Why Do Bad Things Happen? updated for atheists (sort of)

When Moristotle, a newly minted atheist whose perspectives I nonetheless value, read my post Why Bad Things Happen, he almost threw up. He declared it a "fantasy," aspects of which were "utterly repulsive," and the rest "not only not nice at all, nor even adolescent, but simply infantile." Now if we could only get this fellow to say what he really thinks and stop pussyfooting so as to spare someone's feelings, he might amount to something!

Still, I take his concerns to heart. It's not pleasant throwing up because.....well, it just isn't. We all know it. Is there a way to write essentially the same thing in a way that those he represents will find more palatable? After all, he declared a related post of mine "profound." True, he was just being nice, he later pointed out, but at least there was no gag reflex, or at least he overcame it. Bear in mind that I'm under no illusions of "changing" him, nor he I. We trade remarks regularly and use each other's work to refine our respective viewpoints and reasoning skills. You can't do that with most internet atheists (in contrast to the more civil non-evangelist kind). They are such snarling pit bulls and do nothing but hurl insults. You just can't converse with them.

It may not be possible to make this stuff more palatable for a certain type of person. Any discussion of why God tolerates evil must necessarily  link to Adam and Eve, and link to them rather substantially. They simply are that key of a building block. And so you have to overcome the "we are wise and learned adults, far too clever to be sold Adam and Eve. Who's next, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck?" syndrome. This is not gonna be easy.

Let's start with some common ground, just like Paul did at the Areopagus.  Moristotle recently trotted out a Greek named Diagoras, who is apparently the world's first recorded atheist. A little quibbling over that in our preceding posts, but I'll concede the point.

Okay. Here goes. Wish me luck.

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

Was Diagoras the world’s first atheist? He‘s credited that way. Read up on him and you’ll see he is remembered as Diagoras the Atheist. Isn’t he the fellow who used a wooden statue of Hercules as fuel to cook his turnips?   …….   if Hercules didn’t like it….well, let him do something about it. And how did Diagoras end up an athiest? Wikipedia tells us (2-4-08) "He became an atheist after an [unspecified] incident that happened against him went unpunished by the gods"

Why wasn't it punished? Why didn't God fix it? He’s God, after all. Isn’t he supposed to be all-powerful? We hear this all the time from atheists, agnostics and even believers. Why didn’t he solve Diagoras’s problem and stop the man from going atheist?

It’s because he’d never be able to do anything else. He’d be sticking band-aid after band-aid after never-ending band-aid on a system of things that is inherently unjust, even designedly so. Instead, in keeping with his original purpose, he purposes to replace this system of things with one of his own design. Injustice in that system of things will be a memory only.

After all, what is the injustice that caused Diagoras such soul-searching? Only the one that touched him personally! Had he not witnessed hundreds of injustices in his lifetime? To say nothing of ones his society was built upon. We positively slobber over Greeks as cradle of wisdom, birthplace of democracy, mecca of free thinkers, and so forth, yet they enjoyed their privileged status only on the backs of others. That society embraced slavery, for instance, often working slaves to death. They treated women abominably. And weren't they the original pedophiles? The same sexual molestation of children so roundly condemned today was enshrined in respectable Greek society. Are these among the injustices Diagoras was concerned with? Did he even recognize them as injustices? Possibly, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Lets face it, few situations of this system today are win-win. Generally someone pays the price when we win. Hopefully, for politicians and Pollyannas, it is someone we don’t see in another land or another class. But there is somebody most often and we usually don't even know about it. The system is designed that way. Get the sufferer as far away from the privileged one as possible so they don't see the link and declare any such talk mere bleeding heart liberal crying. Don't think, however, that any political party has a handle on the problem. It's inherent with human self-rule. A new system of things is in keeping with the Bible’s premise that human’s weren’t created to be independent of God.

Things might have turned out differently. The Adam and Eve and Garden of Eden account, brief as it is, demonstrates God’s original intent.

Further, God blessed them and God said to them: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it.          Gen 1:28

The very name Eden means pleasure; garden of Eden becomes (when translated into Greek, as in the Septuagint) paradise of pleasure, and “subduing the earth” is code for spreading those conditions earth wide. Had humans, starting with the first pair, remained content to live under God’s direction, life today would be a far cry from what it is today. But almost from the get-go, they balked.

Consider Genesis chapter 3:

Now the serpent proved to be the most cautious of all the wild beasts of the field that Jehovah God had made. So it began to say to the woman: “Is it really so that God said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?

2 At this the woman said to the serpent: “Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat.

3 But as for [eating] of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘you must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it that you do not die.’”

4 At this the serpent said to the woman: “you positively will not die.

5 For God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.”

6 Consequently the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was something to be longed for to the eyes, yes, the tree was desirable to look upon.

Jehovah’s Witnesses understand the "knowing good and bad" of verse five to be a matter of declaring independence. "You don’t need God telling you what is good and what is bad. You can decide such things yourself and thus be “like God.” The serpent even portrays God as having selfish motive, as if trying to stifle the first couple….a sure way to engender discontent. The ploy was successful. Those first humans chose a course of independence, with far-ranging consequences that have only cascaded down to our day.

After a lengthy time interval allowed by God so that all can see the end course of a world run independent of him, he purposes to bring it again under his oversight. This is what Daniel refers to at Dan 2:44

And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite...

 
Or Jesus in “the Lord’s Prayer:”

...Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth...     Matt 6:10

Does anybody seriously expect God’s will to be done on earth under the present system? Yet, says the prayer, the time for God’s will to be done is when his Kingdom comes.

Jehovah’s Witnesses well understand that God’s permission of injustice, even evil, is bound up with this trial period of human rule, soon to end. In a sense, the modern-day atheist counterparts of Diagoras have voted for the wrong party. They voted Republicans out of office in favor of Democrats (or vice versa) and now they're incensed that Republicans aren't delivering on their promises! God’s Kingdom is the arrangement that will end injustice. But they continue to vote for human rule. Does anyone think humans will end injustice?

What the upset ones really want is, not so much an end of injustice, but an end to the symptoms of injustice, mostly the ones that affect them personally, just like with Diagoras. But human rule itself is the source of injustice. We’re simply not designed with the ability to “rule” ourselves. Is it “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely?" God’s Kingdom will not treat the symptoms of injustice; it will uproot the source.

 

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More here and here

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Tom Irregardless and Me                No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

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)

Enemies

As though it happened yesterday, this gem appears on a recent Australian jurisprudence questionnaire:

“Some Jehovah’s Witnesses approach people in a predominantly Roman Catholic neighbourhood and play a CD entitled ‘Enemies’ to them. The CD describes all organized religions as ‘instruments of Satan’ and then viciously attacks Catholicism in particular. Do you think that the law ought to prohibit conduct of this kind? Discuss with reference to rights and the public/private distinction.”

So a certain blogger assumes that it did happen yesterday—why would she not? and fires off a response:

“Oh I really believe this scenario. It’s exactly what they’d do. Not what I ever would have done. I never had that sort of conviction. Oh how embarrassing! No wonder other churches call them “weirdo religious strangers.” They call other churches “enemies” and “instruments of Satan,” for goodness sake!”

Well, for goodness sake, it does seem mean-spirited, doesn’t it? But it didn’t happen yesterday. It happened eighty years ago. And it was a phonograph record, not a CD. Enemies was published in 1937 and was distributed for less than ten years. Someone’s doing a hatchet job here, hoping to embarrass me. But both the book and record were entirely appropriate for their time. In fact, given the same circumstances, I believe Jehovah’s Witnesses would do it again.

In the aftermath of World War I, had not the mainline churches effectively proven themselves enemies of God, of Christ, and of man? They had, on both sides, stoked and cheered the conflict which would claim 16 million lives, with an additional 21 million wounded. With another world war approaching, they showed every sign of resuming that role. Yet in the interim, they had presumed to slide right back into that cozy seat of representing the Prince of Peace, claiming to speak in his name.

Eighty years later, it is hard to appreciate how enthusiastic church leaders were for the war, how they worked as cheerleaders for both sides. It hardly seems believable. Surely, there must be an exaggeration. But, reflecting back, we find numerous statements validating the unbelievable. For example, British brigadier general Frank Crozier stated: “The Christian Churches are the finest blood-lust creators which we have and of them we made free use.” A few more quotes of the day follow, in all cases made by high-ranking clergymen, not lone renegades:

Bishop of London A. F. Winnington-Ingram urged the English people: “Kill Germans—do kill them; not for the sake of killing, but to save the world, to kill the good as well as the bad, to kill the young as well as the old, to kill those who have shown kindness to our wounded as well as those fiends….As I have said a thousand times, I look upon it as a war for purity, I look upon everyone who died in it as a martyr.” (Perspective (a Journal of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary), Vol. X, No. 1, Spring 1969, p. 78) He said it a thousand times!

And from the other side? The archbishop of Cologne, Germany, said the following to German soldiers: “Beloved people of our Fatherland, God is with us in this fight for righteousness where we have been drawn in against our wish. We command you in the name of God, to fight to the last drop of your blood for the honor and glory of the country. In his wisdom and justice, God knows that we are on the side of righteousness and he will give us the victory.” (La Dernière Heure, January 7, 1967).

In America? An editorial in the Christian Register says it all: “As Christians, of course, we say Christ approves [of the war]. But would he fight and kill?...There is not an opportunity to deal death to the enemy that he would shirk from or delay in seizing! He would take bayonet and grenade and bomb and rifle and do the work of deadliness against that which is the most deadly enemy of his Father’s kingdom in a thousand years.” (The Christian Register, Vol. 97, No. 33 (Aug. 15, 1918), p. 775. quotation taken from the book Preachers Present Arms, by Ray H Abrams)

Sure, such fighting words might come from a general. And in the midst of war fever, from a statesman, or a patriot, or a businessman, or the average citizen. But from the Church, the institution claiming Christian leadership, asserting that they and they alone speak for Christ? Is it not a tad at odds with Christ’s own words? “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35) If you don’t prove discipleship when it counts, during wartime, just when do you prove it? And after the war, should those clergy sweep their bloodthirsty record under the rug, and once again presume to speak in Jesus’ name? Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t think so. If Enemies seems mean-spirited today, it wasn’t a fraction as mean-spirited as the catalyst that prompted it.

Now, you must admit, it would take guts to distribute that book and play that record. Nowadays, every wussy milquetoast of an atheist takes swipes at religion on his anonymous website, but Jehovah’s Witnesses went eyeball to eyeball with those enemies, in person, and what’s more, they went to members of their flocks. Introducing Enemies to a convention audience in Columbus Ohio, Watchtower President Rutherford declared: “You will notice that its cover is tan, and we will tan the old lady’s hide with it!” It gives the lie to Sam Harris’s one-time complaint as to how the moderate “good” churches failed to condemn their more belligerent brethren, reining them in, refusing to “call a spade a spade.” We did it before he was in diapers and did it with a courage that he would be unable to match.

From the 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses: “The phonograph work was not carried on without opposition. Ernest Jansma tells us: ‘There were cases of some having their phonographs literally and viciously smashed right before their eyes. Others had them ruthlessly thrown off porches. One brother in the Middle West stood by and watched an angry farmer blow his machine into oblivion with a shotgun, then heard pellets whine past his auto as he left the scene. They were vicious and religiously fanatical in those days.’ Amelia and Elizabeth Losch tell of an occasion when the recording “Enemies” was played for a crowd on the porch of a certain home. After the talk ended, one woman took the record off the machine and broke it, saying, ‘You can’t talk about my pope like that!’”

Today, the influence of the clergy is insignificant compared to what it was then.  I mean, they’re respected so long as they stay in their place, but their place is much reduced from what it once was. In the days of Enemies, their place was anywhere they wanted it to be. They maintained a stranglehold upon popular thought. Catholics, in particular, as one may have heard great-grandparents say, were not allowed to read the Bible. That’s what the priest was for, and he would explain it as he saw fit, in accordance with church doctrine. In town after town, Jehovah’s Witnesses would place literature with interested persons, and clergy would follow and demand it back. Such was the command they enjoyed, that they often got it.

Frankly, if Christendom’s influence is a ghost of what it once was, Jehovah’s Witnesses get the “credit,” in my view. The Enemies campaign was but one of many back in those days. Look, Wilbur and Orville Wright are credited with inventing the airplane. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have planes had they never been born. Someone else would have invented them. But they were the first. They had the foresight and guts to persevere with a notion that everyone else thought was impossible.

Some, taking the opposite view of the blogger quoted in the third paragraph, mutter that Jehovah’s Witnesses have become too cordial with other religions, that they have made their peace, that they have wimped out. But there’s no point in kicking the ‘old lady’ while she’s down. We kicked her while she was up. Nowadays, everybody kicks her. So why should we? Whatever account she must render is with God, not us. All we ever wanted to do was loosen her hold on people, so they would not be afraid to listen to new ideas. That was accomplished decades ago. (May 2009)

From the book TrueTom vs the Apostates!

Aa

 

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Why Do Bad Things Happen? Updated for Atheists, Sort of

When Moristotle the Atheist read my post ‘Why Bad Things Happen,’ he almost threw up. He declared it a “fantasy,” aspects of which were “utterly repulsive,” and the rest “not only not nice at all, nor even adolescent, but simply infantile.” If we could only get this fellow to say what he really thinks and stop pussyfooting around, he might amount to something!

Still, I took his concerns to heart. It’s not pleasant throwing up—it just isn’t. Was there a way to write essentially the same thing in a way that he and his would find more palatable? After all, he declared a related post of mine “profound.” True, he was just being nice, he later pointed out, but at least there was no gag reflex, or at least he overcame it.

It may not be possible to make this stuff more palatable for a certain type of person. Any discussion as to why God tolerates evil must necessarily link to Adam and Eve, and link to them rather substantially. They simply are that key of a building block. And so you have to overcome the ‘We are wise and learned adults, far too clever to be sold Adam and Eve. What’s next, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck?’ syndrome. It occurred to me only much later that you could invite such persons to consider it as a symbolism that need not be taken literally. That almost works better. Certain types love being thought perceptive enough to be entrusted with such an interpretive task—leave it on the shelf till later whether it actually happened or not. Still, I did not realize this at the time. My job was not going to be easy.

Let’s start with some common ground, just like Paul did at the Areopagus. Moristotle had recently trotted out a Greek named Diagoras, who is apparently the world’s first recorded atheist. There was a little quibbling over that, but I eventually conceded the point. Okay. Here goes. Wish me luck.

 

***~~~***

 

Was Diagoras the world’s first atheist? He is credited that way. Read up on him and you will find that he is remembered as Diagoras the Atheist. Isn’t he the fellow who used a wooden statue of Hercules as fuel to cook his turnips? If Hercules didn’t like it—well, let him do something about it. And how did Diagoras end up an atheist? Wikipedia tells us: “He became an atheist after an [unspecified] incident that happened against him went unpunished by the gods”

Why wasn’t it punished? Why didn’t God fix it? He’s God, after all. Isn’t he supposed to be all-powerful? We hear this all the time from atheists, agnostics and even believers. Why didn’t he solve Diagoras’s problem and stop the man from going atheist?

It’s because he’d never be able to do anything else. He’d be sticking band-aid after never-ending band-aid on a system of things that is inherently unjust, even designedly so. Instead, in keeping with his original purpose, he purposes to replace this system of things with one of his own design. Injustice in that system of things will be a memory only.

After all, what is the injustice that caused Diagoras such soul-searching? Only the one that touched him personally! Had he not witnessed hundreds of injustices in his lifetime? To say nothing of ones his society was built upon. We positively slobber over Greeks as cradle of wisdom, birthplace of democracy, mecca of free thinkers, and so forth, yet they enjoyed their privileged status only on the backs of others. That society embraced slavery. It treated women abominably. And weren’t Greeks the original pedophiles? The same sexual molestation of children so roundly condemned today was enshrined in respectable Greek society. Are these among the injustices Diagoras was concerned with? Did he even recognize them as injustices? Possibly, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Let’s face it, few situations of this world today are win-win. Generally, someone pays the price when we win. Hopefully, for politicians and Pollyannas, it is someone we don’t see in another land or another class. But there is somebody most often and we usually don’t even know about it. The system is designed that way. Get the sufferer as far away from the privileged one as possible so that the latter does not see the link and declares any such talk as but crybaby whining. Don’t think that any political party owns the problem. It is inherent with human self-rule. A new system of things is in keeping with the Bible’s premise that humans were not designed to be independent of God.

Things might have turned out differently. The Adam and Eve and Garden of Eden account, brief though it is, demonstrates God’s original intent. “Further, God blessed them and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it,’” says Genesis 1:28. The very name Eden means “pleasure;” garden of Eden becomes, when translated into Greek, “paradise of pleasure,” and “subduing the earth” is code for spreading those conditions earth wide. Had humans, starting with the first pair, remained content to live under God’s direction, life today would be a far cry from what it is today. But almost from the start, they balked.

Consider Genesis chapter 3: “Now the serpent proved to be the most cautious of all the wild beasts of the field that Jehovah God had made. So it began to say to the woman: ‘Is it really so that God said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?’ At this the woman said to the serpent: ‘Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. But as for [eating] of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “you must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it that you do not die.”’

“At this the serpent said to the woman: ‘You positively will not die. For God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.’ Consequently the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was something to be longed for to the eyes, yes, the tree was desirable to look upon.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses understand the “knowing good and bad” of verse five to be a matter of declaring independence. “You don’t need God telling you what is good and what is bad. You can decide such things yourself and thus be “like God.” The serpent even portrays God as having selfish motive, as though trying to stifle the first couple—a sure way to engender discontent. The ploy was successful. Those first humans chose a course of independence, with far-ranging consequences that have cascaded down to our day.

After a lengthy time interval allowed by God so that all can see the end course of a world run independent of him, he purposes to bring it again under his oversight. This is what the prophet Daniel refers to: “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” (Daniel 2:44)

Jesus refers to it, too, in The Lord’s Prayer: “...Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matthew 6:10) Does anybody seriously expect God’s will to be done on earth under the present system? Here and there, one can see a glimmer, of course, but to predominate? The time for God’s will to be done is when his kingdom comes.

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that God’s permission of injustice, even evil, is bound up with this trial period of human rule, soon to end. In a sense, the modern-day atheist counterparts of Diagoras have voted for the wrong party. They voted Republicans out of office in favor of Democrats (or vice versa) and they are now incensed that Republicans aren’t delivering on their promises! God’s kingdom is the arrangement that will end injustice. But they continue to vote for human rule. Does anyone think that humans will end injustice?

What the upset ones really want is, not so much an end of injustice, but an end to the symptoms of injustice, mostly the ones that affect them personally, just like with Diagoras. But human rule itself is the source of injustice. We’re simply not designed with the ability to “rule” ourselves. Is it “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely?” God’s Kingdom will not treat the symptoms of injustice; it will uproot the source. (February 2008)

From the book TrueTom vs the Apostates!

Injustice

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Climate Change and Global Warming: To Be or Not to Be?

The former local weatherman, Kevin Williams, tweets a photo of all his weather chums at a restaurant. "Aha!" I said. "I KNEW it. It IS a cabal! There IS collusion!" He liked that.

Now, I happen to know that Kevin Williams thinks global warming is a hoax. It is no secret. He is very open about it. He follows and sometimes retweets content of the man-on-a-mission climate change denier JWspry. (NOT, so far as I know, any connection to the JW of Jehovah's Witnesses) So I tweeted: "Are they across the board on global warming or on the same page, one way or another?"

No answer.

So I tweeted: "Ahh. Avoiding the answer to that question is the key to continued cohesion. Probably as it should be. Not everything has to be a fight."

He liked that one.

Untitled

Of course. You can't fight all the time. People believe what they believe, according to how they interpret the facts. Or more likely, they believe what they believe, and then spin the available facts to give themselves intellectual cover. We are not nearly so unemotional as the champions of critical thought would have us believe. We are dominated by emotion forged in experience and we thereafter consult our brains to make it fly logically.

It is even as the Bible says with spiritual things. "Prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God," says Romans 12:2. "Taste and see that Jehovah is good," says Psalm 34:8. What if someone tastes and sees that he is bad? Other than to advise he check his taste buds, there is little you can do about it. So don't get into judging. Present your version of truth as persuasively as you can and leave it at that. God knows whether he is a Trinity or not. He also knows whether he exists or not. Let him sort it out.

I asked Kevin (or was it JWspry?) about a previous post I wrote of how there was now 'Weather on Steroids.' He said it all depends upon what is reported. If you eagerly report all record highs and ignore all record lows, it does create that impression. Reporting means a lot. As Florence was churning over the Atlantic to deluge the Carolinas, everyone warned how it was especially fearsome because it was gathering strength over exceptionally warm waters made so by climate change. In fact, they were exceptionally cool waters and the surprise was that it became such a monster despite that.

Every time we hear, "it was the hottest summer since the year such and such," that means it was hotter in that year, and if anything, we are witness to global cooling, with lower highs. The stranded polar bear photo has admittedly been misrepresented, Al Gore's 'Inconvenient Truth' book has been lambasted for mishandling data to paint dire scenarios which have not panned out. To the extent emotion is the true driver in human affairs, Upton Sinclair's quote is the one to watch: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it." Big money is involved, either way, in climate change.

Me, I don't go there. It's not my cause. If humans are not ruining the earth in a Revelation 11:18 scenario via global warming, it is not as though they are too responsible to ever ruin the earth; it is that their combined activity is not powerful enough to do it. They are ruining it in plenty of other ways. To the extent 'ruining the earth' reflects the ruining the earth scenario of Genesis 6, it is not environmental factors at all being spoken of, but violence. Do we live in a violent world today? Tell me about it.

 

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There Was Not a Moment to Lose

"At the home of Victor Vomidog, an alarm panel light pulsed red. Victor read the incoming feed. It was serious. Someone was saying nice things about Jehovah’s Witnesses. Instantly, he swung into action. There was not a moment to lose. He opened his door and whistled. The media came running. “Witnesses are selfish!” he cried. “They only think of themselves! Why don’t they help everyone? Why do they just do their own people?” That evening, media ran the headline: “WHY DON’T THEY HELP EVERYONE?”

"But they had asked the wrong question. The headline they should have run, but didn’t, because they didn’t want to deal with the answer, was: “WHY AREN’T OTHERS DOING THE SAME?” The answer to the first question is obvious: Witness efforts consist of volunteers using their vacation time. Just how much time is the boss going to grant?"

(from Tom Irregardless and Me)

Of course, it is about opposers' efforts to denigrate the disaster recovery work Witnesses are known for.

Heavy_rain_disaster_in_Hiroshima-20140823_181654

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Who We Are, Why We Are, and Where are We Going

I used to love it when Watchtower publications would run that Vermont Royster quote. After remarking on how far we have come science-wise, he added: “Yet here is a curious thing. In the contemplation of man himself, of his dilemmas, of his place in the universe, we are little further along than when time began. We are still left with questions of who we are and why we are and where we are going.”

It is pretty obvious why Jehovah’s Witnesses would love those words; they make clear that a shallow world of materialism will not do. You can even think those words every time a Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain takes his life. Or anyone else. Suicide is all the rage today. People decide that ‘Hotel World’ has not that much to offer, and they line up at the counter to check out.

Isn't it a little missing the point when people look for the one factor, maybe social media, that is tipping people over the edge? Or suggest that it is all a matter of better mental health care? 

“For over half a century, as a journalist, author, and teacher, Vermont Royster illuminated the political and economic life of our times. His common sense exploded the pretensions of "expert opinion," and his compelling eloquence warned of the evils of society loosed from its moorings in faith,” read the citation when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1986.

There are few things I enjoy more than exploding the pretensions of "expert opinions."

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You Don't Have to Rub Their Noses in It

So much understanding of basics as: Why does God permit #suffering and the concept of relative freedom lies in understanding of the book of Genesis ...Adam and Eve... but when you refer to it, people roll their eyes...it is a religious fable to them. You get as much #bangforthebuck with such folk by suggesting that they take it as metaphor.

You may get even more, for people love metaphors and they love the idea of proving themselves sensitive and smart by discerning the underlying message.

You don't have to rub their noses in it and insist they take it literally. Go for the underlying message. It is all order of presentation. You can clean up the rest later.

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)

The Icing on the Cake Comes in the New System

The #3 2018 Watchtower made the point about healing: "Consider: If the Creator designed our bodies to heal physical wounds, can we not have confidence in his promise to help us recover from emotional injuries, too?"

Two things interfere, qualifying the healing to a "help us" healing. 1. The mind is in the business of remembering, unlike the knee you scrape, 2. With the knee you scrape, you can get it away from whatever scraped it. In this system, that can be more of a challenge, and won't completely cure out until the new system. As one brother said somewhere on the broadcast: 'In the new system, resurrected people will look back and say 'how could you ever have lived during those times, with the constant stress?"

But we can smoothe it out to some extent, even now, just by activity, routine, who and where we hang out, our 'input' and so forth. "He binds up the brokenhearted" happens even now, but the icing on the cake comes in the new system.

#Watchtower #Healing

Pound_layer_cake

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)

Now THAT would be 'Power of the Children'

Yes, I found the original tweet and it is how I remembered it:
 
"High school students are talking on message boards to make April 20th the day they all walk out of school and don’t come back until Congress updates the gun laws as it’s their lives on the line. Plz retweet or share for visibility as this is a great idea.." #FloridaSchoolshooting
 
The panicked grownups have tried to water it down to some symbolic nonsense involving a one-day boycott of 17 minutes for 17 students. But imagine if it was done for real - imagine if they didn't come back until things were fixed. Now THAT would be the power of the children. Shut down the education industry. Don't you think THAT would impel the powers that be to not rest until they came up with some sort of a solution!
 
It would be like people refusing to go into the war. The children don't have to weigh in on which side it right. That is for their mentors to figure out. It's exactly how things should be framed: Not gun-free vs armed veterans on patrol. Not right vs left. No. Let it be children vs adults.
 
Why should they walk into a potential shooting gallery each day? Maybe Nancy Reagan had a point: "Just say no."
 
It might be a new role for the FBI. Make them truant officers.
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)

Help Me Out on a Call

A sister placed magazines with a college kid, conversed a while, and he said she could call back. His father, however, would not likely be welcoming, he said.
 
She gave the call to me. I made it. He was not home. His father was, and the son had been right. The father was not welcoming. Neither did he tell me to get lost. Well – he did, but it was not in the ordering sort of tone, and I said I had not been looking for him anyway, but his son. He was the family head, and I told him I would not try to sneak around him, but did he mind if I called again on his son? The kid was smart, I told the old man, and that must mean his parents are smart. He said his son was his own person, and if he wanted to speak with me again, that was up to him.
 
I called again. The son, of course, was not home. The unwelcoming dad was. He was in a wheelchair, as he had been the first time. One bumper sticker on the family car read “Born right the first time.” The other said: “There are death squads in America; they’re called insurance companies.” I think we overdo our advice to take cues from bumper stickers, but this time the Ten Commandments could not have told me more. All that remains is to fill in a few blanks.
 
Sometimes I open with Job 34:10 – “it is unthinkable for the true God to act wickedly.” I like the verse, I told him, because some people think he does act wickedly. And some see all the nasty things going down and say: “I don’t think there is a true God.” It plays into the theme of why there is suffering, I told the fellow.
 
He wasn’t nice. I made clear that the instant he told me to go away, I would. We were conversing through the storm door, which added a measure of challenge. I almost reached to open it, for it was awkward for him to do so, but I decided it would be a bit much. He laughed derisively at my Bible verse. “You’re here because you want to tell me about suffering?” he shot back from his wheelchair. I answered: “No. I want you to tell me. I don’t have to talk at all. I want you to invite me in and tell me.”
 
I said: “Look – everyone has a story, but no one wants to hear it. So I will,. I've got the time.” He’ll never see me again anyway – what does he have to lose? I told him. He answered sarcastically that he could never get over the Christians’ “need” to “save” people. Look, he said, he was one of the 5% who are atheist. “Yeah – I’m here to change that,” I answered. This is far more blunt than I would ever be ordinarily, but I decided I would answer him in kind. It was not even true, really, or at least it was not a goal I realistically held. I also told him that he was right – we are Christian, and it is a bit much that we should appear out of thin air, but that Jehovah’s Witnesses are in a league of their own.
 
He responded by saying his number one man from his working days had been a Witness, and that he had been the nicest, most reliable fellow in the world. “Yeah, we’re all nice,” I said. “You think I’m nice? Wait to you get a load of Clyde,” I motioned to the brother behind me, who could barely make out through the door what the man was saying. His praise for the brother he once supervised at work didn’t yield me as much ground as might be expected. After two or three more minutes maneuvering, I told him that while I would like to know more, one can only go far, and we would take our leave. He didn’t cry over the prospect, but had never taken the bait of saying I should go.
 
I am not sure what to do. I will let it go, probably. One more call in a few months to see if anything has moved, and then I am done. Maybe before, but I have no plans at the present. Any advice?
 
768px-Castle-gruyeres-wheelchair-5
 
photo: castle-greyeres-wheelchair
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)

The Shooting Channel - A Solution for St. Louis

Now that the cop was exonerated in the St. Louis shooting, the city braces for a third night of protests. A solution is needed. Here is one written last year.

"In the course of their job, police shoot hundreds of people per year. How should one report this? Put all shootings on TV. All of them. Run them 24/7 in the order in which they occur. Create a dedicated channel: The Shooting Channel. Make it freely available. Give every network a cut so no one will complain about ratings. Promote ‘The Shooting Channel’ heavily. Ban shootings on any other channel.

Put white-on-black shootings on. Put black-on-white shootings on. Put black-on-black shootings on. Put white-on-white shootings on. Put Hispanic-on-Methodist shootings on. Put Buddhist-on-nudist shootings on. Put redneck Alabama white-on transgendered Vietnamese shootings on. Put them all on. Let viewers decide for themselves which shootings are significant and which are yawners. Otherwise, the newspeople will cherry-pick their favorites and start a race war."

What were there - about 5 or 6 highly hyped shootings that summer? They culminated with another shooter taking out several Dallas police officers, so much had rage been stoked. Did not the news media suddenly switch to 'love-in with police' mode to atone for their very different mode just before?

Two of the shootings were not intentional white on black shootings at all, though they were both hyped that way. There was the black man shot in Florida. He was not the target. He was caretaker for an autistic white man with a toy gun that fooled the cop - the cop got spooked and missed his target. The other was the white cop in Charlottesville whose actions triggered several days of violence. Turned out he was not a white cop at all but a black cop. Both incidents were initially reported as 'white cop shoots black victim' and hyped as proof the police were racist. Neither correction was more than a buried footnote when the facts came to light. Why does the media do this? Not for me to say. But 'The Shooting Channel' will solve it.

The italicized words are from 'No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash,' an ebook that is not exactly flying off the shelf as it ought but I hope to remedy that here. The solution proposed would never come about, but only for monetary reasons. Insofar as public information can cool rage before it begins, it is the answer. Perhaps ALL police shootings should result in community outrage - that is for others to decide. Perhaps there IS racism within the police, but is not demonstrated by highlighting just a hand-selected few shooting incidents. When a study was made of the Philadelphia Police force, released in 2015, it showed blacks were more likely, not less, to be shot by a black or Hispanic officer than a white one, as the former were more likely to experience 'threat misperception.'

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/702101

St louis

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)