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JW Insider

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Everything posted by JW Insider

  1. Funny how almost all bombers since the B52 have been designed to make military contractors rich. And yet the B52, old as it is, is still around and flying, while BILLIONS of dollars worth of military aircraft built since then have never made it off the ground.
  2. Sorry. Missed that one completely. Not your fault though. Just didn't expect it.
  3. Yes. To me it means that trying to see the future is like aiming at a moving target that moves in random directions. And no, I don't claim any superior education. Everyone is American high school is usually offered a foreign language to learn, although not too many high schools offer German any more like they did when I went to school. Your English is much better than you think it is.
  4. I remember that was taking my first year learning German in school when I first read the highlighted sentence, and assumed that the writer was foreign, because the word-order in the sentence is not standard English. Now I know that the style was that of Fred Franz, who could sometimes sound like he could "speak Yoda" from the assembly platform once or twice per speech. Yoda, in Star Wars, said things like: "Do not underestimate the power of the Emperor or suffer your father's fate you will." "Not if anything to say about it I have." On the subject of Gog of Magog, however, Yoda's most appropriate quote would probably be: “Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future..”
  5. @AllenSmith Do you have any evidence for this connection between the word "Pagan" and "Dagan"? As you probably know, probably 99% of all Neo-Babylonian scholars who have ever researched the topic of the chronology surrounding the reign of Nebuchadnezzar agree entirely with COJ's research. So it's not specifically COJ's research that I find credible; it's the research of 99% of all Neo-Babylonian scholars. If you have found someone in the 1% whose research you find credible, then by all means present it. It's just that you've had this opportunity several times, and have always, so far, ended up presenting evidence that went against your own claims. After that, you have often tried throwing an "ad hominem" tantrum instead of showing any evidence. Then, I notice that you wait a few weeks or months and either forget what happened, or try to pretend it didn't happen. In spite of these tactics, I'm willing to see you try again. If you think you have evidence this time, please start a new topic.
  6. No mischaracterization at all. I merely stated a fact. And it's a fact that several people on this forum have noticed. It might have been helpful for Aruana to understand that, because right after you posted a lot of research, she asked: "You believe this research?" I assumed you would explain yourself because it was not clear why you posted some of it, and I was pretty sure it was not all research that you believed in yourself. Or as I also said, you may have been using some of it and added some additional research "for context." But at any rate, you certainly haven't made clear what portions of it you believe in and what portions you do not. If that were the case then they were not really a researcher (if they only read and accept what they want to accept). If a person really is a researcher they will be finding themselves constantly questioning things they have previously accepted. I have finally had to accept many things I didn't want to, but only if there was sufficient evidence against the ideas I had held, and for the idea that came to replace it. And it never means that any of my current ideas are absolutely defined either. Research is a continually humbling experience, because new evidence must always be weighed carefully apart from our preconceived notions. Pride makes us give to much weight to preconceived notions and traditions. But traditions can make the word of God invalid, as Jesus said. I never saw you or anyone else provide evidence for this. The most likely information I found on the derivation of "Pagan" matches what I see in the Oxford English Dictionary: pagan, n. and a. (ˈpeɪgən) Forms: 4 paygane, 5 pagayne, 5–6 pagane, 5– pagan. [ad. L. pāgān-us, orig. ‘villager, rustic; civilian, non-militant’, opposed to mīlēs ‘soldier, one of the army’, in Christian L. (Tertullian, Augustine) ‘heathen’ as opposed to Christian or Jewish. The Christians called themselves mīlitēs ‘enrolled soldiers’ of Christ, members of his militant church, and applied to non-Christians the term applied by soldiers to all who were ‘not enrolled in the army’. Cf. Tertullian De Corona Militis xi, ‘Apud hunc [Christum] tam miles est paganus fidelis quam paganus est miles infidelis’. See also Gibbon xxi. note. Cf. payen. The explanation of L. pāgānus in the sense ‘non-Christian, heathen’, as arising out of that of ‘villager, rustic’, (supposedly indicating the fact that the ancient idolatry lingered on in the rural villages and hamlets after Christianity had been generally accepted in the towns and cities of the Roman Empire: see Trench Study of Words 102, and cf. Orosius i Præf. ‘Ex locorum agrestium compitis et pagis pagani vocantur’) has been shown to be chronologically and historically untenable, for this use of the word goes back to Tertullian c 202, when paganism was still the public and dominant religion, and even appears, according to Lanciani, in an epitaph of the 2nd cent.] If you actually have information on this connection to Dagan by "some scholars" or any scholar, I'm sure a lot of people would be interested. Do you have any? Actually, as you can see, I didn't say anything about whose research is acceptable, and I have NEVER indicated that only my research is worthwhile and acceptable. Research is usually a process, anyway, not an end in itself. It usually involved comparing evidence with the research of others, which means that by definition, no one in their right mind would ever think that ONLY their own research was valid. I only indicated that one of the persons who was very well-known for making use of Hislop, and who spent a lot of time trying to validate Hislop ended up seeing his research as "fake" and he also saw first-hand how people went into denial no matter what they saw with their own eyes. This was exactly what Aruana was talking about. I noticed that you didn't requote the part about the Watch Tower dropping their use of Hislop for all the Babylon connections we once used his research to prove. So far, everything I've seen shows that the Watch Tower was correct to "drop" him. I've seen several bits of so-called research from Hislop that is so easy to prove false. This is another great example. I didn't accept any of Carl Olof Jonsson's research at first, and when I finally did see it I knew I had to check all the most relevant points for myself. So I ignored his points and conclusions and started on my own. I spent many days at the NYPL requesting materials from the "stacks." I spent a lot of money in purchased books and photocopying at the library since most of these books were for reference only. I worked in NYC for 25 years, otherwise this would not have been possible. But after I did this for myself, only then could I respect the research he had done, even though, as I have always said, I am NOT a scholar in this area, and it certainly is NOT my specialty. (I only mention that, because I think I remember you claiming the opposite about me once.)
  7. That's interesting. I read recently that a lot of Muslims are confused about the Christian God because they think he that he is supposed to be a Trinity of the "Father, Son and Mary" and that this has made Muslims think of "Allah" as a kind of name for God that distinguishes Allah from the Christian God. Therefore, on the Muslim side of this equation, several of them have this exact same argument, some saying that Allah just means "the true God" therefore the same as the Abrahamic "God" of the Jews, and others insisting that it must be a different, or even higher name for God. Some have even shown concern for the plural "elohim" in Hebrew, and of course, all of them reject the plural "Trinity" in nominal Christianity.
  8. This sounds like an excellent description of the "scholarship" of Alexander Hislop, and a lot of other sloppy scholars who rely on him and people like him. Recently I quoted a person who had based his books on Hislop's "scholarship" and was making money off of it (The Two Babylons). After years of additional research, he realized it was "fake news" and rejected it, even though it meant a loss of money and fame for himself. He received all kinds of accusations, almost the equivalent of death threats just because he could no longer use fake scholarship in good conscience. The Watch Tower also stopped using his fake scholarship many years ago, but it is still popular on the Internet because it fits what a lot of people want to believe. All I am saying is that we need to be very careful before accepting so-called research just because it fits preconceived ideas or appears to be partly true. If you are referring to research that Allen quoted, you should know that in the past he has quoted much research that he later claimed he did not believe in or which turned out not to be supportive of the idea he apparently thought it was defending. I don't think that Allen is really saying he believes that Yahweh as a name is associated with the Sun (Shemesh is sun in Hebrew and Shamash is the name of the Mesopotamian/Babylonian Sun god.) Nor is the name itself applied in order to embody both male and female traits, as Allen quoted above. Perhaps Allen was quoting this portion for additional context. But either way, it shows what I was saying before: that we need to be very careful in our acceptance of scholarship and research. Almost every bit of "research" that has been claimed of Muslim religion has a similar scholarly corollary in the way research shows us that Hebrew religion was practiced. Monotheism was a difficult thing for ancient peoples. Egypt tried it for a while too, and reverted. Jehovah blessed Israel as a holy nation to the extent that they maintained monotheism in his name. Linguistically, there appears to be more evidence that the Arabic "allah" is from "al-ilah" (the God) -- also see, Aramaic "ʼĔlāhā", and Hebrew "Eloah" (70 times in the Bible). "Eloah" is used the same as the same as Aramaic "Elah." And "ilah" (Arabic for god or God) is traceable, therefore, to the same word for God found in the Aramaic portions of Daniel. When Hebrew puts the word "the" in front of it, it implies "the only true God." (Psalm 18:32, for example) This is exactly the purpose of Arabic putting the word "the" in front of it so that "al-ilah" means the only true God. The contracting of "Al-ilah" to "Allah" is a very common form of contraction that happens with other similar words. Words, over time, are contracted very similarly in Hebrew and English, too, of course. Christian Arabs today have no other word for God but Allah. What word does the Arabic Watchtower use for God? Before Islam even existed, Arab-speaking Christians used the word "Allah" as the word for God -- for 500 years before Muhammad was born.
  9. It's pretty obvious, as Allen has indicated, that we have to be very careful with what we call "established fact" when it's about evidence that one group claims in order to claim superiority over another group. I'm reminded that there are hundreds of nearly identical examples in scholarly religious discussion about the Hebrew God, Jehovah/YHWH and much of it based on artifacts and linguistic evidence. Furthermore, much of the scholarship on these sources of Biblical/Jewish/Hebrew religion is not from antagonistic sources, but the majority from Jewish and Christian sources. The name Jehovah itself has been linked to many pagan sources. This doesn't mean it's true. There were also false gods and fables that spread throughout the Near East and apparently gave the Hebrews many of their words for things that other nations worshipped. There are connections between the festival for Esther and the moon. The Hebrew word for the Sun matches the Babylonian Sun-God. The same goes for many other words. This continues in the Greek Scriptures with words from the Greeks like Hades and Tartarus. The sun-moon-stars motif is also found in the Bible, if Israel, and : (Genesis 37:9, 10) . . .“I have had another dream. This time the sun and the moon and 11 stars were bowing down to me.” Then he related it to his father as well as his brothers, and his father rebuked him and said to him: “What is the meaning of this dream of yours? Am I as well as your mother and your brothers really going to come and bow down to the earth to you?” That doesn't mean that the Jews were steeped in Moon worship. Yet, some people think that this motif (where the sun, moon and stars represented Israel) is reflected in Jesus prophecy about the destruction of the Jewish system of things, when Jerusalem was to be destroyed in 70 C.E., and again when Revelation speaks of Jesus as having been born out of the nation of Israel as heir to Messianic kingship: (Matthew 24:29) . . ., the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven. . . (Revelation 6:12, 13) . . .and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the entire moon became as blood, and the stars of heaven fell to the earth as when a fig tree shaken by a high wind drops its unripe figs. [the fig tree was a symbol Jesus had used for Israel] (Revelation 12:1, 2) . . .A woman was arrayed with the sun, and the moon was beneath her feet, and on her head was a crown of 12 stars, and she was pregnant. And she was crying out in her pains and in her agony to give birth. [compare the Genesis quote above about 11 stars instead of 12] And while there are suppositions about how the sources of Muslim culture and practice are related to fertility, Jehovah is depicted in our own Bible as demanding one of the most significant fertility rites of all. Jehovah was the one who said that the rite of circumcision was directly related to fertility and nothing else. (Genesis 17:1-9) Also, we have to be careful about assigning the same value to various hadith and oral traditions to the entire Muslim faith. Some of the Muslim fundamentalist cults (like the entire country of Saudi Arabia) select certain of these traditions and give these portions the same weight of the Koran. Most Muslim scholars reject this practice, even if the hadith supposedly says something true about Muhammad himself. Remember that we also reject much of the "Bible" writings that Catholicism accepts. We call it apocryphal and don't include it in the Bible. The Jews have a huge body of oral traditions, too. And it's embarrassing to read these Jewish writings and find highly respected rabbis discussing whether whether the Bible indicates that it's OK to have sex with a child at age 3, or whether they should wait until age 8 or 9.
  10. There has been an assumption that the US President will reduce regulations on companies that pollute which will make them more profitable. Similarly it is assumed that he will reduce the regulations that keep banks more honest, and that they will therefore become more profitable, too. Same for drug/pharma companies. Companies that make money from privatizing the education system are expected to be more profitable. But the most outstanding rise in stock prices from the time that our current US President became electable was in the area of privatized prisons. Perhaps it was the promise of new detention centers for immigrants, both legal and illegal, and a new crackdown on crime, or a realization that less money spent on health, education and welfare has always been a perfect formula for locking up more people. What's curious about most Americans and much of the rest of the world, too, is that they have long believed that great rises in stock prices ("Wall Street") is a good thing. The types of rises that are seen in the stock market however are mostly a reflection of the ability of companies in general to make more money --profit-- off the backs of people who can't afford to participate profitably in that same market. The stock market is more of a signal of economic greed by the top 1% to 5% than it is of healthy economic growth with benefits that might trickle down to the rest of the population.
  11. From everything I've seen on this so far, on scholarly sites, well-referenced sites, and pro-Islamic sites, it appears that this idea is merely based on a linguistic confusion from non-Muslims. I found this as the first item that came up in Google when I searched on "crescent moon Islam":
      Hello guest!
    The hilal (Star and Crescent moon) does not, in fact represent Islam. It pre-dates Islam by about 2000 years. It appears, for instance, on the seals and decorations of the Moabites, of Israel, at about 1500BC. In the past, it was most notably used on the flag of the Ottoman Empire - especially its navy: So, it became emblematic of Islamic power, throughout Europe and beyond, in this period. It remains the symbol on the national flag of Turkey, for this reason. From this, many other, largely Islamic, countries (especially many of the ones set up in the dissolution of the USSR) included the hilal in their national flags - in the same way that many European nations include the cross. It's sort-of-cultural, but not very significant. Some suggest it represents the lunar month, the period of fasting observed during Ramadan, but if does, the fact that its existence was common place throughout Arabia and across Moghul India, long before Islam, indicates that is an adoption, rather than central to that faith. Since the 1960s, various Islamist movements have also adopted the hilal (probably because of its Ottoman connotations), and so it is often assumed to be an inherently Islamic symbol. It is possible that there is confusion over the way its name sounds similar to 'Halal' (lawful), that many Westerners think it is in some way bound up in Islam itself. This is agreed upon by sites that purport to represent the Islamic faith: On the Ottoman flag was the crescent moon – a symbol the Turks adopted from the city of Constantinople after conquering it. Because the crescent moon was the symbol for the Ottomans, it also became the symbol for Muslims in general for many in the West. It has since been adopted by some Muslim nations – finding its way onto the flags of countries as diverse as Malaysia, Pakistan and Algeria. Although some in the Muslim community reject the crescent moon because it can be seen as a pagan symbol.
  12. Reminds me of the world's shortest poem: (from Google) The shortest couplet that forms a poem is perhaps "Lines on the Antiquity of Microbes" by Strickland Gillilan: Adam/Had 'em.
  13. Started to watch "Men Who Stare at Goats" a couple of years ago. Gave it 10 minutes and was already too disappointed to finish it.
  14. That's quite interesting. Able to break down long-standing prejudices about Christians in just the first few minutes. They should want to know more about our kind of Christianity, just because it breaks the norm in such important ways.
  15. @Arauna Your personal acquaintance with the language, I assume, and persons who have been involved in the Muslim religion is rare and valuable to these discussions. When I first learn about a topic I know very little about I think about anything similar that I can have the ability to verify, first. But this means that I take a very circumspect if not a suspect view of a lot of things. So I hope you'll forgive the slow pace at which I come to accept a lot things I have heard about Islam -- and 1,000 other subjects for that matter. I was raised in the "Show Me" state. So, I have no problem believing that various ideologies produce terrible practices. I see this even in "Western" ideologies. A sample is to be found here: What I'm saying is that I will take my time with some of these claims, because I've heard so many claims from both sides for years. I've had two employees, one whose husband was in the Israeli army many years earlier, and one who had himself been in the Israeli army in just the previous few years. And the stories they told of the actions of their Muslim prisoners and neighbors struck me as containing a high proportion of propaganda. Yet, some of my best and smartest employees have themselves been Muslim, although I made a point never to discuss religion or politics with them.
  16. I remember the talk shortly after 9/11 by a friend of mine from Bethel, who suggested that we seriously consider the possibility that Islam be considered the new "King of the North." I think he didn't have the right to express this, but the talk went "relatively" viral for a couple of years. (At least among some brothers I spoke to.) Interesting how this same interview above asked the candidate why he obsesses about Islam when non-Muslim Russian/Ukranian issues were the only source of "terrorists" death to Dutch in recent history. I imagine that Ciro got a similar speech as his talk was making the rounds.
  17. Some current musings about it, that might all change tomorrow. Interesting and prescient now that Trump is being pushed around by the CIA. The Snowden paragraph (16th) was not as bad as I'd feared, if anything I would say it doesn't go far enough. HUGE chunks of Silicon Valley are currently government contractors or crucially depended on being government contractors at their inception, and the CIA has been intertwined with the Internet from its foundation. Silicon Valley is not only "complicit" with the surveillance state, it literally IS part of the surveillance state (for example see this
      Hello guest!
    ). My beef with Snowden is that his libertarian ideology prevented him from fully grasping the magnitude of his own revelations, (even now
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    ) which is that the private "free-market" spying is a bigger and more pervasive problem in most people's daily lives than government spying on terrorists and criminals. The libertarian notion of "internet freedom" is a tool used by the USA State Department for regime change around the world. (Again, Tor is a perfect example
      Hello guest!
    ) Ultimately the term "deep state" is not well defined enough even here. This article, to me does a good job of describing the circumstances of why the term is popular, but the nailing down a precise and useful meaning is tricky. Was Alexander Hamilton an agent of the "deep state" when he established military sovereignty violently against the native nations and Whiskey Rebellion in the 1790s? Or did he and George Washington form the USA's "deep state" through western land speculation/conquest? When did USA's "deep state" take form? Under what possible circumstances could any society advanced enough to have an intelligence apparatus NOT have a "deep state"? The spies of any nation are usually fanatical supporters of that nation, but that alone doesn't prove that they can actually control what that nation does. Yes, evidence has piled up since the 1970's that the USA's spies are a "class unto themselves" in the sense that spying is an industry autonomous from the government (
      Hello guest!
    ) but ... so what? You could say that about all defense contracting in general (see: the F-35). Is the network of capitalist interests behind the building and maintenance of firepower really so important in the decision-making process of the deployment of that firepower? Or are they merely loyal servants of politicians who are just greedy careless murder-happy imperialists? This is the crucial question posed by the term "deep state" and the article doesn't directly answer it. If anything, I'm leaning towards the latter hypothesis, and if that's true, then there is no deep state, just a plain old classical Marxist ruling class.To argue by analogy, Hollywood is an industry autonomous from the government too (even though, just like Silicon Valley, it grew out of the machinery of war - early WWI-era propaganda techniques laid the material basis for the modern advertising, movie and recording industries), controlled by interlocking rings of capital who profit from it. These capitalists make similar products, and the industry has become dominated by monopoly and oligopoly over time. Do we need the concept of "deep script" to explain why the new Star Wars movie is basically Al Qaeda propaganda? I don't think so, at least not necessarily. Seems to me that media act as state propaganda because that's what's materially profitable (Like Chomsky and Herman said
      Hello guest!
    ), as plain and simple as that. When private actors work in concert to serve state ends, it can be explained by shared material class interests... the question is what exactly are those interests?Since inception the USA's spy-state it has served the interests of capital around the world by systematically attacking and destroying secular multi-ethnic nationalism and communism everywhere. The CIA's very first job was overthrowing the 1948 Italian election results. The entire purpose of NATO was to prevent the spread of communism west, and the CIA immediately picked up on anti-communist counter-insurgency techniques from the Nazis, and recruited collaborators into the highest positions of government (
      Hello guest!
    ). NATO has never had a problem with working with terrorists whether the Islamic Jihadist or the European Fascist. We (US) invaded Iraq and destroyed Libya for the same reasons we (US) helped destroy Yugoslavia and pressured the Soviet Union to fall apart - our ruling class WANTS large secular non-racist governments to fall into chaos so they can buy off the remains after the collapse for cheap. No need for a "deep state" explanation; it's simple class interest. Same goes for our cooperation with Arabian oligarchies, Central and Latin American juntas, Turkey, Israel, criminal militias in the Congo, etc. Class interests, and a material need for cheap resources.
  18. Echoes of the crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians. And the way Sushi Muslims commit crimes against Sashimi Muslims, and vice versa. Hey JTR! How are you? BTW, this site is interesting
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    on that quote attributed to Stalin. The site shows where he might have gotten it from or where else it actually might have come from if it wasn't Stalin himself who said it.
  19. I assume a lot of other people already knew this, but I didn't. Thanks for sharing it. I even have a copy of Satanic Verses on a bookshelf, but never cracked it open.
  20. So true. Of the nineteen 9/11 terrorists. 15 were from Saudi Arabia, and 2 from United Arab Emirates. Plus one from Lebanon and one from Egypt. Each of these countries were omitted from Trump's list. Trump's list is basically just a copy of the list that Obama already had in place for travel restrictions. Of course, Trump included Iran just to please some of the Neo-cons in his party, and hoping for a reaction that will please his base. Turkey, Pakistan, and at least 3 of the 4 countries behind 9/11, are probably all slightly more practical choices than the ones he chose, but not politically or financially expedient. Of course, an even better solution has been there all along and would have been a much more humanitarian solution than the way the Administration messed up on the implementation of this one. (I think that messing up the implementation was partially done on purpose so that the "noise" surrounding the mess-up would provide a louder signal to Trump supporters that he followed through on a campaign promise.) The better solution is to put the same amount of energy into getting disparate intelligence agencies to cooperate and share. This was discovered to be the primary problem of 9/11 itself, and the former prime minister of Belgium (through 2008) is now saying that it has been the same problem for Belgium, France, Germany, Turkey, UK, etc., regarding recent attacks there. In fact this was the reason that the FBI was created in the first place in the USA in 1901, because of the "terrorist" attack on President McKinley by Czolgozc. It was immediately realized that sharing intelligence was paramount. Of course, this works well until intelligence agencies themselves begin feeling like self-important, all-important silos. Live and learn; learn and live.
  21. I can tell already that the point I was making is going to be mostly lost. But it doesn't matter that much because my point really was unnecessarily negative, and now wasn't the right time to bring it up. But thanks for catching on to the basic point. I'll use your comments as an excuse to go ahead and explain my reaction to the CNN article. There were about half-a-dozen points that crossed my mind. This news story was not included to create a topic for a specific set of religious beliefs. It's in a general news section. In my response, therefore, I didn't mention the other verses specifically because I thought they could be viewed negatively, but because they might have just as well been seen as more appropriate, and sometimes even more important to the circumstances. There was obviously nothing wrong with the other verses I pointed out, and a good, appropriate sermon could have been made on those verses, too. Every part of the open Bible could have been used to bring comfort in the storm, or a reminder of Jehovah's might. The verse chosen was perhaps the easiest one to work with. The story also reminded me of the joke that goes something like: "A man went and said 'I'll open the bible to a random verse and use it to guide my life. He opened it and it said "and Judas went and hung himself" he opened it again and it said "go ye and do likewise." ' " It reminds me that the exact same type of story gains traction when steel beams fall, and create the shape of a cross as they did in famous photos taken from the World Trade Center disaster. It also reminded me of the fact that sometimes there are deadly storms or airplane crashes, and many other man-made or natural disasters where many people die, and often one person, perhaps an infant, or photogenic child, will survive. The news often picks up on these stories and highlights the angle (through comments and interviews) that there must have been something special about that particular survivor, and God must have something in mind for them. Perhaps these stories work very positively for 99% of listeners, but another 1% are made to wonder if there is a certain hypocrisy in focusing on the "value" of the life of the survivor that, in effect, dismisses the "value" of those whose lives were horribly and violently ripped away. For some sincere believers, it even creates a false dichotomy about Satan being allowed to do a lot of bad, while God was able to intervene to do some good. It's a faith-strengthener for some, but a problem for others, because it's built on a false premise: Jesus apparently dealt with the problem that disasters were often surrounded by superstitious beliefs even when the disaster was actually random: (Luke 13:4) . . .Or those 18 on whom the tower in Si·loʹam fell, killing them—do you think that they had greater guilt than all other men who live in Jerusalem? Superstitious beliefs affected the view of every form of human suffering: (John 9:1-3) . . .As he was passing along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, so that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered: “Neither this man sinned nor his parents, . . . Superstition is commonly utilized to explain coincidence, and if the subject is positive and upbuilding, we accept it as true and spiritual instead of superstition. The problem is that if the same superstition were used to explain negative coincidences, then the same type of thinking would be seen as "magical" or even "demonic." The existence of a very positive coincidence without superstition is actually difficult for us because we want to make sense of the world and believe that Jehovah is directly involved in all the good things of our material life, and this might require that we blame Satan for all the bad things of our material life. There is a depth of wisdom in Ecclesiastes that surpasses superstition, even though it does not discount the idea that Jehovah is still in full control of the universe: (Ecclesiastes 9:11, 12) . . .I returned to see under the sun that the swift do not have the race, nor the mighty ones the battle, nor do the wise also have the food, nor do the understanding ones also have the riches, nor do even those having knowledge have the favor; because time and unforeseen occurrence befall them all. 12 For man also does not know his time. Just like fishes that are being taken in an evil net, and like birds that are being taken in a trap, so the sons of men themselves are being ensnared at a calamitous time, when it falls upon them suddenly. Many religions with holy or sacred writings often have members who treat the writings with a kind of superstitious "bibliolatry" where the sacred books like the Quran or Bible, for example, are treated like a kind of Ouija board. The person closes their eyes and opens the book to some random point, lets their finger drop to a verse, then they open their eyes and try to make sense of the verse, usually out of context. It's the basis for the joke in point #2, above. This doesn't mean that it will lead to anything bad (as in the joke above), but it might also mean that we are depending on a kind of magical rather than rational thought process, which is related to idolatry. (Romans 12:1, 2) . . .present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason. 2 And stop being molded by this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, so that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. P.S. *** w81 1/1 p. 22 par. 19 “Engaging in the Holy Work of the Good News” *** “I asked the householder what motivated her to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. She said that often she would open the Bible at random, point her finger at a verse and read it. But she seldom could understand what she read. “One day she was very depressed over serious family problems. Again she opened her Bible and picked out a verse. She could not understand it, and in her depression and disappointment began to cry. She prayed to God to send her someone to help her understand his Word. Just as she said that, the doorbell rang. Answering it she found a Witness, who began, ‘Would you like to understand the Bible?’ The householder pulled her inside and quickly a regular study was begun.”
  22. It was also opened to the chapter that contains: (Psalm 50:3, 4) . . .Our God will come and cannot remain silent. Before him is a consuming fire, And a great storm rages all around him. 4 He summons the heavens above and the earth, So as to judge his people: These other verses were also on the page: (Psalm 45:5) 5 Your arrows are sharp, making peoples fall before you. . . (Psalm 48:7) . . .With an east wind you wreck the ships of Tarʹshish. (Psalm 49:10-14) . . .He sees that even wise people die; The stupid and the unreasoning perish together, And they must leave their wealth to others. 11 Their inner wish is that their houses will last forever, Their tents to generation after generation. They have named their estates after themselves. 12 But man, although honored, will not remain; He is no better than the beasts that perish. 13 This is the way of the stupid ones And of those who follow them, who take pleasure in their empty words. (Selah) 14 They are assigned like sheep to the Grave. Death will shepherd them; The upright will rule over them in the morning. Every trace of them will fade away; The Grave rather than a palace will be their home. Just sayin'
  23. Obama has sent at least 20 billion to Israel, and agreed that the US would continue to send 38 billion over the next ten years. That's 3.8 billion a year. That's in spite of Israel's continued theft of property from the Palestinians to build houses. Actually, Israel's continued bulldozing of Palestinian housing and their theft of Palestinian land is calculated to make sure that the money keeps flowing. That's because if a peace process progresses, or a two-state solution is ever implemented, then the US would not be as likely to send so many billions every year. And why only 4 million for climate change solutions? 3.8 billion a year seems more appropriate.

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