You say it sort of like how u say Billy Tem, but not quite. Had lots of jobs. Once taught mathematics and coached a little football at Notre Dame - the high school in Los Angeles not the University in South Bend, IN. B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota, now living in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area. Lived in Mexico for 20 months, mostly in Oaxaca. Spent 4 months wandering round Europe after college. Lived in Los Angeles for a few years before running off to Mexico.
If you go to my Facebook wall, then click on photos, then click on the album showing the photo of Conan the Liberator with his beautiful concubines at his feet, then click on the photo of the two blonde girls kissing, you'll find my latest dissertation on the theme of St. Paul not allowing women to have authority over men....I know all that sounds sort of crazy....Let me give you the extended version of the pitch for my most important book, 'Constitutional History of the Western World'. I have to admit right up front there's a huge readability issue with large parts of it. So much of it pertains to evil and cruelty perpetrated by people under the sign of the cross, and most people don't want to read half a million words about evil and cruelty perpetrated for century after century by people under the sign of the cross. The Bible doesn't tell us the sign of the cross is sacred. The Bible never says or implies that God is a fan of the sign of the cross. The Bible never tells us that Christ or the apostles used the sign of the cross as a symbol. Jesus said that those who don't take up their cross and follow Him are not worthy of Him. The common sense interpretation of this is that one must be willing to suffer martyrdom via crucifixion and one must never renounce Christ or the True Faith. To say that it means that a material cross - a material representation of a pagan instrument of torture - is sacred to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is really quite problematical. Galatians 6. 14 and Philippians 3. 18 certainly indicate the cross of Christ is sacred, but perhaps the cross of Christ is something spiritual not something material. Christ's sacrifice on the cross is sacred, but if in fact material crosses and the sign of the cross are sacred to God, then how we can we know this? We're interested in what the True Church has to say, the Church which leads people to heaven, the Church which Christ founded on a rock, Matthew 16. 13-19. There are lots of issues besides the sign of the cross which pertain to salvation and damnation. You want to be a member of God's True Church, and you don't want to rebel against God's True Church, to attain heaven and escape perdition.
So often it helps to explain things by breaking matters down into two clear-cut options. The evils perpetrated over the centuries by people under the cross are either reflected in the cross or else they are not reflected in the cross. The cross either reflects some evil or else it reflects no evil. 2 options. Jesus is either God or else Jesus is not God. Psalm 2, Isaiah 9. 6, Matthew 1. 23 (Immanuel = God with us = Jesus), Colossians 2. 8-10, John 1. 1-14 and 1 Timothy 3. 16 tell those of us who are Christians that Jesus is the Divine Son - that He is God as surely as God the Father is God.
The Koran is either trustworthy or else it is untrustworthy. The Koran is repetitious in stating that all who reject Allah will burn in hell. If you will burn in hell if you continue to reject Allah, then you don't want to continue to reject Allah.
If the Koran is untrustworthy, if the Koran is fiction, if Islam and the Koran drag people down to perdition, if Islam is a big fraud, then every Muslim would be wise to immediately renounce Islam.
The Christian scriptures tell us there is a True Faith and a True Church. Those of us who are Christians have some choices to contemplate: the Roman Catholic Church either upholds the True Faith or else Rome does not uphold the True Faith. Rome is either God's True Church or else Rome is not God's True Church. If Rome is God's True Church, if the Roman Catholic Church leads people to heaven, then everyone on earth should obey Rome. It makes no sense to risk hell by rebelling against Rome if Rome is God's True Church.
If Rome isn't God's True Church, if Rome does not uphold the True Faith, if Rome leads people to perdition, then, obviously, no one should be a Roman Catholic.
These 2 options with Rome might seem rather mind-boggling and extreme, cataclysmic and shockingly contrary to the status quo, where, roughly estimated, a billion Cafeteria Catholics on earth have grown accustomed to neither obeying Rome nor renouncing Rome. Common sense tells us Rome is either good enough to qualify as God's True Church, or else Rome is not good enough to qualify as God's True Church. If Rome is the Church which Christ founded on a rock, then you can't lose, you will never be shipped off to hell, and your kids will never be shipped off to hell, if all of you always obey Rome. But, on the other hand, if Rome has fallen away from the True Faith, if Rome is not God's True Church, if Rome drags souls down to perdition...
Merely because one can find kind and generous Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, Eastern Orthodox believers etc., this doesn't prove their various doctrines are any good. Just because you can find 4 nice people, or 40 nice people, or 400 million nice people who support Religion X doesn't prove Religion X leads people to heaven.
Look at the account in Genesis of the Garden of Eden and the fall of Adam and Eve. We have to choose between two main options. The account is either trustworthy or else it is untrustworthy. Whether the account is literal history or whether it is a parable from God is somewhat irrelevant. It's central message is either trustworthy or it is untrustworthy -- it's central message is that a person will suffer anguish and lots of it if he rebels against God. So, if this message is trustworthy, and if Rome is God's True Church, then this is only more reason to never rebel against Rome. But if Rome leads people to perdition, if Rome has fallen away from the True Faith, if Rome is not the Church which Christ founded on a rock....
Romans 14. 12 tells us that everyone will eventually have to stand before the Creator of the Universe and give an account of himself / herself. John 14. 23-26 tells us that those who love Christ keep His words. Christ, in Revelation 2. 9, calls the Jews a synagogue of Satan. He didn't mean they prayed to the devil. He meant they are heretics, and heretics are people who, unwittingly, teach false doctrines which drag souls down to perdition. Though heretics don't mean to lead people away from heaven and to perdition, nevertheless, that's what they do. Protestantism has no reason to exist if either Rome or Eastern Orthodoxy is God's True Church, the Church Christ founded on a rock. But if neither Rome nor Eastern Orthodoxy uphold the True Faith, if neither is the Church Christ founded on a rock, if both drag souls down to perdition, then Protestantism has a reason to exist!
'Rock Island' and Chapter 1 of 'Constitutional History of the Western World' run through the arguments which say that every church under the sign of the cross including ever Protestant church under the sign of the cross leads people to perdition. There's a Case 1 and a Case 2 with the cross. The sign of the cross either reflects no evil, because God exists and God says the cross is sacred and Holy, or else the sign of the cross reflects some evil. If the sign of the cross reflects no evil, then perhaps it is the seal of God which saves one from torments when this seal is placed on one's forehead - see Revelation 9. But if the cross reflects evil, then perhaps it is the evil mark which leads one to burn in hell forever if it is found on one's forehead or right hand - see Revelation 14. 11. So much depends on just being right and not being wrong when one determines if the cross reflects no evil or if it reflects some evil. Sacrilege is a mortal sin which leads unrepentant offenders straight to perdition. Saying that things which God says are evil are holy and sacred, or saying that things which God says are sacred and holy are evil, are examples of sacrilege. If a church tells you that the cross reflects no evil, because it is sacred to God, but if God is actually of the opinion that the cross reflects evil, and, you know, if eternal hellfire will torment all those who put the mark of a cross on their foreheads or right hands, then, that church which advised you that the cross is sacred to God is obviously not God's True Church. Rather, it is some evil worthless fallen church which has been corrupted by satan. You see, God's True Church, the Church which Christ founded on a rock, does not lead people to hell: it does not give people the sort of advice which will cause them to be tortured forever in eternal hellfire, you see. But false fallen churches, worthless churches which are not God's True Church, worthless churches which drag souls down to perdition via their satanic incompetency are indeed worthless churches which drag souls down to perdition. God's True Church can certainly make mistakes, but the key attribute of God's True Church, the all-important distinguishing feature of the Bride of Christ, is that she always leads people to heaven, regardless of whatever mistakes she might make, and she never leads anyone to perdition.
As we've seen, Protestantism has no reason to exist if either the Roman Catholic Church or the Eastern Orthodox Church is God's True Church, the Church which Christ founded on a rock, Matthew 16. 13-19. But if both of these churches have fallen away from the True Faith, if neither one is God's True Church, if both lead people to perdition, then Protestantism has a chance of making sense. Protestants might be more receptive to my anti-crucifix logic than to my anti-cross logic - because the Protestants have a long tradition of rejecting the crucifix. As with the cross, 'Rock Island' and Chapter 1 of 'Constitutional History of the Western World' also deal with the crucifix. The Roman Catholic crucifix is an image of a Roman Catholic Jesus, that is, a Roman Catholic version of Jesus. But if the True God / True Jesus says Rome is a heretical church which drags souls down to perdition, then a Roman Catholic god, a Roman Catholic version of Jesus, who says Rome leads people to heaven is a false god, a false version of Jesus, and false gods are beastly because they pretend to lead souls to heaven but in actuality they drag souls down to perdition. If the True God / True Jesus says Rome is the True Church, then, of course, of course, it is a blasphemy to say the Roman Catholic crucifix is an image of a beastly false god - and it is blasphemy to speculate that it is the 'image the beast' mentioned in Revelation 13 and 14. But if the True God says Rome is a heretical church which has fallen away from the True Faith, if the True God / True Jesus say Rome is a fallen church which drags souls down perdition, then the True God would say the Roman Catholic crucifix, which is an image of a Roman Catholic God, an image of a Roman Catholic version of Jesus, is the image of a false god, the image of a false version of Jesus, and, again, false gods are beastly because they drag souls down to perdition, and so you have to make the connection between the 'image of the beast' and the Roman Catholic crucifix, and with the Eastern Orthodox crucifix for that matter, provided of course the Eastern Orthodox version of Jesus is a false and beastly version who drags souls down to perdition.
Rome and the Eastern Orthodox are ruled by their traditions, but then so are the Protestants. Many Muslims say it is a fine tradition to practice female circumcision / mutilation. St. Paul argued against circumcision, seeing it as one of those elements of the Mosaic Law which is not carried over into the New Law, rather as the blood sacrifice of animals for the atonement of sin, rather as the practice of shunning Gentiles while dining, rather as the execution of witches, homosexuals, rebellious children and Sabbath violators, are parts of the Law which Moses carried down from Sinai which are not carried over into the New Law. The Mosaic Law is an eternal law in the sense that it will be remembered for eternity, but parts of it are suspended, put into eternal abeyance, under the New Covenant. Ezekiel 20. 25 tells us that God gave the children of Israel bad laws because of their rebelliousness. A New Law is required to amend the flawed Old Law, the flawed Mosaic Covenant. As you might imagine, there's a lot of disagreement among Christians as to which Christian Church or Churches uphold the New Law well enough to qualify as being part of God's True Church. The Roman Catholics say that God says the Roman Catholic Church is God's True Church, the Eastern Orthodox say...
If neither the Roman Catholic Church nor the Eastern Orthodox Church is part of God's True Church, the Church which Christ founded on a rock - Matthew 16. 13-19 - if both Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy have fallen away from the True Faith / New Law, if both drag souls down to perdition, one would then naturally wonder about Protestantism. How well do the Protestants uphold the teachings of Christ and the apostles? Do they also drag souls down to perdition? The Protestant churches don't excommunicate Sabbath violators, don't excommunicate pro-choicers, don't excommunicate pro gay marriage people etc. Celebrating the Eucharist in an unworthy manner is a very serious sin - 1 Corinthians 11. 27. If a pastor gives the bread and the wine to someone he ought to know is unworthy to receive the Eucharist, then he celebrates the Eucharist in an unworthy manner.
2 Thess 2 deals with the man of sin, the son of perdition. Presumably this is none other than the Antichrist mentioned in 1 John 2. 18, who is probably the beast mentioned in Revelation 19. 19. 2 Thess 2 deals with a falling away, presumably a falling away from the True Faith, and with people suffering from a strong delusion. If a church - and a church is a group of people - is convinced that it leads people to heaven, then that church will be convinced that it has no reason to change. But, if in fact that church has fallen away from the True Faith, and therefore it leads people to perdition, not to heaven, then it has a reason to change! But, unfortunately, the people in this church are too deluded to see that their church leads people to perdition. Somehow, you got to get them out of their delusion.
I'm not dogmatically asserting there will never be mercy - never be admittance into the kingdom of heaven - given to anyone in an heretical church. And merely because there might be some exceptions to the general rule that heretical sects drag souls down to perdition doesn't mean the general rule is invalid.
Recall the economic collapse prophesied in Revelation 18. Recall also that Daniel 12. 1 prophesies a time of enormous unprecedented trouble on earth when the archangel Michael shows up to deliver the Jews. If Christianity is God's true religion - and those of us who are Christians say it is - then it stands to reason that Michael will deliver the Jews by converting the Jews to the true version of Christianity, not to some false fallen version of Christianity which leads people to perdition. Consider 5 cataclysmic events. There are the 3 proclamations of the 3 angels mentioned in Revelation 14. 6-11. There is the economic collapse prophesied in Revelation 18. And there is the deliverance of the Jews during a time of enormous unprecedented trouble on earth, prophesied in Daniel 12.1, when the archangel Michael shows up to deliver the Jews.
In `Amanda's War' one of the characters changes after a traumatic incident. The theme of people changing after trauma is a big theme in Robert Altman's `3 Women', a rather astonishing film. Readers are left to wonder if this character in 'Amanda's War' changes because of benevolent natural forces, or because of malevolent supernatural forces. The setting is the north shore of Lake Superior. 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, wonderfully lush and green, you get a view of thousands of square miles of Canada. It's a beautiful sight, one that would make any American wish that Ben Franklin, at the Treaty of Paris, demanded 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 suppose 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, and what sort of highlights she puts in her hair etc. I'd like to know how some people find the time to write, and do research, and also work full-time at a job, and find the time to have a family, and find time to stay in touch with old friends, and find time to make new friends. I got 45 hours tied up every week working and commuting. There's lots of history and theology to study. And I like to read advanced math and physics now and then. I like those scenes in 'My Night with Maud' where Jean-Louis Trintignant is captivated by math books. 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 and the Great Tribulation - Revelation 18 - I saw this movie called 'The Island of the Fishmen' where this doctor and some others are dying of thirst on a small boat at sea. Then they reach an island full of voodoo worshippers and mutant fishmen, people or creatures, who, I dare say, had yet to find the Church which Christ established on a rock. They meet a mad scientist played by Joseph Cotten - he was good in 'Niagara' and 'The Third Man.' Anyway, the doc is rescued. Some of the people the doc was with got slaughtered, but the doc hung in there and survived.
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. Evander Holyfield hung in there while Mike Tyson was chewing his ear off. Katniss Everdeen refused to quit when times got tough for her. Just look at all the tyranny, trauma, bloodshed, anguish, hell, hunger and heartache that hit her over the head in the 4 films in 'The Hunger Games' series! Despite losing her beloved pop who perished in a coal mine explosion, and a mom who checked-out and left her kids to starve, 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 sitting on the sofa while Snow announces on TV that the tributes for the Third Quarter Quell will be reaped from the existing pool of victors - meaning Katniss has to go into the arena of death yet again, into the arena where 24 people walk in but only 1 walks out! You wouldn't believe how much Christian symbolism there is in the 4 films and the 3 novels of the 'The Hunger Games' series. Like in 'Catching Fire' we have some words that get you thinking about Revelation 18 and the Great Tribulation. When Katniss and some other Tributes are fighting for their lives while figuring some things out on that island at the center of the big clock, Plutarch Heavensby / Philip Seymour Hoffman, pretending to be a loyal Snow minion says, 'Spin it. Let's see how well they tell time now.'
The Germans have produced in recent years some wonderful films dealing with conflict in the love lives of people living under totalitarian regimes - this is a huge theme in 'The Hunger Games' series. Look for instance at 'The Lives of Others' and 'Barbara'. The 4 films in 'The Hunger Games' series are great masterpieces of cinematic art. They're just not art house mode masterpieces.
I saw Claude Chabrol's 'The Bridesmaid' the other day - this nice young guy chases after a beautiful but super twisted girl. As you might have guessed, she drags him down to a bad end. That's also the theme of 'Tread Softly Stranger', an excellent British film from 1958. This one guy chases after a gorgeous young woman played by Diana Dors. Then he and another guy get busted for murder because of her. Talk about throwing your life away chasing after someone who will only drag you down.