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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Destination Truth: The Road Goes Ever On

Yes, I borrowed the title of this post from a television show and my favorite author (J.R.R. Tolkien). The topic of this post has been on my mind for several days. It was inspired by two seemingly unrelated posts on two of the blogs which I follow: Ambassador Watch and Banned by HWA!

On Thursday of last week, Gavin posted two pieces that broke a two week drought. As he noted in the first post, one of the side benefits of the dearth of posts was the conversation that unfolded over his last post. He concluded, "maybe the journey really is more important than the destination."

On Friday, Dennis Diehl took Dave Pack (RCOG) "to the wood shed" by posting a video where Aron Ra refutes Pack's statements about God and evolution. As usual, Ra was very matter of fact and devastating. And, although I enjoyed his take down of Mr. Pack, I found myself cringing at some of his statements about God and the Bible.

For the Worldwide Church of God (and almost all of its descendants), the TRUTH is a neat little package of doctrines/teachings based on a Fundamentalist and Literalist approach to interpreting Scripture (with a healthy dose of circular reasoning thrown in). In short, one learned the TRUTH and either accepted or rejected it. And, if you accepted the TRUTH, it was mission accomplished. There was effectively nothing more to consider or learn. Indeed, according to HWA and his minions, if one continued to do research and ask questions, that individual would be sure to lose the TRUTH which they had received. For them, the journey had ended.

It struck me that some of Aron Ra's statements were in much the same vein. In both of the YouTube videos that Dennis included, Ra stated several times that EVERYTHING that Dave Pack believes and teaches is basically bullshit. He also stated that there wasn't ANY truth or ANYTHING of value in the Bible. Like the objects of his attention (Dave Pack and Believers), it appears that Aron Ra has reached destination TRUTH. Sure, Aron says that everything he believes is subject to the further development of the evidence at hand, but his many sweeping statements about God, religion and the Bible seem to undermine his assertion.

You can't find ANY truth in Scripture? Really? I can - ask me about it sometime (it's not that hard). And, just for the record, I'm not talking about TRUTH in the WCOG sense (that Scripture is literally correct in all particulars).

Aron doesn't like religion because he believes it to be the antithesis of reason. He doesn't like the fact that it is so emotional - that it is based on feelings. I wonder what Aron thinks about instinct. I wonder if he believes that instincts are of any value - that nature equipped us with various instincts for a reason(s).

Does any of the old stuff have any value? Must we discard all of mankind's beliefs and experiences that predate the application of the scientific method as rubbish? Where does this need for a god or supernatural things come from? Is it a primitive relic that should be discarded? If for no other reason, is it useful in measuring the progress that mankind has made? And, if so, doesn't that alone make it useful?

I believe that Something or Someone put us on this road. I'm all for exploring and being open to wherever it takes us, and I'm very suspicious of anyone who thinks they've reached their destination (or claims that we must follow precisely in their footsteps). What do you think?


  1. I agree. I am also suspicious of anyone who "knows the solutions for my problems." Especially if they say they are the only one that can help me. Life is a journey and all the "stops" along the way take me to where I am now. I always want to move forward to somewhere else, even if I have no idea where that may be. Roy

  2. "can't find ANY truth in Scripture? I can - ask me about it"

    You should post some of these truths, THAT will be worth reading!

  3. Minimalist, Thanks for asking - I was hoping that someone would.
    Doesn't the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis teach us that we can't always see the end of all things, and that forgiveness and redemption are always possibilities?
    Although we now know that a physical exodus of large numbers of Hebrews from Egypt never took place, isn't it possible that the story in Exodus represents a memory of the time when the Levant was dominated and ruled over by Egypt?
    Does the story of Moses have anything to teach us about underestimating our own abilities, and our potential to make a difference in the world?
    Do any of the ten commandments or other Mosaic Laws make any sense from a moral standpoint? (e.g. murder, stealing, fidelity, bearing false witness)
    Don't the books of I & II Samuel, I & II Kings and I & II Chronicles teach us some profound lessons about how humans relate to power and politics? Isn't whether or not the events actually happened immaterial to some of the lessons taught there?
    Doesn't the book of Job teach us some profound truths about the way we treat each other when confronted with loss?
    Aren't there many beautiful and profound truths expressed in the Psalms? What about the Proverbs? Can you not find any proverbs that express good old common sense and sound reasoning and wisdom?
    Do the prophets have anything to teach us relative to fear and hope? Do they contain any universal truths about the way humans assign guilt/responsibility to each other and the reasoning process concerning how we reach conclusions about the causes of events?
    Do the statements attributed to Jesus Christ relative to the importance of love to human relationships and morality have any validity at all?
    Does the Apostle Paul have anything of importance to teach us about tolerance, respecting differences, insecurity and paranoia?
    Does any of John's highly symbolic language in the book of Revelation have anything to teach us about the use of such symbolism in literature? And, once again, does this genre have anything to teach us about fear and hope in humans?
    Can you think of any greater love than a willingness to sacrifice oneself on behalf of another? Do you see any problems with treating others the way that you would like to be treated? Is servant leadership superior to authoritarian leadership?
    You decide for yourself - is there any TRUTH in any of that? You already know what I think.

  4. How about this one:
    "Don't get Tattoos"(Lev19:28)
    Wise advice for dippy kids.

  5. Replies
    1. So there it is, hidden in the Jewish canon: "Don't get Tattoos". 99% don't know about it, but it is the right advice for humans with their herd behavior and impetuosity of youth.

  6. I admire Aron Ra's scientific approach and his assumption of life emerging naturally (Occam's Razor), but I also see it as impossible. In your linked NY Times article, an authority criticized the ocean vent theory because "the high temperatures inhibit chemical reactions". Oops, back to the drawing board.

  7. I admire Ra's grasp of science, and his ability to present the logic behind it to others. And, although I find myself in agreement with most of the points he makes, he is sometimes too dismissive of alternative views (e.g. those sweeping statements).