Bill Etem. Ex-Math teacher, ex-office worker, ex-lot of stuff. Protestant ex-Football Coach at Notre Dame - at the High School of that name in Los Angeles, not the University in South Bend, IN, not a head coach at Notre Dame either, just an assistant. B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota. I'm living in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area. Before Minneapolis I was in Mexico for 20 months. Before that I was in L.A. for three years. I've traveled all round France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Austria, Switzerland... Canada...most of the 50 states in of the USA. As for living for 20 months in Mexico it was mostly in Oaxaca.
`I threw `Warrior Girls' together in three weeks in January of 2014, with a few later edits. I'll have to get a professional cover for it sometime, though i'm not quite sure it is finished.
`Amanda's War', which took me years to write, has a connection with my non-fiction via I Samuel 15. 23 `rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft' because `Amanda's War' deals with witchcraft and `Constitutional History of the Western World' deals with religion and rebellion, with questions such as: is it wise to rebel against Atheism? Is it wise to rebel against the Koran? Is it wise to rebel against the Church of Rome? Is it wise to wise to rebel against the sign of the cross? etc., etc.
There are other connections between my fiction and my non-fiction besides this witchcraft / rebellion angle. In `Amanda's War' we are introduced to a character named Haakon Sovant. That's a nom de guerre: he's pretending to be someone that he's not for purposes useful in espionage and in his work as a body guard. Body guards are needed to protect a rich guy from some gangsters. The rich guy is receiving their extortion letters. Extortion letters are somewhat like religious books. The Koran has Allah threatening non-Muslims and insincere Muslims with hellfire if they don't convert and become good sincere Muslims. The New Testament is a document which is filled with terrifying threats. Note for example the threats of hellfire being made in Matthew 5. 22, Matthew 7. 13-14, Matthew 25. 31-46, Luke 16. 19-31, John 15. 6, Galatians 1. 8, 2 Thess 1. 7-9, Revelation 20. 12-15 etc. I'm a Christian and I'm not complaining about the threats. I'm just saying they are threats and people should be aware that they exist and they are threatening. Of course this is old news to most people.
The theme of people changing after traumatic incidents is the theme of Robert Altman's `3 Women', starring Sissy Spacek and Shelly Duval. The symbolism in this film is not terribly subtle but nevertheless it's an American classic from 1977. I've seen this film 3 times now and I really think it is something special. In `Amanda's War', where a character named Haakon Sovant changes after a traumatic incident, readers are left to wonder if he changes because of benevolent forces or because of malevolent forces. Sovant's case history is symbolic of something greater, something which pertains to billions of people. In the Macrocosm, the Christian scriptures tell us about a great tribulation - see for instance Daniel 12. 1, 2 Thess 2 and the Book of Revelation - and during this great tribulation, presumably, billions of people each suffer a `traumatic incident' - and then they will change - rather as Sissy Spacek's character in `3 Women' changed, rather as Haakon Sovant in `Amanda's War' changed, after their traumatic incidents. Whenever someone changes it's natural to wonder if they are changing in a good way or in a bad way.
The 420,000 word `Constitutional History of the Western World' requires an abridgment, or several. I worked for years on it, and made no end of drafts. Eventually I gave up trying to revise it and simply left it as it exists now. When I felt I had to clarify something I began a new book, and when I got tired of revising that book I began yet another book. All of my non-fiction books paraphrase or expand on some aspect of `Constitutional History of the Western World.' About these paraphrases, there's `Some Practice in Recognizing Satanic Cults'. There's `Protestantism' and `The Archangel Michael vs. The Antichrist'. There's `Introduction to Dumb-Ass Theory' and its companion piece, `Introduction to Genius Theory'.
Chapter 1 alone of `Constitutional History of the Western World' takes a great deal of stamina to read in its entirety - and I suppose many readers would find it beyond their endurance - but I think some of my later chapters, such as Chapter 3, which deals with the evidence for Christianity, and even the enormous Chapter 6 which deals with the USA are easy reading, at least for readers who have at least some interest in either the USA or the evidence for Christianity.
Several publishers have assured me my non-fiction is only of interest to theologians - it is not mass-market material. Let me give you a 5 minute pitch, sort of like the way a director might get 5 minutes to pitch an idea to the studio bosses. Christianity is supposed to be a simple creed because it is supposed to be concise enough to be inscribed on a human heart - recall Jeremiah 31. 31-34. Nevertheless it takes lots of time and energy to explain the various versions of Christianity. There's the Roman Catholic version of Christianity, the Eastern Orthodox version etc., etc. When explaining Christianity I think it is best to begin with the scriptural evidence which tells us there is a True Faith and a True Church. The True Church is not a building, of course, it is a collection of people, of saints, who, though they make mistakes, they always lead souls to heaven and they never lead anyone to perdition. Whatever mistakes the saints in the True Church make, they always lead souls to heaven, and they never make the mistake of leading souls to perdition. If a church leads souls to perdition, then, obviously, that church is not God's True Church, though it might claim to be God's True Church. As for these scriptures which tell us there is a True Faith and a True Church, you might begin with John 14. 23-26, which tells us that those who love Christ keep His words. Therefore if one loves Christ one will, for instance, keep the words He speaks in Matthew 16. 13-19, in which we are told He has founded his Church on a rock and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Then we have Matthew 26. 28, Mark 14. 24 and Luke 22. 20 all of which give us Christ's words at the Last Supper - `This cup is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins.' The first mention of a new covenant, a New Law to amend the Old Law, the Mosaic Law, is found in Jeremiah 31. 31-34, in which we are told that God will write His new law on the hearts of His people. Christians calls this new law the Gospel of Jesus Christ, also known as The True Faith. And the people who have God's new law written on their hearts are the True Church. Then there are scriptures such as Ephesians 4. 4, which tells of there is `one body' and this phrase from St. Paul means there is one True Church, the Church which Christ founded on a rock, the Church which leads people to heaven and which leads no one to perdition.
So, if one rejects the doctrine there is a True Church and a True Faith, then one rejects John 14. 23-26 - those who love christ keep his words - and one rejects Christ's words at the Last Supper, again, `This is My blood of the new covenant..' and one rejects John 14. 23-26, and rejects Matthew 16.13-19, Jeremiah 31. 31-34 etc. But if one believes these scriptures are true, then one beileves in a True Church and a True Faith.
As the bank robber said to the bank teller: `just don't do anything stupid and you won't get hurt.' So we have to discover what are the stupid moves and what are the intelligent moves in the religious sphere. What are the stupid steps which lead souls to perdition? And what are the intelligent steps which leads souls to heaven? You have to be prepared for a certain amount of rough language when you discuss religion with people. Your Atheistic Uncle Joe might say you are a brainless uneducated bastard if he hears you say you believe in a True Church. Your Aunt Martha might be a straight shooter in a vulgar sort of way, and she might call you are an `effing idiot back-stabbing Judas bastard' if she hears you say there is no True Church. It's best to remain calm and not over-react when people get colorful with their language. Think of yourself as a deep philosopher who can always remain serene if doing so helps you to remain serene. Ugly religious debates can really be nasty stuff. If you get into a debate with a Mormon you might begin by saying you respect Mormons and cherish their clean-living lifestyles but you just don't like all the polygamy which comes with Mormonism. Then the Mormon might tell you to `pull your head out of your ass'; he might get on your case for not knowing that the Mormon Church no longer accepts polygamy. And then you might not be very serene when you tell the Mormon to pull his head out of his ass, and you might go into the logic which says that if Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were true prophets from God then modern Mormons are `brainless bastards' because they rebel against the teaching of true prophets from God on polygamy, and, then, you might argue that if Joseph Smith and Brigham were false prophets, not true prophets, then modern Mormons are still brainless bastards because they are in a church founded by false prophets.
Well of course it's best to not use phrases such as `you brainless bastard!' when you get into religious debates with people. But it is simply naive to think you can debate religion with people and never experience rough language, so you have to be prepared for rough language.
One has to make a decision about John 14. 23-26, Matthew 16. 13-19, Jeremiah 31. 31-34, Christ's words at the Last supper about a new covenant, Ephesians 4. 4 etc. If these scriptures are untrustworthy, if they are falsehoods then does it make any sense to be a Christian? If they are trustworthy, then who are the people who comprise the True Church, and what is the True Faith. You might first consider the largest Christian Church in the world, the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church is either the Church which Christ founded on a rock or else it isn't. The Church of Rome is either God's True Church or it is not God's True Church. The Church of Rome either leads souls to heaven, because it is God's True Church, or it leads souls to perdition, because it has fallen away, it has been corrupted, and it is not God's True Church. So, in Case 1, where the Roman Catholic Church is God's True Church, everyone in the world should convert to the Church of Rome, and everyone should obey the Pope, because it would be idiotic to rebel against God's True Church - doing that will land you either in hell or in purgatory. Case 2, where the Roman Catholic Church is not the Church which Christ founded on a rock, it has fallen away, it leads souls to perdition not to heaven, because it is not God's True Church; if Case 2 is correct then everyone in the world should renounce the Church of Rome. If the Church of Rome has fallen away and leads souls to perdition, then what about the 2nd largest Christian Church in the world - the Eastern Orthodox Church? We have again a Case 1 and a Case 2. Case 1 says the Eastern Orthodox Church leads souls to heaven because it is the Church which Christ founded on a rock. Case 2 says the Eastern Orthodox Church is not the Church which Christ founded on a rock, it is not God's True Church, and therefore it leads souls to perdition. There would be no reason for any Protestant sect to exist if either Rome or Eastern Orthodoxy is God's True Church. All of Protestantism is a rebellion against God - and that has a satanic ring to it - if the Church of Rome is God's True Church, or if Eastern Orthodoxy is God's True Church. But if both of these churches lead souls to perdition, because both have fallen away, because neither one is the Church which Christ founded on a rock, then Protestantism has a chance of making sense, whereas, it has no chance of making any sense if either Rome or Eastern Orthodoxy is the Church which Christ founded on a rock.
When you examine Judaism you might first begin with Ezekiel 20. 25 which tells us God gave the children of Israel bad laws because He was angry with their rebellions. There would be no need for a New Love if the Old Law was wonderful. Judaism, as that term is commonly understood today, begins with the assertion that Jesus is not the Messiah, and with the assertion that the Old Law is an Eternal Law. Christianity insists that Jesus is the Messiah and that the Old Law is an Eternal Law in the sense that it is one books for eternity but parts of it are not enforced. The sacrifice of bulls with never again be a part of God's True Church. If God demanded that all of the Old Law be enforced for all eternity, then Jews would have to execute witches, which presumable would include Jewish mothers who read horoscopes to their children, and execute homosexuals, and execute rebellious children. Christians have different ideas about what the New Law is. Roman Catholics, for instance, say the New Law is explained in the official Roman Catholic doctrines. Some Protestants insist that it is fine to work on the Sabbath day, and they say it is `legalism' to say otherwise; other Protestants insist one violates God's law, and one courts hellfire, if one works on the Sabbath day. Anyway, Jesus is either the Messiah or else He isn't, and if you get off on the wrong foot in your decision on this issue, well, you'll be lost and confused, though you might insist you are not lost and confused.
So much of my work pertains to the Church of Rome, and to these two Cases which we have. Case 1 - everyone should convert to Rome, and everyone should obey Rome - obey all of her official doctrines - because Rome leads souls to heaven, because Rome is God's True Church, and you can not profit by rebelling against God's True Church. Case 2 - everyone should renounce the Roman Catholic Church, because Rome leads souls to perdition, because Rome is not God's True Church, because Rome has fallen away and is not the Church which Christ founded on a rock.
To say there is no True Church is to reject Christianity. To say there is no True Church is to become like Judas. Doesn't one becomes like Judas when one rejects the scriptures which tell us there is a True Church: John 14. 23-26, Matthew 16. 13-19, Jeremiah 31. 31-34, Ephesians 4. 4 etc? Again, Jeremiah 31. 31-34 tells us God will write His new covenant on the hearts of His people. The people who have this new covenant written on their hearts are the True Church. To reject Jeremiah 31. 31-34 is to reject Christ's words at the Last Supper, the words saying `this cup is My blood of the new covenant..' When a baptized Christian rejects Christ's words at the Last Supper he quite obviously becomes like Judas. So, to reject the doctrine that there is a True Church is to become like Judas. Some people will say they would rather follow after Judas than follow after Jesus. Others disagree. If one insists there is a True Church, then we just have to find the correct answers to some questions to find the road to heaven and to avoid taking one of the many roads to perdition! What's the name of the True Church? Is it the Church of Rome? Is it the Eastern Orthodox Church? If both of these churches lead souls to perdition, then, perhaps, some Protestant sect knows how to escape perdition. Perhaps there is a Protestant sect under the sign of the cross which knows how to lead people to heaven. Or perhaps every sect under the sign of the cross has fallen away, and is therefore not the Church which Christ founded on a rock, and therefore leads souls to perdition. In any event I think it's best to begin by studying Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy. First try to get to the truth about the two largest churches in Christendom. Is one of them God's True Church? It's difficult to argue that both of them could be the True Church. I mean suppose Rome is God's True Church. If so then it is evil to rebel against Rome, such as by rejecting the Dogma of Papal Infallibility, which includes a part which says that those who reject that Dogma are anathema - that is, damned, accursed. The Eastern Orthodox reject the Dogma of Papal Infallibility, as do the Protestants. So, if Rome is God's True Church, the intelligent course of action is to never rebel against Rome - never rebel against God's True Church. Just agree with her. Just agree that all those who reject the Dogma of Papal Infallibility are anathema. And then, of course, if Rome is not God's True Church, then you ought to reject the Church of Rome. It's best to first make sure you have sound judgments on Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy. If you get off on the wrong foot with these two churches you'll really be lost and confused.
2 Thess 1.8 tells of fire for those who do not know God and who do not obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Christians insist that the Second Person in a Divine Trinity, that God, was once crucified on earth, hence the Divine wrath against those people - non-Christians - who insist Jesus is a fraudulent god, a bogus deity. If Jesus is in fact God, the Second Person in a Divine Trinity, then you will displease Him if you say or imply that He is a fraudulent god, a bogus sort of god. You'll notice that 2 Thess 1. 8 would be terribly unfair if there was little or no evidence for Christianity. But very strong evidence for Christianity exists. Recall Daniel 9. 24-27, which more or less gives us a time table as to when the Messiah will be `cut off'. Then there's Isaiah 53, Zecharian 12. 10, Isaiah 9. 6 and all of the other prophecies written centuries before the New Testament was written, which tell of a suffering and Divine Messiah. Christians are often poor at explaining the evidence for Christianity. Many Christians seem to think that there is no evidence for Christianity, and that Christianity must be accepted without proof or evidence. We can debate the meaning of the word `faith' but the fact of the matter is there is immense evidence for Christianity. Chapter 3 of `Constitutional History of the Western World' explains this immense evidence for Christianity.
I don't know how often I'll visit this site. If you want to contact me perhaps to offer a comment - positive or negative - constructive or otherwise - please address these to me not to my relatives. I can't promise I'll respond to every comment - a SASE always helps. My address:
133 Crosstown Boulevard
Chaska, MN 55318
on Nov. 28, 2012 :
A huge document that I use as an encyclopedia rather than a cover to cover read. Word count is boosted by a large number of quotes but this works well as it builds confidence in me that I am getting not just Bill's opionion but that of many differnt and varied people.
4 stars for sheer volume and amount of useful info presented. 5 stars if there were internal hyperlinks to help navigate the near 1000 pages.
(review of free book)