Ehrmagerd… Sterrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs!

The success of the Hubble telescope proves that the atmosphere was intelligently designed to allow for stargazing… Wait. What?

PCG’s Stephen Flurry has done it again with his series The Trumpet Daily! As many of you may already know, Stephen actually has a Facebook page (which is article-worthy in and of itself). Recently he shared on his wall a year-old episode of The Trumpet Daily, entitled “Our Awesome Universe Potential”, wherein he attempts to argue for an intelligently designed Earth. And, as has been already well-established, anytime a CoG brain trust enters the slapdash field of Creationism, much incompetence and hilarity ensues.

As if to demonstrate this, Stephen begins with this howler (paraphrased in the video description): “The more we study and learn about our universe, the stronger the evidence becomes of an absolutely remarkable truth: There is an Author of the cosmos.”

Yes, he said “evidence”. And them’s fightin’ words ’round here. Let’s just take a stab at this “evidence” and see if it bleeds…

The first piece of so-called evidence Stephen offers is a series of impressive images taken by the Hubble space telescope. He waxes tepidly eloquent trying to describe them for his small-minded target audience. This goes on for a few awkward moments before he finally says something meaningful:

Walk outside and look up on a clear night. You will see several hundred stars–perhaps a few thousand if it’s dark enough and your view is unobstructed. Do you realize how unusual and special that view is? How motivated would you be to contemplate the night sky if all you saw was a canopy of thick clouds of particles and gasses? Happy for us, Earth’s atmosphere is transparent [so long as your view is unobstructed, of course!] (emphasis mine).

At precisely this point (literally–no joke!), the video transitions from a star-strewn image to a shot of earth from space, obstructed by what could accurately be described as “a canopy of thick clouds of particles and gasses.” I can only wonder whether PCG’s video editor, my old and dear friend, Dwight Falk, fell asleep at the board on this one. I mean, if one wants to do propaganda, it behooves one not to contradict one’s words with one’s images! Embarrassing!

But, before we allow Stephen to continue, let’s just unpack his argument so far.

First, he blithely asserts that our atmosphere is especially amenable to stargazing, compared with those of other planets. I don’t know how he knows this: he doesn’t say. Perhaps it was specially revealed to him. Certainly, though, he provides no basis from astronomical research, cites no sources and relates no data. You will be excused, fearless reader, if you do not take his word for it. After all, by his reasoning, a planet like Mars, with its excessively thin and dry atmosphere, would be a far superior place to set up humans for stargazing. Or, even better yet, a space-based observatory like Hubble (more on this amusing irony later).

Secondly, he is implying (and this becomes clear as he proceeds) that because we can see stars from the surface of the planet, it must have been designed that way for that purpose, since the god he prefers would want it that way. I shall heretofore call this the AfS (Argument from Stargazing), just as though we were philosophers taking on a serious argument (and why not–what could go wrong?). It is often difficult to parse the mess Creationists make of logic, but we’ll do our best (and I invite Stephen to correct us if we end up misrepresenting his train-wreck of thought). The logic of the AfS, then, I think, goes like this (and for all you logic geeks, this form is called polysyllogism):

(1) If humans contemplate the stars, then they can draw closer to God (Stephen’s god).

(2) If humans can draw closer to God (Stephen’s god) by contemplating the stars, then God (Stephen’s god) must have designed things that way for that purpose.

(3) If God (Stephen’s god) designed things that way for that purpose, then God (Stephen’s god) must exist.

(4) It is possible for humans to contemplate the stars.

(5) Therefore, God (Stephen’s god) must exist!

Aaaaaaand…right away we have a problem. Notice that the conclusion (5) is assumed to be true within the premise (1). That is a circular argument, folks! It is not valid to include one’s conclusion among one’s premises, since you can’t demonstrate your proposition by asserting it: God (Stephen’s god) exists because God (Stephen’s god) exists. Logic fail!

After all, many other things besides Stephen’s god could account for humans’ ability to contemplate the stars. For example, the earliest contemplation of the heavens engaged in by humans hardly led them to Stephen’s god, but to heathenish (and, given what we now know, equally inane) things like astrology. Thus, it could be that it is possible for us to contemplate the stars because such a fate is written in them (I just blew your mind, I know). Or…(and my money is on this one) it could be that it is possible for us to contemplate the stars because we happen to have evolved complex brains on a planet that is amenable to such activities. But we can’t logically get to a conclusion like that of the AfS by starting with goddidit! and arguing in a circle. We’d have to use a valid argument instead.

Finally, let us consider the glaring irony of featuring the Hubble space telescope (and the preeminently contemplation-inspiring images it has given us) while blathering on idiotically about how Earth’s atmosphere was designed with contemplative stargazing in mind. Get this. The whole reason we put such observatories in space is to avoid the interference of the atmosphere!

Hello?… Earth to Stephen…

Perhaps this dopey airhead should take some time off from contemplating his, like, totally “awesome universe potential” and start educating himself about reality.

Whoa! Stars are, like, totally awesome, dude.

Here’s how it works. Earth’s atmosphere may be “transparent”, as Stephen insists, but it still produces effects that can limit the power of surface-based astronomy. The intervening atmosphere filters and distorts the electromagnetic radiation earthbound telescopes are attempting to collect, creating noise astronomers call scintillation or, variously, twinkling. This interference can be observed with the naked eye and is, in fact, why we sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star “. Basically, the atmosphere kinda fucks things up for astronomy, but thanks to it parents get one more annoying children’s song to spam YouTube with (Thanks, Yahweh!).

To avoid those pesky scintillation effects (and other atmospheric monkey wrenches like light pollution) bequeathed to us by Stephen’s god in his bungled attempt to give us astronomy, we bad-ass humans, who don’t tend to fuck around, have decided to sidestep the atmosphere altogether and have put some of our observatories directly in motherfucking space! If anything, astronomy is the exact opposite of a good argument for Creationism, considering what it has had to overcome. The clearest views of the heavens are not the result of an intelligently designed atmosphere (quite the contrary), but of intelligently placed equipment. Science: over 9000!; Stephen’s god: 0.

From this point forward in the video, Stephen blunders through the standard Creationist attempt at hoisting their god up by the so-called “anthropic coincidences”. Some people of low intellectual sophistication are impressed by what seem to them meaningful coincidences between certain states of the universe and the existence of some combination of life (as we know it), human life and scientific discovery. They seem to think that the universe is “fine-tuned” to have us in it, and they commit all manner of statistical and inferential faux pas in the pursuit of confirming that bias. Stephen is apparently vaguely aware of what they are on about, no doubt having skimmed a few pages on the subject while getting a manicure. We’ll briefly touch on the low points (referring to the video, that is).

Stephen focuses on a low-brow cousin of the fine-tuning argument concerned with the position of Earth and the implications of such for life and scientific discovery. Evidently, much of the material he is drawing on (including the already soundly-thrashed argument about our “transparent” atmosphere) comes from a book I once recommended to Andy Locher (and I’m pretty confident these guys wouldn’t have found it on their own), which I read for comprehension long before Stephen quote-mined it for this program. You can read detailed reviews of The Privileged Planet (and see its position debunked by competent astronomers) here and here.

He claims, for instance, that we earthlings are positioned astonishingly well in our galaxy for life. We are far enough away from the center of the Milky Way, he asserts, that we are not killed by radiation, and yet close enough that certain heavy elements necessary for life (as we know it) are abundant. Furthermore, we are protected from impact events by the sweep of the outer planets’ gravity wells. Notice the inescapable logic:

Another convenient feature of our cosmic vantage point is how protected Earth is from collisions. The four gas giant planets in our solar system…do us a big favor by shielding Earth from dangerous space projectiles like asteroids and comets… Yet, they’re not too efficient. The few smaller asteroids that have made it through and hit Earth have actually aided scientific discovery.

Well, sure, when they weren’t wiping out the Dinosaurs.

Any argument (we’ll call them “Arguments from Hospitality”), that attempts to show that, since Earth is especially favorable to life (as we know it) it follows that it must have been designed for life, suffers from at least two weaknesses.

First of all, the rosy picture they paint is not particularly accurate: Earth is not incredibly hospitable to life (as we know it). Stephen fails to mention that mass extinction events litter Earth’s prehistory. Cataclysmic meteor strikes, ice ages, even life itself–all conspire against life (as we know it) on this planet. Evolution struggles through dumbly and blindly–and tenaciously–and here we are, against a raft of short odds.

The second weakness of all such arguments is that they get everything exactly backwards. The celebrated science fiction author, Douglas Adams, once explained this with the use of a clever metaphor. Imagine a puddle filling up a pothole. You wouldn’t consider the pothole to be specially designed to fit the puddle, would you? No, of course not! That would be backwards reasoning. Life is like that puddle and Earth (and, by extension, the Universe) is like that pothole. Life was made to fit Earth, not the other way around. It follows, then, that we should expect to observe an Earth (and by extension, a Universe) that contains the features that life requires. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here talking about it. This is something called the “anthropic principle”.

Think about it.

Imagine a different planet, closer to its star, heavily bombarded by cosmic radiation and meteors, lacking a sufficient atmosphere and devoid of water, etc.–in a word, a truly inhospitable planet (for life as we know it). The chances of life (as we know it) arising there are slim. Do we observe such planets? Of course! Seven are in our neighborhood, but hundreds have been observed so far, and such discoveries occur on a regular basis. Estimates of the total number of planets in the Universe run into the billions of trillions. A good number of them in absolute terms are almost certainly likely to be habitable by life as we know it (six such Earth-like planets have already been identified). And this is before we start talking about moons.

Stephen seems to think that his god looked out at all the available planets and picked the one that was just right. And so he should, since that is the bias he is looking to confirm. It is both the beginning and the end of his argument. But what if we don’t start with that bias? What if we just look at things as they are? What we see is a range of probabilities for life (as we know it) arising and surviving on any given planet. Earth was represented by a certain probability that was, apparently, high enough. What does this prove? Only that certain features grant higher probabilities for the arising and survival of life (as we know it) than do others. That’s all, and it is to be expected. It is not an argument for special Creation. It’s common sense: to return to Adams’ apt metaphor, puddles do not collect atop speed-bumps. Similarly, excessively inhospitable planets tend to be excessively inhospitable, whereas nominally hospitable planets tend to be nominally hospitable. The Argument from Hospitality reduces to a tautology.

In one of the aforementioned reviews of The Privileged Planet, astronomer William H. Jefferys demonstrates how incompetent Creationists are in comparison with the scientists who study these things, and he describes how observations that confirm predictions from the anthropic principle are, in actual fact, evidence in favor of a naturalistic origin for life.

In their book, Gonzalez and Richards mention Fred Hoyle’s remarkable 1954 prediction of special resonances in carbon and oxygen nuclei (p 198 and following). These resonances were predicted because without them, carbon and oxygen could not be synthesized in stars, and since they also could not be synthesized by the Big Bang, our own existence implies that the resonances must exist, at least if the universe is naturalistic. This in turn leads to rather narrow predicted ranges for certain physical constants (“the constants are right”). Indeed, the resonances were found to exist, one of the earliest and possibly best examples of a prediction of a physical fact from the so-called weak anthropic principle, that sentient beings ought to observe that the universe they inhabit is consistent with their own existence.

But, if the universe had been designed by a sufficiently powerful designer, the constants would not have to be right in order for us to exist. For example, the designer could create a universe where the constants are not right for the production of carbon and oxygen in the interiors of stars, preferring instead (for whatever reason: whim, or the desire to accomplish other goals such as letting us know that he exists by means of a subtle scientific clue) just to manufacture the required carbon atoms and sprinkle them where needed throughout the universe.

If we consider the possible existence of such a designer — and remember, the ID creationists’ intentional refusal to specify the nature of their designer leaves this possibility open — then…our observing that “the constants are right” actually provides powerful evidence in favor of the naturalistic hypothesis. It would actually be our observing that “the constants are wrong” that would undermine, and in fact refute the naturalistic hypothesis. The ID creationists have the inequality backwards.

So, Stephen and the washed-up crackpots he parrots are hardly providing “evidence” for Creationism by appealing to the fact that Earth and the Universe are observed to contain those features that are necessary for the life that exists therein. They are merely describing a fact that is better understood by competent scientists and philosophers of science than by them.

But what about the other claim concerning the suitability of Earth’s position for astronomical research? This suffers from similar problems as the Argument from Hospitality and the Argument from Stargazing. In fact, it is an expanded form of the AfS. Besides an assumed Creator god, the underlying assumption here is that the conditions for astronomy and scientific discovery on Earth are the apex of possible conditions. They are not, as we have already partially discussed regarding the atmosphere. As with the atmosphere, suitability for astronomy is on a continuum, and it could be better. In fact, since this is so, in such a vast Universe as the one we inhabit, any given attribute is almost certainly better for some realm of scientific activity elsewhere. This is just a statistical reality. And since these conditions on Earth are not, in fact, perfect, this should be evidence against Stephen’s hypothesis.

What Stephen has done is to look at how good we have it, not considering that conditions are not as perfect as they could be, and has concluded erroneously that such an observation is evidence of design. But if it were slightly worse, that would be evidence enough to him as well. If it were slightly worse than that, that would also be evidence enough to him. If it were slightly worse than that, that would also be evidence enough to him. And so on. All the parameters he discusses in the video are not binary, but are on a continuum. Darkness. Distance. Size. Transparency. None of these measures are exclusive properties of Earth. Even the “Goldilocks zone” Stephen refers to is a range of distances–rather than a singular distance–around certain types of stars (not just the Sun), within which the likelihood of liquid water is considered to be highest. Both organisms and astronomers from other worlds would have to contend with these parameters, and some of them would certainly find their circumstances more felicitous than our own.

Jefferys, again:

Suppose it were not so; if we existed on another world very different from the earth, then we would surely be doing something. We would be doing whatever was possible for us to do under the circumstances in which we found ourselves. If we accepted the Whiggish reasoning of the authors, we would be just as justified in concluding that our planet — and our universe, if we could see it in this alternative reality — was designed so that we would do whatever we happened to be doing at the time or find interesting at the time (as diverse human cultures have always done). The authors could learn much by studying a little anthropology and a little history.

Indeed. And so could Stephen.

 

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48 thoughts on “Ehrmagerd… Sterrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs!

  1. I love the analogy from Douglas Adams–rather reminds me of the story Hitchens tells of being young in school and the teacher saying “isn’t it wonderful that God made the sky Blue and the grass Gree–just the colors that are most restful to our eyes!” Hitch says he felt immediately that she had gotten it just exactly backwards…just as the pot-hole isn’t desigened to fit the puddle perfectly, but the puddle conforms to the extent and limitations of the pot-hole.

  2. Some say He is getting shaken by all the bloging… KEEP IT UP…. THE CHURCH HAD THE FOX 25 AT EDMOND OKLAHOMA ..ABOUT THE FLY OVER PULLED..ONE OF THE MINISTERS BLEW HIS MOUTH OFF ABOUT HOW MUCH THEY PAID FOR IT.. THE PEOPLE WERE TOLD IT JUST HAPPEN..SO BEFORE THEY ALL HEARD IT.. IT WAS PULLED..I TRIED TO GET IT..ITS GONE..

    • Thanks for the encouragement, parkplacemom. I have a few questions. Who says Flurry is getting shaken by all the blogging? Can we get some actual quotes? Which minister allegedly alerted the media to the price tag of the flyover? How much was it? I’m not aware that this detail was even published anywhere; it certainly isn’t reported in the story we linked to (which is still up), and the only FOX 25 report on PCG that I know of was taped long before the flyover ever happened. Forgive me, but this hearsay sounds incredibly dubious, not to mention incoherent. That is, unless I’m missing something. We’d be interested in any solid, detailed information you might have regarding this, parkplacemom.

    • Well yes, she does want to push her book, “Mastermind” (apparently on Amazon.com) a sort of mystical “6th sense” methodolgy to tap into the goodness of the Universe, but notice that she also has recipes (which reminds me, I need to get my absolutely fabulous recipies up on the Internet — since they are tremendously delicious — the Nutburger is better than it sounds and my Veal Piccata is to die for), which I’m certain are very good, but since mine are better, I’m not even going to look.

      She also sells tupperware, but I have no idea what that has to do with Steph3n Flurry (even though he often serves up leftovers of Herbert Armstrong). I would think shipping would be prohibitive and we can certainly get tupperware cheaper here (in fact, there are probably much better products off the shelves of say, Kroger).

      I personally would be much more impressed with Stephen Flurry if he had a valid PhD in Nuclear Physics, worked on the Hadron Collider Project and could satisfactorilly explain the Higgs-Boson Particle (which I can explain just fine, but don’t have the academic credentials for the sake of credibility like Booby Thiel does — well, his Doctorate isn’t in Physics, so scratch that).

      Doesn’t it continually amaze you that Armstrongists continually just make stuff up and speak as though they are qualified experts we should listen to?

      They are absolutely, positively Brilliant!

  3. Isn’t this (umm Dean of Students of HWA or something…) claiming in his narrative that from Hubble we see stars forming?

    Am I missing something?

    I know that I’m just the child of a weak and base thing so I’m totally used to being a complete looser… and I realize that it takes time for light to travel… but didn’t I read in MOA that:

    “In Genesis 1:1 it speaks of God creating the earth and the heavens. In the Authorized Version the word heaven–singular–is used. But the original Hebrew as Moses wrote, and as other translations render it, is in the plural–heavens–implying that the whole material universe was created simultaneously with the earth. This is plainly stated in Genesis 2:4: “These are the generations [beginnings] of the heavens [plural] and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.”

    And don’t I find in in Exodus 20:11 that “everything was created in 6 days” ? (like past tense)

    I just feel so inadequate. All I ever understood is that Stephen W. Flurry and Herbert W. Armstrong are getting divine revelation from the same source… but now I’m just as confused as I always have been.

    There must be some other new kind of divine holy god-given explanation in the fucking ancient Near East sacred fucking texts or something… (right?)

    • Of course there is, dear child…it is called Gap Theory. You see, everything was made long long time ago, but Gen. 1:1-2 is about the Recreation of the Earth after Lucifer’s rebellion in Isa. 40…and that’s why we have dino bones and oil.

      LOL

    • Out of the mouths of babes come profound questions. If the Creation of the Universe was a one-off event, why do we see new stars being born at various intervals? The way to side-step this controversy, of course, is to note that any stars we observe “being” born are doing so at great distances from the point of observation. The light that conveys the information we are bringing into question is eons old–old enough, in fact, for the Armstrongist to proclaim it a part of the original act of Creation, which may, of course, have spanned a great deal of time (the six-day Creation week, if you remember, was actually a re-creation of the earth–not of the stars, which were already there). Convenient for the Armstrongist is the fact we cannot possibly observe any stars that are being born right now–not because such a thing can’t happen, but because the distances involved are so vast.

    • Everything may have been created in 6 days but there ARE lifespans of certain things. Maybe the universe is one of those?! Maybe the first 6 days are the conception to the rest of eternity? Your mindset is too self-focused to have any type of understanding outside of primitive impulses and that could be leading the underlying cause of your inadequacy. To someone where time doesn’t really matter these events are like watching a relay race with Usain Bolt in it. You already know who is going to win, how does the rest of it pan out? lol

  4. I dunno, I’m still stuck… and though I usually try to find the truth from UCG (since that’s where my inheritance is being spent) I decided to read ‘Our Awesome Universe Potential’.

    First of all: Gee, Stephen — plagiarize Joel Hilliker much? I digress.

    So Joel states: (page 51) “the expanding universe concept is now the foundation for the field of modern cosmology.”… “It is likely God is using a type of physical energy that functions according to a predictable law that he himself established in order to accomplish universal expansion— perhaps dark energy or something very like it. We should certainly view an accelerating expansion of the universe as evidence both of God’s power as Sustainer and of God’s ambition for the endless expansion of his government and peace.”

    Okay, Allright. Got it. So PCG/OAUP just doesn’t happen to agree with PCG/MOA or the BIBLE in this case.

    Moving on: … god makes predictable laws by which we can get to know him/her. (page 6: “there is an Author of the cosmos. and he intended for us to be able to study the stars—to help us come to know him!” )

    In light of all of this insight I have a question: I would assume the act of consistently, infinitely expanding an entire universe is somewhat laborious and — consistent. Certainly more effort than leaving it stagnate sometimes… right? I mean, you don’t just stop the expansion for one day out of every Earth week do you?

    How does one predictably expand a universe while resting on an Earth day? If you tell me it’s a miracle then I can’t use physics or the predictably expanding cosmos to understand and appreciate god … can I? I mean… on one hand, the point about predictability is well taken… we wouldn’t want everything to be a case of weird random unpredictable shit like buildings that fall down from trumpet blasts or snakes and donkeys that have conversations in Hebrew (do donkeys have accents?) or people who hang out in fish for a few days or kings who have kids whose hair is 150 times heavier than everyone else’s (2 Samuel 14:26) or a wooden boat that held all animals or the Sun NOT setting sometimes or… (where the fuck do I stop with this?)

    Well, I just don’t get it. I just don’t seem to be able to. I know god is mysterious and omniscient and omnieverything but I just can’t help but wonder all kinds of sorts of things like if he really knows what it’s like to learn how to ride a bike or play blackjack — or wake up everyday and pray for his foreskin to grow back.

    Oh, one more thing: To me, the funniest claim from Joel about the Hubble program is on page 10:

    “You can be sure God is paying close attention. he is very interested in this program and what people are saying about it. We believe it is reasonable to speculate that he has likely blessed that program in order to ensure its success.”

    LOLOLOLOL Yeah. Hubble…. BLESSED. FLAWLESS. Let’s just pray that god doesn’t read Wikipedia and find out about all of the Hubble problems and start smiting astronomers left and right for screwing up his game.
    (Your Hubble Wobbles Hopelessly)

    Although, I have to admit… I do see the YHWH fingerprints in this case… You know — starts out with a bitchin master plan and then somehow things just start going to hell…

    • Yeah, the more you learn the more questions pop up.

      Funny you mention all the problems the Hubble has had and yet they say god is blessing the program…kind of like they are now saying that Hurricane Sandy was prophesied Wrath of God. In both cases they conveniently forget (or try to bury) history. Back in 1938 there was another hurricane that hit the same general area–it killed 600! Sandy hasn’t cracked 100 last I saw; so, what, god getting weak and tired in his infinite old age? Can’t even top a storm that WASN’T his wrath? haha!

      “So Joel states: (page 51) “the expanding universe concept is now the foundation for the field of modern cosmology.”… “It is likely God is using a type of physical energy that functions according to a predictable law that he himself established in order to accomplish universal expansion— perhaps dark energy or something very like it. We should certainly view an accelerating expansion of the universe as evidence both of God’s power as Sustainer and of God’s ambition for the endless expansion of his government and peace.”

      Yeah, there we go! Sounds legit. “Here are a bunch of things that have been observed about the universe, so, according to our preconceived notions, we should interpret them as evidence of God!” I’m sure if there wasn’t evidence of continual expansion they would again say “yeah, that’s b/c the creation of the Universe is over. Sure, you might see it continually expanding if it was the result of some ‘big bang’ or whatever, but…” Confirmation Bias FTW!

      But yeah, all this is why they really hate it when people start asking too many questions…

  5. I just happened across this page by accident while doing a random search on pcg. I was raised in the world wide church of god and managed to escape just before the death of mr armstrong. Different family members went to several of the splinter groups, changing many times over the next years. I stayed away from all of them and now firmly call myself an athiest. I have always wanted to look for more info on these various churches and find out more of the history in hopes that the knowledge may explain for my own sanity the reasons why these churches basically robbed me of my entire family and ruined us all. No one can know of the true damage done by wcg and its splinters, especially pcg, unless you were raised in them. I wish the whole world knew how badly these churches damaged its members so the evil could be exposed. I hate and despise all of armstrongs teachings and all that go with it.

    • Wow, what a rough story! Sadly, though, it is neither new nor unfamiliar to us here.

      For more information on most of the major CoG splinters, visited http://www.silenced.co . They talk a lot about them himself, and also link to several other anti-cog blogs.

      Also, the book The True Believer, written by one Eric Hoffer (or Hoeffer) back in the ’50s provides eye-opening insight on the mindset of those who follow (and even to an extent those who start) mass movements and groups like the CoGs. Of course, I think you’ll find within this site articles that explore the motivations of HWA…

      On the Silenced site they have an article up that Oprah is planning some exposé upon the old WCG…kind of a day late and dollar short, as they reformed themselves Mainstream and changed their name many many years ago. So, maybe the world will know more about these cults and the damage they do.

    • What are you trying to say Anon? None of your friends identify with you when you tell the story about the time when Big Beak ‘fell’ into the hot-air-balloon-basket and had to get rescued by the young ambassadors? (I think that was Festival 80 if you want a youtube refresher course)

      I appreciate your comments a lot. I had two older siblings who both relatively recently took their own lives– yet our Mom still faithfully supports, attends, and perpetuates UCG… waxing constantly about the day around the corner when she’ll get to have her big RE-DO.

      It just makes me want to scream and start smashing things and take more vicodin.

  6. Thanks Eric for the links. The silenced website seems to have a lot of information.
    Brandon, I am so sorry for your siblings who lost their lives. One of my brothers has tried a couple of times to take his life, another has threatened it repeatedly, and two brothers oare on state disability for mental disorders (which is not biologically inherited!) due to the extreme stress of living in our family . One brother atends united. My mother and my sister and her husband left pcg a few yrs ago and he started a new splinter church calle the Elect Church of God. he ministers to his family, my mom, and a few other couples. He doesn’t even have any type of degree but boy oh boy they think he is another apostle for real. I think pcg actually did more damage to us in half the time that wcg did!
    I understand you frustration and anger…I feel it too. I wearry that I may never manage to get over it. what makes me sad is that my mom has advanced stage ovarian cancer and doesn’t have much longer to live and my dad has late stage Alzheimers and wont be here much longer. I’m loosing them beefore I ever really got to have them. my dad doesnt know who I am anymore and my mom ‘refuses’ to know who I am.

    When I tell someone ‘I grew up in a cult’ they say “bah, thats unbelieveable”
    ha! if they only knew…lol

    • Wow, Julie, I am so sorry–what a wreck they have left your family in. That seems to me to be a pretty good “fruit” of it not being God’s Work…but anyway.

      As far as growing up in a cult goes, and its horrible mental damage, I used to feel I got it pretty bad (I had given up hope for a while, consumed in grief at my lost youth and lost “Wonderful World Tomorrow”…drinking…), but now I see I came out OK compared to some. But more importantly, a former WCGer (and other CoGer), Andie Redwine, has made an independent film on the subject, called Paradise Recovered. You can find it streaming on Netflix, etc. I haven’t seen it yet, but I hear it is helpful.

      More importantly, she has great praise for an organization in the US called Wellspring Retreat that specializes in cult-based PTS. I didn’t used to think that could really be a thing, even when I saw that the church lied to us about EVERYTHING…but the more I hear, the more I realize it is real. Apparently this organization helps a lot (and helped Andie, herself). I don’t know what the costs are, but it might be something to look in to.

      • Wellspring might be good for people who are dedicated to retaining faith in some form of Christianity, since it is essentially a counter-cult ministry (it was founded by a Christian who believed that the only way to recovery is through Jesus). If you just want help (without preaching), there are secular professionals who specialize in cult-related issues, and many who are apprised of them even if it is not their specialty. There are also journals and organizations devoted to the psychological recovery of former cultists. ICSA seems to be a pretty good one, for starters.

    • Wow Julie. My brain truly goes out to you.

      I read up on the Erect COG a little. Shit! What a piece of work Gary is… and I just have so many questions for him. For example — Gary, are you sure you didn’t just cut and paste;

      “He was honored by many heads of state in the Orient, Africa and the Middle East. He was awarded medals of peace and special commendations for his many charitable and humanitarian activities.”

      –from Amazon.com like I JUST did?? (OR maybe it was http://www.reluctant-messenger.com, OR http://www.eternalcog.org/ecgbooklets/us_britain_prophecy.html OR http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Philadelphia_Church_Of_God/ etc. etc. etc.)

      In fact, Gary, isn’t most of the Elect COG’s home page just cut and pasted from other cog sites? Did you learn how to do that in your stint as a roofer’s apprentice? Ever thought about fact checking anything?

      Who are the world leaders who declared that Herbie was an “Ambassador for World Peace” and what did they say exactly? (BTW, How did the media completely miss this…? I mean, why didn’t anyone think to send HWA over to the ’72 Munich hostage situation for example.)
      Can you name one internationally recognized thing that the Herbster did for his photo ops ASIDE from giving away huge chunks of tithe$? Are you under the impression that He donated his OWN money to charity or something???

      Gary writes/pastes: “He lived a selfless life. It was a life of outgoing concern to those who had been called. He loved them like a physical father. “

      WTF? SELFLESS??? Thanks for putting a smile on my face, ‘Mr.’ Gauthier.

      Actually, I do feel like I got the physical father kind of ‘love’ from good old Herb… I feel like I got a %*#! in my @$$ for years just like Dorothy allegedly did.

      Anyway, Julie, I wish I knew how to help you effectively. I think the guys on the Armstrong Delusion are quite talented at pointing out the sheer ridiculousness of ‘the COGS’. Perhaps you can take some solace in the fact that this kind of exposure quite possibly keeps the offshoots small and in some ways less powerful.

      My children’s maternal grandparents are PCG members… which means my kids can’t see their maternal and paternal grandparents at the same time. Having two little daughters has made me even angrier about the church… because I see firsthand how happy kids are when completely, normally, socially connected. I don’t doubt that you are correct, btw, the PCG seems like a more intense, more desperate version of the cult.

      It seems to me that it’s such an amazing thing to be a human, alive on this planet. I often think of my parents as if they were 6 year olds – walking into Disneyland for the first time – and saying: “Nah, I heard about this other amusement park that’s REALLY fun… I’m just going to sit here on this bench and wait.” “Besides, see, look, there’s a piece of trash on the ground… and some kid is crying…” “I’ll just sit here and read my pamphlet, and dream about the other place…” (Oh well, I think you get my point… it’s kind of like when someone decides to learn how to fly a plane into a building.)

      My shrink tells me to educate myself as much as possible about this stuff, sort of ‘find my voice’, and learn how speak up and speak out. It’s the opposite of how I grew up so it makes complete sense… and although I’m just starting, I can attest to it feeling cathartic. Feel free to look me up on FB if you ever want to chat. (Brandon Lee Loveland) I’m the one with ‘Heretic’ as my religious viewpoint.

      • As you say Brandon, what Gary states is just repetition–copied from someone else’s words. Everything out of my mom’s mouth as well is by rote. It’s always been like that, as if they cant have an honest thought of their own creation.
        Growing up with my parents it was a bad thing to ask ‘why’ about anything. We were taught we shouldn’t question authority; theirs or the churches. I tought my kids the opposite: question everything. Even me. I was not there to order them and make demands. I was there to guide and protect them, never to own them. sometimes we attended churches, sometimes we didn’t. I tought them as best I could all the different religions and always told them they were to make their own decisions. when they wanted to go, we went. when they didn’t, we didn’t. I have three grown children who are honest and independant, strong, loving and full of self confidence. they make their own decisions and I have full confidence they are the right decisions for them.
        My mom has spent her life looking towards her death.She can’t wait to be in gods kingdom and the chance to be a teacher. I wish she could have realized I wanted her to be that to me while we were alive. I looked for you on facebook and couldn’t find. Maybe you can find me. It helps me to chat. Maybe it helps you too.

  7. Thanks for the links…they were all very helpful. Wellspring looks like it could be a great benefit, though it is centered on retaining faith as you say Casey. ICSA has information that would be educational but membership requires a minimum dontaion. The video, ‘Paradise Recovered’ was great. IT ws very well made. It too showed someone who still managed to keep their faith while leaving the church that held her back so much. I am not sure why I went so far in the opposite direction to the point of completely loosing my faith but I am happy in that decision. I cant say I will always be this way because I continue to grow and change my opinions on a constant basis as I learn more and search for more answers. I appreciate th ewilling ear I have recieved here because it means a great deal to me just that someone believes me. A friend told me once that I should leave all those feellings in the past and just get over it. There is a lot of truth in that, we have to learn to put it behind us in order to move on. But the memories never go away. They jump up just when you least expect them to and we have to deal with them all over again. But finally I am finding information and am understanding more.

  8. Thanks for the praise, Brandon…we try! lol

    Yes, finding your own voice and learning how to think for yourself and speak up is very important and thus is not what any of the COGs want. I vaguely remember reading an article by RCG or someone that wanting to have a blog of your own was just feeding the human Vanity b/c you shouldn’t want to have a voice of your own–the Church is your voice!

    BAH! This blog has been very cathartic for us who have written it. Yes, we have friends who are former members (if, btw, anyone is a former PCGer, there is an FB page that Bonnie Smythe started called Former PCG Members if you are interested in catching up w/ whoever…) who are happy to just forget the whole thing and move on and consider writing a blog like this to be living in the past. Oh well, to each their own.

    • Eric, not having a voice is what hurts so much. It harms our minds. One of my dads’ biggest criticisms of me was that I was too independant. I didn’t realize until much later that he sincerely didn’t want me to think on my own! What a way to crush a young girl. I still have trouble finding my voice and daily fight for the power to control my own life. I will make it someday. I am getting stronger each day.

  9. “Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships” by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias is the most amazing complete reference I’ve found (and I’ve looked for a very long time.

    While it isn’t about Armstrongism, in a lot of places, you’re going to find that it seems like it does. The authors do an amazing job from describing the problems to guiding people to real solutions. If there is a better resource out there, I just don’t know what it is.

  10. Another “Timberrrrrr!” moment is the sentencing of Rotten Ronnie Weinland, insane lying convicted felon false prophet with 3.5 years and $7,500 fine with over $240,000 worth of back taxes to pay.

    What the Armstrongists don’t seem to realize is that he’s the watermark for the decline of their own “ministries”: Herbert Armstrong did the same kinds of thing on a grander scale and got away with them, but the world has changed and the IRS with the Justice Department are more inclined “to go for it”. This certainly gives them incentive. Hopefully, they will smell the blood in other waters and shark their way over to them.

    Even if the Justice Department doesn’t get them in some sort of Al Caponesque manner, the damage is done and their activities are subject to heightened visibility — the members could very well start asking questions.

    And that’s a very good thing.

    Armstrongists: Be nervous! Be very nervous!

  11. Julie,

    You can find the majority of information that you are seeking by going to the Painful Truth. I am surprised and disappointed the boys here forgot to mention us. With over 1900 pages, you will find the explanations you seek as to the what and why’s that trouble you.

    James. Editor of the Painful Truth.
    http://www.hwarmstrong.com

    • Sorry forgot to mention you, James ol buddy! There are a lot of resources and it is easy to let one slip, but I’m glad you mentioned it! Haven’t seen you around much…

    • Yes, Julie, the Painful Truth site is the original and biggest (I can’t say the “best”, of course–apologies to James!) clearinghouse for former CoG ruminations. This vast collection of writings is highly varied in terms of subject matter and quality, but most everything published there is interesting if not helpful. It also houses the archives of the Ambassador Report and about a million links to almost anything you can imagine. Highly recommended if you wish to take a break from the brutally narrow focus around here.

    • James, I appreciate the Ambassador Report and the Painful Truth websites. I appreciate a lot of the things that Joe Tkatch Jr. has said.

      Having said that, I just can’t understand how anyone can go from armstrongism and stop short of Atheism. At the PT website, I’m constantly reading concepts from the bible as if the source is relevant. I see god capitalized and assumed to be yahweh. I read about sin and false doctrines and spirituality. (What is spirituality?) Except for context or satire, (etc.) why is the bible as a source more relevant than any other idea some guy in the past has had? How can you make a statement like: “you will find the explanations you seek as to the what and why’s that trouble you.” How do you know that? How can you make a claim like that? Why would you make a claim like that?

      Can you show me a historical example of how faith has ever helped anyone or any society?
      (More so than reality would have?) Isn’t instead, history full of examples of people who had ridiculous faiths to their inevitable detriment? I mean, if I woke up one day and was completely confident that I would win the lottery, I’d probably feel pretty good… but I also probably wouldn’t bother going to work. And No. I would not win the lottery — unless I DID something to that end — like buy a winning ticket– and avoid the bear who would have had a better chance of eating me that day.

      I recognize the value of idealogical sensitivity. I’m often wrong and I recognize that everyone has the freedom to be as deluded as they have chosen to be or have been influenced to be. But I’m also a member of a society and I’m compassionate. I can’t see how false beliefs have ever really helped societies. Perhaps they did earlier in human neurological evolution somehow, maybe… but I just can’t see how they could now.

      Dawkins (for example) gets a lot of flack for alienating people. But only when he’s ragging on yahweh or allah… not zeus or thor. Am I wrong here, James? What are you holding onto and why? Of course, exposing armstrong as a fraud is helpful to people. Thank you so much. Why stop there?

      • Brandon, I’m with you on this. The website is the best I have found so far on exposing hwa. But I dont feel comfortable with the idea of exchanging one religion for another. To me, I see religious freedom as complete freedom from religion. And I dont feel free as long as it is espoused everywhere I go.

      • Brandon,
        “I recognize the value of idealogical sensitivity.”

        Different articles for folks in a different mindset than mine.
        Personally I am an agnostic. I put no stock in the bible as the word of God.

        I understand this because I went through this same crap years ago. People are on all sorts of different levels as to God, the law, the meaning of life, etc. What I give them is not ridicule but a road map. In time they will figure it out if they keep working on the issue of their religious slavery.

        “I can’t see how false beliefs have ever really helped societies.”
        To beat someone down because they may think different about the world is detrimental to the person seeking answers. Dawkins makes this mistake constantly. The human mind is programed for God. It is the part of the brain that deals with survival. From a evolutionary point of view it is this belief in a God that gave people a purpose and bought them hope. Once a person realizes this, internalizes and understands this concept moving on becomes less traumatic.

        As an example, consider the great depression of the 20’s and 30’s. Churches prospered and so did speakeasy’s. People needed relief from the realities of a hard life. If the economy goes south like it did in those days of past, you will see a repeat of this behavior.

        “Of course, exposing armstrong as a fraud is helpful to people. Thank you so much. Why stop there?”
        Well Brandon, if you care to help you can always write an article. The Painful Truth has been built on the pain and suffering of some many Worldwiders, PCG members and many others of these crap churches.

    • O.O We’re being watched! lol…well, that is a very good policy.

      Oh yeah, I had forgotten that I had gotten the AR (Ambassador Report) from Painful Truth…that was about 5yrs ago and I never imagined I would be doing what I do now, and never imagined I’d be corresponding with the fellow who ran the site, so forgive me for not remembering it.

      The AR was an amazing eye-opener for me. At first I thought it would just be all rumour and gossip, but it had some real hard-hitting research and news in it! After reading that, I was inspired to go through the entire old Plain Truth archives at http://www.hwarmstrong.org. That’s where I found that in 1934 HWA had a chart about the end being in 1936 and also found that he said the Tribulation was THEN happening (WWI followed by Great Depression was the Tribulation…).

      Thanks, James, for running your site–I forgot how very helpful it was to me back in the beginning!

  12. James,
    Your website, The Painful Truth, packed with information as you said and I have been reading through it the last few nights as I have the time. It is great for helping me to understand some thihngs.
    When I was a young child growing up my parents told me I was special, that I was picked by god to be one of his special people. I wasn’t sure why but at first it felt good. I thought I was better and I didn’t know why kids at school didn’t like me since I was so special. It wasn’t till I grew up and left home that I heard about the “lost tribes” thing but I could never find info on it anywhere. Reading the website I have found lately had given me so much info that I have been lacking. Info that is leading me to greater understanding of the past and I am shocked at the things I didn’t know. I am understanding the reasons behind some of the things they said that was never explained to me. Thank you for maintaining such a great website!
    Now, I have to also agree with

    Brandon.
    For so many years after I left home and into my adulthood I have “Searched For God.” Through My twentys and the first half of my thirtys I looked for religous explanations. I visited other churches, have spoken and carried on dialogues with hundreds of people from other faiths, have prayed and meditated, have guilted myself into sickness from lack of response from a higher power. Then I started looking through science, the natural world, the universe, and listening to my own feelings, to arrive at the conclusion that all of religion is wrong and there is nothing there but our own evolved bodies and minds. I still talk with many different people but now I listen to my own thoughts instead of a silly book written my men who never knew me, nor I them. and I am loosing my toleration of religous double speak. I lead a simple life and all my energies go into caring for my family and loving other people the best way I can. I dont need church jesus or god to tell me how to do it. My heart is my guide. over the last twelve years I have steadily been going to the “no god, no religion thanks” camp and am happier than ever that way.

  13. Brandon,
    “I recognize the value of idealogical sensitivity.”

    Different articles for folks in a different mindset than mine.
    Personally I am an agnostic. I put no stock in the bible as the word of God.

    I understand this because I went through this same crap years ago. People are on all sorts of different levels as to God, the law, the meaning

    of life, etc. What I give them is not ridicule but a road map. In time they will figure it out if they keep working on the issue of their religious

    slavery.

    “I can’t see how false beliefs have ever really helped societies.”
    To beat someone down because they may think different about the world is detrimental to the person seeking answers. Dawkins makes this

    mistake constantly. The human mind is programed for God. It is the part of the brain that deals with survival. From a evolutionary point of view

    it is this belief in a God that gave people a purpose and bought them hope. Once a person realizes this, internalizes and understands this

    concept moving on becomes less traumatic.

    As an example, consider the great depression of the 20’s and 30’s. Churches prospered and so did speakeasy’s. People needed relief from

    the realities of a hard life. If the economy goes south like it did in those days of past, you will see a repeat of this behavior.

    “Of course, exposing armstrong as a fraud is helpful to people. Thank you so much. Why stop there?”
    Well Brandon, if you care to help you can always write an article. The Painful Truth has been built on the pain and suffering of some many

    Worldwiders, PCG members and many others of these crap churches.

    • Hi James.

      Your an agnostic who wrote 5 days ago: “he (jesus) did indeed come to set people free”???? http://hwarmstrong.com/email_115.htm

      What topic are you agnostic about?

      Why does this matter to me? For one thing, a couple of years ago when I referred my Mom to your (very valuable) site, her response was: “Well, that was sobering, Brandon. There’s no question that Herbert Armstrong, like all of us, will have a lot to answer for on judgement day. What was most disconcerting to me however, were the stories about the children who feel like they have lost their spirituality.”

      Okay, Sorry… I’m back. I just had to go throw up on my neighbors hedge.

      (Not really, this is the nature of my dry humor) So I asked her, in response, the single question that neither of you will answer; What is spirituality?

      And I’ll ask you again, how does faith benefit people? 99.9% of all animals have become extinct. Just because an animal tends to do something doesn’t mean it’s good for them.

      Why was there a great depression? Because of an act of yahweh? Could it have been because of the actions of humans? Were the people who wanted to drink the pain away or pray the pain away in a better or worse position to recognize the ramifications of their societies financial actions? Were the subsequent actions… you know, the one’s that got us out of the depression… the result of divine revelation or bourbon & jazz… or reality based financial choices?

      So some people want to try to take the easy way out. (Like me frequently) Since when does that EVER change or fix or benefit anyone or anything?

      “the human mind is programed for God. It is the part of the brain that deals with survival. From a evolutionary point of view” Come on James, that’s a fact based multi-statement… What program? Which god? What part of the brain? Sources? Studies?

      My little girls don’t like to brush their teeth at bedtime. Chimpanzees never brush their teeth at bedtime. I would argue that we tend to thrive commensurately with the extent to which we embrace reality — irrespective of immediate comfort… and I think I can back that up scientifically.

      Julie made the point I was trying to make quite well. Why trade cult hard for cult light when no cult is an option? In this very string, Casey made the statement: “Wellspring might be good for people who are dedicated to retaining faith in some form of Christianity,” That seems to me like a thoughtful, careful, neutral and sensitive way to offer support to someone without condoning or agreeing with their belief in magic.

  14. Julie,

    “But I dont feel comfortable with the idea of exchanging one religion for another. ‘

    I don’t put any stock in any religion. What I have on the PT is others points of view. They have a right to express their thoughts. Some exited the wcg and joined other churches. Most is seems became atheists after a decade.

    The articles, such as those on “Doogies House” WordPress blog has helped some folks to make decisions about the concept of God, law and authority. These are the baby steps that some need in order to distance themselves from religion.

  15. Most of what I write is designed to use Scripture to make Armstrongists miserable.

    To me, that’s the “right” use of the Bible: Use their own book and their own god against them, and if they believe they will think they are headed straight for the Lake of Fire and suffer through the Great Tribulation — and I don’t care if either are true.

    I’m also not above using science, since most Armstrongists don’t understand it and don’t have a clue as to it completely subverts any of their arguments.

  16. Brandon,

    “Your an agnostic who wrote 5 days ago: “he (jesus) did indeed come to set people free”???? http://hwarmstrong.com/email_115.htm

    Once again, I talk to folks on their level. If I don’t they gain nothing. If Jesus existed he did not start a religion nor did he intend to. He came to divide, and everyone was to seek God on their own level. Not some asshole that interprets scripture and builds a church on his beliefs.

    ” So I asked her, in response, the single question that neither of you will answer; What is spirituality?”

    That is best left to the individual. They need their answers, not mine.
    If I had to describe spirituality I would say it was an orientation towards the self. I myself meditate time to time in order to gain a inner peace. It beats drugs and religion. No magical thinking necessary.

    “Why was there a great depression? Because of an act of yahweh? ”
    You read a lot into my statements. It was caused by the greed of investors, scamming of bankers and no doubt, asshole politicians.

    ““the human mind is programed for God. It is the part of the brain that deals with survival. From a evolutionary point of view” Come on James, that’s a fact based multi-statement… What program? Which god? What part of the brain? Sources? Studies?”
    I book I read years ago. “The God Part of the Brain.” by Matthew Alper. Read it for the answer.

    “Why trade cult hard for cult light when no cult is an option? ”
    and
    “Wellspring might be good for people who are dedicated to retaining faith in some form of Christianity,”

    I answered this already. Becoming an atheist takes progressive steps to reach that point. It is not overnight. It is a learning process. No one can do that for you.

    Good luck Brandon on finding your answers to these questions. Read and ponder on what you read and learn, and it never hurts to enroll in some psychology classes.

  17. I’ll check those vids out!

    My initial response to the difference between the master who wears a rope (I’m getting a Friar-type image) and one who waves the flag is that we can question the one who carries the flag. Sure, patriotism can escalate to an almost religious importance and be similarly unchallengeable, but in general it doesn’t.

    But I’ll probably have more informed comments after I watch the videos.

  18. I left the WCG just before the split, and essentially the second I turned 18. My parents are still avid believers and just lost their (almost) life-long best friends who went to COGWA. Second time I’ve seen lost friendships over a church split. Their faith is such that they glaze over with “the truth” when talking about it, so sure that they (once again) made the right decision as others did not. And so it goes on the hamster wheel of COG.

    I was kicked out of YOU when I turned 16 for running in a state track meet (which, incidentally, got me a college scholarship) on a Saturday. I had to meet with two ministers two times but was ultimately allowed to make the decision. Of course I ran. And, since it was such an awesome church for teenage self-esteem, it was announced on the pulpit TO the congregation that one of the Youth was hereby no longer part of YOU for her decision to disobey God’s sabbath. Fortunately I was so over being associated with this religion that never allowed women to speak or even lead song-service that I took it more as a compliment…but you know it did have to harm my self-esteem somewhat. More for disappointing my parents I suppose.

    My dad makes a lot of money. A lot. So to know how much he has given this harmful, corrupt, brainwashing cult over the last 40 years makes me physically ill. I’m often sad about it and constantly frustrated that two otherwise brilliant and kind people are still following this sad, splintering, pathetic, egomaniac, patriarchal religion. But what can I do? They’re getting older and there is no way they will admit now – even though I feel my dad would like to – that they were wrong. It would destroy them. I’m sure the only reason they even stayed together in an otherwise poorly matched relationship is the church. It’s the glue, I guess, that holds them together or gives them some hope that there is a better life than the one they chose here.

    I’m sure my dad making a lot of money makes it that much more important to them that he stay in. I’m sure they are courted more…and, come to think of it, we always did get to rub elbows more with the “higher ups.” Shocking.

    Like many others who escaped cults, I find that I lean more towards an agnostic lifestyle. I’ve become a philanthropist in life and see that there is so much more good that can be done away from these. I’m angry and sad on behalf of my parents, especially since they will never see the “second coming” or “place of safety” and “world of their own to lead” they’ve always dreamed of. I know that whatever happens to them after this life it’s certainly not that. I guess I hope there is something past this life for their sake. Just so they didn’t completely waste this one…

    • What a sad, touching story…except for the part where you did what the rest of us only wish we would have done–the running track on the sabbath bit that got you the scholarship. That is AWESOME!

      I, actually, went to the church’s “college”–the End was Near and why waste time/money pursuing an education to get a career in this world? Why not educate yourself for the future you know is just around the corner? Makes me angry all the time…but the way you tell you have lived your life shows a great example of what can be done in the “afterlife”–life after the cultic church! Good on ya!

    • “I guess I hope there is something past this life for their sake. Just so they didn’t completely waste this one…”

      Careful what you wish for, Girl! Who’s to say an afterlife wouldn’t be a terrifying existence? At any rate, thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. Glad you got out so young: some of us weren’t so lucky.

  19. Really? What the hell does it matter what Genesis 1 or 2 claims about the earth? We are much better off observing the earth and reading about those who have explored deeper, wider, and more conclusively that ourselves. No one can possible question that the Cosmology of the Hebrews started and ended with a FLAT EARTH. Every time I fly to Europe or Australia I get another lesson in just how wrong those writers were, so pray tell what value do you or anyone else find in Genesis? But a good history of what DID NOT happen?

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