The brand of theism preached by the churches of Armstrongism is different from mainstream theism in an important way. While most people who believe in God will readily admit they do so on the basis of faith, Armstrongists insist they can prove that God exists. But how special is this Armstrong-style theism really? Was it invented by Armstrong, or did he merely co-opt an obsolete ideology and put his stamp on it, as with so many of his other supposed innovations? Continue reading
Why write on subjects akin to that which the Apostle Paul observed of the Church should “not be once named among you”?
I have to ask that question on the rare occasion that I step into the mire of murk that our society has descended into and write a commentary or analysis on its current moral condition.
Although he is dead, Ron Fraser of PCG is still our favorite BNP wannabe, jingoist anglophile. He’s also a great source for alliterative prose and, thanks to his prolific backlog of Trumpet articles, his assaults on English elements of style will live on in Internet infamy. The opening quote comes from an article recently shared to the Former PCG Members Facebook page, with which your dear editors are quite cozy. The denizens there gave it some attention, so I thought I’d take some time to beat it up a little here as well. Let’s get started! Continue reading
Our friend Troy Fitzgerald, of Secular Safe House, recently recorded a conversation with Deborah Armstrong (Herbert’s niece and the daughter of Dwight Armstrong). She shares her thoughts on (among other topics) child abuse in the cult, religious belief, and her very interesting plans for some of her father’s unpublished hymns! Check it out over at the Secular Safe House site.
For anyone who has been paying attention, it is now a trivial matter to appreciate that British-Israelism is a failed hypothesis. Some contend, however, that there is still some explaining to do with regard to the supposed “blessings of Abraham”. How did Britain and America become so great, they ask, if it weren’t for the “promise of race” given to Abraham by old Yahweh? It should go without saying that such reasoning is completely backwards (the required genetic connection between Europeans and this apocryphal patriarch of the Hebrews–or, more to the point, to the Hebrews themselves–has been shown to be thoroughly, exactly, and precisely nonexistent–and yet they want to know how we could have such shiny toys if the connection doesn’t exist–boggles the mind, really). In any event, whether the fortunes of modern nations can be explained by recourse to an ancient prophesy (uttered by an invisible man in the sky to a bronze age sheepherder who probably himself never existed) is considered to be a separate question (and the real proof of British-Israelism) for some, and always was a mainstay of Armstrongism. And that latter fact means we have some scrutiny to spare for the claim.
It’s a dirty story of a dirty man–well, for the first hundred pages or so. Wade Fransson’s The People of the Sign is essentially a coming-of-age story set to Beatles song titles. That is, the chapters and the subheadings within each chapter of the book are titled after Beatles songs, most of which do a relatively good job of relating to the subsequent content. Some, though, require a bit of creative stretching (e.g., a recounting of Fransson’s ultimately less-than-fateful meeting with a prominent Swedish media personality comes under the heading of “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”).
Born to a meat-and-p0tatoes Swedish immigrant father and an alcoholic mother who married too young, Wade Fransson’s early life was plagued by all the hallmarks of familial dysfunction, eventually culminating in divorce and custody disputes. At the tender age of nine he and his two sisters became the “victims” of the most common type of kidnapping: their father stopped by while their mother was out and said, “Come on, kids, let’s go to the mall!” But by “the mall”, he meant “Sweden”.
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… … Continue reading.
(Originally posted on the old site in April and March of 2010. I think it belongs here.)
I have always been enthralled by words and ideas. As a boy I would spend countless hours poring over old encyclopedias and dictionaries, each new discovery an initiation into a kind of sacred communion with the Universe. My memories of those Halcyon evenings are thankfully not haunted by my later metaphysical rationalizations: at the time I had no clear conception of the indoctrination to come, and my autodidactic adventures were, for that brief period, free from theological mind-wrenching.
As Armstrongist propaganda began to wrap me in its obscuring embrace, however, I gradually and inevitably turned my inquisitive mind toward the task of reconciling dogma with knowledge. Being a mere human, I didn’t have time to study everything, so I of course focused on the beliefs that were relevant to the subjects I was most keenly interested in, while the rest wastaken for granted. I failed to prove the claims behind British-Israelism, for example, or the contradictory propositions for the nature and character of Armstrong’s god. And all the while, everything was being filtered through my Armstrongist indoctrination: the claims were fundamentally true, I assumed; how they were true was the only question.
The cult’s teachings on evolution are a good example, since their arguments I found to be lacking in rigor. Even so, I took the basic position for granted in that I spent a lot of time looking for arguments that would support Creationism over evolution, instead of simply following the evidence. I was toiling under a confirmation bias in the form of a proposition hoisted upon me by the cult, and which I accepted without complaint or investigation: that a particular conception of God exists as a person and created humans in his image for an astounding purpose. Part of what led me to accept it, certainly, was its sheer elegance. Something that made that much sense, and which was so soul-crushingly beautiful, just had to be true! (I wouldn’t learn what a non-sequitur was until I had left the cult.) Besides that, it was biblically sound (you’ll notice this statement contains two more assumptions I took for granted as true).
The point of all this is to show the reader that even an obsessive pedant like me took a lot for granted; so, where does that leave the great multitudes for whom careful reading for more than ten minutes at a time sounds like cruel and unusual punishment? It leaves them believing, apparently. … Continue reading.