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TrueTomHarley

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TrueTomHarley last won the day on December 29 2018

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About TrueTomHarley

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  1. Some of the things brought up I have tried to address here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/917311
  2. TrueTomHarley

    Geoffrey Jackson: Questions and Answers

    Did the circuit overseer ask him this while servicing his home congregation?
  3. Witnesses are pretty good at explaining the cause of suffering and evil to the religious person. But explaining it to the irreligious is another matter. They choke as they get near Genesis matters, knowing that the one they speak with has long moved on from that area. And yet they have to go there, if they would convey an explanation that makes so much sense. Can the material be presented in a way that will make sense, and perhaps even appeal, to the one whose first instinct is to reject Genesis as nonsense? That is the challenge I try to address in the following post, updated from one written long ago: Was Diagoras the world’s first atheist? He is credited that way. Read up on him and you will find that he is remembered as Diagoras the Atheist. Isn’t he the fellow who used a wooden statue of Hercules as fuel to cook his turnips? If Hercules didn’t like it—well, let him do something about it. And how did Diagoras end up an atheist? Wikipedia tells us: “He became an atheist after an [unspecified] incident that happened against him went unpunished by the gods” Why wasn’t it punished? Why didn’t God fix it? He’s God, after all. Isn’t he supposed to be all-powerful? We hear this all the time from atheists, agnostics and even believers. Why didn’t he solve Diagoras’s problem and stop the man from going atheist? It’s because he’d never be able to do anything else. He’d be sticking band-aid after never-ending band-aid on a system of things that is inherently unjust, even designedly so. Instead, in keeping with his original purpose, he purposes to replace this system of things with one of his own design. Injustice in that system of things will be a memory only. After all, what is the injustice that caused Diagoras such soul-searching? Only the one that touched him personally! Had he not witnessed hundreds of injustices in his lifetime? To say nothing of ones his society was built upon. We positively slobber over Greeks as cradle of wisdom, birthplace of democracy, mecca of free thinkers, and so forth, yet they enjoyed their privileged status only on the backs of others. That society embraced slavery. It treated women abominably. And weren’t Greeks the original pedophiles? The same sexual molestation of children so roundly condemned today was enshrined in respectable Greek society. Are these among the injustices Diagoras was concerned with? Did he even recognize them as injustices? Possibly, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Let’s face it, few situations of this world today are win-win. Generally, someone pays the price when we win. Hopefully, for politicians and Pollyannas, it is someone we don’t see in another land or another class. But there is somebody most often and we usually don’t even know about it. The system is designed that way. Get the sufferer as far away from the privileged one as possible so they don’t see the link and declare any such talk as but crybaby whining. Don’t think that any political party has a handle on the problem. It is inherent with human self-rule. A new system of things is in keeping with the Bible’s premise that humans were not designed to be independent of God. Things might have turned out differently. The Adam and Eve and Garden of Eden account, brief though it is, demonstrates God’s original intent. “Further, God blessed them and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it,’” says Genesis 1:28. The very name Eden means “pleasure;” garden of Eden becomes, when translated into Greek, “paradise of pleasure,” and “subduing the earth” is code for spreading those conditions earth wide. Had humans, starting with the first pair, remained content to live under God’s direction, life today would be a far cry from what it is today. But almost from the start, they balked. Consider Genesis chapter 3: “Now the serpent proved to be the most cautious of all the wild beasts of the field that Jehovah God had made. So it began to say to the woman: ‘Is it really so that God said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?’ At this the woman said to the serpent: ‘Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. But as for [eating] of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “you must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it that you do not die.”’ “At this the serpent said to the woman: ‘You positively will not die. For God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.’ Consequently the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was something to be longed for to the eyes, yes, the tree was desirable to look upon.” Jehovah’s Witnesses understand the “knowing good and bad” of verse five to be a matter of declaring independence. “You don’t need God telling you what is good and what is bad. You can decide such things yourself and thus be “like God.” The serpent even portrays God as having selfish motive, as though trying to stifle the first couple—a sure way to engender discontent. The ploy was successful. Those first humans chose a course of independence, with far-ranging consequences that have cascaded down to our day. After a lengthy time interval allowed by God so that all can see the end course of a world run independent of him, he purposes to bring it again under his oversight. This is what the prophet Daniel refers to: “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” (Daniel 2:44) Jesus refers to it, too, in The Lord’s Prayer: “...Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matthew 6:10) Does anybody seriously expect God’s will to be done on earth under the present system? Here and there, one can see a glimmer, of course, but to predominate? The time for God’s will to be done is when his kingdom comes. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that God’s permission of injustice, even evil, is bound up with this trial period of human rule, soon to end. In a sense, the modern-day atheist counterparts of Diagoras have voted for the wrong party. They voted Republicans out of office in favor of Democrats (or vice versa) and they are now incensed that Republicans aren’t delivering on their promises! God’s kingdom is the arrangement that will end injustice. But they continue to vote for human rule. Does anyone think that humans will end injustice? What the upset ones really want is, not so much an end of injustice, but an end to the symptoms of injustice, mostly the ones that affect them personally, just like with Diagoras. But human rule itself is the source of injustice. We’re simply not designed with the ability to “rule” ourselves. Is it “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely?” God’s Kingdom will not treat the symptoms of injustice; it will uproot the source. (February 2008) There is also one for straight up Bible believers, who will not automatically choke on Adam and Eve, here. It came about through informal witnessing and I later wrote it up: https://www.tomsheepandgoats.com/2006/06/why_do_bad_thin.html
  4. I laughed out loud when those Jurassic Park Pterodactyls lunged at the children clamboring amidst the ceiling tiles & my kids gave me a dirty look.
  5. I think this is why the delivering quality of “critical thinking” is overrated. Mob mentality takes over in most disciplines & those vested emotionally and/or financially seek to run the competition off the road. The average person has not the time, patience, or often interest to investigate. Sometimes those in dominance deliberately muddy the waters so that preoccupied ones will throw up their hands and say: ‘Oh, to hell with it! They”re all liars anyway.’ Many things ‘settled’ have been settled by decree. Many things ‘proved’ have been proved by ignoring evidence to the contrary.
  6. This ability evolved into being during the Glycolcemic Age and they might have missed it. All evolved creatures are equal but some are more equal than others.
  7. To the extent that this was true, I think it is yesterday’s news. They have interviewed Michael Behe. They wouldn’t do that if the two hated each other’s guts. They have referred to days as epochs & the entire period as aeons. I think their aim today is to let scientists be scientists, and Bible teachers be Bible teachers. Is it true that we cannot hold ideas that don’t entirely square with one another simultaneously without our heads short circuiting? One look at a Pharma ad suffices to show that cognitive dissonance is overrated...with narrator insisting that you must have the stuff and voiceover saying that it may kill you.
  8. I have written somewhere about how embarrassing it is to visit the Ithaca Museum of Earth Science with Tom Pearlsnswine and hear him muttering to himself and all in earshot the whole time about the ‘wiles of Satan’
  9. I don’t ‘like’ @JW Insider‘s comments too much because he usually manages to slip in a bit of mischief that I’m not too sure about, even if I don’t immediately spot it, so I don’t want to leave a track record as an ally. Having said that, Man! is he ever making good sense here...and the patience displayed...the angel on my right shoulder is saying: ‘Why can’t you be like that, TrueTom?’
  10. There you have it then. Did they become Jehovah’s Witnesses because they figured the Presbyterians had the truth? If you just want to do a Jesus and Holy Spirit thing, each one according to his own interpretation, you don’t become a Witness in the first place. Or maybe you are smoking something. Read my two paragraphs again. That is the way it is. It doesn’t deny disfellowshipping’ it only tells how it works & how to relate it to family members. But all policies are in writing. If it is not in writing it does not exist. There is some variation with “brazen conduct.” With regard to disputes, it simply means that you can’t grab hold of the wheel of the bus. Let us be neither silly nor paranoid: “Paranoia strikes deep. Into your soul it will creep. it starts when you’re always afraid. Step out of line, the men come to take you away - You better stop, children, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going on.” Sheesh. I mean, maybe it’s not them. As for your three scriptures, dig up one of the articles explaining the arrangement...there were a slew of them in 91, I think, plus periodic applications and updates. There you will find many scriptures in support. When you want to quarrel with each and every one of them, do it with someone else. At one time, you thought they were the coolest things since sliced bread. I suspect it is not the scriptures that have changed.
  11. The fact that you feel strongly about something does not make your opponent evil. This is most clearly seen with Obama vs Trump people eternally hurling epithets at one another. Surely the villains aren’t all on one side.
  12. “The Witness organization has said that it does not instruct parents not to associate with their disfellowshipped children. But they have produced a video of specific circumstances in which a parent ignores a phone call from one of them. What to make of this? Detractors will say that they are lying through their teeth with the first statement. I think not. I think they should be taken at their word—parents will reach their own decisions on the degree of contact they choose to maintain, since they can best assess extenuating circumstances. It becomes their decision—whether they find some or none at all. Specifically, what the Witness publications do is point out that there is no reason per se that normal counsel to avoid contact with those disfellowshipped is negated simply because there are family connections. That is not the same as “telling” families to break contact. It may seem like splitting hairs, but the difference is important. “That statement finds further support in the many Witnesses who have departed and subsequently report that, though they were never disfellowshipped, they still find themselves estranged from the family mix. Effectively, they are "shunned" without any announcement at all, evidence that a "cult" is not telling parents what to do, but it is their appreciation for Bible counsel that triggers that course. The specific mechanics of avoiding associations with those who have spun 180-degrees on prior spiritual convictions may be arguable, but the general principle is not. When no verbal direction is given, Witnesses defer to the general principle, so it becomes plain that it was the general principle all along, rather than the commands of eight tyrannical men at headquarters. “What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?” says Paul, referring to two polar-opposite worlds and those who would choose between them.”
  13. My first appreciative comment ever towards Shiwiii - a milestone. Some things are indeed too tempting to pass up.
  14. Speaking to the Russian citizen who was most active in reporting events as they unfolded will be accepted as ‘doing my homework’ in all minds but yours. (if it can be called that, in view of such stubbornness)
  15. TrueTomHarley

    UN Compact 2018

    Will you allow that an interest in history is permissible? Politics is current history, that’s all, or history in the making. All human governments will drop the ball & usually it is a bowling ball. As people ponder the vulnerability of their right and left toes, thus defines their politics. What is important for the Christian is to avoid taking sides. It is not necessary to be ignorant of it. signed.....Tom Harley - resident scholar (not pseudo-scholar)
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