The Pastor of my Old Church Tried to Re-Convert Me Yesterday

by cofty 2596 Replies latest jw experiences

  • cofty

    jgnat -That must have been very traumatic for your son-in-law. The Rwandan genocide was biblical in its scale and brutality.

    Caliber - Have you quit the conversation?

  • humbled


    Of biblical proportions for sure--tribal and thorough.

    Has your son-in-law been back to rwanda? Neither would I be able to say "forgive" unless I had been in it too.

    But they themselves are saying it, doing it.

    The survivors have a particular forgiveness they are sharing throughout the rurals to deal with the scars in the communities. Don't they have to live on until a "natural" death takes their life? Your son-in-law may have some of the mental scars that those present during the massacres have.

    "Rwandan stories" contains the stories of how the Rwandans are dealing with the incredible violence that stole everything from them--estimated 300,000 CHILDREN murdered. He may know of the work ongoing to heal some of the psychological suffering that has followed.

    Glad you're his MIL. take care,


  • jgnat

    Yes, he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder to this day. As does our Canadian hero, Romeo Dallaire. He has little interest in returning to Rwanda.

  • cofty

    Caliber you were champion of the theory that this is not the time for god to intervene in human affairs.

    My final reply to your point got lost among Adam's intervention.

    When you get a minute please click here and let me know what your response is...

  • humbled

    Rwandan is less text and has more first person accounts and video. It has a stronger expression than anything I've seen on the history, the genocide, the perpetrators and the victims/survivors.

    It is worse than a natural disaster by far.

    that's all--back to original OP.

  • cofty

    It is worse than a natural disaster by far.

    I have stuck resolutely to "natural evil" in order to avoid the free will defense, although that hasn't stopped a few apologists from trying to use it anyway.

    It was specifically because it was a natural disaster that I was given pause to reconsider my faith in 2004

  • doofdaddy
  • jgnat

    I understand, cofty. I shared my S-I-L's story more for to drive home the horrific impact of such a loss as the tsunami. Glib responses just don't cut it. IMO.

  • cofty

    Glib responses just don't cut it. IMO.

    Have you noticed how many of the proposed answers could be called "Ivory Tower" theories?

    If an explantion has any value it ought to work in the real world. Can you imagine telling a bereaved survivor that god allowed their loved ones to drown to teach comfortable western christians could learn to be more compassionate?

  • adamah

    jgnat said- Which is why I am flabbergasted that this pastor thought that cofty was open game.

    Well, how would the pastor know anything about an individual he hadn't seen for years, who he no doubt viewed as a wayward member of his flock who disappeared?

    Hence I'm a bit confused over the flabbergastery at learning that a pastor is doing what pastors do: offering comfort and hope to others (by offering theodicy, as hollow as it may be), who's seeking out a "lost sheep"?

    (I'm reminded of the scene in the movie Casablanca, where the local gendarme is absolutely shocked to learn that gambling is occurring inside Rick's Cafe Americain, LOL!)

    Despite the attempts witnessed over the last 48 pages to skeet-shoot the arguments of believers, theodicy apologetics apparently work well-enough to 'get er' done': 84% of the World's population belongs to some form of organized religion and believes in some God, where presumably a lion's share are aware of the tsunami in 2004. Hence the problem of natural evil is clearly no insurmountable problem that theists cannot contort their way out of.

    Turns out, the fears of 'natural evil' eroding faith were vastly overexaggerated in the Middle Ages, since the congregants don't actually need to hear air-tight logic, only to be offered whatever offers a smattering of plausible deniability, offered in a confident manner with more assurances of certainty. Many believers ARE swayed more by style, and hence why they're willing to put more credibility in someone who's clean-cut, wears a cheap suit, and carries a briefcase (but is actually talking gibberish) over someone who speaks truth, but appears to be homeless. Again, some people judge a message based on superficial appearances alone, and not using their brain to evaulate for substance: that mistake is on their heads.

    And the ultimate response to theodicy comes down to FAITH, i.e. belief in things WITHOUT any shred of proof or reasoning, based ONLY on one's desires. If someone accepts the idea of faith as being a virtue, there's almost nothing that the person won't accept in turn, including shameful theodicy that is weak-enough to make a 12 y.o. blush.

    For the record, I have NO problem with believers who are able to maintain the ability to differentiate between reality and fantasy, and who keep in the back of their mind that it's not 'really-real', and that faith relinquishes control to others, just so they don't make stoopid (sic) decisions that can harm themselves and/or others (and this being an ex-JW site, I shouldn't have to list the obvious reasons why an inability to discern between the fantasy and reality can be fatal).

    NH&H said-

    Adamah you mention the King Jong report was he had his uncle and 5 assistants thrown naked to be eaten alive by dogs...i couldnt help but parralel this with the Bible account of the prophet who was mocked by some kids for being bald and God had the kids torn, ripped limh from limb and eaten by bears as punnishment...

    The Bible is filled with many gruesome deaths and atrocities committed by (or in the name of) Jehovah, from near-mass extinction event of the flood, the genocidal campaigns committed by the Chosen People against their neighbors, the slaughter of the prophets of Ba'al, the 'death by she-bear' incident you mentionedabove for mocking a prophet of God, etc. All brutality was committed in the name of God, and is excused; the obvious answer is that the death of 250k victims in a tsunami is equally-excusable, esp if the person doesn't know any of the victim personally, where the news merely elicits a "tsk, tsk, what a shame, but God'll sort it out...."

    In fact, I mentioned Bentham's utilitarian argument ("greatest good for the greatest number") in a prior post, but that concept actually IS applied to the 2004 tsunami, too, claiming God weighed the benefits of building faith for the far-greater number of the faithful survivors Worldwide, and compared it to the cost of those 250k human deaths, and decided to allow it to happen.

    Of course, many believers readily accept that the deaths of others as not inconsistent with their beliefs: instead, that's the ENTIRE PREMISE upon which Xianity is based! It's not novel for Xianity, since it's handed down from Judaism (where the natural death of the High Priest in Jerusalsm, although not the "perfect" Messiah, atoned for the sins of the populace). So how could anyone forget that the death of Jesus, the most-righteous and sinless person who ever lived, is said to atone for the sins of ALL of mankind (and thus, 'the greater good', which is Bentham's argument of Utilitarianism). Accepting the deaths of 250k lives presents no challenge to their faith, and is a moral cake-walk.

    All the more easier, if the believer has already given up the "God is omnipotent" thinking (which is actually a straw-man, since God of the Bible isn't actually depicted as being omnipotent; the "with God, all things are possible" scripture is easily down-played by claiming exceptions which weren't actually mentioned in the scripture). Throw in a smattering of "God's mysterious ways", and "we don't know all the works going on behind the scenes", it all becomes palatable and rational to many believers.

    The mistake Cofty is making is trying to reductionally and serially-disconnect the pieces of the system from each other, when none actually operates in isolation, but as a cohesive whole. So trying to dismantle an irreducably-complex belief system that has the capacity for self-repair by taking out the individual pieces is a questionable endeavor, since it's not going to accomplish anything except paradoxically reinforce the system in the minds of the very ones he's trying to persuade. The system was modifed over millenia by very-smart men who lived LONG BEFORE the NT was written, who inserted the concept of the Xian persecution complex into it: that's the "patch job" which allows for self-repair and protection, where people subbornly reject anything that counters their beliefs, and even paradoxically seeing any challenges as confirmation of their belief.

    It's a pretty-slick self-contained belief system that has time on it's side by working out any kinks as it evolves, even updating itself automatically by accommodating to the thinking of the individuals (through a tendency towards confirmation bias).

    This could be confirmed by a show of hands: has anyone changed their mind about God, after reading 48 pages of challenges to theodicy?

    Bueller? Ferris Bueller?

    BTW, I read Kim Jong's uncle was executed by a firing squad armed with machine guns (!), but no doubt there's many versions floating around NK: as the multiple versions indicate, the environment is ripe for legends and rumors forming (that is if such gossip isn't suppressed, where everyone is worried about saying anything that could be viewed as disloyal to Kim Jong eun, and they could be turned in to the authorities for disloyalty).

    What a nightmare it must be to live in such a totalitarian restrictive climate, where even thoughts are controlled. The sad thing is, some people actually do the equivalent of voluntarily moving to a totalitarian society by joining a group like JWs, telling themselves it'll be safe for them and they are the exceptions, the ones who can excel inside the system!

    COFTY said- My final reply to your point got lost among Adam's intervention.

    Hey, you willfully ignore my points, but whatever, since that's on your head, not mine. Whether you "have ears to hear it", "benign neglect" coupled with "faith-building" remains a valid defense, effectively used for theodical purposes.


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