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One Fine Day at the Edge of the Universe

See prior post here and here

So here I was on the edge of the universe, measuring up the stars so I could see they were just as good as the ones back home (they were), when the ghost of Carl Sagan cut himself with the razor Dr. Occam had loaned him and swore. Unbeknownst to both he and Dr. Occam, Dr. Occam’s wife had been using that razor to shave her legs.

Now, irreligious as Carl Sagan was, he wouldn’t just swear, ‘G*******t!’ upon cutting himself. He doesn’t do God. Instead, he swore about religious belief, that it was “an extremely dangerous doctrine, because the more we are to assume that the solution comes from the outside, the less likely we are to solve our problems ourselves.”

I heard his ghost. All the way from the edge of the universe I heard his ghost, and I should have minded my own business, but it was like a red flag before a bull. It wasn’t even on his own blog anyway, he being dead, but on the feed of one of his Twitter admirers. Time for me to put in my two cents:

“On the other hand, the more we insist than any answers will come from man, the more we expose ourselves to potential disaster in case they do not. Best to let ones believe as they will rather than declare your opponent ‘dangerous’ and thereby feel justified to run him off the road,” said I, as though he had meant to do that. He may be dead, but he will get some unhinged follower in this age of unhinge to act on his word. (His champion’s words are in italics from this point on.)

I don't care what people believe, but beliefs don't live in a vacuum. People vote their beliefs into laws that affect others. [I had expressed just that concern, only going the other way.] We should all want to believe as many true things and stop believing in as many false or unsubstantiated things as possible. It makes the world better. All the answers should come from reality. I see zero proof of any answers coming from supernatural things. If we don't have an answer, then we say "we don't know". We don't make something up because it might give someone comfort. We don't invent magical woobies. (bolding mine)

Believe me, you don’t want to try to prove God to these ones. If they are locked and loaded, they will have comebacks to anything you will say. In the end, you can’t prove God. That’s why they call it faith. All you can do is show belief is reasonable. That will not work in this instance because ‘reason’ is defined in different terms. Better to focus on the words I bolded above: what is it that makes the world better?

At the end of a lengthy door discussion forty years ago over creation vs evolution, 3EED88EA-0C6B-4C6A-96C7-4D655A596C37the man asked what difference it made. Who cares how we got here? he said. I replied that if it was God, he might not stand idly by to see all his worked ruined, but if it was evolution, then whatever hope there was for humankind lay in their hands. “And they’re not doing too well,” I added. The man’s wife, who up till that time had not said a word, for the first time did. “That’s a good point,” she said.

They’re still not doing too well. There is no sign whatsoever of people ‘coming together,’ but rather, the reverse. It cannot be blamed on religion. That force has clearly waned over the years.

What sort of answer would that bring?

I don't care if humankind comes to anything. The purpose of life is to live it, and by communal existence, make things better for us because all share space on this planet. There is no ultimate goal beyond this. No heaven to get to.

He doesn’t see that his first statement contradicts his second? He’ll keep on ‘making things better’ at the same time saying he doesn’t care if it all blows up? I mean, forgive the rest of us if we aspire to something more.

Moreover, understand that they are people who do care if humankind comes to nothing, and since their distrust in human efforts is well merited, they go beyond what his brand of science is able to detect and finds something greater.

Produce proof of God, or go away. … Evolution is a fact. I can't, nor would I control what others believe. You seem to need a woobie for your life to have meaning. I don't. Good luck with your delusional beliefs.

How can persons who will be senile and in diapers in not so many years say they need no crutch (“woobie”)? Of course they do. Plenty of scientists believe in God. No need for the insult.

I don't mean to be insulting, but it is what it is. Without proof, it doesn't matter who believes (scientists), how long they believe, or how many believe (quantity). Old people only need this crutch because religion has poisoned people's minds into believing there is a magical.. with no strife, no disease, no pain, and everything you desire, while this reality is just a place to wipe your feet till you get there. If people told you they believed in Santa, would that be any more ridiculous? Yet me comparing your imaginary friend to a woobie is... ...somehow insulting? The problem with this world is this unsubstantiated belief when people use those beliefs to hurt people because an ancient book written by bronze age sheep herders tells them so. I don't care what people believe, as long as those beliefs don't affect me...

Yes, you don’t mean to be insulting, but—and then proceed to insult with ‘woobie.’ Why not use the n-word and explain how you don’t mean to insult? [the very origin of woo is ‘Woooo—what superstitious people say when confronted by some phenomenon they can’t figure out, and so ascribe to the supernatural. ‘Wooooo’ not insulting, my foot! People howl at the straw in their neighbor’s eye, but never consider the one in their own.

It’s why humans will never succeed in living with other humans. They don’t mean to insult, but—then on a hundred different pretexts having nothing to do with religion, they do. All the same, did I not start this? Why did I do that? Mind your own business, Tommy. A person ought to be allowed the last word on his own feed. That’s why I unfollowed (not blocked) the person. Those call-to-action words of Sagan will be quoted and it’s like waving a red flag before a bull—which I should ignore but don’t. My bad.

The exchange had a surprisingly happy ending, though. The Saganaphile repleated with how he doesn’t care what people believe as long as they don’t go passing laws to impinge on his freedom. Bingo. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t do that, though most groups do whenever they can garner the strength. Indeed, the trigger words beginning this thread suggested just the opposite concern: not that faith would seek to outlaw non-faith, but that non-faith would seek to rule out faith. Sagan considered faith ‘dangerous.’ You know some of his followers will seek to do something about this ‘danger.’

Not Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their weapons are words alone. Their standards they apply only to themselves. They tell no one else what to do. The person actually ‘liked’ my closing tweet, which he took (correctly) as an extending of the olive branch:

“The trick is to coexist on a polarized world. It is not going to unpolarize anytime soon. You said it well. As long as neither side passes laws to impose their viewpoint on the other, we’re all good.”


******  The bookstore


Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

The Unknowable One-Way Speed of Light—and Occam’s Razor

(See Part 1)

Here is a fellow who says nobody has measured the speed of light. You may think they have, but all that has been measured is the round trip speed of light—derived from the time taken for a beam of light to reach this distant point and bounce back. So what they have is an average of two speeds—the time it takes light to reach the faraway place and the time it takes light to return.

What if the one-way speed of light is not the same in all directions? There are symmetries in the universe so that you might think it is. But there are also asymmetries in the universe so that you might think it is not. Anyone doing the math problem of rowing the boat at the same speed but traveling different distances going upstream or downstream begins to favor the second possibility. The rowboat travels at different speeds upstream vs downstream, though it relative speed is the same.

“Of course, it is simpler if light should travel the same speed in all direction, but that is a convention, rather than an experimentally verified fact,” says Derek Muller in the above YouTube video. Einstein made note of that in his 1905 paper; to say light travels the same speed in all directions is “a stipulation that I can make of my own free will to arrive at a definition of simultaneity.” Glad it works out for him.

And it works out for us too. The physics works the same for us so long as the round trip speed is c [the variable that stands for the speed of light]. It is just easier to think it travels one way as easily as in another, but it is not knowable, for reasons explained in the video. If, say, it moved like molasses in one direction, but was near instantaneous in the second, so long as the round trip is the same, we wouldn’t know. Why assume it is the same both ways? It’s easier, more testable. It is Occam’s Razor employed—that the simplest solution is the one with which to run.

B98405EA-2C8F-4881-9948-2BE36FC207ECHowever, those logicians too reliant on Occam’s Razor forget that Occam regularly fumed at his wife for ‘borrowing’ and all but destroying his razor to shave her legs. Whoa! You should have heard him scream every morning!

If Occam’s Razor does not hold with regard to the speed of light, what then? If it were the extreme mentioned above, molasses vs near-instantaneous, then light from the James Webb scientists to the edge of the universe (as though out there anyone cared what they were doing) would be traveling at the speed of molasses, but the James Webb scientists would be looking at the edge of the universe in real time. Those perfectly formed stars on the edge of the universe would not be from eons ago, but from right now—whatever ‘now’ means.

perfectly formed stars link to prior post

Ah well, so what? It makes no difference, Muller says. But it may make a difference should there ever be a reconciliation of the four fundamental forces, which don’t appear to get along with each other that well. It won’t upset my world. But to scientist chowing down their morning Feynman Flakes, it just may. I wish them well. When scientists start carrying on about how reality is much more complex than Newton and so maybe his conclusions of uncovering God’s handiwork don’t hold, just counter with, “How come you can’t just chalk it down to seeing but the “fringes of his ways?” It’s nothing but human pride at work—the refusal to acknowledge that anything could be true other than what they figure out themselves—and it doesn’t look that they will anytime soon, per the video.

to be continued.

(Photo: Pixabay)

******  The bookstore



Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Doesn’t Everything Fray at the Edges?—We Don’t Know Squat About the Universe

Everything frays at the edges. That’s why scientists were befuddled that the universe doesn’t.

Okay, okay, so that’s not the reason. But they were befuddled. They just assumed that the expanding universe would be frayed at the outside, the expanding edge, the very first galaxies. They probably are a chaotic mess, primitive, disorganized, soupy, mushy—whatever. With an evolutionary viewpoint on everything, of course you would think that. If something arises out of nothing, at least evolution should ensure it doesn’t arise perfectly formed. Surely, it only gradually takes shape.

But that new fancy-pants telescope is revealing we don’t know squat about the universe. 2CFA84B2-2D2E-4F54-8CB2-D07BB60EB8A3The article linked to here is ever so deferential about models being overturned as it headlines, “Scientists Puzzled Because James Webb is Seeing Stuff that Shouldn’t be There—‘The Models Just Don’t Predict This’” I wish such folks were half as deferential whenever Witnesses adjusted on some non-core point. No matter how far out you look—and ‘far out’ in this case means going backward in time to ‘the beginning’—the heavens are completely formed, not a disorganized mess at all.

You must admit, this dovetails far better with Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” than it does it with an  unintelligent Big Bang. If there was a Big Bang, it appears to have been a Big Smart one.

to be continued:

(Photo: The James Webb Space Telescope—Wikimedia Commons)

NBC update: The network brought in Michio Kaku, always ready to explain things to those dunderheads. Michio Kaku, who looks passably like Einstein, or at any rate is as close as we are likely to get. Michio Kaku, who looks a lot more like Einstein than that Einstein wannabe in the Verizon commercial, an actor whom you can more readily see portraying Charlie Chaplin than Einstein. God, it’s enough to make the real Einstein rise from the dead and puke!

Kaku confirms that new laws of physics are emerging. Six gigundous galaxies at the very expanding edge—no way does existing physics account for this. He thinks they’r black holes. After a short chat the moderator let him go to rewrite all his textbooks.

******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

“Is It Later Than You Think?” - a Public Talk Updated

The talk title was, “Is it later than you think?” I’ve heard it for decades. I suppose if it was later than you think 40 years ago, it still is. Alas, the people of God are destined to be chumps, eternally expecting the end which does not come until it does.

Notable in this talk rendering was the torching of some straw man arguments. The speaker one by one considered, then discarded, objections to his main points.

Not everyone will know what a strawman argument is. The speaker did not use the term. But I, who am on top of every nuance of critical lingo, except for the ones too crazy to get one’s head around, am in the know. There is even Bernard Strawman, from Tom Irregardless and Me, whom everyone but me knows it is absolutely pointless to call on because all he does is spout off his learning. Bernard Strawman—who is working on his memoirs, with the running title ‘Portrait of a Man.’ Bernard Strawman—whom my firebrand Bible student, Ted Putsch, a college political science major, took an instant dislike to, even tearing a page out of that manuscript and hurling it into the fire to illustrate that ‘everlasting fire’ destroys what is thrown into it, rather than torturing it forever as that windbag maintained Revelation teaches, even as he is far above such an interpretation himself.

A straw man argument is an argument your adversary does not make. Therefore, shooting it down is not the big deal you think it is. Usually the straw man argument is employed dishonestly. The trick is to persuade the uninitiated that your opponent does rely upon it, so that your pulling the rug out from under him causes great injury—hoping no one will notice that he was never on the rug. Since he’s not standing on it, it causes no real trouble at all, expect for diminished reputation in the eyes of those who fell for the ruse.

‘Is it Later than You Think?’ zeroed in on five items of those ‘last days’ parallel passages from Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. For each item, the speaker defused objections to it.

The 5 ‘last days’ items considered were 1) nation rising against nation, 2) earthquakes, 3) food shortages, 4) pestilences, and 5) increase of lawlessness.

The objection to each is that, ‘Duh—of course we hear about this more! There is better communication today’ and/or ‘There are more people today. Of course more will be affected!’ But—and here is where discarding the straw man comes into play—you can acknowledge the above and still the 5 points are meaningful.

Take earthquakes, for example. Are there more of them that ever before? In 2002, the Awake magazine (March 22) let stand without molestation the U.S. National Earthquake Information Center report that “earthquakes of 7.0 magnitude and greater have remained ‘fairly constant’ throughout the 20th century.” It didn’t try to correct that august body with, ‘Oh no!—They’ve been on the increase—the Bible says so!’

Instead, discarding the straw man, they say, ‘Who cares? Is it the Richter number that makes for ‘great earthquakes’ or the people affected? Does anyone pull out their hair about the Sahara desert earthquake that affects nobody?’ The prophesy stands.

Same thing with food shortages, pestilences, the increase in lawlessness. A key ingredient for these things to be notable is that there be more people to notice and be affected by them. That still doesn’t mean the signs are not valid.

You can spin a lot of corollaries, some of which the speaker did. Yes, of course you can say pestilence affects far people because there are far more people. But you can also say—‘Sheesh, you’d think science (unheard of back then) would have made more of a dent. Instead, human mismanagement, even with science, compounds the problem—witness the current debacle over Covid-19. You can even go conspiratorial (which the speaker did not, though I do) and picture Pharma contemplating, ‘Do you have any idea how many drugs we could sell if we could break down the human immune system under the guise of helping it?!’

You can even go for the added terror of ‘nation shall rise against nation’ by pointing out how science makes it worse—with lethal weapons that affect you though you be far removed from the battlefield.

It made me think of a certain atheist cheerleader at the door who leaned into me, with “Why do you Jehovah’s Witnesses always think that things are getting worse? What is it about that view that does it for you?” I answered that It helped me to explain why the Doomsday Clock is set at 100 seconds to midnight and not 10:30 AM.

Things are getting worse because 1) people are getting worse, or 2) they’re no more odious than they ever were but, whereas you could once put elbow room between you and they, now with a shrinking world and greater communication reach, you cannot.

In the end it makes no difference. Under either scenario, things get worse. Torch that strawman. The only ones who don’t see it are the exJWs on the internet who think, now that they have broken free from the cult, the world is their oyster. Everyone else knows it’s going to hell in a handbasket.



******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

From the Last Time I Tried to Give Up Blogging

Allen Adhominem, the former JW who bills himself now as a ‘critical thinker,’ posted his helpful chart of who was who in the world of apologists. He is the one who dove into the university, and the instant he received his PhD, he billed himself as Dr. Adhominem. These days, he calls his former brothers ‘cult members.’ “Excuse me for not having a PhD in whatever hogwash your PhD is in,” someone uncharitably said, and he didn’t use the word ‘hogwash.’

How irrelevant his chart is! The only chart that counts is this updated organizational chart of apologists and allies, including a few who went bad, such as Vic Vomodog, Sam Sowmire, and Ida Ho, the latter who became quite immoral—she never was that way in the faith. Even this updated chart is in need of an update; it does not reflect the recent nefarious deeds of Larsen Ahithorolf.


It is not necessary for brothers to blog! Oscar Oxgoad told me, based upon something he read somewhere. Well, I never said my blog was necessary—it’s just me doing a hobby.

Some indiscreet brothers are on the internet! he rebounded. They are, I said, but I try not to be one of them.

That last time I tried to give up blogging—it went well for half a day, but then it was (Sung to the tune of ‘I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face):

“Dam, Dam, Dam Dam!* I’ve Grown Accustomed to my face. It almost makes the day begin.”

“I’m very grateful that this venue is so easy to forget. Rather like a habit one can always BREEAAAK . . . and yet….I’ve grown accustomed to my voice being always in the air, accustomed to my — face.”

*Spelled the friendly and wise (all beavers are graduates of Dam U) beaver way. I don’t want to hear from any language police.


******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

“The Crimes of this Guilty Land Will Never be Purged Away but With Blood—John Brown and the Civil War

(See Part 1)

On the day he was to be hanged, A09D9CAD-D6BD-47AB-BFFE-6688D27B3E39John Brown handed a note to a guard written the day before: “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.” 750,000-person’s worth of blood was spilled in that Civil War.” It was blood spilled in payment for a moral failing, is what John Brown was saying.

Both Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S Grant, the 16th and 18th presidents of the United States, came to hold and express that view. At Lincoln’s second inaguration, after four years of bloody war, the reelected president expressed hope that the fighting would soon end, “yet if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the [slaveholder’s] 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said 3,000 years ago, so still it must be said, ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’” He did not exempt himself from guilt. It was not an ‘us versus them’ speech. How could he condemn the South for not ending slavery when he knew of no easy solution himself?

Says Ron Chernow, author of Grant, the 18th president, as both general and president, also “deemed the war a punishment for national sins that had to come sooner or later in some shape and probably in blood.” I am reminded of how, at the Martin van Buren home, a National Historical Park site, the hatted ranger told me that no president after Andrew Jackson served more than one term because “the challenges leading up to the Civil War were thought to be unaddressed by those presidents.”

They were “addressed” in that war. Per Brown, Lincoln, and Grant, they were addressed with buckets of blood. As a punishment for sins? You’d get no argument on that from those men. There is such a thing as ‘community responsibility.’

That inaugural address of Lincoln’s was overall praised, though the non-religious persons grumbled at his “substitution of religion for statesmanship." He himself allowed that the address would wear well over time, but not immediately, since “men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them."

Tom Pearlsnswine, the fellow who mortified me by muttering about the ‘wiles of Satan’ when I was dumb enough to invite him to tag along with us on a visit to the dinosaur museum, the fellow who puts the dog into dogmatic, was not at all happy with this above historical discussion. “What does this have to do with the Bible?” he spouted. “These men were all bloodguilty,” he fumed, as he took another bite of his Bible sandwich. “Stay on topic!”

Even given his confidence in preservation of the union, even given his confidence in emancipation, would Lincoln not have agreed with the ‘bloodguilty’ charge? North and South were appalled at the phenomenal loss of life—far eclipsing the walk in the park some had first envisioned the war would be—and Lincoln, a man with a conscience, was commander in chief. Couldn’t he have gotten the job done with less blood? Wasn’t it his fault if he hadn’t? “If there is a worse place than hell,” Lincoln remarked, in the aftermath of a staggering slaughter under the leadership of a particularly incompetent general (Burnside), “I am in it.”

Ten days before his death, Lincoln related a dream to friend and bodyguard Ward Leman. He was in the White House. “There seemed to be a deathlike stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. . . . I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along.” At length, he came upon a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments, surrounded by mourners and guards. He asked who it was. “The President,” was the guard’s answer. “He was killed by an assassin.”

Ten days later Lincoln was killed by an assassin. Ones who regard such premonitions as impossible have denied the dream report, but Lincoln was well-known for relating portentous dreams.


******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

One Fine Day Washing Brains on the Internet

‘Why do so many people hate Jews?’ says Bugs on Twitter—you know, just trying to get discussion going.

Pugnacious Peter appears:

Peter: ‘Why do so many Christians hate Jews? They had Pontius Pilate kill Christ according to the NT. You might also ask why do a lot of Jews hate everybody else? Because their religion teaches they're god's chosen and so on it goes - hate begets hate. That's religion - a control system.’

Someone chimes in on how Jesus commanded we love people. It’s true enough, but it doesn’t really address the point. Peter points that out:

Peter: ‘Jesus might teach u2 love people but ur church don't. Organised religions organise slaughter - always have - always will. Ur an exception my friend & there's lots of people like u but ur not the norm. When congregations r told2 kill most will.’ (words condensed for Twitter)

Twitter is like the background chatter of a coffee shop. Time to speak up here and see where it goes:

Tom: ‘For whatever it’s worth, Jehovah’s Witnesses, an organized Christian religion, will not kill on any account and have proven it their entire modern-day existence.’

This apparently makes an impression:

Peter: I will stand shoulder to shoulder with People who refuse to kill -  with a ... whatever it takes.

Yikes! Vomodog is lurking! That rascal interjects: ‘The Witness no-blood doctrine and how members in life threatening situations are heavily manipulated to obey it causing their deaths says otherwise.’

Tom: Even if it killed every single person who adhered to it, it would still pale in significance next to the massive scale killing under discussion here. But in fact, ‘abstain from blood’ is a Bible prohibition, included in Acts 15:29, it’s principle given in Leviticus 17:11, that science has validated, and that courageous doctors have accommodated. It works to a person’s immediate benefit far more often than not….

Besides, if we’re going to speak of ‘control’ (Peter) or ‘manipulation’ (Vomodog)—both terms in vogue today—do it with something that counts:

62B67D18-8F34-4FF9-9B18-F10CB9A4AEF5The people who decry ‘brainwashing’ (a related term in vogue) are less concerned with brainwashing as they are brainwashing that is not theirs. Isn’t that what life is all about today? People foisting their ‘brainwashing’ on each other, trying to preserve the illusion that it self-originates. What is advertising but an admission that life works this way?

(photo: Pixabay)

It is hard to think ‘anti-cult’ idiocy was not also alive in the 1st century, for Paul defends against it: We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one.” (2 Corinthians 7:2) Why would he say this unless the charge was made then, as today?

JWs are a ‘cult’ if and only if the Bible is a cult manual. If it is, they are. If it is not, they aren’t. They C-word has shifted in meaning over the years. Many groups that were once on one side of it are now on the other.

Short and pithy is the goal. Save what is verbose for the fine print, which people can check our or not as their interest holds.


******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Congregation Discipline in the First Century

Vic Vomodog (we used to pull together in the work!) landed this one in my in-box: (He doesn’t like the way it works with discipline.)

“In first century Christianity individual errors were investigated, counseled, reviewed, and if necessary reproved at Congregational meetings in front of and with the input of the Entire Congregations. Then they voted as to whether someone should be rebuked or reproved. This was ONLY AFTER the procedures of Matthew 18 were followed.”

How does he know this? Let’s call him out on it: “This is a statement you have made countless times. But you have never actually backed it up with evidence it was done that way. Can you?”

‘Sure,’ he answered. ‘The entirety of Matthew the 18th Chapter. Visualize as you read along.’

Oh, come on! Is that all you got? ‘Speak to the congregation?’ (18:17) It doesn’t occur to him that when I say I’m speaking to Chevy about my old Citation , I don’t actually imagine I’m speaking to every Chevy employee but only to a representative of that company?

Okay, so maybe it could have been that way but it’s hardly a slam-dunk—certainly not enough that he should be carrying on as he does. Vomodog puts the dog into dogmatic!

In fact, it’s not very likely at all. Paul said there are plenty of dishonorable vessels in a congregation, not to mention immature ones, ones who haven’t yet learned to fully distinguish between right and wrong, ones in the process of drawing away. John adds to the list in Revelation: ones whose love has grown cold, ones who tolerate ‘that woman Jezebel’, and so forth. You mean to tell me that all these have a say equal to that of the irreproachable ones appointed to ‘shepherd the congregation of God?’ Fat chance.

Vomodog got sucked into politics. Some go right. Some go left. He’s gone right. It spills over and clouds judgment. He becomes enamored with mantras like ‘power to the people,’ ‘equal voting rights for all,’ and so forth.

***Don’t be so mean to Vomodog? Didn’t he say something nice about me recently? He’s just setting me up for a sucker punch, most likely, but still maybe I should be more kind. It is part of the religion and all. Should it be tearful reconciliation in view of his recent praise?

It’s like how Abraham Lincoln BE1F6A5F-5840-47BB-9117-B211BAF0C358illustrated that the victorious Union was now in postilion to settle the score with Britain, the way it had not been during the war. Then, the North just had to put up with England’s continual meddling on behalf of the South. 

He opened the subject by telling an anecdote, the way he loved to do. He told of the old man on his deathbed making peace with his lifelong enemy, ironing out all former feuds so he could die at peace with all men. “If possible, as far as it depends on you, be peaceable with all men,” says Romans 12:18.

It was a scene to melt a mafioso’s heart. Tears flowed like a river. The very angels wept. But as the reconciled enemy made to take his leave, the newly minted peacemaker raised himself on an elbow to remind: “But remember—if I get better, that grudge still stands!”

So it is with Vomodog. If he resumes his outrageous ways, that grudge still stands.


******  The bookstore



Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'