works? This itself is the gift of God. 
Ver. 9. "That no man should glory." 
That he may excite in us proper feeling touching this gift of grace. "What then?" says a man, "Hath He Himself hindered our being justified by works?" By no means. But no one, he says, is justified by works, in order that the grace and loving-kindness of God may be shown. He did not reject us as having works, but as abandoned of works He has saved us by grace; so that no man henceforth may have whereof to boast. And then, lest when you hear that the whole work is accomplished not of works but by faith, you should become idle, observe how he continues....--St John Chysostom, Homily 4 on Ephesians
We see that St John Chrysostom says we do no merit salvation by our deeds, or by our will. Not that those to have no role, but they are not what saves us, God's grace does, He wills that we be saved by faith. St John comments on 1 Corinthians 1:1,
"Called to be Saints." For even this, to be saved by faith, is not says he, of yourselves; for you did not first draw near, but were called; so that not even this small matter is yours altogether. However, though you had drawn near, accountable as you are for innumerable wickednesses, not even so would the grace be yours, but God's. Hence also, writing to the Ephesians, he said, [Ephesians 2:8] "By grace have you been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves;" not even the faith is yours altogether; for you were not first with your belief, but obeyed a call. --St John Chrysostom, Homily 1 on 1 Corinthians
 Pope Leo the Great (5th century Pope of Rome):
And when they pretend to disapprove of and give up all their definitions to facilitate evasion through their complete art of deception, unless their meaning is detected, they make exception of the dogma that the grace of God is given according to the merits of the recipient. And yet surely, unless it is given freely, it is not a gift , but a price and compensation for merits: for the blessed Apostle says, "by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves but it is the gift of God; not of works lest any should perchance be exalted. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God prepared that we should walk in them [Ephesians 2:8-10] ." Thus every bestowal of good works is of God's preparing: because a man is justified by grace rather than by his own excellence: for grace is to every one the source of righteousness, the source of good and the fountain of merit. But these heretics say it is anticipated by men's natural goodness for this reason, that that nature which (in their view) is before grace conspicuous for good desires of its own, may not seem marred by any stain of original sin, and that what the Truth says may be falsified: "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. "--Pope Leo the Great, Letter 1, to the Bishop of Aquileia
St Leo says Ephesians 2:8-10 teaches "grace" is the "source of righteousness."St Polycarp (2nd century Greek bishop of Smyrna in Asian minor):
I have greatly rejoiced with you in our Lord Jesus Christ, because you have followed the example of true love [as displayed by God], and have accompanied, as became you, those who were bound in chains, the fitting ornaments of saints, and which are indeed the diadems of the true elect of God and our Lord; and because the strong root of your faith, spoken of in days Philippians 1:5 long gone by, endures even until now, and brings forth fruit to our Lord Jesus Christ, who for our sins suffered even unto death, [but] "whom God raised from the dead, having loosed the bands of the grave." "In whom, though now you see Him not, you believe, and believing, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory;" 1 Peter 1:8 into which joy many desire to enter, knowing that "by grace you are saved, not of works," [Ephesians 2:8-9] but by the will of God through Jesus Christ.--St Polycarp, Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, Chapter 1
 St Augustine of Hippo (4th/5th century Latin bishop of Hippo in North Africa):
His last clause runs thus: "I have kept the faith." But he who says this is the same who declares in another passage, "I have obtained mercy that I might be faithful." [1 Corinthians 7:25] He does not say, "I obtained mercy because I was faithful," but "in order that I might be faithful," thus showing that even faith itself cannot be had without God's mercy, and that it is the gift of God. This he very expressly teaches us when he says, "For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." [Ephesians 2:8] They might possibly say, "We received grace because we believed;" as if they would attribute the faith to themselves, and the grace to God. Therefore, the apostle having said, "You are saved through faith," added, And that not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God. And again, lest they should say they deserved so great a gift by their works, he immediately added, "Not of works, lest any man should boast." [Ephesians 2:9] Not that he denied good works, or emptied them of their value, when he says that God renders to every man according to his works; [Romans 2:6] but because works proceed from faith, and not faith from works. Therefore it is from Him that we have works of righteousness, from whom comes also faith itself, concerning which it is written, "The just shall live by faith." [Habakkuk 2:4]--St Augustine, On Grace and Freewill, Chapter 17, AD 426/427 
Council of Orange II (AD 529, local council of bishop in what is modern day southern France):
Canon 5. If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism — if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, "And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). And again, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). For those who state that the faith by which we believe in God is natural make all who are separated from the Church of Christ by definition in some measure believers. 
Conclusion. And thus according to the passages of holy scripture quoted above or the interpretations of the ancient Fathers we must, under the blessing of God, preach and believe as follows. The sin of the first man has so impaired and weakened free will that no one thereafter can either love God as he ought or believe in God or do good for God's sake, unless the grace of divine mercy has preceded him. We therefore believe that the glorious faith which was given to Abel the righteous, and Noah, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and to all the saints of old, and which the Apostle Paul commends in extolling them (Heb. 11), was not given through natural goodness as it was before to Adam, but was bestowed by the grace of God. And we know and also believe that even after the coming of our Lord this grace is not to be found in the free will of all who desire to be baptized, but is bestowed by the kindness of Christ, as has already been frequently stated and as the Apostle Paul declares, "For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake" (Phil. 1:29). And again, "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). And again, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and it is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). And as the Apostle says of himself, "I have obtained mercy to be faithful" (1 Cor. 7:25, cf. 1 Tim. 1:13). He did not say, "because I was faithful," but "to be faithful." And again, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7). And again, "Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights" (Jas. 1:17). And again, "No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven" (John 3:27). There are innumerable passages of holy scripture which can be quoted to prove the case for grace, but they have been omitted for the sake of brevity, because further examples will not really be of use where few are deemed sufficient. --Council of Orange II, AD 529 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Goofy JW interpretation of Rev 12 then and now (Pope is Michael)

Here is how the Jehovah Witnesses interpreted the book of Revelation in 1917/1918 under their founder Charles Taze Russell in the book, The Finished Mystery. Here are some excerpts:

12:1. And there appeared a great wonder.—Sign, Greek.—Rev. 1:1.
A Woman.—The early Church, Nominal Zion, (D. 591), originally a chaste Virgin.—2 Cor. 11:2; Matt. 9:15; 22:2; John 3:29; Eph. 5:25, 32.
12:2. And [she] being with child.—As a result of the Mystery of Iniquity which was working within her.—2 Thes. 2:7.
And pained to be delivered.—Desired to get rid of the loathsome thing from which, by the machinations of Satan, she was at the time suffering. In a sense the birth of the Antichrist from the early Church was a counterfeit of the birth of Christ from the virgin Mary, the one a manifestation of the power of God, the other of Satan.—John 16:21, 22.
So far we see that the woman=church, who is unchaste, and the child in here the "mystery of iniquity," and a 'counterfeit' of the Virgin birth. In verse 5 of the commentary, we learn exactly who he think the "child" is:
12:5. And she brought forth a man child.—The papacy.—Z. '79-12-2.
Yet, despite bearing this "mystery of iniquity" Russell says

12:6. And the woman.—The true Church of God.
This is strange, since if the woman is the Church, and the woman is no longer a virgin, and the child is the "mystery of iniquity" who is the father? Is it Christ? Or did she commit adultery or was raped? If the father is Christ, then why is the child the "mystery of iniquity"? If the woman committed adultery, then why is she still called the "true church of God"? If rape, why no mention? When he said the birth in this chapter was a "manifestation of the power....of Satan" was he called Satan the father of the child? Perhaps, we are expecting to much from Chaz Russell!

Continuing on, with the same verse
Fled Into the wilderness.“Error, always more popular than truth, when exalted to influence and power, hunted down, proscribed and made disreputable the truth, and all who held it. This was the time when the true Church (woman) fled into the wilderness—into solitude—an outcast because of her fidelity to the truth, and to the true Lord and Head of the Church.”—B. 329.
Where she hath a place prepared of God.“The secret place of the Most High.”—Psa. 91:1.
That they.—The antitypical ravens that fed the Elijah class, the unknown, “faithful men” who, in secret, broke the bread of life to those that hungered for righteousness.
Should feed her there.—As Elijah was fed in the wilderness.—Rev. 2:20.
A thousand two hundred and threescore days.1260 years, from A. D. 539 to 1799.—Rev. 11:2, 3.
So the "true Church" is the woman (despite not being called a virgin and bearing the wicked child), and she is safe til 1799 in the wilderness--1799 being date the JW's have now discarded.

This next section is by far the most interesting and absurd interpretation of Russell:
12:7. And there was war in heaven.—Between the two ecclesiastical powers, Pagan Rome and Papal Rome.
Michael.“Who as God,” the Pope.—B. 275; C. 62.
And his angels.—The Bishops. The following is the reply given in the Catholic catechism to the question, “Who are the successors of the Apostles?” Ans. “The bishops who are rightly consecrated, and are in communion with the head of the Church, the Pope.”
[Fought against] TO WAR WITH the dragon.—Attempted to get the temporal power away from the civil rulers.—Rev. 2:12.
And the dragon.—Imperial Rome.—B. 288; Rev. 12:3; 20:2.
Fought and his angels.—Did everything possible to circumscribe the growing power of the papacy, but all in vain.—Rev. 2:12.
Hilariously, the Jehovah Witnesses claimed "Michael" is the Pope, and the angel are Bishops! So far Ruselle said that the "child" is the Papacy, then says Michael is the Papacy! This is strange considering how the Watchtower today uses this verse to "prove" Jesus and Michael are the same person.

Some more ludicrous interpretations:
12:10. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven.In the Roman Catholic Church.
So far the child, Michael, angels, and now heaven are all the Catholic Church! Interesting also how "heaven" changes within this chapter from one thing to another!

Interestingly, Charles Russell seems to think there can be Christians in the Catholic Church!
And went to make war with the remnant of her seed.—The true saints in the Roman Catholic communion or wherever otherwise found,—always objects of hatred and oppression by ecclesiasticism.—Rev. 13:7.
This shouldn't be too big of a surprise since many groups, despite being anti-Catholic need to show how they've always been around, I've see Adventists, Baptists and other obscure groups tie themselves to hiding in the Catholic church in the old days.

If we continue on to the next chapter, he says the papacy/Catholic Church is not only the "child," "Michael," the "angels," "heaven," but also the "beast" of Revelation 13:1.

To "prove" the Pope is the antichrist, Russell repeats the "vicarius Filii Dei" lie, a term never used by the Popes, and only can be found in the "donation of Constantine"--and then just of Peter himself. There is no evidence it was ever written on the Papal tiara.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Watchtower vs. Bible---Enoch: Living or Dead?

The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Jehovah Witnesses, believe that the Prophet Enoch mentioned in Genesis 5 died.  This is an attempt to defend the idea no human went to heaven before Christ ascended (almost always quoting John 3:13). Here is what the Watchtower said September 15, 2001:
“God Took Him”
Enoch was apparently in mortal danger when “God took him.” (Genesis 5:24) Jehovah did not allow his faithful prophet to suffer at the hands of rabid enemies. According to the apostle Paul, “Enoch was transferred so as not to see death.” (Hebrews 11:5) Many say that Enoch did not die—that God took him to heaven, where he kept on living. However, Jesus plainly stated: “No man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man.” Jesus was the “forerunner” of all who ascend to heaven.—John 3:13; Hebrews 6:19, 20. 
So, what happened to Enoch? His being “transferred so as not to see death” may mean that God put him in a prophetic trance and then terminated his life while he was in that state. Under such circumstances, Enoch would not experience the pangs of death. Then “he was nowhere to be found,” apparently because Jehovah disposed of his body, even as he disposed of Moses’ body.—Deuteronomy 34:5, 6. 
Enoch lived 365 years—not nearly as long as most of his contemporaries. But the important thing for lovers of Jehovah is that they serve him faithfully to the end of their days. We know that Enoch did that because “before his transference he had the witness that he had pleased God well.” The Scriptures do not disclose how Jehovah communicated this to Enoch. Nevertheless, before Enoch died, he was given assurance of God’s approval, and we can be certain that Jehovah will remember him in the resurrection. --Enoch Walked With God in an Ungodly World, w01 9/15 pp. 29-31
 Here the Watchtower contradicts the Bible out right. It quotes Hebrews 11:5 which says Enoch was "transferred so as not to see death" then claims it means God "put him in a prophetic trance then terminated his life while he was in that state." Which does not make sense at all, how is God killing you "not seeing death"? Then it goes on say he did not "experience the pangs of death." Seemingly, equating "transferred so as not to see death" as meaning "he died painlessly." Again, how this is even remotely suggested by the text of Hebrews? What makes this interpretation even more absurd is the little background story the Watchtower concocted in the prior paragraph, which says Enoch was in "mortal danger" (i.e. people wanted to kill him) from his "rabid enemies", which they say is why "God took him."

To simplify the Jehovah Witness explanation, it is, Enoch was about to be killed by his enemies, so God gave him some sort of Divine lethal injection, so God rather than Enoch's enemies would kill him!  Apparently, 'God' thought, "Hey, they can't kill him, he's my friend, if anyone kills him, it's should be me!"

The Jehovah Witness explanation would be reasonable if we did not have Hebrews 11:5, or if Hebrews 11:5 said instead, "Enoch was transferred so as not to see death AT THE HANDS OF HIS ENEMIES." But, even it does not explain "transferred."

Let's go to the book of Genesis to see why its not reasonable to think Enoch died when it says "he was taken."
This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; 2male and female created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. 
3And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth: 4and the days of Adam after he begat Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters. 5And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died
6And Seth lived a hundred and five years, and begat Enosh: 7and Seth lived after he begat Enosh eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters: 8and all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died
9And Enosh lived ninety years, and begat Kenan. 10and Enosh lived after he begat Kenan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters: 11and all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years: and he died
12And Kenan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalalel: 13and Kenan lived after he begat Mahalalel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters: 14and all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died. 
15And Mahalalel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared: 16And Mahalalel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters: 17and all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.

18And Jared lived a hundred sixty and two years, and begat Enoch: 19and Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 20And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died. 
21And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: 22and Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 23and all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

25And Methuselah lived a hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech: 26and Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters. 27And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.
28And Lamech lived a hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: 29and he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us in our work and in the toil of our hands, which cometh because of the ground which Jehovah hath cursed. 30And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters: 31And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died. 
32And Noah was five hundred years old: And Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Genesis 5:32 is where Noah's story starts, and Noah death is mentioned in Genesis 9:29.  What we see is Genesis 5 is a genealogy where each patriarch DIES (in case you missed the subtle "and he died" at the end of their section), with the exception of Enoch who "was not; for God TOOK HIM." If Enoch died, it would have said so, just as the text said so with his fathers and sons.  We also have testimony that the Jews at the 2nd temple believed Enoch was bodily take to heaven (he did not ascend, but was taken) in this piece of Scripture that the Catholic Church and early Christians accepted:
Few have ever been created on earth like Enoch,
    for he was taken up from the earth.
 --Sirach 49:14
Going, back to Hebrews 11:5 the phrase "not see death" is used elsewhere in the Bible, including Luke 2:26 which reads in the Jehovah Witness "New World Translation":

Furthermore, it had been divinely revealed to him by the holy spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Christ of Jehovah--NWT, Luke 2:26
The meaning here is he would not die, not one would suspect "not see death" would mean "be killed in a trance." That would render the verse into nonsense.

The Watchtower insists John 3:13 teach Christ is the first to go to heaven. The NWT of John 3:13 reads:

Moreover, no man has ascended into heaven but the one who descended from heaven, the Son of man.--John 3:13 NWT
The explanation of the Christian church was that it is saying no one "ASCENDED," and not "no one entered" or "was carried" etc. Ascend suggests having the power to achieve it by your own power, which no one but God has. Enoch was "transferred" and "taken," not "ascended." Elijah was also "taken" according to 2 Kings 2:1, "When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind..." The only time it appears that humans might have "ascended" is in Revelation 11:12 where the two witnesses, after being resurrected (again?) are told to "ascend" and they are provided a cloud which they hop on that takes them to heaven.

After the three and a half days, spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell upon those who saw them. 12  And they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them: “Come up here.” And they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies saw them--Revelation 11:11-12 NWT
 Of course, the Watchtower said this has already happened as of a period between 1914 and 1919:
At the end of their preaching in sackcloth, these anointed ones were symbolically killed when they were thrown into prison for a comparatively shorter period of time, a symbolic three and a half days. In the eyes of the enemies of God’s people, their work had been killed, causing those opponents much joy.—Rev. 11:8-10.
However, true to the words of the prophecy, at the end of the three and a half days, the two witnesses were brought back to life. Not only were these anointed ones released from prison but those who remained faithful received a special appointment from God through their Lord, Jesus Christ. In 1919 they were among those who were appointed to serve as a “faithful and discreet slave” to care for the spiritual needs of God’s people during the last days.—Matt. 24:45-47; Rev. 11:11, 12. -- Watchtower, November 2014, Questions from Readers
But this is another absurd interpretation all together that exaggerates what happened in the early 20th century. The Bible does not call people being taken to heaven as "ascension" unless this cloud that lifts them up is to be counted. Going on, part of the reason the Watchtower does not say this is actually Moses or Elijah (or any other OT figure) is because they deny anyone from the times before Christ will be in heaven, despite Hebrews 11:16 saying about the Old Testament patriarch that:
But now they are reaching out for a better place, that is, one belonging to heaven. Therefore, God is not ashamed of them, to be called on as their God, for he has prepared a city for them--Hebrews 11:16 NWT
Of course the NWT translates it as goofy as a possible to give the impression that its only a place that heaven controls, not heaven itself! Despite the fact the NWT translates the same exact Greek word as "heavenly" in Hebrews 3:1 and 6:4, not including the only other time it appears in the NT--1 Corinthians 15:49.

Conclusion: The Watchtower has to jump through hoops to support its doctrine that Enoch died (creating a fictional story of God putting him in a trance to kill him)!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Mormon website to find the living among the dead

The LDS runs a website called where you can go to find information about deceased people. Unfortunately, depending where you live, you may very well find yourself listed as "deceased." Furthermore, the website takes public records from the State of California (which ordinarily are not EASY to access), and makes them publicly available to all around the world on the internet. You provide people with personal information like birthdays, addresses, phone numbers, mother's maiden names, previous residences, etc. Occasionally, the information will be mistyped. Yet, why does the one true Church need to make people's personal information publicly available on a website? Perhaps, its easier to baptize dead people if they are actually alive!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Do Muslims have the same God as Christians

In an anti-Catholic chat group, several Calvinist apologists were going after the Catholic Church for stating that Catholics have the same God as Muslims. To do this, the Calvinist resorted to mechanically repeating claims against Islam from the internet like Aramaic Broadcasting Network's Jesus or Muhammad, from people like Sam Samoun, and then using things they've just heard.

Part of their argument against Muslims having a different God is that Muslims are Unitarian--meaning they believe there is only one Person in the Godhead, that is no Trinity, and deny the Divine Nature of Christ completely, regulating Him to a mere prophet. This is true about Islam, but does that mean they have a different God because they deny the Trinity and Deity of Christ? Protestants will rarely state Jews have a different God, since they tend to have less animosity towards them than Muslims (and understandably!). Here is roughly how the conversation went before I was kicked out of the room, it will be a paraphrase, since the text was lost when I was kicked:

Matt Slick: The Catholic Church is wrong in saying Muslims and Christians have the same God.
Me: Jews have the same God as Christians, and Jews say their God is the same as Allah.
Reformer*: Maimonides said Muhammad was a 'mad man!"
Me: Calling their prophet mad doesn't mean he was an idolater! He said Muslims were NOT idolaters even.

Since I was kicked out before I could provide evidence for the claim. Let's take "Reformer*" usage of Maimonides, despite him calling Muhammad 'al mashugah' he said Mulims were not idolaters (a term he had no problem applying to Christians).
...When your teacher called you a fool for denying that Muslims are idolaters he sinned grievously, and it is fitting that he ask your pardon, though he be your master. Then let him fast and weep and pray; perhaps he will find forgiveness. Was he intoxicated that he forgot the thirty-three passages in which the Law admonishes concerning "strangers"? For even if he had been in the right and you in error, it was his duty to be gentle; how much more, when the truth is with you and he was in error! And when he was discussing whether a Muslim is an idolater, he should have been cautious not to lose his temper with a proselyte of righteousness and put him to shame...--Maimonides Letter to an Inquirer (found in A Maimonides Reader, p. 477)
So this lays to rest any claim of Maimonides. For more information on the Jewish view Allah is the God of the Hebrew Bible read here (Jews praying in mosques/Allah is God), Jewish view on Islam 
So the argument goes like this
P1: Jews have the same God as Christians.
P2: Jews believe Muslims have the same God as Jews.
Conclusion: Christians have the same God as Muslims.
Of course, some more refined Protestants will bizarrely insist Judaism is idolatrous because they deny the Trinity, and therefore worship a false god. But this is rare.
Matt Slick responded to my claim that Jews deny the Trinity like Muslims, he answered that Jews do not deny the trinity, they are just ignorant of it, whereas Muslims explicitly reject it. This is dishonest, if anything, Jews have lived in Christian lands for almost 2000 years, why should we think they are merely IGNORANT of it? Maimonides knew Christians were Trinitarian and insisted that makes them idolaters. This appeal to ignorance is awful.

Many of the Protestants insisted John's epistles state that if you do not have the Son, you do not have the Father. This is not a statement about believing in the true God, its about being IN God, and God in you. No one claims Muslims (or any group) are saved simply because they have the same basic concept of God (One Almighty, omnipresent God) and certainly rejection of Christ is a condition for damnation, a person cannot have the Father without also having the Son. They have to mangle St John's intent make this argument work!

Furthermore, the Apostles never accused the Jews of becoming idolaters for denying Christ, but simply "cut off from them people" and even "playing the harlot" by no embracing Christ.
During the Arian and modalist controversies the Catholic party never accused them of being idolaters or worshipping a false god because of their heretical understanding of the persons of God. Islam is a form of Arianism. The Church Fathers at the rise of Islam and after, as well as Muslim sources, despite Muhammad as being instructed by a Christian monk named Bahira (Buhaira in Arabic) who the fathers believed filled Muhammad's mind with Arian heresy.  The church father did not accuse Allah of being a "moon-god," though they did accuse Muslims of inadvertently venerating the pagan goddesses image at Mecca.
Also, it should be mention Martin Luther, seemed to possibly accept the idea that Muslims worship "one true God."

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Racist Mormon General Conferences

Today, I was listening to ex Mormon bishop Lee Baker talk about racism in the LDS General Conference, but he did not give good citations, so I did a search and found it myself. The word "nigger" was used several times in General Conference by Mormon Apostle Heber J Grant and Apostle Reed Smoot. For those outside of the United States, or who are not native English speakers the word "nigger" is the must insulting word you can use for a black person, in fact simply using the word automatically suggests the speaker is hates black people. Now remember, according to Mormons their 12 apostles are ALSO prophets, seers, and revelators, so this Apostle is thought of in the LDS in the same was as the 12 apostles of Jesus were. Also, remember, according to many Mormons that General Conference is as good as scripture (its uncertain if actually LDS doctrine says that though).

Apostle Heber J Grant, in a spiritual talk about paying debts, said in a most pious moment:

"I went to a negro minstrel show once, and there  were about ten or fifteen on stage. One of them rushed in with his hat off and said, "which of these here niggers am lost two dollars?" holding up a two dollar bill. There hadn't any of them lost two dollars. "Well," he said, "if none of you have lost it, I found these two dollars right by the door here and it is my money." They said all right, and he put it in his pocket. No sooner had he got it in his pocket than up jumped a nigger and said: "Look here, George Washington Jones, you owe me two dollars, pay your honest debt!""
Heber J Grant, 71st Semi-Annual Conference pg 36(October 6, 1900, Afternoon Session), Deseret News

Why is an apostle, who is ALSO a prophet/seer/revelator using racist words? He knew and used the word "negro" since he used it in the same sentence, who why did he insist on using the word "nigger." Mormons say because he was a product of his times and was speaking as a man, but the problem is this is general conference--an official church function and these men are supposed to be inspired by the Holy Spirit! Certainly, other churches and clergy said racist things in the time and that does not excuse them, but we must remember how the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day saints views their "apostles" and "general conferences," so there is no excuse!

We have another example of it being used in 1907 by Utah Senator and LDS Apostle Reed Smoot:

"He went to one of the business corners of the city, where a little stand was erected, and in order to hold the crowd until he could convince some of them that they had worms, or something worse, he had three or four niggers sing songs--by the way, I have been told that the niggers furnished the best part of the entertainment."--US Senator & LDS Apostle Reed Smoot, General Conference, 78th Semi-annual conference, pg 56, Sunday, October 6, 1907, 10 A.M., Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Some might think maybe "nigger" was not a derogatory term in the 1900s in Utah. To which I answer:
(from Improvement Era, Volume 3, Issue 1 Anecdotes, pg. 261, 1899-1900)
We clearly see in this 1900 Utah LDS publication that "black" or "negro" were acceptable normal words for a black man, and "nigger" was a pejorative.