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wormwood

appreciation attitude book conscientious-ness education fake "holy" days God insights Joan Winifred knowledge mind food spiritual food study things i learned True v. False Religion trust Truth Unity wisdom

definition/description read:

Various woody plants having an intensely bitter taste and a strong aromatic odor. Wormwood is used figuratively in the Bible to describe the bitter effects of immorality, enslavement, injustice, and apostasy. At Revelation 8:11, “wormwood” denotes a bitter and poisonous substance, also called absinthe.​—De 29:18; Pr 5:4; Jer 9:15; Am 5:7. (New World Translation Revised Edition 2013–Glossary)

Wormwood v. What the Bible Truly Teaches or “really says”…

Beliefs and Attitudes of Christendom:

God’s personal name is unimportant:  “The use of any proper name for the one and only God is entirely inappropriate for the universal faith of the Christian Church.”  (Preface to the Revised Standard Version)

What the Bible Says:

 Jesus prayed that God’s name be sanctified. Peter said: “Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” (Acts 2:21; Joel 2:32Matthew 6:9; Exodus 6:3Revelation 4:11; 15:3; 19:6)

Beliefs and Attitudes of Christendom:

God is a Trinity: “The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God.”  (The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912 edition)

What the Bible Truly Teaches:

The Bible says that Jehovah is greater than Jesus and is the God and head of Christ. (John 14:28; 20:17; 1 Corinthians 11:3The holy spirit is God’s active force. (Matthew 3:11Luke 1:41; Acts 2:4)

Beliefs and Attitudes of Christendom:

The human soul is immortal: When man dies his soul and body are disunited. His body . . .decays . . .The human soul, however, does not die.” (What Happens After Death, a Roman Catholic publication)

What the Bible Really Says:

Man is a soul. At death the soul ceases to think or feel and returns to the dust from which it was made.  (Genesis 2:7; 3:19;Psalm 146:3, 4Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20; 9:5, 10Ezekiel 18:4, 20)

Beliefs and Attitudes of Christendom:

The wicked are punished after death in hell: “According to traditional Christian belief, hell is a place of unending anguish and pain.” (The World Book Encyclopedia, edition 1987)

What the Bible Truly Teaches:

The wages of sin is death, not life in torment. (Romans 6:23The dead rest unconscious in

*hell (Hades, Sheol), awaiting a resurrection. (Psalm 89:48; John 5:28, 29; 11:24, 25Revelation 20:13, 14) (*hell is the common grave of mankind)

Beliefs and Attitudes of Christendom:

“The title Mediatrix [female mediator] is applied to Our Lady.” (New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967 edition)

What the Bible Says:

The only mediator between God and men is Jesus. (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 9:15Heb 12:24)

Beliefs and Attitudes of Christendom:

Infants should be baptized: “From the very beginning the Church has administered Sacrament of Baptism to infants. Baptism to infants: Not only was this practice considered lawful, but it was also taught to be absolutely necessary for salvation.”  (New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967 edition)

What the Bible Truly Teaches:

Baptism is for those who have been made disciples and taught to obey Jesus’ commandments. To qualify for baptism, a person must understand God’s Word and exercise faith. (Matthew 28:19, 20; Luke 3:21-23; Acts 8:35, 36)

Beliefs and Attitudes of Christendom:

Most churches are divided into a laity class and a clergy class, The clergy are usually given a salary in exchange for their ministry and are exalted over the laity by titles such as “Reverend,” “Father,” or “His Eminence.”

What the Bible says:

All first-century Christians were ministers and shared in preaching the good news. (Acts 2:17, 18Romans 10:10-13; 16:1) A Christian should “give free,” not for a salary. (Matthew 10:7, 8 ) Jesus strictly forbade the use of religious titles.(Matthew 6:2; 23:2-12;1 Peter 5:1-3)

Beliefs and Attitudes of Christendom:

Images, icons, and crosses are used in worship: “The images . . . of Christ, of the Virgin Mother of God, and of the other saints, are to be . . . kept in churches and due reverence and honor be paid to them.” (Declaration of the Council of Trent [1545-63])

What the Bible Truly Teaches:

Christians must flee from every sort of idolatry, including so-called relative worship. (Exodus 20:4, 51 Corinthians 10:141 John 5:21) They worship God not by sight but with spirit and truth. (John 4:23, 242 Corinthians 5:7)

Beliefs and Attitudes of Christendom:

Church members are taught that God’s purposes will be accomplished through politics. The late Cardinal Spellman stated: “There is only one road  . . . , the highroad of democracy. News items report religion’s involvement in the world’s politics (even in insurrections) and her support of the UN as “the last hope of concord and peace.”

What the Bible Says:

Jesus preached God’s Kingdom, not some political system, as the hope for mankind. (Matthew 4:23; 6:9, 10He refused to get involved in politics. (John 6:14 15) His Kingdom was no part of this world; hence, his followers were to be no part of the world. (John 18:36; 17:16) Jesus warned against friendship with the world. (James 4:4)

[reference reading excerpted: (from the aforementioned book in another post: T-h-e Red Book): Revelation–It’s Grand Climax at Hand!)

Question(s) for Reflection(s):
am i choosing bitter (wormwood)?
am i choosing sweet (Truth)?
am i distinguishing between bitter fruit? and sweet fruit?
am i living wormwood?
am i living Truth?
are my daily decisions indicative of my making clear distinctions between wormwood & Truth?
9/23/18 @ 12:27 p.m.
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bach & handel

appreciation attitude Breathing-Fragile-Life change choice comfort conscientious-ness contentment control courage faith forgiveness healing heart hope Hope humility insights Joan Winifred joy lamentations of the heart music never giving up! patience stress management transformation trust Truth Unity

Balking and handling…
(gently & patiently)

It’s Friday, what else am i gonna do?? Change my attitude?!(insert (or is lose)…snarky/sarcastic tone)

Another Day of the Week?…Nah, liv-ing Friday!

7/20/18 @ 3:12 p.m.

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An ice skater, eh??

Breathing-Fragile-Life insights Joan Winifred science & spirituality spiritual food things i learned trust Truth Unity

Sure, some subjects are more slippery than others, huh? Conversationally speaking, it takes ice skating skills (and mathematical precision) to glide with grace, twist and turn through taboo topics.

(Ice skating is a fun sport:)…i am looking forward to doing some later this month at a nearby rink. Yes, you can find ice (rink) in FL;))

what are you skating around joanie?…1 taboo topic (to some) creation v. evolution.

What about: any ice skating kidnappers??? Wow! For a little context check it out: have-you-been-robbed?

Isn’t there research out there somewhere about how kids need Fathers! Fathers Very Important Role played in their kids’ lives is so undermined these days it seems. (Kids need what both Moms & Pops bring to the Family table.)

The-Global-Family-of-Humanity-Needs-Unity. We need each Other–Men & Women. Unity is like a harmonious orchestra producing beautiful music. (Doesn’t a fully functioning orchestra need a Conductor??:)) Unity “bands” humans together cooperatively working for the greater good for fellow-fragile-life & Earth!

SAD! how some flawed human ideas separate us, alienate, and cause conflict, loss, etc:(

am wondering IF millions have been unwittingly/unknowingly kidnapped from their “Heavenly” Father?!

the New Catholic Encyclopedia says: “In 1950 the encyclical Humani generis [issued by Pope Pius XII] marked the starting point of a new development . . . evolution was expressly recognized as a valid hypothesis.” In line with this, A. Hulsbosch, a seminary teacher in Holland and a member of the Order of St. Augustine, has said: “We can no longer deny that, on the biological side, man originates in the animal kingdom.” And Peter Schoonenberg, S. J., a visiting professor at Duquesne University, a Catholic school, wrote: “When we now consider the genesis of the human species we meet with the lowest grade of parenthood, for the first men had no human but animal ‘parents.”

The Protestant churches are doing the same. In a letter dated “18 October, 1949,” the archbishop of Canterbury freely said: “The Christian Church as a whole has accepted the theory of evolution as scientifically established.” In the noted Protestant publication The Christian Century, Dr. Paul Holmer, professor of theology at Yale University divinity school, writes: “I confess to deep appreciation of the talents and labors that have made evolution a prevailing scientific conclusion in our time.

The Protestant Interpreter’s Bible bluntly stated their view in this way: “The reptile was content to stay in the swamp; man wanted to climb out of it. He had and still has primitive instincts against which he must struggle, for he began on the plane of the animal; but he has not been content to dwell there.”

Yes, man must crawl, climb out of the sinking swamp of scientific & spiritual lies…about God and man’s origins, etc.

 Karl Marx was so pleased with Darwin’s work on evolution that he wrote him a letter asking permission to dedicate the English edition of Das Kapital (called “the bible of the Communist movement”) to him. Openly a ninth-year school textbook published in the Soviet Union declares: “The study of the laws of evolution of the organic world assists in the working out of the materialistic conception . . . In addition, this teaching arms us for the antireligious struggle, by giving us the materialistic interpretation of the appearance of purpose in the organic world, and at the same time proving the origin of man from lower animals.” Additionally, an essay by evolutionist Julian S. Huxley on “Darwin and the Idea of Evolution” states: “To begin with, if evolution is accepted as a fact, much of the theological framework of the world’s major religions is destroyed, or is conveniently . . . represented as significant myth.” Yet, the clergy are out front in proclaiming that evolution is a fact and that the Bible accounts are merely myth. [excerpted readings: Evolution undermines Faith w 71]

Darwinian Disagreements…

When a special centennial edition of Darwin’s Origin of Species was to be published, W. R. Thompson, then director of the Commonwealth Institute of Biological Control, in Ottawa, Canada, was invited to write its introduction. In it he said: “As we know, there is a great divergence of opinion among biologists, not only about the causes of evolution but even about the actual process. This divergence exists because the evidence is unsatisfactory and does not permit any certain conclusion. It is therefore right and proper to draw the attention of the non-scientific public to the disagreements about evolution. 

Have i been programmed? or kidnapped? worse?

For the public record…i strongly disagree with Darwin & Marx & FAKE religion! People have been programmed to accept evolution as fact. Indoctrination/brain kidnapping of the young starts young…in the schools:(  (i’ve learned about this from my own educational experiences as well as that of my children in public school systems. Indoctrination (and sex ed) by government starts way before college-age and has for years.)

Carefully consider…”those in authority compel belief“…(not just speech)…(my italics)…

In the magazine American Laboratory a biochemist wrote this about his children’s schooling: “The child is not presented with evolution as a theory. Subtle statements are made in science texts as early as the second grade (based on my reading of my children’s textbooks). Evolution is presented as reality, not as a concept that can be questioned. The authority of the educational system then compels belief.” Regarding evolutionary teaching in higher grades, he said: “A student is not permitted to hold personal beliefs or to state them: if the student does so, he or she is subjected to ridicule and criticism by the instructor. Often the student risks academic loss because his or her views are not ‘correct’ and the grade is lowered.”⁠1

Evolutionary views permeate not only the schools but all areas of science and other fields such as history and philosophy. Books, magazine articles, motion pictures and television programs treat it as an established fact. Often we hear or read phrases such as, ‘When man evolved from the lower animals,’ or, ‘Millions of years ago, when life evolved in the oceans.’ Thus, people are conditioned to accept evolution as a fact, and contrary evidence passes unnoticed.

Yep, i’ve been known to buck (misinformed/misplaced/misused) authority…(like my whole life)…

When leading educators and scientists assert that evolution is a fact, and imply that only the ignorant refuse to believe it, how many laymen are going to contradict them? This weight of authority that is brought to bear on evolution’s behalf is a major reason for its acceptance by large numbers of people.

My training…cannot help being a duster and a sweeper…let’s sweep away some of the dust & dirt & filth & grime and see clearly shall we:)

An example typical of views that often intimidate laymen is this assertion by Richard Dawkins: “Darwin’s theory is now supported by all the available relevant evidence, and its truth is not doubted by any serious modern biologist.”⁠But is this actually the case? Not at all. A little research will reveal that many scientists, including ‘serious modern biologists,’ not only doubt evolution but do not believe it.⁠They believe that the evidence for creation is far, far stronger. Thus, sweeping statements like that of Dawkins are in error. But they are typical of attempts to bury opposition by means of such language. Noting this, an observer wrote in New Scientist: “Does Richard Dawkins have so little faith in the evidence for evolution that he has to make sweeping generalisations in order to dismiss opponents to his beliefs?”⁠4

In similar fashion the book A View of Life, by evolutionists Luria, Gould and Singer, states that “evolution is a fact,” and asserts: “We might as well doubt that the earth revolves about the sun, or that hydrogen and oxygen make water.”⁠It also declares that evolution is as much a fact as the existence of gravity. But it can be proved experimentally that the earth revolves around the sun, that hydrogen and oxygen make water, and that gravity exists. Evolution cannot be proved experimentally. Indeed, these same evolutionists admit that “debate rages about theories of evolution.”⁠But do debates still rage about the earth revolving around the sun, about hydrogen and oxygen making water, and about the existence of gravity? No. How reasonable is it, then, to say that evolution is as much a fact as these things are?

In a foreword to John Reader’s book Missing Links, David Pilbeam shows that scientists do not always base their conclusions on facts. One reason, says Pilbeam, is that scientists “are also people and because much is at stake, for there are glittering prizes in the form of fame and publicity.” The book acknowledges that evolution is “a science powered by individual ambitions and so susceptible to preconceived beliefs.” As an example it notes: “When preconception is . . . so enthusiastically welcomed and so long accommodated as in the case of Piltdown Man, science reveals a disturbing predisposition towards belief before investigation.” The author adds: “Modern [evolutionists] are no less likely to cling to erroneous data that supports their preconceptions than were earlier investigators . . . [who] dismissed objective assessment in favour of the notions they wanted to believe.”⁠So, because of having committed themselves to evolution, and a desire to further their careers, some scientists will not admit the possibility of error. Instead, they work to justify preconceived ideas rather than acknowledge possibly damaging facts.

Similarly, a professor of anthropology, Anthony Ostric, criticized his scientific colleagues for declaring “as a fact” that man descended from apelike creatures. He said that “at best it is only a hypothesis and not a well-supported one at that.” He noted that “there is no evidence that man has not remained essentially the same since the first evidence of his appearance.” The anthropologist said that the vast body of professionals have fallen in behind those who promote evolution “for fear of not being declared serious scholars or of being rejected from serious academic circles.”⁠10 In this regard, Hoyle and Wickramasing he also comment: “You either believe the concepts or you will inevitably be branded as a heretic.”⁠11 One result of this has been an unwillingness by many scientists to investigate the creation viewpoint without prejudice. As a letter to the editor of Hospital Practice observed: “Science has always prided itself upon its objectivity, but I’m afraid that we scientists are rapidly becoming victims of the prejudiced, closed-minded thinking that we have so long abhorred.”⁠12

“am i willing to investigate the creation viewpoint without prejudice?” Please Reader:) do YOUR OWN INVESTIGATIVE RESEARCH…(and on any topic of interest to You personally)…don’t blindly believe anything!

OH! Beware! FAKE religion is at it again…misusing, misinforming, abusing authority…oh no?! Oh Yes– murdering the masses, and to those left alive…dictating dogma (and empowering other dictators who do dastardly deeds). [BTW: These are older excerpted readings in this post…reference below…check it out IF YOU choose…footnotes found in book.]

An additional reason for evolution’s acceptance is the failure of conventional religion in both what it teaches and what it does, as well as its failure to represent properly the Bible’s creation account. Informed persons are well aware of the religious record of hypocrisy, oppression and inquisitions. They have observed clergy support for murderous dictators. They know that people of the same religion have killed one another by the millions in war, with the clergy backing each side. So they find no reason for considering the God whom those religions are supposed to represent. Too, absurd and unbiblical doctrines further this alienation. Such ideas as eternal torment​—that God will roast people in a literal hellfire forever—​are repugnant to reasoning persons.

Further readings for Your Reasonable:) Consideration Reader…

12 However, not only are reasoning persons repelled by such religious teachings and actions, but the evidence in the Bible is that God also is repelled. Indeed, the Bible frankly exposes the hypocrisy of certain religious leaders. For example, it says of them: “You also, outwardly indeed, appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:28) Jesus told the common people that their clergy were “blind guides” who taught, not what comes from God, but contrary “commands of men as doctrines.” (Matthew 15:9, 14) Similarly, the Bible condemns religionists who “publicly declare they know God, but [who] disown him by their works.” (Titus 1:16) So, despite their claims, religions that have promoted or condoned hypocrisy and bloodshed do not originate with God, nor do they represent him. Instead, they are called “false prophets,” and are compared to trees that produce “worthless fruit.”​—Matthew 7:15-20; John 8:44; 13:35; 1 John 3:10-12.

13 Also, many religions have capitulated on the matter of evolution, thus providing no alternative for their people. For example, the New Catholic Encyclopedia states: “General evolution, even of the body of man, seems the most probable scientific account of origins.”⁠13 At a Vatican meeting, 12 scholars representing the highest scientific body of the Catholic Church agreed to this conclusion: “We are convinced that masses of evidence render the application of the concept of evolution to man and other primates beyond serious dispute.”⁠14 With such religious endorsement, are uninformed church members likely to resist even when, in reality, “masses of evidence” do not support evolution, but, instead, actually support creation?

14. How is the vacuum caused by false religion often filled?

14 The vacuum that this causes is often filled by agnosticism and atheism. Abandoning belief in God, people accept evolution as the alternative. Today, in a number of lands, atheism based on evolution is even the official state policy. Responsibility for much of this disbelief can be laid at the feet of this world’s religions.

15. What other erroneous religious ideas discourage belief in God and the Bible?

15 Too, some religious doctrines cause people to believe that the Bible teaches things contrary to scientific fact, so they reject the God of the Bible. For example, […], some erroneously claim the Bible teaches that the earth was created in six literal 24-hour days, and that it is only 6,000 years old. But the Bible does not teach these things. [ link: ce chap. 15 pp. 179-187

Further reading/digging for Yourself:)…table of contents: ce p. 5]

Are YOU in CONTROL?

(6/6/18 @ 5:44 p.m. Florida, USA)

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Beware: Big-Bad Wolf!

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Christendom’s Clergy (including the Puppet/Pope) sing such a silly song…(of denial of ACCOUNTABILITY)!! They have utterly failed to teach the TRUTH. People are suffering as a result of eating lies. The spiritually (aka ethically/morally) confused/bankrupt/impoverished state of so-called Christian societies…is Christendom’s  leaders’ and (duped by their duplicity) followers’ rotten fruit —millions massacred:( and millions(?) molested!!

🙁 — of their no labors.

For centuries the clergy of Christendom had failed to impart the knowledge of Jehovah, replacing it with man-made traditions and unscriptural doctrines. [excerpted: Righteousness Sprouts in Zion, Isaiah’s Prophecy II; Chp 22, pp 321-334]

Come on People, Don’t Forget now…a history reminder needed?

 Guenter Lewy writes: “Had German Catholicism from the start adhered to a policy of resolute opposition to the Nazi regime, world history might well have taken a different course. Even if this struggle had ultimately failed to defeat Hitler and prevent all of his many crimes, it would in this view have raised the moral prestige of the Church immeasurably. The human cost of such resistance would undeniably have been great, but these sacrifices would have been made for the greatest of all causes. With the home front unreliable, Hitler might not have dared going to war and literally millions of lives would have been saved…When thousands of German anti-Nazis were tortured to death in Hitler’s concentration camps, when the Polish intelligentsia was slaughtered, when hundreds of thousands of Russians died as a result of being treated as Slavic Untermenschen [subhumans], and when 6,000,000 human beings were murdered for being ‘non-Aryan,’ Catholic Church officials in Germany bolstered the regime perpetrating these crimes. The Pope in Rome, the spiritual head and supreme moral teacher of the Roman Catholic Church, remained silent.” ~ The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany pages 320, 341.

How(?) Pi(o)us!

“Pope Pius XI remarked to the German envoys how pleased he was that “the German Government now had at its head a man uncompromisingly opposed to Communism,” and on July 20, 1933, at an elaborate ceremony in the Vatican, Cardinal Pacelli (who was soon to become Pope Pius XII) signed the concordat.”

One historian writes: “The Concordat [with the Vatican] was a great victory for Hitler. It gave him the first moral support he had received from the outer world, and this from the most exalted source.” During the celebrations at the Vatican, Pacelli conferred on von Papen the high papal decoration of the Grand Cross of the Order of Pius. Winston Churchill, in his book The Gathering Storm,published in 1948, tells how von Papen further used “his reputation as a good Catholic” to gain church support for the Nazi takeover of Austria. In 1938, in honor of Hitler’s birthday, Cardinal Innitzer ordered that all Austrian churches fly the swastika flag, ring their bells, and pray for the Nazi dictator.”

I WILL NEVER SUPPORT (A) RELIGION(S) THAT HELPED (PUT) HITLER (IN POWER) (period)!!! 

One who was “a master of crowd psychology as well as a brilliant orator” was Adolf Hitler. Like many demagogues of the past, says Dick Geary in Hitler and Nazism, Hitler believed that ‘the masses were swayed not by their brains but by their emotions.’ He played on this human weakness by cleverly exploiting the age-old technique of directing people’s hatred against a common enemy—as when he “turned the fears and resentments of Germans against the Jews,” says Purcell. Hitler vilified the Jews, saying, ‘The Jew is the corrupter of the German nation.’

What is horrifying about this whole era is that millions of seemingly decent people were easily incited to mass murder. “How could the people of a supposedly civilised country not simply tolerate but become implicated in the horrific barbarism of the Nazi state?” asks Geary. And it was not just a “civilised” country but also supposedly a Christian country! They were drawn into this because they preferred the philosophies and schemes of men to the teachings of Jesus Christ. And how many sincere, idealistic men and women have been led into horrific atrocities since then!

“What experience and history teach is this,” says German philosopher Georg Hegel, “that nations and governments have never learned anything from history or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it.” [excerpted article: The Nations are Still Not Learning]

Further Readings:

Veterans, Suicide, War and Peace

Compassion Conversation 3

Can i detect/see/understand the abusive-emotional-control (churches/religions have/hold sway on/over people) emerge/correlate (at times)…i.e., birth, baptism, marriage, divorce, death…holiday(s)…pocketbook…future: hellfire or heaven??!

I am NOT going to let the Big Bad Wolf huff and puff and blow down my house/my spirituality…cause it’s made of brick beliefs (foundation Biblical Truth)!!🙂 

 […] Two vicious world wars have been fought involving so-called Christian nations. Down to the present, Christendom’s form of religion has proved powerless to stop ethnic cleansing and intertribal slaughter among her own members. (2 Timothy 3:5) Although Jesus taught his followers to trust in God’s Kingdom, the nations of Christendom continue to rely for security on military arsenals and political alliances. (Matthew 6:10) Indeed, most of the world’s major arms producers are found in the nations of Christendom! Yes, when Christendom trusts in human efforts and institutions for a secure future, she too is trusting in “unreality.” [excerpted: Isaiah’s Prophecy II p 302]

Yanking weeds? Yep!…for healthy spiritual garden growth…a necessary!:)  Check out these eye-opening excerpts from article:  Is Religion at the Root of Mankind’s Problems? W 04

According to the Bible, there is a very simple answer. Posing as “an angel of light,” Satan the Devil has misled millions into following his teachings rather than God’s. (2 Corinthians 11:14) The apostle John showed that Satan’s influence is so extensive that “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) John knew that Satan was “misleading the entire inhabited earth.”​—Revelation 12:9.

What have been the consequences of this? Satan has promoted religious systems that on the surface appear to be holy. They have “a façade of ‘religion,’” but their true condition is exposed by the evil fruitage they produce. (2 Timothy 3:5J. B. Phillips; Matthew 7:15-20) Instead of helping to solve mankind’s problems, religion actually becomes part of the problem.

Do not quickly dismiss that idea as being farfetched or unreasonable. Remember, the very nature of deception is that the one being deceived is unaware of it. The apostle Paul gave an example of this when he wrote: “The things which the nations sacrifice they sacrifice to demons, and not to God.” (1 Corinthians 10:20) Those people would likely have been shocked to think that they were worshiping demons. They thought that they were worshiping a good god, or gods, of some kind. Yet, in reality they had been deceived by “wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places,” who support Satan in his efforts to mislead mankind.​—Ephesians 6:12.

“What I teach,” said Jesus Christ, “is not mine, but belongs to him that sent me.” (John 7:16) Yes, what he taught was from Almighty God. So Jesus’ teachings had a powerful, uplifting effect on those who listened to him. They did not ‘numb the human conscience or fill the human brain with escapist fantasies.’ On the contrary, Jesus’ teachings set people free from religious error and human philosophies produced by a world that was “in darkness mentally” because of the Devil’s deception.​—Ephesians 4:18; Matthew 15:14; John 8:31, 32.

True Christians were identified, not by a mere profession of piety, but by a faith that reflected the beautiful qualities produced by God’s holy spirit. (Galatians 5:22, 23; James 1:22; 2:26) Outstanding among these qualities​—and the identifying mark of genuine Christianity—​is the sublime quality of love.​—John 13:34, 35.

Note this crucial point, however: Neither Jesus nor his apostles expected the Christian congregation to continue in the form in which it was originally established. They knew that apostasy would develop and that the true religion would be overshadowed for a time.

True Religion Hidden for a Time

In an illustration about wheat and weeds, Jesus foretold that true religion would be virtually obscured for a time. Read the account for yourself at Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. Jesus sowed a field with wheat, “the fine seed,” which pictured his faithful disciples who would make up the original Christian congregation. He warned that “an enemy,” Satan the Devil, would in time oversow the wheat field with “weeds”​—people who professed to follow Jesus Christ but who in fact rejected his teachings.

Very soon after the death of Jesus’ apostles, individuals appeared who proved to be “weeds,” favoring twisted human teachings over “the very word of Jehovah.” (Jeremiah 8:8, 9; Acts 20:29, 30) As a consequence, a perverted, counterfeit Christianity appeared on the world stage. It was dominated by what the Bible calls “the lawless one”​—a corrupt clergy class that was itself steeped in “every unrighteous deception.” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-10) Jesus foretold that this situation would change “in the conclusion of the system of things.” The wheatlike Christians would be collected together in unity and “the weeds” would eventually be destroyed.

It is this counterfeit Christianity that bears responsibility for the “centuries of unredeemed barbarism” and spiritual darkness that enveloped Christendom in the centuries that followed. Foreseeing this and all the other depraved and violent acts done since then in the name of religion, the apostle Peter rightly predicted that “on account of these [professed Christians] the way of the truth [would] be spoken of abusively.”​—2 Peter 2:1, 2.

“A Theology of Rage and Hatred”

It certainly is not just Christendom that has given religion a poor reputation. Think of the fundamentalist versions of “militant piety,” for example, that former nun Karen Armstrong says have been spawned by “every major religious tradition.” According to Armstrong, one crucial test of any religion is that it should lead to “practical compassion.” What has been the record of fundamentalist religions in this regard? “Fundamentalist faith,” she writes, “be it Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, fails this crucial test if it becomes a theology of rage and hatred.” (The Battle for God​—Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam) But is it only the “fundamentalist” brand of religion that has failed this test and become “a theology of rage and hatred”? History shows otherwise.

Satan has, in fact, built up a world empire of false religion, identified by rage, hatred, and almost endless bloodshed. The Bible calls this empire “Babylon the Great, the mother . . . of the disgusting things of the earth,” and it is pictured as a prostitute who rides on the back of a beastlike political system. It is noteworthy that she is held accountable for “the blood . . . of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth.”​—Revelation 17:4-6; 18:24.

Not Everyone Has Been Deceived

History proves, however, that not everyone has been deceived. Even in the darkest of times, notes Melvyn Bragg, “many fine souls did good when most around them were evil.” Genuine Christians continued to “worship [God] with spirit and truth.” (John 4:21-24) They stood apart from a worldwide religious system that had prostituted itself as “a reinforcer of military power.” They refused to be drawn into a working relationship of Church and State that history reveals as “more a pact made by Satan than any Jesus of Nazareth.”​—Two Thousand Years—​The Second Millennium: From Medieval Christendom to Global Christianity.

In more recent times, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been noted for their influence for good. To keep free from any taint of false religion, they have based their beliefs and actions solely on God’s inspired Word, the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) And like first-century Christians, they have followed Jesus’ command to be “no part of the world.” (John 15:17-19;17:14-16) In Nazi Germany, for example, they refused to compromise Christian principles and therefore were not acceptable according to Nazi ideology. Hitler hated them for it. Says one school textbook: “Jehovah’s Witnesses . . . followed the teaching of the Bible not to take up weapons in any cause. So they refused to serve in the army or to have anything to do with the Nazis. In retaliation, the SS imprisoned whole families of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” (Germany​—1918-⁠45) Indeed, hundreds of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany died as a result of the Nazi persecution.

Of course, other courageous individuals of various religions suffered for their beliefs. But Jehovah’s Witnesses did this as a united religious body. By far the majority held firm to the fundamental Scriptural principle: “Obey God as ruler rather than men.”​—Acts 5:29; Mark 12:17.

The Root of the Problem

So it is only partly true that religion lies at the root of all of mankind’s problems. False religion does. Yet, God intends to remove all false religion very soon now. (Revelation 17:16, 17; 18:21) His command to anyone who loves justice and righteousness is: “Get out of her [that is, Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion], my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues. For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind.” (Revelation 18:4, 5) Yes, God himself is deeply offended by religion that ‘encourages strife, numbs the human conscience, fills the brain with escapist fantasies, and causes people to be narrow-minded, superstitious, and full of hatred and fear’!

Genuine? or counterfeit?…(that is the question!)

Building spirituality with Bricks? or sticks?

(A time to) draw(ing) straws? Conditional Probability?

4/22/18 @ 9:02 p.m.

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