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Feedback #11

Names and e-mail addresses have been witheld to protect the guilty. If you recognise your letter here, and wish to have your name and address displayed, feel free to contact me.

Received: 10/6/98

Dear Sir, I noticed on your contradictions page that you have a tremendous amount of errors. Many things are taken out of context. Also you don't seem to understand the concepts of Soveirgnty nor wisdom and it shows. I doubt that you've gone back to the original greek, hebrew, or aramaic text as well. God said that He would send a powerful delusion in the end times. God is said to cloak Himself in darkness. Anything that misinterprets, mistranslates, or takes things out of context is darkness. God said to seek the truth. Do you see the delusion? One man with eyes of darkness will search for errors trying to disprove the truth while another with eyes of light will search for the original meaning and the meanings of wisdom.

Many times God will put seemingly contradictory advice against each other. The reason is wisdom and free will. It is up to you to decide which advice to take, which is the wisest course of action for that particular situation. Sometimes you will see that versions of this or that prophet don't match another. Again there is some hidden wisdom for this. It forces you to ask the question,"God created the Word before the Creation of the world so why did He put two differing versions of the same events?" The reason is that God is the truth and many times one person's recall of events differs from another person's and God has listed both. The believer would see this and find some wisdom in this.

Another would go the other way and become skeptical and distrusting. So God uses it as a test. Truth is a double edged sword that divides. God wants to see which side you are on. Do you seek the truth or do you try to tear it down.

I am after the truth. Truth is only won by abandoning all preconceptions and wishful thinking, and following the evidence wherever it may lead. There is truth to be found in the world, but it is found by hard work and careful application of rational principles. To arbitrarily claim that "God did it" gets us no closer to the truth at all.

As an aside, if you peruse the feedback messages at my site, you will find that a number of people have accused me of taking the Bible out of context, and failing to recognize its cultural context. Curiously, whenever I ask for specific examples, I never hear from them again. Why do you suppose that is?

Received: 9/18/98

I am a christian Pastor, not a Mormon or anything like that. I have a ministry of reaching out to, and helping people leave cults like Mormonism. I came across your site while researching. It is interesting, your annonated Book of Mormon. I hope to visit it again and again to help my research.

One observation I made was you missed a very big mistake in the Book of Mormon very close to the start (I didn't get to read more than three chapters this time).

1 Nephi 2:8 talks about a river that runs into (or empities into) the Red Sea. There is no river that empties into the red sea!, there never was in known cartographic history, or Biblical history. Maybe you could include this little observation in the notes!

I understand you are an athiest, and I respect your position so I won't go shoving the Bible down your throat as some might!. But you noted in one place that the Book of Mormon was supposedly written in 'reformed egyptian'. I know there is no such language!, I study Biblical and ancient languages. (other mistakes in there include words like church and Jehovah which is a very telling 15th century mistake!).

You were right mentioning Christ being a Greek word with Aramaic / Hebrew background. The thing I find interesting is that nearly all the christians I know, know this!. Talk to many Bible Believing Christians and you will see they know what that means. Mormonism certainly isn't christian by any means, and the Mormons don't really believe what their scriptures say anyway!. I have discussed many times with them their doctrines. They really trust their feelings (the burning in the busom), and the current "prophet's" statements even if it contradicts their scriptures!

Well I could go on but I'm sure you propably heard it all before!.

I am aware of the problem with I Nephi 2:8. I have not yet included it because there is a fairly large area of LDS apologetics which deals with the whole Arabian trip. The claim is that Lehi's journey accurately describes the terrain of Arabia, and even claims that some of the towns mentioned along the way (such as Nahom) are actual, historical locations.

Personally, I find the evidence very weak (obviously), but I wanted to do a little more research before I presented a comprehensive rebuttal to this argument. First Nephi 2:8 forms a part of this rebuttal.

I did read through your page. It is well researched and well documented. Obviously, however, I believe that the Christian Godhead is equally as mythical as the Mormon version. Ironically, it was my study of Mormonism that first led me to realize that there was also something wrong with the way that I was defending my own faith. This started the whole process that led me to where I am today.

You are absolutely correct about Mormons tending to rely on feelings rather than actual physical evidence. This is usually the final word presented by most Mormons that I have debated with. My response is usually of the form that this answer really proves nothing, since nearly all believers, be they Christian, Muslim or Hindu use similar "proofs" to validate their own beliefs. It is quite rare to find a believer who has an in-depth knowledge of their own history and doctrine. Many, if not most believers will also tend to assert that knowledge gained by this sort of subjective revelation is superior to knowledge gained by hard work and logical thinking.

Obviously, I disagree.

Received: 9/11/98

Here is an example of how the misuse of logic can lead to the wrong conclusion:

"Some parents abuse their children, therefore all parents are bad."

This statement is completely silly, and of course no one would believe it to be true. However, an example of the same kind of reasoning is found on your Feedback page. After stating that many bad things have happened in the name of baseless faith, you then come to this conclusion: "The plain fact of the matter is that religion has never, I repeat never, contributed anything of value to human society. Quite the opposite."

That is simply a false statement. Many people that speak out against Christianity regularly make similar statements such as, "Every war in history was fought in the name of religion." Some say that Hitler was a Catholic and he hated Jews, so therefore Christianity was to blame for World War 2. That is a ridiculous statement, but no more ridiculous than the idea that all religion is bad.

True Christians are people that follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. These teachings are found in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. At the center of Jesus' teaching was the concept of love for one another. When asked by a scribe what the first (greatest) commandment was, Jesus replied, "...love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."

These teachings are considerably different from the pagan myths adopted by the founders of the Catholic Church in the early centuries A.D. If you can demonstrate how the teachings of Christ (not the ceremonies of the Catholic Church) were adopted from pagan sources, please do.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of love and has brought hope to millions of people throughout the ages. Here are some specific examples of how Christianity has contributed something of value to human society in recent times:

1. Christian men from Texas and other states traveled to Florida at their own expense to rebuild people's homes that were destroyed by hurricanes. These men volunteered their time and skills and used money freely given to the church by other Christians to provide disaster relief for these victims.

2. People from various walks of life have overcome severe drug and alcohol addiction because of faith in Christ, thus saving their lives and relationships with their families. One preacher told the following story:

A former alcoholic was asked if he really believed that Jesus turned water into wine. The man replied "Jesus Christ turned wine into food and clothing for my children. Turning water into wine sounds easy compared to that."

In many cases, those that were once addicted then helped others with similar problems.

3. A church group from a lower-middle class neighborhood in Phoenix, Arizona regularly collects food and clothing to take to Mexico to give to people who are less fortunate. In another Arizona church, a retired Doctor and his wife recently led a group of believers on a trip to Mexico to provide medical care and over 200 pairs of eyeglasses to people who would otherwise never have access to any healthcare.

4. A Christian woman who was abandoned by her husband found strength and guidance through faith in Jesus Christ. Against the odds, she as a single mother successfully raised her 3 children to be decent, caring individuals with a positive outlook on life. Thousands of other parents find similar strength and assurance in Christ to help them raise their families.

People who have submitted their lives to Jesus Christ have accomplished many great things through him. These accomplishments are of extremely great value to society. The fact that these people believe in Jesus Christ and live their lives dedicated to him does not prove that the Bible is true or that Jesus is real. It does, however, prove that your statement about religion is a ridiculous statement.

The skeptic could claim that all of the above examples have their parallel in the secular world, and that might possibly be true. There is a major difference, however, and that difference is that Jesus Christ calls people to turn away from selfish wrongdoing and to love and care for their fellow human being. There is no modern secular equivalent to that concept, nor was there an ancient pagan custom that inspired that idea.

It is true that throughout history, maniacs and tyrants have killed and enslaved people in the name of religion. It does not take a genius to figure out that the individuals responsible for such deeds were in no way following the teachings of Jesus Christ, regardless of what they might have claimed.

I appreciate your response. However, I did not mean to imply that all Christian activity was necessarily bad. I fully understand that there are Christian organizations that provide much needed charity work, and similar socially positive acts. By the same token, however, there are numerous charitable organizations that are not connected with any specific religion (the International Red Cross comes to mind), so, as you pointed out, this means that charitable acts are not limited to Christian organizations.

The meaning of my statement is this: although Christianity (and religion in general) operates on the principle that they are necessary for the well-being of the world, historically they have done far more harm than good. Whether this damage was done by people who were "real" Christians or not is, from the atheist point of view, irrelevant. The bottom line is that we find amongst religious groups precisely the same mix of good and bad people that we find in secular society in general. Religion appears to make little difference to how a person lives his life.

On the other side of the coin, we note that no religion has even come close to providing the tangible benefits for society that Science has. I'll quote just one example from current events.

We know that the south-eastern coast of the US has been a target for destructive hurricanes for millennia. Throughout this time, many desperate prayers have no doubt being offered by many desperate believers of all faiths. Yet, they all died in their thousands, both believers and non-believers together. In the last few decades, however, deaths from hurricane strikes have been steadily decreasing, even though population density in this area has been exploding. Why is that?

The answer, of course, is obvious. Thanks to technology, we are now able to forecast the time and place of hurricane strikes as much as three days in advance. This early warning, which our ancestors never had, is most responsible for the decrease in hurricane related deaths.

Why did we have to wait until this point to reduce the risk of cyclone death? Why couldn't God do it centuries ago? Why did he apparently disregard so many prayers over all this time?

If we state simply that it was God's ineffable will, are we now thwarting God's will by providing early warning? How could he allow such a thing? Are we more compassionate than he is?

These are the kinds of questions that lead me to note that religion in general has had very little effect on man's living conditions, especially when compared to the benefits of modern technology.

While you correctly stated that Jesus preached a message of peace and love, a cursory glance through the Gospels will show that this message was inconsistent at best.

Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Matthew 10:34-36 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

Received: 9/8/98

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have a strong testimony in the divinity of the Book of Mormon and of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I found your corollary of the Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible to be very interesting. Is it suprising that the words that God spoke to the people of ancient Israel ar the same that he spoke to his other sheep on the other side of the World? The inhabitants of the western hemisphere are decedents of the house of Israel and were not forgotten by God.

You have studied both the Bible and the Book of Mormon extensively and have obtained a vast knowledge of the contents of both. I believe the Bible is the word of God because I feel it in my heart when I read it, pray about it, or hear someone testify of it. I am sure that you have felt the same. I have felt this same feeling when I read, pray about, or hear testimony about the Book of Mormon. Your comments have strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon.

The inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere are descendants of Asiatic Mongols. There is not an Israelite among them.

Is it surprising that God speaks the same words to all his children? You have not yet established that God speaks at all...

Received: 9/2/98

Is this page a comparative concordance? If so, you have done a great job of cataloguing the contents. You, like hundreds of other detractors of the Book of Mormon fail to see the point. The similarities are there because, as Joseph translated the Gold Plates, he spoke in language that was familiar to him: the King James version. If you can lay aside your biases and see the Book for what God meant it to be, your could find yourself in a New World, just like Christopher Columbus. You are trying to say the the world is flat. Well, brother, God really did love the ancient inhabitants of America just as much as he loved those Saints in the old world. He gave his Gospel to both groups. I will keep this message short now, but keep in mind that many people like yourself hold "their truth" so closely in front of them that they are unable to see what is really out there and can miss it.

The way that I approach the question of the Book of Mormon is the same way that I approach any subject involving possible paranormal or supernatural involvement. This is an application of David Hume's dictum, which is in itself just an extension of Occam's Razor. Basically, when we examine a purportedly miraculous event, we need to ask ourselves a simple question: of all the possibilities, which is the most likely to have happened? Which is the easiest to do?

For example, we know that it is far easier to cheat during an ESP test than it is to display real psychic powers (assuming that they exist). Thus, researchers who are involved in ESP tests will sometimes recruit the services of a professional magician in order to minimize the possibility of cheating. They know that because cheating is known to happen, and is comparatively easier to do, they must eliminate this possibility before their results will be accepted by their peers.

From the Book of Mormon perspective, there are at least two possibilities: either it is what it claims to be, a record of ancient inhabitants of this continent, translated by supernatural means, or, it is a fake, written, possibly, by Joseph Smith himself using a number of sources, one of which was the King James Bible.

Let's examine these alternatives. First, we need to answer the question of which is easier, or most likely? We note that there are no recorded cases of translation by divine help on record. At least, no cases that have been established beyond reasonable doubt. On the other hand, there are very many cases of literary forgery, from the book of Enoch to the Gospel of Baranabus. The history of Judaism and Christianity is literally filled to the seams with pious forgeries.

With this in mind, we need to ask if the evidence in favor of the book of Mormon being an ancient work is sufficient to overcome the suspicion that it is a forgery. In other words, because we know that literary forgery is comparatively far easier to do than miraculous translation, is there sufficient evidence to indicate that this was not the case with the Book of Mormon? I would submit that the answer is No.

From the negative point of view, we note that there is no archaeological evidence that establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that a tribe of pre-Columbian Jewish Christians inhabited this continent in great numbers. We note that the Book of Mormon attributes a number of artifacts to the ancient inhabitants, such as horses, chariots, steel, coins etc. that are not known to have existed on this continent prior to the arrival of the Spaniards. We note that scientific consensus holds that New World languages, scripts and religion are not related in any meaningful sense to the Old World.

From the positive point of view, we note that the Book of Mormon displays a familiarity with the King James Version of the Bible, both old and new testaments. We note that many of the KJV translation errors and archaisms are repeated in the Book of Mormon. We note that where the Hebrew text of Isaiah is obscure and difficult, the Book of Mormon offers no help, as it simply follows the KJV. We note that in many cases, the Book of Mormon quotes a New Testament passage long before it was written.

All of the above, to my mind at least, indicates that there is not sufficient evidence to overcome the suspicion that the Book of Mormon is a fraud, perpetrated in the early nineteenth century, either by Joseph Smith or someone else. Thus, I see no reason to accept the Book of Mormon as a work of Divine translation.

Received: 8/25/98

How much research have you done on Islam. Our Holy Book, The Qu'ran, is still in it's original form, in its original Arabic. I too was a former Christian who preached the trinity to every one. I believed that Jesus was God. How stupid could I have been.The bible clearly says that no one will ever see the face of God. Also, wasn't the New Test. written in Greek, was that the language of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John ect... The book of Revelations sounds like it was written from a Greek Mythology book.

I have read the Koran (in English, of course). Personally, I did not find any reason to believe that it was given by God. Like all the other Holy Books, the Koran seems to be the work of man.

As to the NT being written in Greek, you are quite correct. The language of Jesus and the disciples was probably Aramaic. However, Greek was the international language of the time, and many people were bilingual.

Personally, I don't believe that the Gospels were written by the people that they are ascribed to. The Gospels themselves are anonymous, and the current names were only given to them a very long time after they were written. It appears, from internal and external evidence, that the Gospels were written between forty and sixty years after Jesus died, and are compilations of oral stories and myths that had grown up around the legendary figure of Jesus.

The Book of Revelations is written in very rough Greek, possibly indicating that it was the author's second language. The book itself fits into a genre of literature known as apocalyptic. Other books of this type are Daniel, Enoch and IV Esdras. Revelations owes much to these books, particularly Daniel and Enoch.

Islam is the pure form of religion. We believe in Abraham (of the Jews), Jesus ( of the Christians), and Mohammed (pbu). We believe that they were all Prophets sent by God to guide us in the correct way. The Jews did not recognize Jesus as a prophet, and the Christians made Jesus a god among other things.

True, Christianity turned Jesus into a god several centuries after his death. However, I don't believe that he was a prophet, just as I don't believe that Mohammed or Joseph Smith were prophets. I feel that they were all men who sought to reform the religious environment that they lived in, some with more success than others.

Do your self a favor and check out Islam.


Also the Embassy of Saudi Arabia has an Islamic affairs department you can check out on the web.

As I said, I don't see anything in the Koran or Islam to distinguish it from any other religion. If you have evidence to the contrary, I would be interested to hear it.

Don't be turned off just because religious groups have made their religion into what best suits them instead of following the pure form of worshiping God.

Received: 8/25/98

Curt, I'm so sorry to read your story claiming yourself an agnostic....and seemingly proud of your now found revelations through research before "it was too late". Please permit me to tell you a tiny part of my story...

I was raised in the Church of Christ that teaches many of the same doctrines you were raised with in the Baptist Church. EXCEPT my exposure was much more dogmatic and legalistic, I presume, since I know of my own husband's upbringing in the Baptist Church.

I was taught the Holy Spirit is not active in this day and age and miracles ended with the last apostle's death. I questioned in my mind some of these teachings but until I began to have unexplainable events over the past 18 or so years, I had nothing as real evidence except a 'feeling'. In March (on a Monday)in 1997 I was sitting at my desk at work contemplating a stressful day ahead of me. I have a perpetual calendar a friend had given me as a gift and I had just read the daily verse. It was one that made me quickly look up the verse to get the context and I ran across the verse that Jesus spoke saying unless you hate your Mother and other obviously close family members, you are not worthy to follow Him. Well, I had always been told this verse did not mean what it said....BUT I considered the concept in my mind anyway. "What IF it meant just that...was I able to follow Jesus to that degree?...worthy to enter heaven on those terms?" I answered to myself, "Yes I would do that if necessaryto get into heaven." What happened next is still amazing to me!

My body was electrically charged from the inside out and was glowing with a bright light that only I could see. Jesus through the Holy Spirit spoke to me in a transference of thought-message asking me what I wanted to do for Him. I was profoundly humbled in my joyous soul while all the time appearing normal to everyone working around me. To shorten the story, He called me to be in ministry but said He would bless me in whatever I chose to do. I will never be the same. Please let me add my own researched conclusion to your researched conclusion...to those that do not wish to believe, God Himself will close their hearts....the scriptures make that very clear. But if you have a hungry heart for the TRUTH, HE will reveal it to you but only if you really will rely by faith on what He has left us...the scriptures. No doubt the slants of some writers has affected the written word...So what? That is where your faith must come in.....I don't have to know that my watch's mechanism was put together perfectly to rely on it's ability to tell me time. I pray for your soul.

Thanks for sharing your story. I, too, have had similar experiences when I was a believer. Unfortunately, the problem with using experience as a guide to truth is that experience, by definition, is subjective. In other words, your experience can only be true for you. Since no-one else can share the experience, it has no relevance in the search for truth.

Please note that I am not saying that your experience did not happen, but simply that there is no way that anyone else can verify it. And, even if it could be verified, it still does not mean that God exists, since there are many other sources which could give rise to such experiences. Human psychology is a very complicated subject, and we are only just beginning to learn how the brain generates the mind. Until such time as we fully understand the workings of the brain (if ever), our experiences must remain in the category of interesting, but ultimately useless as a guide to truth.

Received: 8/31/98 (in response to above)

I am so glad you responded. My husband thinks I'm crazy to write to someone I don't even know with the stuff I have to do....

I'm not using my 'experience' as my basis for belief in Jesus or the Godhead. I believed before the experience. That was the 'gift' for my persevering faith along with total submission to (evidently) the one thing (love of my family) I was holding back from Him. It was certainly not anything that I had done to deserve the enlightening. (At first I arrogantly thought it was something I had done to deserve it..) My few other supernatural experiences over the past 18 years were but 'whispers' of encouragement. Nothing compared to the ability to converse with the Holy Spirit about what Christ wished me to do in the future in service to Him. (After all, the Spirit only speaks what the Messiah tells Him to speak. Where is that one? I forgot...) (By the way, I would love to be able to quote book, chap, verse but have found many wishing to use the scriptures as weapons instead of the keys to love our fellow man so I don't try to memorize anymore.)

I had been a casual Bible devotional student up to that point. Then, I began ravenously searching the scriptures to fully understand what I had been told....in humbleness understanding that the experience could be verified by scripture if genuine. I did not want to make the mistake of trusting and being deceived by the Evil One coming as an angel of light. (Is it in Hebrews?..)

So, in my search for TRUTH, I rest my faith solely in Christ Jesus. He is, afterall, the TRUTH made FLESH. Sometimes in my arrogance I try to take over in my decisions in daily life here on earth. How can I justify such impudence? I suppose Christ allows this stupidity to keep me understanding how weak my flesh truly is. I really hate being on earth now that He has touched me so deeply. It is such a two edged sword...moved to a JOY beyond anything the earth has to offer and yet knowing Jesus wishes my service to Him to continue. How selfish of me to want to leave earth without doing all I can during the time left.

Not many would believe or understand someone longing to leave this earth when in excellent physical (and mental) health, making a very good income, attractive, married to an adoring and attractive spouse and this past week my last child left home for college, FREEDOM! I used to be so very turned off by Paul's writings but now I understand exactly what he meant when he said to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Sometimes I still get aggravated at Paul!)

By the way, I'm 47 and entering my last semester for a BS in Management and then on to a Master's in Education. By May-99 I will have gained 82 hours in 18 months while working full time. Most would question my mental health (Ha!) for attempting such a thing when I could be comfortable without it...It is for glory to Christ. I must equip myself for the ministry He has called me to do. I intend to either enter the professional ministry or open a Christian radio station or both. I'm waiting for Divine direction.

Curt, it brings tears to my eyes to know that the state you are in is the worst of all possible situations. Sometime in the past the evil one found your house swept clean so he gathered seven more to return and take over your very heart. You write as an educated man which is very good in and of itself but someone, somehow has convinced you of the greatest lie of all...to fully depend on your own understanding. We both know that the scripture tells us when we do that, the end is death of the lonliest, darkest kind.

Curt, I have seen the evil one at work in my terrible past self and even today in my sometimes arrogance, etc. I have seen him in the actions of my dear sons; drugs, sex, cheating, stealing, whatever you can imagine. I have also literally SEEN him, too. Thick, black evil. It is by far the most frightening experience I will ever be under. Believe me, I have frightening experiences by which I can compare...I was raped as a girl, abused repeatedly by an x-spouse, I drowned in the gulf, was robbed at home with a pistol shoved against my skull and two seconds later it discharged ... I felt a sense of deepest terror when in the room with and then given the ability to see the evil one; nothing can compare. Please reconsider so you won't be cursed with the abys for eternity. My Lord and my God...let it not be so.

Is it arrogant of me to ask you to reconsider your unbelief? I beg you to reconsider. I don't know you but I am terrified for your soul. To whom can we turn? Christ alone is the answer to life, the only truth and the only thing in which we can trust. There is so much I don't understand and don't expect I even will until I'm on the other side. Please tell me I won't discover you held onto your unbelief.

Just some points:

It seems that you assume that I am "hanging on to my unbelief" in spite of the evidence. This is not quite correct. I would very much like to believe. I would like to know for certain that I have an immortal soul that will live forever. I would like to know all these things.

The problem is that I refuse to believe anything with no good evidence. And, when you really get down to it, there is no more evidence for the existence of God than there is for Santa Claus. There is no evidence that any part of us lives on after death. All the information that we have indicates that the brain generates the mind, and when the brain ceases, so too does the mind. These are harsh realities, but they are realities nonetheless.

I decided long ago that it is both illogical and dangerous to base a worldview on intangibles. Far too many people have done so - the result, inevitably, has been bloodshed and misery for the human race. More people have died in the name of baseless faith (I include Communism here) than for any other reason under the sun. Far from liberating humankind, religion has always been the instrument of slavery, both in this day, and in ages past.

You state that I have succumbed to the greatest lie - to fully depend on my own understanding. I would submit that the opposite is true. The assertion that blind faith can lead to Truth is by far the greatest lie ever foisted on the human race, and has been responsible for more misery than any other. The plain fact of the matter is that religion has never, I repeat never, contributed anything of value to human society. Quite the opposite.

History tells a plain story. When the hold of the Church on the minds of men is the strongest, human suffering is the greatest. In contrast, our present technological society has given us far more benefits than religion ever dreamed of. Religion says "pray, and you will be healed", but only Science can cure an intractable infection. Religion says "pray, and I will listen", but only Science allows us to speak to our loved ones while separated by great distances. Religion says "gaze at the stars and planets, for they are the work of God", but only Science can land men and machines on other worlds, and allow us all to share in their beauty.

The bottom line is that I much prefer reality over fantasy. And, despite the fact that I am in the "worst of all possible situations" according to your view, the truth is that I have never been happier as a Christian than I am right now.

Received: 9/3/98 (in response to above)

I don't know what to say to you. I truly sense your soul's distress in spite of your assertion of happiness. You want to believe as you said in your first paragraph. Curse of curses, you are now caught in a chasm between your prior faith in the Messiah and current faith in human intelligence. Maybe you won't make it back. Jesus, may it not be so.

Even skeptics admit not all things of science can be 'true' through empirical evidence but you still put your faith in science instead of with your first love. Solomon (or whomever is the author of Eccesiastes) stated it aptly when he said he finally felt the despair of his own wisdom.

I have been very convinced of certain things on pure faith only to later find them to be false. I too desire evidence as a basis of my faith in Christ but understand there is a tradeoff between leaning on my own understanding with finite human intelligence and having faith in the paradoxical sayings of Christ. I just focus on what we have left of His Words and assume that the imperfect personalities of the apostles bled through in their desciptions of event-type narratives as they remembered them. (Yes, Yes, I know they were inspired but I believe God allowed their inadequacies to show so we understand their fully flawed humanity.)

Even when I relate back to Spiritual Gift events, more is revealed to me from different angels(!..oops..typo..)angles as I recall the event. That slight perspective shift does not negate the Truth of the experience; the shift only illuminates the Truth like light rays can be directed toward different corners of a room, highlighting one corner this time and another next. The room still exists irrespective of my ability to see it clearly all at once.

Communicating a Spiritual event to someone else is flawed through the language translation. The event's TRUTH resides someplace within my comprehension. That is a function of Christ's-each human's unique and personal relationship. It's our choice whether we reciprocate His Love or acknowledge His Grace is the only reason we made it through to that place called 'now' and CAN joyfully exist in the other realm with Him, tomorrow.

It surprises me for you to write of your faith in this theory when it cannot be proven at all: "All the information that we have indicates that the brain generates the mind, and when the brain ceases, so too does the mind. These are harsh realities, but they are realities nonetheless."

Curt, come on now, realities?

Yes, realities. The reality is that we have no evidence, none whatsoever, that life continues after physical death. If you have such objective evidence, I would be more than happy to hear it.

Maybe the world would be closer to perfection if we all approached the throne of God as little children, the only way Christ said we could come to Him....humbly, trustingly, lovingly, eager to know what His Desires are for us.

I cannot answer for all the others in/out of the world in times past or future. I have to recognize the debt I owe and pray others will be blessed by my existence.

Why do you assume man is responsible for science? God alone put seeds of science in the hearts of mankind. Can you look broadly at everything that has ever happened and see that all that has had benefit is of God and all else is of the evil one? God created the angel that turned to his own understanding and rebelled against God.

Personally, I believe that if God did exist, he would want us to use the minds that he had given us. He would not be angry when we teased out the clues to the origin of life from the universe around us. Why then are you so surprised that these clues lead us to an understanding of life that does not involve the intervention of God? We know that all life is descended from a common ancestor. We arrived at this conclusion by studying the clues inherent in all creatures. If God did not want us to arrive at this conclusion, why did he put those clues there?

Why did you say you are glad you found out the lie before it was too late; Too late for what? If you really believed in the afterlife, what was the harm? Were you a blessing to others/self or a curse?

I was a curse to myself, and probably to others. I wasted large amounts of time on the pursuit of a Christian life, time that could have been much better spent improving myself by learning the truth about the world around me.

I am glad that I broke free before my mind atrophied altogether, and I became incapable of independent thought.

I sincerely sense your despair at not feeling confident in promises of the afterlife but instead deciding to rest your faith in man's intelligence.

I rest my faith in Science because it works. I ask you again: what has religion ever done to better the lot of man on earth. How many prayers were offered while people died on infections that could easily be cured by antibiotics? How many lives were lost to Hurricanes that can now be predicted? Where was God in all this misery and destruction?

Your total faith in a theory astounds me ... "There is no evidence that any part of us lives on after death. All the information that we have indicates that the brain generates the mind, and when the brain ceases, so too does the mind. These are harsh realities, but they are realities nonetheless."

Come on, Curt. Realities!? You know this theory cannot be proven. Man has come up with many theories over time. What is the one thing that has withheld the test of time everlasting?

I don't need to prove my theory. My theory simply states that there is no evidence of life after death. Your theory states that there is life after death. It is therefore up to you to prove it.

What is the one thing that has withstood the test of time? That human reason and logic can result in a better life for humankind. I repeat: what has religion ever done for us?

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