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“New Light” - The Writing on the Tablets of Moses—How Many Items on Each Side?

Moses descended from the mountain with the two tablets—the ones containing the Ten Commandments of Exodus chapter 20—but there was a difference this time around. This time around the tablets were depicted in Watchtower artwork each with three items per tablet. It is in the meeting workbook for August 2020. Previous artwork has depicted them with five each. What gives?

Well, someone figured out that since the writing is said to be on both sides of the tablets, if you put all ten on the front, what would remain for the back? Says Exodus 32:15: “Moses then turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hand. The tablets were inscribed on both sides; they were written on the front and on the back.” So in this latest depiction, there are three items on the front of each, and presumably two on the back of each.

Is this “new light” or what? It wasn’t presented that way. No one made a big deal over it. To my knowledge, no one even noticed it. I certainly didn’t. But about two weeks after the meeting that revolved around Exodus chapters 19 and 20, some sharpie did. Sure. It’s kind of interesting. What reason would there be not to get the details right?

The soreheads didn’t see it that way—the ones who go out of their way to harp on every picky little thing. “Oh dear is it really important though?” said one such dodo with a particularly annoying style. “We know they had the exact information from God, that's more than we get.”

I wasn’t in the mood. I followed up with: “Oh my, no. Oh dear. God could have just shot him an email and it would have made the same dif. Why people waste their time striving to learn things I’ll never know.”

Another muttered: “And it took Jehovah over 100 years to relay this truth to them...sheesh!”

What is this idiocy? It is the most childish view that these louts have—as though anything spiritual should have been known from the get-go.

When Columbus sailed the oceans blue and discovered America, Queen Isabella said: “And it only took you 1492 years to find it...sheesh!”

When Einstein revealed that E=mc2, the science community said: “And it only took you 6000 years to find it....sheesh!”

Ludicrous examples. But these immature characters expect it to be just that way with respect to spiritual things—that Santa should deliver all the presents under the tree on Christmas Eve, and he had better not drag his rear end and be tardy with any of them. The idea of research is abhorant to them—everything ought be handed them on a platter.

These yo-yos deserve each other.

Besides, one chum of mine who used to work in the art room back in the day said he noticed it long ago—with 5 on each side, what would remain for the reverse? But he said, “Who cares? For all we know there was five on the reverse, too, so both tablets could be read from front or back.”

 

 

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Cults—Does One Prefer the Broad Road Leading Off to Destruction or the Narrow One?

Everyone in my area recently received a copy of the Epoch Times in the mail, along with an invitation to subscribe. “What is this garbage?!” my liberal followers on Twitter sputtered, outraged at it’s pro-Trump outlook. “I took it straight out to the trash!” So I told them what it was and where it came from. The Epoch Times represents the publishing arm of the Falun Gong religious sect, much as, I suppose, the Christian Science Monitor represents the publishing arm of the Christian Scientists, but not as the Watchtower represents the publishing arm of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Christian Science Monitor and the Epoch Times are full-scale newspapers with corresponding digital outlet. The Watchtower is a religious journal that rarely even names and of the players on the world stage. 

As for me—naw—I skimmed that Epoch Times some, but no more—the articles were very long and seemed nothing I hadn’t heard before. Not putting my trust in princes, there is a limit to how much I will delve into identifying the good guys vs the bad guys. There all bad guys to one degree or another—all who would advocate rule by man rather than by God.

Now, I know next to nothing about Falun Gong, but those who wish to discredit their newspaper will do so on the basis that they are “weird.” Are they secretive? Are they uncomfortably effective in spreading their message? Do they withdraw from “normal” society? Do they learn to lead “double-lives?” Do they mislead the regular people as to their true mission? Do they have some offbeat (and therefore ‘dark’) beliefs about what the future holds? Do they have members who die because of not embracing all that modern medicine has to offer? Do they even have an elaborate “compound” in New York State? Are they non-violent, but still a cause for concern, since “all cults are non-violent until they are not”—that cute line from the #cultexpert—in his wacko world, the more peaceful people are, the greater the cause for concern.

When I see how Jehovah’s Witnesses are slammed in the media as a “cult,” do I imagine that all the other “cults” are getting a fair shake? 

In TrueTom vs the Apostates! I wrote of the Moonies something to the effect of: Is is possible to lead a fulfilled life as a Moonie? They’ll have to make the case for it, not me. However, if the “mainstream” and “normal” life resulted in happiness, fulfillment, and provided answers to the deep questions that vex people, none of these cults would succeed in people giving them the time of day. Let them deliver a little bit before they condemn everyone else. 

I might even prefer committed religionists to the vanilla people of today because you can “talk shop” with them. You are not faced with, as we are here in the US, people in a panic over discussing a Bible verse, people scared of going off the mainstream of conventional goals for fear of where that might take one, people who do not roll their eyes when you speak of what a verse might mean, and people who do not distrust your explaining a verse by appealing to another one—as though they already indulged you by listening to one, and what more could you possibly want?

As far as I can see, joining one of these “cults” is getting off the “broad road leading to destruction,” in favor of the “narrow road that leads to destruction.” (Matthew 7:13) They both lead to destruction, one no more than the other. I don’t view “cultists” as a threat to people any more than the “normal” life is a threat to people. 

Broad road or narrow road, the one factor that indicates they “lead off to destruction” is their rooting for various leaders of the world to succeed and for other ones to fail. They are part of the world when they do that. The “cramped and narrow road that leads to life” is marked by not being part of the world—not claiming that this or that human is God’s gift to humanity, not claiming that this or that leader must go down, but taking a neutral attitude towards them. “Pray for the king,” Paul writes to Timothy. “That way maybe he’ll keep out of our hair.” That is as “involved” as the religion that is true to God gets with regard to this world’s political structure of good guys and bad guys. Anything else, be it Falun GOne or conventional media, is equally part of the world in my eyes. Your “eyes may be opened” when you leave the Falun Gong, but it is only so they can be blinded by another source rooting for this world.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

With Regard to Religion, if You Know What You’re Talking About, You’re Biased.

The strange dynamic that is reality in “news” today is that if you are a member of a cause, you are biased and thus not reliable as a source. You would think that those with experience would be the first ones consulted, but they are the last. It is a skewed approach that really only applies with regard to religious views—with anything else, membership in a cause does not interfere significantly with their ‘expertise’—but it does with religion.

However, you cannot stay neutral with regard to the “word of God” because it “pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and ...is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart,” says Hebrews 4:12. It separates people, either “for” or “against.”

The “for” will be counted as biased under today’s system of news, and thus discounted. The “against” will not get the sense of it—whatever they say will miss the lion’s share of what matters. They will be like the “physical man” of 1 Corinthians 2:14 who “does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know them, because they are examined spiritually.”

As for the opposite of the physical man who “cannot get to know” things of which he tries to report?—“the spiritual man examines all things, but he himself is not examined by any man.” So the only one who can report accurately is dismissed as biased in favor of the one who can’t possibly come to know what he is talking about. Is that a great system, or what?

It doesn’t matter what is said, as much as it matters who says it. This rule plays out time and again. From the German concentration camps prior to and during WWII, Jehovah’s Witnesses, who preceded the far more numerous Jews, smuggled out detailed diagrams of those camps. Those diagrams were published in the Watchtower—and dismissed by more respectable outlets as Time Magazine because they were not deemed credible. It turned out that only Jehovah’s Witnesses had “the scoop.”

The rule played out once more when Gunnar Samuelsonn, an evangelistic researcher, published that Jesus had not been put to death on a cross but on an upright stake  He received his 15 minutes of fame—his place in the academic community solidly cemented. Jehovah’s Witnesses have said the same for well over a century, only to be told to shut up since they didn’t go to college—what could they possibly know?

Can the Falun Gong make the same claim—that if the “right people” do not say something, it means nothing? They will have to state their own case—not me. For all I know, they are the nutcakes that people make them out to be, but when I see how the media butchers stories of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I do not assume that other “new religions” are given a fair shake. (“New religion” is the scholarly term for movements a century or two old. The term is preferred to “cult” for being non-incendiary, and those who prefer “cult” reject it for exactly that reason.)

Everyone in my area recently received a copy of the Epoch Times in the mail, along with an invitation to subscribe. “What is this garbage?!” my liberal followers on Twitter sputtered, outraged at it’s pro-Trump outlook. “I took it straight out to the trash!” So I told them what it was and where it came from. As for me—naw—I skimmed a little bit, but no more—the articles were very long and seemed nothing I hadn’t heard before. Not putting my trust in princes, there is a limit to how much I will delve into identifying the good guys vs the bad guys. There all bad guys to one degree or another—all who would advocate rule by man rather than by God.

It may be that members of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Falun Gong are getting to know each other quite well in the remote areas of China. Bitterwinter.org reports:

According to a document issued in 2018 by the government of a locality in Xinjiang, members of three banned religious groups—The Church of Almighty God (CAG), Falun Gong, and Jehovah’s Witnesses—must be sent to transformation through education camps and kept indefinitely until they have been “transformed,” i.e., become atheist. Their release depends on whether they have implemented five musts. These are a written pledge to stop attending religious activities; relinquishment of all religious materials in their possession; public criticism of one’s faith, promising to break up with it; disclosure of information about fellow believers and group’s/church’s affairs; and aiding the government in transforming other believers.”

The two groups are anything but “two peas in a pod.” The Falun Gong are intensely political and hostile to the CCP, whereas the Jehovah’s Witnesses are neither. “Mandatory singing of revolutionary songs was particularly hard on Jehovah’s Witnesses, who practice the so-called political neutrality and refuse to sing national anthems, salute flags, or serve in the army,” the report said.

BitterWinter is a subset of the Center for Studies on New Religions, headquartered in Torino, Italy. It is chaired by Massimo Introvigne, identified as “one of the most well-known scholars of religion internationally.” (I see my chum* George Chrysiddes, who wrote that nice review of my first book under the pseudonym Ivor E. Tower, hangs out here at least sometimes.) His name cropped up repeatedly as I was gathering background for Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia. Though I did not get it from him (I got it from Joshua Gill), I see he is of the same view as I that a resolute “anti-cult” movement, and not the Russian Orthodox Church, is behind the troubles of Jehovah’s Witnesses in that land. Head ones of the ROC might cheer that ban like children at presents under the tree, but it does not originate with them. The “anti-cult” movement has the same apparent goal of that explicitly stated in BitterWinter—that religious ones should “become atheist”—and the more mainstream faiths are so watered down already that it hardly matters what they believe—they’ll do whatever they are told to do.

If the charge is made that anything harshly critical of the CCP is a production of Fulon Gong—as I have heard—by means of their media arm Epoch Times, that certainly cannot be said of BitterWinter. It’s About page tells of a “network of several hundred correspondents in all Chinese provinces” who work at “high risk for their security – some have been arrested.” To be sure, it “receives some of its reports directly from members of religious minorities and organizations persecuted,” however it would appear that these ones do not call the shots. BitterWinter “is independent of any religious or political organization and is mostly the fruit of volunteer work.” It “does not take positions on political issues [Good!—Like JWs—will Hebrews 4:12 some day go to work on them?] and limits itself to the field of human rights.”

Unfortunately, “human rights” itself may be perceived as political. Invariably they focus on the human rights of individuals, whereas any government will be an attempt at balancing the human rights of individuals with the human rights of groups. With some, the human rights of groups far outweighs those of individuals. Even as Putin says he does not understand why his country persecutes Jehovah’s Witnesses, he qualifies the remark by observing Russia is 90% one religion, and “one cannot throw everything overboard just to please the sects.”

Frankly, I could wish that BitterWinter was all pro-Western propaganda that could be dismissed on that account, for our people are reported as undergoing some very tough times there—it makes Russia look like a cakewalk. However, the website initially strikes one as a treasure trove of unbiased documentation, exceedingly well-done, and well worth the donations it accepts, and well-worth boning up on.

....

*I don’t want to imply that we’re buddies. He’s a “chum” because he wrote that nice review, but otherwise I do not know him. We traded emails for a time, but fell out of touch. He said chatty things while he was reading the ebook—I appreciated it, and he graciously did not mention quite a few blips and typos that I have since found and removed. I rather wish he had. While I’ve no doubt his review is sincere, he probably discounted the book for not being up to format standards. But then again—he’s a scholar, not an editor.

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

A Review of the Jack London Short Story ‘Moon Face’—They’re Always Throwing Goodness at You, but With a Little Bit of Luck a Man Can Duck.

Sometimes—a certain person is so consistently annoying that you just feel you have no choice but to bump him off. Of course, you don’t do that—it’s not right. The rules don’t allow for it. You make your mind over, like the Word says, and you learn to think of the other person as superior to you—also what the Bible says at Phillipians 2:3. You look for the one area—there has to be at least one—in which he or she clearly is superior and then you hone in on that quality like a laser beam. It really does work when applied.

But—in the words of Alfred P. Doolittle: “They’re always throwing goodness at you. But with a little bit of luck a man can duck!” What if you could duck?

Enter Jack London, the writer. If there is one thing about London’s work that sticks with the reader, it is his portrayal of natures’ unforgiving harshness. Make a mistake, and you will pay for it with your life. The trait of mercy does not exist in his novels. Who can forget his short story ‘To Build a Fire’ in which the sub-zero Alaskan wanderer’s life depends upon his building a fire—and how he at last gets one going, searing his numb and frozen fingers which were beyond handling individual matches so he could only light the whole box at once—somehow clenching it in his teeth, if memory serves (it may not), and then he holds it in place amidst the storm, holding it as long as he must—smelling his burning flesh—because if this fire fails to take hold he will freeze to death for sure.

It does take hold. He adds wood to it—more and more—the fire begins to roar—its heat begins to thaw him and he feels he has beat nature—he will survive after all. And then—the snow in the boughs of the tree he had foolishly built his fire under—yes, it had sheltered him from the wind, but it would also spell his doom—loosens with the heat and comes crashing down, snuffing out his fire in an instant—after which he runs off into the wilds and freezes to death.

That is a Jack London story. They are all like that—stark and unforgiving—at least the ones I remember. Many are set in the gold-rush days.

Could Jack London write a comedic short story? No way. Inconceivable. And yet there is one—only one, so far as I know—and it is all the more comedic because it incorporates his standard themes of hardness and absolutely no mercy. Can you really write a comedy from that?

London’s protagonist has a neighbor that he cannot stand for his incessant optimism and good cheer. Even his face and surname grates on his nerves. His booming laugh—no matter what atrocious thing has happened (and the protagonist knows, because he deliberately causes some just so to wipe this inane smile off his face—setting fire to his barn, for example, and causing his house to be foreclosed on) drives London’s character into rabid fury, and he finally reaches the point where he cannot live until that idiot dies! (I can think of a person now—a non-JW—who has that effect on me) He devises the most clever and untraceable scheme to do him in—which does succeed.

Were it any other novelist, the story would end with his apprehension by the long arm of the law—that, or the crushing torment of his conscience. But this is a Jack London story. It concludes with: “My days are peaceful now, and my night's sleep deep.” It is a very short read—not too taxing and entertaining throughout, You should go there.

 

Sigh—you can’t bump them off like that. They’re always throwing goodness at you, and you can’t duck. You keep stripping off the old personality and keep putting on the new. You do become a better person for it. But you sure do have to endure some pieces of work along the way.

The daily text yesterday was “Show yourselves thankful,” from Colossians 3:15. The commentary included mention of the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus and yet only one turned back to give thanks. “Its good to develop a thankful attitude,” was my contribution to the Zoom group. Even when life sucks, see if you can’t look at ways in which the glass is half-full rather than ways in which it is half (or almost all)-empty. It’s healthier to do it that way.

Always rejoice! Always be thankful! Always be...but one can go too far. One can become like one of those plastic weighted clowns that you knock down, but then it bobs up again, it’s grinning face bobbing into yours.

After that thought, I recalled that Jack London story I read decades ago and never forgot. I had misremembered it as ‘Moonbeam’ whereas it was actually ‘Moon Face,’ but AI search had enough to go on and promptly pulled up the story for me.

You know, true to the daily text, Moon Face’s eternal optimism did serve him well emotionally. Unfortunately, it also drove his neighbor, Jack’s friend, to kill him—and then proclaim: “No more does his infernal laugh go echoing among the hills, and no more does his fat moon-face rise up to vex me.”

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

“Besides, the English Don’t Like Women Much Anyway”—on Voltaire, Van Gogh, and Darwin

No, Charles Darwin did not do a stint as a clergyman—much less get yelled at by his superiors for not shaking his parishioners down for money—he may have thought about becoming a clergyman, but he never actually did it. How could I have written that he did?

I’ll tell you how. It is because I recalled the Darwin story from Irving Stone’s historical novel The Origin. Irving Stone also wrote an historical novel of Vincent Van Gogh (Lust for Life), and this is the fellow who flunked out as a clergyman (a missionary, actually) in his younger days, not Darwin. This is the fellow who wouldn’t shake his parishioners down for money, not Darwin. This was the fellow who “went native” to share the work and living conditions of those he was assigned to, not Darwin. This is the fellow who was dismissed for “undermining the dignity of the priesthood,” not Darwin. Ya wanna check your facts before you let fly, Harley? You remember half of them wrong, you know.

Fortunately, I do check them, but once in a while some blooper slips through—as another one almost did when I savored a new unflattering portrait of Charles Darwin from a review of a new book by A.N. Wilson. At least, I initially thought it was of Charles Darwin. I had even begun the process of cutting him down to size as payback for his evolution—I have borne him a grudge for years over that—relishing the revisionist’s biting words that he was “cruel, oversexed egoist”—I imagined the possibilities in answering one of his godless followers who ponders “the fundamental mystery” of how “a man he finds atrocious could have spoken to him so deeply.” “I’ll tell you how that could happen—it’s because you...” I saw myself beginning my tirade with glee, and then I noticed it was Charles Dickens, not Charles Darwin—and I like Charles Dickens’s work. I have even adopted many of Dickens’s lines, such as that of Miss. Pross, defending like a lion its cub against the wicked foreign woman who would destroy it: “I am stronger than you. I thank heaven for it.”

They are both D-names, and both Charles—it’s a easy mistake to make.

All is not lost. Van Gogh serves my purposes as well as Darwin, because the intent of all this is to segue into Voltaire. Van Gogh, too, was ground up by the church, as was Darwin, only in a different way. He, too, can be used to introduce Voltaire, who spent his life eviscerating the church and the way it ground up people. In fact, Van Gogh serves better that Darwin, because his trampling of faith reveals more starkly the Church’s amassing of wealth for wealth’s own sake, and that was one of Voltaire’s constant themes—that the clergy used the wealth they accumulated so as to lead corrupt lives. Not too much had changed in France, apparently, in the century of so between Voltaire and Van Gogh.

And Darwin was British!—how in the world could I have had him doing a clerical stint in France? Even as I wrote it, I knew something didn’t quite square, but I was on a roll and couldn’t stop.

Of course, many things did change from between Voltaire and Van Gogh—most notable is the French Revolution that intervened. Voltaire skewered the clergy of his time—whoa! did they hate him for it!—but he remained always adamant that atheism was for fools—just because the tour guides are corrupt does not prove there is no museum. The ‘Book of Creation’ was enough to teach anyone not self-blinded that there was a God, he maintained, and he was much taken with the common-sense of verses like Hebrew 3:4, that “every house is constructed by someone, but the one who constructed all things is God.” If you come across a well-stocked home in the midst of a barren desert, are you going to maintain that no one designed it? It took years of atheist machinations to undermine the obvious sense of that one.

They rose to the occasion, though. Let no one say they are not industrious. If people are intent on breaking free from God, do not underestimate their ability to rationalize it. The heart chooses what it wants and then charges the head to devise a convincing rationale to it. Voltaire’s followers were on the cutting edge of “enlightenment” heading towards the French Revolution that would cost so many heads, but they soon fell into disfavor for being too conservative—their movement passed them by—and many of them were among those whose heads were severed by the guillotine. When a mob gets rolling—watch out! Voltaire directed public fury at priests who abused their power, but he did not waver in God’s existence. It would take the next generation, some claiming to stand upon his shoulders, as Newton did on Galileo’s, to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Surely, the most egregious of abuses of the clergy were curtailed by the Revolution, if for no other reason than the royalty disappeared. French aristocracy prior to the Revolution forbade offspring to work—work was for commoners—so it became a problem for royalty to find suitable careers for their offspring. There was always the Royal Court, there was always the military—that’s why there were so many 21-year old colonels—and there was always the clergy to which one might appoint a young man as archbishop. Young men being what they were—and these French aristocrats being what they were—they would often hire at a pittance some underling to tend to spiritual things while they themselves would revel in riotous, immoral, and luxurious living.

Voltaire liked the English way that he picked up on during his exile there. There, only the number one son of nobility could not work—all the remaining ones were launched somewhere into the world of human enterprise. There, only those with long devotion to the church—not some nobility’s snotty kids—could be appointed to high clerical station. By that time, Voltaire notes, all the womanizing and drinking had been refined out of them, if not by spirituality, then by age alone. Their excesses against their churches were fewer, he notes. He is ever writing humorously on such things, and at this point he takes it to a new level: “Besides, the English don’t like women much anyway.” Ha! Bingo! Listen, I may not know much about Voltaire, but I do know about my own family. My great-grandfather was English. He had six children, and yet the family name managed to die out in but two generations! Meanwhile, the other side of my family has produced enough children to fill a stadium.

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Voltaire Hacking Through the Weeds - Part 1

Listening up on Voltaire via the Great Courses Lecture series, I get the same sense that I did with Mark Twain, and even to an extent, with Charles Darwin—that if they had had any sense of the overall coherence of the Bible writings, their output would have been much different.

Darwin at one point toyed with becoming a clergyman—a respectable profession for a man of letters who couldn’t otherwise figure out what he wanted to do with his life. The historical novel ‘The Origen,’ by Irving Stone, vividly tells of and probably exaggerates Darwin’s brief stint as a priest, and how he infuriated his superiors. Not only did he refuse to shake down his peasant-class parishioners for money, but he committed the unforgivable sin of joining them in their toil and day to day lives. (It was a long time ago I read this—I really should re-read it.***)

[Edit: Whoa! It’s a good thing I did. I got him mixed up with Vincent Van Gogh. Irving Stone wrote a book on him, too. That, too, I read long ago.

Yeah—it wasn’t Darwin at all. He did toy with going into the clergy, though. That is for sure. But he never actually did it, not even as a trial gig

Sigh...That’s what one gets for relying on memory. I knew something didn’t quite jive—like how Charles could end up in France.]

Mark Twain savaged religion, and Christianity in particular. He is widely thought to have been atheist, and yet—he never had an unkind word for Jesus. His constant complaint was that those who claimed to follow him did not. “There has only been one Christian,” he would write. “They caught and crucified him—early.” Imagine what might have been if he had found a people who follow the Christ.

He did not find one because the weeds were proliferating, and they had choked out the wheat. “Do you want us to pull the weeds out?” the slaves asked the master, and the reply is to hold off until the harvest. The harvest begins after Twain’s time, and Darwin’s, and Voltaire’s. It hardly seems fair to them, but “the devil” who planted the weeds while “men were sleeping” must be given full reign to prove his claim that humans need not heed God’s right to rule. (Matthew 23:24-30, 36-39). The wheat was completely overrun by our trio’s time. One result was that a coherent explanation of the Hebrew and Greek scriptures was nowhere to be found, and not one of the three greats could figure it out on their own.

It makes a difference. You will fight a lot harder to save your home than you will to save your dumpster. Voltaire and Twain readily condemned the travesties of religion—they were principled men, offended at injustice, so why would they not?—and in the process nearly threw the baby out with the bath water. Their successors would later do just that.

Voltaire’s brashness caused him trouble in France, so he fled to England, where he remained for a decade or so. Whereas France allowed only Catholicism to be practiced, England had many faiths and they all at the time, more or less got along with one another. He wrote ‘Letters on England’ and remarked on how others besides Catholics can appeal to verse to buttress their point of view—to frothing clerical disapproval back home. He sets himself up as a devoted and rigid (and naive), Catholic himself, aghast to find Quakers appealing to verse “wrongly”—as his narrative demonstrates that they are not doing it wrongly at all.

Feigning shock that the Quaker is not baptized—after all, Jesus was baptized—he wonders how the Quaker can call himself Christian. The Quaker asks him if he is circumcised—since Jesus was. He replies that he “has not had that honor.” “So—I am a Christian without having been baptized and you are one without having been circumcised,” is the reply. Voltaire lets that stand as having proved the point that all religions can successfully argue scripture.

What is amazing is that he has no concept that scripture might be grasped as a coherent whole. It is perfectly fine with him to cherry-pick verse, and the reason that it is perfectly fine is that no one has ever demonstrated any other way. When in the skirts of ‘Babylon the Great’ is found the blood of ... all those who have been slaughtered on the earth” (Revelation 18:24) it is not so much for her acts of commission as it is for her acts of omission; it should have been teaching the complete Word of God, but it neglected that task, and thus Voltaire quite naturally assumed that it was not possible to teach it—so far as he knows, no one has ever done it.

We Witnesses may not be ones for exalting humans, but by this standard, C.T. Russell becomes one of the most innovative humans of all time. You would think his approach to unlocking the Bible would be the most common-sense thing in the world, but it appears to be revolutionary: Toss out a verse for discussion, and do not move on until every other verse on that same topic is discussed. In that way, get a grasp on what the scriptures teach as a whole. The basic Bible teachings that Jehovah’s Witnesses are known for, so different from what may be found in any of the churches, have been in place for well over a hundred years.

It gets much heavier than this, and the blood of Babylon gets much thicker. More to come—

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Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Some Say Brussel Sprouts Taste Good—says Jakob Blake’s Dad

When Anderson Cooper interviewed Jakob Blake’s dad, the latter answered a question with ‘Some people like Brussel sprouts.’ Anderson was flummoxed over this answer and when he pressed the dad, the dad explained that he hated Brussel sprouts—which also flummoxed Anderson.

This only registers because about two weeks ago on my blog, someone answered with a similar reply about food choices—though my post had nothing to do with that.

This only registers because The Librarian (that old hen) on her blog, has at times thrown in a complete non-sequitor about “I love pizza” or ‘I love tacos.’

Am I looking at a new evolution in memes and language? 

When the old hen does it, I think she is being snarky about those who destroy the order of her library by throwing any irrelevant remark into one of her threads—Dewey Decimal System be d**ned. I have no idea what the fellow on my blog is doing—does he just lurk there, too, and he is playfully imitating the Librarian. (Gasp! Don’t tell me it IS the Librarian—naw, I don’t think so (but you never know))

But there is no way on God’s green earth that Jakob’s dad is reading my blog. Why does he say what he does to Anderson about Brussel sprouts? Does he do it to say to Anderson: “I don’t really want to talk about it”? That’s how Anderson takes it.

I like this guy, though. I am also sure that he doesn’t care if I like him or not—he has things far more weighty and tragic on his mind. “Why did the cops shoot me so many times?” A paralyzed Jakob asked his dad in the hospital room. “Baby, they weren’t supposed to shoot you at all,” Pop had answered.

RT.com (the Russians—only they thought to take this angle) remarked on how dad “chose to go poetic instead,” “failing to produce clear-cut sound bytes.” We’re they hinting that was his intent?

Blakes, Sr, described a union as “like a bunch of dude that pay dues so they can go someplace and meet and get away from their wives”.

Would he find justice for his son, Anderson wanted to know? It was “out there over the rainbow, in the little house that Dorothy flew in on a tornado.”  “There is better healthcare” there probably, too.

Is he “going poetic” on purpose just to screw up the media, who ostensibly are interested in his son, but really just want to make him a building block in their greater project? Probably a little. Or maybe I am just reading in what I would do if I suffered some tragedy and the media wanted to know all about it to pursue a greater (for them) point.

Anderson worked for his interview. He got a good one. I think the Russians are all wet. Once you get your head around how this guy talks, few will speak more eloquently. Listen to him on those clips. He knows Anderson is not really his pal, he doesn’t want to inflame violence, and my guess is he thinks his remarks will be used to that end. Still he has a chance to speak as a dad, and he does. His paralyzed son is cuffed to the hospital bed? Why? Is it to protect him in case he might fall out? dad says.

He responds to sports games being cancelled, maybe even whole seasons, that he appreciates the gesture, but they won’t bring his son back, will they? He is a private guy—a man of faith, I think, who doesn’t want to be on the national stage. He’s not impressed that the President called, either. “That dude should have called four days ago,” he said, but his “family is cool, though.” Jakob’s mom apologized for not being home when the President called—was it the same call or two separate ones—added that she has nothing against him, and apologized for someone or other unknown said something unkind.

“My family and I are very hurt and quite frankly disgusted,” she said. “And as his mother, please don’t burn up property and cause havoc and tear your own homes down in my son’s name. You shouldn’t do it. People shouldn’t do it anyway, but to use my child or any other mother or father’s child, our tragedy to react in that manner is just not acceptable.”

What a terrible tragedy for a family. You want to get to learn of something, and you can’t. Everyone is spinning things into a greater narrative. You want to find an unbiased source and there aren’t any. So you read a few that are at odds with each other and hope to get close to how things really went down. What a mad way to run a world.

 

 

 

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)