On the death of Jan Crouch, Martin looks back…


Yes, it’s me. I did leave the show, but as I said at the time, I’m not cutting all ties.

From the earliest days of my involvement with AXP, I watched Trinity Broadcasting Network as often as I could, for the sheer bizarre spectacle of it. The shamelessness. The utter lack of taste in its Vegas-y approach to Christian worship, and the way in which it worked so well for the Crouches as a machine to print money. Even my memories of my own church-going days as an adolescent held nothing of this weird world of massive pink fright wigs and gaudy suits. I was struck by the pocket universe TBN created, in which it seemed you weren’t just merely watching a channel but being drawn into a world that you yourself could share in… if only you sow your seed of faith right now.

Right around the turn of the century, before blogs were really a thing, I started up one o’ them Geocities sites and wrote about six or seven snarky columns I called Martin’s TBN Watch. As they can be a bit of a pain to find after 15 years, I’ve decided to reprint one here for your amusement, to commemorate the passing of one of America’s great Christian grifters. Enjoy.


May 2001. Sometimes Trinity makes it so easy for me I almost feel guilty. Most of the time the network is just plain goofy, but every once in a while the crassness that is fundamentalist televangelism comes roaring to the front of the stage, basking in the glow of the studio spots with a big grin on its face, gleefully indifferent to just how offensive it is. I’m talking, of course, about TBN’s fundraising Praise-a-Thons.

In $$$ we trust

The Praise-a-Thons are a serious production for TBN, played out over a week in eight-hour blocks of broadcast time. Paul dusts off his glitteriest suits and lovable Jan fluffs up her biggest, pinkest wig, and it’s showtime, folks!

Now right away, TBN defenders (assuming there actually are any who read this column) will say, hey, what’s wrong with TBN’s trying to raise money through donations? After all, they aren’t commercial television; they don’t run ads for toothpaste and SUVs and diet soda for 15 minutes out of every hour. And let’s face it, if you want to talk crassness, let’s talk TV advertising, which knows no limits to how low it will stoop to sell the hard-working and cash-strapped people of this fine nation all sorts of trivial crap they don’t need. Come to think of it, even folks who aren’t TBN defenders might make this point. And they would be dead right on all counts.

What is so gauche (I love that word; I should use it more often on the air) about TBN’s Praise-a-Thons, of course, isn’t the simple fact they rely on viewer pledges to raise the staggering amounts of money they need to run all of their stations worldwide, reportedly 2,406 of them. Heck, PBS does that, and PBS plays Bill Nye the Science Guy, which means PBS Good. It’s the style, shall we say. It would be one thing to run a telethon every few months and have Paul Crouch come on the air and say, “Okay folks, these are our projected operating costs. If X number of regular viewers donate X dollars, we’ll reach them. So hit those phones!” Then have a bunch of gospel songs to entertain folks and make it fun, at least, by fundie standards. Now, in truth, Paul does in fact start the telethons this way, spelling out monthly satellite fees (a breathtaking $322,000) and what TBN’s needs are to expand service. But of course, this is TBN, and so the sales pitch doesn’t stop here. No, believers are told in no uncertain terms that pledging to TBN is nothing less than their Christian duty. They don’t need the money, Gawd needs the money, and Gawd is the one who needs you to call, right now, with your pledge! Never mind that Gawd is supposed to be, like, omnipotent and stuff, and if he needed a dozen more satellites to send Carman and Benny Hinn TV shows to Papua New Guinea, you’d think He could poof them into existence. No, this omnipotent Gawd needs you to send money to TBN, because omnipotence is nearly as expensive as running a network.

Crouch and Co. repeatedly drum upon this theme in their Praise-a-Thons. The money isn’t really going to them, it’s going to the Big G. So what you get–in addition to the songs, which there are a ton of, meaning I do a lot of flipping back and forth to Animal Planet and Discovery Science for cortical relief–is this plea for money that plays upon the same kinds of guilt, fear, and gullibility that Christianity uses to win new converts in the first place. The pledge drive that played in April featured a stellar cast of TBN superstars (he said, rolling his eyes) who seemed in a contest to outdo one another in employing all kinds of whacked out supernatural reasons, as opposed to simple prosaic financial ones, why viewers need to pledge.

Jan Crouch, who never ceases to astound me with her capacity to weep and sniffle on cue at the slightest provocation (you get the impression she’s so emotionally fragile that any real life tragedy more severe than a broken nail would have her physically incapacitated with grief), made a point of quoting from Psalms 20: “The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion; Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice.” So God will happily help you out in hard times, you see, if you’ve paid in advance. If TBNers are self-absorbed enough to think this is a sign from scripture that people need to flood them with checks, they’re being awfully creative in their interpretations, as it is clearly a Psalm written to celebrate a brutal military victory over God’s enemies, the sort of event over which Old Testament scribes drooled and which is made clear in the last part of the Psalm, verses 7-8, that Jan didn’t read from: “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.”

Telethon image

“…He’ll kill you graveyard dead!”

Some of the rhetoric was outright dazzling in its naked sleaze. “If something in you resists giving,” John Hagee, the scowling, Goering-esque San Antonio minister told the crowd, “that something is not of God.” Hagee then went on to compare TBN viewers who don’t send the network money to shoplifters, and wrapped up his spiel by announcing that pledging to TBN could directly hasten the Second Coming! So, simply put, if you aren’t donating to TBN, you just aren’t a real Christian. Those dusty old Nicene and Athenasian Creeds might say that all you need to be a Christian is to believe in God, Jesus, the Resurrection, and the any-millennium-now Second Coming, but darned if they didn’t leave out the part about pledging to TBN! Looks like millions of theologians are going to have to rethink their interpretations. As for the claim regarding Jesus’ return, well, my goodness me. Christianity has always been a religion that allows its adherents to engage in towering levels of self-aggrandizement, but TBN’s message that the only thing standing between the human race and eternal glory is its bank balance is enough to send even the most callous Gordon Gekkos of the world reeling in awe.

R.W. Schambach, from Tyler, TX, and one of TBN’s regular fixtures behind the electronic pulpit, went for the more direct approach and simply equated money with faith. Now viewers were being called upon to make a “faith” pledge, not a monetary one, and he encouraged viewers to ask God to “stretch their faith,” which means, of course, write a larger check. It sounds so much more tasteful to tell people they’re stretching their faith instead of spending their money. Schambach is the author of a book TBN is hawking called You Can’t Beat God Givin’, which also hammers on the theme that miracles must be paid for in advance. According to TBN’s hilariously breathless promotional text, the book relates “one of the greatest examples of God’s healing power…the story of a young child who was instantly healed of 26 diseases in Birmingham, Alabama at an A.A. Allen meeting. The mother had placed her last $20.00 in the offering that evening as an act of desperate FAITH! Brother Schambach has thrilled us on TV with his eyewitness account of this amazing miracle.”

I’m no doctor, Jim, but it seems to me as if anyone suffering from 26 simultaneous diseases was already in his coffin by the time the fifth one hit. Where the hell was this kid living? In a nuclear reactor core, eating mad cow burgers during the week an Ebola outbreak swept through town, killing his AIDS-infected pet monkey? Cripes. Just how stupid and gullible do you have to be to believe absurd tales like this? Enough to be a TBN partner, I suppose. And notice the incredibly cold-blooded message that even the poorest and most desperate people have a duty to give the very last penny they have to the church. You’ll hear testimonials like these given by Crouch and Co. all the time, stories about wonderful rewards that were heaped upon those who gave the very last dollar they had, which, I suppose, pushes God’s sympathy buttons and gives that person preferential miracle treatment over someone who gives almost everything but holds onto a buck or two for gas money. Truly, truly astonishing. When I pronounce Brother Schambach’s name in future, I think I’d better put the emphasis on the “Scham.”

As April’s Praise-a-Thon wound its way to a close, excitement in the TBN studio reached such a fever pitch that the spectacle was truly Barnum-esque. One oddly dressed (Mark Chironna in a canary yellow suit, for instance) evangelist after another grabbed a mike and launched into an award-worthy performance. A few of them would get so hopped up they didn’t care what they said, as in the case of one African-American minister whose name I didn’t catch, but who cut right to the chase and told us that anyone who didn’t get in on this great deal and help TBN out could expect to be killed. “Don’t stand in the way of the Holy Spirit,” he actually said, “’cause He’ll kill you graveyard dead!” Yowza. Later on, Paul Crouch demonstrated how far fundies are willing to go to spin scripture to further whatever particular agenda–in this case, raising money for satellite broadcasting–they are pursuing, by quoting from Revelation 14:6-7: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Paul has decided to interpret the “angels flying in the midst of heaven” as the actual satellites that are beaming TBN’s shows to “every nation, kindred, and tongue”! Angels are really telecommunications satellites! How about that? I wonder what Paul would say if he knew that the telecommunications satellite was a concept first imagined by science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, a confirmed atheist? Probably some smug drivel about God using the Debbil to do His work. Anyway, when you get the time, read the rest of that chapter of Revelation, and see if Paul’s interpretation makes the least bit of sense in the chapter’s overall grisly and apocalyptic context. Perhaps Paul is just counting on the rest of it to scare people into sending in their pledges.

Rarely will you get a look into the colossally bizarre fantasy world that is Christian fundamentalism than the kind of look you get during one of these Praise-a-Thons. And never will you get as clear a window into the reality that religion is nothing more or less than Big Business, with holy writings that are supposed to be inerrant and literally true (to the fundie mindset) freely distorted to aid the corporation’s bottom line. In keeping with the monetary motif, TBN’s pledge drives give a lot of weight to Voltaire’s famous quote, that while God may have made man in His image, man has surely paid Him back in His own coin.

Comments

  1. Mobius says

    Martin…

    I missed your earlier post where you announced you are leaving AXP. Sorry to see you go as I have enjoyed your hosting (along with all the other AXP hosts). But we all find times that we need to move on. Good Luck. Perhaps you may be back as an occasional guest host?

  2. honeybee says

    Is there no law against this con artistry ? Or are religions allowed to do anything in the US ?

  3. says

    Indeed, there are laws against so many things these megachurches pull, not the least of which is tax fraud. Churches are tax-exempt here in most areas, but things like payroll taxes still apply, and if, say, money intended for the ministry is being funneled into the preacher’s pockets, that’s an epic no-no. Part of what Brittany Koper, the former TBN CFO (and now-ostracized granddaughter of Paul and Jan), blew the whistle on in 2012 was the way in which the network was brazenly flouting laws requiring how income was reported and so forth. And yet…and yet…the power of highly-paid attorneys is a kind of magic, and investigations into these things are easy to derail when, in the case of TBN, they choke the court system with so many lawsuits by way of a pre-emptive strike that the court threatens to brand them a “vexatious litigant” simply to get rid of them.

    Never underestimate the scope of wealthy Christian privilege.

  4. says

    How cute. You concentrate on the failings of people who claim to be Christians, while never mentioning those who are devout and hold to their convictions with total resolve. For, if you’ll notice, you criticize them just as rapaciously. That is precious. It shows your immaturity, inherent unfairness and blinding hatred, all of which is common ground predicted by the Lamb of God.

  5. says

    “Never underestimate the scope of wealthy Christian privilege.” a true believing atheist

    You give far too much credit to little people who have not even a modest influence on his kingdom. And, dwelling on them, your forte, does little to defeat the cause of the Good Shepherd. In fact, chances are good the more attention you lavish on the freak shows of religious entertainers, the more likely you will stir inside others questions like, “I wonder if there really is a God, after-all? For if these charlatans were so immersed in the theater of religious quackery, maybe others are actually the real deal. Maybe there is more to this God stuff that I haven’t really given much thought to. If atheists overreact ceaselessly to these silly characters, what must drive them? What are they so afraid of that they take these phony religious nuts so seriously?”

  6. honeybee says

    @ Martin. Thanks. I was wondering about people being able to sue for being abused by these ‘charlatans’. Things like how that preacher saying they’d be killed if they didn’t donate. As there are others who take advantage of people getting them to sign false contracts, insurances, or various salesmen.. Or would they just be considered as it’s their fault if they donate ?

  7. says

    Wonderful, how special, and quite a riot, to see how much these boobs push your buttons. Let me suggest you focus on every non-god in whom you have faith doesn’t exist, and celebrate and bask in and glory in each occasion when the followers of those non-gods act like total idiots!

    Which only proves how much this Christian non-God really gets under your skin, for obviously you don’t and won’t and never have thrown your undivided attention on all the other non-gods you believe are not. But, let’s be honest. This Christian non-God pushes you around, like He is actually significant, to your thinking, to everything about you. Just look at the amount of time you devote trying to diminish and ridiculing what isn’t and the folks who are dumb enough to think he is. Your devotion to atheism unfairly dwells on the Christian hoax. There must be many more non-gods you can try to disprove. Make a mockery of all of them, too, if you are genuinely interested in promoting atheism.

    For example, revile Santa and his followers for shattering the dreams of millions of children. Rebuke the department stores that perpetuate his myth just to make money selling toys in honor of that which isn’t. Why do atheists refuse to give equal time and energy to the Santa hoax and to all the other gods that are not? What is it about the Christian non-God that forces them to neglect all the other non-gods? It is discrimination I tell ya!

  8. Cimmerius says

    I’ve driven past the TBN headquarters in Costa Mesa, California and it is every bit as gaudy and horrible as you might expect. Enough white pillars and gold to make Donald Trump say: “Maybe tone it down a bit.” In December they deck the whole thing out in lights with lettering across the top that reads: “Happy Birthday Jesus”

    https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5140/5523570707_b0108fa96b_b.jpg

  9. Vivec says

    What is it about the Christian non-God that forces them to neglect all the other non-gods?

    Living in a nation where Christians have an undue amount of power and influence. Buddhists or Hindus simply do not have the relevance to my life that Christians do. Sure, I’ll gladly cosign anyone criticizing them for good reasons as well, but it’s not particularly odd that USian atheists would focus more on Christians. Buddhists or Hindus aren’t the ones driving policy and denying people rights here.

  10. says

    Wonderful, how special, and quite a riot, to see how much these boobs push your buttons.

    Methinks the lady doth project too much.

    Which only proves how much this Christian non-God really gets under your skin…

    Of course, it “proves” nothing of the kind, but judging by some of the other comment threads you’re currently flailing in, what constitutes “proof” a thing is something you’re confused about, generally. (Just as it’s confusing that you’d be so colossally offended that my column mocks people you don’t even take seriously as “true Christians.”)

    What it does prove, if it must prove something, is that I find grifters — especially religious ones — to be bad and disgraceful people.

    The rest of your blather is Palin-level anti-sense, desperately scrambling for the thinnest reed of false equivalence it can grasp. The difference between God and Santa, of course, is that most grown adults are sensible enough to know the latter isn’t real. If anyone actually ran a Santa Channel in which telethons were held with the express purpose of conning impoverished senior citizens out of their last pennies, I’m pretty sure we’d be all over that like jam on toast.

  11. says

    Living in a nation where Christians have an undue amount of power and influence. Buddhists or Hindus simply do not have the relevance to my life that Christians do. Sure, I’ll gladly cosign anyone criticizing them for good reasons as well, but it’s not particularly odd that USian atheists would focus more on Christians. Buddhists or Hindus aren’t the ones driving policy and denying people rights here.

    Oh Boo-Hoo! as you boobs said to me. There’s some serious issues you fellas would do well to examine in therapy. Let me apologize for inflicting laws on you poor souls that make your lives unbearable. Try Russia. Try Saudi Arabia. They have no religious requirements. Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not commit adultery….those are terrible laws. Despicable. Just ask Richie Carrier!

  12. Vivec says

    Well, seeing as religious types are the ones consistently trying to deny me civil rights and are currently embroiled in attempting to force me to use the incorrect restroom, yes?

    That certain places have worse theocratic policies doesn’t make the US any better.

  13. says

    As if the Crouch’s posed a real threat to your choice of toiletry options! Pick on the One who is actually responsible for all your misery. You know, the One who isn’t. The One who never was.

  14. says

    That certain countries have worse theocratic policies…

    True. They slice off your head in this country for disobedience to its theocratic tenets.

  15. says

    I see. You decided to go after the savior of the world, Jesus Christ, the son of God , slain for the sins of mankind, who rose from the grave, and whose return is imminent. He was butchered like a pig, dying alone and forsaken by the crowds who moments before wanted him to be their king. Father God, forgive them, for even now they still don’t know what they are doing.

    He’s inside you and me!

  16. Chikoppi says

    I see. You decided to go after the savior of the world, Jesus Christ, the son of God , slain for the sins of mankind, who rose from the grave, and whose return is imminent. He was butchered like a pig, dying alone and forsaken by the crowds who moments before wanted him to be their king. Father God, forgive them, for even now they still don’t know what they are doing.
    He’s inside you and me!

    And Zeus fought and imprisoned the Titans, Vishnu dove into the cosmic waters brought forth the earth, Luke Skywaker defeated the Empire, and Frodo carried the one ring to be destroyed in Mordor. All true things. Neat-o!

  17. says

    And their followers consented to be tortured and murdered. All they had to do was renounce all their gods, including Giant Roast Beef Sandwich From Above, and they would have been spared! But alas, they paid the ultimate price and sacrificed their lives so that Tinker Bell and Hercules would have their redemptive messages spread throughout the world.

    In all seriousness, I do think comparing Luke Skywalker and Zeus and the other gods to The Lamb Of God, The Annointed One, The Alpha and the Omega, makes perfect sense. They are just alike on so many levels! Their similarities are stunning.

  18. Vivec says

    Their similarities are stunning.

    They all share the only trait that really matters in this case.

  19. steve73 says

    Great article, Martin. It holds just as true now as it ever did.

    And can someone ban that idiot urkidding? They seem to be nothing but a brainless troll.

  20. says

    Thanks to freethoughtblog for making perfectly clear who moderates for them. They are easily identifiable, everyone knows who they are, and they stand out big time from your average person commenting.

    Indeed, Buddha and other gods from back in the day were identical to the xtian God in all respects. It is even rumored that Jesus and Buddha hung out together. I understand Buddha was really into Jesus until he was nailed to a tree. Buddha apparently got a little nervous and bolted back to India. He is the guy who allegedly wrote that song about Christ going too far. Can’t remember the name of it. That perrtie woman in the Superstar play sang it. Very perrtie song.

  21. says

    Could We Start Again Please? That’s it.
    Or, we could always just make fun of a good old atheist who died recently! That’d be a load of laughs! Good taste, too.

  22. says

    Brainless Troll? Yes sir! That is putting it mildly! Except, except, uh, for one thing. She’s twice as smart as the best atheist debater baiting her around here, Steve Baby. Don’t ya know it!

  23. Chikoppi says

    @uhoh117

    You haven’t answered a single question regarding your proselytizations and proclamations. That isn’t proof you’re “smart,” it’s proof you’re a coward who knows she doesn’t have a position that is either defensable or justifiable.

    You’re not “debating.” You’re throwing a vicious little tantrum while claiming to represent Christianity. What a display of wisdom and grace.

    Do you really think you’re the first theist to breeze in here and act like self-righteous ass? It’s surprising how people who have been ‘enlightened by divine inspiration’ or ‘filled by the holy spirit’ usually turn out to be insufferably miserable, unpleasant, and petty.

    ‘Way to represent.

  24. says

    Well then, go right ahead and in detail tell the world precisely why Jesus Christ is a fictional character. Don’t rush. Take your time. Be exhaustive and I will demonstrate why you are wrong, which is clearly what you are. And Martin, let me suggest that in the future, instead of running away and hiding behind your vast powers as a moderator around here, make a legitimate effort to identify yourself. Many wannabes like to try to throw their weight around and have no authority. Without separating yourself from the maddening crowd, you appear to be just another run of the mill power tripping troll hoping to be taken seriously.

  25. Vivec says

    Well then, go right ahead and in detail tell the world precisely why Jesus Christ is a fictional character.

    1. There is no current evidence, individually or in aggregate, that can rationally justify believing that Jesus Christ exists in the real world.

    2. There is current evidence that rationally justifies that he is a person mentioned in the bible.

    “Being mentioned in a book without having any demonstrable real world existence” is a fairly decent definition of “fictional character”.

  26. Chikoppi says

    Well then, go right ahead and in detail tell the world precisely why Jesus Christ is a fictional character. Don’t rush. Take your time. Be exhaustive and I will demonstrate why you are wrong, which is clearly what you are.

    Because it is a character in a book and euhemerism was a common practice of the era.

    Add to that the fact that the Jewish sects had been repeatedly trying to make the messianic prophecy come true since the fall of the Jewish kingdom in the 8th century BCE. There may have been a historical person named Jesus, who was one in a succession of failed and martyred Jewish messiah figures, but there is no simply no reason to believe the accounts of divine lineage or fantastical powers presented in the Bible are true.

    There might have been an ancient king of the Geats names Beowulf, but there’s no reason to believe dragons really existed because a poem claims that he fought one.

    According to the Quran Muhammad performed many of the same miracles as Jesus. Are those accounts also true by default? If so, what about Joseph Smith’s miracles and prophecies?

    I look forward to your demonstrative evidence.

  27. says

    I wish my computer would mind it’s own business. Euhermisim computer. Now, knock it off. Leave my words alone.

    How do you know what Jewish sects had been trying to do repeatedly in the 8th century B.C.?

  28. says

    Why say he may have been one of a number of failed Jewish messianic martyrs? Where did you get that idea? Who were the others the Jews tried to make the fulfillment of prophecy?

  29. Chikoppi says

    Nope. Right or wrong, I provided my reasons as asked.

    You promised to demonstrate that the Jesus of the Bible was not a fictional character. Proceed.

  30. says

    Those are your detailed exhaustive reasons that prove Christ was a fictional character? Well, I guess you are correct. Based on your arguments, he must not have been the Son of God. My, all this time I’ve been deluded! And I thought there was sound justification for my beliefs. You win.

  31. says

    Joe Smith must have been for real and everything else she mentioned are established facts. I never realized how easy it is to wipe out the One who came and died a criminal’s death. Because joe was on the level it follows that Christ was telling the truth about being God. Since you accept that others performed miracles, Jesus did too and there’s no difference between them.

    Wow. You believe Jesus said before Abe was, I am. You believe that he lived among us, that he was seen and heard and even touched. Because others made big claims, Jesus’ claims are just as valid. He was one with the father. He came to forgive sins, making himself a ransom for many. He who has seen me has seen the father, must be true because joe did miracles too. He was savagely murdered without breaking any laws, buried and rose from the dead, because Zeus is real. Golly. I never realized he was so much like these other guys. He shed blood, his own, to take away the sins of the world just like Beowulf and them other guys! He had no real world evidence even though joe did. Oh wait. You believe others saw joe cause it was recorded. So, a bunch of folks wrote about the Nazarene. He was really real! Yea.

  32. Chikoppi says

    Joseph Smith was a real person to whom has been attributed miraculous powers. We have his body. There are numerous and independent contemporaneous records of his existence, including court records and newspapers. He had five children and his direct descendants are alive today.

    I don’t believe Joseph Smith had magic powers because the available evidence is insufficient to justify the claim.

    Jesus may or may not have been a real person. For the sake of argument I’ll grant that he was. According to the writings of his followers, he had miraculous powers.

    Why should I believe one set of claims and not the other?

  33. says

    You shouldn’t. Jesus was a song and dance man. Bunch of scribes tried to outdo each other and boom we got some dude who walked on water, healed the sick, cast out demons, restored sight to the blind, raised Lazarus from the dead, claimed to be God, claimed to be His Son, claimed to have been with God since before the universe was created always for the purpose of redeeming the sick and destitute. (He did not come for the well, for the cool hipsters with everything all together. Sorry, you got to be one sick pup before you qualify to become one of His Own. Only drowning men can see Him, remember? That’s why so many people reject Him. They don’t hurt enough. They aren’t sick enough. They don’t hate their own lives. They don’t mourn over who they are. Old Saul had to be knocked on his ass hard before he could see himself for what he really was. God has his ways!)

    That’s more exhaustive than the atheist’s list, by far. Didn’t scratch the surface. Atheists biggest problem is they know they are too cool. All is hip and hunky dory, babe. They are better than those Crouch christians–god only knows. With smug hatred for Xtians pushing their reasoning along the bow wave, everything is just alright, babe.

    They cannot see they are pawns in the game. As long as they don’t turn to God, it makes no difference what they do or believe.

  34. Chikoppi says

    @urkidding

    You shouldn’t.

    You’re sort of all over the map on this “justified belief” thing.

    Nobody “hates Xtians.” I certainly don’t. Some of the most important people in my life are religious. Stop being so dramatic.

    What bothers us is when someone claims special authority, privilege, or knowledge because of beliefs based not on evidence, but on faith. I don’t want to be subjected to your faith any more than you would want to be subjected to someone else’s.

  35. Sonia Marie says

    I am watching your Hitler, Darwin and Luther segment. Why do you hell-bound Atheists study religions so hard. You make me laugh at how little you really know of the Holy Bible and the Lutheran faith. I am a very strong religious Lutheran and you don’t know jack about GOD! None of you even have a single clue… Instead of trying to make lame statements against God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity as one God in 3 different aspects of one True Being..write a book called I am an atheist and love the fact that I am hell-bound. We are infinite creatures and you make us to be finite and soulless. God made hell for people like you. If you want to know the truth than really study the Holy Bible and be Baptized and accept Holy Communion the true body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and stop saying that we Lutherans believe in committing sins. As Lutherans we strive harder than anyone else to keep the 10 Commandments and all the commandments of God, and when we sin in either thought, word or deed, we mourn for the sin we committed, for it could easily damn us straight to hell. So we ask sincerely with a sorrowful heart for forgiveness through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who endured the cross for our tiniest sin. For to us a tiny sin is just as damning as the largest sin committed. My thoughts against you atheists is damning too, so I ask for forgiveness through Christ and tomorrow being Sunday will go and seek absolution in the true Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion! What Martin Luther also said was if anyone can find any of my words to go against the words of God in the Holy Bible, than remember I am but a flawed human being, but if you find my words to be true in the Holy Bible than I have spoken the truth. As for polygamy, I have found that this is one of the greatest crimes against God! Martin Luther should note that in the old Testament all the polygamists and their families found ruin through polygamy, example is Jacob whose name was changed to Israel, married a wife and then took three more wives, and all of his children ended up in captive in Egypt for 430 years as a punishment of original sin from their father Jacob. There is many other examples of polygamy being so wrong, but I am telling you to come to Christianity and leave behind the finite blinking out of existence you all believe in. You will be blinked into hell. I am a very strong reader of religions and yours is the one that pisses me off more than every other wrong religion ever conceived on the planet. All atheists who have died are burning in hell, and all atheists who follow will also join them there! You guys keep making statement after statement against God, instead of just stating what you believe. What you believe is shallow and unproven and pointless. You trust in science big deal, science is now using human parts in the murder of unborn babies in abortion and stem cell research, if you trust in murderers of innocent unborn babies, than you are really lost. Science is meant to be a study not a religion and certainly not a place to murder unborn babies. When it murders unborn people and animals than I spit in the humanity of those scientists. Roe vs. Wade was one of the biggest jokes on humanity and the judges who ruled in favor of abortion should have been placed in prison. So science yourselves into hell or come to Jesus, HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! https://youtu.be/gM7gt_cSxjw?list=RDgM7gt_cSxjw

  36. Chikoppi says

    @Sonia

    If you worship the idea of a God who would create people that are limited and fallible only to then condemn them to suffer eternally for that very fallibility, then you had better take a breath and think about why. Why do you take so much joy in proclaiming that others will suffer?

    You have no more right to claim that you know something than does any other follower of any other religion. They all claim their beliefs are true for the very same reason you claim your beliefs are true. According to some of them, you’re the one who will suffer for eternity.

    If others can believe in their religions with absolute certainty and conviction and yet be wrong, then so can you. Maybe think about that the next time you want to be hateful toward your fellow human beings.

  37. Monocle Smile says

    @Sonia
    I was raised Lutheran. Not a single church member was anywhere near the asshole that you are.

    For to us a tiny sin is just as damning as the largest sin committed

    This is perhaps my single biggest objection to your religion. At no point have I ever understood how a sane person can say garbage like this with a straight face.

  38. Sonia Marie says

    Well I doubt you were a Lutheran if you went to a church which told you this sin is okay and that sin is not. We need to be forgiven for all our sins, not just the ones that you feel need forgiving. We are a very happy people because we confess all our sins and not just the ones a human being says need forgiving. All sins are bad, I have never been to a church that says some sins are good, so you must not be a Lutheran especially when you say vulgar language like you did! That is a sin in itself!

  39. Monocle Smile says

    @Sonia
    The 16th century called. It wants its Puritanism back.

    You don’t seem happy in the least. You seem miserable and you’re projecting your misery onto us.

    I don’t expect you to engage productively. You’re basically a god-bot programmed by your church, and while others here will have more patience for your type, I’m not really up for un-fucking your brain. There is so much wrong with everything you posted and I don’t really need that.

  40. Sonia Marie says

    i have studied every religion on the planet, I know more about every religion than the average person, I read religions daily, and I have a gift of translation from the Holy Spirit. You are definitely an atheist through and through. You also sound a little scared…You really are saying you need God and I can feel you screaming it across the cosmos. You know there is a God and yet you prefer foul language and yes I am very happy I have Jesus.. I am happy and yet you seem super unhappy and you know 100% there is a God! I can feel it! I really feel sorry for you!

  41. Sonia Marie says

    You are so weird! I never realized how lost you atheists really are! You make me laugh!

  42. Sonia Marie says

    I was just reading a little of Luther’s writing’s it applies to you. He wrote, “Wherever God’s Word is absent in a human being, the devil has an easy task, to take over that man’s soul.”

  43. Chikoppi says

    @Sonia

    Again, if you really believe what you claim to believe, why would you take joy in what you perceive as another person’s misfortune? Why would you celebrate the idea of another person suffering?

    I don’t think you actually do believe in the god you claim to believe in. No one who did so would behave as you have done here. I think you have been subjected to people who have used religion to bully you and make you feel inferior. Now, you seek to use the same threats to nurse your own ego, to claim knowledge that you don’t actually have, and to try abuse others as you were abused.

    There are 75M Lutherans in the world, about 4M in America. The vast majority of your fellow 2.2B Christians think you’re wrong. Some of them think you’re going to be eternally punished for your beliefs. They believe that they are right for exactly the same reasons that you believe you are right. Why should anyone believe you and not them?

  44. Sonia Marie says

    We never take joy in another man’s suffering, these are the end times that we live in. Never have I taken joy in another man’s suffering. These are warnings but you obviously have chosen the wide path to destruction and nothing will change your mind. There is the golden rule, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I don’t have an ego, and I most certainly do not feel a bit inferior. I have great knowledge and wisdom. Go ahead and quote numbers, I never quoted numbers, I pray that the 2.2B, plus much, much more will be in the Gardens of Heaven, and I never quote numbers of people, who may be suffering because they refuse God. We love every man and never draw suffering against them. Heaven’s gates is waiting for you too, if you let Jesus in. I pray that Jesus will find you!

  45. says

    i have studied every religion on the planet, I know more about every religion than the average person

    ORLY? By all means, give us the benefit of your expertise in Mandaeism, Asatru and Cao Dai.

  46. Chikoppi says

    @Sonia

    You conveniently ignored the relevant portion of my comment. I’ll repost it here, as I’m curious how you square this particular circle:

    There are 75M Lutherans in the world, about 4M in America. The vast majority of your fellow 2.2B Christians think you’re wrong. Some of them think you’re going to be eternally punished for your beliefs. They believe that they are right for exactly the same reasons that you believe you are right. Why should anyone believe you and not them?

    ?

  47. says

    these are the end times that we live in

    Of course, Christians have been claiming this for centuries and centuries. And it was a claim repeatedly spouted by the hucksters at TBN, who used it as a prod to con their viewers out of more and more donations, which went on to fund Paul and Jan’s his-and-hers mansions in addition to other unreported expenses. Playing upon gullible people’s fear of mortality and divine wrath has proven very lucrative for a very few, and yet the faithful never seem to catch on. Anyway, saying that you have “great knowledge and wisdom” while confidently asserting you “don’t have an ego” is, to the rational mind, just routine evidence of delusion and lack of self-awareness. Pretty much everyone has an ego to some degree, but it’s typically the case that “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge,” as an actually-wise man once observed.

  48. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Anyway, saying that you have “great knowledge and wisdom” while confidently asserting you “don’t have an ego” is, to the rational mind, just routine evidence of delusion and lack of self-awareness.

    Ah, but you don’t see the brilliance of it! ~snark~ It’s not “I” who has that great knowledge and wisdom. It’s my invisible friend here. I’m just relaying the message. I’m just but a poor and humble servant and messenger. ~snark~

  49. Sonia Marie says

    Well as for Martin Wagner, those people on TBN who beg for money are crooks. In my Lutheran church you are not even asked to donate a penny to get to heaven. If you can donate it isn’t going to earn you a toe towards heaven. Money is crooked and I choose a very simple life. I don’t need mansions and big houses. A simple roof over my head and home cooked food on the table, is more than enough for me. I don’t need anything but God and my family and their comfort. I most definitely do not want your money and I don’t have more than 5 dollars to spend on myself in a month, and who cares about money. Today I cooked a big batch of grape leaves with my families favorite lamb meat and lamb meat broth. As long as we have enough to eat and drink I am the happiest person alive. I pray at mealtime for great thanks for my daily bread, and yes I make my own bread. Much more delicious, and less money as well. As for those other religions you mentioned, Mandaeism is a gnostic religion who have the Dead Sea Scroll ‘The World Beyond,’ ‘The World of Darkness,’ ‘Cosmogony’ ‘The Creation of Man,’ ‘The Head is One World,’ ‘Let us Worship the Spirit of the Paraclete,’ ‘The Joy Came Over Me’ They believe in Cosmos and some of the prophets and reject others such as Jesus, the Son of God. I have all their writings it has been a while since I read them, but yeah I have read them. Asatru is a heathen religion who worships pagan and worship many gods rather than the one true God. They from memory are Scandavia and they believe also in reincarnation, a thing I do not believe in at all. They also believe in mother nature rather than God rules the planet. Cao Dai is very close to the Bahaism religion which takes some of different religions and combines them to their own benefit. That is also a very untrue practice. The different religions you mentioned I do know about, I am a Lutheran, I have studied them but that doesn’t mean I believe them.

  50. Monocle Smile says

    @Sonia
    So you can use Google. Fun.
    Why do you have a computer?

    I most definitely do not want your money and I don’t have more than 5 dollars to spend on myself in a month, and who cares about money

    This reads like a blatant lie.

  51. Chikoppi says

    @Sonia

    The different religions you mentioned I do know about, I am a Lutheran, I have studied them but that doesn’t mean I believe them.

    Why? Why do you believe Lutheran doctrine is true and not some other sect of Christianity? How do you know they are wrong? People of other sects believe with absolute certainty that they have received revelation and have correctly interpreted scripture. How is it possible they can believe with absolute inspired conviction and yet be mistaken?

  52. Sonia Marie says

    I don’t use Google except to know what books to buy, or download. I have devoured since I was 10 years old books on religion, and I have tons of books with those religions in them. I drove my parents crazy with the amount of religion books I bought as a child. I could spend the time to write all about those religions but I have three new books on Rastafari, and since that is a new one I haven’t studied I have been devouring them. I can go get tons of other books from my extensive library. When I do get 5 to 10 dollars to my name I buy more religious books, from anywhere I can find them. I made the smallest room in my house a place with an altar and incense and candles and religious books and prayer books, and study religious books and a simple bean bag is where I find my inner peace from the world. I have extreme ancient books, and desire more. I am also reading and translating the book of Urantia. Yes I do study as my bedroom is piled all over with book after book on Saints and Angels and I used old non functioning pieces of luggage my dad had and inside is more and more religious books I have well over a thousand books just on religion. The luggage is under my bed. I have read Dead Sea Scrolls and every book outside the Holy Bible , I read and read and my bookmarks on the top of my computer is filled to the rim with books I can download, and I also look at my favorites there and list them, so I can find the one day for purchase. I own some of the rarest books there are and I am wanting more, and nothing has convinced me that the Lutheran religion is nothing more than the Reformed and true Catholic faith without Popes etc.

  53. Monocle Smile says

    @Sonia
    That isn’t a follow-up to Chikoppi’s question, either.
    Rare books auction at millions of dollars, not 5-10. Combined with your non sequiturs and hardly believable story, I’m starting to wonder if you’re a Poe.

  54. Sonia Marie says

    Now that was a new one on me. I really didn’t know what a Poe was besides Edgar A Poe. I am the strongest Christian there is. LOL you guys are just trying to trick me into saying something to pick at. You are all LOSERS with a capital L! I have a busy task ahead of me. Well I will go back to my rare books and if you know where to go you don’t need to spend a million dollars to find rare books. LOL! If you know where to go Estate Sales, people who drop off books of dead relatives at thrift stores, and yard sales, and flee markets, swap meets, library surpluses, and so many other places. I can find rare books, and I am a big book collector of valuable books and know how to repair fragile bindings. As for Lutherans I will tell you we read the Catechism and the Holy Bible. We believe in the Holy Baptism of babies as soon as possible from birth, something other creeds and branches do not do. Jesus said Baptize All Nations not just adults, or certain people. Unlike other faiths we work night and day to ensure that every Word of the Holy Bible is translated into different languages, something other religions have not done. Luther also is the one responsible for women and all people can read the Holy Bible, otherwise only Catholic priests would be the only ones who could read the Holy Bible! Women in our church cannot preach at all unlike other branches of Protestants. Plus the Pastor of our church has a wife and kids and grandkids. Unlike other branches of Protestants we believe solely in Faith not Works can save you from damnation. Other ones believe in Works not faith can save you. In the year 2017 it will be the 500th year since Martin Luther posted the 95 Thesis and broke away from the Catholics of the time in hopes of Reformation. Unlike other groups or religions we are the only ones who believe that the true presence of Jesus is in the True Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the manna bread and wine.The other groups believe that it is just a representation and not the actual body and blood and preach it as such. So we refuse to ever take Communion outside the Lutheran church. I have been to the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem and cried when a Lutheran priest held a service in the spot where Jesus was born, and took Holy Communion there. I have been to many Holy Lands and have touched the spot where Jesus was crucified and took away the sins of the world. I have been to the river Jordan and many other places. We stay super faithful to the Holy Bible and stay as close the teachings of the Bible much more than other branches of religion We celebrate Christ and we fast before Easter for 40 days and fast on occasion just between me and God and I do not eat Saturday in the evening until I receive Holy Communion on Sunday. As soon as the sun goes down I remember that it is for God that tomorrow in Sunday. My oldest kids are Confirmed and have many roles in the church. I am also the head of the Sunday School in my church and the kids love to come to my classes to learn. In our Sacrament of the altar we have life after death in heaven through forgiveness, Salvation and devoting our lives to Christ. I wear one my cross necklaces every second of the day. Other branches have removed this from their bodies. I even wear one to bed. The Grace of God and not works saves us every second of the day. My sons always carry the cross in the beginning of the service and the Cross is always in the very center of the church as Jesus is the center of our church life and the pastors and the Elders of the church preach on the sides of the church never in the center, that place belongs to Christ. Other branches do not make room in the center of the church or their lives for Christ. We take Holy Communion from a common cup. We have Bible studies after church and during the week. Bible studies are very important to us. We only sing hymnal Christian songs and when you marry we refuse the song ‘Here Comes the Bride,’ because it is not a Christian song. The church I go to is special in that I moved to a remote area and had to travel a long ways to my old church, when they announced a mission church was coming in my area, I went the first day to a garage with just 10 people and a Pastor. Soon we doubled in size and in just 7 years we have grown to over 250 regular members and we built a church from scratch and every week we are Baptizing anywhere from 1 to 15 family members one time from other religions. We even added a parochial school for pre-schoolers through elementary and hired teachers etc. The outreach has been tremendous. I remember the 10 people and now we have 2 services and are thinking of enlarging already. We also believe that wine is a great gift from God, as in the Bible it was one of the first beverages mentioned and the first miracle mentioned of Christ is turning water into wine. We believe in moderation though and being drunk is a sin. Wine is also good for the heart, and has been proven so. Other branches just made up that drinking alcohol is forbidden. Our pastors need to be well trained and other branches just don’t care and hire just about anyone to lead their churches. We are also ver dull in our churches where others have big and bold displays and lots of clinking and clanking and blah blah blah, we come in confess our sins and are calm and quiet in our services and come with sincere hearts. I f you want a concert cult religion, with bells and whistles and loud music than don’t become a Lutheran. We read together, sing together Commune together, and make the sign of the cross. We have fellowship before and after church and during church the only talking is praying and praising God. We face the pastor when the sermon is being said and we listen.God loves us all very much. Christ loves us very much and the Holy Spirit loves us very much. We have been set free from all Popes and people who pray to statues and other Christian dead people. We only pray to God no one else is worthy or can hear our prayers. Martin Luther set us free 500 years ago almost and that day will be a huge celebration in our church, we are free to read the Holy Bible and pray only to God and not be under the rule of anyone but God. We do not believe in purgatory after death, you have only 2 places to go heaven or hell. It is not up to a Pope or any other person on earth, but only me as an individual to go before God on the judgment throne. I am responsible for myself and no one else is going to tell God where I belong, but we are assured that through faith we will be accepted into heaven. That is also something other denominations do not preach. You have to do this that and the other thing in other religions to attain heaven, and most do not even have a Holy Bible to back up these things. I could go on and on, there are many other things. I am just a very busy person with a life. I will fast tomorrow for all you non-believers. I am not eating and will say prayers for you all. I won;t be able to respond for a week as the weekend is a busy one, I am going fishing with my sons and swimming and some mountain climbing, and some cooking on cast iron in the high altitudes and hopefully some trout and craw daddy feasts. Next week I have volunteered at my youngest kids school and there is too much going on. I may not even turn on my computer for another week or so. I have a fulfilled life.

  55. Monocle Smile says

    @Sonia
    You are laboring under the delusion that anybody here gives a flying fuck.
    The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

  56. Sonia Marie says

    Chikoppi I have answered you more than once and you are so stupid and I do not think you have any brains. I have answered you. You tell me the answer you are looking for! I have 100% answered you and you are of a very low I.Q. if you haven’t found the answer yet. You must be really stupid, that is why you are an atheist, cause you are so dense and brainless. I just quickly turned on my computer and I have answered your question. It isn’t my fault you all have a severe brain defect. You are all in the grips of the devil, and Baphomet the unholy spirit of hell, and yes you guys don’t care because the devil already has your brains in hell. You atheists are such foul imbeciles. It is the weekend now, and it is time for rejoice in the day the Lord has made, and all you guys know how to do is use your brainless skulls to pick on Christians. you put nonsense words in our mouths and have no proof to back up your claims, You bash Jesus and that is all you Satan people know how to do. You enjoy bashing God who gave you life and love. What is the point of life if you don’t have God you have no morals You have nothing in your life worth fighting for, worth living for. You are nothings, complete nothings. You worship the hatred of God, that is your religion, finding ways to tell God you hate him, that is the atheist religion. You are mean, nasty wish only the worst on people who have God.
    Psalm 14:14
    1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
    there is none who does good.
    2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
    to see if there are any who understand,
    who seek after God.
    3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
    there is none who does good,
    not even one.
    4 Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
    who eat up my people as they eat bread
    and do not call upon the Lord?
    5 There they are in great terror,
    for God is with the generation of the righteous.
    6 You would shame the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is his refuge.
    7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
    let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

  57. Chikoppi says

    @Sonia

    Chikoppi I have answered you more than once and you are so stupid and I do not think you have any brains. I have answered you.

    No, Sonia. You have not.

    You have told me what you believe. I did not ask you that question. Here, again, is my question. Please read it and think about why I am asking it before you begin typing another wall of text.

    There are 75M Lutherans in the world, about 4M in America. The vast majority of your fellow 2.2B Christians think you’re wrong. Some of them think you’re going to be eternally punished for your beliefs. They believe that they are right for exactly the same reasons that you believe you are right. Why should anyone believe you and not them?

  58. Sonia Marie says

    No you are just trying to get me to bash other Christian religions.I refuse, and I have given my answer. I refuse to bash other Christians. I am not an atheist and I have given you a wall of an answer. I love all who love God and you go ahead and bash the 2.2 B Christians but know this I love them with all my heart, all my soul and would lay down my life for any of them. Sorry if I ever offended one of them, I sincerely repent for that, I love all 2.2 Billion of them. If you have bashing words I could care less. I refuse to stoop to your level. I am happy in these end times and ready to leave all that I own and follow Jesus upon His second Coming.

  59. Chikoppi says

    @Sonia

    No. I’m asking why you think you are correct and not them.

    It is hardly un-Christian to discuss epistemology. If you don’t have an epistemic basis for your beliefs then you might as well be Mormon or Pentecostal.

    Whatever. If you don’t care then neither do I.

  60. Sonia Marie says

    Yes but Mormons are not Christians, they are Pre-Islamic and believe that we are all gods and millions of gods are ruling the universe. They preach a different Jesus and talk mostly about Satan in their temple rituals and all their temples are filled with the signs of Baphomet or the pentagrams that represent her right over the door outside and inside their temples. There is mountains of Satan symbols and Satanic handshakes and communicating with people in hell in their rituals. I also would not be a Pentecostal person because women preach there, a thing mentioned as a bad thing in the Holy Bible. They also do not believe in the Triune God.and have weird things that are not in the Bible they are a strange group of people. They also believe only people who can speak in tongues are saved, nothing about Jesus saving them just speaking in tongues, so they are not really Christian at all if Jesus does not save them. Sorry you picked two religions I do not consider Christian at all

  61. Monocle Smile says

    @Sonia
    You clearly don’t understand what Chikoppi’s asking at all.
    I don’t give a shit about how other sects of christianity differ from your Lutheran sect. WHY should someone who is weighing their options believe you over them? Why should someone not become a Mormon? Or Islam? Or Hinduism? The question is obviously not getting through to you, because “those religions aren’t my religion” is not an answer to the question. Why should anyone care what some old book says? Or believe in your god? Or follow your rituals? Or believe ANY of the stuff that you believe? WHY, not WHAT.

  62. says

    Gee, Sonia, as if it was such a difficult thing to look those religions up on Wikipedia and Google after I listed them.

    “I most definitely do not want your money and I don’t have more than 5 dollars to spend on myself in a month, and who cares about money. Today I cooked a big batch of grape leaves…” Yeah yeah, I’m veering towards general agreement with the others here that you’re jerking our chains. But we’ll let it lie for now.

  63. Sonia Marie says

    Gee Martin, Satan has placed a falsehood canopy on the earth. I have translated many religions and the Pre-Islamic Book of Almanat or commonly known as (Book of Mormon) which I have completely re-translated, the polygamist Joseph Smith with his sleeping with young girls along with Brigham Young who’s motto in life was,”Bring em’ young, just Bring em, also raped little girls alongside the other false prophet Mohammed who raped, murdered and plundered girls as young as 6 years of age. Hindus also could practice polygamy because their women couldn’t bear sons. Poor men in these faiths murdered so many infant girls, it make you sick. Women should refuse to have sons in this faith. I wanted a daughter but I am proud that God gave me 8 strapping, healthy sons. I miscarried my only daughter but she took her twin brother with her, and that makes me feel good that she has a sibling with her in heaven. I have way too many things I could tell you, all my children are Christian with an Islamic father. He taught them Islam and they choose Christianity on their own. We did not pressure them. I have loved a man from a faith I do not agree with for 25 years. I love him so much and pray he will one day join me and the kids but I do not pressure him just pray for him. He loves me too much and shows me daily his love to me.. Got to go ttyl my dog is about to have puppies yeah what a great day!

  64. Monocle Smile says

    @Sonia
    Young and Mohammed being rapists doesn’t make them wrong about their theological claims. This is a textbook ad hominem fallacy.
    Please stop breeding. We have enough cultists on the planet as it is.