The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God

Email To The Editor
(Page 83)

(Mail from Kooks, Nuts and Loonies is on another page)



2 Feb 04

Wow! Just i was thinking the Internet was composed entirely of inane flash movies and pornographic doctored celebrity pictures, i stumble into your site and i have to say i'm loving it! I'm a catholic myself and i've always questioned my faith but your site has made me think more in the last few months than i can ever remember doing. This is just really a message of support i decided to write after reading some of the comments in the hate mail section. Don't listen to them, (not that you were anyway) your site is appreciated and interesting. OK i'm sure we're both sick of this ass kissing so i'm just gonna say good work and keep it up :)


Thanks! Means a lot!



07 Feb 04

Editor Note: Bill Fairchild catches up with the email here:

In a recent email, Brenda D______, PhD asked for the whereabouts of Ted Herlofson, Virginia Kineston, and Sherwin McMichael.  And a later email said McMichael might be dead.

Sherwin McMichael is definitely dead.  He died on 07 SEP 2001 in Fairfax, VA:

I don't know anything on the whereabouts of Ted Herlofson or Virginia Kineston.

Bill Fairchild


Regarding the whereabouts of Virginia Kineston, I did a Google search on her name and found the following article:

This is really an article about David Jon Hill, an evangelist-ranked minister of the Worldwide Church of God whose death prompted William Dankenbring to post the above article on his website.  The article only mentions Kineston in passing, but I thought the article would be good to have linked on the PT website since it discusses the widespread corruption and skulduggery at the top of the WWCG in the 1970s.

Kineston was apparently Stan Rader's secretary.  During those years Stan Rader was the top lawyer in that slimy organization, and he had wrangled himself into a two-man power struggle with Herbert Armstrong's son Garner Ted Armstrong over which of the two of them would inherite the number one spot when the increasingly frail and senile old Herbert W. finally died.  Eventually Rader won the power struggle and got Garner Ted banished for good (ca. MAY 1978), but then Rader got banished (ca. 1982) in another power struggle before the old guy died (JAN 1986), so Rader was not able to inherit the con game.  Too bad about that, Stan.  Of course Stan is now dead, too.  And may they all rot in hell instead of resting in peace.

Kineston, being Stan's secretary, must have been privy to some very heavy-duty insider knowledge, which could be translated into big-time blackmail money.  Wherever she is now, if she is still alive, she should be living very well and large thanks to all the faithful, dumb sheep like me who kept sacrificing our tithes and offerings for all those decades of our mutual bamboozlement.

The WWCG did not have a monopoly on power struggles, skulduggery, back-stabbing, political infighting at the top power levels, and utter contempt and disdain for the common people at the bottom of the food chain in their organization.  They were then, and probably still are, just like all other human organizations, where any human being placed at the top of a power structure will begin to be corrupted by the power, as was so succinctly put by Lord Acton:  "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Great men are almost always bad men." [05 APR 1887; letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton]  He also said this very similar idea:  "And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control.  History has proven that.  All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely."

(Point of extremely valuable trivia for those readers with still a spark of intellectual curiosity:  this particular quote of Lord Acton's is all most people know of his writings.  He also wrote a letter on 04 NOV 1866 to General Robert E. Lee of the vanquished nation known briefly as the Confederate States of America which is worth reading.  It can be found with Google or any other search engine.)

So according to Acton's formula, the people in charge of the one true, end-time "Work of God", as well as the people in charge of IBM, General Motors, U.S. government (ALL branches), Roman Catholic Church, European Union, Boy Scouts of America, etc. etc., are very probably corrupt gangsters, if not when they first get in charge then almost certainly shortly after they inherit power.

May all such power-lusters throughout all history rot in hell, if there is a hell.  If not, I want to piss on their graves and take a sledgehammer to their headstones.

Bill Fairchild
Douglas, Mass.


In a recent email, reader Bernard M. discussed the "Dark Ages".  I have some comments on his email and on this subject.

BM wrote "the Benedictine monk Mendel did extensive resarch on the subject of Genetics".  This is a rather poor example to offer in a discussion on the Dark Ages, since Mendel lived from 1822 to 1884.  I think we would all agree that the Dark Ages were over and done with long before Mendel was born.

BM also wrote "the priests at the temple of Apollo in Greece were some of the first to logically begin catalouging [sic] the causes of disease".  This is another poor example for a discussion on the Dark Ages, since my Webster's dictionary defines the Dark Ages as "1.  the period from the fall of the Western Roman Empire (476 A.D.) to the beginning of the modern era (ca. 1450); Middle Ages."  The Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official state religion during his reign, and he died in 337.  When Christianity became official, all other religions in the Roman Empire (which included Greece), such as the worship of Apollo, became illegal and their adherents were punished and/or killed.  So the scientific inquiries into the causes of disease performed by Apollo's priests in Greece were all done and catalogued long before the Dark Ages commenced.  Indeed, the great Greek physician Hippocrates, called The Father of Medicine, lived from ca. 466 to ca. 377 B.C.

It would have strengthened B.M.'s argument greatly if he could have given us some examples of open-minded scientific research performed by religious leaders during the Dark Ages rather than some long before they started and long after they ended.

B.M. wrote "The monks of the middle ages also give us a basis of Western Democracy".  There is no explanation of this statement, which I found to be the most ludicrous in an almost completely ludicrous, incoherent, and rambling email filled to overflowing with grammatical errors and misspellings, which made it well nigh unreadable.  I cannot possibly imagine how cloistered monks, who first make lifetime vows of poverty, chastity, and OBEDIENCE and then enter upon a daily routine of sleep deprivation, meditation, prayer, and copying manuscripts are going to have the free time or mental energy to invent anything even faintly resembling a "basis of Western Democracy."

B.M. wrote "there is the art which religion has inspired as can be demonstated by St Pauls Cathedral in London the Parthanon in Greece or the Pyramids in Egypt".  I have seen plenty of the art inspired by religion.  I have walked through the Vatican more than once and had my jaw drop in awe at the room after room one must walk through before finally coming to the Sistine Chapel.  Each of these dozens of rooms is adorned with the most exquisite art imaginable, and the total value of the art in the Vatican must be a trillion dollars.  The Sistine Chapel in all its glory is only a drop in the bucket of all the gorgeous art in the Vatican.  But all this art, inspired by religion, depicts only religious concepts, such as saints, Jesus, Mary, the creation (on the Sistine Chapel ceiling), or various Biblical events.  There was no artwork inspired by religion showing the design of a flying machine such as was drawn by Leonardo da Vinci who came along at the beginning of the Renaissance after the Dark Ages were over.  During the Dark Ages, when Christianity ruled Europe, you were perfectly free to invent anything you wanted or do any kind of artwork you could imagine, as long as what you invented or depicted in your artwork would enhance the tyranny of those in charge, namely, the leaders of the religous orders.  So great progress was made in the human ability to paint pictures of the faces of saints, to sculpt figures of saints, to build great lofty cathedrals, to construct gloriously beautiful stained glass pictures of saints and Biblical events.  Any other new ideas were squelched on pain of death by those in charge of this mentally darkened period that covered Europe for about 1,000 years.

The second definition of Dark Ages in my Webster's dictionary explains it all much better:  "2.  the earlier part of the Middle Ages, to about the end of the 10th century.  The term arose from the idea that the medieval period in Europe, especially the earlier part, was characterized by widespread ignorance, lack of progress, etc."  This is not only an idea, but is also a historic fact.  To learn more about why this was so, see the following discussion on the deliberate destruction of knowledge, the suppression of reason, and the burning of books perpetrated primarily by the religious leaders of that period:  http ://

While reading this essay I was bitterly reminded of Herbert W. Armstrong's frequent diatribes against higher education, the emphasis he and his minions placed on faith instead of faulty human reasoning, and the tremendous pressure applied against anyone who ever came up with a soundly reasoned and well documented refutation of that church's official position on anything.  That page is from a fairly extensive website called "The Rejection of Pascal's Wager", and the starting point for the website is at http: //  This website is a good one to read through, although it is filled with misspellings and grammatical errors.  The historical information in it and reasoning used by its author, however, are quite good.

B.M. wrote "the British head of State the Queen is also the head of the Anglican Church".  This is certainly true, but it is also highly irrelevant, as the British monarch is only a figurehead in both political and religious matters.  All political matters are carried on by their Parliament, and religious matters are decided by the Archbishop of Canterbury.  If the current British Queen were personally involved in any kind of serious scientific research, as the Old Testament King Solomon claimed to have been, that would be another matter, but all Queen Elizabeth II does is preside at official ceremonies.  She functions more like a drone than a queen bee.

All organized religions, such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, keep their masses in the dark and keep all power at the top in the hands of a few.  Even fundamentalist Christian sects which supposedly disdain big organizations and keep the power to set doctrine in the local congregation also have their members intimidated and kept from thinking on their own.  Wherever religion has been organized, it has ultimately conspired with the political government to perpetuate itself at the expense of its members.  And Christianity has probably been the worst, as it kept an entire continent and not just one nation in the dark for a thousand years.

The only possible solution is always to remain skeptical, and to question everything, especially everything uttered by our "leaders".

Bill Fairchild
Douglas, Mass.


Fortunately, I missed out on all the postings, flamings, apologies, etc., until it had all died down, because I didn't read any Painful Truth emails for several months.  Otherwise, I would have been sorely tempted to add my own flames.  Enough said on that subject (my favorite reply was by Heather).

But I did want to point out one thing as a point of trivia:  All the emails from Jorge kept calling Jeff "Jefe" instead of "Jeff".  This alleged misspelling was never pointed out or explained, so I thought I would explain it for those readers not familiar with the Spanish language.  In Spanish the word "jefe" means "chief" or "boss", so when Jorge referred to Jeff as "jefe" it was a subtle jibe at Jeff's attempting to lord it over the rest of us.  Hey, Jorge, that was cool.  :-)

As to why any of us was in the church, I have my own opinion to offer.  Jeff said we were all greedy.  I got into the church/cult because I wanted to save my ass from the coming prophesied end-time destruction, which appeared to me at that time to have been quite well depicted and logically explained by Garner Ted Armstrong on his radio broadcasts and by all the literature.  Of course, I know better now, but at that time I really did believe all this prophetic hooey.  After I got into the church and became exposed to more intensive indoctrination through sermons, Bible Correspondence Course, etc., my reason for being in the church changed from wanting to save only my own ass to wanting to save everyone else's ass, too.  I thought we could somehow help save some more people through the organized work of the Worldwide Church of God.  That was also hooey, since the top dogs in power positions were wasting a lot of money on their own lavish life styles.  A hugh chunk of the money we sent in went for advertising purposes to attract even more fools to join the alleged work of God, and another huge chunk of money went for living large at the expense of all us poor dumb sheep chumps.  What a slick racket!

May they all rot in hell.

Bill Fairchild


You posted an email on 24 DEC 2003 from Don V. regarding my article "Religion and Other Mental Illnesses."

THANK YOU SO MUCH for writing, Don V.!!  That's why I wrote that and all the other articles I have written -- so others can profit from my experiences, understanding, ability to write and explain, and from being a "natural resource" (as the Editor put it).

Receiving positive feedback like that keeps me and all the other writers writing.

Bill Fairchild
Douglas, Mass.


Hey, editor, you may wonder why I have suddenly written you this spate of emails.  It's because I didn't read any Painful Truth emails for several months, and found a number of them I wanted to comment on.

Also I just got back from a week on the FANTASTIC island of Maui in the Hawai'ian islands which used to be pastored by the Painful Truth's most prolific writer, John O.  Hey, John!  What a place!  I wanna go back and stay there.  Maui no ka oi! (Hawa'ian for "Maui is the best.")

Anyway, my last email in this spate is more on Jeff Diehl's email series.  In one of those many emails mention was made of the chapter "Why the Worst Get on Top" in Friedrich Hayek's book The Road to Serfdom.  Alas, it is so true that in any organization the worst criminals, gangsters, thugs, and power-lusters make it to the top for their own selfish reasons, and sooner or later they will ruin the organization for everybody else.  The email then went on to quote three lengthy paragraphs from Hayek's most excellent book.  I would also like to encourage all Painful Truth readers to read Eric Hoffer's 1951 book The True Believer, in which he discusses the same topic of why the worst sort of human scum always seem to get in control of any organization.  Hoffer's book is fabulously worthwhile for anyone who has been in an all-controlling cult, and should be read or re-read every few years by anyone who seeks freedom.  The subtitle of Hoffer's book was "Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements."  Read this book and find out why ALL mass movements should be avoided like the plague.

Bill Fairchild
Douglas, Mass.

Just back from Maui, huh?

Guess we'll let ya slide this time....:)

Thanks for the thoughts here.....




29 Feb 04 

Jeff Diehl checks in.....

Dear Editor:

I hope that you had an excellent Holiday season, and
are ready for spring!  Just some commentary and
perspectives, I'm not looking for trouble :).

During the past few months I've gotten to review in
depth most of the website from The Painful Truth.  I
am in fact one of the "sheltered people" whose
experience was not as bad as others, obviously.  I
haven't spoken a word but curiously revisit and read
the website and its postings.  But I'd like to respond
to the "Tough Love" article by Heather C.. 

Heather Says:   "Not everyone heals at the same rate.
People respond uniquely to diverse methods of
treatment.  Each person has a different threshold of
what they can and cannot withstand, physically,
emotionally, and psychologically.  When those
boundaries are tested strenuously in excessively
abusive situations, invariably damage (sometimes of
the irreparable kind) is done."

Jeff Says:  Now granted, physical is much different
than that of emotional, but how different are the
healing times?  One could argue that if you cut your
finger on Sunday, seven days later it will heal, with
virtually no scar.  If someone screams at you and
calls you an idiot, you will be over it by the end of
the day.   Furthermore, if you are in a car accident
and break you neck, you are paralyzed for life.  But
if you were in the WWCG, are you paralyzed for life?
Since on this website I see only claims of emotional
abuse, and not physical (at least not by the
ministers), then we are speaking specifically about
the mental and psychological damage.  (I realize the
argument if you were taught not to question your
husband and he beat you, then yes maybe the church
could be culprit for indirectly causing physical
abuse, but that's another story.) 

My Question:  When will the emotional damage finally
be healed?

Then Heather Says:  "People who have not had similar
experiences cannot possibly understand the censure
felt when ostracism is unmercifully enforced by those
deemed closest allies. When this is further
exacerbated by someone exhorting them to 'get over it'
or 'quit bitching', it summarily invalidates the
experiences of those who were hurt the most." ...
"When one has been through something like this, there
is no wrong way to feel.  To those still hurting,
allow yourself to feel what you feel. Show some
compassion for yourself, and allow yourself to grieve
for what you have lost.  Then show some compassion for
those who are still in denial, who would shift the
blame back to you.  Ease their journey, for their pain
runs deep as well, and they have much further to go
than they realize."

Jeff Says:  Showing yourself some compassion and allow
yourself to grieve for what you have lost is the same
thing as an addict who gets fired for using
drugs/alcohol on the job, and then justifies it with
"I was stressed out, I deserve to get drunk/high, it's
okay to miss work, I'll deal with it later etc.".   If
those who are still suffering are just waiting for it
to finally end (like the sound of the final trumpet)
instead of proactively getting on with life, family,
career,  then you are right back to square one which
is faith, the thing that got you in trouble in the
first place.  Not being able to deal with the past and
move on to the future is the same thing.  Better to
wallow around in self pity and make excuses for why
you haven't moved on while blaming others for your own
weakness.  Was it okay to lament your experiences for
awhile?  ABSOLUTELY.  But time ticks on quickly. 

You know, my dad always says, "I lost 25 years" (I
think Ed Sr. said something similar).  But what has
been lost since then?  Have they learned anything
since then?  If so do they utilize the knowledge and
apply it to real life situations?  Maybe, maybe not.
If you're happier telling yourself that it's okay to
feel the way you feel, show compassion for others who
are as well, then fine.  But I'll bet there isn't a
former "recovering" member of the churches which a
minute of depression passes that doesn't think,
"Dammit, I wish I didn't feel this way and could get
on with life!". 

Heather C. Says:   What mystifies me at this point in
my own experience is the narrowness of mind with which
some (perhaps sheltered people for whom the experience
was not as bad as others) attack those who are still
recovering. Saying, "Sure you were discouraged to
think for yourself in the church, but if you couldn't
think for yourself it isn't limited to the church,
it's a personality flaw..." 

Jeff Says:  If you read the content of Heather C's
article, it basically relays the message that it's
okay not to move on, but rather to remain stagnant at
life for an indefinite amount of time and encourage
others to do the same.  Encouraging others to be
absorbed in their feelings and emotions while life
goes on is the same thing as two heroin addicts lying
motionless and high in an alley while two young
persons walk by them looking for  new jobs, resumes in
hand.  The young applicants scorn the addicts for
their lack of ambition, the addicts scorn the
applicants for conforming to "the yuppie ways of
life".  Both are in touch with their emotions, both
feel the way they feel, and both can think for
themselves, and both encourage each other to do the
same.   But at the end of the day, two sleep in
comfortable beds watching TV, two pass out in a
refrigerator box in the cold.

When you have an injury, there is a finite period of
time that it will take to heal.  If it's a serious
wound, it will take a long time, but you will see
progress.    NOTHING is so bad that it should continue
for EIGHT YEARS with no end in sight.

I have a friend that lost his legs in high school.
That was eleven years ago.  No, his legs don't work,
but you never hear him bitch about it.  Sure in the
beginning it was very hard on him.  But a few years
after we graduated, he was and still is, his same old
jovial self.  His legs just don't work.  Heather C.
(for example, not to pick) is talking about events
over SEVENTEEN YEARS ago, and others from over THIRTY
YEARS (from the 70's).  I read about how much was
taken away from their livelihood and how much they are
still suffering, and how much they have missed out of

To put this line of thinking into perspective,
consider this:  During the past eight years, Princess
Diana died, sheep were cloned, the US Government
caught Timothy McVeigh, we landed on Mars, hurricane
Mitch killed over ten thousand people, President
Clinton was impeached, JFK Junior died in a plane
crash, Columbine High School was attacked by students,
17,000 people died in the Turky earthquake, we
celebrated the Millenium, the "Love Bug" virus nearly
crippled the CIA, United States elections were
tainted, the World Trade Centers were destroyed by
terrorists, they executed Tim McVeigh, Anthrax was
running rampant, American Airlines flight 587 crashed
in New York, Chandra Levy was nowhere to be found,
there were sniper attacks up and down the east coast,
the corporate money scandals and Catholic sex scandals
were widespread, we attacked Afgahnistan, lost another
Space Shuttle crew, attacked Iraq, WE CAPTURED SADDAM
HUSSIEN, and elected Anrnold Schwarzenegger (sp?) as
California's governor. 

When Saddam was pushed out of power, the people
celebrated in the streets because it was over.  When
the WWCG finally crumbled, members started complaining
about how terrible it was and the profound effects it
continues to have.  Why not celebrate your freedom
rather than wallow in the past?

The World Trade center alone was built, destroyed and
will be rebuilt in the same amount of time that it
will take some former members to continue their pity
parties about the WWCG.  But it's time to realize that
it is time to stop.  Just like the Indian Chief in
"Dances with Wolves" said to Stands with a Fist, "you
will mourn no more".

If there is no definitive answer for "when will the
emotional damage finally be healed", then certainly my
dad and most of you are relying on faith, rather than
on proof.  "Allowing yourself to feel the way you
feel" is fine for emotional recovery, but don't let it
continue to be an excuse for not accepting reality and
embracing the future.   It's kind of like when we were
waiting for God to show us the place of safety when
the world was coming to an end.   By the time you
decided to leave the church, you were questioning your
faith.  "Jeez, it's been awhile.  If god were going to
come back, he would have definitely done it by now.  I
think I better start exploring some other options.".
The same with your emotional damage.  You should be
saying, "Jeez, it's been awhile, I should definitely
be healed by now, I think I better start moving on."

To Heather C., "tough love" and "harsh reality" are
next door neighbors.  You need one to deal with the

Anxiously awaiting educated responses,
Jeff Diehl

PS  I enjoyed Kriss's article very much.  Kriss, GOOD
FOR YOU!!!  That's probably the best ending to an
article I've read yet on this website.  You have eaten
more shit than most of the people I've ever met, and
you're not letting it stop you, or your relationships!
 Outstanding!  Grab life by the balls and move on,
together knowing your weaknesses and learning how to
deal with them!! Excellent!!



I had a pretty good response to Jim's response to John's article worked out. 
I was going to send it on Sunday evening.  But that day, as I was walking to
a Subway to get some food, I got hit by a car.  I got thrown a few feet, I
went into shock and almost passed out, I spent a few hours at the hospital. 
Right now my ankle is hurting like hell and I'm just generally kind of

But that really makes for a much better thing to write about than what I was
going to.

John and Jim are both trying to find meaning to life.  John has found his
meaning with new-age claptrap.  Jim has found his meaning by actively
avoiding any deistic thoughts.  Jim has tried to convince people that John's
thoughts are stupid.  John has tried to convince people that Jim's thoughts
are stupid.

And meanwhile, they both miss the point.  And in the process make themselves
look like fools.

What is my personal theology?  It's irrelevant.  But I do know that if that
truck had hit me in a slightly different way, or been going just a little
faster, or if many things had happened, then I may not be here to write this
letter today.  Was god looking out for me?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But I'm
alive.  I don't really care what atheists believe - and I don't really care
what John believes.  I got hit by a car and I am here now.  That is the only
thing that really matters.

My advice to John and Jim - seek your answers.  Try to find something that
makes sense to you.  Stop spending so much time trying to tear down the
(reasonable) beliefs of everyone else.  John obviously believes in goodness. 
Jim obviously believes in goodness.  Who knows, one of you may be right, but
life is too damned short for the bickering.

- --Russell



Jeff Diehl... why are you still hanging around?

 Your logic has a hole in it -- physical and mental injuries do not heal the same way.  So the rest of your argument falls through the hole.

 As for people who take 8 years or 17 years to heal from emotional distress -- did you know that some will never be healed of it?  Just like people with cancer or other deadly ailments will never be healed, unless they get help!

 Some diseases and injuries can never be healed or repaired.  You can get better, but not without help.  In the case of disabling injury or disease, you seek medical help.  In the case of disabling mental or emotional damage, you seek psychological help -- or you find a support group.  In both cases, the healing doesn't start until you get whatever help you need.  You might linger on for years with cancer or diabetes and finally die, but if you get treatment, then you can start to recover.

 Same thing with emotional injury.  If you don't get it treated, it doesn't get any better.  Most people who suffer from emotional damage don't even realize they need help.  They know they are depressed or angry or whatever, but they (just like you) simply think they should be able to "get over it" and "get on with their lives".

 Doesn't work that way.

 As for the people on this website whose letters and articles you have been reading, I wish you would stop judging them by your silver-spoon-in-the-mouth yardstick.  Just because someone wrote an article 5 years ago and expressed a little rage doesn't mean they haven't gotten on with their lives.  Expressing that rage was probably pretty therapeutic for the writer, and of immense value to the next poor battered soul who came along and read it and realized -- "Holy shit!  I'm not the only one!"

 Stop trying to fix us, Jeff.  Get on with your life.  Go play somewhere else.

 John B


01 Mar 04 

Sorry to read of Russell Whoever's recent accident. He seems
to be well enough now to send out opinions so that 's good. But
it's a pity those opinions were not better thought out.
It seems that Russell is now experiencing the psychological
manifestation of "survivor's insight." Atfer a brush with death
all things are suddenly different--in his own head. Emotional
statements now take on the life of seeming wisdom.
Russell fails to notice that the age-old battle between mysticism
and rationalism is unchanged by his experience. John O thinks
make-believe is the only way and atheism sucks and is dangerous.
I, as a rationalist, have tried his way and it sucks. So now I am an
ardent defender of the rejection of make-believe.
Russell counsels us both to "try to find something that makes sense
to you. Life is too damned short for bickering."
I notice that whenever one has nothing to add to help further the
discussion on sharply-clashing points, the person will try to rise
above the fray with the charge of "bickering" as if the difference is
merely no more important than a playground struggle. Russell
further calls us "fools" implying he ain't.
Yes, the truth that "life is too damned short is self-evident." But
where there is life there is the need for a way to live. John O thinks
he has one way and I critiqued it. It's that simple as an exchange
but the issues are supremely important to us both and millions of
others making their way through a chaotic world. John and I are
both trying "to find something that makes sense" as Russell has
I suggest Russell reread the papers and try to understand that there
are things to care about other than "I got hit by a car and I am here
now." That is just too grossly subjective, dismissive, and totally
irrelevant to a philosophy of living. And it doesn't reduce the chaos
one bit.
Jim Baldwin


PT Editor---

Dear Jeff,

This has been fun. Wish you could see some of my email, concerning you. Today, a respected Reader here wrote that,

 " He is so supercilious that I just want to bitch-slap him every 30 seconds or so."

Seems to be a common sentiment.

And, I guess I will let this public display of the reaction to your elitist thinking process continue. Yours is a great example of the WCG PreacherKid mentality. Yes, you're doing a fine job. (I had really convinced myself to insist you to take this to the PT forum, where you're up front and personal with these same people who are writing you back, instead of standing back and launching email-missiles whenever you felt all comfy.)

But. Naw. Guys like you never fight close and wet. 

Look Jeff -- you are missing what everyone has been telling you: No one is advocating wallowing in pain and bitterness forever and ever. People will "get over it" when they heal, and when they can, and at their own pace, not yours, El Jefe.

Places like the PT site and the forum help that process.

If you don't understand that and don't want to, then go crawl in your warm elitist cocoon, far away from the "trash".

But if you WANT to know, to understand, to be part of their (our? yes, you too are scabbed from the cuts from a cult, Jeff) "getting over it" process..... just do it. Listen. Learn something, instead of thinking you have all the Answers. Open your eyes and smell the coffee....instead of trying to teach us "little people" something of which you yourself don't have a clue. 

We'll let this play out for a month, here, however it goes.




02 Mar 04 

Responding to Jim:

Yeah, it's emotional.  So?  You missed the point yet again.  If I want to be
emotional, if I want to be "irrelevant [and] dismissive" that's also my
choice.  But saying that it's "irrelevant to a philosophy of living" is wrong
and downright arrogant.  It's my philosophy of living, which may (and usually
does) change from day to day as the situation warrants, and I'll thank you to
respect that.  To do otherwise is to dismiss out of hand my right to believe
as I see fit, which is unacceptable.

And yes, you are bickering, and yes, this does appear to be turning into a
playground fight, and you've done nothing to alter my opinion that you're
doing nothing but making a fool of yourself (something which is, might I add,
different from being a "fool").  Believe what you want.  I don't care.  But
you'll not gain my ear until you can respect the rights of others to make
their own choices as to what to believe, and respect those choices.  This
isn't a good start.

- --Russell

[shaking my head wearily with a heavy sigh.]


Jeff Diehl wants an "educated response"?  How about this one:



Jeff Diehl is still an asshole.


Okay, that's taken care of.  Let's get on with our lives.


-- Name Withheld By Request


Response to Jeff Diehl:

Oh Fawthah!  Fawthah!  Do let's go slumming!  I simply love to see how the hateful sheep live!  Can we?  Please, Fawthah!

 Oh, thank you, Fawthah!

 Ah, here we ahh!  This is wheah they live!  Yes, yes!  Look, theah's one of them now!  Look at that!  Can you simply believe the squawlah they live in?  What wretched creatchas they ah!  Look at that shabby clothing.  Oh!  See that miserable vehicle!  Why would anyone evah drive something as dreadful as that?  Why, the tie-ahs have no tread, and the windows ah cracked!  I wager the seats are dutty as well, don't you think?  Fawthah, I'm so glad we don't live like that!  Ahn't you?

 Look!  Theah's mo-ah of them!  See the children!  They have no toys!  At least they don't look like propah toys, do they?  I say, Fawthah, why would a propah child play with a broken toy like that?  Have they no decency?  They ahn't like us, ah they, Fawthah?  Oh, I'm so thrilled we ah bettah than that!  Raaally I am!

 Oh, I say, do look at them stay-ah!  Drive slowah, Fawthah!  Let them admire us as long as possible!  They ah probably wishing they looked as propah as we do, don't you think?  I'm shuah they do!  I suttinly would!  If I were as dreadful as they ah, I would nevah let myself be seen in public, would you?  Look at them stay-ah!  What grubby little urchins they ah!  Simply disgusting!  I'm glad we cahn't smell them!  I'm shuah haven't bathed for days, perhaps nevah!

 Fawthah, I think Mistah Ahmstrong was right, don't you?  They really ah dumb sheep!  What miserable creatchas!  Do you suppose they use toilet papah?  I wager not!  They ah such filthy things! 

 Take me home, Fawthah!  I have seen quite enough for one day, thank you!  I suttinly cahn't imagine anything moah disgusting than this!  And it's they'ah own fault, don't you think?  Of course, it is.  I'm shuah you agree!  It's because of they'ah own greed, isn't it?  Yes, they ah such greedy things!  They ahn't like us at all, ah they?  They ahn't like the Diehl family!  We suttinly ahn't greedy!  Not at all! We don't pay those enormous tithes and heavy offerings!  We ahn't greedy like them!  I'm so glad you ah a ministah, Fawthah!  I suttinly wouldn't want to live like those animals!  It's bad enough having to go to chuhch with them, isn't it?  And having them call you up at all houahs of the night with they'ah greedy little problems!  What audacity they have!  Not a decent one among them, I think!  No, not one!

 Fawthah, you'd think they would at least have the decency to apologize to you, wouldn't you?  Yes, you would think so!  You suttinly would!


Take me home, Fawthah!  Take me home!


-- Jorge

Editor --

If I were to hazard a guess, Jorge, I'd maybe think you were a bit of a wise-acre.....:)


Hello editor. Just a very brief message. I would like to thank Jim Baldwin for his excellent article refuting John O. Thank you Mr. Baldwin.

Gregory Q


03 Mar 04 

Cheap Shot

Dear Editor,

Jeff Diehl needs no defense from me. In fact, I disagree with his
But I am saddened to see a coward jump into the
fight and make it dirty under a mask of "Name Withheld". The
weakling has no ability to handle the discussion intelligently so
he bashes and runs to hide himself. He hasn't even the courage
to use an assumed name as readers do on Dear Abby.
Now that is playground punch of the first order.
Jim Baldwin

I don't much like that either. I posted it hoping you or someone would point out the cowardice involved there.



Response to Russell

Dear Editor,

I see Russell Whoever is still in an emotional ranting rage. He
is unable to make a thoughtful reply so he can only defend his
position by clinging ever more tightly to the little world he has
created and to hell with anything else.
>>Believe what you want. I don't care.<<
To take that to it's ultimate conclusion, there is nothing wrong
in human thought whether it be molesting children, blowing up
crowds, or uttering philosophical absurdities. Russell doesn't
care and is totally blind to the principle.
Well, I do care. In Russel's case I see emotion-driven error and
fuzzy thinking. I feel an obligation to help out by pointing out in
an open letters column such as this. Some more detached
readers may gain from the exchange. 
>>...this does appear to be turning into as playground fight.<<
It wasn't until a third party, an angry little kid, stuck his nose in
where he couldn't help. Rather than thoughtfully dealing
with the pros and cons of the issues, Russell started throwing
around unfounded charges of bickering and foolishness and
then decided to introduce some of his own. It continues.
>>'ll not gain my ear until you respect the rights of others
to make their own choices as to what to believe, and respect
those choices.<<
I respected those "rights" for 25 years in a mind-numbing cult.
Now I speak out from time to time and have much better
self-esteem. I call it straight-talking concern. Occasionally
some who are addressed will control themselves long enough to
gain something to the good.
I suspect these exchanges have now bored the audience. I
invite Russell to further private exchanges if he's man enough.
Hell, he might even learn a thing or two if he can calm down
enough to realize that the world is a bit larger that his little domain.
Jim Baldwin


07 Mar 04

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Jessica E 
Sent: Friday, March 05, 2004 12:09 AM
Subject: Article

Dear Mr. Editor,

I am a former WCG member by birth. My parents finally quit making me go at age 16. Since then, I have floated from one addiction to the next, ranging from sex to work. My parents still think that we gained some kind of truth or something from the sickening experience, but I can't accept any part of it. All my friends that I grew up with in it are troubled as well. Andrea and I were very promiscuous at a young age. We were taught all along that God hates those who fornicate and masturbate. Chris and Mark mixed all kinds of drugs. What's the harm? I mean, we never covered alcoholism or addiction in YOU, so it must not be a problem. On a "night to be much observed" my family invited two black families. Guess what Stan our pastor said to my dad? "Thanks for taking some of the colored's this year." While I try to hate all the racist, sexist, greedy, (expletive, expletive) "church leaders" I can't help but thinking how misled they must be as well. But they continue to feed WCG's viscious cycle to keep it's own self in business. My father was once a deacon in the church. He was always reminded for one reason or another why he would not be more than a deacon. At one time I thought he wouldn't be an "elder" for social or racial reasons. Now I realize that it was just the ones higher up abusing him because they knew he already had one disease, alcoholism, and they could use that disease to continue to prey upon his weak, guilt ridden mind. WCG only disguises itself as a religion. After leaving it, I have to be completely objective in order to distance myself fully from its grips. Just like cocaine or the like, it is easy to slip back into the routine. After moving away to college (a normal university, not AC!) I went back once with an old boyfriend, just to see friends, and it was sad. I was more angry than inspired to come back ever again. A lot of my friends, most of which who were a few years older than I, were still living at home, doing the same drugs and hanging out with the same people. It's very hard to control my anger about it more than anything. Anyone I now associate with has no idea of my "religious" background, and I don't bother to talk about it. My deceased grandparents were Jewish, so I just tell people I grew up Jewish just not practicing now and leave it at that. Only a half a lie to cover my embarassment. I am just happy to be alive after not being able to vaccinated until I was 7. It only took about 3 or 4 "annointed cloths" for my parents to realize that they wouldn't help my asthma. I can't be bitter anymore, just hopeful those who are now in the church and suffering somehow find a way out. WCG can only keep producing victims and abusers.

Jessica E  

Thank you Jessica, for the letter, and for getting clear of these cult-meisters.
You said you are "just hopeful those who are now in the church and suffering somehow find a way out."

Me and you both. Thanks again for being free!


I don't respond to ad hominem arguments nor challenges on my manhood.  If Jim
wants to speak with me, my email address is easily available on the net, and
even in places on this site, he should be able to find it quite easily.  My
mind is open to intelligent conversation, if Jim is able to have one,
(although he appears to posess some intelligence, the concept of
"conversation" appears to elude him) he's welcome to email me. 

I find it interesting how many people on this site are more than willing to
make personal judgements about my intelligence, maturity, manhood, etc.,
without having sufficient knowledge of me to make the judgement.  I guarantee
you that even if you don't like me, after having a conversation with me you
will not doubt my intelligence.  Of course, it's much easier to make an
unfounded personal judgement than it is to actually make an effort to
understand where a person is coming from.  Such is life.

Otherwise, I will rise no further to the bait.  I've said my piece, I've been
given no compelling reason to modify any statement I've made, and that's

There will be no further public responses on this subject from me.  Frankly,
it's not worth my time.

- --Russell

Bill Fairchild On Mel and The Passion

I saw Mel Gibson's new movie "The Passion of the Christ" last Sunday and would like to pass on my comments.

First of all, the blood and gore were no big deal to me, thanks to years of training in the Worldwide Church of God.  We were told many times exactly what it was like to be scourged and crucified during the heyday of the Roman Empire.  Somehow it was always believed by us poor dumb sheep that it is wrong to watch so much television violence that we get inured and numb to it, but it was alright to hear the brutal details of scourging and crucifixion over and over.  We were magically not going to become numb to that, I supposed.

Anyway, I knew exactly what to expect when the whipping started, and then when the scourging was finished I thought the movie was not quite realistic enough.  I thought far more big chunks of Jesus' flesh were supposed to have been gouged out by the sharp pieces of metal and bone at the end of the scourge's thongs.  They did show one such big chunk being torn out.  I felt like cheering "Yes!" when that happened.

I knew I would not be grossed out by all the violence, and I also knew that most others would be very upset by it.  We have our spiritual leaders in the WWCG to thank for that.

I am very glad that this movie was made, as it allows all the deceived masses to get a really accurate look at what supposedly happened to their savior, the same one pictured in hundreds of millions of icons or neck-surrounding crucifixes.  He is always depicted as having one tiny, unsightly drop of blood coming out of his side where the spear went in.  And a perfectly gorgeous chest.  The movie correctly showed the actor's chest and back ripped to shreds, and much the same on his face, shoulders, and thighs.

Since I began recovering the full use of my mind in 1996 when I left the WWCG flock, I have been working on getting all the myths, folklore, false teachings, historical inaccuracies, and lies out of my memory that I so happily absorbed during the 30 years when my emotional growth, spiritual growth, and personal responsibility were on hold because I had given my heart to the Lord and his stinking servants who were raping my mind while looting my wallet.  So I no longer believe the Biblical account that there was this all-powerful God being in the shape of a human being who subjected himself to this very real beating and death sentence in order to pay for my sins.

As I sat there watching the movie, I tried to give the benefit of the doubt to the Biblical narrative.  Certainly tens of thousands, and perhaps even millions, of people were scourged and/or crucified during the many centuries when Rome ruled the Mediterranean world.  But could there have ever been a really good man who willingly and even eagerly subjected himself to this horrible torture for what he thought was a way to help others?  What would it take for a normal human being to do this?

All I could come up with was that yes, it might be possible for a normal man to become so demented in his thinking, and so convinced of his own divine mission that he would go through what this movie depicts.  But then he would be dead and no one else would be saved by his suffering and agony.  The Biblical myth that our God did this to Himself is utterly ludicrous.  And any non-divine human who would do this is so crazy that he needs to be killed, or at least incarcerated and kept away from the rest of humanity. And anyone who thinks that he, or all of humanity, is required to become like this Jesus and live as he did, which also means to be willing to sacrifice, suffer, and die as he did, is equally crazy.

I am very glad I paid all that money to see this movie, because I am having my own little part in helping Mel Gibson to become a centimillionaire.  And if his career in Hollyweird is ruined, as those miserable little pukes whining about his alleged anti-Semitism are threatening, then he certainly won't need their help if he ever wants to make any more movies.

Speaking of anti-Semitism, I noticed in the movie that right after the Pontius Pilate character says he washes his hands of this man's blood, there is someone in the crowd yelling out something in Aramaic, which, since I had already read the screenplay hundreds of times (during the 30 years in Herbie's perverted cult) I knew to be "Let his blood be upon us and upon our children."  And this is the one significant line in the movie that is spoken in Aramaic which does NOT have an English language subtitle.  Gibson apparently edited out this subtitle in order to give in to the huge pressure from all those cowardly pukes whining about his anti-Semitism.  This phrase is what the pro-Semitic fanatics claim is the "blood libel" that evil Christians have pronounced on all those wonderful, innocent Jews for the last 2,000 years.  So Mel caved on this one point.

No, I am not anti-Semitic.  I am anti-Judaism, anti-Christianity, anti-Protestantism, anti-Islam, and anti- all other mind-raping religions.  There is nothing wrong with people who racially are Jews, unless they try to force their beliefs on others, as the Hollywood pukes are intent on doing to Mel Gibson and the whole movie-going public.  So the phenomenal financial success of this movie is another poke in the eye for these puny fanatics.

Now some are even claiming that the New Testament itself is anti-Semitic.  Well, that logically follows if you believe that this movie is anti-Semitic.  I prefer to say that the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is MASSIVELY anti-human, illogical, and irrational.

Bottom line:  it's a damned fine movie, showing very graphically and accurately what did happen to a huge number of condemned criminals long ago and which a billion people still believe happened to their mythical savior, one of at least 16 different people throughout history who supposedly were crucified so they could be our saviors.  Read this book to find out about them all:  And please stop reading the Bible.  It will rot your mind and make you believe vile lies and absurd myths.

Bill Fairchild

Douglas, Mass.

What? I shouldn't take seriously a book with talking donkeys in it?

Seriously, thanks for the comments. I probably ought to get off my duff and go see it. 

I recently had a friend watch "Apocalypse Now" for her first time, and she said the violence in it was worse than "The Passion"... there's a moral in that statement somewhere....



Interesting article --  

I just learned of this paper written by Carl Sagan's wife. It

is filled with marvelous comment for freethinkers and the
formerly religious inclined.

Jim Baldwin

Yes, that IS pretty good, Jim. Thanks!

Here's an excerpt for the Email Readers....

"So here are Adam and Eve, who have awakened full grown, without the tenderness and memory of childhood. They have no mother, nor did they ever have one. The idea of a mammal without a mother is, by definition, tragic. It's the deepest kind of wound for our species; antithetical to our flourishing, to who we are.

Their father is a terrifying, disembodied voice who is furious with them from the moment they first awaken. He doesn't say, "Welcome to the planet Earth, my beautiful children! Welcome to this paradise. Billions of years of evolution have shaped you to be happier here than anywhere else in the vast universe. This is your paradise." No, instead God places Adam and Eve in a place where there can be no love; only fear, and fear-based behavior, obedience. God threatens to kill Adam and Eve if they disobey his wishes. God tells them that the worst crime, a capital offense, is to ask a question; to partake of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. What kind of father is this? As Diderot observed, the God of Genesis "loved his apples more than he did his children.""


20 Mar 04 

Russell M, math, Flatlanders....


I enjoyed reading your short article "Choices" that was posted on 14 MAR 2004, especially since I am quite familiar with mathematics, topology, and spatial configurations (your opening sentence).  You started out likening spiritual growth to the expansion of one's consciousness to greater and greater numbers of dimensions in which to live; i.e., a point can learn to think like a line (an infinite number of points in a row), a line can learn to think like a plane (an infinite number of lines), a plane can grow to where it can think like a solid figure (cube, sphere, etc.).
I wondered when you were going to include the link to the book, but you never did.  Perhaps since you admitted to having only a passing familiarity with mathematics, you never heard of Flatland:  A romance of many dimensions, written by Edwin A. Abbott.  He died in 1926, and the second edition of this novella was published in 1884 (I don't know when it was originally published), but the ideas contained in it are EXACTLY what you describe in your first few paragraphs.
I first heard of this book in the early 1960s when I was a young college student.  My calculus professor mentioned it one day in class.  I finally read it many years later and ignored its implications, since I had not yet been mind-raped by and finally released from enough unthinking control freaks in life to have a fully mature, independent, free-thinking mind of my own.  Since I left the Worldwide Church of God in 1996, I have discovered many mind-blowing, eye-opening things:  (1) the freedom to think, (2) the Internet, and (3) my own intellectual curiosity, which the WWCG convinced me to put on hold for 30 years.  So I quickly rediscovered this delightful, timeless book.  Here is a link to the downloadable text of Flatland:  And this link will take you to a brief discussion of the book and Abbott himself:
I heartily recommend this easy-to-read, fun book to all who would be free (and you can learn a little about math in the process!).
Bill Fairchild
Douglas, Mass.
17 MAR 2004


I appreciated Russell M's thoughts on expanding one's horizons in his article "Choices" dated March 14, 2004.  Some readers might be intrigued by a book called Flatland, by Edwin A. Abbott.  It was written in 1884 but is still widely available today.  It is about the inhabitants of a two dimensional world who are confounded by the sudden appearance of what turns out to be a three dimensional object.  The work is also a satire on Victorian England.  Abbott's main purpose, I think, was to get his readers to consider the possibility of a fourth dimension (spiritual) to their three dimensional world.  However, the premise works very well in the vein of Russell's thoughts about how COG folks live(d) in a self-imposed world that severely limited their perceptions of reality.
Glenn P
Austin, Texas 


We recently had a few exchanges with the COGwriter Guy, Bob Thiel. (He kinda reminds me of a male "Church Lady"  from SNL) He was generally reasonable and polite, and inaccurate and uninformed. Seems there were some "issues" he had with the PT site here and the Missing Dimension site's, uh... 'endorsement' of us.

In one exchange, which mentioned Bill Fairchild, Bill came back to Bob Thiel with the following. I thought it worthy to say here that Bill has quickly and accurately described the mindset behind the Painful Truth website, myself, and many of the "driving forces" here. More was said, but this deserves the attention. Well said, Bill!

From: Bill Fairchild 


Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2004 2:05 PM

Subject: Bible-bashing infidel replies

Well, Bob. I appreciate finding such a lengthy, accurate quote of my writing on your website. We evil Satan-filled infidels need all the free publicity we can get for our message designed to deceive, enslave, rob, and murder the whole world.

I included Judaism, Christianity, Protestantism, and Islam in the list of mind-raping religions because, in my opinion, they have all been used to rape minds. And especially Herbert W. Armstrong's failed belief system, one of the principal mind-rapers of which was your glorious and Dear Leader Roderick C. Meredith, and at whose feet I sat often drinking in deeply of his spirit-filled sermons during the early 1970s. If your organization does not rape men's minds or intimidate its members in any way, then I will gladly apologize and remove your organization from my list of mind-raping cults. I will also be happily surprised.

We who compose the main driving force behind the Painful Truth website have no desire to waste any more time on the spectacular failure known as the Worldwide Church of God. Therefore we do not simply try to correct a few doctrinal issues associated with it. We prefer to let the dead bury the dead. I cannot speak for all the others whose writings have been posted on the Painful Truth, but I think we are all trying to point out what is wrong with all cultic thinking, personality worship, promotion of myths, emotional or spiritual intimidation, or any wrong use of power or control over others whether found in a fear-based religion or elsewhere. We condemn cults in general and the WCG in particular, as that is the one with which we have the most experience. In my various writings on the Painful Truth I have also denigrated the U.S. government, Stalin's régime in the U.S.S.R., Hitler's régime in Germany, et al. I would not have denigrated my own U.S. government if I didn't believe that it also grossly manipulates our people through subtle propaganda, palpable lies, and fear-mongering.

The point of view of the Painful Truth's editor, all previous editors, and most of us contributing writers is most definitely anti-Bible. In forming that opinion, we are simply following the generic wisdom of proving all things and holding fast that which is true. We have proven the Bible false to our own satisfaction, and are therefore not holding fast to it. We PT writers are not all anti-God. I certainly am not. I am anti-lies, anti-fables, anti-myths, anti-intimidation, anti-manipulation, and anti-fear mongering. I would love very much to be able to worship whatever it is that created the infinitely large and infinitely complex universe filled with an infinite amount of infinitely small things that are themselves infinitely complex. Unfortunately, I can find nothing that I can prove is a reliable set of instructions from our Creator that tells me how, when, or why to worship him, her, it, or whatever. I see this book called the Bible, but I have proven (there's that generic wisdom again) from my 30 years' experiment with wholesale and wholehearted involvement with Christianity that I cannot believe any human being who attempts to tell me what that book means or requires of me. I was taken to the cleaners for 30 years by men who claimed to be God's representatives, and that is enough for my lifetime. And the same book which is incomprehensible in and of itself also warns me to trust no man. That would have to include people who try to explain to me what the Bible means. Please see my Painful Truth essay "I Finally Know What My Creator Wants Me To Do" for a fuller exposition of my belief system. 

I am not anti-God, but I am anti-Jesus until such time as I can find some believable proof that Jesus really existed, was divine, died for my sins, and left instructions for me to follow. And I am assiduously anti-faith. Please explain, if you can, how a human being can "prove" faith. The very Bible definition of faith says that faith is belief in something that cannot be proven. Q.E.D. If I can ever prove faith, then I will hold fast to it. I have also "proven" prayer, which is why I do not hold fast to that time-waster either.

But I speak only for myself and not the entire Painful Truth website.

Bill Fairchild

"I think we are all trying to point out what is wrong with all cultic thinking, personality worship, promotion of myths, emotional or spiritual intimidation, or any wrong use of power or control over others whether found in a fear-based religion or elsewhere."

To coin an overused phrase: Amen, Bill!

And I'll say it again... I may not see eye to eye with MD's "slant". (Whatever that is:) But --- So long as the MD is holding that cult and its offspring to some accountability, I will always endorse it. Gavin is doing a damn fine job of keeping them rascals condomed....It would be nice to see MD hold all religion, all the controlling Priests, in contempt though.

On Bob Thiel, Gavin writes: "Good luck engaging Bob in a meaningful exchange..." 

I see what ya mean, man.....


A cool email FWD:

(I do not have Anne's permission (the Author) to put this here. But I am anyway. It's too nice to leave it alone. If someone contacts her and alerts her on this publishing, great.) 


Adam was told (Genesis 2:16-17) by God that he could eat the fruit of any tree in Eden, except for *one*- the "tree of the knowledge of  good and evil, for in that day that you eat of it, you shall die".

 Right, but the serpent told Eve they would surely not die but would  become like gods, knowing good from evil. When they ate, they did not die, but  became like gods, knowin good and evil.  So God lied and Satan told the truth.

Then God created Eve, from Adam's rib, FWIW the earlier Sumerian version has eight goddesses creating the human in the garden, one of whom is called "The Lady of the Rib." I don't know how it relates to the Genesis version but it would appear that ribs had some significance to the ancients which now eludes us.

...and the serpent (embodiment of Satan) induced Eve to persuade Adam to try the forbidden fruit, which was, for Christians, the "original sin" that Jesus atoned for. Absent this atonement, everyone goes to hell, according to most of the early Church fathers.

Right, so the Eden story cannot be consigned to myth and folktale by Christians because it contains the basis of the Original Sin Doctrine, without which Pauline Christianity cannot stand.

The rabbis have generally downplayed or rejected outright the notion of "original sin", and interpreted "you shall die" as meaning "your state of innocence shall die", so that the eating of the forbidden fruit marks the beginning of a moral history- a record of moral responsibility- for mankind- and nothing that should cause any fear of punishment in any future state.
No atonement was needed for *this*, although of course there is Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement)- but this is only atonement for individual breaches of the commandments. So then Jesus was just an heretical rabbi, who got  himself crucified by the Romans for stirring up religious trouble.

More recent Christian theology has emphasized that original sin should be considered a condition, into which everyone is born, and not some particular act, which they have committed; and from which they are redeemed by belief that Jesus was the son of God (both wholly God, and wholly man- not half & half) and by adherence to his precepts. So now the line is more "don't feel guilty, or worry too much about going to hell, but believe what  is preached to you and behave yourself".

 Yes, Christians are required by their Pauline assumptions to see the Eden incident as a catastrophic "fall from Grace" which resulted in a  divine curse on mankind that could only be removed by God performing the ultimate act of sacrificing His first born. We have no idea why poor God had to go through all this trouble for our sake, but we know it was because we did something very bad.

In Christian theology, humanity's moral-coming of age (starting in the 4th millenium BCE according to Bishop-Ussherian reckoning, which is probably about right since it coincides with the birth of cities and subsequent need for expanded laws to govern the megatribe)  is equated with rebellion against God. 

Ergo the logical candidate for Original Sin is urbanization..
God hates city folk and their uppity ways.. In the Cain and Abel story, God rejects the vegetable sacrifice of farmer Cain, ancestor of the city-builders, and accepts the blood sacrifice of Abel, the purehearted shepherd nomad. The descendents of Cain in Gen. 4 are the ones who invent stuff: tents, musical instruments, brass and ironworks  -- in other words, sinful stuff. The pious descendents of Seth, however (Gen.5) do little except beget childen, call on God, walk with God and other godly activities.

The Tower of Babel incident is the most blazing expample of God's urba-phobia. "And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the children of men builded" - Gen. 11: 5.  And the LAWD saw that humans were being uppity again, this time building a stairway to heaven with their newly invented baked bricks.

According to Genesis, Nimrod was the first builder of cities, and chose his capital in Shinar (Sumer). There is a fascinating nugget in Louis Ginsberg's translated compilation "Legends of the Jews" (1909) concerning Nimrod.
Unfortunately I only have vol. 1, which doesn't contain the bibliography so I don't know the midrashic source.

After introducing Nimrod as the "first among the leaders of corrupt men" the narrator relates that "through his cleverness and cunning" Nimrod became became leader of the world in what was the first Mesopotamian superpower.
But -- the writer goes on to add -- "The great success that attended all of Nimrod's undertakings produced a sinister effect. Men no longer trusted in God, but rather in their own prowess and ability, an attitude to which Nimrod tried to convert the whole world." (p. 178)

Sounds like quite a secular humanist, old Nimrod. If you switch the villain's name from "Nimrod" to "science" (or "scientism" or "secularisism"  or "the Enlightenment Fallacy"  then you have the current evangelical message in all its anti-humanist glory.. As with their ancient counterparts, fundies seem to (correctly IMO) understand the relationship between man and God as a kind of ontological football game, with one side advancing only at the other's expense.  If God exists ("I AM THAT I AM") then humans are just His creations and have no independent existence aside from fulfilling His purpose, whatever that.may be. However, if humans owe their existence to nothing but the hurly burly of natural laws then they belong to no one but themselves and are free to chart their own destiny, without respect to the wishes of other-worldy beings -- real or imagined.

During the debate over theraputic use of stem cells in 2001 one of the bioethics websites based its opposition on the  premise that "we do not exist for our own purpose and pleasure, but for God's." Once you accept the God-centered worldview, then you will consider any human enterprise that seeks the advancement of humans without reference to God's  wishes (whether building tall towers in Shinar or outwitting Him by finding vaccinations and antidotes for His plagues) is an affront to His glory and is ipso facto evil. In the god-centered worldview, it's all about Him. Humans are His tools with no right to a separate existence.

So say His spokesfolk. It's easy to see how a god-centered society will have different notions of morality than a human-centered one.



21 Mar 04

The Lunatic fringe 

I had to laugh out loud -- literally -- when Tom Aldred characterized the
Painful Truth website as "lunatic fringe" AW (March 13).  The first time I ever
heard that phrase was in TV Guide magazine, years ago.  The article was
about religious programming, and the phrase "lunatic fringe" was used to
describe Herbert Armstrong and his World Tomorrow telecast.  (Of course that
didn't stop TV Guide from taking our advertising tithe dollars to promote
the program.)

Mr. Aldred may find the Painful Truth website offensive, but the PT is not
unfriendly to Christians.  Many of the readers and contributors to the site
are still Christian, we're just no longer Armstrongites.  Everyone is
treated gently as long as they behave themselves; but when someone takes it
upon himself to tell us to "get over it", the discussions can get a little

Painful Truth stands as a beacon of hope, an aid station for the wounded as
they stumble out of the killing fields of Armstrong's religion.  We are
there to encourage and comfort those who have finally had enough.  Our
mission is to tell them, unequivocally, that -- yes, it really did happen;
no, it wasn't your fault; and no, you are not alone!

No one at Painful Truth demands that everyone agree with them.  There is a
wide divergence of belief and opinion, and all such are accepted as long as
no one abuses anyone else.  That is certainly more than can be said for the
Worldwide Church of God or any of its daughters. 

Perhaps the day will yet come when Mr. Aldred himself has had enough.  When
it does, Painful Truth will welcome him home.

John B

Thanks to both Bill and Glenn for their feedback.  I have heard of "flatland",
but I have not read it.  I am, however, very familiar with the concepts
behind dimensional mathematics.  I'm just not too familiar with the deeper
mathematics themselves.  This is not surprising for those who know me, for I
have a very well developed spatial sense, preferring to leave the mathematical
minutia to those who are have the time to study it more in depth than I do.

In spite of this, I think mathematics and the related physics are a very
worthwhile thing to study, and I am always sure to keep abreast of the recent
developments in the field - even if I don't understand some of them.  I find
it to be very helpful in understanding how the universe is assembled, and
sometimes you can get some interesting insights from it.  Such as the notions
that I discussed in the essay in question.

Of course, this is something the xCGs want to discourage at all cost.  Hence
the general lack of education and the general discouragement of improving
oneself that are emdemic to those organizations.

- --Russell

Russell adds this:

And, I just spent a couple of hours last night reading "flatland".  It was
quite good.

What intrigued me the most, however, was the "point".  A little entity of
itself, unable to move in any direction, so it is the sum total of its
existence.  Even if you said something to it from outside, it completely
refused to acknowledge that there was something outside of its own existence. 
Its own little universe of which no one else could ever hope to be a part of,
in stark contrast to actual reality.

Remind you of something?  Or someone?  Or a group of some ones?

Editor -- Umm.... Yes.......:)

Me too.

- --Russell




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