Pixelberry Studios, the Choices app, and Perfect Match.

In 2018, I downloaded and began playing an app on my new smartphone titled Choices: Stories You Play created by a mobile gaming company called Pixelberry Studios. It features stories of romance that you have some control over by making decisions on behalf of the stories’ Main Characters. The characters include teenagers in high school, young adults in college, older adults dealing with mysteries and fighting criminals and other powerful enemies, and even some historical scenarios.

https://choices-stories-you-play.fandom.com/wiki/Choices:_Stories_You_Play_Wikia

Of all the stories I have played so far, my favorite by far has been Perfect Match.

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Being Better Educated and Changing my Opinion

One of my basic principles of being an Honorable Skeptic is what I call the malleability of my opinions, as expressed this way:

Because I am honorable, I sometimes willingly concede points made by my opponents in debates with them. This should never be seen as a sign of weakness. When I know I am right about something, I will fight to the bitter end to support my case and discredit my opponent because in some cases I do see my battles as a struggle between light and darkness, good and evil, or ignorance and knowledge. But I am also willing at times to listen to my opponent and consider his point of view, especially if that person is known by me to be honorable. If we do not listen to others, how can we ever grow in knowledge?

In the past, I opposed the legal concept of statutory rape, thinking it an outdated and irrational one, much like laws in the past banning homosexual relations or interracial unions. But recent events have made me reconsider my position and try to understand why otherwise enlightened people would be so insistent that teens should never be allowed to have romantic and sexual relations with older partners, even of their own choosing.

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Shoghi Effendi, Covenant Breaker

In a blog entry from over a decade ago, I directly assaulted the credibility of the Guardianship of Shoghi Effendi, who led the Baha’i Faith from 1921 until his death in 1957. To this day, I consider The Fatal Flaw of Baha’i Authority to be my one of my greatest works and the ultimate refutation of the Baha’i Faith as led by the leadership based in Haifa, Israel.

I have also debunked the credibility of Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament, the very document that Shoghi Effendi based his authority on.

https://bahai-writings-criticism.blogspot.com/2018/04/a-critical-analysis-of-will-and.html

It is shocking enough that the so-called Guardian did not uphold the Covenant at the time of his death. But what if I told you that he also broke it while he was alive?

When he was Guardian, Shoghi Effendi would often expel dissident Baha’is from the community, including nearly ALL his closest relatives. But a reading of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha reveals that he should NOT have had that power and he was abusing his position as Guardian!

After declaring the absolute authority of the Guardian, Abdu’l-Baha says this:

My object is to show that the Hands of the Cause of God must be ever watchful and so soon as they find anyone beginning to oppose and protest against the Guardian of the Cause of God, cast him out from the congregation of the people of Bahá and in no wise accept any excuse from him.

So the Hands of the Cause of God are expected to expel those disloyal to the Guardian, not the Guardian himself. Meanwhile….

Should any of the members [of the Universal House of Justice] commit a sin, injurious to the common weal, the Guardian of the Cause of God hath at his own discretion the right to expel him, whereupon the people must elect another one in his stead.

So the only expulsion the Guardian is empowered to do is to remove members of the UHJ from that body, and not necessarily from the Baha’i community completely. So how did Shoghi Effendi gain the same power to expel Baha’is completely as the Hands of the Cause of God? By merely asserting he had that power already! But if he did, then the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha really should have read:

My object is to show that the Guardian of the Cause of God must be ever watchful and so soon as he finds anyone beginning to oppose and protest against him, cast the Covenant breaker out from the congregation of the people of Bahá and in no wise accept any excuse from him.

The Constitution of the United States of America grants Congress, not the President, the power to declare war, but it also grants the President the rank of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. But the last time Congress did declare war was in December 1941, right after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Yet the USA has fought wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq without a Congressional declaration of war, because of the President taking advantage of his position of Commander-in-Chief. This is straight up TYRANNY the American people should NEVER have tolerated!

Likewise, Baha’is the world over blindly assumed that Shoghi Effendi had the right to expel people from the Baha’i community. He didn’t even start to appoint living Hands of the Cause of God until 1951, thirty years after he began his Guardianship and he NEVER served as a member of the UHJ! Why not? Was his megalomania so problematic that he was never willing to share power with anyone in his early days as Guardian?

Then he never should have been Guardian to begin with.

Featured in a magazine critical of the Baha’i Faith

A few months ago, I was contacted via Facebook by Hamid Farnagh and he requested I provide material for his magazine, which is dedicated to criticizing the Baha’i Faith. I complied and soon portions of my writings appeared there, along with a description of me.

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I then requested he send me an English translation of what was written so I could be sure my writings had been properly represented. He promised me he would do so, but his efforts were delayed by his contracting the coronavirus, which he survived. Once he got well, he kept his word to me and I got the translation in email, which I then downloaded and read. Now I will share that text with my readers.

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Confronting a Christian evangelist in YouTube

Watch this video:

In the comments section, this person popped up to begin preaching, proving that some Christian idiots simply don’t know when to shut up and act like adults.

do you guys really believe that nothing created everything?😂 Anyways, God loves you!😁❤
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@Let’s Discuss with Eliza Well, for us, God is spirit. It doesn’t mean that you can’t see, it doesnt exist. Like “air” for example its not visible for human eyes but that doesnt mean it doesnt exist. When I look at my surroundings, seeing so much detail in everything I see..it makes it impossible for me that it just pops up out of nowhere..i mean thats “scientifically” impossible.. Well thats just my opinion on that, and I respect your opinion too.😄 Godbless!
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@FHI Simple, because God is a just God.. would a just judge allow rapist, thiefs, murderers, adulteres, etc. to be free without justice?😊 In fact we are all guilty for these stuff (luke 18:19) and that is why God gave us his only son as a sacrifice for our sins because of his great love for us. (romans 6:23)Even if you dont believe, that doesn’t change his love for you. (God is the alpha and the omega, He is self existing and is not affected by time)😉 Yes, we dont deserve such kind of goodness but thats just how He is. I would glady answer if you any questions😄 hope that helps..
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@FHI Do you understand the purpose of the commandments given by God? Now Imagine a world without rules..no punishments, no discipline, no consequences..would you think it would be a great world to live in where humans lives like wild, using their preference in choosing what is good for them like for ex. “It feels good so why not”. (thats what most rapist,murderers,etc. usually use it as an explanation)
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@FHI Every other Religion gets you to try and save yourself like falling from a cliff and just flapping your arms hoping. In Christianity, He already did that for you. Thats the difference.. and dont even get me started on how I grew up, Im probably worse than you haha.. I was actually an athiest before. Even after my parents converted, I hated them coz For me, its just a waste of time and the “money thing” stereotype. I hated them so much but later on God saved me from having a sinful life and he is still transforming me till now.. I hope that you read everything on top coz i feel like you still don’t understand what I mean.. Open your heart brother🙂
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So I decided to give this person a verbal body slam.
@TheChosenOne Official No one believes nothing created everything. At least we admit to not knowing where the universe came from. Your assumption that a god or gods must have done it omits one thing…..evidence for such creators.
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@TheChosenOne Official ” I was actually an athiest before….. later on God saved me from having a sinful life and he is still transforming me till now.” I doubt your claim and in any case it doesn’t matter. You were probably a terrible atheist and thus we are better off without you.
Then I nailed him to the wall with this:
The Chosen One vomited: “God is a just God.. would a just judge allow rapist, thiefs, murderers, adulteres, etc. to be free without justice?”
What about a corrupt judge who employs mass murderers, rapists and even child molesters to do his bidding?
Moses said, “Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves.” (Numbers 31 17-18)
See you in hell, hypocrite!

Talk about shocking religious scandals!

 

How religious sects can be a farce for embarrassment

Read this ridiculous article:

https://blog.oup.com/2020/04/how-religious-sects-can-be-a-force-for-good/

How religious sects can be a force for good

On Sunday, 29 March, Russell M. Nelson, president of the 16-million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, released a video from Salt Lake City calling on church members everywhere to join in a fast “to pray for relief from the physical, emotional, and economic effects of this global pandemic.”

Some 71 years before, on 6 April 1949, members of the True Jesus Church around the world responded to the call of their leader, Wei Yisa, to fast and “pray for peace.” Communist forces were advancing on the city of Nanjing, where the church headquarters was located. Shortages were severe and prices were skyrocketing.

“It is hard to buy even one grain of rice,” reported an article in the Holy Spirit Times, the church’s international periodical.

One month’s worth of contributions is not enough to cover basic needs such as a day’s vegetables. It is not enough to cover even one day’s postage. We have begun to take good wood beams intended for building and sell them for firewood.

A worldwide fast as a response to a life-threatening crisis, just as spring was beginning to warm the days and coax bright colors from the earth, is a lot for these two churches to have in common. But the parallels go far beyond this.

Both the True Jesus Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are restorationist churches, claiming to have restored the true gospel of Jesus Christ after centuries of apostasy. The Latter-day Saint tradition starts in the spring of 1820 when a New York farmboy named Joseph Smith said he had a vision in which God the Father and Jesus Christ told him none of the existing churches were true. The True Jesus Church tradition starts nearly a century later in the spring of 1917, when a rural northeastern Chinese man named Wei Enbo said he had a vision in which Jesus Christ commanded him to “correct the Church.”

Both Smith and Wei were charismatic leaders who claimed to receive divine revelation, were reported to have performed miraculous feats of healing, frequently got on the wrong side of the law, and died young. Both were succeeded by pragmatic leaders (Brigham Young and Wei Yisa) who solidified church institutions and ensured the movement’s long-term survival.

Both churches have continued to thrive and expand globally, though they remain tiny as far as world religious movements are concerned. In 2017 the True Jesus Church, now with 1.5 million members, commemorated the 100th anniversary of Wei Enbo’s founding vision. This year the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, claiming 16 million members, celebrates the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s first vision (coincidentally, the day Smith formally organized the church in 1830 was 6 April—the same day as the True Jesus Church fast in 1949).

Restorationist churches are by nature exclusivist. For instance, Wei Enbo taught that no one could be saved unless they were baptized face-down and unless they had spoken in tongues. This exclusivist certainty leads to a universalistic orientation. In other words, the more a religious tradition insists that specific particulars of theology and practice are absolutely essential, the more likely it is to have mission outposts everywhere. If you believe your church is the only complete form of Christianity, when you move to another city or country, the local cathedral or neighborhood megachurch will not meet your needs. Wherever you go, you will seek out fellow believers like yourself, and if there are none, you will begin to seek converts.

Small, exclusivist religious groups tend to irritate people around them. Throughout their history, fellow Christians have labeled these two churches as disreputable and cultish. The Latter-day Saint movement began in upstate New York, but was driven west by flare-ups of mob violence and state suppression. During the 1950s and 1960s, the Communist party-state banned the True Jesus Church, imprisoning leaders and forcing rank-and-file members to meet secretly in their houses.

It’s sometimes difficult for upstart religious movements to strike the right balance between what sociologist Armand Mauss has called the twin dilemmas of respectability and disrepute. This is evident with the case of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea. Also led by a charismatic individual, also accused of being a cult, and also with a membership that likes to do things together, the church is now under fire.

Yet the resonance between the worldwide fasts of the True Jesus Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the spring of 1949 and 2020 suggests that such small but distinctive religious traditions also have something uniquely positive to offer. In the aftermath of World War II and today at the beginning of the twenty-first century, concepts such as “global arena” or “global community” are certainly viable. Yet in actuality, with real people, global scale tends to be overwhelming. It is nearly impossible to cast a global net without being sunk by the size of the catch. Small religious movements, however, are better positioned to pull it off.

Like Wei Yisa’s appeal to the True Jesus Church members in 1949, Russell M. Nelson’s call for a fast at the beginning of the first week of April 2020 went out to believers in such places as China, Japan, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom. Tens of thousands, possibly even millions of stomachs around the world went empty in concert. A fast offering was also collected to aid humanitarian efforts to ease the blow COVID-19 is dealing to the most vulnerable.

In times of global pandemic, inhabitants of the planet realize how inextricably we are connected, and also how little we usually have to do with each other, given vast divides in language, culture, space, and experience. In times like these, believers in tiny global communities who have long been eager to call each other sister and brother offer a sense of what is possible.

First, how can it be “good” to set up and promote sects within ANY religion that divide followers of the same religion against each other? That only appeals to egomaniacs and idiots.

I addressed this nonsense here:

In most cases, you must be a CHRISTIAN and nothing else. Do NOT claim as your primary religious identity any subdivision within Christianity, such as Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Mormon, or anything else. You would be a Christian who might go to a Baptist or Catholic church, but that’s it. Reject as necessary or justified any division within the Christian community that claims to be the one true religion. It is only CHRISTIANITY itself that ever should have made that claim. Not Mormonism, not the Jehovah’s Witnesses, nor any other such radical “reformist” or “restorationist” group within Christianity. These are simply additional divisions that do more damage to the credibility of Christianity itself.

I always thought it was the height of hubris that efforts to reform the Christian churches in the past, like that of Martin Luther and John Calvin during the Protestant Reformation were considered inadequate, but only with someone like Joseph Smith could restoration of true Christianity be accomplished and that only that specific path within Christianity could bring salvation to followers. That actually contradicts what Jesus said.

Matthew 16:18
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Emphasis mine)

Also:

Mark 9:38-40
John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he wasn’t in our group.”
“Don’t stop him!” Jesus said. “No one who performs a miracle in my name will soon be able to speak evil of me.
Anyone who is not against us is for us.

So a Christian is a Christian, period. All those conflicts and even outright persecutions of various Christian factions by other Christians were a violation of Jesus’ true teachings.

Even more stupid is the commandments of religious leaders to merely pray and fast rather than actually get up and do some practical work to deal with a crisis, like the current coronavirus pandemic. Even the many people that have been thrown out of work recently can still go volunteer at hospitals to help treat patients, but that option was not even mentioned.

Oh, wait….

Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’

Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

So…..it IS possible to do miracles in Jesus’s name but still be rejected by him in the end. You know, that could refer to charlatans like Joseph Smith and other cult founders that have turned believers in Jesus against each other.

Of course, such inconsistency even in the explicit teachings of Jesus himself would explain the fragmented nature of Christians around the world too.