Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Going Round in Circles

Apostle come-lately, Big Dave Pack deserves some attention. Big Dave has been spouting his wisdom for several years now. He seems to have a small cottage industry built up around publishing his ideas on divine truth. One day he decided it was time to take it up a notch. Dave wasn't satisfied being a minister or a plain old servant of God's people. His flock was growing and they needed someone to really admire. Titles are important in some COGs, social standing, and God's approval are paramount. The Restored Church needed someone who stood head and shoulders above the other splintermeisters, prophets and leading evangelists. It was time for Dave to be God's leading man on the earth. An Apostle was born.

In a sermon posted on the RCG web site Dave states that those in God's church have protection from being killed. This statement is in response to the multiple-murders of several LCG members in Milwaukee.

First of all, notice the implication of this type of logic. Pack is saying in effect, "Those people were killed in that other church. God protects those in the true church. Therefore that church was not the true church. Our's is. You are in the right place people." Keep sending those tithes.

In contrast, I remember reading of many, many murders, everyone from lay members, right up to the Boss Himself outlined in your own Bible. The history of the "true church" as published by the WCG also repeated this theme, seemingly as a sign of righteousness.

Big Dave is repeating a formula used by would-be religious manipulators everywhere.
X is true, we believe X, therefore we are true believers. Unfortunately, not everyone is great at BS detection. You have to be mature and work hard at determining whether X is true or not. Some are just looking to belong, and belonging to a group with special divine stature, and it's own Apostle...well, you could do a lot worse, couldn't you?

Could get you killed my friends.


Monday, May 23, 2005

Straight Shooter

I recently read about the LCG and their doctrinal code which is kept out of public circulation. Did Jesus have his own canon? A secret set of rules?

I read a "little book" called The Essential Jesus. Can't seem to locate it in my library at the moment, perhaps it was taken to Petra. Could be a sign folks. The authors scoured the New Testament in search for the authentic sayings of Jesus. It condensed these sayings and teachings into a few short pages. It was a refreshing read even if you are not in the literal Jesus camp.

When I hear of Rod Meredith's scrolls of the secret society archived away never to see daylight again, I am not moved. I am not moved by those who claim to be this, that or the other Prophet, bashing and disfellowshipping all opponents including entire nations, nor am I moved by self-aggrandizing Apostles.

Consider the straightforward and simple message contained in the basic statements of Jesus. Love for enemies, caring for the poor and needy, treating others with fairness and equality. It truly was a message of service and basic kindness.

Contrast that message with rules and regulations, hierarchies of "enlightened" enforcers, doctrines kept in secret (LCG), lavish personal lifestyles built on the tithes of others while refusing to help the poor and needy.

These belief systems are almost the opposite when it comes to real action. The doing part of life. One message says over and over again, "Do for Others". Let's call it DO. The second message says, "Do Unto HQ". Let's call that one DUH. Apologies to Homer Simpson. I hope you can see a difference.

Sitting in a local congregation listening to secret codes of religion and then returning home to stay locked away from the world only leads to misery. It doesn't help anyone and it doesn't build character and skills for the World Tomorrow. If you believe that is coming sometime soon--always in the next 5-15 years. If you want to learn to serve everyone, then you have to practice serving everyone. Cutting your pastor's lawn or laying out chairs in a hall is a nice gesture, but how about a stint at the local food bank.

I think Jesus would have dropped in there once in a while.


Monday, May 02, 2005

On the Grid

I recently decided to donate some spare computing resources for scientific research. For computer geeks, grid computing is an interesting topic. Thousands of computers all over the world are used to tackle huge research projects. A small piece of software is installed on your computer. Next, your computer is given its own small portion of work to complete. The results are sent back to the master computer and combined with the results of others around the world to piece together solutions to really big challenges. For example, the World Community Grid is currently working on the Human Proteome Project.

"The Human Proteome Folding project will provide scientists with data that predicts the shape of a very large number of human proteins. These predictions will give scientists the clues they need to identify the biological functions of individual proteins within the human body. With an understanding of how each protein affects human health, scientists can develop new cures for human diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, SARS, and malaria." (www.worldcommunitygrid.org)

For some, these projects signal an impending Greaaaat Tribulation. Perhaps even the Mark of the Beast. However, those in Cogdom know what the real mark is. Is there a hidden agenda of European domination at work here? What about humans trying to use genetics to cure disease, isn't healing a matter of faith?

Humans working together to solve problems is a major part of daily life for most individuals other than hermits. Even Prophets and Apostles need the effort of countless minions to support their world-saving activities. For mere mortals even flipping burgers at your favourite restaurant involves a whole host of coordinated tasks. Let's face it, humans were made to work together.

The new findings and efforts around genetic research pose an interesting challenge for staunch COGgers. For years the medical establishment has been held in near contempt for being an affront to the healing powers of God. Seeking medical treatment was made a test of faith. Ironically, various leaders chose to seek the services of medical doctors when divine healing was not forthcoming. Those familiar with HWA and the stories surrounding his treatment while berating members for the same will know what I am talking about. From my knowledge no leader has willingly died from refusing treatment. However, two prominent wives have died, Mrs. HWA and Mrs. Flurry. That is a topic for another day. The treatment of women within these organizations.

As science advances, we see no successful effort by a divine being or an earthly representative to stop it. Some say He will--within the next N short years, send a cheque please. It is in the group's own best interest for scientific ignorance to continue. Control is much easier with an ignorant population. Just throw some complex figures in the Philadelphia Trumpet and voila, you have trumped evolution for those who can't do the math or haven't visited www.skepdic.com.

Current predictions have a cure for many cancers being found within 20 years. This time frame is based on new findings in genomics. What if a cure for HIV/AIDS is found? What happens to God's punishment on the wicked? Perhaps it wasn't severe enough, and a newer more threatening menace will arise. You might hear a minister say that a cure for AIDS will never be found. However, gene therapies already exist for several diseases. I think it is only a matter of time before the dominoes begin to fall. In the current generation all these things will come to pass :)

Did God do it? Did your local pastor/evangelist/prophet/apostle/HWA walk into a hospital and clear the beds? As fallible as the medical profession is we can compare stats on those who lived and those who died. We can't do that with religious healers because they refuse to submit themselves to measurement. That would insult God they say. Even Jesus could not heal when non-believers were in the house--they were put out. Can you imagine a physicist saying, "I can prove that this experiment works, only if those that question my methods and results are put out of the room." Would you send your child to that school?

You send your child to that church.

Do something worthwhile with your PC. Find a grid project and contribute to humanity.