(Continued from page 402)
You write: Also i don't mind discussions with anyone, but your words are rather extreme to be calling someone a fool, when you may just as much, one be yourself, i personally don't let these things bother me, but if you were to talk to someone else like that, it may cause a very nasty or unpleasent situation ( recall the fruit of the spirit......)
Well, i have my own opinions, i'm freely entitled to them by the grace of God, i also choose by the fruit of the spirit to be ready for discussion but not arguing on an unpleasent scale, to be kind and loving ( peaceful) etc. How about you?
TCE: We didn't actually call you a 'fool', but warned against being 'foolish' or letting others 'fool' you! There is a difference. Even the most intelligent people, and those who should have been led by the Spirit, have shown themselves capable of being 'fooled' (e.g the apostle Peter in Galatians 2). We do not intend to insult you and are perfectly happy to allow your words to simply speak for themselves, but you should be aware that you haven't demonstrated us to be wrong in even one tiny detail so far. You should also consider the words of the inspired writers in the New Testament, which we have detailed.
We have already commented on your viewpoint that everyone is 'freely entitled to their own opinions' and you will have an impossible task trying to prove that the God of the Bible allows you 'the grace' to hold your own opinions about everything. Try fitting this idea into the Book of Job, for instance - you will see that God did not care for the opinions expressed by this small group of men and Job, who repented of his vain opinions, is the only one commended (Job 42:5-10):
5 I [Job] have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. 7 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. 8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job. 10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
26th April, 2005 - Sent 9 minutes after the second mail
Also wanted to mention that there isn't a distinction in bible text as far as i am aware, that a prophet isn't a priest as well, as for the privilege of the holy ghost in the old testament was for prophets, but one in order to become a prophet was in general a male priest, if not a priest in any way that we are made aware through texts, someone whom God had chosen by his judgement. After all how many people are aware if Moses went to the toilet & had lunch after washing his hands when he left the burning bush?
I am also a Wiccan now, that's how i know the fruit of the spirit is the same described in the Bible's Galatians.
27th April, 2005
I see that in Isaiah 29: 1-24
29:4 And thou shalt be brought down.................
( This bit interesting......and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, AS OF ONE THAT HATH A FAMILIAR SPIRIT, OUT OF THE GROUND,............)
The words say AS OF ONE THAT HATH A FAMILIAR SPIRIT......Not that it does have a familiar spirit.
I do study some psychology, in this we have to read exactly what someone is saying, in order to get a clear picture.
I study some psychology as i am qualifying as a criminologist, we have to figure & match things through facts & words of persons in order to catch liars, murderers etc out & explain the real picture. By the way, i've had some police training, also i was able to figure out a case on the words someone used, AND I'M GOOD! AT IT.
25th May, 2005 - TCE reply (continued)Mormon invention when challenged
Mormon bluster when caught out!
You write: (in your third e-mail) ... Also wanted to mention that there isn't a distinction in bible text as far as i am aware, that a prophet isn't a priest as well, as for the privilege of the holy ghost in the old testament was for prophets, but one in order to become a prophet was in general a male priest, if not a priest in any way that we are made aware through texts, someone whom God had chosen by his judgement. After all how many people are aware if Moses went to the toilet & had lunch after washing his hands when he left the burning bush?
TCE: Again, you are being presumptuous in order to try and prove that 'a prophet' used the Urim and Thummim! You need to find a text that states that a 'prophet and priest' used the Urim and Thummim. Since such a text does not exist you are simply following in the footsteps of your spiritual mentor, Joseph Smith, in making it up as you go along - and being caught out again! People from many walks of life were prophets or prophetesses, and some were also priests (cf. Exodus 7:1; 15:20), but this does not help your case at all since none are described as using the Urim and Thummim!
The confused nature of your sentence construction speaks volumes and your naive reference to Moses is easily quashed by noting the obvious - the Bible obviously does not answer every question concerning trivial things of life for, if it did, there would not be room for its volumes in the libraries of the world. Remember the words the inspired writer, John, spoke concerning Christ Jesus (John 21:25):
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
If you put a little more thought into your e-mails you won't be caught out so easily.
You write: I am also a Wiccan now, that's how i know the fruit of the spirit is the same described in the Bible's Galatians.
TCE: An interesting statement, Shelley, which requires, as we have shown, not a shred of evidence. When you say, you are 'also a Wiccan now', does this mean you still bear the 'Mormon testimony' to Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, and the Book of Mormon, while accepting Wiccan teachings too?
You write: I see that in Isaiah 29: 1-24 .... The words say AS OF ONE THAT HATH A FAMILIAR SPIRIT......Not that it does have a familiar spirit.
TCE: How do you think this makes any difference to the Mormon position? What is the real interpretation of this passage in Isaiah? Isaiah presents three descriptions of Ariel ('lion of God'), the city of Jerusalem. The immediate reference the prophet makes is to God's victory over Assyria (Isaiah 36-37), but the final application is to His defeat of the armies that will surround Jerusalem in the last days (Zechariah 14:1-3). The enemy will be like dust and chaff. They will wake up and discover their dreams of success have become nightmares of defeat. God knows how and when to deliver His people. Verses 9-16 refer to 'a blind city' because God's people were like drunken sleeping blind men trying to read a sealed book! They had no understanding of spiritual things nor did they worship God in the Spirit (Matthew 15:8-9). Even more, they made their own plans (political alliances) and thought God did not know (v15-16)! Verses 17-24 refer to 'a blessed city', for when the Lord returns and establishes His kingdom, things will change! God's people will hear and see His truth, rejoice in it, and honour the Holy One of Israel.
However, it is the Mormons who claimed that the Book of Mormon has a familiar spirit, not us. Further, it was LeGrand Richards (a member of the LDS Council of the Twelve Apostles) who made the claim, so your interpretation is also irrelevant from the Mormon viewpoint, for they will take the opinion of an authority of theirs above your word every-time!
Problem with experiential belief!
You write: I do study some psychology, in this we have to read exactly what someone is saying, in order to get a clear picture. I study some psychology as i am qualifying as a criminologist, we have to figure & match things through facts & words of persons in order to catch liars, murderers etc out & explain the real picture. By the way, i've had some police training, also i was able to figure out a case on the words someone used, AND I'M GOOD! AT IT.
TCE: It is interesting that you state that 'facts & words of persons ... explain the real picture.' Earlier, you wrote that you 'felt [every single one of] the descriptions of the holy ghost that is noted in Galatians'. Now which is true in your spiritual life? Do you believe that truth is based on a person*s own unique, personal, subjective experiences, feelings, revelations, or intuitions? Anyone who believes that truth is experientially based (existential or subjective) and relative to each person must believe that there isn't 'one truth' or 'one true revelation'. But now you claim to rely on 'facts & words of persons' to 'explain the real picture' whereas before - and consistent with Wicca teachings - logic played little or no role in revelation or truth, but you relied on what you 'felt.' Your attacks on the Bible, coupled with your spiritual 'experiences', reveal that you do not find revelatory truths in Scripture, doctrines, or theology, but put your 'feelings and experiences' ahead of anything and everything else. Is this logical?
Problem with no absolutes!
Since, in spiritual matters, your truth is based on each person*s own unique, subjective experiences, feelings, or intuitions, it is experientially based (existential or subjective) and therefore you have to accept that we can all have our own revelatory truth or part of the truth, since personal experience is the final arbiter or source of revelation or truth. By your reasoning, each person must discover or reveal their own revelatory truth via personal experiences and no one can then dictate to another what truth is or tell a person that his or her views are wrong. Therefore you cannot ever argue with anything that we say for, if something feels right - or true - to us as an individual, then it is right and true for us - but maybe for no one else. By Wicca definition there is no one truth or one true revelation, for no one has the definitive or final word on the ultimate meaning of life or reality. At most one has a part of the truth. Every life-affirming perspective or experience must be given credence. No one can tell others in a life-affirming religion that their views are not viable, true, or right or wrong. It is true for them and that is all that matters. But there is a serious problem with this view.
Truth is as each perceives it?
Obviously, what is true for one person may not necessarily be true for another person but all life-affirming revelations or religions are right. Thus, there is no one way or right religion for all, and no one truth. Logic plays little or no role in revelation or truth - and therefore any training you might have in the use of logic is of absolutely no use in spiritual matters. It is no surprise, then, to find a Wiccan tendency to denigrate or deny the application of logical, revelatory truth - as you have done. Logic is deemed inapplicable or inadequate in discovering truth. A single logic system is inadequate to accurately or thoroughly relate reality because reality is multiple and diverse. Since there is no one logic, or logic is denigrated, dismissed, or radically restricted, contradictory views are possible. Thus, revelations can be inherently self-contradictory, or can contradict other revelations and religions yet still be true or viable. As we have shown, this is clearly true of the Mormon revelations and will be true of every other religion without absolutes, such as Wicca.
Once you reject the Bible as the source of authority you must accept revelation through other diverse (usually divinatory) techniques, but mere experience - solely in and of itself - is inadequate and cannot verify religious truth claims. Why? Because one may have had an experience, but that does not mean that the explanation, interpretation, or significance that one attaches to it is correct. Since a world view is an interpretation of all facts and experiences, there is no valid way to use any particular experience within that overall interpretive framework to establish the overall framework or world view. To do so would be circular reasoning. No experience, in and of itself, validates the Wiccan (or any other) world-view. To assume so is to commit the fallacy of begging the question using circular reasoning. Without any objective or verifiable evidence, there is no compelling reason to believe any claim. Experiences can feel quite real but nonetheless lead to false conclusions. We do not doubt that Wiccans (and all other religions) have various experiences, but we deny that they prove their religious viewpoints. These are two completely different issues. It is clearly illegitimate for Wiccans - or others for that matter - to appeal to experiences to prove or legitimatize their religion.
Another problem is that experiences are not self-interpreting. It is not necessarily obvious or self-evident what the significance of an alleged experience is - if any. Most experiences are open to numerous interpretations as to why they occurred, or what they mean. Depending on one*s world-view (e.g., pantheistic, polytheistic, naturalistic, theistic, etc.), one can explain any given experience differently, for example, from a completely opposing world-view. Some of these differing interpretations are logically mutually exclusive and thus cannot all be true. Why? Because people have conflicting experiences - experiences that are mutually exclusive. For example, on the question of whether God exists - and if so, who or what is he, she, or it - atheists, Jehovah*s Witnesses, Mormons, Hare Krishnas, Hindus, Buddhists, and Wiccans, all have conflicting experiences, all disagree. Which group are we to believe? Which experience is right? Simply appealing to or going by experiences will not help us here. They could all be wrong, but they cannot all be right.
Coming back to our refutation of your claim that 'we are all entitled to our opinions....', freedom to believe in our choice is not equivalent to the truth of that belief. We hope you can see that your ability or right to believe whatever you want, or to interpret a given experience as you prefer, cannot be confused with the notion that this freedom somehow makes your views true or even that you have the right to convince others to accept them as such. You can obviously accept that we disagree with the significance, meaning, or interpretation you propose for your experiences with 'the spirit' (which we are 100% confident is not the Holy Spirit of the Bible!). That the experience means something to you is clear, but everything else is open to question. We don't need to have the exact same experience as you to be able to verify, or falsify, some or all of the claims that you attribute to it, just as we don*t need to take arsenic to know that it kills people!
We hope you really accept the importance of logic, for it is impossible to prove anything or engage in any type of coherent dialogue without using logic. One of the primary principles of logic is the law of non-contradiction. Basically, it states that no statement (proposition, assertion, etc.) can be both true and untrue (e.g., A cannot be non-A) at the same time and in the same sense. The attempts by some religions to deny that logic is applicable to their belief system is in itself dependent on logic - that is, logic had to be employed to formulate the assertion: 'Logic does not apply to this religion.' The very statement 'Logic does not apply' involves the distinction between 'Logic does not apply' and 'Logic does apply.' This very distinction assumes the truth of the law of non-contradiction. Thus, such a religious position is self-refuting and such denial affirms the truth of what is being denied!
Since Christianity is based on the rock-solid evidence of the Bible in the spirit of Deuteronomy 13:1- 4, Christians are to reject all real or imagined revelations, whether originating through divination, spiritism, or other sources that contradict the teachings of the Bible. The arguments to prove the Biblical doctrine of revelation, as opposed to those from Wicca (or any other source), are based on God*s definitive revelation to us is in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity (Hebrews 1:1 - 3). Thus, as argued earlier, the Bible is a true and authoritative revelation. Jesus gave His complete approval of the Bible, affirming the Old Testament*s teachings and truthfulness (this would include the prohibitions on divination etc.) and its revelatory authority (Matthew 5:17-18). In settling disputes, Jesus consistently appealed to the Old Testament. He asserted over and over again, 'It is written' (e.g., Matt. 4:4, 7, 10; 2 1:13; John 6:45), referring to what was written in the Old Testament. The Greek perfect passive verb for 'it is written' is gegraptai and could be translated, 'It is written, it stands written, it will continue - indefinitely - to stand written.' Jesus also affirmed the soon-to-be-written New Testament, which would be accomplished by the Holy Spirit working (just as with the Old Testament writers) through the New Testament writers (John 14:25 - 26; 15:26; 16:12 - 15; 2 Peter 1:20 - 21). The apostles likewise affirmed the Bible*s authority: Paul referred to his teachings by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as the literal word(s) of God (1 Thess. 2:13) and called 'all Scripture' (in context, the Old Testament) 'God-breathed' (2 Timothy 3:15-16). Literally, the 'product' (Scripture) was ultimately 'the product of' God. Paul also referred to Luke*s gospel in the New Testament as 'Scripture' (1 Timothy 5:18). The apostle Peter equated Paul*s New Testament writings with the 'other Scriptures' - the Old Testament (2 Peter 3:15-16). The Bible is clearly sufficient revelation and Peter tells us that God 'has given us everything we need for life and godliness' (2 Peter 1:3). Paul also teaches the sufficiency of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Jude 3 tell us that 'the faith ... was once for all entrusted to the saints.' 'The faith' (with the article 'the') is not one*s personal faith, but the corpus of the Christian revelation given in the Bible about spiritual things - the nature, meaning, and significance of God, humanity, creation, life, death, and so forth. 'The faith' refers to the complete and final revelation of God to us regarding spiritual issues. It is the Gospel, or good news of salvation, and all that it entails, all that one needs to know. 'Once for all entrusted' indicates that the faith has already been revealed in the Bible. 'Once for all,' from the Greek word hapax here means just that: 'once', 'once for all,' or 'for all time'. The word for 'entrusted' or 'delivered' (KJV, NASB) in the Greek literally means 'having been entrusted' or 'delivered.' It is a past completed action, not continuing and not to be repeated. Since the revelations of Wicca, and all other religious revelations, violate or contradict the Bible in some way they are not true.
There is a massive problem with any Wiccan-like view that relies on acceptance of personal experiences and 'opinions' as the authority for personal beliefs in this life. This equates to 'subjectivism' and 'moral relativism', where 'subjectivism' is defined as the meta-ethical doctrine that there are no absolute moral values but that these are variable in the same way as taste is variable. Any similar philosophical or theological theory about truth or perception that attaches primary importance to religious experience is a view that ultimately holds to 'no absolutes.' If your truth is your truth and my truth is my truth, how can we be certain about anything? Does it make any difference whether the truth is based on facts or subjective feelings? Was Einstein wrong, or Darwin wrong, because I think he was wrong? Relativism produces no truth but Christianity relies on facts as a basis for every belief and doctrine. Christianity is not a faith of the type supported by the often mis-applied assertion: 'Faith is believing in something that you know cannot possibly be true.'
Now you may think that you can insist that truth is really as each of us perceives it. However, what happens if we consider a truly vile extreme and take it to its ultimate and logical conclusion? Anyone who insists on the view that we are 'all entitled to our own opinions/truths etc.' has to accept that Adolf Hitler and the Nazi's were correct in attempting the destruction of the Jews! Why? In a world of relative morality and ethics who can condemn them for murdering six million Jews if the extinction of that race was the 'Nazi's truth'? To argue that they were wrong, if your are a relativist, is fallacious because your own definition of truth entitles the Nazis as much right to their view as you are to yours! To remain consistent with this philosophy is to find no way to condemn Hitler and the Nazis - or to be forced to admit that you have become illogical in the framework of your own views if you abhor their 'truth' as evil. To argue that they were wrong, if you are a relativist, is fallacious because your own definition of truth entitles them as much right to their view as you are entitled to yours!
Is it possible to fall back on the 'The Wiccan Rede' rider: 'An' it harm none, do what thou wilt' - as opposed to the seemingly amoral: 'Do what thou will' shall be the Whole of the Law of such as Crowley? It might be claimed that both of these statements express a universally-felt common-sense morality that is relevant to all and that the fundamental difference between these and Judea-Christian law is the absence of God as an external judge. The Wiccan view would probably see the difference in that they both state 'Do what thou wilt,' rather than 'Thou shalt not ........'.
You may believe that you are taking the path of personal responsibility first and foremost and that, by being the judge of your own actions, you have the freedom to act as you believe you should. However, this comes back to the same problem of being bound to act in a manner you feel is just. You may believe that you are being tolerant in many situations because, after all, you can only judge your actions. The lack of God as an 'external Judge' removes the moral justification for affecting another's will - for how can you legitimately constrain someone's will when you have no jurisdiction over them? This tolerance simply throws you back into the problem of being unable to condemn or influence the Nazi view! At the very least it will be considered to be spiritually wishy-washy. I would be interested to hear your answer to the question posed by Jesus after He had recounted the parable of the 'Good Samaritan' (Luke 10:30-37):
LK 10:30 In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. `Look after him,' he said, `and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
LK 10:36 "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
LK 10:37 The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
(Continued on page 404)