IT'S OK TO BE AN AGNOSTIC
Allen C. Dexter
I get all kinds of reactions when I reveal the fact that I am an agnostic. A lot of horrified people think I'm headed straight to that divine Dachau and theological Treblinka they call Hell. They express sorrow and say they'll “pray” for poor me.
Interesting concept of “god.” He's supposedly so thin skinned that if I don't believe in him, he'll get even by making me burn for all eternity. At least, Herbert Armstrong's teaching had him only burning me to ashes, like in the Nazi crematoriums.
If Eichmann was a war criminal, what is their Jehovah?
Often, they will ask me, “What if you're wrong?”
My answer: “What if you're wrong?”
A lot of people have an attitude that reminds me of General Patton. Hedge your bets and take advantage of the possible benefits of any faith, such as when he was in the hospital, in traction and staring death in the face. Any minister or priest who offered last rights or any kind of intercession was welcomed.
Patton didn't get deeply into theology. He just read “the book,” took it somewhat seriously, went on cussing up a blue streak when the occasion called for it with an absolute conviction he'd been here in several other lives (all military, apparently) and would probably be here again. Right or wrong, it gave him a purpose and goal in life. I like him. Whatever might be said about him, he was always genuine.
Some atheists seem to have the attitude that being an agnostic is tantamount to being weak kneed and wishy-washy. They are so convinced of their atheistic approach that it becomes a non-believer's dogma.
I've flirted with outright atheism, largely because I know the Bible and the Christian God is a totally concocted farce. All the myths surrounding the biblical Jesus didn't come into anything close to their present form until the fourth century after the composite Jesus the Western world was tricked into believing in supposedly walked the earth.
That's a period longer than our nation has existed!
Who would want to write a history of the Revolutionary War with no authoritative written records penned by those who were there to use as sources? How accurate and authoritative do you think it could be after three hundred years? All this is made plain in The Forged Origins of the New Testamentwhich is available here.
After my experiences with dogmatism under Armstrong'ism, I resist flopping to the exact opposite side of dogmatism by being dogmatic that there can't possibly be any force or entity that could be called “god.” I frankly doubt that there is, but I'd rather take the approach of science and leave the subject open to inquiry. If such a “god” wants to condemn me for that approach, while he steadfastly refuses to reveal himself in an open and tangible way so there can be no question of authenticity, then I'll just have to accept condemnation.
I'm not at all worried.
Concocted scripture tells me I have no excuse for not believing. I reject that haughty pronouncement out of hand. I will not be talked down to in such a manner. Nobody, past or present, gets to judge me in such an attitude of superiority.
Not any more.
I'm not a deist, but I do respect their thinking a whole lot more than the thinking of religionists.
Deism is a close cousin to agnosticism. I'm just not prepared to state that there really was a god who started it all and then took a hands off policy. It does make a whole lot more sense than belief in an interventionist god who never seems to intervene when he is needed most, such as during the holocaust. Most of the “miracles” I've heard people prate about are several steps down the line hearsay and misinterpretations of totally plausible natural happenstance's.
The word “miracle” has really been cheapened, especially by people with a religious bent. My wife chided me once for washing a pattern of dark dirt off our cement block wall because it was in the shape of a cross. She opined we might have been able to make some serious money by drawing the gullible public's attention to it and then charging admission to see it.
She was also chagrined once when she was sure she saw the figure of the Virgin Mary on a tortilla. Before she could make a fortune on E bay, her son came home, loaded it with re-fried beans and ate it.
What really happened at the “big bang?” Was there any kind of intelligence behind it? Some scientists have concluded that the universe arose from thought. Are they right? Or, are they succumbing to the same kind of delusions that drive religions?
I don't know and scientists have only theories and speculation at this point – nothing that can be nailed down to absolute specifics. Quantum Physics presents us with some interesting and puzzling facts and theories. Some of them border on the religious.
Religions insist on having a set god, a set revelation and set dogmas. These all originated in human minds, and some of those minds were definitely deranged. The presentworld is filled with the same kind of people who are absolutely certain that they are one of the “two witnesses,” a reincarnation of Jesus, a prophet or apostle, etc.
As in the past, all such deluded, unbalanced or power mad individuals hark back to the use of fear to keep any adherents they might garner in line. Their first goal is to stop the poor sucker from thinking anything contrary to what they set forth as “the truth.” If it is said to come from whatever “revelation” they champion, it is absolute truth and to reject that “truth” is the same as rejecting god because it came, they staunchly maintain, from that god.
That god, being very sensitive, can't brook any such rejection and reacts by condemning the offending ingrate to either total destruction or an eternity of unimaginable suffering. In the meantime, the hapless individual is assured he will be cursed in all daily affairs and relationships. If he or she is really convinced, they become paralyzed mentally, maybe even physically.
Sound familiar? If you were caught up in Armstrong'ism, it should.
So, after long and careful analysis, I've concluded that I can't be absolutely sure about a great many things because there are a lot of things I don't and cannot know. That makes me an agnostic, which simply means “don't know for sure.”
I suspect the atheists are right. I have no empirical evidence that they are not. Nor have they been able to present totally irrefutable proof that they are. It's a big can't know for absolutely sure situation right now.
What I do know for sure is that none of the religions, their revelations and their gods currently extant on this earth make sense when examined critically and logically. Therefore, I now believe and follow none of them.
I'm an agnostic. That's an OK position to be in.
Allen C. Dexter
Everybody loves a baby. They are so cute (most of them), sweet and helpless. They are also born without a clue as to the intricacy and insanity of the world they are entering. They are “sitting ducks” for whatever is shot their way. Yes, those innocents will get older and start a rebellious phase when they enter their teens, but there are still a lot of spurious concepts and beliefs they will usually find difficult to avoid absorbing or to shake off later in life.
I know. I've been there.
When I was born, that chilly October day in 1934, I was a totally blank slate. The change of surroundings and the chill in the air probably helped make me cry lustily. I was hungry, so my mother's soft, warm, milk filled breast was about the best welcome I could have received. Being cuddled close while my tummy filled was very comforting. We never outgrow this desire and need to be hugged lovingly.
Because I was born in the upper Midwest in an agrarian and traditionally Christian society (part of the Bible Belt), my upbringing was predictable. Those who didn't attend a church, like my family, still gave credence to the fables of the Bible. My mother played the piano a little, and her favorite hymn was The Old Rugged Cross. If anyone had told her she was really singing about Mithra, not some manufactured Jewish Jesus, she would have had no idea what they were talking about. I, in turn, just absorbed what I had been born into like all innocent little human sponges do.
It's the same all over the world. If you are born into Hindu India, you grow up believing in all the Hindu deities and think a cow is holy. The very thought of eating a t-bone steak would horrify you. You probably would believe you dare not squash a bug for fear it might be a reincarnated loved one.
If you were to be born into a Muslim society, you couldn't imagine not flopping prostrate several times a day, at the command of “the midnight Haranguer,” with your head pointing in the direction of Mecca. Not to do so would leave a great empty spot in your day and you would feel very guilty. Your speech would be peppered with a constant round of Allah this and Allah that – almost like cussing in other parts of the world.
The recorder starts whirling away in our minds from minute number one. By the time we reach adulthood, our minds are filled with beliefs, practices and concepts we find very hard to either question or expunge. It's like ripping a piece of ourselves off and throwing it away. Every connection to those things and people we have known and loved is at stake.
Everything we cling to as ethics, conscience and tradition comes to us first as absorption from the family unit and the society around us. Japanese warriors had no pangs of conscience for the horrors they committed under their traditional samurai code in China and throughout the Pacific war. They had contempt for any opposing warrior who was so cowardly as to surrender rather than die in place or by their own hand. I knew a survivor of the Bataan Death March. Those Japanese soldiers were monsters. Their culture had made them so. Muslim suicide bombers feel no guilt either, and for the same reason.
Rabid fundamentalist Christians see nothing unfair or immoral in ruthlessly persecuting homosexuals. They can point to plenty of scriptures they use to justify treating them as the scum of the earth. A few would still support the enslavement of other human beings because the Bible upholds the practice in several places. They are absolutely convinced that God wrote the Bible. Ask them. They'll tell you so, and your protestations to the contrary will fall on deaf ears.
The battle to overcome ingrained orthodoxy and cultural norms and get people to really think and reason often seems like a losing proposition, even here in comparatively enlightened America. The propaganda emanating from every societal and media source is so overwhelming that progress is painfully slow. Every book, article or online source of reason and truth is drowned out by a flood of the same old blather that has kept humanity in superstitious bondage for millenniums. It's even harder in parts of the world where any and every attempt at promoting reason is met with overwhelming establishment censorship and brutal force.
A question that constantly plagued my mind when I began to see the light and cast off old ways of thinking was, “How could I have been so dumb?” It was hard to understand how I missed all those cues. Cues that would now stand out like the proverbial sore thumb.
I knew where babies came from rather early in life. How could I be taken in by that virgin birth nonsense? When I learned while still at Ambassador College that the oldest New Testament documents couldn't be traced back beyond the fourth century, an elapsed period greater than the entire history of the USA, why didn't I realize how lacking in authority and made up they had to be? Especially, in light of the nonsensical drivel some of those forced by Constantine to attend the Nicene Counsel put forth in some of their other writings.
I had been brainwashed, like all humans are to one degree or another. Hooking up with super-narcissistic Herbert W. Armstrong just put the cap on what had been going on since the day I was born. It wasn't deliberate on the part of my parents and the many good people I grew up around. However, it was very deliberate on the part of a lot of people, both in and out of WCG, who stood to profit from my brainwashed ignorance.
Back in about 1975 or '76, when the upheavals in Worldwide were just beginning, I had occasion to talk for a while with an old student friend who was now a ranking minister in WCG. Regarding all the turmoil, he said what put his mind at ease was the fact that none of it was his responsibility. He salved his conscience, for the time being anyway, by leaving all the questions in the hands of those he regarded as being responsible.
He later bolted into one of the major splinters and rose rather high in their ranks before retiring. I think he still occupies some position of status. He never did see through all the nonsense, or so I prefer to believe. His mind was (I hope) too thoroughly set in the habitual pattern and the nonsensical doctrines programmed into him.
I'm thankful circumstances made it a lot easier for me to see through it all, and I'm still in the process. I often wonder what I might have done under vastly different circumstances. Would I, like many, have compromised and become just another hypocritical hireling? I hope not.
I have hope that reason and science will win out in the end, but that end looks very far off when I take a long, hard look at the world as it is. The world seems to be at the mercy (?) of not only religious, but economic, corporatist and political hirelings who care for naught but their own and their masters' welfare.
I pick up a newspaper or magazine, and there is a stupid horoscope feature leaping out at me. Christmas or Easter comes along, and the same old mythological, totally fabricated out of ignorance pap floods radio and TV and all other available media.
I have a step-daughter who is into the nonsense of numerology. Shades of Gerald Waterhouse!
I see Muslim fanatics who would consider it a great honor and an immediate ticket to paradise if they could find a way to blow up an infidel like me and themselves at the same time. They are breeding like back alley cats and spreading everywhere they can. That gives me serious concern about the future of the world.
No “god” has ever stepped forward thus far to stop any of the madness, murder and mayhem extant in the world. Roman legions, Genghis Khan, Attila, the Japanese warlords, Hitler, Stalin, and a nauseous litany of other human monsters have come and gone through the millenniums and no legions of angels ever rode to the rescue of hapless humanity. No archangel Michael or Gabriel ever set his foot on a Worldwide stage and told Herbie, Hoeh or Meredith (or any other blowhard) to shut the hell up.
The purveyors of religious nonsense have always found a way to claim that any fortunate happenstance was attributable to the god or gods they championed, but demonstrable proof he or they were anywhere in the vicinity has always been absent. They were also right there to assert that every disaster was the fault of the average Joe or Judy Blow who didn't contribute, fast or pray enough or do enough priestly ass-kissing.
So, don't blame yourself or think of yourself as “dumb.”
You were set up! You were bamboozled! Just like all those who came before you.
We've come some of the way toward a truly reasonable and sane world, but the battle is far from over. As long as “creation science” can be lobbied for as a reasonable educational adjunct, we're a long way from “there.” As long as fanatical parents “home school” their children to keep them from the “ungodly” public educational system, ignorance will continue to warp far too many innocent children whose minds will be poisoned with superstitious crap for much, if not all, of their lives.
Whatever progress has been made has been at the behest of good, intelligent, principled men and women willing to expend their blood, sweat and tears for the betterment of themselves and their neighbors.
Be encouraged that you now see things a lot more clearly and keep up the good fight. It can seem like a lonely and hopeless quest, but it always has been. At least we now know that the world is not flat nor the center of the universe. We don't, here in America anyway, stone people to death for moral weaknesses and mistakes. However, I did read that some religious nuts wanted to stone the killer whale that killed its handler!
Oy vay! Ay, yi, yi! Give me a break!
Hellooooo! It's a KILLER whale! That's how your “God” supposedly made him! Why don't you try to stone him? Oh, that's right. Nobody has ever seen the mythical guy. You have no clue where to find him, even to ask him why he made the old boy so blood thirsty and non-discriminating in his prey.
Hang in there. The fight really is worth it and there has been a little progress.
Allen C. Dexter
What really happens when this physical life ends?
Some people are very adamant in stating that nothing happens except complete cessation of existence and consciousness – the screen just goes black. Any evidence to the contrary is dismissed as wishful thinking, hallucinations, trickery by psychics, etc.
Others are just as adamant that death ushers us into a spirit realm where we had better make sure our passport and visas are in order – specifically by following whatever prescription they advocate for safe passage. Those prescriptions have changed a great deal over the millenniums and vary greatly from group to group.
I will admit that it is hard for me to contemplate not existing. I almost instinctively feel that I will go on in some other state when this life ends.
At the same time, I know that the mythology most people say they believe is total nonsense. There isn't going to be a “last trumpet call” summoning the faithful dead to resurrect and the living faithful to instantly transform to spirit and meet Jesus in the clouds. No one is going to meet St. Peter at the “pearly gates” and be ushered into a boring heaven where they laze around on clouds and play a stupid harp. I'm not going to take a boat across the Styx. Nor am I going to be condemned to some chamber of horrors called “hell” because I think for myself and tell some pompous religious despot to take a hike.
After I started doing wedding ceremonies, some of Phyllis' relatives learned I was an ordained minister. When they came to me to conduct a couple of funeral ceremonies for departed loved ones, I revised my carefully crafted memorial address and helped them out. Then, I officiated the marriage of one of their sons.
That same son was a diabetic and recently went into a heart attack and coma that led to massive brain damage before he was discovered. In a few days, he died in the prime of his life, a great shock to all, especially his bereaved wife and parents.
I was again called upon to conduct his memorial. March 8, we drove to Scottsdale and I delivered another carefully crafted address that avoided all the mythology but still was encouraging and sympathetic and certainly didn't include HWA's pompous practice of ruthlessly condemning all the “pagan” nonsense.
I got through the occasion and was duly complimented for my inspiring address, but I'm sure it was a disappointment to some of those attending and puzzling to still others who expected the usual reading of scripture after scripture and assurances that the dear departed was now in Jesus' presence. I merely placed him at the scene, aware and appreciative of all that was going on.
How could I do that? Do I really believe he was there and aware? Surprising as it may be to some of you, yes, I do.
No, I'm not ready for the “loony bin.” This is not a casual or totally emotional conclusion on my part. It's based on a lot of study, observation and thought.
There are just too many firsthand accounts backing up after death survival for me to dismiss them casually and dogmatically. I related one of those accounts in my address. It was from a television program I happened upon just a few days previously.
In this program, Rue McClanahan, the actress who played Blanche on The Golden Girls sitcom, related her experience with afterlife survival and communication.
She had a very dear lifelong friend who was dying. She stayed by his bedside, holding his hand until his death.
Because she had doubts about an afterlife, she asked her friend to please somehow communicate with her if he survived after death and to make his communication something electronic so she would know it was really from him.
He died a short time later and Rue stayed the rest of the night. In the morning, she went downstairs with the homeowner. They turned on the recessed lights in the kitchen and started to make breakfast. Suddenly, the kitchen went dark as every bulb on that circuit burned out simultaneously.
A short while later, a relative called, mystified over the exact same thing occurring at their home at about the same time.
I will admit that one occurrence like this in one place could be dismissed as pure happenstance, but not two such identical occurrences on the same day, in the same family and right after the death of a family member asked to communicate in such a manner.
Shortly after this occurrence, Ms. McClanahan was sitting alone and got the feeling someone was watching her. She turned around and sitting in a chair in an adjoining room was her departed friend with a broad smile on his face. I'm not sure whether it was telepathic or audible, but her friend said, “Hey, it's no big deal.”
My studies on the subject have encountered far too many such accounts for me to dismiss them. Some have been related to me in person by people who experienced them.
The work of the psychic, John Edward, has also greatly influenced my thinking. I have watched episodes of his television programs and searched for evidence of cold reading or electronic eavesdropping on audience members prior to the program, and I've come up empty. Too often, people will deny or not know what he is talking about only to later realize or find out from someone else that he was right on the mark about some improbable and unknowable to John detail regarding a departed loved one.
Does this mean I'm in danger of reverting back to the nonsense of heaven and hell and all the mythology that pervades the world?
No. Of course not.
I don't know how something survives beyond death or what it is exactly. I just believe the evidence for it doing so is overwhelming, at least to my mind.
Is it part of something divine?
I don't know.
I do know that these manifestations never have any connection with the common conceptions of heaven or hell.
The departed are never off in some mythical place behind pearly gates or skipping down golden streets. They're right here. All around us. If our eyes and other senses were capable, we could see them and reach out and touch them. No first, second, third, etc. resurrection has anything to do with it. No stern judge is sitting on a magnificent throne passing judgment while fawning lackeys cast crowns at his feet like he was some self-important Middle Eastern despot.
So, I'm again an agnostic in another can't know for sure situation. I'm certain I'm not alone in my conclusions and I welcome anyone sharing their feelings and experiences with me. Feel free to email me directly.
Allen C. Dexter
Yesterday, my friend, Betty Brogaard, sent me a mind-altering email that I immediately forwarded to several others. The subject of this email is so profound that I am going to reproduce it here. Once you see the video, you will understand the overwhelming effect it had on me. The email:
This video is the simplist explanation I have ever found for all the confusion and violence in the world. Hard to wrap one's mind around, but it makes sense to me.
Subject: Fundamental truth and the key to world peace are with this quote.....
“Relativity and quantum mechanics have demonstrated clearly that what you find out with instruments is true relative only to the instrument you’re using and where that instrument is located in space-time.
So there is no vantage point from which real reality can be seen. We’re all looking from the point of view of our own reality tunnel. When we begin to realize that we are all looking from the point of view of our own reality tunnels, we find it is much easier to understand where other people are coming from.
Then those who don’t have the same reality tunnel as us don’t seem ignorant; deliberately perverse; lying or hypnotised by some mad ideology. They just have a different reality tunnel and every reality tunnel might tell us something interesting about our world.... if we are willing to listen.”
Robert Anton Wilson (1932 – 2007) – Author & polymath (wide-ranging knowledge).
What a devastating charge!
“Hypocrisy” simply means play acting or carrying on a pretense behind which one hides their real character, actions and intent.
Just about every human being has done something, or several things, during their lifetime that could be described as hypocrisy. We are, after all, just weak humans prone to look out for ourselves first and foremost. That leads us in moments of weakness to do things we are often deeply ashamed of later.
This leads me, in my mid-seventies, to be a bit tolerant toward the failings of others. I understand quite well the ancient remonstrance to let the one who was free of sin cast the first stone.
Hypocrisy rears its ugly head constantly, in private social and business intercourse and especially in politics and religion, the main ideologies seeking to sway and control the masses for the benefit of the controllers. The controllees come last in consideration and often get only condescending lip service. The longer I live, the more I understand that the average person is merely a pawn and a serf who serves only to enrich and aggrandize those who are in ultimate control.
Every news day brings us more examples of hypocrisy. The political, business and religious worlds are loaded with egregious examples – too many to enumerate in one short article. It would take a huge library of books one could add to daily. I choose instead to mention just a few examples from my experiences with The Worldwide Church of God.
Herbert and Ted were walking fountains of hypocrisy.
One such example began to play out in my freshman year at Ambassador. We were talented, enthusiastic young people who tried to lead lives similar to those led by students at other colleges.
Some of us got together and formed a drama club. We settled on a play we felt would be entertaining and set about constructing a set, rehearsing, gathering props, etc. We had a really good time.
The night came for the play and we carried it off to the delight of everyone attending, including Herbert W. I played the villain and received rave reviews from members of the audience.
Our elation and Armstrong's appreciation came to a screeching halt a few days later when an apologetic Herbert explained in a fatherly sounding way that although we had done an admirable job, he couldn't allow such activities in the future. You see, we were play acting, the root of the word, hypocrite. It was wrong for God's representative people to engage in such play acting.
That should have been a red flag to me and others, but we were just too slavishly inclined to accept any “bull+++t” that old geezer came up with.
Stage drama disappeared from Ambassador College – for a while. Years later, It snuck back in with things like a presentation of South Pacific by the Ambassador Chorale.
With construction of the elaborate Ambassador Auditorium – the much heralded “house for God,” the flood gates opened. That grand edifice finally gave ol' Herb another “in” to hob nob and brush elbows with the rich and influential of the world. Soon a whole parade of play actor “hypocrites” were appearing at regular intervals under the auspices of the Ambassador International Cultural foundation (AICF) paid for and maintained by the tithes and offerings of all those church members who had long ago forgotten the original edict.
Now let's consider the titillating subject of sex. That part of life bedevils just about everybody who gets too big and self-important for their pants or panties, in all levels of society, but especially in religion and politics. Just about every person has something in their sexual past they would prefer nobody knew about. It's part of being a normal human.
Ever since “church father” idiots like Augustine came on the scene and managed to seize control of Western religious thought, the Western world went into paranoia where the subject of sex is concerned. Sex just had to be a great evil because it was pleasurable and fun. Any aspect of it was shameful or suspect.
The conundrum was that sex was necessary if the human race was to continue and the religious despots were to have anyone to rule over and exploit. It was judged OK as long as reproduction was the only motive and nobody really enjoyed it. Really “holy” people like priests of every rank, monks and nuns were expected to renounce it entirely. We have ample demonstration of how practical that approach has been.
Anyone who has read Hawaii by Michener knows that the ancient Hawaiians lived an idyllic life and were as a whole extremely happy in their innocent acceptance and enjoyment of their sexual natures. As soon as a bunch of “tight-ass” missionaries happened on the scene, all of that idyllic situation went wafting away on the breeze.
The Armstrong's put up a magnificent facade in the sexual arena. One would have thought they were paragons of virtue and self-control. What went on behind the scenes and very secretly for a time was an entirely different matter.
Long time readers of this and other sites dealing with WWCG history are well aware of the incestuous relationship HWA carried on with one of his daughters and his constant indulgence in masturbation while condemning it in all others. They know about Ted's womanizing and flagrant adulteries. I won't belabor the issue with needless repetition.
There is one great instance of overwhelming hypocrisy I am aware of and of which most former associates are not aware. It shows the absolute ruthlessness and reprehensible character of Herbert W. Armstrong and his wife, Loma.
For many years, Garner Ted Armstrong treated the coeds of Ambassador College like a convenient stable of potential sexual conquests. One can only imagine the psychological traumas those girls he overwhelmed went through.
One former Worldwide minister knew it all too well. He was the one local elder responsible for counseling and ministering to those girls. They brought this very personal and devastating situation to him for his counsel and help.
This put him in a very touchy situation. The Armstrong's soon realized that the “cat was out of the bag.” They began to fear this minister and what he could do with the information to which he was privy. Several times, Herbert Armstrong demanded to know if he was going to blackmail them. He replied simply that such was not the way he operated. He told no one, including his wife.
Herbert accused some of Ted's sexual victims of seducing Ted and verbally did all in his power to demoralize them by calling them every smutty name he could think of. Some of these women eventually died of addictions because they could never recover from the psychological damage. In some cases, Roderick Meredith assisted in demoralizing these young girls, probably because he had hopes of becoming Herbert's successor.
Men like Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Herbert Armstrong don't take chances in such situations. They destroy their potential enemies whatever way they can. Herbert Armstrong set out to destroy this dedicated man with total ruthlessness.
One day, the employees of the department over which he was second in command received a visit from their boss and Herbert himself in which he feigned sorrow over having to put this man out of the Church and ministry for the sin of adultery. The following Sabbath, he made the same announcement in church.
He even tried to alienate this minister's wife from her husband in hopes of gaining her support in his efforts to discredit and destroy him. He had his chauffeur drive him and deaconess Annie Mann more than one thousand miles to Oregon to talk with her. During that meeting, he accused her husband of making up lies about him and Ted. She confronted his charges with "It was not ++++ who told me those things - - it was your son, Ted, who told me!"
Herbert's simple response was "Well, Ted should not have told you!" He then broke off the meeting and returned to Pasadena. Annie Mann witnessed Herbert being a liar and a deceiver. He never apologized to the man's wife for his attempted deception, nor for his efforts to discredit him.
I didn't know until many years later that the charge of adultery was a total lie. This man was so devastated and emotionally distraught that he actually suffered a heart attack with severe chest pains that lasted several days. He didn't realize what had occurred until years later when the evidence showed up on a chest X-ray and the doctor asked him when he had his heart attack.
When he explained to the doctor about his severe chest pains years earlier the doctor said "That is when you had your heart attack!" He suffered an emotional and mental (as well as spiritual) breakdown that took him years to overcome so he could rebuild his life. Herbert died without ever even attempting to undo the damages he inflicted on him and so many others.
I still count this man as a friend. Although we see the world through different reality tunnels (see my article on this subject), I respect his overall character and the principles by which he has guided his life.
When I first became a part of the Worldwide community, it seemed very family-like, and I think it was at that time. That atmosphere changed as the ministry became more of an elite club that maintained itself aloof from what became increasingly viewed as the “common” element of the congregation. This became even more pronounced as the British mindset increased with the addition of the Bricket Wood campus. British-style class awareness became ever more pervasive.
This was shown up vividly by the experience of one of my good friends who found himself called on the carpet about his mother.
His mother and Loma Armstrong had found in each other a commonality of spirit and personality that led to their becoming close friends. This did not fit in with what the powers that were thought was proper. His mother was not especially rich or highly educated, wasn't an executive and had no connection with the ministry. In fact, she had been a Hollywood show girl in her youth. A successful one, I might add. Then, just an ordinary housewife and mother.
I guess, because his father was long deceased, it fell his lot in their eyes to be the head of the family and they remonstrated him about his mother's efforts at “social climbing.”
Maybe the epistle of James somehow got clipped out of their Bibles while they weren't looking. Anyway, unless you were in a special class they thought worthy, you just didn't dare try to hobnob with the exalted elite.
I don't know if anyone bothered to consult Loma on the subject.
I could dredge up more examples if I really wanted to work that hard at it and make this a laborious read. These are the examples that have stood out in my mind, so I'm sharing them with our readers. If some others have examples they can share, please feel free to write an article, send an email or add them to the comments in this blog.
The longer I live and observe, the more I recognize the futility of looking to men and organizations of men as infallible guides to whom we must subject ourselves. That approach only encourages those who become so exalted to be hypocritical in an effort to maintain their positions.
We must learn to think for ourselves and guide our own lives wisely. The earlier in life we learn that lesson, the better our lives will be. I'm thankful that I began to really learn these things at about age forty when I was still in my prime.
Allen C. Dexter
Just as my last article on
hypocrisy appeared, the news coverage suddenly
exploded about the new sex scandals bedeviling the
Catholic Church – scandals which have since landed
firmly in the lap of the Pope himself.
I can still hear old Herb screaming out with his jowls bouncing and quivering that no missing link had ever been found because none exists. Man was created. He didn't evolve.
An eleven-year-old boy just showed him up as a bombastic idiot.
For the announcement, as carried on Huffington Post, go to this address: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/12/a-sediba-fossil-find-vide_n_532461.html
It has been abundantly clear to any qualified anthropologist that humans and apes, past and present, were and are closely related. Chimpanzees and humans share almost identical genomes. They, like us, use tools. They even use sharp sticks as spears to go hunting bush babies in their tree hollow nests. They are omnivores, just like us. All that separates us is the faculty of speech and the vagaries of evolutionary selection that favored our line over theirs.
Of course, addicts of religion will bring out every conceivable objection and denial. Don't expect any humble concession speech. I remember the mindset we all succumbed to all too well. It is alive and well in Texas and far too many other places.
As I stated in my book, Believing the Unbelievable, if there is something at the basis of this creation that could be called “god,” evolution is the mechanism that entity has used.
Just like your confident pronouncement that man would never be allowed to get to the moon or anywhere else in outer space, you have been shown again to be a big-mouthed buffoon. I can't help hoping you and “Buffy” (Raymond McNair) are somehow able to share a slice of humble pie in whatever state you are now in.
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