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I Don't Do Floods

Every so often someone will challenge me to “prove” the flood with science. But I don’t do floods. The cost/benefit doesn't work out.

I mean, if you’re going to debate something in Genesis, do creation. There are incentives to demonstrating creation; it is a truth that has consequences. For example, Paul, writing to the Corinthians, tells how the last Adam undoes the damage caused by the first Adam:

 It is even so written: “The first man Adam became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.   1 Cor 15:45

Adam’s sin impacts not just himself. It also impacts the generations that would come from him, condemning them to sin and death. Jesus (the last Adam) takes the consequences of that sin upon himself, and so he provides a basis for freeing humankind. Without a first Adam, the whole provision of Christ's sacrifice is meaningless. So there is a reason to establish the creation account as genuine. But the flood? There’s no real consequences to establishing that as true. Here and there other Bible writers refer to it, as they do to most OT events, but other than that, what really hinges on it? If you win, all you've done is demonstrate the Bible is correct on that particular point, leaving all the other points for grousers to take aim at.

Moreover, as an explanation for life's origin, one can maintain that the opposite of creation - evolution - is ridiculous.. But there’s nothing especially preposterous about the opposite of a flood: a 'no flood.' So why go there? You should not run with this ball. You should punt.

Of course, it’s not as though you are left - ahem - high and dry. You can garner bits of supporting evidence. You can answer questions like:

Q: Where did the water come from?

A: Let an expanse come to be in between the waters and let a dividing occur between the waters and the waters.” Then God proceeded to make the expanse and to make a division between the waters that should be beneath the expanse and the waters that should be above the expanse. And it came to be so. And God began to call the expanse Heaven.    (Gen 1:6-8)  So it looks as though earth at one time had waters suspended above “the expanse,” maybe they served to moderate temperature extremes that pummel the planet today - like a giant greenhouse. This might also explain why ancient tropical animals are excavated in arctic areas today. When this expanse emptied, earth’s climate changed in a flash:

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on this day all the springs of the vast watery deep were broken open and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And the downpour upon the earth went on for forty days and forty nights.    Gen 7:11,12

Q: Where did the water go?

A: If you took the earth and made it “rounder,” we’d all be under water. Conversely, if you take a round earth, raise some mountains and sink some ocean trenches, you have provided a place for the waters to drain. Did this happen?

Mountains proceeded to ascend, valley plains proceeded to descend—to the place you have founded for them.    Ps 104:8

Q: Where is the geological evidence for a flood?

A: We maintain it is all around us, largely misinterpreted as evidence of “ice ages.”

So you have some answers. You’re not left a sitting duck for those who challenge you about the flood. Still, it's merely corroborating evidence. It doesn’t prove anything. In the final analysis, you end up saying you accept the flood because “the Bible says so,” thus provoking howls and catcalls from the atheists. Why go there?

So I don't like to debate it, since even if you win, you've gained nothing. Yes, yes, the demons had their downfall just before the flood, provoking it. But you really think that will help your case? If some atheist challenges you about the flood, don't think telling him about demons will bail you out.

Now, there is nothing so terrible about something who's proof lies mostly with internal evidence - in this case "the Bible says so." The same can be said of evolutionary pschology, which rests completely upon absolute acceptance of biological evolution. You could not attempt to prove it otherwise. Yes, there are facts that corroborate with the notion, just like I have outlined a few for the flood, but nothing that even begins to prove it.

A while back, former staff scientist here at the Whitepebble Institute, Tom Tombaugh, achieved scientific stardom when he proposed that ear-splitting flatulence evolved over the eons as a defense mechanism to scare off predators. But then his colleagues discovered he was joking. Tom had thought he might actually pull it off, though, in view of this recent letter published in the Economist (Jan 24th, 2009). Referring to a previous article on evolutionary psychology, the writer notes:

"Everything is ex-post reasoning: we can run fast, detect cheating, kill our stepchildren, because...and here you simply insert anything from the days of being a member of a small, close-knit endangered tribe to justify this. With this one can explain almost everything without actually ever bothering to prove anything."

Pretty much the same as 'I believe the flood, since the Bible says so', I'd say.


Are there aspects of a worldwide flood that seem to contradict current findings of science? Yeah, there are. But perhaps today's conclusions will change. For now, a guy really can't go wrong quoting the former Beatle, John Lennon. He observed: "everything they told me as a kid has already been disproved by the same type of 'experts' who made them up in the first place."

Just try challenging a former Beatle on this blog. Just try it.

 

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

Tom Irregardless and Me                  No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash
 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

The Atheist Hall of Fame

My heart sunk right into my toes when I read that Randy Newman was an atheist, just after I posted that he was not. But I see now for sure that he is, because he is listed on the Michael Nugent Famous Atheist Site. There's a lot of famous people there. For example, from the Nugent site (with my comments in brackets):

Douglas Adams (1954-2001)

 

Douglas Adams was an atheist British writer who wrote the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [I liked that book], Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and several episodes of Doctor Who. [HA! I knew it] He described himself as a ‘radical atheist’ in order to distinguish himself from agnostics. .....In his final book, The Salmon of Doubt, published in 2002, Adams addresses people who believe that God must exist because the world so fits our needs. He compares them to an intelligent puddle of water that fills a hole in the ground. The puddle is certain that the hole must have been designed specifically for it because it fits so well. The puddle exists under the sun until it has entirely evaporated.

 

[Whoa! What a devastating illustration! All you need do for it to be perfect is find an intelligent puddle of water]

 

Bjork (born 1965)

 

Bjork is an atheist Icelandic singer and actress whose first solo album, Debut, was named Album of the Year by NME. In 1994, she said

 

:

‘I’ve got my own religion. Iceland sets a world-record. The UN asked people from all over the world a series of questions. Iceland stuck out on one thing. When we were asked what we believe, 90% said, ‘ourselves.’ [sigh...of course] I think I’m in that group. If I get into trouble, there’s no God or Allah to sort me out. I have to do it myself.’

In 1995, Bjork said

:

‘I do not believe in religion, but if I had to choose one it would be Buddhism. It seems more livable, closer to men… I’ve been reading about reincarnation, and the Buddhists say we come back as animals and they refer to them as lesser beings. Well, animals aren’t lesser beings, they’re just like us. So I say f**k the Buddhists.’

[*'s mine]

 

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)

 

Isaac Asimov was an atheist Russian-born American writer and professor of biochemistry, whose prolific output of over 130 books covered science fiction, mysteries, popular science, history and memoirs. In 1982 ,

Asimov said:

 



‘I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I’ve been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, [now it's intellectually unrespectable to say anything else] because it assumed knowledge that one didn’t have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic.....

[as I posted here, Asimov might have faired better had he become one of Jehovah's Witnesses]

Richard Branson (born 1950)

Richard Branson is an atheist British entrepreneur whose Virgin group includes more than 350 companies. He is also involved in humanitarian projects and holds world records in long-distance ballooning. Writing in his autobiography about one of these balloon trips,he said:

 

 

‘I do not believe in God, but as I sat there in the damaged capsule, hopelessly vulnerable to the slightest shift in weather or mechanical fault, I could not believe my eyes.’

Richard Dawkins (born 1941) and Sam Harris (born 1967)

 

[tell me about it. I've got a whole category on the latter fellow, and a bone to pick with the former]

....................................

Wow! Just look at that roster of atheists! They've got impressive people on their side! But it was my posts about Randy Newman and this blog in particular that led me to the Nugent site:

And guess who's in our corner? Well, maybe not in our corner, but at the very least not in THEIR corner. I'll wait...

Go on, guess...

It's in the title....

Ok, it's

Randy Newman! Take a look. It seems his dad was a pretty outspoken atheist and he picked up some of it. You just never now who's gonna be on your side these days, do you?

 

.....................................

Well....oh yeah?! Oh, yeah? OH YEAH?!!! Just look who we have on OUR corner:::

We've got Prince! HAH?! How about that?!! Prince, who played the half time show at last years SUPERBOWL, the most important football game in the whole wide world!!

And we've got Venus and Selena Williams!!! Did you reflect upon THAT?! The Williams sisters, who've dominated woman's tennis for years and who've pounded all challengers into MUSH!!

Mickey Spillane, the most-selling author of the 20th century! NOW I bet you're sorry you took us on, aren't you?!! His hard-hitting fictional private investigator, Mike Hammer, was the most graphically violent character of his time, and he became LESS SO after Mr. Spillane became a Witness in 1952.

Okay, okay, it's a bit juvenile, isn't it? I mean, in a world of several billion people, you don't think ANY group can claim some celebrities? And is it really so that having celebrities on your side somehow bolsters your case? Some of the silliest people to have ever walked the planet are celebrities (all of them, really, except our guys). They don't lead the same lives we do. They don't face the same pressures. Having them in your camp is not that big of a deal.

Actually, the three I've referred to are somewhat of an aberration. It's well known that the Watchtower organization discourages basking in this system's limelight in favor of low-key Christian activity. The above persons have never been in Watchtower print, but all the time we read of this or that character who forsook potential or actual fame so as to "have a fuller share" in service to God. Trust me, we are criticized for it from those who think achieving fame is the purpose of life, yet our stand is in harmony with the Bible, which matters most to us:

But we exhort you, brothers, ......to make it your aim to live quietly and to mind your own business and work with your hands just as we ordered you; so that you may be walking decently as regards people outside and not be needing anything.  1 Thes 4:10-11

The world's values and the Bible's values are pretty much opposite, so being prominent in the former usually poses unique challenges towards the latter. Generally, our people conclude they are not in position to attempt both. But not always, as the above examples show.

 ***************************

Tom Irregardless and Me       No Fake News but Plenty of Hardship

 

 

 

 

 

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Rationalism, the Third World, and Bible Principles

At first it appeared the countries suffering the most would be the "guilty" countries - the ones whose banks invented the super leveraged credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations - the ones whose governments and citizens were head over heals in debt - the ones whose people had replaced the Bible with Consumer Reports. "Responsible" countries, those operating a surplus, whose citizens were frugal, such as China, Japan, and Germany - would emerge relatively unscathed. Ah, but it was not to be! The latter countries have suffered as much or more. Their strong balance sheet comes from exports, and now who remains to buy their goods?

But the really innocent countries - the third world countries - fare the worst by far. There, the downturn doesn't mean tarnished golden years. It means lives lost. Seldom are cause and effect linked so clearly - most often there is sufficient disconnect so that the connivers on top can remain oblivious to the havoc they wreak below. But not this time.

Economist this week considers the plight of Africa, (The Toxins Trickle Downward, 3/14/09) where in recent years, millions have inched their way above the poverty line, only to be shoved firmly beneath it again. Such countries are impacted in three ways: 1) credit market are closed to them, as they are riskier borrowers, and financial aid from wealthier countries wither, 2) commodity prices have collapsed, and commodities are usually their primary exports, and 3) remittances from citizens working abroad have dried up. The World Bank reckons these three factors will account for 200,000 - 400,000 lives lost, all children.

It's rare that the failure of human rule is shown in such stark relief, with consequences so directly traceable. How damnnable that people nonetheless prefer it to God's rulership as outlined in the Bible, as advertised by his Witnesses, and as practiced by the Christian organization. Here's an excerpt from someone who has left God - our God, no less - Jehovah, to embrace atheism. He gushes effusively about his new "rational worldview" (I have greatly condensed certain remarks, and to be fair, you might want to see them in their context here. The author includes a number of his gripes about Jehovah's Witnesses - mostly exaggerated drivel, in my view, that I may respond to if asked - likely in a separate post.):

 

Rationalism for me means a life of pure freedom. ..... But this means that this life that you’re living now is the most precious thing you’ll ever have. .... Because there is no Big Daddy to appease or suck up to, or be afraid of, you should be nice to people because it’s nice! You should treat people like you want to be treated! You should not steal or murder because it hurts people, and hurting people is wrong. Always. No one needs a god to tell them this.....

Being a rationalist....If you say something irrational or realise the error in your own thoughts, a red flag immediately raises. .....rationalism is a worldview with no drawbacks, and only positives. It encourages honesty and truth.....It promotes interest in the common good...

 

How lofty and soaring the words sound! How much crap they are in reality! As the "African" example shows, people use their "pure freedom," to grind others into the dirt, and not to "treat people like you want to be treated!" (an exclamation mark, no less....oh, the joys of rationalism!) They are not "nice to people." They "hurt people," two to four hundred thousand of them, even though "hurting people is wrong." Plainly, we do need a "big Daddy to appease" and a "god to tell" us how to live.

If you had had a son or daughter high up in the banking world, who was devising the complex financial instruments that would ultimately ruin us all, you would have carried on about how well junior was doing for himself, how respected he was in the business world, and so forth. Even experts in the field had not a clue they were playing with dynamite; if they had, they would have cashed out their investments before the markets plunged.

The fact is that humans were not designed to rule themselves. It's an ability they do not have. Whether through greed, ignorance, pride, or some mix of the three, the record of human rule aptly illustrates Jeremiah's words:

I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step   Jer 10:23

A major theme of the Bible is that God has designed rulership which will one day replace human rule. He will bring it about himself, and those who have sided with him will be mere bystanders. In the meantime, these latter ones declare this government by God:

And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.    (Matt 24:14)

Today, the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses govern their affairs in accord with Bible principles, which provides a hopeful foregleam of life under that Kingdom rule. It's well known that racial and tribal divisions - the ones tearing apart the world - utterly fail to divide Jehovah's Witnesses. It's well known that when natural disaster strikes, (for example, Katrina) teams of volunteers promptly care for their own, rebuilding homes while governments are yet twiddling their thumbs. It's well known that Kingdom Halls in the third world are often the most impressive building in town, far more than what the locals could afford - due to a sharing of resources and building talent from wealthier countries.

All this provided through an organization which counsels, which directs, which disciplines its own, which insists on members living by Bible principles. Grousers, such as one may find online, launch blistering attacks at this, for it seems to impede their freedom, and this they will not tolerate, even in trivial matters. But our "economy" works to the good of third world countries, rather than trampling them underfoot.

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

Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Randy Newman is an Atheist!

OH NO!! It's an unmitigated disaster! The end of my world! Oh, the shame! The dishonor!

I had insisted before the entire blogosphere....ALL of it....that Randy Newman the singer was not an atheist. I mean, I went way, way out on a limb. No! He was a pious, Bible toting Christian, practically a modern-day apostle. His latest CD is Harps and Angels, and he sings of prayer to God right there on the title song!!. Harps! Angels, for crying out loud! Proof!! He is a believer. I emphatically stated it all here, putting my reputation on the line. I did this so as to win a shoving match with Plonka the Atheist.

But now I am perusing the internet and ....gasp!...he IS an atheist! No, it can't be. He is a believer! He is, he is, he is, he is, he is! Just like told everyone on the internet. I am not a liar like Plonka said I was!

Palms sweating, breathing hard, heart racing.....I know, I'll delete that original post.....yeah, that's what I'll do!.....type, type, peck, type.....OH NO! Atheists have jammed the keyboard. I can't delete it!

What can I do? What? I know....I'll just deny it!!.....Randy Newman is not an atheist! He is not an atheist! (but he is) He's not! He is. He's not! He's not.......Not, not, not, not, not,....ow...ow, ow, ow......it's cognitive dissonance!.....I hate that stuff!.....Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch....ahhhhh.....arrrrrggghhhhh!

Wait....what's this? Read closely. Am I saved? I AM! Just read Randy's description on the Michael Nugent Famous Atheist site:

Randy Newman is an atheist American singer-songwriter, pianist and composer best known for satirical pop songs such as Short people and Political Science, and film scores such as Toy Story, Parenthood and Pleasantville. .....When Newman was a child, a local parent uninvited him from a dance, explaining: ‘I’m sorry, Randy, my daughter had no right to invite you because no Jews are allowed.’ Newman had to ask his dad what a Jew was. He then studied comparative religion and became a devout atheist ‘except when I’m sick’. [bold type mine]

 

(ignoring the "no Jews allowed" comment for a moment, which is grounds for a whole different post)

Yes!!! He is a closet believer! When he is sick he is not an atheist. And what type of atheist is he in the first place? A devout one! HA! Religious, again. And let us not forget the line that began this whole ridiculous series of posts: turning 60 "doesn't make you want to run out and hold up a banner for atheism."

Whew! That was a close call. My credibility almost blew up. Now I think I'd better end this post and close it to comments. Even from Randy himself tries to leave one. He can keep his opinions to himself. I know more about his beliefs than he does.

 ..............................

 Since there's a whole lot of atheists....enough to make a hall of fame for them....I put together a (short) list of famous JWs for our own hall of fame. I tell you, they're impressive enough to make any atheist shake in his boots:

 http://tinyurl.com/cvlrcg

 

So there!

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

 

Tom Irregardless and Me    No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

 

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Dr. Who, Dr. Jastrow, and Living Forever

When they asked Robert Jastrow the physicist about living forever - would it be a blessing or a curse? - he said… it all depends:

“It would be a blessing to those who have curious minds and an endless appetite for learning. The thought that they have forever to absorb knowledge would be very comforting for them. But for others who feel they have learned all there is to learn and whose minds are closed, it would be a dreadful curse. They’d have no way to fill their time.”

So if your purpose in life is to watch a lot of TV, living forever would probably be a drag. But our appetite for learning can be endless, unless we have closed down shop ourselves. Of course, Dr Jastrow is an egghead - a thinker - and so he focused on learning. But other things are probably boundless, too, like our capacity to create, and to love.

Lately, though, pop culture has been selling death as if it were a benefit. It’s probably those atheists. There’s more and more of them, and buying into their thinking means settling for a final death sentence perhaps not too many years away. Pay attention, and you’ll see the ‘death is beautiful’ notion a lot. For example, it surfaced in a recent Dr Who episode - The Lazarus Experiment. Now, Dr Who is probably the only show that I deliberately work into my routine. A British import, it is science fiction with a quirky protagonist, clever writing, neat  travel in a space ship that looks like a phone booth - it's bigger on the inside than on the outside [!], and endless visits from aliens, most of whom are up to no good. And it just so happens the show fits perfectly into some weekly down time in my schedule. Indeed, I might never have discovered it otherwise. But having done so, I try not to miss it. ‘Yeah, you just watch it on account of that cute blonde,’ accuses a workmate. But it’s not true; the cute blonde has been written out of the script (she got stranded on a parallel universe) yet the show continues to hold it’s appeal.

The episode name itself is a giveaway, since Lazarus is the biblical character whom Jesus resurrected (in a context that makes it clear the dead are not high-fiving in heaven not char-broiling in hell, but are in a state of non-existence...didn't I write about that here?). But this TV Lazarus has invented a machine that makes him young again….he steps in a geezer, and steps out a young man, to the amazement of all the high-brow folk invited to his gala bash. But Dr. Who (was he invited?) smells something amiss. He follows the newly minted youngster, and sure enough, the machine has malfunctioned and dooms Lazurus to transforming back and forth from human to monster  - they’re pretty good at doing monsters on that show. See, in setting back his DNA, the machine has selected ancient mutations long-ago rejected by evolution. (Hmmm…yes…indeed, plausible, nod all the atheists watching the show….whereas if you mentioned anything about God, they’d throw up.)

The time lord doctor also lectures Lazarus on what a curse everlasting life really is, and what a dumb, greedy thing it was for him to want it. For when life drags on forever and ever and ever, you will get so tired of it. You will have been everywhere, done everything. Living will have become an endless, pointless trek to nowhere. You will long for it to end, but….fool that you were for choosing everlasting life….it will not end, but go on and on and on. Oh, the monotony! See, without death, it is impossible to savor life…. and so forth.

Please…. spare me (and Dr. Jastrow). This is atheist tripe. It all depends upon whether you see life as futile or not. If you do, then sure...you would want it to end. But as Jastrow stated, life’s only futile if you’ve made it so. Of course, I’ll readily concede that baked into this system of things are various ingredients to encourage that dismal view - for example, old age and frailty.

Next time you visit Rochester, you may decide to visit the George Eastman house. Why don’t you do that? Mr. Eastman, who brought photography to the masses and who founded Kodak, turned philanthropist once he’d made his fortune and built half the city. His mansion on East Ave showcases his life, his inventions, his contributions to society, and serves as the nucleus for all things photographic right up to the present. But snoop thoroughly and you will discover that he shot himself in the head at age 78. In the throes of old age, his health failing, one by one he saw his chums going senile, bedridden or wheelchair bound. He left behind a note: “To my friends - My work is done. Why wait?”

Q: Why did George Eastman take his life?

 a) His work was done. Why wait?

b) He longed for the blessed release of death to finally end a futile life that had dragged on and on for much too long.

c) His health was failing and he (a lifelong bachelor) dreaded the indignities of old age -with its dependence upon others.

Do you honestly think that, with health and youth, he would not have found more work in which to engross himself? Or would he have longed for life to end? What....are you kidding me?

In this, Mr. Eastman is much like Leonardo DaVinci, the fellow who painted the Mona Lisa - likely the most famous portrait of all time. Leonardo made his mark not only as an artist. He also contributed hugely in areas as diverse as geometry, anatomy, astronomy, architecture, and flight. Some of his sketches have been used as blueprints for devices in use today. He was a renaissance man; in fact, perhaps he originates the term. Yet toward the end of life, he reportedly sought God's forgiveness for "not using all the resources of his spirit and art."

Eastman and DaVinci - two fellows that typify Dr. Jastrow’s statement. And they would be joined by most everyone else, were we not sucked into a morass of drudgery, duty, debt, injustice and hardship. Sure...you might well long for death if you can only envision more of that. Ditto for the frailness that comes with old age. I recently attended a funeral of someone who was happy, content, and productive throughout life. Nonetheless, death was not unwelcome, relatives assured me, since he’d grown “so tired of being sick.”

That’s why the Bible’ promise of everlasting life on a paradise earth is so appealing. It’s Robert Jastrow’s dream come true - unlimited time to grow minus the very real liabilities that eventually cause most of us to tire of life. Perfect health is promised, and an economic system will be in place so that people do not feel they are “toiling for nothing.” Will it incorporate some features of the ancient Jubilee system? Note how Isaiah 65:21-23 describes life under God’s kingdom rule, per the prayer “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven":

And they will certainly build houses and have occupancy; and they will certainly plant vineyards and eat [their] fruitage. They will not build and someone else have occupancy; they will not plant and someone else do the eating. For like the days of a tree will the days of my people be; and the work of their own hands my chosen ones will use to the full. They will not toil for nothing, nor will they bring to birth for disturbance; because they are the offspring made up of the blessed ones of Jehovah, and their descendants with them.    Isa 65:21-23

There’s a lot of things I’d like to do. I’ve done a few of them. But for the most part, I’ve just scratched the surface. And I’ve spent a fair amount of time shoveling aside the dung this system throws at you. No, everlasting life, should I find myself there, will not be a bad thing. Not at all.

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

Tom Irregardless and Me        No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)