Bill Etem - you say it almost like Billy Tem - but not quite. Ex-teacher, ex restaurant server, ex legal coder / data entry, ex lot of other stuff. B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota. I'm living in a suburb of Minneapolis - St. Paul. I lived in Mexico, in Oaxaca, for 18 months. That's in the tropics but at high altitude, so it's not too steamy. Spent 4 months traveling round Europe after college. Lived in Los Angeles for a few years.
I talk a little bit about my life in this bio section, but for the most part I use up every kilobyte they give you in writing a synopsis of my religious material. 'Rock Island' also known as 'The Rock Island Symposium: Topics in Deviltry: The Satanic Protestant Cults under the Sign of the Cross' is my most colorful religious book, yet it's also pretty thorough.
Try 'Warrior Girls,' 'Single Moms,' and 'Amanda's War' if you don't like my religious material, or try these novels even if you like my religious material for that matter.
My most recent book is 'The Girl on Fire: Katniss Everdeen and the Christian Symbolism in The Hunger Games.'
My main book is 'Constitutional History of the Western World.' It's thorough but not always super fun and colorful. I suppose it takes some energy to read all 2,700 pages of it. 'The Cult' and 'Protestantism' are abridgments of this main book, 'The Cult' being the more colorful of the two.
2 Thessalonians 2 deals with the Antichrist, strong delusion, and a falling away, presumably a falling away from the True Faith which precedes the Second Coming of Christ. Big problems, in terms of people falling away from the benevolent conduct of Christ and the apostles began under the sign of the cross in the 4th century, when the Roman Empire, now run by people under the sign of the cross, inflicted cruel and barbaric punishments. The laws of the Roman Empire remained ferocious, only it was not pagans after the 4th century but people under the sign of the cross who inflicted the ferocious laws on the Roman Empire. Cruel soldiers, murderous monks, conniving priests, bloodthirsty emperors, and vicious nobles were not excommunicated. The scriptures are quite clear: good Christians are not to hold communion with Christians who perpetrate evil. For century after century the benevolent people under the sign of the cross held communion with the evil people under the sign of the cross: evil nobles, evil kings, evil popes, evil hangmen, evil executioners, evil inquisitors, evil slave owners etc. Christians are not supposed to connive with evil. The question is: will even the kindly and altruistic yet conniving Christians go to perdition, because they fell away from the True Faith, because they held communion with evil people? Yes? No? Who knows? The New Testament is quite clear: good Christians must not hold communion with Christians who perpetrate evil. 2 Thess 1. 8 explains what happens to those who don't obey the True Faith. See also John 15. 6 and Luke 13. 3 on this theme.
Our options are pretty clear. The Church of Rome either leads people to heaven, because Rome has not fallen away from the True Faith, because Rome is God's True Church, the Church which Christ founded on a rock, recall Mathew 16. 13-19. Or else Rome leads people to perdition, because Rome has fallen away from the True Faith and Rome is simply not God's True Church. If the Church of Rome leads people away from heaven and straight to perdition, then, obviously, everyone should renounce the Church of Rome. On the other hand, if Rome leads people to heaven, because Rome is God's True Church, because Rome has not fallen away from the True Faith, then, obviously, everyone on earth should obey Rome, everyone should obey the Vatican. So we have these two extremes options: obey Rome or renounce Rome. Rome is either the Church which Christ founded on a rock, or it isn't. Rome has either fallen away, or else it hasn't fallen away from the True Faith.
Does Eastern Orthodoxy lead people to perdition? If either Rome or Eastern Orthodoxy is God's True Church, who needs Protestantism? But if both Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy have fallen away and lead people to perdition, then Protestantism has a chance of making sense.
What is the True Faith? Here's a chance for you to pretend you are Sherlock Holmes chasing down clues. Only a detective has to hunt for the killer among lots of nice people who are not murderers, whereas one has to hunt for the True Faith amid lots of evil killer false faiths that drag souls away from heaven and down to the abyss of perdition. Certainly Christianity teaches there is one True Faith. Christ said at the Last Supper: 'This cup is My blood of the new covenant...'. Turn to Jeremiah 31. 31-34 and Hebrews 8 for more info on this new covenant. The Gospel of Jesus Christ / the new law / the new covenant / the Divine Law - these are all different terms which describe the same thing: the True Faith.
I try to the paraphrase the New Testament's teaching on money matters in some if my books. The New Testament has lots of scriptures which damn the rich and those who don't share. Yet if you're always giving your money away to the poor, who will always be with us, you will soon be destitute yourself. And the New Testament never quite says that True Christians are destitute whereas heretics destined for hell have possessions. Acts 2. 44-5 and Acts 4. 32-4 tell us that long ago there was equal sharing of the wealth in the True Church. Nevertheless, it is easy to imagine how economic collapse might destroy a Christian socialistic economic system if some or many Christians didn't pull their weight, but instead forced other Christians to work themselves to death in trying to keep a Christian socialistic economy from collapsing. One is inclined to think the saints will be saintly and will try to help everyone during the great tribulation - see Revelation 18 for more info on this. I mean it stands to reason the saints will not be selfish, greedy, covetous etc. Everyone will eventually stand before God - Romans 14. 12 - and everyone will eventually have to give an accounting of himself / herself, and we were given two commandments by Christ: love God and love our neighbors.
Heaven is a positive experience in the afterlife. Perdition is a zero experience or a negative experience in the afterlife. A sect, any sect, either leads people to heaven or else it leads people to perdition. Those of us who are Christians are supposed to have the Divine Law mentioned in Jeremiah 31. 31-34 written on our hearts. We're suppose to know how to attain heaven and how to escape perdition. We're supposed to be in the True Church. We're supposed to know what the True Faith is, and we're not supposed to fall away from it. But admitting one is unsure is a lot better than teaching heresies which lead people to perdition! 2 Thess 2 mentions delusions. One is certainly deluded if one insists one is in God's True Church when one is actually in a false fallen church which leads people to perdition. One is certainly deluded if one insists the Divine Law mentioned in Jeremiah 31. 31-34 is written on one's heart, when it is not written there.
Ezekiel 36. 24-28, which is similar to Jeremiah 31. 31-34, tells us God will bring the Jews back to the Holy Land and then He will put His Spirit inside the Jews. Obviously, Christians believe this Spirit of God supports Christianity, not Islam, not Buddhism, not Hinduism, not Scientology, not Marxist-Leninism etc.
St. Paul tells men to pray with our heads uncovered, and he tells women to pray with their heads covered. Galatians 1. 8-12 tells us Paul learned his doctrines directly from Christ, and one is accursed if one corrupts those doctrines. There's nothing complicated here! We're supposed to obey Christ's and Paul's doctrines, and we're not supposed take a prideful attitude where one says something like: 'I am already saved. I'm born again. I'm saved by faith not by works. I am a saint destined for heaven. I am not a damned soul destined to be damned! Therefore, I don't need to obey any legalistic rules, because I'm already saved, I'm saved regardless if I pray with my head covered or with my head uncovered!' By that logic one could announce that one is a saint destined for heaven even if one violates Sabbath, even if one violates the Commandments against murder and theft and idolatry.
One will never understand the last 2,000 years of Western Civilization if one can't understand the most remedial teachings of Christianity, such as the teaching that there is a True Faith and a True Church. We have secularized parliaments, secularized presidents, secularized prime ministers, secularized congresses and secularized supreme courts etc., because the tyranny of the popes, kings and nobles under the sign of the cross was so cruel and barbarous, for century after century, that people were driven to rebellion. This rebellion makes no sense - it's insane - if the popes lead people to heaven, but the rebellion makes sense - it's not insane - if every authority under the sign of the cross leads people to perdition.
Matthew 25. 31-46, Matthew 19. 23-26, Luke 16. 19-31, Acts 2. 44-5 etc., pertain to money and sharing. Suppose the prophecies in Revelation 18 come to pass - economic collapse, famine etc., - one then asks oneself: have the Protestants under the sign of the cross fallen away from the True Faith on money issues, or have they not fallen away from the True Faith on money issues? If a Protestant sect leads people to heaven, because it obeys the Gospel / True Faith, then there is no reason for that Protestant sect to change. But if a Protestant sect leads people away from heaven and straight to perdition, because it has fallen away from the True Faith, such as in regards to money issues, then it has reason to change! Other problems which point to perdition: the Protestants don't excommunicate anyone. They don't excommunicate Sabbath violators, pro-choice people, pro-gay marriage people, they more or less give the Eucharist to anyone who asks to receive it, and 1 Corinthians 11. 27, and 2 Thess 1. 8, and John 15. 6, and Luke 13. 3 etc., etc., say what they say. Suppose a bishop decrees that two men playing grab-ass not only don't have to spend a night in the box, but they are not to be excomunicated, then you have to determine if this bishop upholds the New Law / True Faith or if he corrupts it. Evil Protestant traditions cause Protestants to fall away from the True Faith and therefore end up in perdition. Luther taught evil heresies, so did Calvin, so did John Wesley. It's simony to put a price tag on Bibles and on books which teach Christianity. The apostles didn't sell their epistles! Matthew, Mark, Luke and John didn't try to make a profit off their gospels. It's evil to pass round a collection plate in church. Recall Christ and the money changers in the Temple. The True Church has some standards. If the True Church falls away from the True Faith and ceases to be the True Church, then it delivers its members to perdition not to heaven. Excommunication means being given the silent treatment by the saints, and exclusion from the Eucharist, until the sinner repents. In theory if not always in practice, excommunication is an act of love not an act of spite or hypocrisy. If the sinner is never disciplined he might never repent. And everyone who refuses to repent will perish, that is, go to perdition. Perdition means punishment, and it also means being eternally banished from heaven - see Luke 13. 3, 2 Thess 1. 8, John 15. 6, Revelation 20. 15 etc. Any church which fails to excommunicate pro-choicers is a church which leads people to perdition, because it is delusional to think the pro-choice philosophy is not a heresy which leads to perdition, is not a falling away from the True Faith. 2 Thess 2 deals with delusions. One would have to be delusional to think the True Faith, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, supports the pro-choice philosophy. Wouldn't one have to be insane / delusional to think that gay sex within gay marriage is supported by the Faith taught by Christ and the apostles? Both the Episcopalian Church and the ELCA teach the doctrine that gay sex within gay marriage is OK with God. There are lots of ways Protestants and others fall away from the True Faith. It's OK to eat meat if the slaughtering is done in an humane way, but the way they often torture poor animals to death on these ghastly corporate farms where it's all about $$$ is really evil.
Everything depends, you know, in terms of attaining heaven and escaping perdition, on not falling away from the True Faith and being a member of God's True Church. Recall 2 Thessalonians 2 and the man of booksin / son of perdition - who is generally seen as the Antichrist mentioned in 1 John 2. 18, and also generally seen as the beast of Revelation 19. 19 - and recall the strong delusion, and the 'falling away' also mentioned in 2 Thess 2. In 2 Corinthians 11. 13-15 St. Paul tells us that Satan masquerades as an angel of light, and it is therefore no big surprise that his ministers masquerade as ministers of righteousness. So watch out for pharisees masquerading as Christians.
In `Amanda's War' a character changes after a traumatic incident. The theme of people changing after trauma is one of the themes of Robert Altman's `3 Women.' 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 natural forces or because of malevolent supernatural forces. The setting is the north shore of Lake Superior. The best part of Minnesota - well maybe not the 100% absolute guaranteed best part - is that path between Fitgers and Canal Park in Duluth, espessially on a hot summer day when the wind is blowing cold spray off of Superior. You can get a margarita in Canal Park and then watch one of those behemoth thousand foot ships pass through the piers - you get a maritime atmosphere here though you are in the Midwest - then u can jog up to Fitgers to get one of the beers they brew there, then u can jog over to the rose garden, then u can do some wind sprints back to Canal Park where more margaritas, along with steak tacos and guacamole, await...I once drove up to the Canadian line in late summer. Isle Royal was a big golden rock rising out of the blue inland sea. From atop Mt. Josephine, then wonderfully lush and green, u get a view of thousands of square miles of Canada. It's a beautiful sight indeed, one that would make any American wish that, at the Treaty of Paris, Ben Franklin had not capitulated but had instead insisted that the British fork over to the USA all of these beautiful and intoxicatingly fragrant pine forests that extend up to the arctic regions.
I know I ought to talk in this Personal Information, Bio Section about the jobs I've had, and whether or not I'm in a relationship, and what she's like. I know i ought to explain why I'm crazy mad in love with her, and explain what color her eyes are, and what sort of highlights she puts in her hair etc. I don't get how some people find the time to write and do research and also work at a job to pay the bills, and find the time to have a family, and find time to stay in touch with old friends, and always finding time to make new friends etc. I got 45 hours tied up every week working and commuting. Then i need to pump iron for at least 2 hours every day or else I feel weak and out of shape. And then i have to find the time to keep up with the news, and find the time to stay abreast of literature and film. Anyone who wants to write in a professional way about History has to read tons and tons of material. And one must read lots of theology to become an expert on theology. Every now and then i get inspired to read advanced math and physics. Math is the language of engineering, physics, finance etc., and you feel good when you finally understand something that had you mystified - u feel sort of like how a gladiator feels after he survives a tough opponent when you solve a tough math problem - well, sort of. Recall those scenes in 'My Night with Maud' where Jean-Louis Trintignant is captivated by math books, if you want a cinematic reference. And there's the great Spanish film, 'Death of a Cyclist', where that beautiful girl is working the math problem at the board, but then the professor with the guilty conscience is rude to her, and then later she helps him to do the right thing.
Regarding economic collapse and famine - Revelation 18 - I saw this movie called 'The Island of the Fishmen' where this doctor and some others are famished and dying of thirst on a small boat at sea. Then they reach an island full of voodoo worshippers and mutant fishmen, people who, I dare say, had certainly not found the True Faith and the True Church. They meet a mad scientist played by Joseph Cotten - he was great in 'Niagara' and 'The Third Man.' Anyway, the doc is rescued at the end of 'The Island of the Fishmen.' Things weren't looking so good for him when he was dying of hunger and thirst at the beginning of the movie. Of course some other people the doc was with got slaughtered by the mutant fishmen, but the doc didn't give up. He hung in there and was finally saved.
When times get tough but even when you got it soft you always have to count your blessings. Look how tough Paul Newman had it in 'Cool Hand Luke' - that's where the line 'two men playin grab-ass spend a night in the box' came from. Look how tough Alain Delon had it in 'M. Klein'. He plays a Gentile who the Nazis think is a Jew, and he ends up in a concentration camp. Charlton Heston didn't have it soft and easy when those talking apes captured him in 'Planet of the Apes,' or when he was kneeling on the beach and looking up at the ruin the Statue of Liberty had become. Look at what Katniss Everdeen, had to endure. Just look at all the tyranny, trauma, bloodshed, anguish, hunger and heartache that hit her over the head in the 4 films in 'The Hunger Games' series. Despite a tyrant and tributes and a hijacked boyfriend all trying to murder her, she hung in there and finally triumphed. Imagine how she felt in 'Catching Fire' - in that scene where she's on the sofa while Snow announces that the tributes for the Quarter Quell will be reaped from the existing pool of victors - meaning she has to go into the gladiatorial arena yet again, into the arena where 24 walk in but only one walks out! But she finally triumphed. She finally destroyed Snow's evil regime. Look at Lisa Kudrow and those other women in 'Clockwatchers' stuck in those boring jobs. But they hung in there and persevered. Look at Sylvester Stallone / John Rambo. He was feeling pretty down after he blew up that town. He was also bummed because even with all of his special training he couldn't keep a job at a carwash. But, like Evander Holyfield after Mike Tyson chewed his ear off, he hung in there and didn't quit. And then things got better for him. At least he got the chance to go to Afghanistan and play that game which is sort of like polo, only they play it with a dead goat not with a ball.
I saw Claude Chabrol's 'The Bridesmaid' the other day - French title of 'La demoiselle d'honneur.' The bridesmaid, the 'the girl of honor', is beautiful but super twisted. She is played by the daughter of the woman who played the prostitute in 'La Balance,' a very artistic French cop / gangster film from 1982. She, the bridesmaid not the prostitute, and this nice young man are crazy about each other - but it's a fatal attraction - so u know she'll drag him down to a bad end. On this theme I saw a really good British film from 1958 called 'Tread Softly Stranger.' Diana Dors plays a gorgeous femme fatale. This one guy is crazy about her but she doesn't care two cents about him. Then he and another guy get busted for murder because of her. Talk about throwing your life away by chasing after someone who will only drag you down!
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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)