Links for purchasing Surrender of Sovereignty.

Dr. Clendenon's book "SURRENDER OF SOVEREIGNTY" is now avaible through major bookstores: Amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble, and is also available in the Kindle format compatible wtih PC, iMac, iPad, iPhone, 3G, Wi-Fi and Blackberry.

12/20/2010

The True Christmas Spirit of Christianity



Christians like to cloak their religion in love, helping the needy and poor etc.  This video demonstrates the underlying  malignity of religions that believe anyone who doesn't accept their way of thinking is going to hell and feel compelled to go out spreading the good news to the world.  Sure makes me feel like going out and joining them, NOT.

12/17/2010

Is God So Holy He Can't Directly Interface With Us?

It is the common belief of Christians that sin separates us from God.  Therefore, to them, it follows that they must believe in God by faith.  For as the Bible teaches, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  This sounds very profound, and I rattled it off from memory at many occasions when I was a Christian.  But now I think it was only hopeful jargon I used to keep the unreasonable concept of faith from dying when my prayers seemed not to be answered or my life was failing in some area.

In Genesis 32, the Bible claims Jacob wrestled with God.  This was after the legendary Garden of Eden and the fall of mankind.  This was before Jesus lived on the earth, who Christians believe was born as God/Man to be a mediator between God and us. God's holiness seemed to be able to survive after contacting sinful Jacob.  And Jacob wasn't destroyed by God's brightness.  Maybe God cloaked his glory for Jacob.  But if he can cloak it for Jacob, why can't he cloak it for everyone everywhere.

Moses asked God to reveal himsef, and God agreed that if Moses would hide in a crevice in the rocks, he would pass by and cover Moses with his hand, and then as he was walking away, he would remove his hand and let Moses see his backward parts.  So apparently God is too glorious for Moses to see, but Jacob was able to have a wrestling match with him.

The yearly Israeli ritual of the Day of Atonement is an interesting tradition.  The books of Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy lay out the complex rules for the ceremonial cleansing of the sins of Israel.  Suffice it to say, many lambs, goats, bulls, and birds were killed.  Blood was splattered everywhere, their bodies were burned, and as a finale to this ridiculous ceremony, the High Priest entered into the farthest room of the Tabernacle to go before God and cleanse himself and his nation of sin. The walls of the room where the high priest allegedly met with the glory of God had curtains that were 3 feet thick.  It was all very secret.  The priest wore a garment that had a hem of bells and pomegranates so that those outside could hear him when he was behind the curtain.  Nobody was allowed to go in there except the High Priest, and he could only enter once a year.  The legend says that the room had a cloud over it by day and a pillar of fire over it by night.  It's a great story, but again, there is no evidence that it is anything but legend.

The Illusion of the Wizard of Oz
It reminds me of the Wizard of Oz.  Remember when the man was hiding behind the curtain with a microphone and trying to convince his visitors how unapproachable he was.  This holiness and separation from God is  another Christian idea without proof.  And when the Bible speaks of who and how man has seen God, the stories don't match.  The Bible says no man has seen God.  It also says Jacob wrestled with God.  It also says that Moses spoke to God face to face as a friend would speak to a friend.  It also says we have been separated from God and the man who went into the Most Holy Place to speak to God had to burn incense to create a clouded room to protect him from God's glory, and sprinkle blood over all kinds of things in order to quell God's wrath.  God's unapproachable holiness is also another idea that has been unquestioned for so long that few even consider it.  There is no evidence that there was a war in heaven.  There is no evidence that mankind sinned and was separated from God in the Garden of Eden.  The idea that we must believe what we cannot see or prove is just a bogus idea that never gets questioned.

I certainly wouldn't stop communicating or visiting my children because they disobeyed me.  It's not a reasonable idea.  Faith is just a nice fuzzy idea that works well as a last resort when trying to hold together a system of belief that is unreasonable and contradictory.  When God is not personal and you're saying he is, you're going to need to throw in doctrines like" our separation from God's holiness" and our "need of faith", believing what we cannot see, in order to hold the masses in place and keep them giving offerings and keep them willing to sacrifice themselves when called upon.

When faith is earned, it is honorable and stabilizing.  When it is required by a book which doesn't agree with itself and influences lives to extent that Christianity does, it is an invested faith.  I for one don't think it's a good investment.  I spent years of my life dropping to my knees and praying to God, thanking him for this and that, and asking him for his intervention in life.  Of course, I never heard  him speak back to me, so I had to imagine that ideas and words that cropped up in my mind while I prayed were him communicating to me.  And when it seemed like I was speaking to a wall, I reminded myself that sin had separated me from God. My only way to communicate with him was to have faith that Jesus resurrected from the dead, for which there was no hard proof, and believe in what I could not see:  FAITH.

I challenged my wife for one month.  She continued praying to God in faith.  I prayed to the lamp in our living room.  We both kept track of our lives and prayers and compared our results at the end.  There was no difference.

This week I heard a woman whose daughter lived through a nasty accident praising God for his goodness in saving her daughter.  No doubt she was, as I would be, very happy her child had lived.  But what about  another family I saw recently who was in a head-on collision and the father was killed, the children were mangled, and the mother who is in Mexico can't even come here to console her children.  The poor children are bewildered.  The oldest teen said she did not understand why all this was happening to them.  I understand her bewilderment.  Why would an imaginary God in whom they believe, yet cannot see, and who they believe they communicate with, yet have to imagine his words, spare one child and not spare another?  Both were believers.  It does not make sense.  I believe such imaginary ideas of God do not deserve our faith, and yet Christianity's Bible requires us to invest faith without proof.  It may seem sacrilegious to question faith in God, but actually I'm questioning why any god would require faith rather than earn it. Why would God require faith, and dispense his system of belief though the corrupt channels of religion.  For me, it is not reasonable.

12/06/2010

Examining The Entry Levels For Christianity

The following post will be easier to relate to if you have read the previous post: Three Kinds Of Faith: Earned, Required, Invested.

There are numerous ways to enter the Christian faith.  Let's examine the mechanics of how people pass through a couple of the most common doors into Christianity.

Born Or Raised In A Christian Family

When a child is indoctrinated within a Christian family, he tends to continue on in that faith unless some condition arises that causes him to question his inherited belief system.  Parents who "talk the talk" but do not "walk the walk" and are abusive or hypocritical at home can cause children to question.  Once children begin to mature and have occasion to desire things that may seem unnecessarily  forbidden by their family's traditional faith, they may be motivated to question.  When life brings them into situations where church doctrine seems inhibitory and they find themselves judged by others according to the rules of their faith, the result can be distancing themselves from their traditional faith.

But many who are born or raised from the beginning of their lives in Christianity do not find much of a need to question their beliefs.  Their faith seems to be the glue that holds their family together; and if they have had a reasonably nice childhood, it has become part of their comfort zone.  Many times they attend Christian schools, and their friends are a part of this same comfortable association. Frequently as they mature and become adults and are involved in business, their Christian community becomes a natural client base.  You'll see advertisements with the little fish logos on  them letting potential customers know of their common ties. If a person has no major stimuli to cause serious examination of anything outside of what they were taught or raised in, the cycle tends to continue. Unquestioned, traditionally-held family faith is simply the progeny of some earlier parent, grandparent or ancestor who converted to Christianity. Children receive their indoctrination into the family faith through Bible studies or Catechism classes.  Rather than inspiring true investigation of the family's accepted doctrines, these classes tend to proceed with the assumption that the doctrines are true and study of the same is merely to bring the students up to speed so that they can take their anticipated stand in the kingdom of God.  Therefore it is rarely a true entry level at all, but a pseudo-portal into a family's Christian faith.  The true portal into Christianity was entered by the person who originally converted into the faith, and that may have happened recently or many years ago.

Converted Into The Christian Faith

When a person is not a Christian and then becomes one, usually something has brought him to the place where he wishes to investigate.  Perhaps an unexplainable experience, an act of kindness received from someone who is a Christian, fear of the future or guilt about something they have done in life makes them curious enough to investigate Christianity.  Once acquainted with the introductory concepts of Christianity such as forgiveness and eternal life, naturally an interest is generated.

Never mind that Christianity has no proof that there is a dispute going on between God and Satan.  Never mind that there is no proof that mankind fell into sin in the Garden of Eden.  Never mind that the remedy for sin is offered by the same religion who created the concept in the first place (conflict of interest).  Never mind that there is no indisputable proof that Jesus resurrected.  Never mind that there is no proof  that the offer of eternal life is true.  What usually influences these candidates for conversion the most is that some unexplainable experience or some person they respect led them to the Bible.  Having seen Christianity's showcase of shiny desirable doctrines, coupled with the fact that over half of the inhabitants of the world believe the Old Testament, many are willing to take the leap and join. 

But the Bible at this point requires faith.  Has this faith been earned? No, it hasn't.  It holds out the candy of salvation and eternal life, but it requires you to invest your faith.  It requires you to believe something for which you have no solid evidence.  A person may think she has evidence when looking at either their amazingly unexplainable experience or the  nice confident people who are encouraging them .  They may think they have evidence when forgiveness, salvation and eternal life are offered in a book that is partially accepted by half of the inhabitants of the world; but they don't.  To obtain any of the shiny concepts in Christianity's showcase requires one to invest faith in concepts that that are speculative and have been manipulated by many over thousands of years.

The Bible's Shekinah Glory
To me, an all-knowing, ever-present God would not require faith. To me, the faith required by the Bible belies its lack of credibility.  I know the argument Christians usually give about why God requires faith, and I shall address it in the next post: Is God So Holy He Can't Directly Interface With Us?

To review how the Bible is a compilation of many writers who borrowed religious ideas from the nations existing long before them as well as contemporary nations adjacent to them in order to fabricate its fantastic story, review some of this site's earlier posts from late April and early May of this year.  They can be found in the archive in the lower right column of this page.

12/02/2010

Christianity and the Bible: A Fertile Bed For Fanaticism

I know the feeling my tired canine friend!  I've promised my blog that in the next post I would address the entry levels of faith.  But the crazy Christian fanatics are making more news than I can keep up with.  One of the subjects I feel strongly about and have blogged multiple times before this is the fact that the Bible, being written by so many different people over such a long time is actually dangerous.  The Bible has been spread all over the world  and put into the hands of  the commoner as well as the theologian.  And in the hands of everyday people the Bible, that for me is an uninspired book embellished and pieced together by those with vested interest, becomes a tool for fanatics and creates chaos and division around the world.

Two current cases in point that I will call your attention to and not even comment upon are:

1. A young man who claims to have the Biblical gifts of the Holy Spirit, and will ask God questions for you and relay God's answer back to you for $150.  Here is the link.

2. A group that thinks they've got it all figured out and are teaching their followers and anyone else who will listen that the Saints will be raptured up to God on May 21, 2011, and that the end of the world will take place October 21, 2011.  Here's the link for these crazies.

11/29/2010

Three Kinds Of Faith: Earned, Required, Invested

Faith is trust in or belief in someone or something.  There are different  kinds: earned faith, required faith, and invested faith.

Earned Faith
When I met my wife, I knew very little about her other than that she was cute, and she owned a car. We dated, we became engaged, and we married.  We have now been married for forty-two years.  I have a lot of faith in her.  She has earned my trust by consistently treating me with love, honesty, and honor.  I did not have that faith in her when I first met her.  She earned it.

Required Faith
When we are required to pay for something before we get it, it is more or less a required faith or trust.  We can sometimes check customer ratings to bolster our nerve a little, but basically we have to lay down the cash before we can get what we want.  It's not the way we would want it to be, but it's required.  If we don't pay the money, we don't even have a chance of getting what we want.  Like accepting the "terms of agreement" for a software we are downloading on the internet, it you don't accept the terms, you're not going to get the software.

Invested Faith (response to Required Faith)
When faith is required of us, we sometimes have to invest our faith.  Putting it out there, even though it hasn't been earned, hoping that we don't get burned and that our investment of faith and trust brings us the return we hoped for.   An interesting thing happens when we choose to invest our faith in an entity which requires it.  We want to believe that we made a wise investment.  Friends may tell us we're crazy for making that investment; but we tend to support the idea of our investment as well as the requiring entity, if for no other reason,  so that we do not look stupid and unwise in our investing.

Christianity is an interesting blend of these types.  Most Christians would say that their faith in God is earned: that God loved them, sent his Son and rescued them from sin and death.  But that is not really how it works.  I believe that the Christian experience starts with required faith, quickly followed by invested faith.  And then following a period of indoctrination and ethereal experimentation, it assimilates, retroactively, the false idea that the initially required faith,  responded to by the believer with invested faith, was actually EARNED.  We will dissect this idea in the next post.

I think if you choose to hold a differing view, my next post will clarify my position for you so that you can at least have a clear target.  Good day. :-)

11/28/2010

Will The Defendants, Jesus And The Bible, Please Rise?

If belief in the Bible, Christianity, the virgin birth, the Garden of Eden, the war in heaven or the resurrection of Jesus were put on trial, would there be enough evidence to get a conviction?  Or would we find that all real evidence is circumstantial at best, and that the evidence has been tampered with?  It is my belief that 99.9% of folks who are either born or raised under the canopy of faith in the Bible as God's word cannot look at these questions without bias.

Today, someone asked me, "Don't you believe the Bible?"  I answered, "No."  They countered, "But the Bible says that all scripture is given by inspiration of God."  It's like their minds have been warped.  Such an objection would never be taken seriously in court because the  Bible is stating within its pages that it is indeed inspired.  But in conversations, Christians do the same thing with regard to the existence of the Devil.  I tell them I do not believe that a being named Lucifer or Satan exists.  And they generally retort something like, "Where do you think sin came from?"  And I retort, "Sin is a concept taken from within the Bible.  I don't believe we are born sinful either."  They usually respond something like, "What about all the bad stuff that happens in the world?"  And I remind them that a lot of beneficial things happen in this world as well.  Why do things that we find unpleasant or counter-productive to our health and life have to be caused by some evil being?  And what about the resurrection of Jesus?  Is there any solid evidence that the historical man, Jesus, did actually resurrect?  Only the Bible says so.  The Bible also says, in Matthew 27:50-53, that when Jesus died, the graves of many saints were opened.  And then, three days later, when Jesus allegedly resurrected, it says that these saints, whose graves had been open for three days, resurrected and walked about in Jerusalem and showed themselves to many.  Of course this book, named Matthew and written by some believer 50-60 years after this alleged miraculous event, seems to readers today to be written at nearly the same time.  50 years later, some believer writes about this miraculous event, and yet nowhere in anyone else's journals or writings is such an event mentioned.  It looks made up.

When a person is raised within the confines of Christianity or other religions, proof never becomes an issue unless you are willing to question the beliefs you've always taken for granted.  And there is no greater deception than to portray a set of beliefs as being too holy to question.  Whatever entry level one comes into Christianity, the first step is usually an act of faith.  And how many are ever "sovereign" enough to ask why it is that faith is even necessary?

In the next post I will discuss faith.

11/24/2010

33 Miners Get Prayers Answered And 29 Miners Do Not

The song Unanswered Prayers certainly climbed to the top of the charts when singer Garth Brooks introduced it to country music.  Christians look back and see where they have asked God for something that, in retrospect, would not have had good results; and they proclaim that God knew what was best for them and chose not to answer their prayers.  That's all very convenient.  When they ask for something they think they actually need and the answered prayer is not forthcoming, even then, they will say God knows what is best; and they are okay with whatever his will dictates. Christians set the bar so low that God doesn't even have to exist or do anything, and they will believe he has heard their prayers.

Earlier this year, 33 miners, trapped for several months deep in the mines of Chile, came forth from their rocky tomb as the whole world watched and cheered.  God was given accolades for this miracle.  I personally heard people from Catholicism, Jehovah's Wittnesses and Seventh-day Adventism expressing pride that their churches has been instrumental in lifting the faith of these men and their families and praying for their safety.  God's grace seemed boundless as even a man who was cheating on his wife with other women was saved.

Now, in New Zealand, the tragic loss of 29 miners raises the same hopes and questions.  Why did God not see fit to save any of these miners?  If God evaluates each person individually, why did all 33 Chilean miners survive and all 29 New Zealand miners die?  Did God in his miraculous all-knowing way arrange these men into separate groups, one filled with men he was willing to save, and the other with men whom he was not?  I find this idea completely NOT REASONBLE amd RIDICULOUS.

I agree with Albert Einstein when he was speaking to Guy H. Raner, Jr, Sept. 28, 1949, and was quoted by Michael R. Gilmore in Skeptic Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 2.: "I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being."


I don't believe God saved the 33 miners in Chile, and I don't believe God had anything to do with the deaths of 29 miners in New Zealand. I do believe that the hope of answered prayer is a cruel hoax that Christianity and other religions have foisted upon their wishful followers.  It really bothers me to see families in a situation like this, who, when their prayers go unaswered, are left to sort out why.  Was it their lack of faith?  Was it something they did?  Was it something they didn't do?  I do not perceive that God, if he, she or it exists, works in this human, cruel and selfish way.  I think the idea of a personal god is the concoction of wishful minds, and one that, in tragedy, can devastate a man, woman or family to their core.  I believe the 33 miniers in Chile lucked out and the efforts of many people and organizations made the rescue happen.  I do not deny that their faith in a personal God gave them confort and hope, unfounded though I believe it to be..  But I do not believe that God delivered them.  I believe the miners in New Zealand had bad luck in this case, and  poisenous gas claimed their lives on this particular day in a most dangerous profession.

Eight of the Unlucky New Zealanders
But the comparison of the 33 Chilean miners and the 29 New Zealander miners will haunt the families in New Zealand for many years to come as they wonder why God didn't answer their prayers but did answer the prayers of the Chilean families and miners.  The families of the Chilean miners will praise God and renew their faith, and the families of the New Zealander miners will sort throught the list:  Was it our faith?  Was it something our son or father did?  Was there something we did wrong and God wouldn't answer our faith?  Should we have gone to church more?  Was it because we haven't been paying enough tithes and offerings?  Maybe they secretly look at porn and God couldn't bless them?  Maybe they were having an immoral relationship and God couldn't bless them?  Maybe they had been dishonest and God was blocked from giving them the blessing?  Maybe this was a test of their faith, and like Jesus they will have to say, "Nevertheless, thy will be done?"  Hogwash!!!!!

This is precisely where I see Christianity as a harmful thing.  I know religion has its good points and good days, but the idea that God knows all of our thoughts, hears all of our prayers and answers some and doesn't answer some seems to me an idea so ridiculous and illogical that one can only believe it under the canopy of blind faith.

11/22/2010

If They Believe The Story Of Adam And Eve, They Might Buy These.

Holy Land Shoe Inserts

Step right up! Great gift for Christians who want that unusual gift for Christmas! You can claim the promise of Joshua 1:3: "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, to you have I given it."

Walk and stand on the Promised Land!  A reminder for the importance of Jerusalem, the land of Israel in history and in the time to come.  Perfect for times of prayer, pilgrimages and times of need.  The soil lasts for four months of daily walks. One size fits all. Package dimensions- 15 x 21 cm..

"For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ." 2 Corinthians 1:20 So walk on holy soil and Abraham's  blessing is yours.  

For the record, I do not believe this, but there are many who do. KC

11/13/2010

Unbelievable That God Would Send His Word To Us Through A Book

I really hate this picture.  I don't know the circumstances involved, but I cannot think of an acceptable one.  I'd like to find out who is responsible for this moment in this child's life and put a gun to their head.  


What kind of a person would do such a thing?  I think we would all agree that such a person must be a monster.


When it comes to the Bible, we have hallowed it for so long that many do not see the harm it causes.  When thinking of the Bible, most choose to see Jesus, peace, love, forgiveness, joy, hope and so on.


But the Bible, believed by most Christians to be God's Word, exists in printed form and is found everywhere.  The Gideons put it in hotel rooms.  Parents give them to their children for Christmas.  Many Christian churches pass them out on the street or in foreign nations for free.  Heck, I own about twenty of them in varying versions and formats.  It truly has been made available everywhere.  And if you're in Utah, you'll probably find a Book of Mormon in your hotel drawer as well.


My belief is that God would never send his "Word" to us through multiple human beings, let us translate it from language to language, put it out in every conceivable version, and still let it be his holy standard on Earth.  Putting the Bible into the hands of the general populace, in my opinion, can result in sad scenes like the picture up above.  Let me explain.


A recent example is the trial of the kidnap and rape of Elizabeth Smart in Utah.  Mormons believes that they are descendants of Israel.  Although they believe the book of Mormon to be more accurate than the  Bible, they promote both books.  Elizabeth's abductor, Brian David Mitchell, (influenced by both books-ed.) claims mental illness for this monstrous assault upon this little girl and her family.  Elizabeth testified recently, "Nine months of living with him and seeing him proclaim that he was God's servant and called to do God's work and everything he did to me and my family is something that I know that God would not tell somebody to do," she said. "God would never tell someone to kidnap her at knife point from their bed, from her sister's side ... never continue to rape her and sexually abuse her."  I agree.


Known as a homeless street preacher named "Immanuel," Mitchell's attorneys claim that he was influenced by a worsening mental illness and religious beliefs that made him think he was doing what God wanted.  Herein lies the problem.  The world is full of sicko's:  mental children if you will, people who cannot reason or evaluate well, and people who are more comfortable following a book or those who interpret the Book than reasoning from cause to effect or taking responsibility for their own lives.


My book , Surrender of Sovereignty, mentions other such cases where a deified book, the Bible, left in the hands of ordinary people can result in horrible scenarios: people being stoned to death, children being beaten to death with rocks, humans being killed and eaten and much more.  I do not believe that a benevolent or wise god, who I believe is responsible for the design we see in flowers, animals, or matter, would work that sloppily.  I encourage you to read my book to see why I decided not to accept the Bible as the Word of God.

11/09/2010

The Boldness, Hard Work And Benefits Of Laying A New Foundation


Dad had an old shack out behind his house that we thought would eventually be torn down.  The farmer who had lived here before my parents used this old shack for storing rusty old farm implement parts.  Discs, bolts, scraps of iron and old magazines filled this dilapidated old shack without electricity. The swinging door was nearly falling off it's hinges and could hardly be moved.  

But my father saw something else.  He saw a restored little building which could be useful.  We ridiculed him in fun for this idea, but over the years he accomplished his goal.  The first picture shows how he put the whole shack on blocks, lifted it up, and poured a new foundation.  That was amazing to me, even though I thought his idea was crazy.  

Then little by little he began to clear away all the rotten wood and shore the building up. Then he and my son put new shingles on the roof.  Then he ran water, electricity and sewer out to it.  Nowadays, we call it the White House and it is very useful.

It reminds me of my experience with religion and Christianity in particular.  One day I decided to take a close look at the foundation of my faith.  I was not comfortable with what I found.  The origin of the Bible was not the neatly inspired story I had believed for years.  The first parts of what became known as Genesis, Exodus and Numbers were written by a person in court of King David and Solomon.  Over the centuries that writing was added to, changed, and embellished.  Authorship of these books was very questionable, and the common Christian ascribed their authorship to men who had nothing to do with their writing.  My findings and conclusions are the substance of my book, Surrender of Sovereignty, which can be purchased at Amazon.com .  It took boldness and resolve to lay a new foundation, but I'm glad I did.  Have you taken a close look at your religious foundation, willing to see it as it is?  Or do you see it the way you've always been taught and are unwilling to take a fresh new bold appraisal of its validity?  I have found life to be much more enjoyable since I laid a better foundation.  My staff members tell me that I am much happier to be around.  I feel much more free to enjoy and get the most out of life.

11/06/2010

The Comfortable Pew of Never Questioning

Most folks who warm their comfortable pews each week in church don't pay much attention to things like the glaring contradiction in Da Vinci's painting The Last Supper.  

During the war, much of the building where the painting exists was destroyed. The painting on the wall was saved, and the building rebuilt.  In 1999 the painting underwent restoration, and it was found that underneath previous restorations existed Da Vinci's original work of art. 

The figure just to the right hand of Jesus, who has been traditionally considered the disciple John, turned out to obviously be a woman. Her features are very feminine.  She wears a necklace.  Even today we can read in Wikipedia,  "Peter looks angry and is holding a knife pointed away from Christ, perhaps foreshadowing his violent reaction in Gethsemane during Jesus' arrest. The youngest apostle, John, appears to swoon."  

Isn't it amazing how hard it is for folks to take a fresh look at something and admit they're wrong.  Once the paint covering up Da Vinci's original painting was cleaned off, the person to the right hand was obviously a woman.  Yet even in Wikipedia they insist that it is a man.  

First of all, I find this a very human trait.  We all do it. But having recently gone through the experience of opening my eyes and taking a fresh look at religion and Christianity, it seems also true that folks don't like changing their minds about what they have grown up to believe is true.   My book's case in point: The War In Heaven and The Garden Of Eden scenarios.  

Preposterous stories written around the 9th to 10th century BC in the court of David and Solomon depicting fantastic legends several thousand years earlier are still held by religious folks to be literally true today.  Stories about axeheads floating in water, woman being created from one of a man's ribs, a blind man killing 1000 men with the jawbone of an ass, folks going up to heaven in a cloud, a young man killing a giant with one shot from a slingshot, and many many more fantastic legends are considered true and not questioned.  

I think changing one's foundation once one has been living in their house for a while just threatens folks' security too much.  But it can be done.  In the next post, I'll discuss examining your foundation and laying a new one.  



11/03/2010

Freedom From Religion: Harry Potter Style

The Harry Potter book series, then the movies and now Universal Studios' The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are perceived by most Christians as the Devil's plot to captivate the minds of children and turn them into Wiccans and Devil worshipers.  Many of them are reasonably comfortable watching the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, which is all about good witches, bad witches and wizards; but the problem with Harry Potter is that is makes it look so harmless and so fun.

When one believes, as I do, that the Bible is a book of human origin and does not portray cosmic reality, there is freedom to experience enjoyable things that used to be taboo   If the Biblical concepts of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, angels, demonic spirits and the Devil are shown to be questionable and hard to believe, then worrying about make-believe characters like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Spiderman and Harry Potter cease being anything more than fictional tales for enjoyment. My posts for the months of April and May as well as my book, Surrender of Sovereignty, explain why I believe the idea of Satan was concocted to bring fear and drama into the Bible's narrative to compete with contemporary religions of that period of history.  Archfiends were common in nearly all religions at that time, and inclusion of a great adversary at war with God was popular and easy to sell.

But now, enjoying freedom from religious dogma and superstition, I am free to enjoy anything.  Restricted only by my ownership of the responsibility for my actions and my ideal for what person I wish to become, many harmless and enjoyable activities are no longer on my "can't do" list. 

This weekend I was able to go to  Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida while visiting our son and his wife.  I found the Wizarding World of Harry Potter harmless and very enjoyable.  Ollivander's Wand Shop was really well done and very fun.  Butterbeer was different and quite tasty.  But for all those who feel that this all plays into Lucifer's plans, I can only say that I don't agree. The wand I bought doesn't even spark or light up, but it is a fun souvenir.   But the make-believe world of Harry Potter was a lot of fun.  The rides made me sick to my stomach and reminded me that I'm getting older.  The Halloween festivities were scary and quite enjoyable in the evening. As the evening became darker, vacant Universal Studio movie sets that were prepared for Halloween became hazy and as you walked down the dark streets you might be charged by some fiend with a chainsaw in his hands.  It was all in good fun.   But since I do not believe in the Bible, good angels, bad angels, Satan, or evil spirits. it was nice to just enjoy the theme park without a lot of guilt or hangups.

10/22/2010

The Changing Earth

If one comes to the conclusion that there are other possibilities with regard to the history of this planet than the Genesis account, a new horizon opens up.  I found this very interesting.  Tectonic Plate Movement has now been mapped by GPS: different plates moving different directions over a large expanse of time.  I have read Christian books pooh-poohing Tectonic Plate Movement, but this pretty well cinches the idea that such movement exists.  Here is the link to the GPS site of Jet Propulsion LaboratoryClick Here

10/19/2010

Dreams Sacrificed (Part 6 of 6) Waking Up In Life's ICU

In Parts 1-5 of this series "Dreams Sacrificed,"  I recounted the following:
(Part 1)  the Bible's obsession with sacrifice,
(Part 2)  how Judy and I had such high expectations for the future,
(Part 3)  how we began to realize those dreams amid controversy within our faith,
(Part 4)  how our starting a family caused us to take inventory of our lives and decide to sincerely pursue our religious heritage, even at the cost of sacrificing our original dreams by selling our thriving business and new home, moving out further into the country,
(Part 5) and finally after living out in rural central Nevada for three years, coming to the realization that we would have to move again in order to keep our children in Seventh-day Adventist schools.

This final section covers the period of time from 1984 to the present: 26 years.  We raised our two sons, built a dental practice in Caldwell, Idaho, enjoyed our family at large, and evolved from being a Seventh-day Adventist to an evangelical charismatic Christian and finally out of Christianity altogether. It has been enjoyable.  I'm not going to expound in great detail about this time period, because in my book, Surrender of Sovereignty, I explain quite a bit in the autobiography at the end of the book.  And the book also covers in detail why I moved out of Christianity.  So lets just start with the fact that after making such major decisions  based on our religious faith and then subsequently quitting that faith, we found ourselves a little battered and bruised facing the rest of our lives.  We did feel like we had awakened, not in some warm fuzzy place of truth, but in life's ICU wondering what we should do next.

Our dreams of security and retirement have been severely limited by our decision to follow our religious faith.  I have built a practice of dentistry in Caldwell.  But it has been in a remodeled old building.  My dreams of building a better office, like I had in Carson City,  have not realized.  I have struggled constantly over these 26 years to make this practice successful.  I believe I have built a good reputation, but the economy simply is not as brisk here as it is in more populated areas.  Having moved my practice 3 times has not been a wise financial decision.  And these decisions were based on our religious faith, not upon our original dreams of security in our retiring years.  I will need to work as long as my health will allow me, and then settle for a retirement probably much more meager than my peers. 

I know this sounds like crying over spilled milk.  But actually, I am happy and okay with life.  I have had a far better life than many, and I feel fortunate.  But I do harbor regret with regard to religion and its effect upon my life.  By now you know I see things more in "black and white,"  and if I believe something, I run with it, regardless of the risk.  You could blame some of my regret on me because of the choices I made.  You would be partially right.  But during the years I was a Christian, I sought God for direction.  I sought his involvement in the decisions I made.  I believe a book such as the Bible must work for every personality and type of person to be relevant.  It can't be just for those who think clearly, because many do not think clearly.  How could it be God's Word if you have to have a certain ability, education, IQ or station in life to understand it properly and without bias.  Jesus said that in order to enter the Kingdom, one needed to receive it as a little child.  And I agree.  If the Bible is to be the Word of God to mankind, it must be such that it can be safely used by the simple in mind as well as the highly intelligent.  An obsessive over-thinking sort of person like me needs to be able to understand and apply its teachings as well as a person who is more docile and prefers to follow the lead of others.  The Bible, in my mind, is like a loaded gun in a baby's hand.  It can be used for good and it can be used for harm.  It can make some folks lives more happy and yet it can bring disappointment and division into the lives of others.  It can be made to say whatever you want to hear.   Seventh-day Adventists make it say you should move out of the populated areas to avoid glorification of Sunday as a day of Worship.  Others see in the Bible the "sermon on the mount" where Jesus gave salient suggestions for everyday living.  Charismatics see in the scriptures an emphasis on receiving the Holy Spirit.  Others see dietary suggestions and restrictions.  Others see the need for God to test their faith.  Some, striving to have the faith of Abraham, literally sacrifice their children.  Some justify their odd relationship with society as being what the Bible calls God's peculiar people.  Some see the Bible as a reason not to serve in the military.  Some see it as teaching pacifism.  Others see it as justifying capital punishment.  Some see it as encouraging forgiveness, while some use it as justification to render swift and harsh punishment.  Some see in the Bible  the need to sacrifice their lives to God, and others see the opportunity to enrich their temporal needs and desires, reaping a harvest of success in this life.  When some read the admonition of Jesus to eat his body and drink his blood, they feel compelled to commit symbolic cannibalistic acts of devotion.  How could this book be for all believers, when it can be taken so many different ways.  Certainly God would covey his will to mankind in a less easily distorted way.

And in my case, I diverted my dreams to accommodate the founding beliefs of the faith of my fathers.  I have lived a good life, but I do have regrets.  I will list some of the main ones here.  If I had my life to live over, believing as I do now that the Bible is a compilation of the writings of many different human beings and not the Word of God, I would change these areas that I currently regret:


1.  I would have stuck with our original dream, stayed in one place and let my professional business bask in the success it was having.
2.  I would strive to be the best I could be, without the encumbrances and hangups of the ancient writers of the Bible.
3.  I would not go by the Biblical code of what is right and wrong to eat.
4.  I would enjoy learning basic physical sciences with an open mind, not viewing everything through the keyhole of Creationism, nor at the same time feel obliged to embrace any prevailing belligerently-opposite view to it.
5.   I would love to raise my children once again, not pressing upon them a predetermined set of standards dictated by people of ancient history who were unfamiliar with our present world; but rather I would enjoy teaching them to use their minds, feelings, and experiences to make wise decisions.
6.  I would love to see what would have happened if Judy and I, from the start, respected her wishes as much as mine.  Not seeing me as a tie-breaker, but collaborating as a loving, multifaceted team of equals.  Maybe we could have moved where she wanted to, instead of where I thought we should, subsequently coercing her to agree with me.
7.  I would love living my whole life without guilt.  Not seeing myself as someone who was incomplete, broken and needing a savior to represent me before a holy father.
8.  I would love to have not grown up in a religion that thought they were right and everyone else was wrong.  It gave me a dogmatic tilt to my thinking, always thinking that my way was right and superseded the opinions of others.    I think it spilled over into my family life, and I believe I squelched individual thought and drove my family's thoughts and decisions underground.  I believe it engendered deceit and stubbornness..
9.  I regret that religion has caused so much heartache in our families.  To watch our aging parents wrestle with their perceived possibility that we may not be with them for all eternity in heaven, is indeed disturbing.
10. I regret that the Bible, with its doctrine of tithes and offerings, has usurped so much of what our hands have produced, leaving us far behind the goals we once set.  I think the parable of the Sower in the Bible, which promises that seeds planted by faith into good soil (you if you're faithful enough) will bring forth a hundredfold harvest in this life, is a false promise and has robbed me of much substance in this life.  Paying a faithful "double tithe (20%)" for years and donating things like our travel trailer and my motorcycle to the cause when funds were needed by our church resulted in no noticeable blessing, but rather a scarcity of operating capital for my business. I feel ripped off by Christianity.

But now, as I close, let me tell you what I do not regret.  I do not regret being faithful to my inner self in seeking truth at all times.  I do not regret the honor of finding our way out of religion and restoring our personal sovereignty.  And now, with what is left of our lives,  we can enjoy living a life with more freedom and fewer regrets.

10/12/2010

Dreams Sacrificed (Part 5 of 6)

Isolated and Dreamless

Our Mobile Home, Toolshed and Print Shop In Fallon, Nevada
It was a harder life for us in Fallon.  Judy is a  natural homemaker, and when we left our new home out in beautiful Jack's valley, near Carson City, her dreams were restricted even more than mine.  She was like an artist without a canvas.  I like the desert and with a Jeep we were able to have a lot of fun times exploring the desolate areas of Nevada with our sons.  We were on final approach for Fallon Naval Air Station, so the boys and I enjoyed seeing the airplanes and roughing it like guys like to do.  But Christianity is a male dominated religion, whether modernists agree or not, and my wife was taught to honor her husband.  Being as persuasive as I am, Judy supported me in this move.  It was a sacrifice for me, but it was a bigger sacrifice for her.  And we do have a scrapbook full of wonderful memories from those three years, but we were isolated and we had sacrificed dreams to follow our beliefs.

But this series of Posts is not about whether we enjoyed life or not.  It's about Judy and my dreams and how they were sacrificed to our religious beliefs. We moved to Fallon because of what our church taught and we believed.  Many of our friends and family questioned the validity of this move. But looking back, I still think that our actions were justified considering we were trying to follow the foundational concepts of Seventh-day Adventism.  In this photo you can see our back yard.  The building on the far right was our Print House.  It was equipped with an offset printing press and all the other equipment needed to produce books and pamphlets that we sent to a growing mailing list of people in the country and abroad who were interested in advocating a return to the original teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist movement.  The point is that our blossoming dreams in Carson City were abandoned, and we put our hearts and families into doing this work of reformation in an effort to hasten, clear the way, and prepare ourselves for the return of Jesus to this Earth.

We remodeled an old home in Fallon for our dental office.  It was not designed well for a dental office, but we made it work.  Our business was slow, but we were able to survive on what business we could get, because we were able, with the sellout in Carson City, to own what we had in Fallon without encumbrances.  We home schooled our oldest son through second grade.  The emphasis in our lives was definitely on following the foundational teachings of our faith, not pursuing the dreams we had started with seven years ago.  During this time we sponsored several camp meetings in a beautiful isolated lake in the Sierra Mountain range called Silver Lake.  After two years we felt the need to put our oldest son in the Fallon Seventh-day Adventist Church School.  But by 1984, as my brother's daughter was finishing 8th grade in the same school, we suddenly realized that we had not foreseen where our children could go to school after 8th grade.  We were not willing to put them into public school.  Home schooling was not as easy in those days.  We had to fight the public school system all the way,  the internet did not exist, home schooling resources were nothing like what is available nowadays, and we suddenly realized that we had a problem.  Seventh-day Adventist Schools for grades 8-12 were not within reasonable driving distance.  Although my oldest son was only in 3rd grade in Fallon, we knew that we would face the same dilemma as my brother's family in just a few years.  Our dental practice was barely making it, and our reasons to stay in Fallon were melting.

Had God led us to Fallon?  We certainly had believed that we were following our faith's foundational beliefs.  Our early dreams for a successful dental practice and eventual financial security had been gambled on this move to Fallon, but we were willing to sacrifice it if necessary in order to do what we thought was right.  Our nest egg had indeed dwindled since Carson City.  And now we could see that we needed to pull up our stakes and move once more.  Our destination choices were limited to places in states where I had a license to practice dentistry that had Seventh-day Adventist school systems extending through the 12th grade.  And we wanted to stay within a reasonable driving distance of our families.  We chose to move to Caldwell, Idaho.  This choice was not in the best interest of Judy and my initial dreams, but was based mainly on our continuing  conviction to live in a rural setting yet have the ability to keep our children in Seventh-day Adventist schools.

I feel the need to give you, at this point, a short Summary before the next and final Post: Dreams Sacrificed (Part 6 of 6): Waking Up in Life's ICU.  Christianity, following the narrative of the Bible, has spawned many sects and denominations which claim to have the truth.  Seventh-day Adventism, by following the direction of its founders during the Great Religious Awakening in the mid-1800's who had developed a unique interpretation of the Bible and its prophecies, was one of them.  Our ancestors were leaders and converts to that religious philosophy.  After we both attended college and I finished dental school, our hopes and dreams of a successful life and secure future were high.  Though neither Judy or I were raised to be strict Seventh-day Adventists,  our entrance into parenthood caused us not only to return to our religious heritage but to endeavor to practice it even more diligently than our parents had.  This brought our dreams of success and future financial security into conflict with our renewed religious faith.  Thinking of our children, we chose to follow our faith, in many cases making decisions which did not promote or secure our earlier dreams.

10/09/2010

Dreams Sacrificed (Part 4 of 6)

The Dream Crumbles

Our dreams were right on course: happy marriage, successful dental practice, new home, and by 1980 we had two children, Jake and Zach.  Judy and I were attending church at the Carson City Seventh-day Adventist church.  We were concerned that we should "train up our children in the way that they should go," as the Bible advocates.

The photo at left is a poster from the Canadian province of Ontario.  It depicts what all Seventh-day Adventists fear: Sunday Laws or Blue Laws.

Cooking classes, stop-smoking clinics and health lectures are usually 7th-day Adventists' best foot forward to the public, and are usually the subjects people think about when a 7th-day Adventist is mentioned.  But once a new interested party attends one of these, they will eventually be contacted and invited to either Bible Studies or a Daniel and Revelation Seminar.  It's all in the name 7th-Day Adventist.  We believed in the soon coming and return of Jesus to the Earth, and we believed that keeping the seventh day of the week as a Sabbath of rest was the final test of loyalty for believers in the last days.  It is not often talked about, but Ellen G. White, the church's special messenger, claimed to have a vision that showed that those who did not come out of the other Protestant churches and did not join the Advent Movement, rejoicing in the hallowed sacredness of the 7th-day (Saturday) Sabbath, were in fact being led by the unholy influence of Satan.

Further, Seventh-day Adventists believe that, following mild Sunday Laws like those depicted above, stricter laws will be enforced by our national congress to honor Sunday.  They still believe that, in the United States, a national law requiring  honor to Sunday as a holy day, enforced by a death decree, will cause true believers to flee to the mountains.

Here we were pursuing our dreams and everything was going quite well.  As Judy and I wanted to train our children properly, we were perplexed in that our two families observed Sabbath differently.  We decided to find out what God had shown Ellen G. White pertaining to true worshipers and believers. As we did so we found that she said the following:

"We are not to locate ourselves where we will be forced into close relations with those who do not honor God. . . . A crisis is soon to come in regard to the observance of Sunday. . . . The Sunday party is strengthening itself in its false claims, and this will mean oppression to those who determine to keep the Sabbath of the Lord. We are to place ourselves where we can carry out the Sabbath commandment in its fullness. "Six days shalt thou labor," the Lord declares, "and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work." And we are to be careful not to place ourselves where it will be hard for ourselves and our children to keep the Sabbath. If in the providence of God we can secure places away from the cities, the Lord would have us do this. There are troublous times before us".--Manuscript 99, 1908. 21 

"When the power invested in kings is allied to goodness, it is because the one in responsibility is under the divine dictation. When power is allied with wickedness, it is allied to Satanic agencies, and it will work to destroy those who are the Lord's property. The Protestant world have set up an idol sabbath in the place where God's Sabbath should be, and they are treading in the footsteps of the Papacy. For this reason I see the necessity of the people of God moving out of the cities into retired country [places,] where they may cultivate the land and raise their own produce. Thus they may bring their children up with simple, healthful habits. I see the necessity of making haste to get all things ready for the crisis."--Letter 90, 1897.

I imagine that there are some non-Seventh-day Adventists as well as some Adventists who read this blog.  The former are probably thinking that this is preposterous, and the latter is thinking that they agree with what has been quoted.  But in 1980, when Judy and I lived in Carson City, Nevada, there were long standing governmental policies which honored Sunday such as the US Post Office delivering mail 6 days a week, but not on Sunday.  Nevada Legislature was having hearings on a bill that would require automobile dealerships to close on Sundays.  The Lords's Day Alliance in Atlanta, Georgia was pushing for more Sunday Laws.
It seemed to Judy and I that we should follow the advice that was given and move further out in the country.  So we sold our home.  We sold our dental practice and beautiful facility.  We moved 60 miles further out into Nevada to the farming community of Fallon, where we put a small mobile home on an islolated acreage of sandy soil and sagebrush.

Next: Dreams Sacrificed (Part 5 of 6):  Isolated and Dreamless

10/07/2010

Dreams Sacrificed (Part 3 of 6)


So far, our dreams were proceeding right on schedule.  After a one year associate-ship in California, Judy and I decided to build a new office building in Carson City, Nevada.  It was a calculated risk, but it was my home town, and I thought local support justified going a little ways out on a limb, even though we were starting from scratch. It was a wonderful office building for me, with a full basement and all new dental equipment.  It looked like opportunity was smiling upon us, and were very excited.  Business was adequate for my survival almost immediately. 

But shortly after moving to Carson City, our first son Jacob was born. And in 1980 we adopted our second son Zach.   An amazing transformation of mind and purpose accompanied our entrance into parenthood.  We loved our children immensely, and our thoughts turned to the responsibility of making sure they were raised well.  It seemed to us like it was time to begin once again attending the Seventh-day Adventist church in Carson City.  As we enjoyed these early years of parenting and being members of the local church congregation, our religious practices remained about the same as they were during dental school.  We ate meat, enjoyed alcoholic beverages from time to time, and did pretty much anything we wanted to do on Sabbath as far as recreation was concerned, except that we were still careful not to cause anyone else to work on our account.  At least that was the way we practiced our religion in Carson City; but when we visited Judy's parents, we would go out to lunch on Sabbath if they wanted to.  This was occasionally  their custom, and we didn't care very much one way or the other. 

The point of all this is that we were liberal Seventh-day Adventists.  And Adventism is not a very liberal religion when you strictly practice it according to the foundational beliefs.

Attending church in Carson City had its own set of problems.  Over the past ten years a power struggle had developed between some of the old founding members of the Carson City group and the Church's Conference Office in Reno, Nevada.  To make a long story short, we became sympathetic with a group of folks who were agitating for the Church to stop compromising its message in order to be well thought of  by other denominations.  We became self-appointed reformers.  This caused us to study our denomination's early history and to investigate in detail what Seventh-day Adventists were supposed to believe.  We found that modern Seventh-day Adventism had strayed from its original course and we sought to work towards its reformation.  Reformers are rarely well thought of, and Judy and I soon found ourselves achieving our dreams on one hand but becoming isolated  from our church in Carson City on the other.  Although it didn't effect our dental practice or finances, it did effect our children's lives.  We weren't sure that we wanted them growing up in a bickering church environment.  Going to church was becoming a battle.

Belonging to a small church like the Seventh-day Adventist church takes some degree of backbone and willingness to swim upstream.  Although its doctrines are founded on many Bible passages, most of Christianity thinks you're nuts.  From my perspective now, having belonged to a different Christian church for 8 years before I left Christianity altogether, I believe the Bible says so many different things in so many different ways that it is conducive to the formation of differing denominations and fanaticism.  And here we were, in a slightly unpopular church, in a squabbling congregation, trying to bring reform and yet trying to follow our dreams.

Next: Dreams Sacrificed (Part 4 of 6): The Dream Crumbles

10/05/2010

Dreams Sacrificed (Part 2 of 6)

 Dental School Graduation: A Dream Milestone

The purpose of this series of posts is to demonstrate how in my life, religion restricted and short-circuited my dreams.  It is not that I think anyone is particularly interested in my personal history, but I do think religion's effect upon my life and dreams could be of value to others.

This day in 1973 was indeed a wonderful milestone for Judy and me.  We had both worked so hard to accomplish this goal.  The future looked full of possibilities.  Our parents had been very supportive and we all celebrated the occasion.

But since this series of posts will chronicle the relationship of our dreams with our religious experience, I will note the following facts:


1. We were both raised Seventh-day Adventists.

2.  Neither of us was raised to the strict standards of the church's primary messenger of God, Ellen G. White.  This means that we both ate clean meats such as beef, chicken, fish etc. Both of our families were okay with outdoor recreation such as boating, swimming, exploring on the Sabbath day.  Judy's family was more liberal than mine in that they would go to a restaurant on the Sabbath day.  But my family, while they would never consider going to anything which required another person to work for us on Sabbath, were okay with tennis, baseball, football, skiing, etc. as long as it was not organized but just for fun.  So the net result of this was that at this  point in life we could see that our church's standards of conduct were open to individual interpretation.

3. Although we were both Seventh-day Adventists and attended church occasionally, we did not practice it much.  I remember going to the Santa Anita Race Track and betting on the horses on Sabbath.  We felt free to have alcoholic drinks whenever it suited us. But still, in the back of our minds, we believed Seventh-day Adventism to be true. We knew that when we started to have children we would probably have to wise up and get with the program.  :-)

Next Post: The Dream Grows,  Dreams Sacrificed (Part 3 of 6)

10/03/2010

Dreams Sacrificed (Part 1 of 6)

This is Part 1 in a series of 6 posts that I intend to share in the following days.  It will explain how one of my greatest dreams was sacrificed on the altar of faith.  I am not bitter about it, but I am disappointed.  It will be personal, but it is intended to underscore the 10th and 11th chapters of Surrender of Sovereignty: The Bible Is Internally Incohesive And Promotes Strife and Christianity: A Fertile Bed For Fanaticism.

Sacrifice is a major sub-theme of the Bible.  The story of Adam and Eve describes the disobedience, the fall, the imposed death penalty, the sacrifice to absolve the sinful disobedience, and the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.  You can read all about the story in the first chapters of the book of Genesis.

The Bible mentions a "Book of Life" in which God is keeping record of the names of all whom He intends to grant eternal life.  Although the Bible depicts the alleged virgin birth of God's one and only Son and his short martyred life to become mankind's Savior, it also records further sacrifice on the part of every believer:

Psalm 51:17 declares what God wants out of this human experiment: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

And in the New Testament of the Bible, more sacrifice is encouraged in Romans 12:1-2: "Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do  not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

In the following Posts, I will explain how my dream for success and prosperity has been restricted and significantly short circuited by believing the Christian Bible.  Part 2 in this series will be about my dream: to become a successful dentist and provide for my wife and family a good life with financial security.

9/27/2010

Psalm 91: No Harm Will Befall You, No Disaster Will Come Near Your Tent


To read the tragic story about the accident which claimed the life of Christian singer Curtis Chapman's little daughter, click here . 

I do not mention this incident lightly.  It breaks my heart to see this kind of thing happen.  I cannot imagine how difficult this is for a parent to go through.  But I have quite a few friends , who are Christians, who have had to deal with similar tragedies.  What about Psalms 91?

Psalms 91

9.   If you make the Most High you dwelling--even the Lord, who is my refuge--
10. then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.  

So what are the choices with regard to this wonderful Christian singer?

a. He was out of "faith".
b. God is trying him like he tried Job?
c. Psalms 91 is not to be taken literally, and God does not promise us a bed of roses.

For me, all of these possibilities are not reasonable.  First of all, the Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  So Curtis is a human being.  So what?  Don't tell me he was out of faith.  His songs are full of the opposite.  He believed Psalms 91 as much as anyone.  Secondly, I do not believe the book of Job at all.  An honest look at the book of Job and Psalms 91 reveal polar opposites.  And besides, Job is hearsay, based upon hearsay.  I do not believe it nor consider it reasonable.  And thirdly, the Bible does promise Psalms 91.  If somewhere else in the Bible disagrees with these verses, then it only supports my book's stance that the Bible is not cohesive and causes strife.   

I offer my heartfelt condolences to Curtis, his wife and family.  I believe Christianity is such a cruel  deception.  But, at least it ends it's tale with a promise of seeing loved ones again in heaven.  But if Psalms 91 was not true in the first place, I wonder if the promise of heaven is true?  





 

9/25/2010

Surrender of Sovereignty Now Available for Kindle!


Surrender of Sovereignty is now available for download at Amazon.com in the Kindle section, and can be purchased in many formats so that you can read it on your PC, iMac, iPad, iPhone, Android, 3G, Wi-Fi, and Blackberry.  It is also available with the text-to-speech feature.  Click here to purchase it for $9.99 .
  

9/23/2010

In Insurance We Trust?

Psalm 91

 1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
       will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 
 2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
       my God, in whom I trust."
 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
       and from the deadly pestilence.
 4 He will cover you with his feathers,
       and under his wings you will find refuge;
       his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
 5 You will not fear the terror of night,
       nor the arrow that flies by day,
 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
       nor the plague that destroys at midday.
 7 A thousand may fall at your side,
       ten thousand at your right hand,
       but it will not come near you.
 8 You will only observe with your eyes
       and see the punishment of the wicked.
 9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
       even the LORD, who is my refuge-
 10 then no harm will befall you,
       no disaster will come near your tent.
 11 For he will command his angels concerning you
       to guard you in all your ways;
 12 they will lift you up in their hands,
       so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
       you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
 14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
       I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
       I will be with him in trouble,
       I will deliver him and honor him.
 16 With long life will I satisfy him
       and show him my salvation."

I rationalized this for years.  Granted, mortgage holders require homeowner's insurance, and automobile lien holders also require comprehensive auto insurance.  But usually  medications, health insurance, long-term  care insurance or life insurance are personal choices.  And some life insurance can be rationalized off as an investment or tax saving device.  But in my life, I had to admit I worried about loss and risks. I believe Psalms 91 is religious hyperbole and is wonderful source material for making beautiful recitations, sermons and songs. But Psalms 91 definitely does  not say to do all you can do and then trust God. When I was a Christian, I used the excuse that God expects us to do what we can for ourselves, and then he'll take it from there.  But I think an honest appraisal of Psalms 91 shows that its intent is that, if you trust God, he will protect you in all of your ways.


It is interesting, that in the story of Satan tempting Jesus, which I do not believe actually took place, Satan uses Psalms 91 to get him to jump.  Jesus allegedly retorts to Satan not to tempt the Lord God.  My take on this is that, when the letters of the New Testament were collected, collated, screened and finally assembled into a book, this made a nice story to help people deal with Jesus' death.  It was also pretty handy for future believers, because now they can say "Even Jesus' faith was tested, and mine has to be tested also.  I will trust in God and whatever happens to me happens."  So much for Psalms 91.

Psalms 91 is beautiful, I'll admit.  It was my favorite Psalm when I was a Christian.  But it did not work for me.  I know there are many who have something unusual happen in their lives that believe it was God looking out for them.  But there are many more who have trusted God and not seen the fruition of their prayers and seen terrible things happen in their lives.