Vol. 5, No Miracles, No Sermons
[Author’s Draft of Vol. 5 Miracles Book; edited
by Dr. Woodbridge Goodman, 10/26/2011;
This version, edited as an Appendix to Vol. 1, Edited
TOO LONG 50%, to p. 13, 6/9/11]
Chapter 3, or Appendix
There Are Few Miracles Today –
And There Are No Good Sermons,
To Explain or Excuse That;
A Few Dozen Sermons
Excusing the Lack of Miracles – Refuted
A FEW BIBLICAL QUOTES:
“Shall windy words have an end?” (Job 16.3 RSV).
“Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?” (Job 15.2 KJV)
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing…. You will know them by their fruits…. Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom…. On that day” (Mat. 7.15-21-22).
“False Christs and false prophets shall arise” (Mat. 24.24; Mark 13.22 RSV).
“If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me” (Jesus, in John 10.37 RSV).
“He who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it…; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14.12-14-15-16; see fuller context 14.11-16, etc.).
“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness. For we all make many mistakes.… If any one makes no mistakes in what he says he is a perfect man…. Though … the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things… No human being can tame the tongue…” (James 3.1-2, 5, 8).
“He who believes in me will also do the works that I do…. If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor” (John 14.11-14-15-16)
For two thousand years, our preachers read to us over and over, parts of the Bible that described huge miracles. And we were continually read excerpted parts of the Bible that, taken by themselves, seemed to 1) promise we believers, many huge, spectacular miracles; even 2) “all” and “whatever” we “ask.” Until about 1964 or so, 3) in one sermon after another, in nearly every single church, we were continually assured that Jesus himself, for example, walked on water, and made bread appear out of thin air, in empty baskets. And then parts of the Bible were read to us continually; to suggest that if we ourselves become Christians, we would get all the wonders that Jesus did – and “greater things than these”:
“He who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14.12-14 RSV).
Based on a few passages in the Bible like the above, preachers or churches have until very recently, portrayed the Bible as picturing believers getting many huge, amazing, giant miracles and miraculous powers. God works huge miracles” we were always assured. And we were assured in sermon after sermon, homily after homily, that if we just believe and follow our preachers, or believe in “God” as our preachers pictured him, believe in their idea of God? Then we too, ourselves, will get huge amazing miracles. Indeed, preachers read to us parts of the Bible that seemed to suggest that if we followed our preachers, or their idea of God, then we would get “whatever” we “ask”; all the miracles that Jesus did, and “greater works than these.” So we were promised in effect, that we too will be able to make bread appear in empty baskets, and walk on water and so forth.
Huge wonders, “miracles,” were promised to us by preachers therefore. And furthermore, we were in effect implicitly promised that we would get these miracles, essentially, on demand: whenever we ask. That is, logically, if we are to get “whatever” we “ask,” then we should be able to ask for the power, say, to walk on water say, “right now” … and get this huge power to get a miracle. On demand; right now, today.
Huge, spectacular, giant miracles were described to us by preachers; and furthermore, ordinary churchgoers were continually promised that they themselves would always be able to get all of these miracles, and greater miracles than these; whenever we asked. And yet however, try this: if you feel you are a fairly good Christian, experimentally ask God to give you the powers that Jesus had, to say walk on water; then try it out. See if you can walk on the surface of your backyard pool, say.
Did it work? Did you successfully walk on water? Or not?
Over the centuries, many people have complained that they themselves, did not get all the wonders, miracles, that preachers promised. And so, the preachers and churches have had a problem: many people feel that the churches, have been making “false promises”; that the traditional promises of “miracles” especially, were simply, not true. Indeed, the Bible noted that even in ancient times, people “murmured” discontent with their Lords. Some people even suggesting that our holy men and their god too, were simply, false; they were liars, continually making “empty promises” that they could not honor. In fact, the problem of “miracles” is a major problem for Christianity and for preachers; many people today feel that they are not getting “full”y “all” the things that preachers promised in the name of the Lord; especially, not all his promised “prosperity,” or “miracles.” And indeed, it is largely because of the lack of many “miracles,” that many people come to believe that oldtime religion, Christianity, is just … false.
To suggest that parts of Christianity are simply false, of course, is an extremely unsettling, even Apocalyptic thing to try to believe or face. And rather than accept this Heaven-shattering revelation … over the centuries, our preachers have attempted instead, to develop dozens, hundreds of sermons. Sermons, homilies, allegedly Bible-based religious arguments … that would 1) try to prove that miracles are still arriving – even “all” or “whatever” and whenever we “ask” – in our own time. Or, preachers have developed dozens, hundreds of sermons 2) admitting that miracles are not arriving so often today. But then preachers’ sermons attempt to explain to us all, why we are not getting them.
Historically, billions of promises of giant miracles were made continually to all believers; and indeed, probably the main reason that people came to Christianity, the main reason Christianity was a success, was that our preachers were promising that those who believed and followed, would get many huge, wonderful, physical things; giant miracles and miraculous powers. And even if preachers at some point, began to back off making those promises every Sunday, still, those promises stood in church traditions and history (before recent effacements?). Yet the great problem, the elephant in the middle of the room of Christianity, has been this: many huge, giant promises of miracles, have been made over the centuries, to the whole world of Christians; and yet however? Most of us in everyday life, find that we ourselves – and even the very best priests – do not seem to be able to work most of the bigger, spectacular miracles. We ourselves cannot walk on water; we cannot make bread appear out of thin air. Though Jesus himself was described doing these things, and though we were promised that we too would be able to do all the “works” – or they said, “miracles” – that Jesus did, and “greater things than these”? Though we were promised this over and over by a million sermons … many of us found that those promises do not seem true. The things they promised do “not come to pass” (Deut. 18.21-22).
So what should we say, today? Rather than simply deduce that our own holy men simply followed a False Christ, say, our preachers instead have attempted to develop many sermons, arguments, that would try to assert either that 1) we are getting lots of miracles today. Or 2) if we are not, then there are good explanations for this: that God is withholding his miracles to “test our faith”; that God will deliver miracles later on, in Heaven; that God did not really want us to have physical miracles, but only “spiritual” things, etc..
Over the last two thousand years in fact, preachers and holy men have developed, dozens, hundreds, even thousands of different sermons, homilies. Sermons that try to explain or excuse, any occasional lack of miracles. From the time of the Apostles on, hundreds, thousands of holy men have worked continually, to develop – and deliver to us in churches all over the world – countless sermons and arguments. Sermons that attempt to assure us that nothing is wrong in our religion. Sermons that especially seek to explain the reasons why we are not getting fully “all” the miracles that we were so often promised.
Over the past 2,000 years in fact, billions, billions of sermons, religious speeches, have been delivered by preachers, to billions of people, all over the entire world. But the problem is? The problem is that 1) our holy men still promise us miracles, or stand behind the Tradition that promised them; yet still, many of us find that in daily life, no one literally walking on water today. The big, huge things promised, “do not come to pass.” And furthermore? 2) We will be showing here that none of the countless sermons that have attempted to explain or excuse this lack of miracles, is good or true. None of the countless sermons that attempt to solve the problem of miracles, is true to a) the Bible itself. Or true to b) honest logic and experience. Even the common attempt to assert that religion is not supposed to be about physical wonders, but is only about delivering spiritual wonders, like “faith” and “hope,” is not really true to the Bible itself, finally.
For these reasons, many people today increasingly feel that here is a problem, a “false”ness, deep in the heart of what has traditionally been thought of as “Christianity.”
Yet to be sure, finally there is one – and only one – Biblical prophesy/apologetic that can resolve this problem. Yet to be sure, to “face” the only possible, defensible explanation for the lack of physical miracles, is extremely difficult. Because it involves facing and confessing in fact, some new “sins of the church.” Simply confessing deep errors, in “all” our holiest men and angels.
At first this seems impossible. Yet amazingly, we will be showing here that the Bible itself tells us that one “day” or another, God is supposed to show us, that there were always in point of fact, huge sins and errors and false promises, even in our holiest men and angels. And furthermore, those who learn to simply, honestly “face” this? Will come to see a “second” and “full”er and better “appearance,” a Second Coming, of Christ. And God.
If promises of miracles were good, then no sermons trying to excuse the lack of them, are good; we should demand actual physical miracles, here and now, not more excuses, from ministers. Here and now; not yesterday, not tomorrow. Physical, and not spiritual. And if they cannot furnish them? Then far from continuing to believe and have faith in them, instead we should simply conclude that they are false. And that they and their false promises of miracles are the desolating “abomination” that the Bible warned us about. (Isa. 41.24; Rev. 17.4, 21.27; Deut. 25.16; Prov. 11.1; Dan. 11.31-12.11; Mark 13.14).
But if our traditional Heaven thus seems to collapse? Then right behind it to be sure, is the promised Second and Better Coming of Christ.
Why Aren’t There Many Miracles Today?
A Few Dozen Common,
But False and Evil,
Excuse the Lack of Miracles
Do miracles still happen not just in the past, but as promised, here and now, today? In our own time? For “whosoever asks”?
There is a simple way to begin to find out: just ask God for a giant miracle. And then observe what happens. What “comes to pass.” Usually, the giant miracle you ask for, won’t happen. Why not? Preachers over the centuries, have dozens of sermons. To try to explain why most of us are not getting all the “prosperity” and “wonders” that preachers promised to us in the name of God. But as it turns out, none of their sermons is really fully true. The fact is, there are few if any miracles today; and finally, there are no good sermons to explain or excuse that, either. Except for the single argument that we will present here.
In the meantime, there should be little doubt, that churches and ministers, historically promised churchgoers many, many things, over the centuries. And especially, preachers have promised us huge, amazing miracles. And furthermore, preachers have found parts of the Bible, that seemed to support their giant promises. Parts like these, were quoted to us by preachers continually, to suggest that God even promised us “whatever” we “ask”:
“He who believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do…. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it….” (John 14.12-14).
Anyone who remembers a few sermons from before 1964 – or who watches televangelists as recently as 2009 or so – knows perfectly well, that the mainstay of traditional Christianity, has been describing miracles … and promising them, to those who follow their preachers. Yet there has always been a problem with that: many ordinary churchgoers complain that they are good, and follow God … and yet they still don’t get all the prosperity and miracles that holy men promised us.
Indeed, one of the biggest problems in Christianity, one of the clearest “signs” of failure and falsity in what is called Christianity today, is the lack of miracles. Though we constantly hear of others working them, in other places and times, we ourselves don’t seem to be able to work them, today. Who indeed have you yourself ever seen, personally, really, actually, literally walking on water? Few if any people have personally seen anyone literally, actually, walking on water. Even though a million preachers have assured us that Jesus did this; and our preachers support quotes from the Bible, where Jesus seemed to have promised us that “whosoever” believes” in Jesus, would get all the “works” that Jesus did … and “greater things than these.” Even “whatever” we “ask.” If we are good and honest “witness”es, most of us will confess that we ourselves have never walked on water, specifically, even when we tried. And that we ourselves have never see anyone else do such a thing. Furthermore, this is a very serious problem: it seems to suggest to many of us, that there is something false, deep in the heart of our preachers, and our religion.
Could there be something false, deep in the heart of Christianity itself? Could the whole world have been following a false concept of Christ; a False Christ? At first, this seems impossible to believe, or face. And indeed, rather than face such shattering possibilities, what do our preachers do? Preachers of course, are highly invested in traditional Religion and its promises. Preachers are persons who have been devoted most of their lives, to trusting and believing the Bible and their own religious tradition; and they often make their living entirely from this or that Church. Furthermore, many priests and ministers like their very, very “high,” “lofty” social standing in the world, in their community, too. Therefore, it is extremely difficult for priests and ministers to begin to “see,” “confess,” admit, any “signs” of sin, error, falsity, in the core of their own religion. Indeed, we will show here, rather than simply face such things, and confess, instead preachers rationalize the problem: they attempt to come up with biblical or rational explanations, sermons, to explain any apparent lack of miracles, today. Indeed, some scholars have noted that many of the most popular, most frequently-delivered sermons, are deep down, preachers’ attempts to come up with plausible explanations, as to why we would ask for a miracle – and not get one.
Indeed, countless sermons have been delivered, for thousands of years, to billions of human beings worldwide; to try to explain why our holy men have promised us such wonderful things – even “all” or “whatever” we “ask” – and yet many of us do not get the huge miracles promised, today. To explain why many of us cannot say, literally walk on water, no matter how good we are, no matter what things we do.
Indeed, dozens, thousands, millions of sermons have been delivered to all the world, for thousands of years, by preachers. Preachers and sermons have in fact, filled the whole world with speeches and words. And yet however? Finally, perhaps they have protested too much; on closer look, we will find that none of the dozens of basic sermons, that attempt to assure us that a) miracles are happening, or that b) try to explain the lack of miracles, is really true. Finally we will find that the most casual experiment – just asking God for a giant miracle yourself, and then observing the results – suggests strongly, that preachers’, churches’ traditional promises of giant, spectacular miracles – and even smaller healing “miracles” too – are just not true. And furthermore? None of the dozens, hundreds, millions of sermons that preachers offered to try to explain that, is really true to the Bible itself, and to honest reasoning and experience and witness.
As it turns out, though our churches often historically promised us “all” or “whatever,” to “whosoever””asks,” few of us, are actually getting many giant miracles today. And furthermore? Finally there are no good explanations to explain or excuse that. So that finally, there is only one Heaven-shattering conclusion that the Bible itself supports, regarding the religion, the “Christ”ianity, that supported miracles.
A Few Dozen Common, But False,
Preachers’ Attempts to Deal with
Today, most readers will admit that they themselves, personally, have never specifically, walked on water, say. Many people, if they are honest witnesses, will also admit that they themselves have never even seen anyone literally, physically walking on water. Even though our preachers constantly quoted parts of the Bible, in such a way as to make them seem to promise us that a) Jesus himself walked on water; and that furthermore, b) Jesus also promised us that “whosoever” “asks” would be able to do these things; all the “works” or “miracles” that Jesus did (above).
This is a hard thing to try to face. So how do preachers deal with this? How do they explain it? As it turns out, there are dozens of common methods, techniques, and sermons, that preachers have traditionally used, to try to deal with the problem that the vast majority of us see few of these really giant miracles today. Yet surprisingly, we will be showing here that none of the many attempts by preachers to explain or deal with this kind of problem, is really satisfactory.
Consider, for example, perhaps the most common method preachers use, to try to deal with an apparent lack of miracles today: they just studiously ignore it. As long a they can, they just never directly, explicitly mention the problem, in churches. They seem to simply hope that many churchgoers will just … never notice the problem at all, it seems.
And so? The first method preachers use, to try to deal with any apparent lack of miracles among their own churchgoing parishioners? Is this one:
1) Preachers Just Don’t’ Mention The Problem. Most of the time in fact, preachers attempt to deal with the problem of miracles, simply by avoiding it; by avoiding any explicit mention of the problem: preachers almost never mentioning very directly, in any sermons at all, that people feel that miracles are not arriving today, in our own time, for us. Many a) preachers will speak vaguely of what they might call, euphemistically, “unanswered prayers” (see “prayer,” below). But b) preachers will rarely explicitly, pointedly, clearly, plainly, mention the fact many Christians ask for miracles, or prosperity … and don’t get what they “ask” for. And surprisingly, this simple strategy, works reasonably well: many churchgoers are quite uneducated, and quite trusting. And if preachers never mention any problems in their religion, some churchgoers just never really notice the problem at all. Indeed, churches today like to disguise their past history; in our own time for example, many churchgoers today, have never been told how many massive miracles, the churches once promised. Many churchgoers today have never heard that until about 1964 or so, nearly all churches all over the world, promised believers even, often, “all” and “whatever” we “ask”; quoting especially, John 14.11-14.14:
“Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do…. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it….” (John 14.12-14).
Indeed, at first it seems that the Bible promised huge things it seems. Many preachers told us to “pray” for miracles – and assured us that “God hears all our prayers,” and even “fulfills” them. While parts of the Bible itself, taken in brief snippets or excerpts, were constantly quoted to us in such a way, as to seem to have God making “truly” giant promises to each of us:
“‘Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these….‘” (John 14.12; cf. Mat. 21.21; Mark 16/17; Luke 10.17).
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go the father. Whatever you ask in my name I will do it…..; if you ask anything in many name, I will do it” (John 14.12 ff).
“If you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Mat. 21.21-22. Italics, mine).
“Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11.23).
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mark 16.9 NRSV).”
“And my God will supply every need of yours….” (Phil. 4.19).
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on…. Your heavenly father knows that you need them all. But … all these things shall be yours as well” (Matt. 6.25-33).
promises, of regular, reliable miracles – “all” and even “whatever” we “ask” – were once made to us, all over the world. By millions preachers and churches. And as we will see here, churches never made fully good on those promises. Yet most of us would say today, that those promises do not seem entirely good or true; many of us have been very very good, and they prayed for God to make a new car appear out of thin air, for our sick grandmother say; and yet no matter how good we were, no matter how good the deed is that we wanted, no matter how many times we prayed? Still, we ourselves could not get the giant miracles that preachers often pictured for us. Nor indeed, did we personally see or witness even the preacher himself, working miracles of the same a) scale, and b) type, and c) timeliness, that countless sermons promised us.
Any honest person who remembers even a few common sermons, prior to about 1964-76, can remember preachers, priests, describing giant miracles to us. And then promising that we too could get them. Yet any honest, intelligent person, will also usually confess that he himself, has never worked any such miracle; nor has he personally seen, live and in person, anyone else work say, the specific miracle of walking on water; or making a real, actual “mountain” move, just by faith and a prayer (and without earth-moving machinery, etc.). So that almost any honest person, would begin to suspect that there is something that is not quite right, deep in the very heart of traditional Christianity. Yet it seems that many preachers of course, are sworn to try to continue their traditions; and so many preachers, churches, try to simply hide from such things. To just simply, never face it, or mention it. And hope it goes away; or no one will notice.
You would think that this all-too-simple strategy, would never work; that surely many churchgoers would notice problems, with giant promises of miracles, on their own. And eventually some do. But surprisingly? Many do not. Especially when the preacher uses yet another apologetic idea or two on them; especially when the preacher for example insists that God ordered them to have “faith” in our preachers, even when our preachers or their religion seem false. But as it turns out, even the call to “faith” is also itself, not really true to the Bible itself.
While in the meantime? Preachers offer dozens of different sermons. So if anyone in the church begins to call into question promises of miracles … the preacher has literally dozens, hundreds of stock replies, standard sermons, waiting to try to convince the churchgoer, that he is not supposed to pay any attention, to any apparent signs of failure or falsity, in his own church. Especially, the churchgoer is not supposed to pay any notice, to any lack of miracles, in our own time, in his own life.
Among the dozens of sermons that preachers have waiting for the innocent churchgoer? Is say, this one:
2) Promises of Miracles for Us Today are True; and the Bible’s Pictures of Them, Proves it; It Shows That Miracles Happened in the Past. The main method that preachers use to try to deal with any lack of prosperity or miracles, in even very loyal, good churchgoers … is to simply ignore the problem, and hope no one notices. But to be sure, sooner or later, one or two churchgoers in an average congregation, will a) hear about promises of giant, wonderful miracles, or wonderful “prosperity”… and b) they will try to get these miracles themselves. And yet, they will not get them. A person will experimentally pray for God to make a new car appear out of thin air, in his driveway … and yet, find that nothing happens. So what does the preacher say, in his sermons or homilies?
Often, preachers will just read to us in church, tales of giant miracles. Then the preacher simply says, since the Bible is true, and it pictures miracles, then … obviously miracles happen all the time. But to be sure, this common sermon has two or three problems with it. One is that a) there are many ways to read the Bible; perhaps the apparent accounts of miracles, were really just metaphors. While b) in any case, the main problem here is that … even if miracles happened in the past, that does not explain why we are not getting them here and now, today.
The Bible indeed, promised miracles to “whosoever” asked for them; which would include people not just in the past, but people today. A preacher might next try to say that we are an “evil generation,” and so don’t deserve this; but we will find, in our section on the “Evil Generation” sermon in turn, that Jesus showed even the “evil generation” of his own time, the massive miracle of his own resurrection; and many other miracles besides. While then too? Preachers will generate still other sermons; suggesting especially that we don’t get miracles, because we are not truly good. But apparently we don’t see even the preacher himself, walking on water and so forth. So is the preacher, simply, himself not good? And if so, then why are we following him so closely? Preachers assert that “God uses imperfect people” to do good things; but that sermon too ignores parts of the Bible, that suggest that if we see many imperfections in our preacher, then after all, he is simply a bad person that we should not listen to any more. God uses imperfect people; but so does Satan.
Preachers to be sure, have countless “answers” to all these in turn. But we will continue to show problems with each and every one of their most common “answers” and sermons, here and now. One by one.
In this case? Preachers especially, love to quote parts of the Bible that seemed to show miracles arriving … in the past. But none of these sermons really answers the main objection: none of these tales about miracles happening in the past, or to someone else far away, explains why miracles aren’t arriving a) right now; and b) in your own life.
3) Now and then a few churchgoers will complain, after the service particularly, that the preacher is saying or implying, that God promised us miraculous powers, like the power to walk on water, or move “mountain”s with just faith and a prayer. But, they complain, when we ourselves try, or look around, we see that almost no one is really, actually, walking on water today. So what does the preacher say next? In such cases, the modern preacher has dozens, even hundreds of different replies; the preacher has whole workbooks full of sermons designed to try to answer this objection. First, often, the preacher will simply continue to try to ignore the problem. But just as often, the average preacher will simply try this common sermon: he will deliver a sermon that offers an anecdotal story. A story which, he says, is a true example … of someone getting a miracle. A story asserts that miracles are arriving all the time. Wendell Jones in Africa, they say, prayed … and the Virgin Mary appeared before him, and began speaking to him. But as we will see, a) even the Catholic Church itself does not insist that we believe in such stories as they are alleged to have happened in more modern times; even the story about the Virgin of Guadeloupe (sp?), and other apparitions. While in any case b) why don’t we see such things, ourselves? Here and now? Many sermons promised huge wonders to “whoever” asked. And we asked. Yet?
Preachers continually repeat in their sermons, Popular Stories, that Tell us Miracles Are Happening all the Time. Preachers here tell us many anecdotal stories, usually from other ministers, claiming that this or that churchgoer went up to them, and recounted how a miracle had happened for them. But to be sure, the Bible warned that many people were “fools” or “liars”; were unreliable “witness”es. So that we are not supposed to blindly believe whatever others say. Especially note, many witnesses of alleged miracles, like Lourdes, were children; and the Bible warns that disaster happens, when a child is our king. For that matter? The Bible specifically warned that priests and ministers, were often mistaken; as we will see here later.
So that we should not just uncritically believe what others claim; many people are, the Bible itself warned, unreliable “witnesses.”
So what do preachers say, next?
4) Preachers often try this one: “Science” Proves Miracles Happen. When one defense or “apologetic” for miracles after another, fails, what does a preacher do next? Preachers just present yet another argument; a new, different sermon. Indeed, preachers have dozens, hundreds of standard sermons to chose from. So? When a few people begin to complain to the priest or minister that they themselves are not getting all the miracles that he or other holy men promised? Then the priest will simply get out his list of sermons delivered in the past. And say, find the one that tells us to deliver one or hundreds of – to be sure, inadequately undocumented – popular stories of people getting miracles. Or if people object that such tales from ordinary folks, are not always reliable? Then indeed, we may even get from some preachers, sermons that suggest that actually, even Science proves that miracles are arriving.
But then after all, many of us know a little science; usually much more than preachers know. And those of us who know science, know that real Science, is not actually saying any such thing as what preachers and popes often claim. Science isn’t saying what our preachers and popes claim. The fact is, almost any real scientist would be laughed out of his job, if he backed the idea that supernatural miracles were happening all the time. Indeed, we hardly need much science at all to know that many promises of miracles are false; most reasonably intelligent people (if not many Catholic believers) know well enough, just from their own informal experience, that no one is literally, physically walking on water these days. Most of us know that miracles aren’t happen much; even though our preachers often promised us that Jesus did such things – and even though our preachers now and then quotes parts of the Bible that seemed, taken by themselves, to promise us that we ourselves would get “all the works that Jesus did, and greater things than these.” Most of us know that if we want a new car, we will have to work for it; it won’t just pop into existence in front of us, by miracle, if we merely pray for it.
So what do our preachers say next? As more and more people keep coming up to our pastors, week after week, complaining that the preachers’ promises of miracles don’t come true, you would think that preachers would eventually run out of steam, and just give up. And begin to honestly confess that they are not working the miracles that past preachers promised. But in fact, the churches want to maintain their own authority, their own “lofty” status in the community; and they do not want others to know that the churches often fail, and say dishonest things. And so the churches have always actively countering any challenges, any objections to their claims, for literally centuries. Indeed by now, there are preachers’ workbooks full of standard replies, standard answers, sermons, designed to give a preacher dozens, even hundreds of responses to common objections to preachers and churches. So that, when you go up to your preacher after the service, to ask him why aren’t you yourself getting all the miracles he promised? Here the preachers have … a rhetorical machine gun aimed right at you, loaded with hundreds of bullets. They have workbooks, loaded with dozens, hundreds of replies, to answer any given objection to them. Indeed, almost the whole of the ministry, is involved nearly full-time, in …. generating replies to objections to ministers and their empty promises. And after two millennia in the business, preachers by now have an infinitely long series of attempted explanations, excuses, or “apologetics” as they are called. But here at last, we are beginning to go ahead and answer, parry, the first two or three dozens of their most common bullets; furnishing counterarguments, disproof, of their three dozen or so most common sermons. So indeed, let’s just keep looking at a few dozen of their most common “answers”; as it turns out, none of their most common sermons, are true to the Bible itself; or true to honest logic and science. Or indeed finally, there is only one thing in the Bible, that really fits and explains this. But it is not an apologetic. Finally, there is only one motif or series of prophesies in the Bible, that exactly fits this the situation that many churchgoers now see: and that is the apocalyptic/Second Coming scenario. Finally we will see, there is no honest, firmly Biblical answer to the problem of miracles … except to say that what we are now seeing, is a specific series of apocalyptic prophesies coming true. When we see that promises of miracles seem false, what is happening is that the Apocalyptic Destruction of Heaven Prophesy is coming true: exactly as the Bible foretold, God is showing us that the whole earth was “deceived,” “under a strong delusion,” even in its religion; even in what it “worship”ed (Rev. 13). The whole earth was deceived by false religious promises; especially, false promises of “miracles.”
Preachers continually assert that popular stories – and even “Science” – assure us that miracles happen all the time. But to be sure, are our preachers reliable and honest? What happens in your own experience? Often a churchgoer prays and prays, and is very good, and follows religious rules like a child – and yet finds that he himself is not getting all the miracles that the preachers promised. So what happens next, when a churchgoer shows up at the rectory door, to ask the preacher why he or she can’t walk on water, the way the preacher promised? When this very common situation occurs, the preacher is ready, armed, and waiting. The preacher has a workbook, a rhetorical machine-gun waiting in fact; loaded full of standard arguments, answers, apologetics. And then the preacher begins firing one or more of these standard replies, “apologetics,” at you. Usually they are complicated enough, that one or two of them is all that is needed, on any given occasion. Yet? Though the average churchgoer is not rhetorically as sophisticated or as well-armed as the average preacher, here and now we will have begun to fix this. Here we examine the top ten or twenty or thirty apologetics sermons, the most common bombs that preachers like to throw at you. And here and now, we will begin to show a reader how to counter, each and every one of them. We will show that each and every one of the dozens of most common apologetics sermons you hear, is false. False not only logically; but false even to the Bible itself. Even though these arguments are massively common; even though in fact, they have for centuries dominated the Faith, and the whole world.
In the present case? Among dozens of other sly arguments, preachers will often assert that “science” proves that miracles are happening all the time. But anyone who knows real science well, knows better than that. (As we informally note here; and as we will elaborate, on our more detailed writings, on specific refutations of specific “scientifically-documented” cases of miracles).
5) Have Faith. Ultimately, even many preachers themselves begin to sense, that their own sermons are not quite true; that they have no really good explanations, for their own apparent failures; for the failure of promises of miracles especially. So finally? One of the most popular sermons of all, finally suggests that to be sure, logic and science and experience and observation of what “comes to pass” in real life, may seem to suggest that holy men and their promises of miracles are just false; but then our preachers assert, that God himself told us to … ignore science, and reason, and what comes to pass in real life. They tell us that God himself ordered us to ignore all that … and just believe, and “have faith.” And this sermon became so popular, that for many centuries, millennia, the call to have “faith” has become the very central pillar of what has been called Christianity.
Many people don’t know this; but the whole popular emphasis on “faith” was originally, some scholar has suggested, at attempt to deal with, explain, the apparent failure of preachers to produce physical miracles. When we pray and pray, and yet the promised bicycle, or helicopter, or angel, does not appear out of thin air? Then many preachers stress “faith.” A massively popular idea, which implicitly tells the churchgoer, in effect, that God himself commands us to ignore such signs of failure or falsity in our preachers and their promises; specifically, they suggest that God himself told us to ignore such failures, and just have “faith.” Just continue to believe, even when experience and science suggest that some things said by preachers, are just false.
In their continual stress on “faith,” the preachers in effect insists that God himself told us to ignore any evidence against miracles. The preacher is telling us that God himself told us that we are supposed to simply ignore it, when science and experience and our own eyes tell us that miracles are not arriving. In their continual stress on “faith,” preachers deep down are insisting that God told us to just keep believing, keep having faith in things like miracles; and that we should continue to believe, even when material evidence says our belief is false. Over and over we are told, that when the evidence of the “world” and our “eyes” leads us to “doubt” the preacher’s idea of God, then God and the Bible commanded us to ignore the evidence of our “eyes,” of “science,” ignoring the physical “signs,” and evidence that promises “do not come to pass”; we are supposed to ignore all that, and just continue to believe. Because God told us to, they say: God himself told us to ignore all the signs and physical evidence and science; and just believe; just have faith. Just remain loyal to the preacher or his idea of God … even when one piece of material evidence after another, indicts him of fraud. We are supposed to try hard to believe, even when the evidence seems to continually suggest that what we are being asked to believe, is false. And that the preacher himself is deceived, or deceitful; that the preacher is issuing false promises.
This idea is extremely common; indeed, today the whole idea of “Faith” is so strong in most churches, that we think of the very essence of religion, of Christianity, is “Faith.” To be religious, to follow God, and to be “faith”ful, are thought to be synonyms; to be one and the same. But earlier, in our books on the Science of God, we will have begun to show that this massively common sermon, the massively popular emphasis on “faith,” is false. In our books on the Science of God, we show that the whole stress on faith, a) ignores all the times that Jesus warned us that there would always be false things in our holy men; b) so that we should not have too much faith, but c) we should instead, always question, “test everything” in religion, with science and experiment; to see if it is true or not.
The idea that Christianity is supposed to based on faith, is to be sure, massively popular. And many preachers to be sure, will borrow from parts of the Bible, that seem to prove that God supports their stress on faith. Like the part especially, where it said we should “walk by faith and not by sight.” But in our books on the Science of God earlier, we will have spent an entire volume or two, showing that the Bible itself, God himself, did not stress faith as much as bad preachers do. And when we looked say, at this particular line – the “walk-by-faith-and-not-by sight” line – we found that our preachers had not read the fuller Biblical passage; read it fully, and accurately, in context. In light of God’s larger emphasis on science in other parts of the Bible, finally we looked closer at this particular example, among many others, that seemed at first to support faith. But then we noticed that a) our preachers did not read or stress the whole, fuller, more representative quote: they did not read on, to note that the text said earlier, that those who walked by faith, did so because they were “far from God,” and were blind. Because they could not discern God in material things, they walked on the basis of blind faith in authority. While elsewhere, b) God warned against such blind faith in authority; God telling us over and over, about holy men, holy authorities, sinning. So that indeed, c) God elsewhere told us to “open your eyes and see.” God finally stressing to us, that since our holy men were often unreliable, we need to open our own physical eyes (which Jesus often, note, healed), and actively discover God, good, from direct observation of the material world. Further, it becomes clear this often (if not always?) meant to open, not just some kind of inner “spiritual” eyes and sight; but meant more often then not, to open and use our literal, physical eyes. To observe and honor what physical evidence was telling us. Indeed, to all those many preachers who try to speak against walking by physical sight, we might note all the times that Jesus himself, cured physically blind people. Jesus clearly considering that real, literal, physical sight, our actual literal eyes, were good, and important.
Those millions who “walk by faith and not by sight” therefore, we will have concluded, were deceived, and blind, and were not right at all. They should have opened their eyes and at least read their own Bibles a little more closely. To discover the real message of the Bible; and to discover its firmer advocacy not of “faith,” but of Science.
6) Or “Test of Faith.” Relating to our churches’ mistaken emphasis on “faith,” as part of the support for faith, is the once father popular sermon, that tells us over and over, that if miracles sometimes do not arrive? Then that is because God is just testing us. God is temporarily withholding his promised miracles and prosperity, to see if we really love him, and
will continue to believe and “have faith in” in him; even when the wonderful material things he promised, don’t show up. God wants us to have lots of faith, they say; and God is just going back on his promises of miracles, for a moment; to see if we do indeed have lots of faith, and will follow him, even when God does not do what he promised.
But the fact is, this is a rather odd apologetic. One that a) assumes that God can go back on some promises. And indeed, b) as just noted above, there are other objections to the whole idea of stressing “faith” so much; God actually told us that we were not supposed to follow any promises at all too faithfully; God himself warned us that many promises can be simply, false; lies. Even promises from preachers are often false. So we were not supposed to just believe and “have faith” in promises. Instead, we are supposed to ask for empirical proofs that miracles are real.
c) More importantly though, regarding the “test of faith” specifically? Note that the word “faith” is only mentioned six or seven times in the whole Old Testament. While there it often refers to God’s faithfulness to his promises; not our faith in him. Then too? d) The whole idea of a “test of faith,” seems to be foregrounded extensively, one in the Old Testament; in the Book of Job. But there are problems with the one time it is mentioned there. If we read Job more closely, we find that the whole idea of a test of faith, comes about not as an idea from God, but the whole concept literally comes … from Satan (Job 1.6-11). It was literally Satan himself, by name, that suggested that God should temporarily withhold miracles, withhold prosperity from good people like Job. To see if Job would keep following God, just out of simple loyalty and blind obedience to his rules.
Preachers therefore, who have advocated the idea of a test of faith, and who claimed that “the Bible” supported it, have neglected a fine point, in how to read the Bible. The fact is, that the whole idea of “God testing our faith,” is indeed in the Bible to be sure. But preachers as usual neglected to notice the larger context: the whole idea, was an idea proposed in the Bible, but it was not proposed there by God himself; but was literally proposed by Satan himself:
“One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them…. Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless….’ ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he had, and he will surely curse you to your face.'” (Job 1.6-9-11 NIV).
Preachers love to cite this passage, as teaching us the “test of faith”; verifying that God puts so much stress on “faith,” that God wants us to remain loyal to an image of him, even when that is not resulting in real rewards; in more fruits, more agricultural produce and herds. Preachers constantly cite this passage of the Bible, to suggest that if we at times, don’t get the “prosperity” and even “miracles” that God promised … it is because God wants to temporarily withhold his promised benefits … in order to “test our faith”; to see if we really love him, and will continue to follow him, even when he is not immediately giving good people the rewards – the prosperity and miracles – that he had promised, to those who, like Job, were “blameless,” and who followed God’s rules. But here note that there is a subtlety in the text of the Bible, that our preachers have, as usual, missed, or deliberately edited out of their one-sided, misleading sermons. Specifically? Preachers love to use this text, to “prove” that God himself endorsed the idea of not giving us wonders and rewards, to “test our faith” as they say. But what preachers fail to note, are some warning signs on the whole idea of a test of faith. Preachers fail to note specifically – that it is literally at the urging of Satan himself, that God allows bad things to come to even “blameless” persons like Job; it was literally Satan himself, by name, that supported and instigated the whole idea of a test of Faith. So that? All those countless preachers who have stressed the “test of faith,” have really been quoting, have really been (inadvertently?) supporting, literally, an idea that originally came from Satan himself. (See also 2 Corin. 11.15; Mat. 16.23).
Indeed the person who talked endlessly about “faith” in the Bible – Paul – also confessed at times that he himself was not “perfect”; that he was even the “worst of sinners,” whose “prophesy” and “knowledge” would “pass”; while he and others – “we” – saw only “part” of the truth. (See the quoted words, in a Bible, Bible concordance).
So that? Shockingly, the Bible itself overall, never supported Faith as strongly as preachers did. (See our sections on God supporting Science, not faith, to confirm this). Indeed, the whole idea of stressing faith, was presented in the Book of Job as an idea, quite literally, not from God himself – but from Satan, himself. While elsewhere, God also warned constantly about sins and errors and “false promises” and deceitful “miracles,” in our holiest men; so that God ultimately told us to “test everything” (1 Thess. 5.21), even to “put me to the test, says the Lord” (Mal. 3.10); God finally urging not “faith,” but God demanding that we begin testing every single claim in religion, every preacher, with real “science” (Dan. 1.4-15 KJE; 2 Kings 18.21-40; etc.). To find out if it is good, or not.
And then too of course, we should always check our preachers’ sermons, against what the Bible itself really seems to say too; while here we found that as usual, our preachers are misinterpreting the Bible; and have ended up, as usual, following Satan himself. Quite literally and exactly.
7) No signs, no miracles, are required, anyway? To ask for them would be greedy, too?
You can note the sins of preachers all day; but preachers seemingly, never hear and never give up. They never give up – in part because hey think they have been commanded by God to continue to have “faith” in, and continue to follow, their own false theologies, the traditional but false vision of God. Even when those theologies are proven false, by examination of the Bible, and by empirical experience too. And so? Whenever we note even that they have mistakenly followed the words of Satan himself, still they have simply continued to blithely generate just dozens, thousands of more sermons. Generating still more empty words, to try to dishonestly excuse, “whitewash,” “twist” their failures. Specifically, when one after another of their sermons, their excuses for the lack of miracles, fails? Then preachers, apparently having no shame, just continue. Even knowing their earlier excuses were false, they – clearly having a “seared conscience” that has become used to lying or uttering things that seem clearly false – they just simply advance … yet another excuse. Among dozens, hundreds of other excuses, many preachers suggest that Paul for example, advanced one more interesting explanation for the lack of miracles: Paul seemed to say, many claim, that only bad, materialistic, non-spiritual “Jews” or Gentiles want “signs” (1 Corin. 1.22; “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified”). So? Only greedy nonbelievers, they claim Paul said, want visible, observable, physical results from religion. So that, preachers claim, to ask for physical signs, miracles … therefore is bad; it is to be a materialistic Jew. This argument complements the Spirituality sermons; (see them here too).
But of course, our preachers always misunderstand and dishonestly “twist” the Bible, to try to make it flatter priests; in particular, the great sin of priests is following or presenting just “part”s of God, misleading parts of the Bible; while ignoring the “full”er, overall message. In this case? As in essentially all these apologetics? Though part of the Bible for a moment, seemed to embrace this idea, finally, the rest the “fuller” message of the Bible, opposed it. And finally the details of this passage, open it to another reading entirely.
Indeed, there are countless arguments from the rest of the Bible – the parts that priests ignored, and disobeyed – against this sermon, and essentially all our preachers’ sermons and homilies. Not least of all: a) this sermon is rather anti-Semetic; calling Jews materialistic and greedy. Though God often favored Jews. But if God did finally abandon “his people,” as dispensationalists or others sometimes assert? Then still, and especially, b) we will have found in our books on the Science of God, that Jesus himself, and God himself, constantly warned that our holiest men and angels often lied. And therefore they told us not to have too much faith in them; but to judge even apostles, by empirical signs; by whether they came up with real, observable “fruits,” “signs,” “works,” “deeds.”
Many preachers try to quote parts of the Bible, that (apparently influenced by Buddhism and other ascetics in the area), desiring material things, “possessions” is greedy and bad. But while this off thought is seemingly presented, tenatively, in small parts of the Bible, finally any very strong anti-materialism is canceled in the Bible. By a thousand places where God makes the material universe, and says it is “good”; where God promises material, physical rewards to those who are good. To cite just one example of this among a thousand: c) against even the very spiritual and “faith”ful side of Paul, God himself promised many, many material rewards to real followers, from the days of Abraham and Job. While as for Paul and his occasional anti-materialist asceticism (bordering on Gnosticism)? Paul himself admitted he was not “perfect.” And that his “prophesy” and “knowledge” would “pass away.” As indeed perhaps they are passing away, even here and now, in part. Indeed for that matter, Paul Platonistically confessed that he and others like him, saw God and the truth only in a dark mirror, imperfectly, as shadows; that they saw only “part” of the truth. While indeed, we confirm here that priests continually quoted and saw, only “part”s of the Bible. Misleading parts, at that.
8) Miracles don’t appear – because you are asking for more than God chooses to give you; more than “God wants” for you. This sermon is related to the above sermon; and to the whole later stress on anti-materialistic “spirituality” too. And it is even aluded to in the Catholic Catechism (Catechism of the Catholic Church, c. 1997-2000 edl, paragraphs 2735-2740._ But note that this explanation though, is posed as a question, and not as a statement; as we note in detail later. Cf. James 4.1-3? Ff.).
a) First, by the way, note that this sermon, like many sermons,
assumes, it admits indirectly, tacitly, that often miracles in fact, don’t appear.
b) Then too? Of course, the main idea of this sermon is to suggest that even if miracles don’t arrive, it doesn’t matter; because we should not be greedy, and ask for many material things. Instead, we should just be content whatever we have. Knowing that whatever we have, is what God, in his infinite wisdom, has chosen to give us. But against this sermon, for sure, aa) many prophets – and for that matter, many priests’ sermons, quoting God himself – did promise us huge, amazing, spectacular riches, prosperity. Just follow our priests, we were told constantly; pray and be faithful – and big miracles will arrive. Even “all” and “whatever” we “ask” for. We were often told in many sermons. Quoting parts of the Bible, like this:
“Whatever you ask me, I will give you” (Mark 6.23; 11.23; John 11.22, 14.13).
“You will say to this mountain, ‘Move hence to yonder place,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you” (Mat. 17.20-21, Mark 11.23, 1 Corin. 13.2).
c) God himself often promised us many huge, material things; did God continually promise to us, things he did not “want” for us?
d) While in fact, if you read your Bibles, it would almost seem impossible to ask God for too much; the promises of Christianity have been big; stupendous; gigantic. We were all promised huge, amazing, big miracles. Not just a few miracles, either. Beyond “riches” and honor, we are told that if we follow Christianity, or our preachers, we shall “never hunger”; “never thirst.” Indeed, we are assured that if we follow our preacher and their idea of God, we will “run, and never tireHere is what the Old Testament said, to both Jews and Christians and Muslims (from Isaiah 40.31 and elsewhere):
“‘Ask a sign of the LORD your God; be it as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven.’ (“But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.'” Isa. 7.11-12; note God’s disapproval of the “not test” statement).
“They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isa. 40.31).
So the whole argument – that we should not ask God for very much, that God will just give us modest things, and not “all” the big things we often ask – or the sermon that is a variation on this – that we should be happy with whatever we get normally, because that is what God “wants” (see Catechism, and below – might seem to be the implication, of one or two mere fragment of text; but this sermon doesn’t fit with the entire Bible. In which God clearly promised huge things, over and over. God clearly wanted us to have lots of stuff. Pretty much what a normal person would want, too: God promising us more “land,” even “riches,”” bigger crops or “fruits”; longer life, and so forth. While God clearly indeed, often demands that we “ask a sign of the LORD.” Even a very, very, very big sign.
So what should we conclude therefore, about this particular sermon? Which tries to explain why miracles don’t arrive by asserting that God doesn’t really “want” material things for us; that we don’t need them? Or by suggesting that it is greedy and wrong to “ask” God for much. Here we must conclude that this sermon too – like most sermons and homilies and religious lectures – is simply, false. It is “deceit”ful. At best it represents what only parts of what the Bible seemed to say; it does not really reflect what the Bible said, overall. Since it represents only part of the truth, this sermon is in effect, best labeled a half-truth.
e) Indeed, though this sermon or apologetic – this attempt to rationalize failure in religion – is hinted at even in the Catholic Catechism, there it is delivered apologetically, and not as a flat statement, but merely as a question. “Are we” convinced? (para. 2735). “Are we asking God for ‘what is good for us'”?
Related to this, some people say – again quoting just misrepresentative fragments of the Bible, parts of God – that we do not get what we ask, because we ask for the
wrong things; to satisfy our “passions.” But to be sure, God himself promised us land, riches, eternal life, possessions, “prosperity.” Ask yourself therefore, why the Catechism advances this apologetic as a question, instead of a statement. The reason is, the Catechism can only propose this answer as a question … since if it was made as a flat statement, it flatly goes against about half the Bible.
f) Furthermore? You can ask for exactly, precisely what they say God promised us in the Bible – for the power to do all the wonders that Jesus did; to walk on water say. And yet, even when we ask for precisely and exactly the very things that God was pictured as promising us – and therefore God apparently “want”ed for us – still, what was promised by preachers in the name of God himself, doesn’t come.
Should preachers now say that God does not “want” for us, the very things that he promised to us all – “whoever asks” – constantly?
It seems clear that this apologetic sermon, therefore, is false. But even when one sermon after another is decisively disproved? Amazingly, preachers just ignore that – and generate yet another new excuse. Preferably a new excuse, which will be complicated enough to confuse and convince everyone … for at least a while. Long enough for preachers to think up yet another false excuse.
So what is the next one?
9) Miracles will arrive – but not now; later; miracles, prosperity will come … at the “End of Time.” That is, when a few churchgoers begin to notice that they are not getting as many miracles as God promised? Then the next popular excuse-sermon that preachers use, when the things preachers promise don’t arrive, is to tell us that miracles are not supposed to arrive “soon”; but they will arrive later. Maybe at the end of time. Or after death. Or in the “world to come.” This is a rather popular sermon.
a) The problem with this sermon though, is that in point of fact, the Bible often promised many real things, here on earth … and in a timely way. “Soon.” And so, this particular sermon clearly go against the many parts of the Bible that often promised us results “soon,” “at hand,” “quickly,” and so forth.* (See below). In particular, Jesus seemed to promise his resurrection or return to earth, the coming physical “kingdom,” “soon”:
“Behold, I am coming soon” (Rev. 22.7).
“This generation” (Mat. 24.34).
“It will no longer be delayed” (Ezk. 12.25).
“The kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1.15, Mat. 32., 4.17, 10.7).
“It holds promise for the present life” (1 Tim. 4.8; “and also for the life to come”).
b) While indeed, the Bible pictures people asking for miracles … and very often, getting them right away (1 Kings 18.21-40, and hundreds of other examples).
c) And what we are supposed to get soon, are not just “spiritual” things either; believers are pictured getting real physical results, here on earth. We were promised often very physical riches: more camels and goats. One example of this, is the miraculously wonderful “kingdom” of heaven on earth, noted above. The one that was promised to us two and three thousand years ago – “soon”; “at hand”; the “time is near”; in “little more than a year’s time”; “quickly.” And so forth.*
Against those who say God only wants small things for us, then, note first the scale, the size of the promises made to us by most of the Bible; the things promised are utterly huge. Then, second, against the sermons that say we were not supposed to get them soon, here on earth, note the dozens of times things were promised “soon.” And on earth. We were most often given the impression that they were to be delivered in a reasonably timely way.
d) To those preachers who use St. Peter’s excuse – “soon” means thousands, even millions of years – simply show the dozens of examples where things were promised not just “soon,” but also “at hand,” “quickly,” in Jesus’ “generation,” the “time is near,” and so forth. And we should show preachers some of the hundreds of places where God produced miracles immediately, after people asked. Indeed therefore, when Peter began suggesting that “soon” might mean thousands of years, either Peter was right, and most of the rest of the Bible was wrong. Or Peter was simply speculating; or Peter was simply wrong, or deceitful. In support of the latter point you might simply remind your preacher that Jesus himself did not seem to have full confidence in Peter at times: Jesus finally calling Peter “Satan” (“Get behind me Satan”; Mat. 16.23).
Often, to try to find biblical support for this particular sermon, priests try to use parts of the Book of Job especially. Job suffers for a while; and only gets rewarded later in life. Thus some might use Job to suggest that things, miracles, often take a long time, and are not supposed to arrive in a timely way. But simply note here that the story of Job is rather more the exception, rather than the rule; in most of the Bible, when someone asks Jesus for a wonder, a healing … he works it right way. Furthermore? Even Job got the things that were promised – and in his own lifetime. Mid-life in fact – when he had time to enjoy great riches and prosperity, on earth, in his own lifetime (Job 42.10):
“And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends; and the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before…. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold. And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-asses. He also had seven sons and three daughters” (Job 42.10-12. Italics mine.)
e) Therefore, those countless preachers who tell you not to ask for or expect wonders, in a timely way, therefore are clearly, not from God. Nor are they from Jesus. Who constantly promised big physical wonders, and produced them too it was said. Indeed? Jesus promised us “All” and “whatever” we ask, moreover. So that we should be able to ask for miracles “now” and get them. While indeed, the Bible often pictured people asking for miracles … and getting them in a timely way, on demand.
Against our preachers, we were often promised things “soon” and “at hand” and “presently” and “quickly,” etc.* And furthermore, many people in the Bible got their miracles, in a timely way; in their own generation. Furthermore, when we were promised “whatsoever” we “ask,” then we should be able to ask for miracles “now” – and get them, right now. Yesterday. Not just or even primarily at the end of time, etc..
If St. Peter opined that “soon” might mean thousands of years? Or even millions? (If as Peter said, “a single” day is like a thousand years to the lord, then things promised in “a generation” or 25 years … might be expected in 1,000 and 365 x 25 years – or about eight million years). Finally, Peter’s construction does not seem reliable or honest; and it is best to simply remember, among other things, that finally Jesus himself, called Peter himself “Satan,” in Mat. 16.23.
If your preacher continues to defend such usages? Then ask him how he will feel, if someone promises to give him a room full of new furniture, for his church, “soon,” for just $200.00. But then as the weeks and years rolled by, the person you bought the furniture from, carefully told you that “soon” means … thousands or millions of years from now.
Shouldn’t even a very faithful preacher begin to see some dishonestly , in “twist”ing the meaning of words like “soon” around, so much? Especially when the Bible warned about false prophets and priests, “twist”ing language around; and warned of other “false” things in languages, in the “confusion of tongues”?
If you preacher continues to insist that this is correct and honest use of language? Then go ahead and make the sale. But being sure to stipulate delivery “soon,” in Peter’s terms. Then take the cast … and do not deliver the furniture at all, in your own lifetime. Reminding the preacher that he himself accepted that “soon” means thousands of years. What is good for the goose, is good for the gander; turnabout is fair play.
Sermons Stringing Us Along;
More Promises – And Apologetic Sermons,
When Promises and Prophesies are Not
“Fulfilled”; Prayers Not “Answered”
So why aren’t the promised miracles arriving today, in the full size and scale and timeliness often promised to us? There are dozens, thousands of standard excuses that preachers use, to try to whitewash their own failure. There are thousands of false, excuse- and blame-laying, apologetic sermons to try to “whitewash” this. Or “twist” the words of the Bible around.
10) But one of the most popular ideas behind many sermons? Generally, the main theme of most sermons in general in fact, is where the priest assures you that if his sense of religion does not work – as when miracles do not arrive – it is not his fault, but yours. And then the priest outlines dozens, hundreds, thousands of faults he says you have. And then the preacher says that you will not get miracles … until you have fixed this endless list of faults. A list that gets longer and longer, from Sunday to Sunday. As more and more sins are located in you and others.
So that in general, the strategy of most preachers, is to suggest that miracles are not coming … but it is not our holy men’s fault, for promising false things; but it is your fault, for being too bad to deserve them. But what happens when you at last, fix this or that imagined moral scruple? And then look for your reward? Since preachers cannot make good on their promises even then, they simply pretend to find yet another sin in their congregation, that they allege, is holding up the arrival of the promised prosperity and miracles (of “your miracle,” as some televangelists call it). And so, when asked why the miracles have not arrived yet … even though we have followed the preacher slavishly, and have corrected alleged sin after another? Preachers simply … pretend to discover yet another “sin” in you; that you will have to fix, in order to get what was promised. But when you fix that one? Then another sin is noted next Sunday; and the Sunday after that; in an endless series … and an endlessly delaying technique. In effect we are given an endless series of tasks to perform for the preacher. To be sure, of course, this is an obvious kind of scam by preachers; known as “stringing along.” Then too, it violates biblical prohibitions on priests laying a “heaven yoke” or an endless “burden” on the people; since we are expected to find some new thing to fix, every single week, for our entire lives; without getting the rewards that the Bible promised “soon.” Obviously? This “one more thing” sermon, or “you are not good enough yet” sermons, are … dishonest. Sermons assure us that our miracle is just around the corner – but there is always just one more thing we need to do, before it arrives. Amazingly, priests have used this sermon, this obvious scam, for centuries; and even more amazingly, many billions of churchgoers never really noticed the obvious falsity and dishonesty and burden-some-ness of it all. Though anyone with any experience with the law, and criminal behavior, Bunko squads, will instantly recognize this sermon, as a perfect example of a typical kind of dishonest fraud, that criminals often use: this method is known in police circles and others, as “stringing along.”
Miracles are not arriving … because you are not good enough yet. This in fact is the general assumption, assertion, built into most sermons. But there is a simple refutation of this sermon: in fact, look around; it doesn’t matter how good you are, or what new spiritual move you make; no one is getting the results the priests promised. No matter what they do; no matter how good they are; no matter how they pray.
That in itself should be conclusive. But false priests are desperate people; desperate to hold on to ancient bad ideas, which they believe are sacred, and must be defended at all costs. Then too, they have been taught that blind “Faith” in past ideas, is absolutely required of them. While finally? Priests do not want anyone else to see their sins; they do not want to lose all the prestige and power they have over others; their “lofty” and high position in the “world,” as spokesmen for God. And so, rather than simply face their own sins, they have merely generated a thousand more sermons and excuses, to try to defend their beliefs, and rationalize their own failures. And they deceive themselves and many others with them. So let’s look at a few dozen more of their basic sermons.
(Related to this see: miracles will arrive … if only you do “one more thing” for the preacher).
11) “Evil Generation”: relating to both the “time” sermons, and the “one more demand” stringing along sermons, is this one: miracles are not arriving, this common sermon says – because you are an “evil generation.” The things prophets promised, are not arriving – because you are bad. You – and in fact, your entire generation – do not deserve them. This sermon is delivered frequently – a) even though Jesus showed even the “evil generation” of this time, a Jonah-like miracle … of his own resurrection. And dozens of other very considerable miracles.
b) Then too? Likely, the “generation” of Jesus’ time, should have passed a long time ago; Jesus in fact said that many of those “standing around” him (paraphrased), would see real miracles.
12) Not praying the Right Way. Related to all this too? Miracles are not arriving, this common sermon claims – because you are not praying in the right way. Even though experience tells us it doesn’t matter how you pray; or how many times you pray. Pray a billion people pray every day, a trillion prayers. Yet huge miracles still don’t come.
By the way, recall this one, from above: the claim is sometimes that God gives you what he thinks is good for you; not what you ask for. This sermon says that big miracles are not arriving – because they are not good for you; God wants to give you more modest things. But in fact, God and Jesus often promised us “all” and “whatever” we ask; not just what was good for us. And though God promised many huge miracles or wonders for us – and when he did, he normally thought of and named things you would usually want, too. God often promised “prosperity,” and “riches,” and so forth. Clearly, God often (if not always) thought they were good for us.
And so yet another preacherly sermons, ends up contradicting the Bible. Just as all the other false apologetic sermons do. The claim is ultimately ridiculous: that God does not really want to give us … all the things he actually promised us. Because he thinks the things he promised us are bad. But if they are bad, why did he promise them?
The Catholic Catechism evokes this sermon – but without however, in the fine print, actually using it. This sermon tries to explain why there are so many “unanswered prayers,” or “unfulfilled prophesies.” As this massive, key failure in Christianity, is euphemistically, obscurantistically misnamed (Catechism, sec. 2735-2741). But you will notice it poses its “explanation,” in a sly, equivocal way. Instead of just saying that miracles don’t arrive because God does not and other things, instead it coyly asks us if this might be a reason why. “Are we convinced that ‘we do not know how to pray as we ought’? Are we asking God for ‘what is good for us’?” (2736). This slyly evades the problem, by appearing to pose a solution, a statement of fact … which actually, is just another question.
The fact is, God often promised things, and thought of as good, that correspond closely to what people normally would want and ask for: God often promised “riches,” health, military victory. And evidently, he considered them good for us. Since he promised goods as rewards, and not punishments.
The simple fact then is, that the priests, God, once promised huge things – but they are not delivering what they – and their interpretation of God – promised. Further, though a thousand sermons have been cleverly designed to try to disappear this, to make this go away, none of those sermons are valid. None of them are consistent with the entire Bible. All of these bad sermons, at best, misquote and misuse parts of the Bible only. And/or they are simply flatly contrary to wisdom and reason.
It is sometimes implied that the only prayer – or request – that is acceptable to God, is what is commonly called the “Lord’s Prayer,” or the “Our Father”; or some other prayer, which does not promise miracles it seems; but rather tells us to accept whatever God wills. “Thy will be done.” This attempts to get to the same point: that we should accept whatever we get as god’s will. Yet while there is a kind of wisdom in this mild fatalism or Stoicism, its stoical implications, contradict most of the rest of the Bible; and run into the same objections noted here. God in fact often promised prosperity and miracles to us; clearly, therefore, that is what he “wills”; and you can ask for even exactly what he willed, and not get it.
If this stoicism is right, then the rest of the Bible – which firmly describes God as willing prosperity for us – is false. In recognition of deep flaws in this apologetic, this apologetic is normally advanced only very, very tentatively; not even as a statement, but note, as a question.
13) The Power of Prayer. Above, one sermon tried to find out why prayers don’t work; but then, taking exactly the opposite approach, preachers next – incongruously – begin assuring us that our prayers never fail. Because prayers are “powerful,” and “all” our prayers are answered. Preachers apparently being unembarrassed by the flat contradiction between this, and the previous apologetic.
To answer the problem in this form? Here, preachers freely contradict their earlier sermon that tacitly admitted that God didn’t want to give us many things he promised. Here they simply, flatly contradict that; here they assert that all prayer is “powerful”; and that God always gives us what we pray for. Because of the Power of Prayer is strong, even invincible, we are told. In this common sermon, we are told in effect, that prayer always works; so that if we pray, miracles will arrive; just keep praying. Because prayer is “powerful.” But this sermon of just simply ignores the fact that experience teaches us that it doesn’t matter how much we pray, or how we pray; the things promised by God almost never do arrive anyway.
The phrase “power of prayer” mostly comes from about the 1970’s and 80’s; a moment in U. S. history when the word “power” was popular. The phrase is apparently not found much in the Bible itself. Though there is one part of the Bible that tells us that prayer has “power”:
“The prayer of a righteous man has great power” (James 5.16; cf. Tit. 3.5, Ecc. 7.15).
And there are parts of the Bible that seem to tell us to pray a lot:
“Be constant in prayer” (Rom. 12.12).
“With all prayer and supplication” (Eph. 6.18).
“Pray incessantly” (or “without ceasing,”1 Thess. 5.17).
Yet the original meaning of to “pray,” in the Old Testament, seems to have been, merely, often, “to ask.” Many of the Hebrew and Greek words translated “pray” are sometimes translated, “ask.” And so commands to pray constantly, might not only be impractical; they might also contradict hints that we should not ask God for too many things, too many times. Indeed, the word “pray” has two meanings; including – as in “pray tell me this,” just “I ask.” In any case indeed, d) the original terms often merely meant “I ask”; and had no particular reference to prayer to – or requests, askings specifically of – God. Rather the term referred to all kinds of asking. Asking things of all kinds of persons – as for example, many different “lords.” Not just God.
The fuller meaning of many of the words for “pray,” include usages like the following:
“My Lords, turn aside, I pray you” (Gen. 19.2).
“Speak, I pray you, in the ears of the Pharaoh” (Gen. 50.4).
“Tell me, I pray you, where they are pasturing” (Gen. 3716).
“Pray, speak to your servants” (2 Kings 18.26).
“Pray, sir, if the LORD is with us” (Judges 6.13).
The word often did not refer then to formal prayer; kneeling down and praying and so forth. But merely told us to “ask” people and God for things. Perhaps after all then, we are supposed to ask other people for things? Perhaps not all prayers and requests are to be addressed to God? But to human beings, who can often help us more immediately?
Originally indeed, in Biblical times and for some time after, the word “pray” has a broad meaning that would include all kinds of asking; including asking normal human beings for help. In Medieval times, one might well say to anyone, not just God, “pray tell me sir, what is the weather outside?” Eventually though, in the New Testament and elsewhere, the meanings of to “pray” diverged, or narrowed. So that its meaning narrowed; and today, to “pray” has an almost exclusively religious meaning. The meaning diverged semantically – for all too many people. Into the too-narrow, special meaning … of asking only God something; asking him usually in private. But this divergence departed from the original meaning; which was simply, more or less, “I ask.” And usually, it included asking not even so much God, but asking any live person for help. So that perhaps in part, real “praying” should be shifted to asking other human beings or forms of knowledge for help, when you cannot do something yourself.
Where specifically in any case, did the stress on the “power” of prayer come from? We e) have found one reference in the Bible only here; above. And f) that single reference by the way, claims only that the prayers of the “righteous” are “powerful.” While it would be “presumptuous” and “proud” and “vain” to presume, that you yourself are “righteous.” While indeed, almost no one is really good or fully righteous, except God himself. So that this guarantee of “power” in prayer, for “righteous” people, does not guarantee effective prayers, an answer to our prayers, to many – if any – people. While indeed in any case, g) God warned that many sayings of holy men would be simply “false” and wrong; and that therefore we should h) examine all sayings attributed to God, to see if they “come to pass” in real life, and so are really from God, or not. While in actual practice we find that it doesn’t matter how “righteous” you are, still, many of the things promised by God – and/or prayed for by the righteous – do not come. Indeed, God himself said Job for example was “righteous” and good … and yet God allowed Satan to deprive Job, for a time, of good things, the things he had presumable once asked and prayed for.
So i) why was this suspicious phrase, the “power” of prayer, so popular in our time? If only very few people at best – like say, Elijah in James 5 – are ever righteous enough to get results? It came in part from advertising researchers, no doubt. Who discovered sometime between the 1950’s, or thru the 80’s, that among the many “buzz words” – words that attract attention and impress people – the word “power” was at the top of the list. After that discovery, on through to our own time, guides to resume-writing often told you to use words like “power” in your resume; while ministers and other people began simply adding the word “power” to their resumes – and sermons. Especially, m) as always, ministers and others try to use words to spin, appear to beef up, things that otherwise would seem weak or wrong; to beef up precisely the most powerless things (a technique described by Hitler, as the “Big Lie” technique; just claim in words, the opposite of what is true in real life; claim it often and loudly, and eventually people will believe the lie, even in spite of all evidence it is false). So this phrase the “power of prayer” was simply applied as topspin, simple lying. Using huge exaggerated claims, to cover up, “whitewash,” “signs” of a huge failure in fact in prayer and other aspects of religion; especially to make powerless things appear …. strong and useful. By calling them “powerful.” So it was too, with prayer to God. Which is normally, we find in scientific examination, quite ineffective. Quite ineffective, powerless, in making real events happen. Indeed, n) prayer is, if anything, effectively only insofar as it is a way of quieting one’s emotions, one’s demands, by settling you into rather autistic obsessive compulsive behavior, and in this was diverting you from precipitous real-world action; by telling you to sit quietly, and divert yourself to inner conversation only. Which can be useful at times; but is often extremely dysfunctional.
In any case, o) most churchgoers should notice, that this sermon – the “Power of Prayer” sermon; which says that our prayers of course are powerful, and are being answered – is obviously incompatible with many other sermons. And with much of the rest of the Bible. Where God told us that often God does not answer prayers:
“God pays no attention to their prayer” (John 24.12).
“Even his prayer is an abomination” (Pov. 28.9).
“Though you make many prayers, I will not listen” (Isa. 1.15).
“He shuts out my prayer” (Lam. 3.8).
Obviously then, praying in itself, is clearly not enough. And is not powerful very often, if at all, in getting the things God promised. Indeed, much of prayer is today identified with very dysfunctional cringing, autistic and obsessive-compulsive psychiatric disorder.
To try to further topspin the failures of prayer, next p) we have all these further sermons. That claim next, that if prayers often don’t work, then that is because we are not quite praying in the right way,. Usually preachers just assert that prayers are answered. But then they turn around and contradict that, by addressing themselves to the situation where they are not.
Then they q) next – and frequently – tell us that the things we pray for don’t arrive, it is claimed next, because, most people don’t really know how to pray. We are “not praying in the right way,” as they say. And indeed, parts of the Bible might almost seem to imply that there is a way that is better than others:
“For we do not know how to pray as we ought” (Rom. 8.26).
“When you pray, go into your room and shut the door” (Mat. 6.6).
“In praying do not heap up empty phrases” (Mat. 6.7).
“Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest’ (Mat. 9.38).
Yet once again, there are many simple objections to these additional bits of fine print, the assertions that if we just “learn one more thing,” as they say, one more refinement, then religion will work, “soon” (q.v., above). If we just “try a little harder”; or if we become more good; or if we give the preacher a little more money or contributing to his ministry. Or that if we just “pray in the right way” as they say now, our prayers specifically, will now work. But the objection to all these is that … experience teaches that none of the refinements work; no matter how we pray, or what we do, still, many of the things God promised – mountains moving; bread out of thin air; etc. – do not appear, or “do not come to pass.”
Trying to carry this demand for still more refinements and fine print, trying to tell us that is some specific prayer that might work, many, many churches finally try to point to Mat. 5.6 for example – where Jesus outlined the “Our Father” form of prayer. Where they say, Christ finally told us exactly how and what to pray (only?). Indeed, this specific prayer became fixated upon, by many churches: we are to pray the “Our Father,” or the “Lords Prayer”:
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men…. In praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will b heard for their many words. So not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
Our Father who art in heaven,’ Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts,’
As we also have forgiven our debtors;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil” (Mat. 6.7-13).
This is basis of the famous “Our Father” of Catholics, also called the “Lord’s Prayer” by Protestants; a major part of churches services worldwide. Yet it is not certain that Jesus told us to pray this; rather, he told us to pray “like” this. Using short prayers, etc..
Then too, even if Jesus here had intended us to pray the “Lord’s Prayer” especially, then even here, he only on one occasion suggested that this specific prayer or asking – the “Our Father” – might be good, it does not seem in the rest of the Bible, that this specific prayer was to be the only one we are allowed. Indeed, the rest of the Bible has many good people – even Jesus himself – asking, praying, in many other ways. (See Jesus’ prayer just before his arrest: for God to take this cup away, if it pleased God, etc.).
Finally though, here as always, the main objection to what ministers claim is that God finally told us not to trust ministers or angels, but to look to see if this or that advice from alleged, self-styled holy men and prophets from God, was really, materially “fruit”ful or not; while here as usual, we find that this specific advice from ministers – to pray, because prayer is “powerful” – turns out to be contradicted by the evidence. As usual, in actual practice we find that even if we do next pray say, specifically, the Lord’s Prayer specifically, still, even then, the things promised often do not arrive. Our prayer is ineffective; un”fruit”ful. (Indeed, God’s science tells us that far more effective than prayer to God, is “asking” real live people – lords and others – for things.)
Then too, r) remember that the Bible often warned about not only priests and prophets, but also specifically, sermons, and mere “words.” In general, the Bible warned, liars attempt to substitute mere words, promises, or sermons, for deeds (as in the “Big Lie” technique). We should not listen to sermons too much, finally; because they are only words. Instead, we should say “the proof is in the pudding” as they popularly say; and look to see if beyond heaping up empty phrases and empty wind and “empty words,” our preachers actually deliver real material things.
Eventually we are told indeed, not to accept any sermons at all, fully; but to demand real material “fruits,” “works,” “signs,” “deeds,” “proofs,” as verified by “science,” “test”ing, and empirical “observ”ation. Some preachers try to say that Jesus is the “Word,” and the “word does not return empty”; but that is mere assertion, until proven by deeds. In the meantime, the many, many verbal assertions and promises and sermons and excuse – as for example, the common priestly assertion that prayers are effective, “power”ful – are essentially just more such excuses, rhetoric; lies that attempt to should be regarded as attempts to substitute mere “empty words,” the “east” and other empty “wind,” for real material deeds, fruits. The “prayer is powerful” sermon, is like all sermons, mere words; unless or until, they are proven good, proven to be from God, by showing real material results. Which clearly today, they do not show.
(By the way too, even if Jesus did tell us to pray at times , specifically, The Lord’s Prayer … that does not say it is the prayer we should always say.)
There are therefore many, many objections to the “power of prayer” sermon. Here, we note especially Biblical objections; objections based on the Bible itself. But there are other – say, logical – objections too. Next, for example, keep in mind that s) assertions like this that prayers, requests for miracles are “powerful,” are strangely, logically contracted even in minister’s actual practice; by the other sermons that admit tacitly, and try to explain, why prayers don’t work. Here we should logically ask preachers this: if prayer
is powerful and reliable and always works – then why do we have all these other sermons, trying to explain why prayers for miracles aren’t answered? Logically, if prayers really worked, then there would be no need to deliver sermons attempting to explain why they don’t work.
That is, if ministers really believed that prayers actually worked, then it would never occur to them to explain to us why at times they did not. Logically, there should be no need whatsoever, for any sermon to explain why prayers are not answered … if prayers in fact, did work, powerfully.
But here as always, if one attempted defense after another of a sermon or promise fails, our preachers eventually win, by just throwing more at us. Until we are exhausted by the sheer volume of bad answers. Typically, for example, t) in general, as usual, to try to tell us the Bible supports prayer, including praying for miracles, ministers will misleadingly, dishonestly quote mere parts, fragments of the Bible, that taken out of context and by themselves, would seem to tell us to ignore all evidence of the fruitlessness of this or that religious action; and to follow it anyway. At times, for example, they tell us the Bible really commanded us to “have faith” in the sayings of ministers; including their command to pray. Even though the whole Bible is full or warnings about false things in preachers.
But especially in the matter of prayers specifically, preachers often misleadingly quote specifically parts of the Bible, that, taken by themselves, misleadingly seem to tell us prayer is required and good. That prayer is effective or compulsory. Like the following part of the Bible. Which indeed at first seems, as ministers constantly imply or say, to firmly tell us that the House of God is to be a house dominated by prayer:
“My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Mat. 21.13).
“A house of prayer” (Mark 11.17).
Here as always though, our ministers and Bible translations here are being deceptive. As usual, our religious leaders are quoting the Bible in a misleading, fragmentary way. First, a fuller look at the fuller context of the quote, of the rest of the Bible, and the “fullness” thereof, makes it clear that the stress in the overall Bible itself- or even in the immediate context of the above saying on prayer – is actually
not really on prayer, per se or as such. But is rather on loving all the peoples of the world; it is only to say that if you pray, the stress should be on prayer for or by, “all nations”:
“A house of prayer for all the nations” (Mark 11.17).
This remark has been misused by preachers; Jesus never intended to stress prayer so much here, as to simply tell us that if we pray, we should allow all nations to join in. And/or, our prayers should be for all the nations.
Indeed, too, even here, Jesus’ remark is not, technically, a statement or command at all; here Jesus asks of the statement, “Is it not written” that his house should be a house of prayer for all nations:
“Is it not written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers” (Mark 11.17; cf. Mat. 21.13, which changes this to a statement, not a question).
So really, technically, Jesus is not quite saying anything here; only asking a question.
In this matter of prayer, other gospels to be sure, at times, miss this subtlety … and simply go on to present the above, as a flat statement, not as an open question (Mat. 21.13). Yet perhaps for that reason, many scholars prefer the account of Mark, over other gospels. In the Gospel of Mark at least, Jesus, when he talks here about prayer, is not really making any firm statement about prayer at all; but is only asking a provocative, leading, but ultimately open question. Leaving the problem of prayer in fact, unsolved. Even by Jesus himself.
Indeed too, finally, if it is “written” that prayer is this or that elsewhere, at times, Jesus and Paul noted that things written in holy books, even “law” like the Torah, might simply be wrong, or fulfilled, discharged. As for example, when Paul told us that old “law” and “covenants” could be bad, or discharged; and Jesus himself told us that he himself was modifying old words, laws, scriptures; as he said “it is written,” but “I say unto you.” So that even if such things were “written,” finally Christianity cut itself off in part from strict obedience to some things in the Old Testament and Jewish laws, things “written” even in holy books.
Then too in any case, if Jesus here did quote and here support scripture, then note that in this case, he refers to the Old Testament scripture … where again, the stress was not on prayer, but on helping the nations:
“And the foreigners who join … my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Thus says the Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered” (Isa. 56.6-7).
In any case, too, note that u) while there were parts of the Bible that seemed, taken by themselves and out of context, to stress prayer, other parts tell us that often God ignores our prayers. Especially, say, public prayers in churches. So that in effect, (as noted in connection with “righteous”ness above), most prayers in themselves, are by far not enough to be good. Said the Bible itself.
Indeed in many cases, the Bible says that prayers are not good enough. For many reasons. Among others: Jesus himself, and others, after all, might not be supporting your prayers.
So here are some quotes in the Bible, against prayer:
“I do not say to you that I shall pray the father” (John 16.26).
“I am not praying for the world” (John 17.9).
“My spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful” (1 Corin. 14.14).
To try to deal with, cover up, explain, rationalize the chronic failure of their prayers, their chronic and manifest powerlessness, ministers have over the years, generated dozens, even millions, of excuse sermons. Among other things, finally they might tell us that prayer would be effective … if only we discover the right kind of prayer. And they will suggest, endlessly, an infinite regress of different kinds of prayers (combined with various actions and qualifies); then finally, they say, one day “soon,” we will get what was promised. Yet again finally, the objection is that we all have tried one refinement after another … and yet, experience taught us that nothing worked; no matter how we prayed, no matter whether we prayed for exactly what God promised, no matter how good we were, no matter what we did, still the things promised by holy men – and allegedly “God,” through angels – “did not come to pass.” So that finally, the only honest and good conclusion, is that those promises were not really from God at all.
No doubt, v) there might be some marginal utility in prayer; in that any inner dialogue or moment of reflection and thinking – including a moment with your gods or God – can be useful. In that inner dialogue, thinking, is at times preferable to precipitous and ill-considered action. Just sitting down and thinking, listening to an inner dialogue – including thoughtful, meditative prayer – is of course, better than rushing off into ill-considered, imprudent actions. Yet here, prayer is useful then, not for what it causes to happen in the world; but from what it causes not too happen. Preventing rash and precipitous lustful men, from acting too quickly, on their emotions.
Finally though, in any case, prayer is not as good as advertised by ministers. And indeed, by now, even most ministers secretly know that praying for miracles, is incredibly weak and … un-powerful.
Ministers though are not strong on formal logic or honesty, or honest, scientific observation of real material fruits. So, when the “absolutely reliable” or “holy” and “powerful” things they powerfully, powerfully advocated, don’t work, our “powerful” holy men seemingly, rarely even notice. Or they just blithely move on to generating an endless series of sermons, facile. Generating mere excuses for the lack of real fruits from prayer.
Among the most common false sermons, of course, has been this one: the assertion that “the Bible told us” that prayers are “power”ful; and that therefore, we should pray lots and lots. But we have just found out here that as usual, our holy men are wrong; though the Bible seemed at times, in parts, to say that, an examination of the “full”er Bible, shows that even the Bible itself, did not express such firm confidence in the “power” of prayer. Unless your righteousness exceeds that of not only the Pharisees (q.v.), but also most Christians, evidentially, your prayers will not work. While indeed, no matter how good you are, experience and science teach prayers almost never work quite as good as our holy men advertised and constantly proclaimed.
But if we show that one common sermon is false, then our ministers eventually won, simply by the sheer volume of false statements; which present an endless morass. And so let us go on to consider more of the millions of excuses preachers deliver, to try to explain their own inadequacy; specifically, to try to excuse their inability to furnish the miracles they constantly and firmly promised us.
14) Give Money, Tithes – and Then Miracles Will Arrive. Overall though, the main strategy of the false sermons that have “enchanted,” hypnotized the whole world for 2,000 years … has been indeed, the “Just Do One More Thing – and Then the Miracles Will arrive” fraud. This idea is actually the overall, main method that preachers use, to infinitely stall all objections to the lack of many miracles today. In particular, though, the “one more thing” that preachers favor most, is not just say, learning to “pray” in a better way; since indeed, many think most prayers work. Rather instead, preachers love particularly to suggest that the particular one more thing, that you especially need to do, to get your miracles is – guess what – given lots of money to you preacher, and/or his church.
The “just one more thing you need to do,” or the “stringing-along” fraud, is the root fraud behind most sermons that attempt to excuse preachers’ lack of miracles; to explain why it is we did one thing after another, that they told us to do… and yet still the promised miracles do not arrive. To try to explain this, they tell us, implicitly from one sermon to another, that miracles will come, if only we do just one more thing. If we only just a) go to and follow one more sermon; or b) just “try a little harder”; or c) if we become more good; or d) if we just at last find the magic words, and somehow pray the right way; or if we d) give the preacher a little more money, or contribute to his ministry. Then, they say, miracles will finally arrive. And when they never arrive? Then our preachers “discover” yet another alleged moral scruple we failed to observe. While since their list of sins is endless? Therefore – preachers think – they are absolved from ever having to deliver anything at all. Even though on other occasions, in other contexts, they inconcistently insist that God “uses” and “helps” even undeserving people.
But another main objection to this general kind of “one more thing you need to do” scams, again, aside from the fact that it amounts to a clear example of criminal fraud, is that … the Bible warned that there are many false promises in religion, in holy men. And it told us that rather than trust their promises, their mere words – which are often just hot air; delaying tactics; lies – we should look to see if they actually produce real material goods, live and in person, in this world. Furthermore, we are finding, the Bible told us that they are supposed to produce real material, physical goods; “fruits,” “works,” “signs,” “deeds,” and “proofs.” And produce them in a timely way; “soon” and “at hand” and “quickly,” and even on demand, usually; most often. While in any case? Priests are not supposed to become our oppressors, and to simply heap one demand after another, upon us, before delivering what they promise. But experience, the record of what “comes to pass” in real life, teaches us that no matter how good we are, no matter how many new things we do for the preacher, and his idea of God, still, the things promised do not show up in any realistic, timely way. So that finally, the preachers’ endless string of Sunday sermons, always demanding some new things we must do, some new moral scruple we must meet, is in effect, our preachers adding too many “burdens,” to our “yoke”; whereas God said that priests should never do that. If God said his “yoke” is never too heavy? Then that can be read a second way: as telling us that if a yoke is too heavy … then it is not really a demand from God. But rather, enslaving, manipulative false priests and false religious leaders, eager to simply control us by any means – any lie – possible. They do this to control us … and get money out of us.
Especially, Give More Money to the Preacher and the Church, they say; more “Tithes” and “Contributions,” More “Seed Money. Read the Fine Print in the Bible they say; notice the latest new scruple of the week. Miracles will come eventually … but first, Do Just One More Thing for the preacher. Jump thru Just One More Hoop; give the preacher one more concession. But especially and most of all: Give More Money to the Preacher. Then Miracles Will Come. And if they don’t? Then just … give still more money. Indeed, give “all you have” to the preacher. And if you then die of exposure and starvation, and poverty? Then the preacher assures you that dying in poverty is good; to “die is gain.” (As Paul generously averred). So that? The clock has gone full circle, or turned into is own reverse. The very religion that begins, promising you long “life,” “riches,” wonders, ends by telling you that was all just metaphors; that what you really get, is premature death …and being told to like it.
It is hard to imagine a more Satanic thing, than that; the very core of priestly values.
The “Give More Money” as it turns out, is one third true … but two thirds false. Furthermore, it is not only mostly false; it is even physically deadly. As just noted, here.
Preachers asking you for more and more money, sacrifices, and so forth, really amount to just another example of a common form of priestly deception. Which can be found in many elements of society. It is a form of fraud, well known to police and lawyers, called “stringing along.” A dishonest person, who has not furnished what he promised in the past, will simply try to delay you, and tell you that admittedly what was promised by him did not show up, but you just need to do just one more thing, this week – and then your miracle will arrive. Soon. But then, when time passes, and it still doesn’t arrive, and you complain about it, then he tells you, that you need to do just one more thing; and then he says, what was promised will happen. But then when you do that, and it doesn’t arrive, he simply comes up with one more thing. One more thing that you need to do; and then he says, he will deliver. But this goes on, forever. With the dishonest person generating one excuse after another, one more requirement after another. While experience teaches smart people, who have attained Judgement, that in point of fact, some promises of ministers are not good at all; they are clearly just delaying tactics, lies and persiflage. Worse, their lies often damage and even kill people. While next, spiritual preachers assure you that physically dying is … good. Since it frees your immortal spirit to go to heaven. Though we will find great sins with that sermon, in turn (in our remarks, from James 2.14-26, on the physically deadly side of Spirituality).
This particular false sermon, has been particularly effective; among other things, this form of Stringing Along, keeps the people coming back to church, week after week, year after year; in the belief and expectation, that … the next imagined scruple we meet, will be the one that at last, makes it all come true. Even though experience teaches anyone who can see, that it doesn’t matter how many of these new demands you meet; no one at all today, is walking on water. Or making bread appear out of thin air. Clearly, these demands are false.
But indeed, this is a clever scam. And it succeeded in fooling the whole earth. Indeed, many billions of people are tricked into attending bad churches for years, by this one; always being told that just one more thing, one more week, and your miracle will appear. And this goes on for years; even, a lifetime. Many are taken in, by this one. Indeed, this is probably the most effective false sermon in the repertoire; the one that is the bread and butter of false churches; the one that keeps them coming back, week after week. This is the one that keeps the rubes coming back week after week – and leaving money in the collection plate. In the hope that the next magical mystery spiritual move or dance step, will finally be the one that does it.
The request for more money, more contributions, in particular, is the greatest lie in churches. This is how dishonest churches keep going; this is where they get the money they need to continue. So that this particular “One More Thing,” as we might call it – requesting one more dollar – is one of the most dishonest and most deadly of all sermons. This is the one that finances and sustains, all the dishonest churches in the world. This lie is where and how they get their money, their material support. By this particularly, Satanically dishonest type of sermon. One that deliberately traps us in the web of an infinite regress. (See the Bible on the “snare” of “one precept” upon another). This is how false preachers fund their evil operations.
But among other things? If the list is so long, that no one can fulfill it, then the old promises are probably false. Or they are certainly after all, moot.
Not only are they false or moot; they are incredibly evil. As just noted. We are being strung along, endlessly, for money, and our slavish obedience. And? Finally, we are even expected to sacrifice our very lives, for all that. Preachers take all our money … as we are even told that “poverty,” and even “death,” are good. But if money is the root of all evil … then why do preachers and tax collectors constantly ask for it? In their collection plates?
More Slippery Sermons
15) Preachers’ sermons play many word games; semantic tricks; they do much word “twist”ing. But one of the slipperiest concepts in preachers’ theology, is the concept of “Grace.” Which is extremely indirect and sly. But briefly, the concept of Grace is used to explain why God at times seems to not punish the wicked, as he promised, but allows them to continue. When a) some bad people don’t get punished in a timely way by God – or b) when people who seem undeserving, seem get more wonders than they deserve – that is because of God’s “Grace.” God, they say, is good enough to “grace”fully give people who don’t fully deserve rewards, more than they deserve. Out of the goodness of his heart.
Typically therefore, the concept of Grace is used to try to explain why people who don’t appear to be good, nevertheless, get prosperity, and riches. The concept of Grace suggests that
God is having mercy on the evil and the undeserving; he is being “gracious” one might say. He is not punishing evil people, but is rewarding them with rewards. Though at first this sound awful – God rewarding the evil – preachers have managed to make this seem plausible to many; reminding us that technically, no human being is ever really fully “good“; all of us have sinned. And therefore, technically, perhaps none of us deserve any rewards; we all really deserve punishment, they sometimes say. So that, it is next claimed, no humans would ever get benefits from the Lord, if he gave to us according to our merits. Therefore, we should all be greatful therefore, if at times God gives apparently undeserved good things, rewards, to bad people.
Preachers have here almost cleverly managed to make the injustice of the world and of religion, plausible. Here they attempted to explain why sometimes good things happen to bad people. Or for that matter, as this is relevant here in the question of no miracles? Grace might also somehow explain the opposite situation, the situation that concerns us here: why is it that c) God does not give good people the rewards – the prosperity and miracles – that he promised them? Why those people who are good, sometimes don’t get rewards. Why is it that sometimes good people don’t get the “prosperity” or “miracles” that God is said to have promised them? Why do bad things – poverty, lack of wonders – happen to “good” people? In the present sermon, the concept of “Grace” is used to slyly cover this. But c) here we will note especially that it does not cover it very well. Should we really say that it is “grace”ful … for God to reward the wicked, and deprive the good of the things he promised?
The concept of “Grace” has stood for some time; because it is very, very slippery. It is a rather hard concept to grasp – and therefore, hard to put down firmly. Perhaps this is why preachers love it; it seems all but impossible to pin down or even define; and so it is hard to refute therefore, too. But perhaps we are making it clearer, “plain”er, here at last. The general problem that the concept of “Grace” attempts to answer, is this one: God himself, in many covenants or contracts with his people, often promised to punish the wicked, and reward the good. But the problem is that even in the Bible itself, people often complained that God does not seem to make good on those promises and threats, on his blessings and curses: often, they complain, evil people flourish; while those who follow God, are not rewarded, but instead experience poverty and pain (as say, Job did for a time). In c) the case of miracles, the concept of “Grace” might conceivably be vaguely invoked, turned around, to also try to explain God’s apparent injustice: why some people are very, very good … and yet they aren’t getting all the wonders, the miracles, that God promised to good people; it is because of the “Grace” of God. God not only gives good things to bad people, evil people sometimes “flourish” for a time; but he also desprives good people of their just rewards; according to “Grace.”
But anyone should be able to begin to intuit, that there are many, many obvious problems, with the whole idea of “Grace” in general. In a way, it seems like an attempt to rationalize failure and injustice in our religious systems. As most sermons are.
But perhaps we should note first of all, that any parts of the Bible that seem at first to support “Grace,” are finally contradicted by other parts. Indeed, the main, core idea of the Bible, contradicts the whole concept of “Grace.”
a) Perhaps the core idea of the Bible, the core promise from God, was a series of contracts or “covenants” between the Lord and his people; in which God tells us to follow him; and promises to punish those who do not follow him, and reward those who do follow him. This series of covenants or contracts, is the basic core of Judeo-Christianity: be good, and God rewards you; be bad, and God punishes you. But the concept of “Grace” slyly hints that God often … violates these core promises – and that it is good that he does so! It asserts especially that God gracefully gives undeserved things to bad people. And it asserts that this is good; since none of us is fully good. But here, incredibly, the sermons advocating “Grace,” therefore turn on, deny, go against, the main idea of God and the Bible; the whole idea that we are to follow God and be “good” in that way … to get rewards. And the concomitant side of that: because God will not reward, but will punish, bad prople.
Therefore, what should we say about sermons that support ideas, like the concept of “Grace”? What should we now say about the “Grace”ful sermons and ministers … that insist God just ignores his core promises and threats? That says that God metes out rewards and punishments according to his own “grace” or will, irrespective of our merits? What we should very, very clearly say is that any such argument conflicts with – in fact the concept of “Grace” actively opposes – the core promise of the Bible and God: the concept of Grace opposes the covenants. The countless parts of the Bible which insisted, over and over that God is supposed to give people who are good and follow his rules, rewards; and punish those who don’t. Indeed, the whole concept of “Grace” looks rather like another Satanically sly effort to try to cancel, the very core promise of Judeo-Christianity. And worse, for many years, this “grace”ful attack on the very heart of Christianity … was largely successful. (Just as “faith” in “miracles” and “spirituality” Satanically attacked and destroyed, the two great prophets Daniel and his science, and James and his works).
b) The use of the word “Grace” to describe this, is of course a brilliantly dishonest piece of word smithing, semantic word-twisting and topspin. It is a very, very pretty and positive name … for a very, very, very negative thing. At first, a positive name for this, seems superficially indicated; as preachers put a positive spin on this, by looking at the positive implications of it: as they tell us that after all, none of us is really a good person, fully; so that technically they tell us, none of us deserve rewards. Therefore? We should all be greatful if … God rewards bad people. Thanks to Grace. But first of course, this “Graceful” and pretty thing … violates the core principles of God. While now it is time indeed, to call attention to the word “Grace” itself; which is indeed an attempt to give a pretty face, to something that is very, very, very ugly: an attempt to cancel the main promises of God. Indeed, to use the word “Grace” specifically, seems far too sly; it covers up the injustice and “grace”lessness of the negative side of this: of bad and evil people getting rewards. Is the total betrayal and reversal of the main concept in the Bible, “grace”ful? To try to whitewash God rewarding evil, and punishing the good, and to call that “grace”ful and merciful, is a very, very sly bit of semantics; it is an all too obviously a slippery bit of word-“twist”ing. Which is anything but “gracious.” Indeed, is the betrayal or failure, of the core promise of Christianity.
c) Today, for these and other reasons, the whole concept of “Grace” is rather in doubt in many circles; in many theological circles it is sometimes rightly called “greasy grace.”
f) And indeed finally, if any part of the Bible itself ever seemed to support it somewhere, finally the Bible itself overall, finally came to cancel and abrogate any apparent endorsement of “Grace.” Indeed, there is a rather interesting, rather lengthy passage in the rather Apocalyptic Zechariah – one of the two last books of the Old Testament – suggests that the pastoral “staff” and alternative “covenant” of Grace, after all, is at some point, deliberately “broken” and abolished, by God (q.v.). Finally in the end or thereabouts, it seems, if “Grace” had ever stood for a while, if it became its own “covenant” for a second, it is finally abolished, by God himself:
“‘Become shepherd of the flock doomed to slaughter…. I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of this land, says the LORD. Lo I will cause men to fall each into the hand of his shepherd, and each into the hand of his king; and they shall crush the earth, and I will deliver none….’ And I took my staff Grace, and I broke it, annulling the covenant which I had made with all the peoples” (Zech 11.4-6, 10).
If “Grace” stood for a while – in its brilliant injustice; excusing the rewarding of bad, evil people; and the punishing of the good – finally, “Grace” is annulled, canceled. By God himself. The parts of the Bible that seemed to support it, are “broke”en, “annulled,” says Zech. 11.
There were always problems with Grace after all. Which was anything but graceful, but which was indeed, the exact opposite of that. Essentially, like most sermons, it was an attempt to cover up, to prettify, to whitewash, the extremely awkward contradiction and failure of ministers, to deliver on the core promises of the Bible; it was an attempt to explain and excuse, the inability of preachers, to deliver good things to those who followed them. And to rationalize, excuse, bad things happening to people that preachers called “good.” No doubt, God does what he wills; without regard to our human ideas of justice. But surely God should honor whatever word he chooses to firmly utter; or else his words have no meaning or force. While in most of the Bible, countless words attributed to God, firmly set up a system, a contract, a series of “covenants.” Where goodness is supposed to be rewarded proportionately – and evil punished. If this system fails, then either God himself – or the ministerial/ “Christian” concept of God – simply fails. Either the concept of “Grace” must be “annulled” … or else, the core idea of God, is found false.
If Grace is true, then the old covenants don’t work: God does not reward the good, and punish the wicked. But it that is true, then indeed, the people often asked with some justice, why try to obey God at all? If he doesn’t make good on his promises to reward us for obeying him? When bad things happen to Godly people … and good things to bad ones? If indeed, God is not rewarding those who are good, with prosperity and miracles, and if he is not punishing those who are evil, then the core promise of Judeo-Christianity, is simply not true. And the use of concepts like “Grace,” is just a sly – and actually, rather greasy – whitewashing attempt, to cover up massive problems, untruths, deep in the very core. Of either God himself, or in our priests and ministers and their construction of “God.”
g) To be sure, it seems the Bible itself vacillates, waffles, on this. One the one hand, the Bible of course, firmly supported the covenants or contracts between the Lord and his people, at times; other times though, it seemed willing to all but cancel them; and replace them with “new covenants” … to cancel them again, in turn. And so, if the Bible itself waffled on this, perhaps we should say that the real truth is somewhere between the two and more positions, that it often took. Perhaps indeed, as some scholars have suggested, it would be better, to simply confess sins and errors and shortfalls, in our holiest things. Perhaps we should confess that the system of the traditional religion, worked only partially. While in some ways, it did not work at all. Today, many scholars suggest that the system of Christianity worked more often than it failed; its rules were right, and worked, more often than they were wrong. But it never worked perfectly, or in every individual case. The fact is, the whole attempt to set out simple rules for life, that will reliably guide us to rewards, prosperity, often failed … because life is not simple. And often, bad people, or people who do not follow the rules, do get more than they deserve. While those who do follow them … find that the rules after all, were themselves too simple, and did not reliably guide them to all the miracles, that moralists continually promised. But to call this “grace”ful, is the opposite of the truth; it is a very, very awkward and inconvenient truth, after all. But in any case, this is what some scholars suggest: the rules of institutional Christianity, are rough and ready, overall rules; rules that work, that are materially functional and productive, in most situations, but not all. Therefore? We will always need to look deeper into the nature of God; as science does. To find out where our first, too-simple characterizations of God and Good, were all too simple and general and only partially true. While we go on day to day however, trying to “refine” those cruder outlines; to flesh out the fuller, more viable, more detailed, outline of God. In that never-ending effort, the concept of “Grace” had a temporary role, in attempting to clap cosmetics on a blemish in “the covenant”s; but it was all too sly and cosmetic, semantic, and greasy, to stand for very long.
So indeed, we might simply note that the covenant of “Grace” is supposed to be broken, and annulled, among many other covenants. Says the Bible itself (in Zechariah, above). It was anything but “graceful”; though you might accurately say that it was very, very slick … or slippery. As slippery as a snake. Perhaps, some say, it is better never to speak of God and absolute truth at all; if every attempt to describe that truth, is inevitably inadequate, and partially false. Here indeed might be a second meaning, to the passage that tells us that God is in heaven, and you are on earth; therefore let your words be few. Indeed, in many cultures God is considered so elusively great, that we are not allowed to utter the name of “God” in public. Likely, this ancient prohibition should be imposed on preachers today; to assure that they never again issue their own fatuous ideas, in the name of “God.” Rather than continually uttering over-simplifications, false models, in the name of God, and misleading everyone, and then trotting out continuous fine print amendments and annullments? Maybe it is better to say almost nothing at all; after all. About an infinitely complex reality, that no one can accurately characterize or even name.
16) Read the Fine Print of the Bible? Could even the core covenants have been wrong? To be sure, the main reason preachers sermonize, is to try to explain or excuse, the apparent failure of the covenants: to explain why it is, that apparently “good” people – i.e., people who go to church and follow the preacher – do not however, get the rewards, the miracles, that were promises by the preacher, in the name of God. And when those who follow traditional ideas of God, don’t get prosperity, or miracles? Then our preachers have generated dozens, thousands of excuse sermons ready to deliver. And if we disprove one or two, or a dozen of their sermons? Then preachers still just trot out yet another one. Preachers have dozens, hundreds of excuses waiting; a thousand bullets waiting. But we are learning here, that none of their earlier efforts to defend or tweak the old system, are really good enough. If there are problems in the old covenants, then … we will need an entirely different solution to them, than our preachers’ most popular sermons. Or even the infinite regress of endless refinements. Finally in fact, we need the refinement … that totally shatters the old system.
Many, many refinements on the old system have been attempted. Indeed, many of the sermons of preachers are attempts to finesse, to refine, or at least whitewash, apparent failures of some earlier ministerial dogmas of God. And indeed the Bible itself, often hinted at new amendments, “new covenants.” Indeed, the Bible itself can be seen as an assertion of a few simple principles, designed to get us through life … but then, an endless series of cancellations, amendments, on those principles. Including the “new covenant” of the New Testament. But there are some problems with a system that presents, first, too-simple rules, too-simple characterizations of God, as “holy” and perfect. And that later on, tells us that those simple first impressions, were not holy, after all; read the fine print. If a simple first idea is not entirely right, but we are told to absolutely trust and follow it? Billions will have been partially mislead and misinformed; for a rather long time. If a rule does not really work entirely well … then many will perish, following it all too religiously, all too faithfully, in the cases where that rule was not quite right. So the whole ministerial system of a) presenting too-simple rules or characterizations of God, as “holy,” is wrong. And furthermore? Consider here and now b) the injustices and disasters also caused by the only slightly better system: of positing simple rules, and then progressive “subtle” amendments; inserting fine print amendments, into our sermons and Bibles.
Often our preachers present admittedly too-simple ideas of God, to children, and beginning Christians; and this is at times excused by our holy men, (letting themselves off the hook all too easily?) as being age-appropriate. And in any case, some ministers tell us not to take such characterizations, too literally; consider beyond the “letter of the law” they tell us. Hinting at more subtle amendments behind their gross simplicities. And yet to be sure? Many Christians will not hear the warning in time: that the “first” rules they hear are all too simple, after all; and don’t always work. And then too? There will be many preachers who did not modestly present simple rules as tentative or imperfect or provisional; that will have presented them as being all too firm and absolute. There will have been many Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, leading many billions, straight into the pit.
Indeed, there are some massive sins, in the easy patronization of the people as “child”ren; with this excuse for giving them, over-stressing, a simplistically simple view – and therefore substantially false – image of God, to everyone. Deadly sins, which we will examine more carefully later. But here and now? Let’s look at the problems with the current system: of a) too simple characterizations of God, as holy, followed by b) referrals to the “fine print” or amendments in the Bible. That at first seemingly benign system, after all involves a number of fatal lies. The first being? That too-simple and substantially false ideas, are presented as holy. Which freezes many followers, in a too-simple state of mind forever; having been convinced it is “eternally” valid, and must be adhered to forever. Thus? The preachers’ “holiness” actively stunts our growth. (As we will note in later writings on miracles).
That is a complex subject that will require fuller exposition – as we duly warn here. But here and now, let us consider some problems with the common progression of religious education; not just the “first” step, of presenting too-simple characterizations – images – of God. But then, even the addition of subsequent amendments. As it turns out, this system – which is what we have today – is inherently, evil. First, for the first reason noted above: initially, too-simple and false ideas, images of God, are too firmly deified, fixed in the minds of people. But then too? We are finding here that even the “refinements” that countless sermons have offered to date, are not good either.
Indeed, the whole system of too-firmly deifying Sunday School simplicities, followed by belated and endless “refine”ments, or endless annulments and amendments (and partial retractions), is inherently evil. If you know there are problems with a given idea, and you know that you are going to later cancel parts of it … don’t tell everyone first, that it is entirely holy. Otherwise, you will freeze and cancel their normal, proper caution and reserve. While then, even the pretense that further refinements will completely resolve this, are false too.
This is a complicated problem. But as one entry into this complex problem, consider first, this all-too-common sermon: among dozens, the hundreds, the thousands of sermons that try to explain and excuse the apparent failure of preachers, and their miracle-working image of God, is this move: when the simplistic promises of preachers, promises of supernatural miracles for example, are found false? Then we are told to read the Bible a little closer; read the fine print. We are told that preachers never really promised such silly things at all; read the fine print of the Bible. But was it honest, was it good, to first present things you knew as flawed, as perfect? And then? What happens when even the refinements are wrong, in turn?
Here at times, we might ourselves provisionally support a system of “refine”ments. Yet finally, we favor the better solution: of the total and permanent demolition of our old ministerial, dogmatic vision of Heaven. And the presentation of a system of religion, that henceforth, cognizant of our own human limitations, never, ever asserts that what we are presenting is final truth; is God himself. Let God himself, speak for himself; while as for ministers who presume to repeat God’s words and voice? Let them … dissolve. Or rot in hell.
Aside from initially – and fatally – misleading and patronizing even “child”ren? There are other problems with the system. In part, a) it burdens us first of all, with a false idea of God … and tends to burn it in, by telling us that it is absolutely holy. Then next? Where b) a “better” view of God is given us? Where we are told to think, read more deeply? Read the finer print in the Bible? The problem with that is that … even the “better” more “subtle” sermons and amendments themselves, also turn out to be flawed. As we are finding here, regarding the many sermons that attempt to finesse, refine, older flawed statements. So that the assertion that the “right” idea of God is just around the corner, or is now available, in previous pre-scientific theologies or sermons … is itself a gross simplicity and lie, too.
Here we are showing that the many sermons and ideas – like “Grace” – that attempted to refine the old simplicities, are themselves false too. While for that matter? As c) we noted earlier, the whole idea of suggesting that there is just “one more thing” we need before we see God, one further refinement we need – one more dollar given to the preacher; one more sermon to listen to – has itself, (until now?) been not quite right. Indeed, it has been a form of “stringing along.” Since – until we see the Science of God (with its systematic humility) – no previous “refinements” have in turn, been good enough either.
First, our preachers insist that they are holy, and that God promises giant miracles out of thin air. But then? Next many drop what they said was holy, and offer us a revised, more “subtle” view of things. But they still assure us that the old promises were mostly good; and that this new list of refinements and demands will get us there. But? It does not. While indeed, the illusion or assertion that the normal course of priestly thought will eventually succeed, is a false “illusion”; and a false promise. It is a form of stringing people along, with false promises. The fact is .. the original principles were not entirely good at all; we don’t get miracles. And the amendments don’t work too well either. While in the meantime … d)
we have been led to follow, false holy men, false ideas of God. Wasting our time and money, on false things. And? E) How many times, how long can you follow false ideas … before coming to grief? Indeed we will have begun to show, those who believed too much in “miracles” and “spirituality” often paid dearly, with poverty and death.
Billions of people have been hypnotized by false prophets, false priests; “echant”ed by their false promises. And indeed finally, in effect, f) following them, giving them time and money … we were en-“slaved” by them. We, the whole world of people, were enslaved by false preachers, false religious leaders, or “false shepherds,” (Zech. 11.4-17-13.7). Enslaved to their false idea of Christ; which was the foretold, False Christ. And there were real – if previously-undocumented – real, physical disasters that were caused by this. St. James only saw the tip of a far, far more massive iceberg of evil and disaster, in James 2.14-26.
In effect, the whole world has been enslaved by largely false, exaggerated promises. Followed by stringing along. And as we were being strung along, we were continually exploited; for power and money. We (often) all-too-obediently followed false leaders, giving our labor and our money … to an often false leadership. And we were tricked into doing this, by an initially false series of giant promises of giant powers; and then by an endless series of additional qualifications … and demands. Demands for ever more and move money … and obedience to at times, useless imaginary, time-wasting scruples: praying to statues and pieces of “wood,” and so forth (q.v.). Followed by still more time-wasting religious activities. While both the time and money spent on “sacrifices” and “money” we gave our religious “lord”s or ministers, and the time we spent of religious activity itself, often destroyed peoples lives. Whole lives were spent … praying for things that would never arrive. Waiting for things that would have been better approximated, by our own practical knowledge and work. Indeed, the false promises and then false demands of preachers, violated the Bible, by placing an endlessly “burden”some “yoke” of slavery or “bondage” on us all; and all without ever fully delivering on the rewards that we were promised, even contractually, in return. Our ministers (and for that matter, our leaders) never really fully delivered on the social contract, the serfdom, that they imposed on us. Even as they locked, trapped our minds into ignorance and oversimplifications. So that we would never think our way out of the pit they had put us in.
So how finally, might we escape this? To be sure, the answer was always in the Bible itself. The Bible itself at first offers a few exaggerated promises, followed by a long (indeed infinite, endless) string of just more and more qualifications, hedges, amounting to more burdens and demands. But indeed, finally, those who can read well enough, may finally notice the escape hatch. The EXIT sign. In the text itself. The passages that admit that our holiest men and angels were always partially sinners; the passages – as we will see – that tell us that “all” our holiest men and angels even in heaven itself, were sinners; and that therefore, we are supposed to be released from mental bondage to them; when we at last see their sins, and see them and their “Heaven” itself thereby, “dissolve.”
So that our ministers, and the whole system of a) simple promises of huge miracles, for “child”ren, folloed by b) a false “better,” “higher,” finer, fine print, and additional demands, including spirituality, we all shot through with sins and errors; and most of us, in our more educated era, can now safely begin to simply, walk away from them and their illusions. To find a “second” and much better understanding, “appearance,” to God and to Truth.
Our preachers, our clerics, our priests and ministers of each and every major Christian church and denomination, were never entirely reliable or entirely good leaders. Both their initial, “first” promises of giant, spectacular miracles, and their false “second” vision of amendments, their faith in spirituality, were partially, wrong and even evil. While their overbearing dogmatic, vain presentations of their flawed ideas, as absolutely holy and binding, simply locked huge numbers of people, into ignorance … and out of ignorance, dysfuctionality, fruitless behavior. And then out of that, poverty, disease, and premature death. Finally, though, those who can and do read their Bibles more closely, can find an element of “fine print” that frees those who are able to read it, from even the fine print. Finally, we see … the parts of the Bible that admit that “all have sinned,” even our holiest leaders; and that therefore free us at last, from bondage to them.
Or for that matter? When priests ask for more and more obedience and servitude to them and to their false vision? Then the Bible offers this passage, for example, to declare your manumission from and to them:
“From prophet to priest, every one deals falsely” (Jer. 6.13).
“Do not trust in these deceptive words: “This is the temple of the LORD” (Jer. 7.4).
“The simple believes everything” (Prov. 14.15).
“I saw no temple in the city” (Rev. 21.22).
“Concerning the prophets … Both prophet and priest are ungodly; even in my house I have found wickedness, says the LORD. Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery paths in the darkness, into which they shall be drive and fall” (Jer. 23.90-11-12).
“Says the LORD of hosts, do not listen to the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes; they speak vision of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD…. I did not send the prophets (Jer. 23.16-21).
“When one of this people, or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the burden of the LORD?’ you shall say to them, ‘You are the burden, and I will cast you off’” (Jer. 23.39; Luke 11.46; cf. Paul 2 Corin. 11.9, Gal. 6.2, 1 Thess. 2.9, 2 Thess. 3.8, Rev. 2.24; Ex. 1.11, Mat. 23.4; 1 John 5.3: whatever is burdensome is not from God).
“What is the burden of the Lord”? “You are the burden, and I will cast you off,” we are to say to priests (q.v.). Our countless false priests and prophets, have given us an endless list of promises … contingent on meeting an endless list of fine print criteria, and burdensome demands. But demands that never end, because they always turn out to have still more fine print in them, demanding still more things that are never satisfied? Such a covenant is a deal with a devil; not with God. As we see in many popular jokes and tales, about deals with … after all, devils.
17) Hope. When we do not see many huge physical miracles in our own time? When now and then it is claimed that occasionally, someone recovers unexpectedly from this disease or that one; but we don’t see anyone at all, literally, actually walking on water, or making real actual bread appear out of thin air (except in stage magicians’ shows?). When people first begin to notice that preachers’ promises of “miracles” are largely false, preachers try to immediately whitewash this, or excuse this, with countless sermons. One of the most popular – indeed, the apologetic that has come to define modern Christianity – is to suggest that God to be sure, might not give us material things, miracles, often; but he does give us at least, the “hope” of them. While hope is a pleasant sensation. But of course, it is time to ask if mere “hope” of a thing, is really as good as getting what we hope for? Is the hope or “dream” of bread, really as good as having a real, solid, physical meal? The Bible itself asserted that it was not. As it then began to over and over, about “false hopes” … and false dreams, and false mental images and expectations. About the danger in believing that just any given mental – or “spiritual” – image or sensation, was a substitute for real material things:
“Like a dream, a vision in the night. As when a hungry man dreams he is eating and awakes with his hunger not satisfied, or as when a thirsty man dreams he is drinking and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched (Isa. 29.8-9; so are the enemies of true religion).
“Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the LORD. I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!'” (Jer. 23.24-25).
“When dreams increase, empty words grow many” (Ecc. 5.7).
“What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to hem, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead… Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? … Faith apart from works is dead” (James 2.14-17, 20-21, 26).
“Now faith is assurance of things hoped for” (Heb. 11.1).
(“A man of no understanding has vain and false hopes”; Sir. 34.1).
There are in fact countless passages in the Bible, that warned that a religion – indeed a Christianity and priesthood of “Brothers” – that gives us just kind words, sermons, and good thoughts, does not give us enough. Indeed, to give us just thoughts and mental sensations – like “faith” and “hope” – but without the real physical things, is to give us mere mental “delusion“s: thoughts, ideas, instead of real things. As the Bible warned over and over, in a dozen ways, about that: about “false hopes,” “false dreams,” “empty” and “false” “promises,” empty “words,” false “gospels,” bad “doctrines,” long useful sermons or “prayers,” which are mere empty and delusory mental sensations, the false ideas in the “mind”; “illusion”s, “enchantments,” of “magician”s and sorcerers and other enchanters, or mere word-spinners, creators of mental sensations, instead of not real physical sustenance. When you have the “hope” or mental “image” of bread in your mind, you might feel temporarily better; but the Bible itself says that we cannot live on just mental or even “spirit”ual sensations and spirits; we are partially physical beings. And the priestly religion that concentrates on giving the people just mental entities, spirits … neglects physical necessities, to the point of leaving us “perish”ing, from lack of knowledge of how to get the physical, material things that we need. If man does “not live by bread alone,” he lives by bread, in part. And a religion that only takes care of our mental or “spiritual” needs, is not big or complete or full enough, to really guide us through “all” of life. Indeed, the spirituality of priests, guides many to die, from neglect of physical necessities. As we will see in our books on the Over-Spirituality of priests and churches. Indeed, the many preachers who gave us “hope” and spirituality … were actually, the foretold false priests, following “magician”s and “sorcerers”; their empty words and the “images” they engendered were all too often, the foretold false dreams, and evilly illusory “enchantment”s. They were opium dreams, that left billions lost in Lotus Land; lost in evil illusions, and lies. The apostle James indeed, barely scratches the surface, in James 2.14-26, of this as-yet not fully documented disaster, caused by priests. Though other texts in the Bible, like Isa. 29.8 above – and then the dozens of other texts centered around the other words, associated with the problem of illusions, above – eventually form a massively consistent and extended warning, against a “spiritual” Christianity; that gives us mere words, sermons, mental hopes … and not physical material things.
The whole emphasis on “hope” (and faith and spirituality), has been an attempt to compensate for, cover up for, the failure or preachers to produce real, physical goods, the physical miracles they traditionally, for centuries, promised. When our preachers promised but could not work a) huge miracles, b) regularly and c) reliably? To cover that up, to try to give the failure of key promises, a more positive spin, the failure of priests was whitewashed, in positive words, like “Grace” and the positive word, “hope.” In this currently popular theory of “hope,” it is tacitly admitted – usually privately – that physical miracles might not be arriving very often. But it is then said that even if the many miracles promised by priests, never arrive, “hoping” for miracles, at least improves our state of mind. Even if promises of miracles are false promises, even if we don’t get the material things promised, hoping for them at least gives us “hope.” (See Dr. George Weigel’s massively popular biography of John Paul II, as the pope of “Hope,” as a marker of the popularity of this idea. See also our remarks on the “white lie” theory of Christianity). And hope is a pleasant sensation. Therefore, our preachers proudly conclude that a religion that gives us just hopes – even false hopes – is a great accomplishment. And its spirituality is “sufficient for all our needs.” Hope, sermons, thoughts and spirits, are “all” we need, our preachers imply. Yet St. James and much of the Bible itself, constantly warn against such preachers.
Indeed, it is amazing that anyone should even hint at trying to pass off this pathetic and repellent idea; which clearly tries to justify even selling lies. On the theory that believing lies of rewards soon, at least temporarily makes people feel good; feel “hope.” Against these clearly immortal sermons there, we should now of course note just how absurd and evil the “hope” sermons are. Note first of all, that a) if miracles don’t arrive, then after all, there is something seriously wrong in our religion. Indeed, our religion is full of false promises; lies. And of course, that is not good. While next, b) if false promises make us feel “hope,” still these are false hopes; delusions. Deceits. Which are still bad. First, because they are lies. And second? Because those who believe them … often come to grief in the end.
Many preachers secretly feel that the empty promises of religion, promises of timely, reliable, giant miracles especially, might be false – but c) these false promises, lies, are at least a “white” lie. The promises of miracles and so forth, they say, many not be true; but believing them, makes people good, it gives them “hope.” And then too, when you promise people they will get huge miracles, if only they are good? That helps them behave better too; like tales of Santa Claus. And yet however, we will be showing that ultimately, these, like many “white” lies, are really very bad and evil. When preachers actively promise miracles – or merely do not prominently and publicly denounce them – people will continue to believe in them; while believing in things that are not true, can often cripple and even kill us, in real life. Indeed, the Bible says we should not “bear false witness,” or lie; and the Bible itself does not seem to support lies or deceit. Indeed, the Bible calls Satan himself, “The Deceiver,” or the “Father of lies”; lies are clearly not from God; but from the devil. So that clearly the Bible would look askance at any lies at all, therefore; even “white” ones. And furthermore, those who believe lies, are lead into confusion … and often premature death. Note that false promises, are in the end not white or good in their effects at all; since they give us a false understanding of life; which can be fatal. When people are told that something is true or holy, then they will often come to depend, rely on that, absolutely. But what happens when what they are trained to absolutely rely upon, fails? For example: suppose you tell someone that God has miraculously cured them of their disease, that they don’t need to go to a doctor therefore. This gives “hope” over the short term. But if they were not really cured? And are still sick? They may die later, from their untreated medical condition. This is just one tiny example, of the massive disasters caused among humankind, by preachers promising miracles that are not true; and justifying and continuing them, as giving people “hope.” Such strategies are incredibly short-sighted. False promises often make people feel better over the short run; giving them pleasant expectations. But what happens when the things the preacher has taught you to absolutely rely upon, are not true? Lying promises, might make people feel good over the short term; but they scan even literally kill people, longer term. Indeed, what do you suppose was the overall effect, when preachers taught us to believe essentially in magic, conjuring? And to hate and give up on “wordly” practical “knowledge,” of science and technology and farming, say? (As we note in our book on No Miracles). History has taught us that the most fruitful tradition of all, the tradition that most reliably fed us, was practical knowledge, science; agronomy and medicine and architecture. Whereas? Those who were discouraged by priests, from pursuing such things, would have suffered, comparitively, from lack of crops, medicine, housing; those religious individuals who traded practical knowledge, for praying for miracles, would have overall, starved and died of disease. Having been led into “vain” hopes and “false dreams” – and false hopes” – by lying, false priests. Having been lead into the grip of Satan himself, by priests and ministers that posed to themselves and others, as the very “angels of light.” Exactly as foretold.
As it turns out therefore, the “hope” defense for the lack of miracles, is Satanically clever – but it is wrong and evil. As it turns out, it would be better to face our pain, and learn what really works, face and publicly confess sins in our holy men, rather than to hold on to illusions, false hopes, delusions; that make us dysfunctional, and that can even kill us. Though having a false hope feels better in the short run, in the longer run, believing a false promise, is like taking opium; we feel better for a moment. But after all, we are trying to live just on dreams, mental sensations, illusions, rather than real substantial food. And just like opium addicts, we may starve to death finally; because we have a religion that favors mere visions, mental sensations … and neglects, does not work well in, the material world. And that does not take care of our material body, as well as more practical knowledge and science have.
By priests who actively teach – or merely do not active denounce – “miracles,” the whole population of the earth or world, has been being taught to absolutely rely on a set of promises, things, expectations, that don’t work; that don’t come true. And though believing a lie might not harm you for a while, in the long run, undoubtedly millions of people have suffered physically, and have even died prematurely, because the things they were taught to value and rely upon, were not enough to keep us alive. Indeed, a long history of following such false promises, clearly often ruins our lives. For example? A) Consider a starving person, who is given “hope” by a priest promising miracles; promising that bread will appear out of thin air. Such a starving person feels better for a moment; he will feel hope. And he will feel better – but only for a moment. But what happens to such a person, over the longer run? St. James noted that unless he gets real, actual food – not just empty spirits and goodwill and hopes – he may soon starve to death. So that faith and hope without accompanying material results … is a “dead” lie, said St. James (James 2.14-26).
The Apostle James moreover, only saw the merest first hint, of what we will show was a much, much larger disaster, caused in all of human society, by such false promises, and over-reliance on “hope” and “faith” and “spirit.” After James, consider next b) the history of Asceticism. Which shows that priests who felt that prayer and hope and faith and spirit were all they needed, often “fast”ed or did not eat mere material food or bread … and often starved to death. Then too? Consider the fate and future, of c) any single person, priest or otherwise, who becomes convinced that our “work” is unimportant; that the way life works, is that we simple pray … and bread appears out of thin air, by miracle. Such a person might also believe that, since bread is going to appear out of thin air, he no longer needs to get a job, to buy food. All would go well for him, if priestly promises are true. But if bread does not appear out of thin air? In the end, that ruins and even ends that person’s life. While, if he had just ignored his priest, and used common sense, and had gotten a job farming, say, he could have raised enough food to feed himself and his family. So that? An otherwise good, functional human being … has been actively lead onto starvation and death. By the very priest that presented him as the harbinger of “life” and total good and truth.
Far worse? Consider d) what happened when not just one or two individuals, but millions of people, whole “nation”s, were persuaded, by spiritual priests, to some degree, to forget about practical work, practical science, to simply pray for miracles, and be spiritual? Those peoples, nations, who were persuaded of this, to one degree or another, would have been lead incrementally, subtly, into one subtle disaster after another. Often it would be hard for the victims to tell what the cause of their disaster was; especially since the cause of it all, presented itself as the essence of all that is good and holy. But in years to come, future historians might be increasingly able to tell where false religion, specifically, was the hidden cause of not only a vague malaise, a strange weakness (in say South America); but was the cause of even rather more dramatic disasters. Indeed, immediately after Rome became officially Christian, after 400AD, Rome immediately fell to the barbarians; after 800 years of Roman peace.
Indeed, we can document such previously-unsuspected disasters, from the newspapers. The role of religion, priests in causing such disasters, was often largely unsuspected; but some news articles began to hint at a priestly cause of many such deaths. Consider for example, a common example from the medical profession. Suppose a preacher tells someone, who has an operable cancerous tumor, that in fact, he is now, thanks to a miracle healing, perfectly cancer free. If only he believes and have faith. And so – he believes. And then, firmly believing he is cured, he stops going to the doctors. Because he has hope, and faith. He faithfully believes that he is already cured, since the preacher assured him that he was cured. And so, there is no need to go to a doctor, any more. Such a person would get by, if his tumor had really been cured, by a real miracle. But what happens to this person, with an operable tumor, if a miracle has not occurred; and the man is still sick? What happens if the miracle the priest promised, did not come true? If the promise was a lie? In such a case, you the preacher will have given a man “hope,” and made him feel better. Indeed, he now believes he is well; so well, that he has no need to go to any doctor. And indeed, all will go well, even if he stops going to doctors … if the preachers’ promise of a miracle-healing is true. But if it is false? If the man still has cancer in him? Then he will just get sicker an sicker … and finally die prematurely, unnecessarily. Because of his priest.
Such a man, will die from – following his priest. From believing in a miracle, he failed to go to a medical doctor … who could have largely healed him. Believing he is healed, the sick man will fail to take more practical measures, and consult with a doctor with practical knowledge and ability; a doctor who could have operated … and saved him.
These are hypothetical examples … but that are a) supported by the Bible, James. And that b) seem likely, on a rational basis. While indeed, c) we can find related real-life examples, in the newspapers. In fact, we see this fairly often in the newspaper; this is not a hypothetical example. Related to the above, we often read of a sick person who needs a blood transplant for example – does not get it, because his religion (Seventh Day Adventists? Jehnovah’s Witnesses?), discouraged him from getting it. Such people can die, from lack of medical treatment; from believing too faithfully, in his or her false preachers.
These are just preliminary indications; the real story has yet to be fully documented. But these indications are extremely frightening and awful: how many people have had their lives ruined, by preachers, and false promises of miracles? When whole nations – indeed, the whole world, the whole earth – has been taught a false and literally, physically fatal theology? How many millions have been lead to Sheol, to death, to Hell … by false priests and ministers? Dying specifically, from false hopes, false promises, false faith. From faith in the wrong idea of God and Christ? Christ as a … reliable miracle worker.
And so it is. Very often, telling a person a “white lie” to make him feel good, to give him “hope,” works over the short run. But in the end, the “white” lie is often actually a very, very, very black lie. Since it hides the truth, and keeps us from seeking a real solution, which might have worked, after all.
And amazingly, preachers allowed this for centuries. In part, because they did not read their Bibles well enough; they thought the Bible was ordering them to have total blind “faith” in ancient promises of miracles … even when experience, science, all the “signs,” told us over and over that those old promises did not work. But then too, no doubt there will have been many preachers, who should have known better; preachers who after all, more or less know to this day, that promises of physical miracles are not reliable; but who did not dare to speak up, and tell everyone. Who allowed the false promises to stand. Such ministers, are just as liable as anyone, for the many millions of premature deaths, that have undoubtedly resulted over the years. From these false theologies; the false, miracle-working idea of Jesus. In effect they too, have really been the ministers not of God, but of Satan. Exactly as foretold (2 Corin. 11.14-15).
Preachers, liars who make false promises, or merely cover up or “white”wash failures in their religious system, may have given some people false “hope” over the short run; but in reality, in the long run, such evil ministers have overall, cast their followers into a literally fatal, foretold world of “delusion,” “illusion,” “false promises,” “false dreams,” the false things of a false “mind”; the ‘deceit”s of a false “heart.” Bad preachers have lead billions, to one degree or another, into a world of false “enchantments” and false expectations and “empty” words and empty “consolations.” If you, the preacher, have ever uncritically repeated promises of miracles, or merely do not continually denounce them? You have been complicit and even active, in an evil false religion, that game many people “hope” of miracles; hope for the future. But you have given them vain, false hopes. You have not really done them a favor; you have actually enveloped them in a fatal delusion. The foretold “strong delusion” in fact. The one that has already destroyed a “world” of people; that has undoubedly, if subtly, killed millions. Destroying the “world” many times over, with its plague. So that to complete the Apocalypse? There is no more need for any destruction in the “world”; what is really needed now, is the final moment of the Apocalypse. The moment that our preachers can face least of all: the moment when everybody at last sees the horrible evils in the heart of the religion, that envelops the whole world; and when God therefore, destroys Heaven itself. The heart of that religion.
It is all exactly as foretold: false angels, evil false priests following false prophesies, continually repeated “empty words,” empty and false promises, to the whole world; and as foretold, they eventually have deceived the whole “world,” and its “worship”; with a False Christ; a false idea of Christ. So that, just as the Bible warned, Satan himself took over, presented his ministers … disguised as the very “angels” of light. And as Paul warned, our ministers (mostly without knowing it?) were really, the ministers of Satan himself (2 Corin. 11.14).
The very ministers that have always seemed to themselves, to be the best people in the world, the very angels of light, or his ministers? They were all too self-sure, proud and vain. They should have looked deeper into themselves, and found their own massive sins, after all. Discovering that they, the very persons that secretly thought they were “first” with God, that were “noble” and “lofy” … fell, because of this pride and vanity, into the pit, long ago; these, the very agents of alleged goodness and hope, actually lead them themselves and billions of others, into often fatal delusions, false hopes, and premature death.
It is well said in the Bible then:
“If in this life we who are in Christ have only hope, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Corin. 15.19, which Bible?).
“Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (2 Corin. 11.14-15).
To be sure, the millions of victims of these false promises, false hopes, are to be pitied. But what about the false teachers? The perpetrators? The false priests? The Bible insisted that false teachers experience even more severe penalties for their sin and error, than others; since they mislead not just themselves, but millions of others (James 3.1). They are to be despised – and punished. As the false teachers, the incredibly evil false prophets, that they were. They are the followers of the foretold evil magicians; they are the apprentice sorcerers, who believed lies … and then spread them worldwide. Who fooled, hypnotized the whole world and its “worship,” with a false idea, an evil “enchantment.” A false mental sensation; a “false spirit” that was presented as the Holy Spirit; but that was a false spirit merely positing, pretending, after all. They are the evil false ministers who after all, presented and followed, the False Christ.
Are they to be merely pitied? Parts of the Bible suggest that the painful “fire” of the Second Coming, falls first of all, on the very “household of God.”
18) The vanity of preachers though is infinite; many will never really face their real sins; the sins of their religion, their false tradition. And in their continuing battle for avoid confessing their real sins, they continue to generate dozens, hundreds of sophistical excuse sermons. Another one of them? They say that it is rude or greedy, to ask for miracles (cf. also “Not Praying in the Right Way”). Variations on this sermon say that is a) crudely materialistic to ask God for physical, material things; like the “riches” he promised us; or physical health. Or another variation says that it is b) greedy to ask for physical miracles for yourself.
Therefore, here our preachers try to say next, that we should never even ask for miracles. Even though many people did ask for them in the Bible – and God normally ungrudgingly gave good people wonders, when asked.
(See our remarks elsewhere on one of the few times he did not: the Wilderness. There, God considers that we are asking for too much, only after God has already delivered dozens of huge miracles, for us, in our lifetime, before our very eyes. God becoming impatient with the people, only when they ask for still more wonders – above and beyond dozens of huge, gigantic wonders: Moses turning staffs into snakes; Moses causing plagues; parting the sea; saving his people; making water appear out of rocks; etc..).
Indeed, it is hard to imagine how we could ask God for too much, in the eyes of most preachers; when they pictured the Bible normally, showing Jesus working gigantic miracles, and promising “whatever” we “ask.” Even though God at times even ordered us to ask him for signs and miracles (Isa. 7.11, etc.). Is it greedy to ask for the very wonders that (they say) God promised us?
19) Sometimes we are assured by Christian preacher, that only the Old Testament, of the “Jews,” promised material, physical miracles after all. But clearly, in spite of some spiritual tendencies, the New Testament often promised big physical things too. Many material wonders were pictured, performed by Jesus himself. And they are not spiritual metaphors, we will show. Either those promises were flatly false … or they need to be re-read, re-interepted. (As metaphors for natural and technological wonders as we will see).
20) Finally, giving up on reason and logic, many preachers will simply say that “The Bible Promises Miracles – and the Bible is definitely true.” But did the Bible promise the miracles that so many thought?
Here the preachers will give up trying to explain the lack of miracles, logically. And they will simply assert that the Bible itself said they were real; and that’s that. In effect, they are again asking us to simply believe and “have faith in” the Bible, whether what it promises matches what happens in this life, or not. But of course, once again, there are problems with this idea.
a) As it turns out, for example? The Bible did not stress “faith” that strongly.
b) But then too? As it turned out, not all the Bible promised so many miracles; “do all work miracles,” after all, muses St. Paul.
c) Then too? Joshua suggests that God only did what a man asked, once in history (Q.v.).
d) While furthermore, parts of the Bible suggest that the old promises are just metaphors, for spiritual – or better, natural events.
e) While, more radically, parts of the Bible even suggest that parts of the Bible, “scripture” – including promises of miracles – might be, simply, false. (See “Scripture” section).
f) But especially? It is not entirely certain, that what preachers claim the Bible said or promised, is what it actually promised. Indeed, the Bible constantly warned that … preachers are often false. While indeed, a closer look at the Bible does indeed suggest, we will see, that it didn’t really mean to promise “miracles” at all; but only natural and technological “wonders.” As we will be seeing here finally.
21) Some preachers will eventually assert that Science, itself, proves that miracles happen. But it doesn’t. Anyone who knows real science, knows that. Over and over again, science has found that apparent miracles are either outright frauds. Or, as will be seen, they are natural events that ignorant people took as supernatural.
Indeed, that promises of regular, reliable miracles – “all” we “ask” – are false, is so easy to prove, that no formal science is needed to prove it; just the most casual experiment. All you have to do is your yourself, ask God for a miracle … and look to see if it “comes to pass” in a timely way. And if the miracle doesn’t happen? Then promises of miracles are at least tentatively proven to be false. Indeed, ask a priest to work a miracle in front of you. And look to see what happens. Chances are, you will hear a lot of excuses and hot air or “wind”; but the preacher won’t deliver any huge, wonderful, giant, physical, timely miracles. Even though church traditions continually promised them. Even “all” or “whatever” we “ask”; all the wonders that Jesus did, and “greater things than these.”
Then too? In our separate book on Miracles, we will go into more detail, about what science would say and do in cases of miracles. And confirm that when more serious and exact science is applied to these promises … the vast majority of alleged examples of “miracles,” fail to pass scientific examination. Or they prove statistically insignificant.
22) Next? We are told that miracles are by definition, rare. Therefore, we should not be seeing many of them. But in fact, the Bible promised not so much “miracles,” as “wonders”; and it did not define them as rare, always. But suggested we should eventually get “all” and “whatsoever” we “asked.” While, if we can get whatever we “ask,” we should be able to ask for a miracle, “now”; every day. And get it. Every time. So that miracles should not be rare.
23) Next, some preachers will sometimes tell us they, priests, are deliberately not working miracles for us. For whatever reason; because they don’t want to. Or because they think we are bad. Or because they want to strengthen our “faith” or whatever. Yet these claim, like all the others, do not match the Bible as commonly read.
a) First, we have already partially considered the claim that we shouldn’t get wonders, miracles, because we don’t deserve them; we are not good enough (relating to “one more thing,” etc.). aa) Among other objections to that assertion, note that in the Bible itself, God promised wonders to many – and he even gave them to probably, less-than-perfect people. Indeed, the Bible itself that “no one is good except God.” So that technically, no one at all is all that good; and perhaps does not fully deserve miracles. But God gives them anyway. Then too? Many bb) preachers in other sermons – like the “Grace” sermon – normally hold that indeed, God gives wonders even to somewhat undeserving people; so what they claim here, does not match what they say elsewhere. Most likely, no one is fully good; but God rewards us proportionately to whatever good there is in us. And if God does not reward preachers or churchgoers much? It is simply because they are not as good as they thought.
Do preachers really not work miracles just because they don’t want to; because they think the people don’t deserve them? Wouldn’t cc) that be for God himself to determine or “judge”? Or then no doubt too, in point of fact, probably almost every single preacher in the world, at some time or another, has asked for miracles, for deserving or undeserving people; and yet discovered that … still the miracles just don’t come. So that most preachers really know that even if they do as, and try to get a miracle … it still doesn’t come. Indeed, dd) most preachers surely know as well as ordinary people do, the main objection to promises of miracles: it doesn’t matter how good you are, you still don’t get regular, reliable miracles. Even the best of us can ask for something huge and wonderful … and normally, not get it. So that? Either ee) promises of regular, reliable miracles are simply a lie; or in any case, ff) no one on earth is good enough to get one … including our preachers. And if our preachers are not good? Then why continue to follow them?
b) Then too? Why wouldn’t priests not want to ask for miracles to help imperfect people?
c) Especially, why wouldn’t preachers ask for a miracle … what God himself said believers should ask? “Ask a sign” said God.
d) Is it greedy to ask? The Bible considered that now and then; but see our discussion on that above and elsewhere. Cf. also our longer discussion elsewhere, on “you ask and do not receive,” James 4.3, because you “ask wrongly” to “spend on your passions”; cf. above, “not praying the right way, etc.. If we ask for “riches,” or good things for ourselves, is that wrong? Elements of the Bible, to be sure, put down trying to satisfy our “passions” and “lust”s, with wonders and money; others however tell us to spend money on whatever we want; food and “drink” and so forth. Though this issue is debated back and forth in the Bible. Deut. 14.26 suggests we can have “Whatever your appetite craves.” As we see in the story of the people of Moses in the wilderness, who at times seemed to “crave” too much meat, and to “ask” for too many miracles? Those parts of the Bible seem to conflict with the priestly interpretations of others, where God promises us “whatever” we “ask”; including giant miracles. Indeed, God finally does not decide that the people around Moses are asking for too much it seems, until the people have already seen Moses work dozens of major miracles, for them, before their very eyes. Other parts of the Bible differ. Finally the truth might be … moderation).
The occasional implication that preachers are not giving us miracles, because they don’t want to for some reason – especially because perhaps we are not good enough – therefore, is not consistent with many other parts of the Bible. Clearly for example, it seems in much of the Bible, that God still offered us many wonders, even for often rather undeserving people.
But if the principle is, that God does not give much to bad people; and that poverty and lack of miracles is therefore, an index suggesting that someone is bad? Then, if preachers themselves do not get miracles? Then by some of their own arguments, that confirms that … our preachers are bad. The reason that preachers do not get miracles or wonders, very often, is that … preachers are not good. So God is therefore punishing them, and all their followers too. While our lengthy look at preachers here, suggests that they are indeed, simply bad. And do not deserve much at all. Therefore? The basic idea – that God rewards people with wonders, more or less, over time (if not exactly) proportionately to their virtue? Seems actually to hold, more or less. If not perfectly. And the real reason preachers cannot work wonders, at least? Is really that a) their understanding of “wonders” as “miracles” is false and bad; and b) because of many such mistakes in their teaching, they don’t even deserve regular prosperity or wonders; much less miracles.
24) Some say we cannot “mock” the lack of miracles;
because “God is not mocked.” But we are not mocking God here; we are mocking false preachers, who promised false things in the name of God.
25) Some will say next, that there are no miracles … but that doesn’t matter. In part, because we are not really supposed to be rewarded by God with “miracles” or good material things after all; that we are supposed to be a “suffering servant.” Many ministers will tell you that God never promised that the life of a dutiful follower would be ideal; or that you would get “prosperity.” And indeed, eventually Jesus seemed to promise suffering instead, at times: “take up your cross and follow me.”
Yet this idea, taken from tiny parts of the Bible, that tells us that Christianity is supposed to bring us suffering, not rewards, as we noted earlier (in our writings on Spirituality, Science, Miracles) contradicts the basic “covenant” of the vast majority of the Bible. The vast majority of the Bible says over and over, that those who follow God are supposed to be rewarded with good things, “prosperity,” “wonders,” long life, even “riches” and good crops; not with suffering.
Where from the Bible did anyone get the idea that Christianity is supposed to be about suffering, more than rewards? To be sure, there is a reference to a “suffering servant.” Which may originally have been to a) say Job. Or b) to those early Jews whose kingdoms, Israel and Judah etc., were overrun, over and over again; by the Assyrians in 722 BC; Babylonians in 587; by Greeks and Roman, Turks and Crusaders and the British. And whose “Lamentations” then lament, cry about, how the promised kingdom of God was not realized. But after all, Job did get many physical rewards later in life (Job 42.10-12). And it was at times claimed that suffering Jews would one day or another, get a real “kingdom” again. One on earth (Isa. 65-6; Rev. 21). At times, c) the suffering servant motif has been thought by some, to apply to Jesus; who did not prosper in any conventional sense, but who died on a cross. But even here? Jesus is thought to return to this physical earth … and rule over a physical “kingdom” on earth. So that there are physical rewards here too, in the end; perpetual, endless suffering servants, are not the final or only model for real Christianity. Indeed, God most often promised lots of prosperity, wonders – not suffering – to those who followed him.
Indeed, one wonders how Christianity could ever have caught on, and why anyone would have ever followed it. If it only promised that those who followed it would always suffer, and die.
Clearly then the promise and goal of “suffering” could never have been the real core of real Christianity (except of a few sado-masochists). Regarding Job, one “suffering servant,” remember that in the end, even the temporarily suffering Job is eventually rewarded, with prosperity, after all; with even “twice as much as he had before” (Job 42.10-12). While Jesus one day is supposed to return from Heaven, to a kingdom here on earth . So that we are not supposed to be suffering for long. But are supposed to get very physical rewards here on earth.
Related to this: we are told that Jesus himself suffered and died, on the cross; therefore suffering and dying is good; a good “cross.” But note that even Jesus himself is supposed to have accomplished much on earth before he died; many material things; even wonders and miracles. While then too, he is supposed to return with a physical kingdom, a city, here on this material earth (Isa. 65-6; Rev. 21).
The effort to explain the lack of benefits from following preachers, their idea of God, of explaining why those who even seem to suffer from it, by suggesting that God wants us to have suffering? Is in fact, a very, very perverse idea. But if there is any justice in the world, those who claim to love suffering … will be rewarded with lots of it.
More Political Sermons,
And Actions by Churches
Preachers are always eager, to try to explain why it is they or our tradition, might offer “miracles” to us continually … and yet they cannot produce many miracles for us, today. But after examining a dozen or so of their attempts to explain away this crucial failure in their religion? It is becoming very clear, gradually, that neither their promises of miracles, nor their excuses for lack of them, are really true or good. Here especially, we have begun to show that none of the sermons that preachers have delivered to us, to try to excuse the lack of miracles today, are wholly true. And indeed, this often became clear to many people, even in ancient times: that our preachers’ sermons … were mostly empty promises, hot air or “wind,” “false promises”; or they “twisted” the words of the Bible; or they were simply, “lies.” Most sermons build on some tiny fragment of the Bible; but then they ignore the overall message, other parts of the Bible. Indeed, often of course, many people have noticed not only Biblical errors, but also simple logical flaws, and simple dishonesties, in common sermons. Especially sermons relating to miracles.
We are not the only people to notice such things. So what happened, historically, when a few churchgoers began to rebel against their priest? What happened when some people began to simply say that their priest and his religion, were false? This was a difficult, even desperate moment for the priest; the moment when all his excuses seem to fail – and his churchmembers are turning against him; often even violently. So what did our preachers do, in that situation? The Bible at times offered one or two suggestions; but those suggestions were only hints, not firm answers; and those “answers” were finally contradicted by the prevailing message of the Bible. Ultimately the Bible seems to back at least some of those who rebel against priests; simply said that … really, most often, God promised real, timely, material wonders to those who were good; and there really are no firm excuses or exception. Any occasional hints to the contrary, on which many sermons were based, were actually, ultimately, rejected. The fact is, God himself promised good things to those who were overall, good. And anything else … indicated either that a) the original promises were simply, partially false. Or b) misread. Or? The c) “good” preachers and churchmembers, who did not get wonders, did not get them simply because … they were not as good as they themselves proudly thought.
For a minister to face these possibilities though – that a) a major part of his own religious tradition, a pillar of what has been called Christianity, is false; or that b) the preacher himself has misread God, and is himself too bad to get wonders? To simply face and accept one or both of these, is seemingly impossible for our very, very proud preachers. And so, rather than face the truth? Our preachers have attempted to finesse or “whitewash” the situation, with countless sophistical sermons, excuses.
But finally, there will always be some people who come to see that the preachers’ sermons are merely lies, or “hot air.” So that eventually, people will stop listening to mere words, mere sermons. So how does a preacher bend the people to his will, in that case? Finally, when their verbal arguments or sermons failed, Churches have historically employed a wide range of political tools, which eventually begin to more forceably deal with those who ask too many questions. With those who “murmured” or complained of corruption and falseness in priests and churches. At first, preachers try persuasive speeches, sermons, to control the population. But mere talk begins to fail? Then the speeches begin to speak of physical retaliation by the powers that be. And eventually, simple physical force is applied.
26) When some people try to call attention to the problem of no miracles? If some people note that the priests are not delivering as many miracles as they promised? And if the priest’s sermons don’t seem to convince anyone? Then the priest attempts to first, rather adamantly silence dissent. Often we are read portions of the Bible that, taken by themselves, seem to tell to Shut Up; Never Complain or “Murmur.” Preachers especially, a) love here, to (mis)quote the episode, where the people of Moses “murmur” or complain about the lack of wonders, even food (leeks, meat) in the desert … and are apparently killed by God for complaining, finally, or being greedy. But here of course, the preachers ignore the context of such tales; that God does not punish people for “ask”ing for too much it seems, or murmuring … until he has given them, personally, a dozen huge, spectacular wonders, and yet they are still not satisfied. While almost no one today, has ever gotten anywhere near as many huge wonders, as the limit described in the story of Moses. So that we are all free to criticize, or ask for more; or even murmur discontent against preachers, especially.
There are b) also many other, even stronger proofs in the Bible, that we are allowed to criticize our religious leaders. For example? Jesus himself often criticized things in religion; criticizing the “scribes and Pharisees,” for instance. While c) we have found here and elsewhere, the Bible often noted sins in every aspect of religion, including what passes for “Christianity.” And furthermore? The d) Bible, even Paul, told us that there would be sins in our churches … and Paul told his followers not to be silent, and never murmur; but to “rebuke” those religious leaders and churchmembers, who committed them:
Is saying bad things about believers and churches bad? Then St. Paul for example, was very bad indeed:
“One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always lairs, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound….” (Titus. 1.12-13).
Indeed, Jesus was bad. And God and the apostles must have been bad too? When they found things that were not “perfect” even in the very “angel”s of the first Christian churches (Rev. 20-3).
At times, elements of Paul especially, seem to have attempted to stifle dissent and discontent; but finally his prohibitions (q.v.) are best read as merely telling us not to argue unfairly, or about trifling things; trivial “disputes” about the meaning of words. No doubt too, we should love our enemies, and even false priests. And we should not “judge” people too much. And we might “follow” or obey our “leaders“; but only so long as they are proven good. While in any case, any apparent prohibitions on criticizing religious leaders, apparently did not preclude Jesus or others, from critiquing many things, people, in religion. While not just God himself, but even real but ordinary Christians, seem authorized to “rebuke” leaders and prophets, even holy men. When they seem bad and false.
Indeed, should we suddenly see Satan himself, the foretold false followers of a false Christ, in our church leaders … and say nothing at all? Logically, it seems highly unlikely, that God himself wanted to silence dissent, to that degree. While indeed, the Bible constantly supported a critical science, that demanded that we test even holy men … and reject them when they are false. Presumably, that rejection includes among other things, at least the right to verbally complain – murmur – against them. Indeed, many passages seem to indicate the right and duty to even execute false priests, false prophets, in ancient times.
Sermons that attempt to assert that the people cannot and should not ever turn against or verbally criticize their religious leaders, therefore, seem to reflect a limited number of fragments or “part”s of the Bible; but do not hold up to an examination of the larger message of the entire Bible, more fully considered. (For far more detail on this, see our much longer writings, comments on “False Priests,” etc.)
The bottom line is that attempts by priests to assert that the Bible forbids us from verbally criticizing priests, if they seem to be bad, are simply, false. We have not only the right, but even the holy obligation, to publicly and prominent criticize the performance of priests and even saints, when they are not performing well, or honestly. When they are bad, we must publicly, continually, “rebuke” them, or criticize them.
27) However to be sure, many priests get tired of having to defend their false ideas; and at some point, they get tired of their own endless attempts to excuse their own false promises; and they or their friends, start to simply, apply physical force to try to force their opinions their false idea of Christ, on others. If you are in their church, and complain about the lack of miracles, the church and authorities will finally say you are a heretic; and they will often physically eject you, out of the church.
When our preachers cannot convince dissenters, whistleblowers, with arguments and sermons? Then they or their more militant Christian friends, will begin to use physical force against you: they will have the Sergeant-at-Arms physically eject you from the building. This is related to censorship by Churches; maintaining control of the podium … often by physical force. In most churches, only one, approved voice – the voice of the preacher – is allowed to be heard. Only the preacher is allowed to deliver sermons. And? All dissenters are suppressed. Only one voice is allowed to be heard in the church; the preachers’ own. Any dissenters, anyone who notices anything wrong in the preacher and his church, and tries to say anything about it during the service … is simply forcibly ushered out of the church. As being for example, a “heretic.” Never mind he is asking for the “proofs” and “signs,” that the Bible told him to ask from priests. Never mind that he is an honest man, noting real sins and errors and false promises, in our holy men. Tired of arguing with such people, finally preachers or their lay friends, resort to physical coercion, to try to force their opinion on everyone.
28) Psychological Terrorism. To be sure, the direct application of physical force to convert or silence others, is not a way to win friends. And therefore, many churches today employ less obvious – but still rather coercive – methods. When miracles don’t come, and people begin to complain about it? Then, related to the above, when you start to “doubt” – historically, one of the solutions commonly tried by churches is to simply told you must believe … or you will die suddenly. Or go to Hell. To be tortured eternally (cf. the Passover purge; also Acts 4.34-10; also Jonathan Edward’s “hellfire” sermons. Also the Spanish Inquisition, and various executions for heresy).
Indeed, this is in the Bible itself, in fact. Though eventually, most preachers have chosen to emphasize, instead of death threats, the other part of God. The parts that seems to be about “love” and persuasion. While in any case? Many have come to suggest that it is not for human priests to “judge” – and execute – others; since priests are often wrong. Rather instead, they let the law do what the law does on its own; and leave it to God himself to “judge” and punish.
29) Church Control of Media. When their sermons do not convince, and when open physical force is not available, churches even today, attempt to take over or influence various cultural institutions, to bend them to their will. Conservative churches complain of “liberal control of media. But they themselves are actually the major manipulators of the media. First, they have attempted to control the vote; to control the various legislatures, and get laws passed favoring they themselves. Among other things, churches often attempt to gain control of the media, and impose censorship. Allowing only their own religious views to be presented in public forums. But in any case, among other abuses, church attempt to gain rather direct control over mass media, like TV. This is related to the church attempt to take over the state, above. If the churches can control the mass media, then they can control the minds of the people; never allowing the people to hear any criticisms of the churches.
Could such efforts by churches to control the media, to impose censorship, be successful? In point of fact, historically, they have long been in control. In ancient times churches imposed censorship laws, and burned books they “banned.” To this very day, almost no very explicitly critical remarks on religion, on miracles, are ever allowed in major media. When have you heard anyone, a TV announcer, say that Christianity, or this or that church, is false?
Historically, there is a subtle form of terrorism, by Christians, that means that the major media, by and large, do not criticize anything much in religion. Some might say this is self-censorship by the media outlets. But in the main, no one criticizes religion … because it is an explosive subject. And if you offend someone’s religion … religious zealots may come to terrorize and even kill you. Even though this is technically illegal, no doubt there are still religiously-motivated murders, to this very day, even in the West. And in the past, often the local government officials – who are often religious – have looked the other way, when such things happened. (See the disappearance/murder of atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair SP; relatively uninvestigated). Today we have always against such threats; but they are sometimes ineffective, when confronted by zealots and fanatics. As we well know from the recent history of especially – but not solely – Muslim terrorism.
Laws exist against this to be sure. But in America, religious terrorism is not even necessary … when the vast bulk of the population is fanatically Christian, and can simply rely on the tyranny of the majority and market pressure, to make sure its opinion always triumphs in any public formn. When have you ever heard Christianity explicitly criticized on TV? Though technically this is legal, though technically the US has “freedom of religion,” finally, due to market pressure of religious groups on individuals, and then advertisers, the air waves are full of thousands of hours a week of positive remarks on religion, in broadcast Church services and so forth; but proportionately almost no explicitly negative
remarks. The average broadcast programming week of TV, c. 2009, included the offerings of at least one or two full-time, world-wide religious networks; like TBN, Trinity Broadcast Network. Which broadcasting nothing but stellar reviews of Christianity of course. (See also Pat Robertson’s CBN; Christian Broadcast Network). In contrast, in every 1,000 programming hours of explicitly, enormously positive remarks on Christian churches, there might be at very most, 0 to 15 minutes, of explicitly negative commentary on Christian churches. At most, indirect criticisms might be alluded to in works of fiction; and not in explicit commentary. And if some say that this censorship is self-imposed, no one should forget the vast, vast number of religious fanatics out there, eager to simply murder those who do not match their religious views.
Any objection to major church doctrines – like promises of miracles – is allowed only in very, very obscure publications. Like academic theological journals. And so forth. Effectively, all opposition was long ago, silenced. By various legal and illegal, coercive, means. About the only opposition to a church that is allowed … is other churches, other denominations. Though even here of course, conflicts between churches often historically lead one nation to war against another. To avoid that, today most churches are in a tacit or gentlemen’s agreement with each other, not to rock the boat. Therefore, there is less criticism of churches, from churches.
In the meantime, the amount of positive programming is immense and overwhelming enough that the false religion, the false Christ they believe in and promote, essentially dominates the whole world. To this very day (c. 2009), most major broadcast networks, have many hours a day of church services and other religious shows, every day; and certainly on Sundays. Yet in comparison to hundreds of hours of firmly institutionalized, full-time shows advocating religion, a week? One rarely if ever hears a single sentence, ten seconds, of any explicit criticism of religion, or specifically Christianity as such. The ratio of positive messages about Christianity, to negative ones, on major TV outlets, had been probably, literally, about a million, to one. (Though this began to change very, very slightly, c. 2010; with increasing publicity for the “New Atheism”). Technically in America there is “freedom of speech” and press. But there are various semi-democratic means for churches to dominate both. So that until c. 2009, churches continued to control the media; overwhelmingly in fact. Indeed, far from being dominated by the “liberals” as many say, the media are overwhelmingly controlled by conservative churches. Regarding explicit comments on religion, for some time, churches overwhelmingly controlled the whole population of the whole world; and of course, most of mass media; worldwide in fact. Since about 2000/2001, the “footprint” of TBN – Trinity Broadcast Network – had been broadcast from enough satellites, to cover and dominate, control, essentially the entire “world.” Any gaps in mass media coverage are filled in by local media, print, missionaries, word of mouth, and so forth.
30) “Peaceful” control of the government, and law, eventually means the churches have an active, physical arm: the police. The historical pattern of censorship, attempts to use the power of the majority in media, and the vote, means that churches eventually take over the government. And at that point, their morality is turned into the law of the land. And once they have the government firmly in hand, then they have all the powers of government, including the police, to enforce their opinions, their theologies. The powers today, in America, are barely restrained by government documents like the Bill of Rights, civil rights laws, laws mandated “freedom of religion.” in, physical control of, Society. But the concept of “freedom of religion,” and the “Bill of Rights,” are often under attack by conservative religious media.
In America, those forces are presently barely restrained. In many other countries though, one religion or another – especially Islam – largely controls even the government; even explicitly, by the principle of Shari-a. To make sure that no complaints about themselves are ever heard, such churches not only have their own Sergeants at Arms to eject people from their own churches or mosques; churches also capture and control, the larger government outside of the church itself. They often encourage their believers to control the governments, and to assure that the churches’ morality, its false beliefs, is turned into the laws of the land. This was long ago accomplished in not only Muslim, but also historical Christian countries; Catholicism is still the official religion of Italy; Anglicanism, of England. While today in fact, many conservatives are trying to pass laws to turn their religious opinions into law, even in America. Many church outlets urge citizens to pass laws that ban any things that churches consider bad. And of course? Once the ministers’ false morality is the law of the land, is governmental law? Then their false morality can be enforced … by physical restraints and punishments; by the police. So that ultimately, religious ideas take over the governments, and then can use legal physical force, to enforce their ideas.
Today in fact, alleged conservatives in many churches – Evangelical and Catholic too – actively encourage their churchmembers, to try to influence the vote; to make their beliefs in effect, the law of the land. Conservative anti-abortion Catholics, encourage followers to vote for anti-abortion candidates; conservative Evangelicals and others, encourage followers to try to pass laws, that religious persons don’t have to pay school taxes, but get whatever money they pay in back, as “vouchers.” Which they can use to give their children a religious education, in a religious school. Churches also attempt to pack the courts and legislatures, with persons that support their own ideology. Today in America, about 7 of the 9 justices of the Supreme Court, are Catholic. Thus, the churches try to take over the state. And write laws against opposing the Church; writing laws that support the churches, and their “values” as they were called by Republican conservatives, prominently, c. 2000 AD.
To be sure, the attempt of false churches, to control the government, was once partially blocked, in America, by the Bill of Rights, the “Establishment Clause” of the Constitution. Which attempted to set up the “separation of Church and State.” But to be sure, the Establishment clause has been widely attacked and re-interpreted by religious persons. And the “separation of church and state” was often explicitly attacked by persons like Mr. Barton, and Pat Robertson and the other Robertons, c. 1998-2009.
Then too of course, historically churches have often had themselves declared the official, the only legal religion, in many nations and states. In many Muslim states today, Islam is the official religion. But historically many Christian nations have had similar principles. Catholicism was in effect long the only legal religion of Rome and much of Italy; and that was partially reaffirmed by the Lateran Treaty of 1929. While Henry VIII in effect made Protestantism, the Anglican Church, the official church of England. To be sure, the attempts of various churches to take over the state, resulted in many religious wars, like the Thirty Years War of 1618-48. And it was precisely to avoid these wars, that the American Constitution attempted to separate church and state, c. 1779 ff.
Today, there are now a few fragile legal barriers, to churches again attempting to control the government, and then using the government to force their religious beliefs on us, using the police and prisons using physical force. But those fragile barriers, have recently been under constant attack. (See books on this, like “American Theocracy,” etc.. And references to the “American Taliban,” etc..).
31) Believe in Miracles therefore … or the Church Will Torture and Kill You.
In the past, many churches have not been able to use simple argumentation, to fully persuade everyone that their promises are true; and so they have historically, often resorted to simple physical force, and war, to force people to follow them.
Today it now seems that our preachers attempts to persuade, using simple argumentation, sermons, has not been entirely successful. Specifically, one sermon after another attempting to defend specifically miracles, and to defend preachers from criticism or examination, seems to fail. And sometimes, one or another members of a congregation, who are intelligent, or who actually read their Bible, will notice that – and begin to speak up (insofar as that is possible, in the tightly controlled environment of the church; where only one person, the preacher, is allowed to speak from the pulpit). So what happens next, when simple discussion fails? What does the preacher or church do? What happens next? When an honest “witness,” notes sin in holy men … and the whistleblower then begins to tell everyone about it? Then historically the whistleblower, the honest “witness” is physically punished or even even killed. By priests. Or by their lay political allies. (See the history of priests working with lay officials, to legally or illegally punish and execute heretics, dissenters. In Pilate; in the Crusades and Inquisition; in the literal, physical wars between Protestants and Catholics; in Opus Dei in the Philippines, etc.). Ultimately our priests indeed, stop merely talking; they begin to take physical actions against dissenters. Including imprisonment, torture, and then murder. Typically, priests themselves do not personally kill anyone; but their sermons inflame lay believers and secular government officials, who have less hesitation to apply physical force to others. Historically, the churches have simply killed millions of “dissenters” and “heretics” and “witches.” To consider just one interesting, more prominent example: the Catholic Church apparently had Tyndale arrested for producing one of the first English translations of the Bible; and had Tyndale (Tindal)strangled, and then burned at the stake. This is just one example, of the hundreds of thousands, that religious zealots and churches had previously tortured and killed, by semi-legal means. Or by religious wars. Where anyone who disagreed with your religion, was physically attacked and killed.
Churches today normally attempt to get their beliefs across, by simple talk, or sermons. But when that does not work, churches historically have resorted to a series of progressively, worse and worse, more coercive measures. Finally indeed, the Church and the priest, often lose their temper and restraint. First, a) pastors abandon honest logic and their sermons … and start delivering more polemical, dishonest but persuasive arguments. When finally churchmembers begin to see through common sermons … at some point, some churchmembers will finally go up to the priest after the sermon, and start asking pointed questions. Eventually some will begin to express discontent, dissent, in church; when they hear a particularly exasperatingly false promise from a preacher. In such cases, the priest is likely to be at first, b) long suffering and tolerant. But c) sooner of later, most priests get a bit testy, and d) verbally bullying. And they begin to use, say, this particularly bullying sermon: we are told that if miracles don’t show up, we are not allowed to talk or complain about it; we are told just to shut up. Never complain; never “murmur.” As priests tell us – misquoting from parts of their Bibles (q.v.). If and when preachers still don’t deliver the things they promised and people still complain? Then the priest just gets tired of trying to find reasoned explanations – and we are just ordered to stop complaining. We are told that we are not allowed to ever tell anyone about problems in religion, or complain. But then finally? If and d) when the verbal bullying does not work? Then priests and churches historically resorted to various f) disciplinary” measures, within their own churches, some involving some kind of physical punishment (shunning, jail time?). Eventually g) churches had laws that allowed them to directly torture and execute people as say, “heretics.” Or they h) had their governments perform executions for them. Historically the Roman Catholic Church and many Protestant churches too, jailed, tortured, and executed dissenters. To try to silence dissent, not by verbal arguments, but by simply jailing, torturing, and physically murdering dissenters or whistleblowers; honest “witness”es and prophets. In some cases, i) since they effectively controlled the government or the whole population, as churches controlled governments and laws, they had whole countries involved in religious executions – and finally wars. Like the Crusades. A famous Pope delivered a speech that started the Crusades. And Spain sailed against England in 1588, with the Spanish Armada, in part because Spanish Catholics wanted to end Protestantism, end religious freedom, in Spain; and re-establish Catholicism as the only legal religion, there. Thus ending religious freedom. And ending specifically Protstantism. Indeed, Protestants had begun to break away from Catholicism, from about 1515-30; and Protestants were often attacked by Catholic military forces, for it. While Protestants counter-attacked. In wars like the Thirty Years War, c. 1618-48. In the 17th century especially, many various rival Christian churches, tried to capture the world, and control the population, largely by military force. As when Catholic Spain invaded South America to take its gold, and make the population Catholic; in the process murdering many with its superior military force.
In this process of bad churches imposing their will on millions, billions of others, by military force? No doubt, many millions of good people, with better theologies, a better view of God than these crude churches, were declared to be “heretics,” and were jailed, tortured, or killed. But after all? Some of the executed heroes – their witness, their words – can in effect be revived, brought back to life, even here and now. Indeed, as we rediscover and re-present the real words of Jesus, his science, here? In a sense, Jesus himself, who was killed by priests as a heretic, is brought back to life. As his real words are spoken, and live again, Jesus himself, his science, begin to appear again in the religious and secular “world” that rejected and even executed them earlier. (As on the Road to Emmaus; Christ reappears when the Bible is read more carefully)..
While indeed, at least one or two major murdered witnesses or good prophets, are being brought to life here and now again. Here at last we are beginning to see a revived Jesus. And other good persons seem viable again now too: like much of the Apostle James; or Daniel and his “science” are being revived again at last.
The better thoughts of Jesus himself, and his science, can in fact be heard on the surface of the earth, in the “world” again, in part here and now. But to be sure, there have always been awful forces at work, in the churches, to suppress and even kill such wonders. Jesus himself, remember, was killed at the instigation of priests; who had Jesus arrested and killed by the government, on charges in part of heresy or “blasphemy.” Jesus was killed especially, by priests. And with no help from Apostles like Peter:
“The chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest…. And took counsel together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him” (Mat. 26.3).
“The chief priests and the scribes were seeking to arrest him by stealth, and kill him” (Mark. 14.1).
“The high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am; and you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’ And the high priest tore his garments, and said, ‘Why do we sill need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?’ And they all condemned him as deserving death…. And as Peter was below… one of the maids … came; and seeing Peter … she looked at him, and said, ‘You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” But he denied it” (Mark 14.61-66; cf. parallel texts, where Jesus does not say he is Christ).
” ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’ And he said to them, ‘What things?’ And they said to him ‘Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God … our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him‘” (Luke 24.19-20).
Many different kinds of people played a role, in the first arrest and execution of Jesus. But it was especially the very conservative religious people, and the priests, who were most offended by his truer religion, that had Jesus arrested, and murdered. While no doubt, it will be precisely, very religious folks, that will attack his second appearance too.
“Better” Answers to the Problems
And Contradictions, of Religion,
Still Do Not Work
To try to “whitewash” their many sins, historically churches therefore, often gave up trying to simply persuade people, with sermons and arguments; eventually many simply began using physical force, armies and police. To physically arrest, punish and torture and execute, those who did not agree with them, and obey them. However, when churches and their lay followers were not busy simply physically killing those who disagreed with them? Aside from the use of simple force and coercion to win its arguments, some churches to be sure, made some attempts to revise their religion, and deal with its apparent failures. Over the centuries in fact, after and during the many religious wars, a few semi-intellectual preachers tried to develop a more sophisticated and defensible theology, than the often-“false” and bad views, that had ruled religion, “worship,” and the world before. Especially, we can see that in effect, much of the New Testament, and then much of Paul and Protestantism for example, were, deep down, hidden attempts to deal specifically with the problem of .. of few miracles. Indeed, the Apostle Paul, without denying miracles, began to simply ask, whether everyone after all could really work them: “Do all work miracles?” Paul asked. While Paul began to note “spiritual” and “allegorical” readings of miracles, too. Suggesting that perhaps promises of physical miracles should not be taken, letter-for-letter, or literally. But that the old promises might be read as say, metaphors or “figures” of speech; as symbols for other things. For spiritual things, say. To try to explain why it was, that our holy men once promised so many huge physical miracles – “whatever” we “ask” – and yet, often did not deliver what they promised? Thought parts of the New Testament seemed to continue to promise “all” we “ask,” other parts of the New Testament began to ask, whether “all work miracles.” And to suggest that after all, perhaps we mis-read the old promises. Perhaps, for instance, the old promises were not meant to be taken literally; but were just symbolic stories, “parables,” “proverbs,” about other things than what they superficially appeared. Maybe the miracle tales were really just metaphors for spiritual things, as many suggested especially. (After Philo or Origin and others, c. 12 AD ff)..
Indeed, the new apologetic argument on miracles – that they were spiritual metaphors – began to appear now and then in the New Testament, early on. And soon this idea came to dominate much of the more “intellectual” reaches of Christianity. Indeed, the idea of “Spiritual” reading of the Bible, became so popular, that it really dominated Christianity and religion. To the point that to be religious, and to be “spiritual,” are normally thought to be synonyms: to be one and the same thing.
32) Spirituality. Today and for some time, most churches have been “spiritual.” But although people don’t know it, spirituality is in origin, partly an apologetic for the lack of miracles.
According to the “spiritual” idea of religion, it is said that the whole universe is divided roughly, into two different things: into material, vs. spiritual things. And of the two, it is often said that material things, are relatively unimportant; since all material things, like our own physical body, get old and “rot” or “die” or “rust.” Whereas, it is asserted, spiritual things, like our soul or spirit, cannot rust or rot; our spirits are often even “immortal.” So that therefore, it is often said or strongly implied, that if physical miracles don’t arrive, then it doesn’t matter; the important thing in life, is not physical wonders, riches, health, miracles … but instead,
things. Only spiritual things are immortal. Finally it was often implied in many sermons, that the end of our lives would not be on this material earth; but in a rather spiritual-seeming Heaven. So that once again, this physical, material life on this “world” or “earth” hardly matters. As countless sermons once said, what matters is our “immortal soul”; and assuring its future in Heaven.
So here’s the apologetic idea, that is implied in spirituality itself: if
physical miracles don’t arrive, it is implied that this does not matter; because after all, all physical things all get old and die or rust. Therefore neither we nor God should be really interested in any physical things at all; but instead we should only be interested in achieving mental or spiritual accomplishments. We should be interested only in perfecting our spirit or our soul; so that when our body dies, our spirit will go to an eternal Heaven, not to Hell.
This is the basic idea of “spirituality.” And it has been massively popular; to a large extent, spirituality dominates nearly all of religion today. But the problem is that spirituality, its antimaterialism, and its implied apologetic for the lack of physical miracles, isn’t true to most of the Bible.
a) In the Bible for example, God himself, from the “beginning,” made the entire physical universe; and clearly said that physical things on this earth were “good”; (Gen. 1). While later on God constantly offered us many material, physical wonders. God himself clearly feeling often (if not always?) that material things were good; and were part of our reward for being good.
b) Indeed, in the end our life is not supposed to be in a spiritual “heaven,” but in a new heaven or kingdom, that comes down … to be a place here on this physical earth (Rev. 21). So that? The whole assertion that material things are unimportant, is not true to the Bible itself. (For that matter, the Bible often warned about bad things in spirits; about “false spirits”).
c) Spirituality to be sure, remains powerful today. According to this extremely influential theory, real, good religion, is
not about getting material things; material things, “possessions,” “money,” are bad and evil. Instead of seeking material miracles then, a wise, real holy man, will be content just getting not physical miracles, but instead, getting invisible mental/spiritual benefits. Believing and having “faith,” for instance, gives one “hope”; a mental or spiritual benefit, it is said. And yet however, we will have already noted some problems with “hope” and spirituality, in our earlier writings. The Apostle James especially, noted that a religion that gives us only kind “words” and spirits, but no physical food, literally leads us to physical death; leaves us starving to death (James 2.14-26).
d) While for that matter, the Bible often warned that even “spirit”s can be “false” and evil.
e) Indeed, as will be seen at length later in our writings on the Science of God, spirituality is supported by only a few quotes from parts of the Bible; especially Paul.
f) While spirituality goes against the massive majority of the sacred scriptures. In point of fact, scriptures, God, promised us physical wonders, all the time: real land; eatable food; good houses (see Job, above). God might be a spirit – but he made the material “earth” and said it was “good.”
g) In fact, God himself is said to live in the earth, as well as heaven; to “fill all things,” heaven “and earth.”
h) If God ever left the earth and this material world, he was said to have come down to it again, to be “made flesh” in Jesus; a spiritual but also physical being here, on this physical, material earth.
So from the beginning, in Genesis, God made this physical earth and said it was good. Then too God often promised very, very, very material rewards to those who followed him: real, literal, actual land and food and houses; not just “spiritual” bread and so forth. (See James 2.14-26; and “these shall be yours also”). The fact is, religion is supposed to get real, material – and not just “spiritual” results. In fact, a religion that is primarily spiritual, but does not accomplish physical things … is positively evil; since without physical food and so forth, people die in poverty, and die prematurely. As we might see in the history of asceticism, for example. But also in daily life.
33) In spite of many obvious problems with – even sins in – a one-sided spiritual Christianity, most preachers today are very, very spiritual. And to defend their spirituality, many preachers often stress especially, the rather spiritual quality of Grace. And they quote this phrase:
“My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corin. 12.9).
When churchgoers complain that preachers are falsely promising physical miracles that they are not delivering, the above line is delivered defensively, by preachers (as by say, Pastor Dr. Jeremiah, on TBN, Feb. 24, 2006). This line is delivered with the intended implication that spiritual things like “Grace” are all we need in life; they are “sufficient.” So that God doesn’t have to deliver on his material promises; all God needs to give us, is to give us a spiritual quality, like “Grace”; not physical miracles or wonders. Yet of course, in other quotes from the Bible, God constantly promised us not just “Grace” or other spiritual things, but material things too. And the Bible at times even specifically said, that mere kind words or spirit was not enough for us; because spirit does not take care of our very real, physical material needs, like physical food and shelter (in James 2.14 ff). While then too, there are many other interpretations of the various parts of the Bible that seem at first to stress spirit; like the “Grace” line. Interpretations like the following:
aa) What does “my grace is sufficient for you” mean? It probably could and should be read this way: “When it comes to spiritual things, like grace, God’s “grace” is enough; that satisfies spiritual promises.”
bb) “Or the Grace that comes from God, gives us all the ‘grace’ we need; thus filling any measure of grace we need in life. No other Grace is needed. But note, even after we have all the Grace we need … there are other needs that still remain to be satisfied.” Even when we have our fill of Grace … that still leaves however, promises of other needs – physical rewards – to be “fulfilled.” Grace is like one vitamin among others; you need it, and can complete your need for it. But that still leaves many other vitamins to be taken care of.
cc) “My grace is sufficiency for you.” Some (like Dr. Jeremiah himself) suggest this is the better translation of the Greek “grace,” “arkeo” (“enough”; removing impediments or barriers). This could mean that when we have got material sufficiency (vs. “satiety”? Too much?), then we will have gotten his grace; but not before. Only when God delivers material sufficiency, only then we will have gotten his grace … but not before. To be sure though, while God at times promises just what we “need” – sufficiency – other times, he promised us even all we “ask” for; including greater things than we might need. So that God really promised, elsewhere, more than, say, material sufficiency.
Various “spiritual” lines in the Bible therefore – like the line “my grace is sufficient for you” – are not quite as clear and unambiguous as many preachers have thought. Finally, it is not even sure that they support spirituality at all. A line like that above, could mean three or four quite different things.
dd) For that matter, the line above could not ever have been meant, that a spiritual quality like “Grace” is all that we need in life, or all we need to be Good. Or even enough to be sufficiently spiritual; far from it. Because God mentioned constantly, other spiritual things – like “love” – that we need in life. So that finally, the notion that this line means that God only has to give us like Grace, is simply wrong.
j) In our longer writings on the subject of “spirituality” therefore, we will note many, many problems with the spirituality, the anti-materialism of preachers. Indeed, the Bible itself often noted that even “spirits” could be “false.” While especially, we will find that God actually promised many, many physical, material things, not just “spiritual” things. So that in fact, the massive over-spirituality of priests is heretical, against the Bible.
In sum? Any very strong spirituality indeed, is a heresy; it is against the Bible, and against God. God was not just a “spirit” who lives only in spiritual things; in point of fact, God made the entire physical universe, and said it was “good”; while God also continually promised physical things to those who followed them. Indeed, so far as spirits in themselves are concerned? The Bible constantly warned that many spirits themselves, are evil and “false.” And confirming that, furthermore, we find that in actual practice, in real life, spirituality is aften literally, fatal. As James and Isaiah and others began to warn long ago, those preachers who claim to be “sacred,” “holy,” but who only give us mental spirits, sermons, and who do not take care of the physical side of life … are evil preachers; because they leave us literally, starving to death. For lack of material necessities:
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has not deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it. In the same say, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2.14-17 NIV; Isa. 29.8).
Here, the Apostle and saint James began to see the huge, massive, deadly evil, deep in spirituality. The fact is, spirituality is not entirely “sufficient” to keep us alive. The fact is that human beings might be partially spiritual beings … but they are also partially physical. We are partially physical bodies, from the beginning of history, to the end of time. Even the end of time, seems to involve a rather physical-seeming “kingdom” on this material earth. And therefore, any theology that does not take care of the physical side of life, is evil, and even literally, physically deadly. As the Apostle James began to note.
Deadly as spirituality is, therefore, we might suppose that “spirituality” will have caused many heretofore-unnoticed problems, disasters, in world history. And in point of fact, this is what we will be showing in our longer works on it. Though countless preachers and sermons and churches have presented spirituality, as the very essence of wisdom and truth, and though they present spirituality as the “lofty” height of wisdom … actually spirituality – as James barely began to see – lead billions to … ignorance, dysfunctionality, and physical death. As we will see elsewhere, in our writings on Over-Spirituality. As it turns out, this subject of the physically deadly, evil side of spirituality, has not been adequately spoken on before; but the immense evil in spirituality, can be seen roughly, in a preliminary way, in a) James. And then in b) the history of priestly asceticism, and then c) Gnosticism. And we can see that d) spirituality is heretical, in that it does not see or heed, the many parts of the Bible where God stressed physical things. But especially, e) we ourselves can begin to see the major sin in spirituality, as we observe its effects in everyday life. As we will here and elsewhere. Especially, if we keep James’ and Isaiah’s observations of the deadly side of spirituality in mind, we can then go on and “observe” spiritual people, ourselves, today. And see that they often neglect, deny, the physical side of life, and of God. Indeed, we have seen all too many preachers who give us kind thoughts, spirits – and sermons. But who do not really take care of our physical, material needs. Or who have to rely on the “Charity” of other, more practical people, to give churchgoers food, from their farms and so forth. While we will find today, many examples of people who became “spiritual,” and neglected their physical body, neglected to take care of their body when they were sick for example; and who therefore physically died, prematurely.
The world, we were warned, was already being mislead, by “false spirit”s in the time of Jesus and John. And James began to warn us, just exactly what the problem was: spirituality only takes care of “part” of life; while it chronically, criminally, neglects our physical needs. And finally, the penalty for disobeying the physical side of life and of God, of course is extreme. The penalty for neglecting the physical side of life – for failing to take care of physical necessities like physical food, for the physical body – is physical death. Those who do not eat physical food, starve to death. Civilizations that do not work on physical farms, growing physical food, are lead to physical starvation.
Some spiritual preachers to be sure might then go on, to say that even if spirituality leads to premature physical death, then after all, death itself is good … since it fees the spirit to go to heaven. (As indeed Paul at times began to hint; “to die is gain”). But we will have seen here and elsewhere, that the very spiritual parts of the Bible, were very tentative, and ambiguously worded. Because indeed, the Bible knew, overall, that there are problems with any very strong spirituality. While for that matter? We will be seeing that, there are problems with the whole spiritual Heaven itself.
So that finally, spirituality, which is in part a theology that leads us to over-glamorize physical death, is in many ways, a great, massive evil. “Spirituality” has a few good things to recommend it; but it has also been deadly, in all too many ways. Indeed, the over- spirituality that preachers inevitably have, the spirituality that preachers constant teach everyone else, must finally be accounted … one of the greatest evils in false religion. Not only is spirituality not true to the Bible itself; it is literally, physically fatal in real life. No doubt therefore, those future scholars who look for evidence of it, will eventually find that spirituality has caused countless disasters in countless individuals’ lives; and thus cumulatively caused huge disasters in the world. Therefore finally? “Spirituality” may be the main “false spirit” that the Bible warned about. That the Bible warned was already misleading the whole world, in the time of the writings attributed to John (1 John 4.1 ff).
Amazingly therefore, one major idea after another, from preachers – including their vaunted “spirituality” itself – turns out to be not entirely true to the whole Bible itself, overall; and to be even literally, physically crippling and fatal, when applied in real life. Preachers though, seemingly never stop trying, to defend their old false ideas. Especially, they almost never stop trying to come up with sermons, arguments, to cover up for the lack of miracles, for their false promises of “all” and “whatever” we “ask,” especially. Preachers constantly think up new excuses for their own lack of material results; and when one or another – or even dozens – of their sermons, fail to do the job? Then they simply make up still more sermons. Their strategy seems to be the “machine gun” or “shotgun” strategy; they simply throw dozens of sermons at you, and hope that at least one will confuse you, and slow you down. Even if all the others miss. While indeed? Though we find here that 9/10 of all sermons are mostly false, at first each one seems partially convincing; and indeed churchgoers are told each is the true word of God. And preachers indeed are satanically clever; it takes time to demonstrate the falsity of even one sermon, must less dozens, hundreds. So that eventually, the sheer volume of lies, false sermons, has meant that preachers have won the field, long since. Even though almost each and every sermon they offer is flawed, false, it takes too much time to prove that. And in the meantime … preachers have taken over the whole world. Long ago, they convinced essentially the whole world that one religion or another, was the supreme value in life; and the world believed. So that religion ruled them, even in their governments, and everyday life. In effect, religion has largely ruled the world.
How did false preachers, false sermons, still manage to take over the whole world? In part, they have dominated the whole world … because of the Satanic cleverness of their many sermonic excuses; their sermons. And even if we can show the falsity of each sermon, individually, eventually … still, it takes time to do that. And in the meantime? Preachers throw dozens more arguments at us. Indeed, preachers have vast workbooks by now, filled with standard sermons. Sermons that offer alleged answers, parries, counters to objections. So that an untrained person who argues with a preacher, is walking mostly unarmed … into a rhetorical machine-gun of rhetorical bullets.
And yet however? Here at last, we are beginning to take the time to counter a few dozen of the most damaging sermons; sermons that tried to cover up, whitewash signs of a critical failure in religion: its failure to provide fully “all” the miracles that we “ask” for.
Some Better Answers, Regarding
The Lack of Miracles Today:
The Bible Casts Doubts on Miracles
So finally? There are few if any miracles in our own time today; certainly not “all” we “ask” for. And furthermore? There is no good sermon, to excuse this. The fact is? There are constant and vivid “signs” of failure, falsity, in our historical Christianity. Our “Christ”ianity promised us continually, lots of huge physical miracles. And yet, our preachers and churches failed to deliver what they promised. Furthermore? None of the many sermons that attempted to excuse this, were true or good.
So that? Simply: there has always been a massive false promise, a massive untruth, deep in the very heart and core of traditional Christianity. And furthermore, there is no good excuses whatsoever, for that. Finally, the only conclusion that the Bible supports regarding promises of miracles, is this one: it was one of the foretold false promises, of false priests.
It is time for preachers to stop covering up this, and other failures, sins, in the churches. Though we have been trained not to think by the church, but to simply believe and follow faithfully, at times, in the last two thousand years, a few churchgoers and others, have nevertheless started to think; and have noticed that the miracles that we were promised every week, did not seem to be arriving. Not in the number and scale that the holy books or priests, promised. To be sure, among those who have gone against the grain, and have begun to notice some problems with our priests, many have been successful kept quiet, by one or more, of the dozens of sermons and measures employed by churches, that were outlined above. However, Biblical Critics and others are beginning to show that the overwhelming majority of sermons that you heard in church, are actually, simply, false. Though such sermons often seem true to parts of the Bible, they do not hold up to a closer look, at the entire, overall Bible itself. Often they are not even true to the decontextualized fragment or part of the Bible they quote. While the other sermons, are contradicted by the overall messages of the Bible.
Further, God told us there would be many false things in religion; and therefore, not to simply blindly faithfully believe and trust and follow. Faith might be a necessary element in everything we do; but God told us to extend credit, extend faith, only to things that 1) are consistent with the Bible, or that 2) have a proven, visible, concrete, current record of material accomplishments. And as will be seen more fully later, neither 1) promises of miracles, nor 2) the sermons and actions designed to excuse or rationalize the failure of those promises, really hold up. Either to reason and science; nor, as will be seen, to the Bible itself. To God, himself.
34) Amazingly, and perhaps most importantly of all? The old attempts to try to cover up for the lack of miracles, are no good; they are even evil, and deadly. Far better therefore, than trying to cover up or topspin the lack of miracles today, is to deliver the following sermon, quoting Paul. That is, some preachers finally get closer to the truth, and begin to quote the part of the Bible that – amazingly, importantly – seems to cast doubts on whether we all get miracles, after all: “Do all work miracles?” (q.v.).
“Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all posses gifts of healing…? Do all interpret? But earnest desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way (1 Corin. 12.29-31).
Here, Paul does not explicitly deny that miracles happen; but amazingly, Paul seems to speak against the parts of the Bible that promised that “whosoever” believes in God, can “ask” for wonders, and get “whatever” he “asks” for. Amazingly, this part of the Bible, by Paul, suggests that sometimes not all Christians can work miracles.
And this is an amazing development. Since here after all, the Bible itself is beginning to suggest that promises of miracles might not be true. That of course, is extremely important: the Bible itself, began to suggest that miracles were not entirely reliable; that not all Christians could work them after all. And finally, this single sermon begins to simply at last, admit the truth; promises of miracles are not reliable.
[The word “Satan” in Hebrew, means “accuser,” in a legal context; so that Satan was essentially God’s prosecuting attorney. He would seek fault with the brethren, with the people of the Lord. And attempt to prove to the Lord that they were bad, and deserved punishment. But for centuries, it has been the priest or minister who has taken that accusatory role; it has been the priest and the minister who have taken the role of constantly accusing everyone else, accusing all the people, of being “sinners.” Even as the priest or minister has been incapable of seeing his own massive sins. One wonders therefore, when the preacher will find the humility to begin to accuse himself; to find sins in himself and in his own ideas and sermons about God. One wonders when the priest or minister will face finally, the terrifying fact, that it was not everybody else, but he himself, that was Satan himself.]
35) Following these surprising sentences against miracles, in the Bible itself? Some preachers came to begin to back away from promises of miracles, just a bit: many saying in the 20th century, that our own era, was “not the age of miracles.” That miracles, prosperity, were for an earlier time or “age.”
This might seem like a useful sermon. To be sure though this response to the problem of no miracles, has some problems with it. Because for example, the Bible at times promised good things to all, “whosoever” follow God – and therefore, in all ages, essentially. (Excepting only an “evil generation,” q.v.?. But even the evil generation, saw all the miracles of Jesus.)
Here therefore, yet another classic sermon does not quite seem to work well; even though it is one of the more liberal sermons.
36) Preachers have dozens, hundreds of excuse sermons. But finally, some of them begin to hint that indeed, there are problems with miracles. Another one of these sermons is this: promises of Miracles are sometimes called “Hyperbole.” Which means that promises of huge miracles are said to be, say, exaggerated. But after all, note that if promises of miracles are exaggerated, that really means … they are not quite fully true. Though this apologetic does not quite openly say this, that is what “hyperbole” means. To be sure though, this sermon actually begins to get a little closer to the truth, than most. Since it indeed, begins to almost admit that … there is something not quite true, in promises of miracles. Those promises are at least, “exaggerated.”
When many complain that Jesus promised “whatever” we “ask” for … and yet when we pray for miracles, we don’t get them? Then indeed, some of the more intellectual preachers will then say, that after all, Jesus’ promises are “hyperbole”; which means, those promises were exaggerated statements. So that sermon actually, might be partially true so far as it goes. But our more intellectual preachers here, are still playing dishonest, semantic games; they are still “whitewash”ing sins … by playing with words. To be sure, to say that promises of “all” the miracles we “ask” for, are “hyperbole” … does deep down begin to confess that many promises of “miracles” are exaggerated statements; so that this sermon at last begins to almost tell the people, that most promises of miracles are not quite, entirely, true.
Here at last, out of a few dozen major types of very common sermons and arguments we have examined so far, we have to be sure, found here single sermon that almost begins to at least … hint at the truth. That begins to simply cast doubt on miracles. Yet to be sure, even this sermon, is not quite entirely forthright; very few churchgoers know what the word “hyperbole” means. Therefore? Our preachers are not being forthright in telling most people, about the problem deep in our religion. Instead, such preachers and theologians, are
deliberately speaking over most people’s heads; with euphemisms. With words that will be understood by a few more intellectual churchgoers … but that will not be understood by the vast bulk of believers. To be sure, this strategy – of speaking in a way that will be understood only by an elite few – has been partially useful, historically. But it still continues to hide the truth, at least partially. And there is no need to hide the truth any more.
In our own time, in the 21st century, the ordinary people are by now sufficiently well educated, to be able to simply … face the truth. Therefore, it would be better for us all to simply, clearly, “plain”ly tell the people … that some remarks that preachers have attributed even in the Bible, to God or Jesus, are not true. That many promises of “miracles” and so forth, are not true to what the Bible itself really said. (As we will see, the Bible promised “Wonders” more than “miracles”; wonders that are not supernatural, but that are consistent with nature and technology). While experience and science also confirm that preachers’ promises of “miracles” were “exaggerated” … or substantially, false. The fact is, if we look around us, we find that the things preachers constantly promised “do not come to pass” in any timely way, in real life (as required by Deut. 18.20 ff). So that? Rather than saying that preachers’ promises of miracles were “hyperbole,” we should word that quite a bit more strongly. And say that preachers’ mislead the entire world with promises that were simply, mostly, false.
37) Troubled by apparent admissions that there might indeed be problems with old promises of miracles and prosperity, eventually preachers tried to come up with explanations that would indirectly admit a lack of material rewards from following them; but that would explain and excuse any lack of such benefits. Among other sermons? Is the one that suggests that Accounts of “Miracles,” Were Really Just Metaphors. They are not supposed to be take literally, as promises of physical things. Likely the are just metaphors or figures of speech or symbols …for especially, Spiritual Things. But see our remarks on “spirituality”; if spiritual things are all a given religion or worship offers … then we have a literally fatal religion.
To be sure, the New Testament began to speak of its own stories as metaphors; as “figures” of speech, “allegories,” “parables,” “proverbs,” and so forth. And so, to deal with the problem that many miracles were promised, but few produced today, many scholars now say that many things we thought were promises of supernatural miracles, were just misunderstandings, of the language of the Bible. Particularly, misunderstanding of metaphors: metaphors, taken too literally. Jesus said he spoke in “figures” of speech or metaphors; also “parables” which are just long metaphors. Paul added, “allegories,” etc.. Jesus also interpreted the Old Testament metaphorically often; as when he interpreted “family” as referring to his religious followers (Luke 8.20-21).
So the Bible to be sure, is open to metaphorical readings. But most people has mistakenly thought that the Bible was full of metaphors for, specifically, and only, “”spiritual” things. So, for example, when the Bible says you will be “raised from the dead,” or “reborn,” it is time to note that at times, that seemed quite physical; as when Lazarus was raised from the dead, having (some said) physically died, and then having been physically raised back to new life. But in other places, being “reborn” or “raised” was clearly not meant physically; but was meant metaphorically, and even spiritually. Being “raised from the dead,” just meant – in many cases in the Bible – that when you are baptized and/or “reborn,” you are said to have gone from being as if you were “dead,” to a new kind of “life.” As explained in more detail, in our later chapters on Resurrection and Immortality. For a biblical example, see the story of the “Prodigal Son.” Who said to have been “dead” to his father, when he became bad and left town; then said to have come back from the dead, when he swears off his bad habits, and comes back to this father. “This your brother was dead, and is alive” (Luke 15.11 22). Likewise, even what seems to be a really, physically dead person coming to life – as in Lazarus – might be read as a metaphor or allegory, for a dead-spirited bad person, coming to a better life, etc..
To be sure then, it does appear to many, that many things that appear to be supernatural, physical miracles, can be read as metaphors. Many of them, as metaphors for spiritual things. And yet however? We have found here that a religion, a “Christ”ianity, that does not take care of the physical side of life, and of God, hat delivers primarily only “spiritual” things, is by no means fully adequate to the Bible, or to God.
Finally therefore? We here embrace the idea that the Bible itself allowed – and even demanded – a certain amount of latitude in reading the Bible; and in understanding its miracles. Indeed, the Bible often embraced the idea of “parables,” “proverbs,” “figures” of speech, “allegories”; reading ancient stories as something more or less, than literal tales, simply promising real physical things. At the same time however, to try to turn all or even most of the Bible or New Testament, into mere metaphor for “spiritual” things, is a gross travesty of what the Bible originally promised.
Clearly, we need a religion, or core code, that takes care of not just the mental or “spiritual” side of life, but also of the physical side of life as well. (And so therefore, we will finally demand here that any apparent “wonders” in the Bible, must be read not as metaphors for mental or spiritual things … but as metaphors for natural and technological things; physical things, provable by real science. As we will note below, any apparent “miracles” were not metaphors for spiritual things, usually; but were just garbled or in effect metaphorical descriptions of natural or technological events, that were misunderstood, or inexactly translated). Preachers only thought that earlier holy men were promising supernatural miracles; but they were just suffering from the “confusion of tongues,” the confusions of languages, that God himself said he had levied on humanity (Gen. 11). Finally, as we learn to “interpret” tongues – as God commanded us to – we find that people were confused by the language that described “wonders.” If they had – indeed – been just a little more sophisticated about language, they would have known that we can read those old promises, a little more loosely than some fundamentalists and literalists thought. But that we don’t have to totally abandon all hope of finding any physical reality at all in “wonders,” and see them as entirely “spiritual”; but instead, if we know a little science, we can read wonders as in effect, metaphors for … physical material things. As we will see below. Moses might find a ford, in a shallow sea of reeds … but the “wall” of water around him was not so high, as merely broad; the same as many tidal pools.
It is hard for ministers and believers, accustomed to thinking of God as making a) only spiritual promises, to allow any such physical reality in religion at all. And it is just as hard for those b) used to promising huge supernatural things happen – and out of that on their own making very, very big promises of amazing miracles – to step down a step, and looking at much more modest, humble physical things. However, the Bible told us not to be proud; told us to be humble. And it is far more humble, to see God as promising … humble, natural things.
God warned that the “tongue” likes to “boast”; and preachers, who make their living from their “tongue,” from speaking in churches, have boasted for centuries of their God, and the wonderful, huge, giant miracles they can produce. So can preachers ever scale their promises down to the truth? Can they tame their tongues? And their huge “boast”ing?
38) Finally though, some scholars have gotten rather cynical regarding miracles. And? Given the failure of one attempted explanation for the lack of miracles, after another? Ultimately many Christians – even some preachers – have long since begun to secretly, privately think, that promises of miracles might simply be … the foretold religious lies. The false “worship” the Bible warned about (Rev. 13, etc.).
Sensing problems, untruths finally in some of their old promises, sensing that their promises of miracles might even be lies, some preachers have come to try to defend promises of miracles, even as lies. Specifically, many privately say or think that promises of miracles are said to be “white” or “noble” lies. That is, many think promises of miracles are false but useful promises; false incentives to get people to follow morality, ethics. Promises of miracles are lies; but it is said, that promising bad people miracles if they are good, motivates people to be better; to behave. Even if those promises are false, if people believe them, it is thought, people will behave better.
In this way, many people today in effect think that religion, Christianity, is a partially false fairy tale. But they think that while it is not quite true, while it is even a lie, it is at least a white lie; like tales of say Santa Claus. It is a sort of Santa Claus tale, that is not quite true; but that at least gets bad people to behave, by promising them heaven and wonderful miracles, if they are good. Indeed, it might seem that there are surprisingly close parallels between traditional present-promising Christianity, and the Santa Claus myth; indeed, St. Nicholas was a Christian saint; the whole story of Christmas and Santa Claus/St. Nick, was historically a variation of Christian message.
But finally of course, if promises of miracles and heaven are lies, even “white” lies, then there are massive problems with, sins in, Christianity and its promise. Because: a) what good system of ethics, what good life, can be based on lies? Indeed, the Bible itself warns constantly about lies. And about “white”washing false things in religion and life; like doctrines that are not “fruitful.” And in any case, b) the lies, we will be showing, would not be white. As we will see in longer writings on Miracles: when whole populations are taught to absolutely rely on things that are false; when they are taught to give up practical work for impractical praying; when they give up farming, to pray for bread out of thin air, that never arrives. And so, when they believe these “white” lies … they are often lead into very, very real, physical disasters.
These lies then, are not white at all. But are very, very, very black. God warned us about lies; and “white”washing sins. No one should any longer whitewash the real evil, in the lie of miracles.
39) Atheism. Pronouncing All Religion – Especially Promises of Miracles – Flatly False. Given all the rather good arguments against priests and their promises, tired of all the extravagant promises and Pride and Vanity therefore, of preachers, eventually many rational people take a final, extreme step: finally concluding that miracles don’t arrive … because Religion, and especially promises of miracles, are just flatly wrong, and false. Miracles haven’t been arriving – because our “holy men” were deluded idiots and liars. Miracles aren’t arriving today – because miracles never did happen at all. There are no miracles. Perhaps there isn’t even a God at all, either; preachers’ promises of a God were false. So that we are better off, being atheists.
Atheism seems like a rather extreme solution. Yet to be sure, many whole countries have been coming to this belief, since the days of the English Enlightenment; the French Revolution in 1789; the Russian Communist/Atheist revolution, of 1917; the Communist revolution in China, c. 1937. Marx said religion is the “opiate of the masses.” He said it was a pipe dream, of illusions and false promises; an illusion, a false promise, that was used to keep the masses quiet, submissive to even bad lords, even when the people were starving to death from bad leadership.
Belief in miracles specifically, many say, is just a primitive superstition, a myth, among ignorant or unsophisticated persons, who could not understand how the world works; or could who not read very well. Who took old metaphors too literally, and were not trained in Reason.
The Best Answers?
40) To simply conclude that miracles don’t exist, and therefore God does not exist either, however, seems a bit too extreme, to many. Or to say that religion has nothing at all good in it. For this reason, the more popular new view, is not so much atheism, as agnosticism; many people suggest that God might exist, but his nature is so complicated, that no one can be sure exactly what God is like. Among other things, no one should be too confident that God promises “miracles.” Or indeed, we can be rather confident that God does not produce supernatural “miracles”; and that God must be rather different in that respect, than mainstream “Christianity” claimed.
Rather than a) blindly praying and waiting for miracles; or c) saying promises of miracles were simply false, and all of Christianity is false? Finally, the best solutions, are perhaps things like the following.
41) Naturalism – or Natural or Scientific Religion. We should use Natural, Scientific explanations for, descriptions of, “miracles.” Calling them instead (by their original names?) “Wonders.” While seeing the old miracles as having been natural and technological things, that primitive, uneducated people simply misunderstood, and took as “supernatural.”
There are practical dangers in calling anything “natural” in traditional Christianity to be sure. “Nature,” to be sure, is often presented a bad word in Protestantism. Partly because of the apostle/saint Paul’s attacks on “unspiritual” people; which in the King James Bible was translated as “natural” people. Elsewhere though, a) the Bible suggests that to be “natural,” as opposed to say having “unnatural” lusts, is a good thing. While b) Paul suggested that the “Gentiles” – non-Jews – might be “natural”ly good in effect; they “do by nature what the law requires” (Rom. 2.14-16). And then too? Of course c) God himself made the whole universe … or in other words, God himself made all of “nature.” And said, from the beginning, that it was “good,” not evil.
So that in the Bible itself, many elements of nature, including human “nature,” seem good. While of course, as for the physical world, and “Nature” in the sense of rocks and trees? Here too at first, Biblical attacks on “the world” in parts of the Bible, seems have given the physical “world” or “earth” a bad name. Yet elsewhere in the Bible though, God made it clear that he made the physical world or “earth,” and said it was “good” (Gen. 1). Indeed, it was even said d) that God fills “all” things, heaven “and earth.”* And indeed, against the
radical “hate” for the “world,” the radical over-spirituality of many “loving” apostles, there are many references to God approving of this physical existence in the Bible, and the “glory of the things” that God “made” (in the end of Job, say for example). Finally, there are so many positive references to the wonders of Nature – citing them in fact, according to the Argument From Design, as evidence of God’s wonderfulness or impressiveness (in Job) – that finally more careful theologians – including apparently the Catholic Church – have had to try to rescue “nature” and the “world” from condemnation. Many have made a distinction between references to the “world” of bad people – which, it is now said, should be what is meant when holy men condemn the “world.” As versus the “world,” meaning the whole physical universe, our planet, earth, the earth or world. Which is part of God’s creation, and is said to be “good.” (This distinction is confirmed in Catholic theology for example: see “world,” “flesh,” “spirit,” in the NAB – New American Bible, glossary; also quoted in our Science chapter quotes. The New American Bible, published by P. J. Kenedy & Sons – New York, Collier-Macmillan Limited, London, 1970 edition; glossary copyright by Benringer 1970; “Partial Indulgence Enchiridion Indulgentiarum 1968 edition, #62.” “Sponsored by the Bishop’s Committee of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine”). Furthermore, e) if the “world” and/or “earth” was ever cursed, it was said to have been cleansed twice over: once by the “Flood” in Noah’s time; and then again the world was “redeemed” and “overcome” by Jesus.
The fact is, in Genesis, God himself made the entire physical universe; and moreover, he explicitly said it was “good,” not evil. Finally of course, God told us to adopt science; which bases itself on observation of – and respect for – this physical existence.
Respecting and even loving (much of) Nature, loving science, therefore now seems permissible, biblically. Especially in part, since Biology now finds “nature” seems less severe than some have thought in the past. Today we know that nature is not just murderous, “red in tooth and claw,” but that after all, many animal species have more or less functional forms of social organization and cooperation … and even “love.” The females of many species, like dogs, take care of their young rather carefully most of the time; and seem to have some feeling for them. So that today, love of “nature” does not mean trying to love a world of predatory activity. Furthermore, nature seems to include humans too; while humans seem capable of much very idealistic behavior. So there are good things in nature. While any things that seem bad, present a problem for traditional Christianity, theodicy, more than they do for those who simply accept all that; who accept that there is evil or things not good for us, in the universe, in animals; and that we need to oppose it at times. The existence of evil, or of things contrary to human prosperity in the universe indeed, is more a problem for traditional Christian theorists, than for those who simply accept that there are good and bad things in the universe.
Theologically, biblically, the attack on “nature” needs to be re-translated. The fact is, God himself made the material universe and world – and said it was “good,” not evil; God himself “fills all things,” not just heaven, but also “the earth.” If God ever cursed the “earth,” if an apocalypse was supposed to destroy the earth? Note that is already over: the earth was destroyed, and made over, many times, in the Flood and various geological eras; while Jesus was said to have again “overcome” and then “redeemed” or remade the world, in his own time too. Therefore, the Evangelical attack on “nature” does not fully fit the Bible, or God. When we consider not just misleading “parts” of the Bible, but it and God’s larger … nature.
42) Miracles are Really Natural Wonders. But if we are to respect nature, as science sees it, then what then do we do, about the Bible’s apparent promises of “miracles”? Do we have to just say that the Bible itself was at times, partially false? That is a hard thing for many Christians to face; and indeed, here we will have honored the Bible and followed it. So that we here cannot say that the wonders promised by the Bible, were simply false. Rather instead though? The Bible itself often warned about Bible translators, copyists, and “scribes.” Warning that they and preachers could “twist” the words of God around. While many scholars suggest that some of the many scribes and preachers that cared for, controlled our Bibles themselves … misunderstood the natural wonders of nature and God; and did not quite present them correctly in their readings of the holy books. Many scholar rightly suggest in fact, that if we look at the so-called supernatural miracles of the Bible … we find that, more closely examined, those miracles can be seen, even according to the Bible itself, more natural wonders, than supernatural.
At times, scientists say that “miracles” per se, miracles as many religious people think of them – things like bread, appearing out of thin air, etc. – don’t happen in real life. But rather than just say the Bible therefore is just false, in a partial attempt to reconcile science with the Bible, some 16th-20th century Naturalists suggested that in fact, if you look at the Bible closely enough, you find that God never really promised such supernatural things. First, a) look at the language that the Bible used: God never promised “miracles.” But rather, he promised natural “wonders.” “Portents.” “Signs.” (See Antony Flew, “Miracles, Ency. Phil.. See our writings on Naturalism). So first of all, God never really used the word “miracles” in the sense that many think of them today; as “supernatural” things.
Then too? Next, b) in most translations, the Bible never used the word “supernatural” at all – except once. When it says that the people of Moses (q.v., Paul, 1 Corin. 10.3-4);
“I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses …, and all ate the same supernatural [spiritual/windy] food and all drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank for the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless with most of them God was not pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things are warnings for us…” (1 Corin. 10.1-6 RSV).
Next, c) God we will see, told us to honor “science.” While science says there are few if any miracles today. While Science also tells us to look for natural, not supernatural causes, for everything.
But especially? When we d) look at the wonders in the Bible, more closely, we find that actually, amazingly, the Bible itself described them in ways that are usually consistent with nature and technology, as science describe them. In the case say, of Moses parting the sea? Read more carefully, the Bible itself says that a “wind” blew the sea back, just enough for Moses and his people to find a fording place. While indeed, each and every “miracle” in the Bible, can be read more carefully … and found to be more natural or technological, than our preachers thought. If the Lord helped guide Moses and his people through the wilderness with a column of “smoke” by day and “fire” by night? Then after all, even in Moses’ time, no doubt many cultures knew how to send out scouts, in advance of large bodies of men and women, to scout out the way … and to use signal fires, to signal safe vs. unsafe passages. Signal fires would send columns of smoke to be seen in the day … and fire and sparks, at night. Nothing magical or supernatural here at all. Or in any other part of the Bible. Probably every single part of the Bible can be reconciled to natural science, or shown to have been incorrectly translated, or mishandled by unreliable “scribes.”
Ultimately in fact, we and others will be showing that essentially all of the things that preachers thought were “super”natural, “miraculous,” or spiritual, were just natural things, that preachers misunderstood. “Prosperity” for instance, is often thought to come out of thin air, like supernatural magic. But much of the Bible pictures prosperity as coming to us, in part, though our own work, with our own “hands” (Deut.). While images of Christ making “bread” appear in empty baskets? Can be read for once (as parts of the Bible do) as spiritual metaphors; or read more carefully, we will show that it is not even clear that the Bible was saying that things appeared out of thin air in the baskets at all; just that there was more in the basket in the end, after many in the crowd had shared what they had. (Matching the modern collection basket in fact).
So if we are to be “natural,” what do we do about the Bible’s alleged accounts of “miracles”? Do we have to finally abandon parts of the Bible, and say they are false? In fact we do not; we can re-read the Bible a little more closely. And when we do, we find that the things that seemed like “super”natural miracles in the Bible, were actually more natural than priests thought. If Moses seemed to part the waves supernaturally, actually some parts of the Bible itself say a wind came up and blew the sea back a few feet; Moses thought hard, used his staff as a sounding rod … and found a ford through the Sea of Reeds.
Though many are disappointed at this way of reading the Bible, this approach has often been ably defended biblically. Furthermore, especially, this reading of “miracles” as natural and technological “wonders,” has the all-important advantage that it is verified by what we see “come to pass” in real life around us. It is in fact much closer to the truth: if we look around us today at what “comes to pass,” we see that super-natural miracles don’t happen much if at all. While science and natural study, today have natural explanations for many more things than people knew about, 2,000 years ago.
And so? Better translated, the Bible promised “wonders,” not “supernatural miracles,” as some bad translations had it. And furthermore, those wonders, though at first they seemed to go beyond what nature could do, while they at first seemed “supernatural,” we find that they were actually just “wind”; or they were other natural, not supernatural, events.
Many scholars have done much work along these lines. And many of our own later writings, will be devoted to carrying that work forward, later on. Eventually, we will even show that the Second Coming, resurrection, can be proven scientifically. Though they are not quite what the preachers thought. (See our longer writings on Resurrection, Natural things).
The Immediate Stage of the Solution, Through:
The Destruction of Heaven
There is therefore, a real solution to the problems in religion; a solution to the problem of miracles. But to get to that solution, we need some flexibility in religion itself; in our priests. And flexibility in preachers, religion, is something that seemed impossible in the past; religions to date feel they are all but “perfect,” the “infallible Word of God.” So that therefore, religions, preachers, typically feel there is no room for change, or flexibility, in their beliefs. No room for change – or progress either. However, many of our religions have holy books, which they revere and respect. And if we can find authorization in the holy books themselves – like the Bible, for Christians – for revision in religion, we might at last begin to correct longstanding errors in our holy men. And/or bring religion into alignment, with what 2,000 years of history have taught us. About “miracles” and so forth.
43) Many will say that it cannot be true, that so many holy men and their promises of miracles, were simply false; this cannot be true, they say, because “God Would not Allow It.” But anyone who actually, finally reads his Bible, will find that God allows many things that you would not, superficially, think. For example? God, who is said to be good, nevertheless allows the existence of Evil. More specifically here, God not only allows, but the Bible specifically warned about, many “false” and bad things in our holiest men; even in the apostles. Even in those we thought were the best Christians of all, crying “Lord, Lord.” So that finally, we have the option of simply, considering that many things our holiest men did, were simply false. As we will have found in our many books on False Priests and so forth. Therefore? If promises of miracles do not seem to come true? We can simply declare – as we find here – that the promises of miracles were simply, the false pronouncements of flawed holy men. Which God allowed, and warned about constantly, in the Bible itself. As we found in our many books on False Priests and Prophets.
44) Honor Science. What should we do, since all our holiest men often make huge mistakes? Because our holiest men are not entirely reliable, the Bible told us not to have too much “faith” in them; but instead we are commanded to examine them and all their claims and promises, critically; examining them with science. Ignoring their many Satanically clever excuses, and looking at the actual empirical evidence that they are good or bad. Looking, with real “science” (Dan. 1.4-15 KJE; 1 Kings 18.21-40; Deut. 18.21-22; Mal. 3), at the empirical, physical good or harm they do. Looking, as the Bible says, at their “fruits,” “works,” “signs,” “deeds,” “prosperity,” and “proofs.” “Put me to the test, says the LORD” in Mal. 3.10; “test everything” (1 Thess. 5.21). Finally, we are not supposed to pay much attention to preachers’ mere words, excuses, or sermons; we are supposed to finally honor and believe only what empirical evidence and science says; more than what preachers and holy men say.
As we found in our books on the Science of God, God tells us to ignore sermons, excuses, and look at empirical evidence. And what do we find, when we look at preachers’ promises of miracles? We find that the simplest experiment shows that promises of “all” or “whatever” we “ask” are false. Everyone on earth should try this simple experiment: “ask” God to make a loaf of bread, or a unicorn, appear before you, yourself, out of thin air, right now. And observe the results. Undoubtedly, what you “ask” for will not happen; though countless preachers assured us that the Bible was true, and that is promised “all” and “whatever” we “ask”; all the miracles that Jesus did, and “greater things than these” (as preachers say, quoting John 14.12-14 out of the larger context of the entire Bible, and more synoptic gospels). Clearly, countless simple experiments like this – and then more complicated experiments too – prove over and over, that preachers’ promises of miracles were overwhelmingly, false.
Clearly all our preachers and churches have made a mistake, when they backed physical miracles. Science and experience, a few simple experiments, suggest that traditional religious promises of miracles are simply, false. Especially promises of “whatever” we “ask”; including promises that we, like Jesus, will be able to get giant supernatural miracles, like walking on water, and making bread appear out of thin air, just by faith and a prayer.
[Note: regarding John 14.12-12? Was the Bible itself false then, if it promised such things: “all” or “whatever” we “ask,” in John 14? Here we have taken the Bible itself to be absolutely true; but we have said that preachers have always misquoted the Bible itself. Especially, preachers have always presented to churchgoers, mere misrepresentative excerpts, mere misleading fragments of the Bible. And because of that, preachers have always misled themselves and others, as to the fuller outline of God. Especially, their sermons of regular, reliable, giant miracles – which were based on the Gospel of John’s apparent promises of “whatever” we “ask” – John 14.12-14 – were false.
Were parts of the Gospel of John itself false therefore? Here and elsewhere, we will show that though our preachers quoted parts of the Bible to promise miracles, the great sin of preachers was always that they quoted only misleading fragments; especially fragments that, taken alone, seemed to stress, bolster the authority of preachers themselves. In this case, preachers often quoted to us John 14.12-14. But preachers failed to be honest; and failed to note that the apparent promises in the Gospel of John, of all and “whatever” we “ask,” were soon toned down, in the Gospel of John. Some might say they were quickly toned down to merely a) saying that God “will not leave you desolate”; or that God will give us the Holy Spirit (as John notes in John 14.16-18). While b) the Bible itself finally also suggested that promises of miracles might have been “figures” of speech (John 16.23-25). While c) other similar texts in other gospels seemingly put other conditions, qualifiers, on those promises of giant miracles. While d) it is not even entirely sure that Jesus really is promising “miracles”; note that he is speaking of “works.” Perhaps e) John was commanding us to do “good works,” rather than promising us miracles. Those who believe in Jesus, will of course obey his commands, to do good works and good deeds. So that – at least in the phrase “he who believes in me will also do the works that I do” – there is no necessary implication that one will perform miracles per se. While f) implications later on that we will get “whatever” we ask, are often read as typical Greek/Ancient Near East hyperbole, or rhetorical overstatement. As of a prospective king, promising his followers they will get the spoils, whatever they ask, if they fight for you.
But g) especially, John 14.11 should be read against what come right after it – and right before it. In this case, in John 10.37 and especially 4.10-11, Jesus himself even seems to allow that we do not have to “believe” or have faith in miracles, or even belief in he, Jesus. Because God warned there are many false things in religion, we should not trust or believe in them blindly; but we should instead only begin to believe, whatever “works” (John 10.37). Whatever bears real physical fruit. What produces real empirical evidence (see “science” below).
So that in one reading of John 14.11 in context, far from telling us to simply believe in miracles, or promising us huge works, miracles, Jesus himself tells us to believe not even so much even Jesus himself (in one reading); but to believe science and pragmatic evidence; whatever brings real, material, “works”:
“If I am not doing the works of my father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works” (John 10.37).
Here, far from telling us that anyone who believes this or that will get wonders, Jesus is telling us that if you don’t get wonders or works … then you are not really following the right Christ. Or even that if following even Jesus himself did not produce works, then … we are to come to the conclusion that Jesus himself, was a false Christ.
h) But especially? John 14.11 ff. note, speaks of “works,” and not “miracles.” And then? Finally i) later parts of the Bible, tell us that we must “ask” with perfect fidelity … implying that we might not get what we ask for, if we “ask wrongly”; asking for things for our “passions” or “lusts.” To be sure, these latter parts of the Bible, do not quite square with still others. But at the very least, we could say the Bible appears not to send a consistent, pro-“miracle” message, in passages relating to John 14.11.]
Could Jesus himself, and God, have meant to advocate, a kind of Science? Trusting only to things proven by physical, empirical results and “proof”s? Trusting science even over holy men, churches, and “faith”? Did Jesus mean to tell us that there can be something false, even in our traditional religion? Did Jesus himself really mean to tell us “do not believe me” (John 10.37), but to only think of believing things proven by material, empirical evidence; “works”? Or as Jesus said elsewhere, believe only things that show “fruits,” “works,””signs,” “deeds,” “proof”s? Do we not have to believe in – have faith in – promises of miracles, if we don’t see them “come to pass” in real, empirical life? If “science” does not verify their existence? Incredibly, in our books on the Science of God, we show that the Bible itself finally advocated a Science of God, that has authority over all religious leaders. We will show that the Bible itself finally said that we should not believe, we should even not have faith, especially in miracles, if science says they are not reliable. As we will find in our writings on the Science of God, God even finally minimizes “faith” itself; telling us that “all have sinned,” even our holiest men. And therefore we are not to have too much faith in holy men and churches. But instead we are to “test everything,” “put me to the test, says the LORD,” with real “science.”
In fact, we will have shown in our books on the Science of God, that ultimately, the Bible itself a) admits that essentially “all” our holiest men and angels, “have sinned,” even in their most formal pronouncements about God. Therefore, b) we are not supposed to have such total, blind “faith” in them, or in our preachers’ ideas, sermons about God. But c) instead, we are supposed to “test everything” in religion (1 Thess. 5.21), even use “science” (Dan. 1.4-15), to “test” God himself (Mal. 3.10). “Believ”ing and having faith finally not in anything at all; unless or until it produces real, empirical works, proofs. Or as Jesus himself said over and over, real material – not just “spiritual” – “fruits,” “works,” “signs,” “deeds,” and “proofs.” As “observe”ed with our physical “eyes.”
So God tells us to follow Science. But what next, does science say about miracles? While of course, Science, or even the most casual experiment – asking God right now, for a giant supernatural miracle – quickly shows that the bigger promises of giant miracles, were indeed, simply false.
Can we say this? Can we say that most priests, or their traditional promises of miracles, are just false? Can we therefore challenge and change, even core assertions in Christianity, like promises of miracles? Amazingly, in our many books, we will have begun to show that the Bible itself, allows us to do this. As it turns out, there are a couple of ideas, repeated over and over in the Bible itself, that warned us that essentially “all” our priests often sinned and were false; even in their holiest sayings or sermons. So that d) we are allowed – and even commanded – to begin testing everything in religion with science; and when science says something in our preachers is false, God commands us to begin criticizing and e) “refining” priests. And indeed, f) God allowed and even commanded us, to label some things in priests, in religion, simply “false” and “illusion.” While we correct their false ideas, with what science confirms or denies. So that g) we are allowed to work incremental changes – and even drastic changes – deep in our religion; in our priests. We are allowed to simply label some promises and prophesies of holy men, to be false. Or in fact, we will find in our writings on the Destruction of Heaven, that if science suggests that even “all” our holiest men sinned and erred, then we are allowed to indeed declare that “all” holy men were partially false. “All have sinned,” the Bible said. And the Bible eventually made it clear that this includes essentially, “all” holy men and angels (Isa. 34.4, etc.). And their most “inspired” assertions, sermons, about God. So that – as we will soon see – God allowed that “all” holy men and angels on earth and in heaven itself … will one day be shown to be partially false (Isa. 34.4). And therefore? If science suggests that indeed, their promises of miracles were false? That simply, after all, matches the predictions, prophesey, of the Bible itself. Science is therefore carrying out the work of God himself. Science is merely confirming, what the Bible prophesied; Science is doing what God commanded.
As we have found in our various books, there are one or two extremely important, but heretofore-unnoticed prophesies or ideas, in our religious traditions, our Bibles. Specifically, there are a few themes in the Bible, where God allows that even our holiest men and angels often made major mistakes. And these parts of the Bible, therefore authorize us to “rebuke” and change some things, even in our religion. Specifically, we will have found, there is a series or related remarks, prophesies, predictions, in the Bible itself … that we should now note. Especially a) first of all, we should all now begin to at last hear and obey, the frequent, constant warnings from God, that essentially “all have sinned,” including all holy men, prophets, and angels. That all holy men, we all, “make many mistakes,” and are im-“perfect.” These warnings eventually tell us furthermore, that priests are often imperfect – even when they think that they have the Holy Spirit itself inside them, protecting them from error for a moment, or “inspir”ing them. (At such times, they often have a “false spirit,” pretending to be the Holy Spirit, the spirit of “light.”)
So the Bible itself acknowledges that its own human authors, and “all” other holy men, the human beings that relayed the words of God to us, were often sinners; and that they made errors. So that? Here we have the beginning of the authorization by God, to doubt our holiest men; to not have so much “faith” in them, or their ideas about God. As we will have noted in our books, God warned us constantly in the Bible, about false things in every aspect of religion and even Christianity, from “anointing” and “angels” and “baptism,” to “worship” and “zeal” (see Bibliography too). And furthermore? The Bible itself eventually leads us to this logical conclusion: b) since all our holy men often sin, therefore, God in effect tells us not to have too much “faith” in holy men and angels, in preachers or their sermons. While indeed, the Bible begins to note problems explicitly with “faith” by name (“your faith is in vain”; Love, Faith, Charity “abide,” but the “greatest of these” is not faith, but “love.” While even love or “the heart” can fail or deceive, etc.).
Ultimately, we will have been finding in our many books that the Bible itself did not stress “faith” in holy men or in their ideas about God; the Bible did not stress it as much as preachers insisted constantly. Instead, God and the Bible continually warned over and over, about huge sins in holy men and angels. And therefore? God himself finally told us not to base our Christianity on “faith”; c) because of continuous errors in holy men, God finally tells us to base our religion on Science. Because our holy men often make “many mistakes” and are im-“perfect,” because as Paul said, even his own “prophesy” and “knowledge” knew only “part” of the truth, and would “pass away”? Finally, far from telling us to have total faith in holy men and their words, the Bible, God, actually told us to continually re-examine holy men and their religion, even Christianity especially. God commanding us to re-examine all of religion with real, critical science. To see what parts of it were true … and which were false. To finally correct even prophets and priests. (Even, it seems, to correct, even the Bible itself? See chapter on scripture). Finally, God warned that “all” our holiest men and angels, “have sinned.” Even in their allegations of “inspiration.” So that the Bible itself never stressed such strong “faith” in apostles and angels; but instead, it told us to not consider following anyone, unless – at a minimum – they produced real, physical, material, timely empirical, physical results and proofs; “fruits,” “works,” “signs,” “deeds,” and “proofs.” As “observe”ed with real “science” (Dan. 1.4-15; 1 Kings 18.21-39; Mal. 3; Deut. 18.21-22, etc.).
Amazingly, we will have been finding in our many books, that the Bible itself, God himself, warned constantly about huge sins and errors in all our holy men. So that God did not stress “faith” half as much, as all our preachers did; indeed, their inordinate stress on faith, was one of our preachers greatest sins. Instead, the Bible itself told us to always apply real empirical “science” to every claim of religion; to follow not preachers or churches, but to follow a Science of God. A Science of God which is to have authority over priests and churches. And which is granted more than enough power, to modestly correct, even bishops and popes; even apostles and angels; to “refine” with “fire,” anything and everything in religion.
Indeed, finally a) our Science of God is authorized to hereby firmly condemn – as an “abomination” – preachers who continue to stand by promises of miracles, explicitly or implicitly. And b) the Science of God has enough authority given to it by God, to demand that former promises of supernatural miracles, be henceforth be read as merely “wonders”; demanding that all apparent “supernatural” “miracles” of the Bible, from now on, be read to the people as figures or metaphors. But not as metaphors for “spirits” or “spiritual” things; but as metaphors, in effect, for natural and technological things. Or? If promises of miracles cannot be reconciled to real life, to what we see “come to pass” in physical life, with “science”? Then c) the Science of God, the body of real scientists, is allow to simply declare, formally, that most traditional promises of miracles … are simply false. Arguably, the Bible grants Science authority even over the Bible itself. Though we do not ourselves assert that authority in our books here, it does seem that at a minimum, when readings of a Bible passage conflict, the reading backed by science should generally be given priority.
This is a very great responsibility. Yet our books on the Science of God will be showing that the Bible itself, God himself, finally gave our Science this kind of authority. Authority over priests and ministers; authority over bishops and popes; authority even over “spirit”s and their most “inspired” doctrines; authority over “all.” So that finally? Given the indications, the evidence? We can simply and firmly say, that most traditional promises of “miracles,” were simply, false. And the preachers and holy men that promised them, were the foretold “false prophets” and bad, false religious “teacher”s and leaders; they were evil angels, working not for God, but working, unknowingly, for the devil himself. Just as the Bible itself warned (Mat. 16.23; 2 Corin. 11.14; Rev. 13; etc.).
45) Here finally is perhaps the best solution, according to the Bible itself: perform a simple scientific experiment, on miracles. That is: Ask Your Preacher to Produce Miracles. And If a Preacher Promises Miracles, But Does Not Produce Them on Demand? Call Him a False, Bad Preacher. Indeed, to those preachers who claim to be working miracles, or who defend them? God told us to simply … ask them to work a miracle, right now, in front of you and reliable scientific witnesses. Cameras rolling. The Bible itself told us that there would be many bad, false religious leaders, who would make “false promises.” And therefore? To tell which of the are good, and which are bad, God commanded us that if your preacher supports miracles, we are to “ask” your holy man or preacher, to work one, work a miracle, right in front of us, whenever we ask. Right now. And if he cannot produce one? Then far from commanding us to continue to follow the holy man with total “faith,” instead, God tells us to simply declare those who promised miracles, to be bad, false religious leaders; even an “abomination”:
“When Pharaoh says to you, “Prove yourselves by working a miracle,‘ then you shall” (Ex. 7. 8).
“By their fruits you shall know them” (Bible, paraphrased).
” ‘Ask a sign of the LORD your God; be it as deep as Sheol or high as heaven.’ But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.’ And he said, ‘Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to wary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign'” (Isa. 7.11).
“How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him…. You call on the name of your god and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, he is God….’ Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water.… And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, ‘The ‘LORD, he is God'” (1 Kings 18.21 –40).
“Set forth your case, says the LORD, bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen…. Behold, you are nothing, and your work is nought; an abomination is he who chooses you” (Isa. 41.24; [note possible identification of an earthly Jewish king or lord here, with the LORD?]).
“When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18.21-22).
“And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not lay it to heart to give glory to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; indeed I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung upon your faces, the dung of your offerings, and I will put you out of my presence” (Mal. 2.1-3).
God, a) the Bible, often warned that there are many false, bad things in alleged holy men and churches. Specifically, their promises of miracles. Even b) St. Paul for example, began to suggest that many who claim to be holy, and to work miracles, cannot. And that c) therefore those who promise miracles, should be simply asked to work a miracle. Right in front of you. Right now. And if they cannot work them on demand, right in front of “all the people”? They are to be declared to be simply, false priests; bad priests.
Indeed, there are many bad preachers among us. Indeed, perhaps all of them; “all have sinned.” And to expose all our preachers? All we need to do is simply “ask” them to work a “miracle”; “whatever” we “ask” … right in front of us. Here and now. And if they cannot? Then far from continuing to follow them any more, God commands us to simply say they are false, bad preachers. And we can simply walk away from them.
Thus God himself finally allows this approach, this answer, to the problem of miracles: we are
commanded by the LORD to ask those who support miracles, to produce one, right now, in front of our eyes, and the eyes of reliable scientists, cameras rolling. And when you preacher cannot produce them? Then we are commanded by God to simply conclude that those who promised miracles, were false, bad, evil preachers, false holy men. (And then we are to go on to find good, more honest preachers, reliable leaders – in the scientists.)
To be sure, by this standard, essentially all preachers and holy men today fail; since nearly all preachers today either promise physical miracles, or do not explicitly denounce them. (While those who “spiritualize” them, are guilty of other sins). But if we find “all” our holy men, even all in heaven itself, to be bad? Then after all, that finding, that conclusion, we will see, was predicted and authorized, by the Bible itself. As we see in our writing on False Priests. And on the Destruction of Heaven (see below).
The Bible itself often warned that “all have sinned.” Even “all” Christian priests and prophets … and even the highest apostles. Even after receiving the “Holy Spirit” and “inspiration.” So in fact? We are allowed, even commanded, by God himself, to simply conclude that essentially “all” our holiest men and angels and priests, bishops, popes, saints … were simply wrong in many things; especially when they promised us huge, physical miracles.
46) The Destruction of Heaven. To be sure, the collapse of traditional religious authority, the collapse of key beliefs like belief in “miracles,” is hard for many believers to face. Indeed, for someone to begin to suggest that traditional promises of physical miracles were simply false, is a very, very serious move. One that requires a massive, even heaven-shattering change in religion. To see and accept this, finally requires a massive change in the very core of all that we were taught was holy and sacred and true and unchanging. And yet however, we will have been finding in our many books, that making his kind of massive change in our faith, our religion, is allowed and even commanded, by the Bible itself. When the Bible warned that essentially “all have sinned,” even our holiest men, then of course, the Bible implicitly told us that one day or another, we should stop following our holy men so faithfully, so slavishly; that our sense of religion should change radically. Specifically in fact, there is a major series of prophesies in the Bible itself, that authorized and even commanded, huge changes in our religion; changes regarding our Heaven itself.
In our many books we will have found, first, an a) authorization from God to find and note, huge sins and errors, in holy men and angels. Then we found b) a series of commands from God himself to have less “faith” in holy men therefore; but to c) instead, apply critical science to every aspect of religion (Dan. 1.4-16 KJE; 1 Kings 18.21-39; Mal. 3.10; Deut. 18.20 ff; etc.). But finally? What do we do, d) if and when contemporary science seems to suggest that elements of traditional religion – like most promises of miracles – are false? Finally we find that the Bible itself allowed us to simply say that major elements of traditional religion – like promises of “miracles” – were simply, false. In this way, we are allowed to work substantial changes in our past religion. What is more, the changes we are allowed to make in our religion, are not small. Ultimately, e) the Bible itself issued an authorization, for massive change in religion … by giving us a demolition order … for Heaven itself.
Amazingly, God himself often noted great sins, even in the apostles; even in the angels in heaven itself (Isa. 34.4; 2 Corin. 11.14; Rev. 12.7; Mat. 16.23). Finally therefore? Amazingly, shatteringly, God commanded that one “day” or another … Heaven itself is to be destroyed (Rev. 21.1 ff; 2 Peter 3.7-12; Isa. 34.4 ff.; Isa. 51.6). In order for us all to see a “second” and better “appearance”/ “parousia,” of God; a “Second Coming.”
“Lift up your eyes to the heavens … for the heavens will vanish like smoke” (Isa. 51.6).
“There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies.…. God did not spare the angels when they sinned…. (2 Peter 2.1, 4).
“The heavens … that now exist have been stored up for fire…. The heavens will pass away with a loud noise…. Dissolved…. The heavens will be kindled and dissolved….” (2 Peter 3.7, 11, 12).
“For behold, the LORD will come in fire, … by fire will the LORD execute judgement” (Isa. 66.15-16).
“Draw near, O nations, to hear, and hearken, O peoples! All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall fall, as leaves fall from the vine, like leaves falling from the fig tree…. For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; behold, it descends for judgement” (Isa. 34.1-5).
“Understanding … science” (Dan. 1.4-15 KJE).
The Bible itself, a) God himself, told us that our holiest men and angels were flawed. And therefore, instead of having too much faith in them, God actually told us to adopt the Science of God. And? b) If Science tells us that there are false things deep in our religion? Then the Bible confirms that this is a valid finding. And c) if we find sins, even in Heaven itself? Then after all … amazingly, the Bible at times (inconsistently?) tells us that indeed, there are sometimes sinful things – even Satan himself – in Heaven. Indeed finally, d) if our findings, from Science, seem to attack and destroy even Heaven itself? Then finally, we are allowed, even commanded by God, to come to that conclusion. I
ndeed, one “day” God is supposed to reveal longstanding, continuous sins in our holiest men and angels; and God is supposed to therefore, destroy Heaven itself. While our own findings of errors in holy men, are at least the precursor – and perhaps the very substance – of that long foretold moment.
Can the very heart of religious tradition – our mental, religious vision of “heaven” itself – be destroyed? It can be; as we will have shown in our books on this subject. As we will have shown elsewhere, the five or so major points of our books, have been to show this: a) God himself often warned that our holy men and churches and their holiest “doctrines,” were imperfect, and often made false promises. Therefore? b) We were never supposed to have such strong “faith” in preachers, or their vision or image or idea or sermons, of God. Instead of our being faith-based, c) our religion, our Christianity, are supposed to be science-based; based on applying critical science, to religion. We are no longer supposed to have such blind faith in holy men, but instead God now commands us “test everything” (1 Thess. 5.21) in religion, with real “science” (Dan. 1.4-15 KJE); to see if what holy men had said, is true, or false. We are not supposed to “test” or “tempt” God’s patience by immortality; but we are allowed and are even commanded, to begin “test”ing religion, Christianity, with real science. Testing it by no longer trusting mere words and promises and sermons, but by looking with real science, to see if following a given doctrine or holy men, brings real material “fruits,” or not.
Far from continuing to follow priests and ministers and angels and prophets, with blind faith, instead, the Bible commanded us over and over, to subject “everything” in religion (1 Thess. 5.21; Mal. 3.10), to real, scientific examination; “test everything,” said even the apostle Paul. And if we find, after applying science to the claims of our holy men, that much of what our holy men and even the angels of the church (Rev. 2-3), the very angels of Heaven claimed, does not match what we see “come to pass” in this material world? If following their “word”s do not bring real material, physical “prosperity” or “fruits,” “works,” in a physical, timely way? Then far from continuing to follow them with total “faith,” instead we were actually commanded by God himself, to simply conclude that our holy men and their promises – like promises of “miracles” – were at least partially, “false.” And if that finding, seems apocalyptic, or heaven-shattering? If it seems to disprove and collapse, the core of our traditional religious beliefs? If it seems to attack and shatter, our Heaven itself? Then after all, that very conclusion, fits the Bible and its prophesies, exactly: the Bible itself told us all, over and over, that a) there have always been huge sins in our holiest men and angels, even those in Heaven itself; b) so that one “day” or another, God told us that he was going to destroy Heaven itself. In order c) for God to show us something better (Rev. 21; Isa. 34.4; 2 Peter 3).
Amazingly therefore, there are a series of authorizations, commands from God, for us to apply a critical, scientific approach to religion. And there are commands from God, to honor the results of that examination – even when the results seem to shatter some of our most traditional, core religious beliefs, doctrines, and dogmas – like ancient promises of miracles. Indeed in fact, if the application of the Science of God to traditional Christianity, finds core beliefs in it to be false? Like promises of miracles especially? Then amazingly, the Bible itself authorizes us to simply conclude that indeed, promises of miracles were simply, false. And if this seems to shatter our old vision of Heaven itself? Then after all, one “day” or another, we are supposed to experience precisely that: God exposing sins in the very angels; then God destroying our heaven itself. God destroying the very core of traditional religion.
These are unconventional conclusions, to say the least. And so, many may try to say, that we will have deviated from the Bible, and have disobeyed God, when we applied science to traditional beliefs, and found some of them false. Yet in point of fact, our various books here and elsewhere, have actually followed the Bible, and have followed God, far more exactly, than the priests ever have. The fact is, our preachers were never able to honestly face or bear much of the face of God; or to face and honestly foreground, whole major themes in the Bible itself. While we ourselves have in fact, in spite of an occasional error not doubt, followed the Bible far, far better than our priests ever did. In particular, we ourselves, here and elsewhere, have at last noted and followed, at least seventy or a hundred major aspects of the Bible, of God himself, that preachers continually ignored, and disobeyed. Specifically of course, we will have at last noted, and will have at last begun to follow – as preachers never did – the dozens, hundreds of parts of the Bible … that told us not to have too much faith in holy men and preachers; that told us to apply a critical science to all religious, holy things. Here in fact, we follow the Bible, we here follow God himself much, much better than priests and ministers ever did. As we at last see and obey, dozens, hundreds of parts of the Bible that priests never saw, or could not face. Especially, we have here at last, begun to reveal and foreground … the seventy or a hundred parts of the Bible that a) warned about longstanding sins in holy men; and that b) therefore told us not to have too much “faith,” but told us c) to apply science to all traditional religious beliefs. Especially, d) we are at last more fully seeing and honoring God, and we are going far beyond priests in following God, when we at last see and honor the side of the Bible, that told us to simply accept the evidence … when we find evidence that holy men often sinned. While more specifically? We have found out that indeed,
specifically, preachers sinned … especially, aa) when they presented themselves as infallible, or “holy,” or merely reliable authorities on God; when they bb) over-stressed faith; and when they cc) attacked science. And most specifically? Essentially all our traditional preachers and churches all sinned, when they dd) promised “miracles” for example: when they promised things appearing supernaturally out of thin air. And when they promised magical wonders, from touching the bones of saints, or holy water, and so forth.
No doubt it will be hard for a traditional believer or preacher, to face or believe all this; at first, what we have come to see here, will seem to be against religion, and against the Bible. But actualy, here we have actually followed the Bible and God, far, far better than preachers have. Here at last we have seen, and have far more ably followed, among other things, a side of, a theology in the Bible, that preachers always ignored, or thought was “second”ary. Our books outlining and following the appearance of God in the Bible when he called not for the blind “Faith” of preachers; but that called instead for a critical, Science of God. When God warned that “all have sinned,” even our holiest men and angels in Heaven. When God commanded us to apply science therefore, to every holy man, and every single religious claim; looking to verify it or disprove it, by looking to see if following it brings real material, physical prosperity, “fruits,” “works,” or not.
It seems likely that elements of traditional Christianity were conducive to creating prosperity; teaching people to get along and work together, as “neighbors,” as co-workers, for example. On the other hand, when our preachers taught people a pray-and-get-miracles religion – which to this very day, is the religion of say, a few hundred million Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestant believers or so – our preachers did humanity an immense disservice. When preachers actively taught miracles, or merely did not explicitly denounce them, indeed, our preachers taught a false theology, a false Christ; that undoubtedly lead hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of human beings, into ignorance, dangerous foolishness. And thence, into poverty, disease, and premature death. By stripping too many people, of material sense.
Is Heaven itself really supposed to crumble? As we discover such massive sins in our holiest men and angels? This at first seems hard to “face” or “bear.” Simply, accepting that parts of our past religion, of traditional Christianity, even elements of Heaven itself, are false, would at first seem impossible. Since in the past we were sometimes told that almost everything in our religion, our church, was perfect or “holy” and “sacred.” And yet however, ultimately we will have found here and elsewhere, that there are many things in the Bible itself that would allow us to reach the conclusion that, after all, many things in “Christianity,” even promises of “miracles,” might simply be false. In particular? The a) Bible often noted huge sins in holy men and angels; even those in Heaven itself. While indeed, b) because there have always been huge sins in all our holiest men and angels, even those in Heaven itself? One day or another, God is supposed to finally destroy the whole structure of past Christianity/religion; and/or destroy our Judeo-Christian heaven itself:
“Lift up your eyes to the heavens … for the heavens will vanish like smoke” (Isa. 51.6).
“For behold, the LORD will come in fire, … by fire will the LORD execute judgement” (Isa. 66.15-16).
“Draw near, O nations, to hear, and hearken, O peoples! All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall fall, as leaves fall from the vine, like leaves falling from the fig tree…. For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; behold, it descends for judgement” (Isa. 34.1-5).
Some preachers might try to say this Heaven that is to be destroyed, is just some heaven in the past; the heaven of the Old Testament, say. But Peter makes it clear that this is the Judeo-Christian Heaven, found in both the Old and New Testaments. That what is to be destroyed is even his own, “present” Heaven of Christianity too:
“The heavens … that now exist have been stored for fire, being kept until the day of judgement and destruction of ungodly men…. The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise…. The heavens will be kindled and dissolved” ((2 Peter. 3.7-12).
“Twist”ing the meaning of even this passage as they usually do, preachers have tried to suggest that the message of this latter passage, is to simply follow our preachers and be good, while waiting for the end. But in fact? The overall message of the Bible, puts this in better context: we are being warned by God that even our holiest things, even our preachers, and their heaven itself, are corrupt, and that are supposed to therefore, collapse. As they are collapsing even here and now, in part. Heaven was often thought to be perfect; but if it was ever said to be perfect in the Bible, that was when the word “heaven” was used as a code word perhaps, for God himself; though God is more properly, in “all things, heaven and earth”; and “above all heavens.” While heaven itself – the place where we imagine our priests and prophets to be – is to be destroyed. Preachers like to speak as if the Destruction of Heaven applies to everyone else, other than preachers, and their congregations. But the Bible often makes it clear that the Destruction of Heaven, the purging of religion, applies to priests and ministers, especially:
“And now, O priests, this command
is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not lay it to heart to give glory to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; indeed I have already cursed them… Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung upon your faces, the dung of your offerings, and I will put you out of my presence” (Mal. 2.1-3).
“The great and terrible day of the LORD comes” (Mal. 4.5).
“The heavens will vanish like smoke” (Isa. 51.6).
“All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall fall, as leaves fall from the vine, like leaves falling from the fig tree. For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; behold, it descends for judgement” (Isa. 34.4-5).
“But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire …; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi [priests] and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings ot the LORD… Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against … those who swear falsely…” (Mal. 3.2-5).
So what finally, is the solution, when things seem false in our religion? Even in Christianity? The solution is to note that a) we were authorized by God to simply conclude that some things in religion, were simply, false. While indeed, b) that authorization extended not just to our holiest men on earth; but also to even the very prophets, apostles, angels, in Heaven itself. So that finally, when it seems that we are seeing something false in holy men and angels – in promises of miracles, say? Then there is more than enough authority in the Bible, in the Science of God, to simply say that traditional promises of miracles were exaggerated, and were simply, false. And if this seems to shatter our Heaven itself? Then after all, the Bible itself allows – and even demands – that very conclusion.
Promises of miracles were mostly false? At first, this seems impossible for preachers, or below-average ordinary believers especially, to believe or face. Yet if ordinary preachers have not been able to face all this, for centuries, many theologians and thinking people, at least. have been partially aware of what seemed to be fundamental problems in religion. Indeed, probably the above-average Christian today, intuitively knows there is something wrong, with promises of physical miracles (although most have thought that however, the “spiritual” message of Christianity remains valid). Yet noticing problems with miracles, remains difficult for the great mass of followers; who have been trained from infancy to absolutely trust and believe and follow and revere their religious leaders. And furthermore? Such people are often even violent, when you contradict their religious beliefs. So that it has been impossible for our more cognizant theologians and thinkers, to really tell the masses, the truth about miracles. At best, rather than simply tell the people, rather than being directly confrontational, those who are aware of what has been going on, have been trying to … subtly finesse the whole problem. Rather than tell the people the truth, the more aware body of religious believers has … ineffectually attempted to speak of spiritual “metaphors”; or has tried to speak of such things, but only in an obscure academic “tongue,” that will be understood only by those educated enough and sophisticated enough to face these revelations. And yet however, only an educated elite (and a very cynical uneducated group of cynics), has faced such things, in the past; and the people have been kept in the dark; kept in humble servitude to a false idea of God. Yet by today, surely our entire population of the world, is well-enough educated … and prepared to at last learn what the “elite” and the “elect” have long known. No doubt, it is now possible to bring a better, at once more scientific but also more humble picture, of God and Christ … to the great mass of people. By showing everyone that the one book they own – the Bible itself – after all, allows and demands this.
The people – and even many preachers – don’t understand or listen to intellectuals. But they do often listen to the Bible. Or they will listen to accessible readings of the Bible. So perhaps our present books – which present, in excerpts, short and relatively easy-to-understand quotes from the Bible – may at last reach beyond the educated elite, to reach the people themselves. To reach that poor woman, sitting all day every day in church, praying to statues, praying for a miracle … and wasting her entire life. Perhaps someone can reach that woman, by giving her a few quotes from the Bible, itself. From God, himself. Quotes that tell her that it is better to get up, stand on her feet, and learn a little about the practical world. Learn a practical trade; learn some practical knowledge. And from that, learn to live.
47) And indeed? There is a huge second benefit, from learning the Science of God, and passing through our childhood “Heaven”; as part of that, next you come to see a second and better “appearance”/ “parousia” of God. You See the Second Coming of God, far more clearly, at last.
The Second Coming, in fact, can begin to appear, at last. That is? When people at last learn to look for and work with God, Good, seen in material things, people “see” a second and better “parousia”/ “appearance” to Christ. And that second appearance of Christ – Christ advocating not blind faith, but science – may be in effect, the partial or even entire fulfillment of prophesy … of a Second Coming of Christ. In effect, we begin to see the first outline of the Second Coming, when we see Christ advocating not blind faith in holy men, but advocating a more critical, Science of God. Indeed, you begin to experience the Second Coming … when you
“mature,” and attain “judgement” and reason and Science; and are no longer a “child.” And in effect, when you see the importance of Science, when you at last see and hear Christ advocating not blind faith, but a critical Science of God? Then the prophesy of the Second Coming is partially fulfilled. In the moment, the “instant” that you grow up … you begin seeing another, second appearance to God and Christ.
Is this the foretold Second Coming? To be sure, as is well known, there are a few passages in the Bible that tell us that no one can say exactly, precisely when or exactly where, what day or hour or place, this happens. But indeed, we are not saying precisely here – in part because this moment of theological “matur”ity comes to different people, at different times. And furthermore, we cannot even guarantee that the scientific Christ that you yourself individually see, is precisely and exactly, the full and accurate idea of Science that you yourself should have; and that History will verify over time; indeed we cannot guarantee that what we see, is anything more than the “outline” of Christ as he will be in the Second Coming. And yet however? What we begin to see here, is at the very least a much clearer, far more definite outline or mental picture than anyone has previously offered, of Christ and God as he will be, in the Second Coming. Since almost everyone left out the really important side of God, as we see him at last: his advocacy of Science.
To be sure, at first, much of what we have said here, seems painfully hard to face, and very negative; even Apocalyptic. But if there is “fiery” pain here, and if we see many old ideas and heroes falls? Then after all, this merely strengthens our assertion that this is indeed the fufillment of End Time prophesy; since precisely the Apocalyptic submission of the faithful, even the “household of God” (1 Peter 4.17), to “fire,” itself exactly fits ancient prophesy. Moreover? Finally there is a silver lining, a positive side, even to the destruction of our Heaven itself. Because after all, heaven is in part destroyed – by a very positive development; by the return of God himself, to this physical existence, this physical earth. Indeed, God arrives, to expose sins in our holiest men. And if God painfully, shatteringly dissolves Heaven itself … all that is in order to achieve a greater good: to clear the fields, after all, for the Second Coming; for the return of God and Good, to this material earth. After many years of false religion, false “worship” (Rev. 13, etc.), one “day” in particular, God himself is supposed to return to earth. To expose longstanding sins in our holiest men and churches and doctrines. But if this is a moment of “fiery” pain, even for the “household of God” itself (1 Peter 4.17)? There is an immensely positive side to this; God is burning off the false, dead weeds, “tares,” “chaff,” dead “wood”; in order to clear the way for something better. Even as we expose alleged holy men, and see sins in things we thought were sacred, even as our old Heaven itself collapses, at the same time, God after all, is at last revealing himself as he more fully is; and God himself too, is at last, returning to this physical earth.
And indeed, as we began to outline the Science of God here and elsewhere, presenting a picture of how religion and God interface, merge with the earth and with science? We have been in effect announcing, presenting, the first clear (if tentative) outline, of the “Second Coming,” Presenting the first outline of God or Christ … as they return after all, to this material, physical earth.
The exposure of promises of miracles as false, has an enormously positive side therefore. It begins all this; it begins to fulfill prophesy. On the negative side, it begins to fulfill the foretold exposure of false things in all our priests and ministers. It begins to fulfill prophesy, of the End. But we are to go though this “fiery” “purgatory” experience, as it is sometimes called; in order to see a greater good. In order to see the fulfillment of the prophesy of the Second Coming. Seeing a second and better appearance of Christ.
[A Second Appearance – which, by the way, denounces supernatural miracles. And sees “miracles” more as natural and technological wonders or works]
48) As our childhood “Heaven” of “faith” in “miracles” begins to collapse, and as we see the first outline of the Second Coming of Christ …finally? To be sure – just as the Bible warned – some people will reject even the second coming of Christ. But for those who accept this appearance, there are any number of very, very positive developments that come out of this. Among other things? Relating to seeing God return to earth in a Second Appearance? We also see … the New Heaven or Foretold Kingdom of God, Appearing on Earth. The foretold Kingdom, is beginning to be realized, as foretold; “on earth as it is in heaven” (as they say in various doxologies). As the Science of God begins to show the missing link between religion and science, it begins to conceptually tie Heaven to earth. And it thus helps bring God, spirit, back to “world” and “flesh” again; as foretold. [And as partially achieved before in the first coming of Christ to earth?] But then too, not only does this begin to fulfill prophesies of a Second Coming; learning and accepting this second appearance, learning science, should allow the everyday Christian to become far, far more effective, prosperous, at work. In fact, when many people no longer follow magic, but follow practical science? They should become effective, prosperous enough to help us build the foretold, wonderful kingdom, city of God; not just in the heaven of our ideals or imagination; but that is to appear here on this material earth (Rev. 21).
Though God might work such things just by his own hand, it appears that more often, God requires us to help him achieve his foretold works; so that the “work” of our own “hands” plays an important part, even in realizing the foretold city or kingdom of God on earth. And when human beings, blind believers lost in magic, at last learn more science? We can expect them to be far, far more effective in helping us all achieve the things that were promised; including the “kingdom.”
One should indeed, expect that there would be very, very positive things that would develop out of passing finally through the “fire,” and from seeing and following the Bible and God more closely; discovering their “Science” especially. And of course, everyone should expect very favorable things out of seeing and following, the Second Appearance of Christ, in science. History especially confirms that learning science and technology, has been the most “fruit”ful tradition throughout human history. Therefore, when millions of formerly blind believers, come to at last see science, and to see the larger, “full”er outline of God and Good? Then the millions of blind believers, who were long lost in foolishness and belief in magical miracles, lost in “illusions” and “delusions,” in the “enchantment” of pleasant but false ideas, should at last, cast off their illusions. And learn to become far more realistic, and become far, far more effective, in this, the new, holy world, this new earth. This new world, which has been redeemed once more again, by the re-appearance to us, of God, within it.
When people who are very religious, but resistant to practical sense and science, at last add real science to their studies? We can reasonably expect that they will become, individually, far, far more productive and prosperous citizens. History, the record of what “comes to pass” in real life, has taught that the thing that brings us the most prosperity, the shows the greatest material “fruits,” and that has therefore showed the most “signs” of being favored by God, of being materially “fruit”ful, was not blind faith; but actually, learning science. Or related to that, learning practical knowledge, and technology. And this is confirmed by the material evidence: at one time, for many thousands of years – until about 1100-1200 AD – the total human population of the world, was estimated by many anthropologists, to be just under only 7 million people. That’s millions with an “m”; not billions; the world once had far fewer human beings on it than it does now. Much of the world was once unpopulated, or sparcely populated; and covered with forests and mostly empty plains filled with roving animals, beasts; not human beings. And not only was the world’s human population much smaller; the seven million people that lived on the planet, were often very hungry and diseased persons. Indeed, their number was small, in part because, before technology and developed agriculture came to most of the world (and not just to Europe, etc.), most everyday people around the world, died young; dying of starvation and disease. Anthropologists, examining skeletons of American Indians, suggest that it is rare to find a skeleton of anyone, over the age of 35 or so; they speculate that most people died before the age of 35 – out of disease, starvation, and fighting. Many people in ancient times, had religion – even Christianity. Yet many still died … because they did not have good science and technology; good farming techniques and so forth. Even very Christian areas, had massive plagues that killed millions, as late as the turn of the millennium. Indeed, civilization was small; most of the surface of the world was uncultivated, and sparcely populated. It was not until science and technology began to develop and spread better tools and farming techniques and so forth, that at last people were not dying as quickly any more, as they had in the past. It was only as the people were taught practical knowledge, technology, that the world’s population therefore, began to “live.” And increase. Increasing from an estimated seven million human beings, worldwide, c. 1000 AD … to a 2011 world population a thousand times larger: a 2011 population of almost 7 billion souls. So if Christ brings us “life,” and the things that do this work, are from God? Then technology – overall and properly used – is God’s greatest gift to mankind.
God told us to honor not just anyone who calls himself a “prophet” or a priest” or any other kind of holy messenger from God; God warned us that such persons are often false and full of hot air, false promises, false spirit, or “wind.” And therefore, God finally told us that we should not listen too much to mere words, sermons; but should only consider following words that actually prove to bring us prosperity, works, and so forth. We should follow only things proven to be empirically fruitful, as proven by the record of History, or what “comes to pass” through time (Deut. 18.21-22), and science. And so, what does scientific History for example, tell us, actually prospers us? What does History tell us, brought the most real “fruits,” “works,” “signs,” “deeds,” “prosperity”? Honest, good History tells us that what truly brings “life” and prosperity, fruits, was not praying for miracles … but was working with practical knowledge, on the earth; learning practical “knowledge,” and doing practical physical work, with our “hands” and machines. In spite of it own occasional errors, it has been overwlemingly, practical knowledge, not praying for miracles, that has been fruitful. And therefore? It is practical knowledge, not praying for miracles, that must now be firmly proclaimed to have been the true “knowledge” from (and of) God. Not “faith” in spirits and miracles.
History – which is in biblical language, the record of what “comes to pass” in life – confirms it over and over: that those persons, nations, peoples, who learned a little practical knowledge, technology, were far, far more prosperous, they had far greater “works,” than those who were merely, conventionally “religious,” sitting around praying for things to appear out of thin air. Those who developed practical knowledge of farming, had far better crops, and fruits. While Jesus himself often spoke of the details of farming knowledge. And amazingly, God favored not over-spiritual priests; rather God favored, prospered, those … who had a more developed technology; agronomy. So that? Finally, we need everyday people and pastors, to revise their mistaken idea of “religion,” of Christianity. Finally we need everyone to begin learning to center their beliefs far, far more, around what God really wants us to do – and around what appears to be most fruitful in fact. Which is not the all-but-blind faith of preachers. But which is … the Science of God. Science and technology. Any priest who does not center around that … is a bad, false priest. And any individual who does not follow science and technology … is blind. Is not really seeing God or Christ more “full”y. Those who fail to see and follow this, will not be as fruitful as he or she should be.
On the positive side? What can we reasonably expect, when millions, billions of formerly blind, deceived believers, stop praying for miracles; and instead learn and employ, some practical knowledge? As they a) learn practical knowledge, they b) should be more effective, fruitful, in life. As History shows. And they c) should be able to get better jobs. And d) bigger paychecks; more fruits and rewards. As the formerly blind believers, learn to work more effectively with their hands and minds, with practical knowledge? Then they should be able to lift themselves out of their false, church-imposed ignorance, superstition, and poverty at last. They should at last, know the truth; know what works in real life. And that should “set them free” from slavery to false apostles, false churches, to crippling, unfruitful illusions and delusions. Those who once simply sat and prayed, and waited for things to appear out of thin air, should at last know enough of the truth, to get a real job. And to produce prosperity far more effectively.
While indeed, out of this, the final biblical goal might be achieved: as millions, billions of people, who have until to “day” been lost in ignorance and false belief, in false worship, are at last converted to a fuller vision of God and Good, they first, should become far, far more materially productive. Productive enough at last in fact … to take us and the whole world, to the foretold “New Heaven,” the new “kingdom,” the ideal “city.” That is supposed to be produced physically, here on the surface of this physical earth. When millions of people formerly lost in illusions and delusions, a flawed “Heaven,” at last become more materially productive, we should have enough fruitful people … to take us to the foretold better life, to the promised “kingdom” of God and Good on earth, at last. To the kingdom that does not remain forever floating in the heaven of our ideals and dreams; but that comes down to earth (Rev. 21). As foretold, after all, in the Bible itself (Rev. 21; Isa. 34.4; 2 Peter 3; Mark 13.31).
In contrast? No doubt the religion or “worship: that has dominated the “world” until today,
has been partially false. The “faith” in “miracles” and “spirits,” that so many bad preachers taught us, might have been fine or acceptable – if it had worked; if it had borne fruits. But God told us that there are many false things even in apparent holy men and spirits; “false spirits.” Therefore, God told us not to trust the mere words and promises of alleged holy men. But to carefully “observe” the real-world outcomes, the physical “fruits,” of following their various priestly sayings, doctrines; doctrines that priests have attributed to God. While today, even the most casual thought-experiments, show decisively that our “tradition”al preachers were false, when they stood behind traditional promises of “miracles.” The fact is that no one at all today, is getting the same exact “fruits” that preachers asserted that the Bible promised. Even a moderately intelligent 12-year old child, even the most casual observer of the physical universe around us, should be able to easily discover that praying for a bicycle to appear out of thin air, does not work. Even a moderately-intelligent 12-year old, should be able to understand therefore, that most priestly promises of “miracles,” were not really reliable; were not really true; that miracles do “not come to pass” in real life (Deut. 18.20-22). Especially promises of “all” or “whatever” “whosoever” “asks.” Experience, science, observation of what “comes to pass,” proves decisively, that most promises of regular, reliable miracles – “all” and “whatever” we “ask,” and so forth; and even rarer miracles too – are simply, the foretold “false promises,” the “lies,” that the Bible warned us about.
God often warned that even preachers and holy men, who think they are “Christians,” who think they are following the “Lord, Lord,” will often have been deceived. And God warned that one “day” or another, God is supposed to show that, reveal that, to us. So that yourself are supposed to discover that. While indeed, here and now, that prophesy seems at last partially – even mostly – fulfilled.
Conclusion on Miracles
But in biblical terms, what more exactly, was belief in “miracles”? No doubt, belief in miracles is now best regarded, as having been in general, a) one of the foretold false “illusions” and “lies,” that God warned, would overtake religion, and even “Christ”ianity; more specifically, it was b) part of the foretold deceived “worship” (Rev. 13); worship c) of a “False Christ.” Since it worshiped a false idea of Christ; Christ advocating not science, but magical thinking. Or indeed, finally, d) the specific kind of lie or illusion, in belief in miracles, is part of the foretold deception of all of humanity, in part by “magicians” and “sorcerers.”
In more scientific, anthropological terms? The belief in “miracles” has been a holdover of ancient, primitive, “magical thinking”; belief in conjuring, and spirits. Belief that Jesus made physical bread appear, out of thin air, in empty baskets, is – in spite of superficial priestly objections to this – essentially one and the same belief, as belief in a stage magician’s trick: as the magician appears to make a rabbit appear in an empty hat. Priest who suggest that “miracles” are not magic, because they are done in the name of the “spirit,” or because they are bigger and better than conventional magicians’ tricks, are just employing still more sophistries (as we will see elsewhere).
Indeed, the scientific /anthropological view – that priests’ promises of “miracles” was really just belief in magic – can be verified, in conventional religious, biblical language. What we see now in other words, fulfills, matches, yet another Biblical prophesy: a) those millions of preachers who taught “miracles,” were really the foretold deceived false leaders, following false prophets; b) following the ones who believed in, were hypnotized by the foretold illusions of … “magicians” and “sorcerers,” “necromancers” and “witches,” “soothsayers” and “augurers,” and so forth (q.v., Bible; especially say Deut. 18.10, Mal. 3.5, Isa. 47.9, Rev. 18.23). While finally c) those many millions, billions of blindly faithful followers, who relied so much on these false, priestly/magical promises and lie and delusions? Those millions of people (especially women) who followed their miracle-promising priests all-too-faithfully, all-too-religiously – were the foretold deceived ones. Who were effect not following God or Christ; but who were following false teachers, false prophets, false priests. Who were following finally, a False Christ. A false concept or “image” or “dream” of Christ. A Christ who was deformed, essentially by … the illusions and delusions of priests who, without knowing it, actually believed not in God, but in magic; in the idea that things appear out of thin air.
Finally, the common idea that God often makes bread and other things appear out of thin air, is essentially the very same idea, as the idea that stage magicians make rabbits appear in empty hats. Both are belief in what is called “conjuring”: making things appear out of thin air. By saying a few magic words, or formulas … or prayers. Finally, the belief in miracles is bad,
not only because it is really belief in magical thinking/ “sorcerers”; but also it is bad and evil because … it does not work in real life. Science has shown that you can pray all day – or say magic words and formulas continually. And yet … things just do not appear magically, or miraculously, out of thin air. The great sin in belief in magic and miracles, is that mostly, it does not work; it does not produce fruits. And so all those who rely on this belief, to any degree, are precisely to that degree, made unfruitful. Having wasted their time on things that do not work. Having spent their time following false prophesies, that do not produce “fruits,” “works,” “signs,” “deeds,” or “proof”s. While those individuals or people who spend too much time following false, unfruitful ideas? Will often be lead to … starvation. For lack of fruits; lack of crops, and food. So that they are led not to long “life,” but to the pit of death.
Confirming what science says, we have found that surprisingly, the Bible itself began to confirm that those who believed in say, too much “faith” and spirituality, were not lead to the promised fruits, or prosperity. Indeed, the apostle James, in James 2.14-3.13, began to see already, c. 30-60 AD, that those alleged “Christ”ians who followed “spiritual” and other ideas, were led, as the Apostle James began to warn, to foolishness, deprivation … and to premature death (James 2.14-26). While then too, even the Apostle Paul began to doubt the major tenet of traditional “Christians”; Paul finally asking “do all work miracles?”
So that already, even in the time of the first disciples and slightly thereafter, (Paul seeming to flourish c. 52-60 AD), even the very first major disciples themselves, were beginning to warn about … signs of sin and error, even in the very earliest Christian doctrines. As they warned too, of sins in the very first Christian churches. (Rev. 2-3; see all of Paul’s letters to churches, complaining about sins in them). John in fact, even told the head or “angel” of one of the earliest churches, that he had “not found your works perfect” (Rev. 3.1-2). While the first apostles also noted sins in themselves, and in other apostles; even as they were writing the Bible itself. (As we note in our writings on False Priests). Paul admitting that he himself was “not yet … perfect”; that he and “our” early Christian “knowledge” and “prophesy” were imperfect; that they saw things in a “mirror,” darkly, and would “pass away.” Paul admitting that he saw only “part” of the truth. While Paul in turn, noted sins – insincerity; hypocrisy – in Cephas, or St. Peter. While Peter finally noted sins in St. Peter so huge, that finally Jesus himself called Peter himself “Satan,” in Mat. 16.23. While Jesus would not guarantee, to the mother of John Zebedee, that this apostle “John” would stand next to Jesus himself in the kingdom (Mat. 20.20).
The Apostles themselves often noted sins, in themselves – and in the other apostles. And indeed, John said that the “false Christ”s had already begun coming, even in the time of John, c. 90 AD. So that? In fact, no one should be surprised, if we now find many sins and errors, in those who thought they were “Christians”; even from the very earliest times. Indeed, there was a false idea of Christ – many false ideas of Christ – around, as early as 90 AD; when Christianity was forming. No doubt, some of those false ideas crept into early Christianity. Even in spite of the apparent assurances of the Apostle John; since indeed, the Bible noted sins and errors in essentially “all” the apostles; including it seems, John too. If Paul thought in parts of the Bible, that Paul himself at least, had laid a firm foundation, other parts of the Bible said that even Paul and “foundation”s, the very “household of God,” would be tested by the fire of God. If John thought that “we” Christians, had successfully escaped the false believers, who were “from us, but not of us”? Finally there is no way of knowing today, who those true followers were. And which group today, succeeds them. Indeed, it seems that John himself held that there were already many following “false Christs,” even in his on time (1 John 3-4). So that in effect, a false “Christianity” already existed, even in 90 AD. While the Bible itself for that matter … has Christ in some ways, not embracing even at least one “John.” Jesus refused to guarantee to the mother of one “John Zebedee,” that John would stand next to Jesus in the kingdom. Furthermore, it is not entirely certain to many scholars, that the “disciple that Jesus loved,” was John. Or in any case, we know that Jesus loves sinners; so that any love from Jesus, for John, would not by any means indicate that John was good, or reliable.
The Bible therefore, constantly warned about false things in holy men. But unfortunately, millions, billions of people, have never heard in church, about of these constant warnings from God. Or if they heard about them, then their preachers “twist”ed and “whitewashed” those passages. So that millions, billions have never known that God was warning us about our preachers; and millions therefore blindly trusted and believed their preachers … and have been over the ages led into the “pit.” Into Hell. Into Death. By bad priests. Billions of human beings have been led into the pit, ironically, by the very things they had thought were most holy and true and good: by their allegedly … holiest churches, and preachers. Just as the Bible had noted in the past … and foretold for the future, as well:
“From prophet to priest, ever one deals falsely” (Jer. 6.13).
“Prophesy against the prophets of Israel” (Ezk. 13.2).
“The prophet is a fool, the man of the spirit is mad” (Hos. 9.7).
“I will remove from the land the prophets” (Zech. 13.3).
“He leads priests away stripped” (Job 12.19).
“I reject you from being a priest to me” (Hos. 4.6).
This was for … “the sins and iniquities of her priests” (Lam. 4.13).
Many preachers today will try to say that such false things in priests, in the idea of “Christ,” are found only in priests of the past. But the Bible, Jesus and others made it clear that false things in holy men, were to persist, even after Christ, and until the end of time, and in “every” prophet. Even most of those who think they are following Christ, will be following a “false Christ,” crying “Lord, Lord,” and so forth:
“All have sinned” (Rom.).
“False Christs and false prophets will arise” (Mat. 24.24; Mark 13.22).
“And all who dwell on earth will worship it” (Rev. 13.8).
“Every prophet will be ashamed of his vision” (Zech. 13.4).
“An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?” (Jer. 5.30-31).
Many were already being deceived by “false Christs” even in the time of Jesus and John, in the very first days when what was to be called Christianity was being formed (1 John 2-4). So that John himself told us not to simply have faith in holy men or even “Christ”s, or “spirit”s; but to “test the spirits, to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4.1). So could false ideas, have slipped into even mainstream Christianity? Here we find that the Bible itself (or say, the Revised Standard Edition, first edition), seems more reliable than most Bibles. But even our Bibles indicated over and over, that there were sins and errors even in our holiest men; even after being “inspired” by the Holy Spirit. Peter or “Cephas” errs, according to Paul, even after receiving the spirit from the resurrected Jesus (John 1.43; Gal. 1.18-2.14 ff).
The Bible itself warned over and over that our holiest men often sinned and erred; even in their most “inspired” moments, and even in their holiest “doctrines” therefore. So where specifically, did our holy men and angels err? Here and elsewhere, we will have begun to see exactly where. Indeed, they were a) mislead by their very “Faith”; which b) neglected, disobeyed the science of God; and which c) led them to trust far too much, to false prophets. And then too? Once they lost sight of science, or early practical knowledge? They began to b) believe in things that practical knowledge would not support: in “miracles.” And thus? Millions, c) billions were misled by their priests; d) ultimately, into following a false idea of Christ. Into following e) a magical idea of Christ (not to be confused totally, with Simon Bar Jesus); the popular idea of Jesus as “miracle worker.” Thus? Millions f) billions of people who thought they were being lifted out of poverty, into “life,” were therefore actually actively led into or left in primitive poverty. By a false preachers, with their dysfunctional belief in a false “image” of Christ. Millions have been deceived in fact, by a False Christ; a false idea of Christ that saw him as a teacher of “Miracles”; or in effect, of magic. Of conjuring. While those billions who believed in such false ideas … were not as fruitful as they might otherwise be in countries with advanced technology; living in more poverty, starvation, and death, than they would otherwise.
God warned constantly that there were false things in our holiest men. And now we are seeing what they were. Specifically?
First of all, we have just found here that the prevailing image of Christ as “miracle-worker,” as we will be showing in later works, was false; and we will show that this false image, has been particularly destructive to mankind. Over the ages, many millions of primitive people, who believed in magic, would have been ready to be approached by early civilizations, like Greece and especially Rome, to be taught more advanced civilized concepts. But because most priests themselves never really quite understood or valued practical thinking, reason, their own thinking remained lost in vague and magical ideas; and when priests moved out of Rome, to more remote, less civilized parts of the world? Priests began to pick up local beliefs in magic, syncretistically. Thus, millions of people, billions, were never fully taken out of ancient belief in magic and sorcery and magical thinking. In large part because their priests themselves, had either never emerged from it themselves; or in any case, when sent to remote locations (in Africa and South America especially), they simply, unconsciously re-absorbed magical ideas, from less civilized cultures around them. So that? Real, rational, scientific Christianity was long ago destroyed. And the world was not lifted out of primitive magical illusions and delusions – but was now taught those illusions as holy, from the “Christian” pulpit. Thus billions of people were now more actively taught false promises, false doctrines that do not work; doctrin that are not fruitful in daily life. And no doubt, millions, billions suffered more poverty that was strictly necessary, because of being lost in such illusions, and delusions; such un-“fruit”ful, false ideas.
When confronted with the falsity of miracles, preachers often ask, but “what harm has been done” by them. Here and now though we begin to see the massive harm. Over a period of two thousand years or even more, a million false priests and false “teachers” and “false prophets” and so forth, in every denomination, every church – Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant/Evangelical, Jewish, etc. – over the ages, have misled probably billions of human beings, over time. Billions were led to a false “Christ.” Who was not really Jesus or God himself, truth itself, but who was a false image, a false, magic-influenced vision, of God. Millions have yet to emerge, in the “Third World,” and in the First World too, from belief in magic. Indeed, when Christianity moved out of urban Jerusalem and Rome, into the uncivilized areas of the world, it accommodated itself, it converted itself syncretistically, all too smoothly, to the local, ancient magical beliefs. So that already, by 25-110 AD, in the time of the biblical writings attributed to “John,” and “Paul,” the “False Christ” that Jesus had warned about, had “already come,” as John confirmed (1 John 2.18, 4.1-3). And, in spite of John’s alleged assurances to the contrary, that false Christ was already infecting – and indeed defining, dominating, forming – what was to be mistakenly known as “Christianity,” for fully two thousand years. Until this very day, in fact. While not only was the vision of Christ taught to the world, false; but worse than that, that false vision was unfruitful – even crippling, even physically fatal – in day-to-day life. So that millions had their lives undercut and destroyed, all without ever knowing that the cause … was the very thing that presented itself to them as their holy savior. Exactly as the Bible foretold, Satan himself had come to the world … disguised as “the angel of light.” The greatest evil in the universe, was hidden within the “sheep’s” clothing, of our holiest churches and holy men; as our priests and ministers.
But while this is so? We have come to “day” to fix this, after all. Finally.
END CHAPTER/ADDENDUM ON SERMONS
END OF BOOK 1