Featured Post

The Oldest Books in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible

As anyone with even a cursory familiarity with the Judeo-Christian Bible knows, that book is composed of a collection of writings which were...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Roy Moore and the Christian Right

As a Christian and a former Alabama Republican, I feel compelled to weigh in on the accusations of sexual misconduct against Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore. For many, the question seems to be:  Who is more believable? Do you believe Moore or his accusers?

The reasoning goes something like this:  Since the accusations against Moore have the potential for ruining his reputation and political career, he must be given the benefit of the doubt (or, at the very least, the statements of his accusers must be regarded with extreme skepticism). In other words, the stakes are simply too high to just accept the testimony of these witnesses.

After listening to some of the Christian Right's commentary on this affair, it occurs to me that they are not following the directives given in their own scriptures. What is the Biblical standard? What is the Biblical standard of guilt?

In Deuteronomy 19:15, we read: "One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established."

Christ also instructed his disciples to make sure that two or three witnesses would be present to establish exactly what was said. (Matthew 18:16) Paul told the Corinthians that his third visit to them would satisfy the requirement that "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." (II Corinthians 13:1)

Six women have accused Roy Moore of inappropriate sexual conduct.

Roy Moore has said that he first noticed his present wife when she was a teenager.

According to the Christian Bible, is the matter established?

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Take me to your leader!

A friend of mine recently forwarded to me an article which appeared on the Psychology Today website. The article was written by former FBI Agent Joe Navarro and was entitled "Dangerous Cult Leaders." You can read the full article here:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/spycatcher/201208/dangerous-cult-leaders

After reading through Navarro's list of traits that dangerous cult leaders often display, I was struck by how many of them apply to many Armstrong Church of God leaders (including the founder, Herbert W. Armstrong). At any rate, I think that folks of a religious/spiritual bent should be familiar with this list and ask themselves how the leader of the group which they associate with (or are interested in joining) compares to this profile.

Here is Navarro's list:

He has a grandiose idea of who he is and what he can achieve.
Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, or brilliance.
Demands blind unquestioned obedience.
Requires excessive admiration from followers and outsiders.
Has a sense of entitlement - expecting to be treated special at all times.
Is exploitative of others by asking for their money or that of relatives putting others at financial risk.
Is arrogant and haughty in his behavior or attitude.
Has an exaggerated sense of power (entitlement) that allows him to bend rules and break laws.
Takes sexual advantage of members of his sect or cult.
Sex is a requirement with adults and sub adults as part of a ritual or rite.
Is hypersensitive to how he is seen or perceived by others.
Publicly devalues others as being inferior, incapable, or not worthy.
Makes members confess their sins or faults publicly subjecting them to ridicule or humiliation while revealing exploitable weaknesses of the penitent.
Has ignored the needs of others, including: biological, physical, emotional, and financial needs.
Is frequently boastful of accomplishments.
Needs to be the center of attention and does things to distract others to insure that he or she is being noticed by arriving late, using exotic clothing, overdramatic speech, or by making theatrical entrances.
Has insisted in always having the best of anything (house, car, jewelry, clothes) even when others are relegated to lesser facilities, amenities, or clothing.
Doesn’t seem to listen well to needs of others, communication is usually one-way in the form of dictates.
Haughtiness, grandiosity, and the need to be controlling is part of his personality.
Behaves as though people are objects to be used, manipulated or exploited for personal gain.
When criticized he tends to lash out not just with anger but with rage.
Anyone who criticizes or questions him is called an “enemy.”
Refers to non-members or non-believers in him as “the enemy.”
Acts imperious at times, not wishing to know what others think or desire.
Believes himself to be omnipotent.
Has “magical” answers or solutions to problems.
Is superficially charming.
Habitually puts down others as inferior and only he is superior.
Has a certain coldness or aloofness about him that makes others worry about who this person really is and or whether they really know him.
Is deeply offended when there are perceived signs of boredom, being ignored or of being slighted.
Treats others with contempt and arrogance.
Is constantly assessing for those who are a threat or those who revere him.
The word “I” dominates his conversations. He is oblivious to how often he references himself.
Hates to be embarrassed or fail publicly - when he does he acts out with rage.
Doesn’t seem to feel guilty for anything he has done wrong nor does he apologize for his actions.
Believes he possesses the answers and solutions to world problems.
Believes himself to be a deity or a chosen representative of a deity.
Rigid, unbending, or insensitive describes how this person thinks.
Tries to control others in what they do, read, view, or think.
Has isolated members of his sect from contact with family or outside world.
Monitors and or restricts contact with family or outsiders.
Works the least but demands the most.
Has stated that he is “destined for greatness” or that he will be “martyred.”
Seems to be highly dependent of tribute and adoration and will often fish for compliments.
Uses enforcers or sycophants to insure compliance from members or believers.
Sees self as “unstoppable” perhaps has even said so.
Conceals background or family which would disclose how plain or ordinary he is.
Doesn’t think there is anything wrong with himself – in fact sees himself as perfection or “blessed.”
Has taken away the freedom to leave, to travel, to pursue life, and liberty of followers.
Has isolated the group physically (moved to a remote area) so as to not be observed.

Yes, I've seen these traits before - What about you?