Thursday, November 25, 2010

Leftist Revisionist History of the First Thanksgiving and the role of the Indian Squanto corrected by original sources

They have the nerve to call it THE REAL STORY of Thanksgiving.
The story began in 1614 when a band of English explorers sailed home to England with a ship full of Patuxet Indians bound for slavery. They left behind smallpox which virtually wiped out those who had escaped. By the time the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts Bay they found only one living Patuxet Indian, a man named Squanto who had survived slavery in England and knew their language. He taught them to grow corn and to fish, and negotiated a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Nation. At the end of their first year, the Pilgrims held a great feast honoring Squanto and the Wampanoags.
Most of us haven't studied enough history to be able to answer this smear job, but I found this page of information which touches on so many aspects of the history of early English and European investigations of America, USING ORIGINAL SOURCES, it makes the cherrypicked lies of the first link only too clear.

The true story is a mixture of good and bad human motivations and relations, as most true stories of human interactions are. Scroll down about 3/4 of the page to "1615" where the relevant information begins that contradicts the revisionist lies.

According to this source I found, it was in 1615 that an English ship took TWENTY Indians to sell as slaves in Spain. Is that a "ship full of Patuxet Indians" as the first link claims? I'm a bit confused by the information at the second link but it appears that the Indian Squanto was among them but went to England rather than Spain, learned English and returned four years later, in time to help the Pilgrims when they arrived.

The first link also asserts without evidence or qualification that it was the slave ship that caused the death of the Patuxit Indians of smallpox, but the second link has better source information and makes it clear that the cause of their death was not known, though it was a "plague" that wiped them out. A "great sickness" also wiped out most of the Pilgrims in their first year. But the need of revisionists is always to blame the "white man" for some reason for everything.

The first link also says the Pilgrims found only one living Patuxet Indian, Squanto, who had "survived slavery," (had he even been made a slave?) but the Pilgrims didn't "find" him at all. Samoset, another Indian who knew some English, made first contact with the Pilgrims and then brought Squanto to them.

Here is a separate page on Squanto linked from the first that says he was not captured to be a slave but was trained to be a guide and interpreter for English sea captains. Later apparently he was captured and sold to Spain as a slave but lived among monks and eventually returned to England. The details are pretty complicated but his life as a slave appears to have been very short lived at most. But he did return to his native land in 1619, finding his own people wiped out by "the plague," and was a great help to the Pilgrims when they arrived -- as much for his own benefit as out of kindness to the Pilgrims, but why not, that's the story of humanity after all.

This same page on Squanto says that the "plague" that killed so many Indians was never clearly identified, though apparently Europeans were immune to it.
[NOTE: Before the Great Plague of 1616-17 had finally run its course, it killed between one-third to perhaps as much as eighty per cent of the Indians of southern New England, located between Narragansett Bay and the Penobscot River. The disease has never been identified. "The savages died like rotten sheep, and their bodies before and after death were exceedingly yellow." Europeans were apparently immune to the plague's ravages, and not all tribes in the area were affected by the Great Plague, as the Massachusetts tribe to the north of the Patuxets seems to have escaped unscathed.]
The story of Squanto ends:
In November 1623, while on a trading expedition to the Massachusetts Indians, Squanto came down with Indian fever. Squanto died suddenly, "attended with bleeding much at the nose." Before his death, Squanto talked with Governor Bradford and asked him "to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen's God in heaven, and bequeathed sundry of his things to sundry of his English friends as remembrances of his love, of whom they had a great loss."

Bradford's appreciation of Squanto was expressed in his history, Of Plimoth Plantation, when he says: ". . .Squanto continued with them (the Pilgrims) and was their interpreter and was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation. He directed them how to set their corn, where to take fish, and to procure other commodities, and was also their pilot to bring them to unknown places for their profit, and never left them till he died."
Now I'm going to copy out a very long passage about the period after they connected with Squanto, including the first Thanksgiving and the breakdown of friendly relations with the Indians.


During the next few months, the Native Americans and the colonists worked together to till and plant the first successful crops. The first feast of Thanksgiving, in October of 1621, was a harvest festival filled with fellowship, good food and games. The Indians and the colonists shared the fruits of their labor: venison, duck, turkey, corn and pumpkin.

We are told any misgivings between the two races faded from memory and the peaceful relations between the Pilgrims and their Indian friends continued. In his A Letter Sent from New England in December, 1621, Edward Winslow reported: "Wee have found the Indians very faithfull in their Covenant of Peace with us; very living and readie to pleasure us: we often goe to them, and they come to us; some of us have bin fiftie myles by Land in the Country with them; the occasions and Relations . . . Yea it hath pleased God so to possess the Indians with a feare of us, and love unto us, that not onely the greatest King amongst them call Massasoyt, but also all the Princes peoples round about us, have either made sute unto us, or beene glad of any occasion to make peace with us, so that seaven of them at once have sent their messengers to us to that end . . . So that there is now great peace amongst the Indians themselves, which was formerly, neither would have bin but for us; and we for our parts walke as peaceably and safely in the wood, as in the hie ways in England, we entertain them familiarly in our houses, and they as friendly bestowing their Venison on us."


The Pilgrims had a deep and sincere friendship for the natives that endured for over fifty years. Nine thousand years of coping with the wilderness had ceased with the arrival of a more advanced culture. Rugged cutting steel blades, farming tools, trim clothing, warm blankets, glass and metal containers and ornaments that no stone or shell work could duplicate-all these were available for trade. The Indians had all the makings of a good trade-plenty of pelts and a surplus of land. Outside their planting fields and villages lay vast tracts of unused countryside. John Josselyn, a non-puritan who visited America for a second time in 1663, reported, "Their merchandise are their beads [wampum], which are their better money. Of these there are two sorts: blue beads and white beads. The first is their gold, the last their silver. These they work out of certain shells so cunning… They drill them and string them, and make many curious works with them to adorn the persons of their sagamors and principal men and young women, as belts, girdles, tablets, borders for their women's hair, bracelets, necklaces, and links to hang in their ears."


The peace born of mutual support and trust eventually eroded. Another plague-the small pox epidemic of 1633-34-swept away thousands of Algonquins and made more land available. Only between fifteen to eighteen thousand Native People still survived in all of New England. Meanwhile, the expanding colonial towns were bulging with the new arrivals, eager to start claiming and clearing their own piece of America.


Land transfer was not a simple matter. The colonial laws guarded the rights of the natives. Only through qualified agents could purchases be made. Interpreters must be present, as well as several witnesses for both parties. The Indian owner or his family must be present for the formal signing, for unlike communal tribal lands of the western Indians, much of the land was owned by individual tribesmen. Finally, the sachem must also add his mark if he were in agreement. If all this puzzled the land-rich warrior, he may have been aware of his rights under English law. And when all was said and done, he generally retained his right to hunt and fish on the property. To the twentieth century mind, trade goods seems a small price to pay for a slice of real estate. But values must be interpreted as to time and place, and the Algonquin was certain he had the best of the bargain. In 1675, a full-scale war erupted between the increasing number of colonists and the Indians. Now known as King Phillip's War, after the name of the Massasoit's son, who was then chief, the clash lasted eleven years and caused great destruction on both sides.

The Wampanoag were defeated, and peaceful relations between the two groups were forever shattered.

The peaceful relations between the Pilgrims and Indians had lasted 54 years, during the lifetimes of the Massasoit and the original members of Plymouth Colony. [my emphasis]

Part V. First Pilgrim Thanksgiving

The background for the Pilgrim's first Thanksgiving is found in Bradford's History. In the fall of 1621, their first fall in the New World, "They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwelling against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength, and had all things in good plenty; for as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All summer there was no want. And now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first, but afterward decreased by degrees. And besides water fowl, there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, and now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion.--And thus they found the Lord to be with them in all their ways, and to bless their out-goings and in-comings..."

In their first ten months at Plymouth, just passed, they had erected seven dwellings, a Common Meeting house and three small store houses for food, clothing and other supplies.

In spite of their numbers having been cut in half by sickness and death, they found reasons for thankfulness. They had gained their foot-hold on the edge of an inhospitable continent. They were well recovered in health and strength. They were making the best of a hard life in the wilderness. They had proved that they could sustain themselves in the new, free land. They were assured of the success of their purpose of establishing freedom. They had made firm friends with the Indians, who had been so kind to them.

The original account of the first Pilgrim Thanksgiving is in a letter from Edward Winslow in Plymouth, dated Dec. 21st, 1621 to George Morton in England. It was printed in Mourt's Relation, London, 1662. Winslow relates the following: "We set last spring some twenty acres of Indian corn, and sowed some six acres of barley and peas. According to the manner of the Indians we manured our ground with herrings (alewives) which we have in great abundance and take with great ease at our doors. Our corn did prove well, and God be praised, we had a good increase in Indian corn. Our barley did indifferent good, but our peas not worth the gathering. We feared they were too late sown. They came up very well and blossomed, but the sun parched them in the blossom. Our harvest being gotten in, our Governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might, after a special manner, rejoice together, after we had gathered in the fruits of our labors. They four in one day killed as many fowl as with little help besides, served the Company for almost a week, at which time, amongst our recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their great king the Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted. They went out and killed five deer, which they brought in to the Plantation, and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. Although it not always be so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty. -- We have found the Indians very faithful in their Covenant of Peace with us; very loving and ready to pleasure us. Some of us have been fifty miles into the country by land with them. -- There is now great peace amongst us; and we, for our parts, walk as peaceably and safely in the woods here as in the highways in England. - I never in my life remember a more seasonable year than we have enjoyed. -- If we have but once kine, horses and sheep, I make no question but men might live as contented here, as in any part of the world. -- The country wanteth only industrious men to employ, for it would grieve your hearts to see so many miles together with goodly rivers uninhabited, and withall to consider those parts of the world wherein you live to be seven greatly burdened with abundance of people."

For three days the Pilgrims and their Indian guests gorged themselves on venison, roast duck, goose and turkey, clams and other shell-fish, succulent eels, corn bread, hasty pudding, leeks and water-cress and other "sallet herbes," with wild plums and dried berries as dessert, all washed down with wine made of the wild grape. The affair was more like an out-door barbeque for the entire population, than a family reunion dinner.

This feasting involved the preparation of unusually large quantities of food, some of it unfamiliar. Only four of their married women had survived, and only five teenage girls, three of those being the sole survivors of their families. They must have been extremely industrious and efficient, and they must have worn themselves ragged, trying to fill a hundred and forty demanding stomachs for three days. Sufficient tribute has never been paid to them for making these festivities a success, under such trying conditions. Indeed, even the success of the Colony rested largely in their most capable and devoted hands.

The gathering was enlivened by contests of skill and strength: running, jumping, wrestling. Also, there were games of various kinds. The Indians were probably amazed to learn that the white men could play games not unlike their own. The Indians performed their dances and struck up their singing. Standish put his little army of fourteen men through their military review. Then followed feats of marksmanship, muskets performing against bows and arrows. The Massasoit and his braves headed home at last with a warmth of feeling for his white friends which survived even the harsh tests to which it was soon subjected.

Thus they elaborately celebrated the prospect of abundance until their next harvest.


The first Pilgrim Thanksgiving in the fall of 1621 was a bountiful feast, but the inventory taken afterwards in preparation for winter proved the Pilgrims had grossly overestimated their harvest. The only way they could possibly get through the winter was to cut in half the already weekly rations of food. To make matters even worse, the ship Fortune arrived shortly thereafter with 35 new settlers. Only three were women. They came empty-handed and poorly clothed; ill-equipped for the approaching winter. Bradford wrote, "They were lusty young men, and many of them wild enough, who little considered whither or about what they went.-But there was not so much as biscuit or cake or any other victuals for them, neither had they bedding, but some sorry things they had in their cabins; not a pot nor pan to dress any meat in; nor over many clothes.-The Plantation was glad enough of this strength, but could have wished that many of them had been of better condition, and all of them better furnished with provisions."

Thus after a month the Fortune returned to England. The Fortune itself had to be supplied from the scant stores of the Colony for her return voyage.

Grim starvation now threatened their annihilation. The Pilgrim colonists could only tighten their belts. Many times the colonists supplied unexpected arrivals and distressed mariners, sometimes in large numbers, from their slender store.

The houses were very small, barely large enough for the families who, despite cold, hunger and sickness had built them. The new arrivals busied themselves by making additions to the seven houses where they were quartered.

From the first, the colonists had been repeatedly promised provisions from England, but the much needed relief never came.

The colonists struggled through the winter, but by May 1622 their food supply was completely gone and the harvest was four months away. According to Edward Winslow's account, the wildlife and fish were in short supply because the number of fowl decreased during the warm months and lacking the proper fishing gear they were prevented from taking advantage of the abundance of cod in the area.. Winslow stated, "And indeed, had we not been in a place where divers sorts of shell fish may be taken with the hand, we must have perished."

In desperation, Winslow was sent 150 miles up the Maine coast to buy, beg or borrow whatever provisions the English ships there could spare. All who were asked gave what they could and not one would accept payment of any kind.

By the time Winslow returned, the settlers were literally starving. The provisions were a godsend but there were many mouths to feed; when rationed out, each person received only 1/4 lb. of bread a day.

[The "Five Kernels of Corn" material is based largely on the work of Susan E. Roser of the Canadian Mayflower Society.]


The long awaited harvest of 1622 was a dismal failure. The Pilgrims had not yet perfected the art of growing corn. They had been busy building the fort and their lack of food that summer had left them too weak and weary to tend the fields properly. It seemed they now faced the prospect of another year with little food.

Yet another ship arrived at Plymouth, the Discovery, this one from Virginia on its way home to England. It had a cargo of what the settlers needed - knives, beads and assorted trinkets which could be traded with the Indians. Seeing how badly they needed the goods, the captain cheated them miserably, but they considered the ship's arrival a blessing - they could now trade with the Indians for food.

Corn was not known to Europeans until it was discovered in America. It is not too much to say that without the indigenous Indian corn, the Pilgrims could not have survived. None of the great variety of English garden seeds they had brought with them and planted ever produced a good harvest. Their food supply became precarious. Occasionally a deer, wild turkey, partridge or quail was bagged, if the hunters were fortunate; fish when fishermens' luck permitted, lobster, alms and eels, if and when they could be found. Wild berries, grapes, groundnuts, strawberries and such could be plucked in their season. Besides not having sufficient grain to make bread, they were also without butter, cheese and milk because they had no cattle.

By early 1623 the shallop had been rudely fitted out as a fishing vessel. It was constantly at sea, coming ashore only long enough to unload a catch and change crews. For months at a time the Pilgrims' diet consisted of fish, clams, groundnuts and whatever deer or water fowl could be hunted. Bradford wrote of this time, saying, "By the time our corn is planted, our victuals are spent, not knowing at night where to have a bite in the morning, and have neither bread nor corn for 3 or 4 months together; yet bear our wants with cheerfulness, and rest on Providence."

It was at this time, awaiting the harvest of 1623 they lived four or five days at a time on a few grains of corn.

Again their hopes rested on a good fall harvest. A six-week drought began in June and the crops turned brown and were slowly withering away. They turned to the only hope they had - intervention by God, and appointed a solemn day of humiliation and prayer. They assembled one July morning under a hot, clear sky and for nine hours prayed. Their prayers were answered by the next morning, and for the next two weeks they were greeted, in the words of Winslow with "such softe, sweet and moderate showers . . . As it was hard to say whether our withered corne or drooping affections were most quickened and revived." [my emphasis]

It turned out to be a double blessing from above. That same month arrived the ships Anne and Little James with 60 new settlers which came loaded with provisions.

The harvest in the fall of 1623 proved to be the best yet. It also promised a new beginning for the Pilgrim colonists, and they never starved again.

There are many side pages linked from the above at the site that have more good information.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Counterfeit "heaven" stories deceive even Christians

They believe they really went to heaven, you believe they really went to heaven, but have you made any effort to compare what they said with scripture or are you uncritically trusting in your own emotional reaction?

Out-of-body experiences and experiences of "heaven" are fairly common these days -- seems we hear of one every few years at least. Now there's the story of Colton, a boy who had such an experience during a life-or-death surgery at the age of four, met family members he'd never known, including a sister his mother had miscarried although he'd known nothing about that, and saw "God" and "Jesus." He's now seven and talking about it to the press.

The most distressing thing about these reports, it seems to me, is that sometimes Christians believe them. There are usually plenty of signs that the experiences are bogus but what happens is that people become dazzled by the mere idea of being out-of-body or transported to another dimension.

Part of the experience may be the kind of out-of-body experience in which the person, lying unconscious on an operating table, finds himself above the scene looking down on it, can see himself unconscious, can see other people in the area and hear what they are saying. Afterward those other people report that the unconscious person's observations were correct, and what happens then is that others believe the story and think such details make the whole thing valid.

So then if during that same episode there is also an experience of going to "heaven," that is also believed. In this boy's case there are the apparently validating elements of his having talked to someone who claimed to be his sister that his mother had miscarried, and a great grandfather he had never met. Afterward his parents confirmed both stories. It turned out that the boy recognized a picture of the great grandfather when he was young though not when he was old, the idea being that "in heaven" everyone is young, and in the case of the sister his mother's miscarriage was confirmed by his parents.

I have the bad habit of spending time studying something, such as this phenomenon of visits to "heaven," only to leave it behind for something else so that when it reappears it catches me off guard and I'm surprised that anyone still takes it seriously. Years ago I was a member of a charismatic "parachurch" organization and heard the "testimony" of other members which usually include supernatural elements and in one case involved an experience of "heaven." I accepted these stories, including the one of heaven, but found over time that I had an increasing unease about much of what was being said, which finally came to such a pitch that I prayed for clarity and was then able to see the errors in them.
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Clues to deception come to light when you pray
The credulity with which these stories are so easily accepted does have the effect of suppressing criticism, in spite of the fact that scripture counsels us to "test the spirits" and not be gullible. I was finally led to pray over my doubts and began to recognize deceptions that convinced me finally to leave the organization -- and the charismatic movement in general. The questions I was having were all about the supernatural experiences, including the experience of "heaven."

It had occurred as so many of them do, when she was very sick. She was taken out of her body and supposedly shown the throne room of heaven. She gave teachings to the group based on her experience, and the main tip-off to its counterfeit nature was her teaching on the "steps to the throne of grace." I hadn't questioned it when I heard it but when I prayed about it I saw that it contradicts the call in scripture to "come boldly to the throne of grace," instead of having to laboriously meet the requirements of a series of "steps" to get there.
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Then other elements of the story also showed themselves to be counterfeit, although unfortunately I don't have any notes handy to remind me of them so I can't be very specific about them. As I recall, however, the Holy Spirit in this person's vision was reduced to an empty image rather than a Person, in the form of a corner of a great train that was part of the garment of God that "filled the throne room" -- a piece would break off and fall in the shape of a dove down to earth. I think imagery may be an important deceptive element in these experiences as it can mislead people into accepting a falsification of major doctrine, in this case the Trinity, by charming them with fascinating irrelevancies. That is, the common idea that "seeing is believing" is a perfect set-up for deception. There was also a part of this person's vision that involved pigs, which I think ought also to have been a tip-off but unfortunately that part is less clear in my memory than the reduction of the Holy Spirit to a piece of cloth.

These things are most likely demonic
Since everyone in the group accepted this story without criticism, including me until I prayed about it, I appreciate how easily even Christians are deceived by such demonic shenanigans. And that is without doubt what they are. I don't doubt that people have such experiences, and that they are REAL experiences, experiences of another dimension of spiritual reality, not hallucinations and not inventions of the human psyche, but I have learned to expect that they will turn out to be the work of demons.

In some cases there may be fraud involved, but there is no need to assume this as so many unbelievers do. For instance, Fox News has been ridiculed for accepting Colton's story so uncritically, and rightly so but for the wrong reasons. They are sure it must be fraud. Well, it COULD be, but there is no reason to assume that it is. On the surface it sounds more like other experiences along the same lines that have the marks of demonic manipulation. And there are the usual "test" elements, his meeting people he knew nothing about otherwise.

There is nothing beyond the powers of demons to convey such knowledge to a little boy, and nothing beyond their motives to deceive either. They can easily impersonate people. That's how the spirits of "dead people" appear in "haunted houses." They are demonic impersonations of the people who once lived there (people who were most likely actually possessed by the demons who now impersonate them). In Colton's case they also included in their deception false images of "God" -- visualized as so "big" he can hold the Earth in his hands, and of "Jesus" "whose smile lights up the heavens" and has "sea blue" eyes. What disgusting poppycock, but CHRISTIANS believe this pap? Colton himself doesn't even seem to believe it as he just rattles off the empty phrases by rote. Perhaps he actually experienced them and is simply tired of repeating it -- or maybe as some suggest it's a sign that it was made up and imposed on him. I don't know. His father is supposedly a pastor. A deceived pastor obviously. But whatever the source, the images of God and Jesus are ridiculously phony.

It's similar to what psychics practice
This is typical of the work of psychics too. Again, much of that may also be fraudulent but to the extent that there is reality to some of it the source of that reality is demonic activity. That is, psychics really can have knowledge of things that their clients know nothing about, OR can know things that ONLY the client knows, because demons convey the knowledge to them. I've wondered if sometimes there may also be a merely human psychic power that for some reason is developed in certain individuals and not others, but I think the most common cause is demonic intervention. This seems to have been the case with the "witch of Endor" who had a familiar spirit (a demon) who supplied the knowledge or perhaps even faked the appearance of a dead person to deceive her clients, just as all mediums have, but in the case of King Saul was pre-empted by the appearance of the REAL prophet Samuel, to her amazement and fear.

Some think a child is too innocent to be deceived by demons but this is a big mistake. Children are members of the fallen human race, after all, and may also inherit a special vulnerability to demonic activity through their fallen ancestors as well. They are in fact the perfect set-up for demonic deception because people do sentimentalize them as innocent. Satan and his demons have no scruples. They are out to deceive and kill and they have no tender feelings for humanity. There are many stories out there of people who had frightening experiences as children, of demonic beings that would visit them at night, shake their beds and do other frightening things. Demons do not leave children alone.

Sometimes special talents are imparted, even to children
There is another story about a four-year-old's visit to heaven, the story of Akiane Kramarik now a teenager, whose unusual talents as a painter and a poet she ascribes to that visit. Her experience and amazing talents convinced her own atheistic family of the reality of "God" and she has dedicated herself to bringing her message of "God" to the world.

Can demons impart such talents? Well, Akiane says she sometimes simply receives her poetry fully written as it were. This is the same way the channelers of the religious doctrines, A Course in Miracles, the Seth Books, Urantia, and the teachings of Rael, also received their messages. As for the painting, I once talked to a woman deeply involved in Hindu / New Age practices who was also an artist and created similarly impressive realistic images, in her case sculptures, a talent she also attributed to "God."

But the main problem with Akiane's art is that her message is New Age although people mistake it for Christian because it includes images of "Jesus." This is a romanticized "Jesus," just as Colton's "Jesus" is, a Jesus without the cross, a Jesus who didn't die for sin but just mushily "loves" everyone. She even believes and promotes the New Age lie about Jesus' supposed "lost years" in which they claim he went to India and was taught Hinduism. The truth is that Jesus grew up as a Jew, studying Torah in the Temple, learning carpentry from His earthly adoptive father Joseph. It is ridiculous to put Him in India instead, but that's what the demons who inspire New Age phony religion have done. ANYTHING TO DECEIVE, even deceive the very elect who aren't paying attention or who aren't well taught by their pastors.

Take it to the Bible with prayer
A place to start to recognize such deception may be the few Biblical reports of experiences of heaven and supernatural realities. Start with Paul's experience of visiting the "third heaven." He said it was unlawful to describe it -- there is a reverence for holy things in that attitude we simply do not find in any of the recent claims to have seen heaven. Then there is John who was taken up to the throne room of God, as he reports in Revelation chapter 4. He also saw the Lord Jesus in chapter 1, who gave him the messages to the seven churches before he was called up to heaven. Even encounters with true angels of God inspire awe and the impulse to worship from mere mortals because of their dazzling beauty and power, as both John and the prophets of the Old Testament attest. Encounters with the true God inspire even deeper awe, and a profound sense of personal sin and fear of judgment. Take a look at Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel and more. There is NOTHING of this sort of feeling in the recent spate of out-of-body experiences. Instead we get the most casual of descriptions and a sort of breathless excitement over their mere supernatural unusualness. Or we get the nonsense of Shirley MacLaine who was taught through her encounters with otherworldly beings that SHE is "god." Oh brother. NonChristians who reject the Bible may fall for this demonic deception, but Christians should not. And yet some do.

"Christian" sources are guilty of promoting these lies
Here's an article on the popularity of books on these things which indicates how far Christians may be deceived by them and not warned by people who should warn them:

Interest continues to grow in afterlife books Written by Eric Tiansay
Tuesday, 19 October 2010 10:02 AM EDT

New offerings on heaven and hell titles target people 'fascinated' with eternal subjects

Publishers continue to release and market titles on the afterlife as interest on the topic show no signs of dying.
Sounds like they are willing to feed this continuing "interest" just because there is a market for it, quite apart from whether the books have any real value in a Christian life. Of course they must have rationalized the topic as having such value, although it's a pretty thin rationalization when examined in the light of scripture.

This month, Thomas Nelson releases Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Nebraska pastor Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. In the book, Burpo recounts the near-death experience of his 4-year-old son, Colton, who began surprising his parents with detailed accounts of Jesus, places described in the Scriptures and departed relatives, including meeting his sister in heaven—a girl lost in a miscarriage before he was born.
Got to comment here that Christians are called to faith in what scripture teaches us, and that includes knowing that Heaven is "for real" without having to have it experienced by anyone. Scripture gives us the story of Thomas who refused to believe what he was told by those who had seen the risen Christ and would only believe when he himself actually saw Him. Jesus graciously granted him that experience but when He did He also admonished him that it was more blessed to have believed the reports. That is an admonishment to all of us, to believe the testimony of God's word, including that story. Jesus also told a story about a rich man who died and went to Hell and begged to be allowed to come back long enough to warn his family of its reality, but Jesus answers him that if they hadn't believed Moses neither would they believe even someone who came back from the dead. Faith means having ears to hear, not seeing. And a pastor, Colton's father, ought himself to have recognized that immediately. Was he carried away by its being his own son who had the experience?

The book follows the July release by Tyndale House Publishers of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven—co-authored by Kevin Malarkey.
What a GREAT name for the author of such a story! The story is very sad, however, and it's doubly sad that the malarkey in it is being exploited.

The book details the story of Malarkey's 6-year-old son, Alex, whose skull was detached from his spinal column in a car accident. While comatose, the boy says that he experienced God's voice, otherworldly music and heaven's gates.

The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven reached the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction best-seller list, with more than 97,000 copies in print after three printings already, Tyndale officials said.

Meanwhile, Bethany House Publishers/Baker Publishing Group released in May Ken Gire's Flight to Heaven, an account of Capt. Dale Black's near-death experience in a plane crash at age 19. Bethany House then followed that with the August release of Encountering Heaven and the Afterlife by James Garlow and Keith Wall—a collection of stories of the afterlife inspired by the pair's 2009 Bethany House release, Heaven and the Afterlife.

Elsewhere, Strang Book Group's Charisma House 2006 title, 23 Minutes in Hell by Bill Wiese, recently passed the 1 million mark in sales.
I have to admit that I'm more likely to believe an experience of Hell than of Heaven, just because it seems less likely to gloss over the danger faced by those who are not saved by Christ, but since I don't know what the book says I can't be sure its impact is what I imagine it to be, and the same rule applies anyway -- we are to believe God's word and not believe anyone's experience over that.

Matt Baugher, vice president and publisher of nonfiction for Thomas Nelson, told Christian Retailing that there are "surface similarities" between the two new books about two boys experiencing heaven, but they are "actually quite different."

"The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven is more about a traumatic experience in the life of a family and trauma, which continues to this day because of Alex's ongoing physical struggles," Baugher said. "It's also more a book written for people who are already committed Christians. Heaven is for Real was written for a wide audience, and for those who are curious and yet unsure."
Are these really Christians who are saying such things? How can they be so gullible? Whatever happened to the authority of scripture and the admonition to walk by faith and not by sight?

He declined to say the number of the first printing for the book, but "it is significant." "We expect strong sales, and the buzz is already developing," Baugher said. "We expect the pass-along rate on this title to be very high."

Heaven is for Real features a tie-in with Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry—a 2006 Nelson book by Akiane Kramarik, a child prodigy who at age 8 had painted a picture of Christ. In Heaven is For Real, Burpo's son, Colton, detailed accounts of Jesus matches the portrait of Christ painted by Akiane.
Sigh. You don't think demons get together and compare notes? If they don't, at least they take orders from up the chain, and their superiors are going to concoct such similarities to deceive the gullible.

"To have another child who had actually been to heaven verify the accuracy of the portrait was astounding," Baugher said. "This connection sealed the deal for us as a company. Since we had published (Akiane's) book, we not only knew the family, but were partners in sharing their story. Akiane is now 16, and (along) with her parents, Mark and Foreli, (want) to help us with the continuing conversation about Christ."
OK, now I'm suspecting this isn't really even a Christian publishing company (I guess now I have to research it). This degree of gullibility is too much.

Meanwhile, a Spanish edition is in the works for The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, and a documentary DVD was released by Tyndale House in conjunction with the book.
Going to have a LOT to answer to God for there, Tyndale House, and all the rest of you, in misleading Christians, and worse, most likely misleading others away from Christ when you should be leading them TO Him.

"It's probably an overstatement to say that books about kids dying and going to heaven have become a trend," Tyndale Associate Publisher Janis Long Harris told Christian Retailing. "But it's clear that people are fascinated with and find comfort in the topic of heaven. We've certainly seen that here at Tyndale."
You should be pointing them to scripture for that comfort instead of leading them down the primrose path to this bogus "heaven" of mere experience and demonic plots.

Harris cited Randy Alcorn's Heaven, which has been through 17 printings, totalling more than 675,000 copies, since it was released in October 2004,

Joel Kneedler, a literary agent for Alive Communications, told Christian Retailing that he pitched Heaven is for Real to Nelson because he thought "it needed to be told." He added that both the book and The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven "are remarkable and deserve to be told."

"I do not see a specific trend," he said. "Books about heaven have a way of comforting Christians and increasing our faith. It's natural to wonder about heaven, what it will be like, who we will meet. … I think Don Piper's book opened a door in the trade book market for books on heaven."

Following its release in 2004 by Revell/Baker Publishing Group, Piper's 90 Minutes in Heaven was a mainstay for three years on the New York Times Paperback Nonfiction best-seller list. It has more than 4.5 million copies in print in softcover, Spanish, hardcover, audio and large-print editions.
Here is a gospel-centered review of Piper's book, and here is the crux of that review:

But what true, lasting assurance can we find in the dubious experiences of another mere human? Our assurance is to be in God and His promises through Scripture, not in man.

I do believe Don Piper is a sincere man and one who loves God. He seems to sincerely believe that he experienced heaven and has been called by God to share his experience with others. But I do not believe that he did see heaven. I cannot say what his experience was, whether it was purely psychological or whether it was even some type of demonic deception. What I do know is that the Scriptures are wholly sufficient for believers. We do not need to see or experience heaven in this life. Nor should we desire Don Piper’s heaven.

I see no reason to believe that God wants us to know more about heaven than He has revealed to us in His Word.

Christian Retailing concludes:

"God always has a message for us, but it seems right now it's about the hope we have in Him—the hope of heaven," Baugher said. "We've come to understand that many people have these near-death experiences, but not all get to see as much as Colton did. "
Again, how sad it is that Christians are so willing to abandon faith for sight -- which always sets us up for deception.

And why should we trust publishers either? Something comes to mind about the love of money ...

But since it is so hard to get anyone to listen to any of this who is enamored of these stories, I also have to comment on how sad it is that there are so many Christians who think Christians aren't supposed to judge one another on Christian doctrine, or judge whether someone is a Christian or not. Where is that in scripture? We are told we will judge angels, so much the more we are to judge true and false Christian doctrine. Christians accept others as Christians who are not Christians and show it in many ways, even in the grossest of false doctrine. This is SO sad. All one can do is pray that God will give light. But such basic gullibility also explains why there is no discernment about bogus visions of "heaven" as well.

Perhaps the worst thing about all this is the PRIDE these gullibles show who react indignantly against anyone who tries to set them straight. All they can do then is keep digging themselves further into deception and getting further from recognizing the truth. OK, best I not accuse people of pride or other attitudes that can't be proven. Maybe it isn't always pride, but just naivete. The problem is it's such a stubborn naivete that won't yield.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Violations of personal dignity in the name of Security

UPDATE, Nov. 21: Seems Tyner's refusal to tolerate the new security measures has sparked a general outcry from the public. Finally! About time!

Here's today's Yahoo article on the subject, TSA has met the enemy and they are us .

Cute title. However, the coverage is limited to objections to the full body scanner and pat-down Tyner complained about, although earlier objections are touched on. What isn't touched on at all, avoided like the plague they obviously consider it to be, is the biggest cause of public distress of all: Political Correctness -- the refusal to focus attention on those most likely to be terrorists while subjecting ALL citizens to invasion of privacy and worse. Charles Krauthammer got to the point in a recent column on the subject, Don't Touch My Junk.

THIS is the fundamental outrage. As long as they keep ignoring that basic problem they can't deal with security issues at all.

I'm sick to death of White Guilt which is what the fear of racial profiling is all about. It's time to take back America and restore some common sense.

Nov. 17:

It's astonishing that they can justify X-ray machines that undress a person before the eyes of strangers, and pat-downs that subject innocent citizens to indignities formerly reserved for criminals, simply to board an airplane. Here's the website of John Tyner, whose objections to the scanner and then to a pat-down brought this to public notice in the last few days.

This outrageous mistreatment of ordinary citizens has been escalating ever since 9/11. Many actually accept it for the sake of security, as if the trade-off is justified, but this whole scenario comes from warped priorities. First they reject "racial profiling" in the name of a spurious equality although the odds of preventing crime are improved by recognizing the most likely suspects. Certain visible clues ought to determine who gets singled out for suspicion. This doesn't have to become a racist nightmare if authorities are taught good investigative sense and basic humanity.

Following from that restriction on common sense now everyone is subjected to the violations -- and possible health risks as well -- of these infernal machines, enforced by physical indignities if a person refuses to be subjected to the machine. What's to keep perverts from applying for this job by the way? Not much from what I've heard, and in fact they are already lining up for the job. SO much easier now, legal too, to spy on the girls (or boys) in the john AND even get a free feel if they protest. Is that such a far-fetched idea? I don't know, it seems to me like a possibility. Besides this possibility, apparently the new methods don't really protect us from anyone who really is a terrorist anyway.

If personal freedom and basic human dignity aren't your highest priority then all kinds of enormities against individuals in this formerly freedom-founded land start getting taken for granted.

So how SHOULD we deal with the security problem? Start with profiling the most likely suspects, whether that means racial profiling or not. Keep the investigative agencies busy at their job of recognizing who is a criminal and who isn't. Use the old metal detectors. Sure, some weapons may escape detection that way. Also, put armed security on every flight. Actually, it wouldn't hurt to let more responsible citizens carry guns in general. Crime goes down wherever it is known that ordinary citizens keep guns in their houses. Let them pass through the checkpoints based on proper permits. Some will fake it but the more ordinary citizens are given this responsibility and the more it is known that citizens may be carrying weapons the more security there will be.

My suggestions may not be the best but the point is there have to be better ways than demoralizing the entire nation by the kind of mistreatment of innocent citizens the new security methods inflict.