Within some of the the circles of deeply held belief there are human attributes that remain both constant and persistent. Terms such “new heart”, and “born-again”, are issued, along with testimony that asserts a new better life is supposedly on offer. Over time what become apparent is that what truly persists and prevails is not spirituality, but instead hypocrisy.
This reveals the illusion to have been a deception that was designed to ensnare emotionally, but because the victims are emotionally invested, they remain trapped and so become pawns in the game of harvesting and growing influence via religious belief.
Don’t believe me?
Here is my personal selection of religiously inspired news items from the past week. Discard my words and let their actions speak to you.
Item 1 – Former Creation Museum Employee Arrested for Owning Military-Grade Explosives
Just to prove that you need to be truly weird to be a Creation Museum employee we have this story via here …
A man named Joel Ryals was arrested in Mississippi this week after local law enforcement found all sorts of military-grade explosives at his Florida home. They were tipped off by someone who noticed a package at his home which said “C-4 explosive” on the side. Ryals was later arrested while conducting a K-9 training for cops… that he apparently wasn’t certified to teach.
“Joel Ryals has a checkered law enforcement past, however, there is absolutely no reason for him to have this equipment,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “The military-grade explosives, materials to build bombs, and tactical equipment found in his possession are extremely dangerous. Although he posed no immediate threat to our community, he certainly could have used them for the wrong reasons.”
Ryals’ K-9 training website is full of religious language, and that’s hardly surprising since he allegedly also spent a year and a half working as a Public Safety Officer at the Creation Museum.
I have to ask, what exactly does a job title that includes the term “public safety” got to do with ownership of military grade explosives?
Deeply held religious beliefs and military grade explosives are never a good mixture.
Item 2 -Mike Shoesmith: ‘I Believe Stephen Hawking Was Kept Alive By Demonic Forces’
You can always find somebody to come up with some truly weird ideas. Here via Right Wing watch is this week’s claimant …
On his radio program last week, Donald Trump-loving pastor, conspiracy theorist and birther Carl Gallups interviewed Mike Shoesmith, the executive editor of PNN News, who claimed that famed physicist Stephen Hawking was able to live for decades with ALS because he was being kept alive by demons.
Shoesmith, who normally appears on Gallups’ program to complain about women, insisted that it was no coincidence that Hawking died just weeks after Billy Graham passed away, explaining that Graham’s ministry “really kicked off” in 1942, which prompted the devil to use Hawking, who was born in 1942, to counter Graham’s preaching.
“[Graham] is a hundred percent devoted,” Shoesmith said. “The Lord sees his heart, gives him a tremendous ministry, and who do you think is sitting in the background going, ‘I have to do something about this, this guy is sold out, I have to do something’? Who do you think is sitting in the background doing that? The devil, right?”
“So, in 1942, that is when Billy Graham’s ministry really takes off, and who do you think was born in 1942?” he continued. “Stephen Hawking. Stephen Hawking comes from a long line of atheists—his father and all these people—so I believe the devil said, ‘OK, this guy was just born and I’m going to use this guy. This guy is already primed to accept my message that there is no God. He is already primed for it, he is going to be awash, immersed in atheism all his years as a child, I’m going to take over this guy’s life.’”
“I believe Stephen Hawking was kept alive by demonic forces,” Shoesmith said. “I believe that it was the demonic realm that kept this man alive as a virtual vegetable his entire life just so he could spread this message that there is no God.”
Shoesmith went on to assert that if Hawking had simply reached out to God, Jesus would have cast the demons out of him and he would have been completely and miraculously healed.
OK, so let’s see where things stand …
- Evidence for claim – zero
- Evidence for claim that demons or the devil actually exists – zero
- Evidence for claim that Stephen Hawking was a vegetable his entire life – zero
- Examples of anybody in the entire history of humanity being cured of ALS – zero
… can you spot the pattern unfolding here yet?
Item 3 – Bill Hybels accused by multiple women of “inappropriate behaviour”
Outside of evangelical circles Bill Hybels is not a recognised named, but inside he is highly influential. He was until recently the senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, one of the nation’s most iconic and influential churches. The Chicago Tribune has run a story by several of their journalists that exposes the inappropriate behaviour by him over many many years …
Many of the women who spoke with the Tribune were loath to come forward for fear of betraying a man who had encouraged their leadership in a way that no other pastor had before and undermining a ministry that has transformed thousands of lives. But when they heard there were other women who had similar stories to tell, even in the last year, they said their silence could not last.
“That was a bit of a tipping point for me,” said Nancy Beach, the church’s first female teaching pastor and a prominent leader in the evangelical community. She recounted more than one conversation or interaction she felt was inappropriate during moments alone with Hybels over the years.
“He changed my life. I wouldn’t have the opportunities I’ve had,” she added. “I know that. I’m very clear on that. I credit him for that. But then there’s this other side.”
… One of those women, Vonda Dyer, declined to participate, citing concerns about the process. Dyer, a former director of the church’s vocal ministry who often traveled with Hybels and whose husband also worked at Willow, told the Tribune that Hybels called her to his hotel suite on a trip to Sweden in 1998, unexpectedly kissed her and suggested they could lead Willow Creek together….
… Mellado said the woman told her things had started after a meeting at Hybels’ home in Inverness, when the pastor pulled her in for an extended hug, which left her feeling awkward. The relationship progressed through intimate communication over email, the woman said.
Mellado told the Tribune that the woman told her the two eventually had consensual encounters, including oral sex.
They also interviewed him and gave him a chance to defend himself.
He claims it is all lies and part of a conspiracy by a group of former church insiders out to discredit him.
The Church also investigated and in 2014
decided to cover it all up declared it was a non-issue. Three of their board members resigned in a protest that their “investigation” was insufficient.
I believe what his many victims have been saying.
Its a long detailed read and not simply a hatchet job. They strive to give all concerned a fair say.
None of it is really a surprise. The one truly prevailing constant is hypocrisy.
Other stories in the past week
You don’t need to look very hard to find such stories. Each and every week they pop up. Nor is it just three, there are usually lots. Here for example via the Friendly Atheist are a few more from the past week …
- Ohio Republicans Propose Bill to Punish Abortion Doctors with the Death Penalty(Now that really does reveal the true scope of the “pro-life” movement)
- Louisiana Resolution Honors Lawmaker for Promoting Creationism in Science Class
- Christian Right Group: Girl Scout Cookies Fund “Abortion and Sexual Promiscuity”
- Christian Ex-Witch: The Illuminati Controls Our Minds via Flu Shots on Easter
- Retired Mormon Mission Leader Admits to Sexual Misconduct in Leaked Audio
- A Georgia Mom Crashed Her Car Into a Concrete Pole to Show Her Kids God Exists