TRIBUTE to E. G. Barrett of Hope, Alaska
This material is from personal letters and thoughts shared by a resident of Hope, Alaska. I think he came to Alaska from Detroit, Michigan, where he was an accomplished musician (violin?). He shared that talent at community gatherings in Hope (fiddle?) Hope is a small community on the south shore of Turnagain Arm in South Central Alaska, part of the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Mr. Barrett loved to talk, but he also was a prolific writer. As I have said elsewhere, I learned more from him about the first five centuries of the Christian Era than I did in seminary. He loved to bait fundamentalist preachers and since I was not one, he treated me very kindly. I visited Hope regularly during the summer of 1961 when I was the Summer Furlough Pastor on the Moose Pass Circuit, which included Moose Pass, Girdwood, Cooper Landing and Hope.
March 22, 1984 (Letter written to United Methodist Alaska Missionary Conference Thom White Wolf Fassett about ministry in Hope, Alaska by John Shaffer.)
The attached letter (dated August 26, 1961) would be an example of the type of ministry that was available at Hope to Benjamin Laird and myself. (I was the summer pastor in the year 1961.)
Here was an old timer who would not relate to fundamentalists, often throwing them out of his cabin, because they assumed he was not saved before they bothered to know him as a person.
He respected Ben Laird and obviously had much dialogue with him, as he did with me. I have a twelve page letter from him which I treasure. (It will be included in this post. Hopefully there will be few typing errors.) Mr. Barrett read the early church fathers deeply and had more knowledge than most seminary professors of that era of Christian literature.
Yet he had escaped and withdrawn to Hope from Detroit, Michigan, reason unknown. An accomplished musician, he would not have related to formal religion for any reason, yet there was a mutual ministry in occasional home visits.
This would be my primary evidence, both of the deep respect that United Methodist pastors enjoyed with some individuals in Hope and of the vital ministry that took place which does not and will not show up in statistics. I share this one letter for your own enjoyment of that individual.
(signed) John J. Shaffer
Letter from E. G. Barrett, Hope, Alaska, dated August 26, 1961 (when I was the summer furlough pastor for Ben Laird).
:Buenos dias, Amigo mia:
You will doubtless remember, that I once expressed dissatisfaction with the incomplete Bibles in use by all the orthodox Christian Churches; that I had further stated, that until I had an opportunity to become familiar with ALL the material that should have been incorporated in both the Old and New Testament, it would be impossible for me to join, or identify myself with any particular sect or group.
It has been my contention, that something was sadly lacking in the King James Version as well as the Catholic Bibles; there is truly something VERY wrong with the average person’s conception of a Supreme Being, and there is something VERY wrong with the ordinary person’s interpretation of much that Jesus meant to teach. Apparently, most Christians study the Bible the same way that a dumb kid in kindergarten learns to spell “Cat” — repeating the letters over and over, while THINKING OF SOMETHING ELSE! They say the right letters and words; they make the proper sounds; but fail to see the deeper meaning in even the simplest saying of Jesus Christ; ANYBODY can rattle off the “Lord’s Prayer” or say the Catholic Rosary so fast that it is almost unintelligible; they can spin a prayer-wheel; all this is of no benefit whatever.
To be of value, Christianity has to be MADE TO WORK, as taught and promised by Jesus Christ! It has to produce Peace of Mind; it has to produce HEALTH, and if it fails to do so, then something is very wrong, NOT WITH CHRISTIANITY, but with the manner in which it is understood and APPLIED.
We have been warned against this, even in the incomplete Bibles now in use: we have been cautioned about “Sounding Brass, and Tinkling Symbals—”
The ordinary “Christian” appears to be motivated by FEAR, and only interested in “Getting Saved’—he should be mainly interested in becoming a BETTER individual, and worthy to receive all those benefits promised by Jesus, which he claims to believe in. The “Fear” motive is a very low and disgusting reason for being “Pious”; a desire to do and be right, because it IS right, seems to me, a more mature and sensible approach.
I have had an opportunity, this summer, to read all that missing material that SHOULD have been in the Bible from the beginning; I cannot agree with SOME of the beliefs, conceptions and opinions held by followers of orthodox “Christianity” in it’s present mutilated and distorted form.
Solomon says: ————-With all Thy Getting, Get UNDERSTANDING” — Damn it, THAT is what I am trying to do!
I agree that “A good Tree Bringeth Forth Good Fruit” —- But can the best tree of which you may conceive, bring forth a bountiful yield of good fruit, if half it’s branches have been hacked off, and ony a few twisted sprouts allowed to remain? (Mr. Barrett used red ribbon for some words. I will use “bold” instead.)
Even the New Testament in common use, contains much wisdom, so well hidden that it is missed entirely — and those missing books and manuscripts contain a lot more, which taken along with what is in common use, completes the picture and serves to make plain many things that priest, preachers and teachers have been in the habit of disposing of by saying: “A MYSTERY OF OUR HOLY RELIGON’ —-
This is ridiculous!
There should be no MYSTERY to TRUTH. I simply do not believe that Jesus Christ ever intended to either deceive any one, or to with hold from any one, NECESSARY information that would benefit them!
The with holding was done, by the Early “Christian Fathers”: a gang of unprincipled cusses who tried to, and succeeded in, enslaving the whole race for more than a thousand years! You can hardly claim that Jesus Christ ever intended to innaugerate such an evil period as the “Dark Ages”: IT TAKES AN EVIL TREE TO BRING FORTH SUCH FRUIT!
John Wesley, the founder of your Church, believed that healing of disease was still possible just as in the time of Jesus. I think — in fact I practically KNOW, that it is! But the average “Christian” has such a warped conception of the whole thing, that he is not in the position to “Receive”; the “Cure” is there — but even Jesus Christ cannot fill a pail with water, if it is already full of something else!!!
All this leads up to the following statement as my position:
I cannot honesty identify myself with ANY group or Church, which bases it’s conceptions and interpretations on incomplete or warped and mutilated records. Some of the doctrines of orthodox Christianity do not agree with either the true teachings of Jesus, or known biological, historical and geological facts! If I said I believed these things, in order to get into the church, I WOULD BE A LIAR AND A HYPOCRITE: there are too many liars and hypocrites in the Church already — THAT’S JUST WHAT AILS IT!
I’ve never yet met any preachers or other teachers who could really explain the discrepancies in both the Old and New Testaments, but these old manuscripts SHED NEW LIGHT on the whole thing. Those old Gnostic Christian Manuscripts contain much material that is very essential to a true understanding of what Jesus intended to teach. Those early Church “Fathers” were a gang of cut-throats and scoundrals!
CHURCH FATHERS! Jesus said, “Call NO Man Father ——”
I have no kick against Jesus Christ: I deplore the fact, that His teachings have been mutilated, warped, twisted and obscured by unscrupulous men with an “Axe to Grind”.
I will talk with you further on this matter; “Come, Let Us Reason Together”!
To some extent, my present opinion is infuenced by a peculiar and unprecedented experience, which I will not discuss in this letter; I would not believe it, if it had happened to any one else, but facts are stubborn things, and cannot be brushed aside with a mere wave of the hand and a wise line of talk about “Mystery” and co-incidents;
Nothing happens, with out a cause — so then, where do we go from here? ? ? ? ?
In the words of Pilate, I ask: WHAT IS TRUTH?
Jesus did not answer him, and for good reason for in the material world, NOTHING is absolute TRUTH in it’s self, but subject to the law of relativity; There is only ONE ABSOLUTE TRUTH: The Mind of the Infinite, and to seek pure TRUTH anywhere else, is to be “Side-tracked” and led into error. Saying a beautiful prayer, while thinking about the latest model car, is not the way.
Because the physical world is not true REALITY, and our senses are a part of the physical world, it is impossible for us to see reality with phyical eyes, or to seek TRUTH through reason that emanates from the physical brain: A spiritual “Illumination” is necessary — I suppose you call it “Holy Spirit” — and I doubt very much if most people who use the phrase, “Holy Spirit”, really understand it, or know what they are talking about! The phrase rolls glibly off the tongue — “Sounding Brass, and Tinkling Cymbals”!
The Early Church “FATHERS” used to sell little bottles of “Holy Spirit” to the Faithful; Apparently THEY didn’t know what it was either!
————— He raised His eyes and with a look so stern, It made me with a thousand blushes burn; Replied: –his manner with disdain was spiced — “WHAT” I A CHRISTIAN? NO INDEED! I’m Christ.
Gotta quit; G’by————(signed) E. G. Barrett
Letter written by John J. Shaffer to Mr. E. G. Barrett, Hope, Alaska, on October 26, 1966, when I was the pastor at the United Methodist Church of Chugiak.
Dear Mr. Barrett:
My visit with you this past summer was enjoyable. I appreciate the fact that you have read widely in church history and doctrine. You had mentioned that you enjoyed the magazine THE PLAIN TRUTH which is published by Herbert W. Armstrong.
Shortly after talking with you, I read in the June issue which had an article on the size of Noah’s ark. It attracted me because you and I had discussed the biblical terms as far as size was concerned and agreed that it was not large enough for the task.
I personally consider this story to be a mythological attempt to answer certain questions about the way humankind found itself on this earth. Literal debates about size and possibilities become irrelevant in this view.
As you can see from the enclosed article, Armstrong bases his whole approach on a literalistic interpretation of the Bible. Even though you like many of his ideas, I would be so bold as to caution you against swallowing Armstrong.
Could you double check the size of the ark as figured out by your research on the question? I would be interested in having a record of your findings.
Sincerely, John J. Shaffer (Chugiak, Alaska)
Letter written by E. G. Barrett, Hope, Alaska, on October 30, 1966 to John J. Shaffer, living in Chugiak, Alaska. (A mystery: How did he write such a long letter so quickly?)
Dear Mr. Shaffer:
Your letter just received; I will try to answer it as intelligently as I am able — but this subject is not only a difficult one, but also a most important one; difficult, because the only language WE have, is one that has been developed to apply to and describe EARTHLY things: if we think in WORDS, and try to understand or describe divine or SPIRITUAL event, condition or thing (?), we are handicapped right from the beginning by this fact; and if we try to visualize spiritual events, conditions or things, we have no earthly experience with which to compare them; that is apparently the reason why St. John expressed himself as he did in Revelation: He said: “I Was In The Spirit On The Lords Day” — he had a vision of INFINITY, and then tried to tell what he saw in EARTHLY language; and he did it pretty well, I think! (I’ll return to this statement, “I Was In The Spirit” later).
Now there is no danger that I will go “overboard” in regard to Armstrong: I am a THINKER and that fact would make it impossible for me to blindly accept EVERYTHING he says: I may admire his aggressiveness as a speaker and I may agree with him that prophecy is a fact—that’s as far as I go.
His conception of a Supreme Mind or BEING is childish, just as the ideas of 90% of the human race are CHILDISH; he apparently visualizes GOD as having form like a man—but Jesus has said: God is SPIRIT and they who worship God must do so “In Spirit And In TRUTH”—
Now Spirit has no FORM; it is not limited by dimension; it is NOT subject to time; the instant you attempt to drag INFINITY down to physical form subject to the limitations of dimension, then it is no longer INFINITE, because Infinity means WITHOUT LIMITATIONS. ANYTHING HAVE PHYSICAL FORM simply can NOT be Eternal nor Infinite; the Bible states that we are “made In God’s IMAGE”—I think this resemblance is of the mind or spirit, and not of PHYSICAL bodies.
Armstrong denies the existence of any human Spirit or soul, probably because Solomon said “Man Has No Pre-eminence over the Beast”: Solomon was talking about man UNDER THE SUN, in the physical world. I KNOW that we DO have a Spirit from PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, and as far as I am concerned that point is settled. If Armstrong wants to remain on the level of a mud-turtle or a lump of coal, that doesn’t affect MY opinion.
In regard to holding a childish conception of the Deity: IF Christ told the truth, and God is pure Spirit, then to visualize this Supreme Being as a BIG man having FORM is to create a false God in the mind, it is MENTAL IDOLATRY, because it is worshipping a God of our own mental creation and is only one little step removed from actual PHYSICAL idolatry! WE ARE CAUTIONED NOT TO DO THIS! How about it ? ? ? ? ?
Jesus had COMPLETE knowledge of every wise or truthful thing that had been written before him; He many times referred to previous writings in the words: “It Is Written”—-many of His statements and parables were QUOTED from previous writings: the Dead Sea Scrolls contain many of those parables and sayings, written 100 years before he was born; supposed to have been written by Essenes. It is believed by many that Jesus was a member of this strict religious group.
The Catholic “Christian Fathers” thought they had destroyed all those records, and thought no one would ever be able to decypher Egyptian—And the Roman Catholics DECEIVED and controlled the whole human race for more than 1,000 years.
Of all the Reformers, only ONE stands out as being completely unselfish and Sincere: JOHN WESLEY.
The personal lives and habits of Calvin, Luther, Knox and a few others, won’t bear very close scrutiny!
There is a school of thought, that believes that the account in Genesis Chapter 1, pertains to a SPIRITUAL creation: that man was created as a SPIRIT creature on the Astral Plane, and that his errors and disobedience caused him to be imprisoned in a physical body in the world of form; and all human spirits were created in the beginning and each has to live a lifetime on earth where they have an opportunity to either go right or wrong. (MOST of them are NOT improving!)
Now about that Flood and the Ark:
There is a great deal wrong with THAT story, UNLESS one adopts your opinion, which is very plausible: I hadn’t thought about it, in this light. (JJS: My view is that the early stories are not history, but myth, designed to provide meaning to those of faith.)
There is plenty of proof right in the earth that not JUST ONE but several floods have occurred during the earth’s history. Just recently, a group of nosey scientists let a camera with light on it down in the ocean in a spot where water was two miles deep and obtained pictures of stone columns that were MAN made in some remote time! And I do NOT agree with Jehovah’s Witnesses (added by jjs: “and some fundamentalists”) that the earth is only 6,000 years old: The Bible says, that a day with The Lord, is as a thousand years, and a thousand as a day, so if you multiply 6,000 years by 365, you will know how many days there are in 6,000 years: then multipy those days by 1,000 and you will be nearer to the truth!
The Bible account says that the waters prevailed upward for 15 cubits—22 1/2 feet –until the highest mountains were covered; now today, there are many mountains nearly THREE MILES HIGH! So one has to believe one of two things: either those Bible writers were ignorant of mountains in other lands, or else in Noah’s time the earth WAS LEVEL and all those mountain ranges were pushed up either during the time the Ark was afloat, or afterward. Now water 25 or 30 foot deep over the whole LEVEL earth could easily “Abate” if this were the case, because we now have parts of the ocean that are 5 MILES DEEP; So if upheavals in the earth’s crust occurred during the flood that would explain it: the mountains WERE pushed up at SOME time—SNAIL shells can be found on mountains THREE MILES HIGH! (Added by John Shaffer: we found such evidence on Alaska mountains a hundred miles from today’s ocean.)
On the other hand, if water covered mountains 3 miles high, then there would be water 9 miles deep in parts of the ocean —it would HAVE NO Place to go, and couldn’t “Abate”; It couldn’t escape into space either, because of gravity;and if gravity was suspended, air would escape first being lighter; so that won’t work.
IF there really was a flood, then it certainly happened before the mountains came. The Bible don’t SAY so, but that is how it appears to be.
In regard to the dimensions of that Ark: those figures are ridiculous! The shape of the Ark would be ridiculous, whether you use the ordinary cubit of 18 inches or the Royal Cubit of 24 inches.
Using the ordinary cubit, it would be 450 ft. long, 75 ft. wide, 45 ft. high; can you visualize such a monstrosity? It would look like this.
(Shaffer here: don’t have the technical skill to duplicate Mr. Barrett’s sketches:
side view with 3 floors fitting the elevation of the Ark; windows on top floor
view from top showing the Floor Plan)
The area of all three floors would be 101,250 square feet. Now there are today, 100,000 distinct species of animals on earth, and 75 have become extinct within the last 50 years. Now there were TWO of each kind on the ARK; but I’ll be fair and call it just 100,000—–
That means that there would only be about 12.011 square INCHES OF FLOOR SPACE FOR EACH “Critter” — tough on the elephant!
And that little window only 1 1/2 foot square! Where the Ox Is, there is bound to be litter — and to get rid of all that “Litter” Noah would have to keep that window plugged; how much air would get into the Ark through that silly little window? What about food for all those animals for at least 7 months? An Elephant eats 250 lbs. EVERY day; 7 x 30 is 210 days; 210 x 250 is 52,500 lbs. of food, or slightly more than 26 TONS — 26.0250. But there were two — so there had to be about 52 tons of elephant food — more if there were seven.
It takes a half acre of browse to support a moose every day: a moose does not eat hay; can’t live on it. Two moose need 250 acres of browse for 7 months —Did Noah roll up a big farm and store it on the ark for moose feed ? ? ? ? ?
(Note by John Shaffer added in case anyone ever reads this. Mr. Barrett had moose in his back yard on a regular basis, so I am sure this is what motivated him to include them in his essay. A letter he wrote about moose in 1969 is at the end of this Post.)
A South American Ant-eater eats 1/2 bushel of LIVE ants every day; that means two require 250 bushel of ants to last 7 months — BUT: an ant hill containing a half bushel of ants, requires at least 5,000 square feet of area to live on; So two ant-eaters woud need 250 bushel of ants, whi ch required l,250,000 square foot of forage for seven months. Of course the ant-eaters were each limited to 12.011 inches, square inches of floor space: a spot 3 inches by 4 inches in size – pretty crowded!
This is only TWO species; there are still 999,999 to provide for, and unlike Noah, I haven’t time to figure it out: I am 73, and haven’t 120 years to give to this problem.
One more point:
It would be biologically impossible for animals such as horned toads, gila-monsters, ostriches, and other tropical creatures to live in the same temperatures as polar bears, penguins and artic foxes; Tropical animals like a horned toad can’t live where it is much below 70 and polar bears can’t live in temperatures much above zero; What about them? Do you use that old Cliche: “With God, ALL Things Are Possible?” Even God cannot turn a grind-stone both ways at the same time — not in this physical world.
(Note by John Shaffer: while this is intended as a tribute to the mind of an unique individual, as I type this, I would have pointed out to Mr. Barrett that a polar bear survived quite nicely at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, with temperatures above zero most of the time. That is, if I could have gotten a word in. Perhaps that is why he liked me. I didn’t interrupt him and I loved his stories.)
Both Armstrong and the “Jehovah’s WITnesses” claim to believe this Ark story is LITERALLY true; but a person who THINKS will be obligated to look upon it as an ALLEGORY or the writing of an ordinary ignorant HUMAN.
(Incidentally, that “Word” Jehovah is as Phoney as hair on a billiard ball! The Hebrew word JHVH was considered too sacred to be pronounced by the Hebrews, so the word Adonai (Lord) was used instead; the Tetragrammaton JEVH had no vowels, and no one now knows how to pronounce JHVH. The first time that PHONEY “Word” Jehovah appeared, was in a translation by Tyndale, who felt sorry for the Lord and decided to help Him out by re-naming “Him”! That was nice of old Tyndale, to let the Lord know who he really was!)
The Lord is said to have told Moses: “I AM that I AM” — NOT I AM that I WAS or I AM that I WILL BE, but I AM; for Eternity and the Infinite is ONE CONTINUOUS NOW, a situation in which TIME does not exist at all in Infinity because it is a dimension of matter that has taken FORM in the physical world; Infinity and spirit is not limited by dimension as objects in the world of Form are. Therefore, Eternity has no past nor future, but only a NOW — it just IS: past, present and future are all ONE in Eternity. I hope you can stretch your imagination far enough to understand and “Visualize” this — ARMSTRONG can’t think that high and far! HE can’t understand the fact, that TIME is a man-made idea based upon the rotaton of the earth, and has nothing to do with Infinity. On some other planet, whose speed of rotation was different, time would be different from ours, but Infinity would remain UNAFFECTED.
The human BRAIN alone is incapable of visualizing or forming any true conception of Infinity or Eternity: that is because it is merely a PHYSICAL organ composed of physical matter; but the MIND CAN form a conception of Infinity, because the MIND is not physical matter; SO if you think with the MIND, you can approach TRUTH; Armstrong and also those Jehovah’s Witlesses cannot do this, because they both admit (with quite a bit of pride, too!), that THEY have no soul nor spirit, but are just hunks of animated matter — even a mud-turtle is more than THAT!! Truly, “There Are None So Blind, As Those Who WILL NOT See!”
You might read H. G. Wells’ story: “The Country of the Blind” — I am not a follower of Wells in so far as his Atheistic theories go; but that story shows what happens to a THINKER, when he is obliged to live in contact with those mindless clods who lack the capacity to think above material things.
You must be aware of the fact, that there are MANY errors in both the Old and New Testaments; now then there are three ways in which one can approach these errors and apparent self-contradicts.
He can say, with Armstrong: “Every Word In The Bible Is The Word of God, TRUE in EVERY Particular, whether it is so or not.”
He can make the mistake of the atheist and infidel: say, “Well If One error Or Contradiction Occurs in The Bible, Then Not ANY Of It Is To Be Relied Upon.”
Or he can take the sensible and INTELLIGENT view of the problem: To me it isn’t very hard to understand; knowing the limitations of the purely HUMAN brain. I can understand how even a Prophet, inspired by God, could sometimes lose contact with the Supreme Mind and perhaps allow some of his own ideas to appear in his statements and writings. To suppose that ANY human, no matter how perfect, could maintain constant contact with Divinity hour after hour, day after day, and year after year without now and then losing contact, is not reasonable; and just as a car will travel a few feet after you turn off the ignition and disengage the clutch, so a human channel could go a bit farther after Divine inspiation was withdrawn. I see no other reasonable explanation, for the errors of the Bible. The false statements are due to those early followers of Constantine.
It is preposterous, for one to assume that God would be ignorant of “His” own Creation! A Being with infinite knowledge certainly knows all about every thing on this little earth, so it follows that any false statement found in the Bible is due to the IGNORANCE of human writers, and not the word of God; it seems to me, that if one takes a statement that he KNOWS is false, and still insists it is God’s word, he practically calls God a liar, and is guilty of the worst kind of blasphemy! I can’t see it any other way.
Consider the following errors that are in the Bible: Can you honestly say that you believe God was so ignorant of his own handiwork, that HE made all these mistakes? I DON’T THINK YOU CAN DO IT!
Exodus Ch. 9. V, 3, 4, 5 & 6 ALL the Egyptian Cattle died. Exodus Ch.11. V. 5 —–Moses theatens to kill cattle already dead! Exodus Ch. 12. V. 29 — The Lord killed those animals AGAIN! Exodus Ch. 14 V. 9 — Pharaoh chased the Israelites with dead horses!
Question: IS this the word of an INFINITE Creator? Did “He” have a poor memory? Or is it the writer of a muddled human? (Shaffer answer: the very human biblical editors blended stories together without reconciling the differences.)
Leviticus. Ch. 11. V. 6 — A hare or rabbit does NOT chew a cud; Only ruminants, with a double or compound stomach do so!
Leviticus. Ch. 13. V. 47-59 — Leprosy is caused by the bacillus Leprae (discovered by Hanson in 1884), and can only live and multiply in living human tissue; A piece of cloth cannot HAVE the disease even though it might carry the germs; this chapter distinctly states that a piece of cloth can acually be sick with the disease:
Question: Would God, having created the leprosy germ, be ignorant of the fact?
Leviticus 14:40-48. Here we have the statement, that a STONE WALL can actually be ill with leprosy.
Question: Would an Infinite Creator be ignorant of the nature of leprosy?
Genesis 30:37-39 This is ridiculous; CONCEPTION takes place, when the spermatazoom penetates the ovum. The time between copulation and conception can vary all the way from 20 minutes to 36 hours; in order for Jacob to be sure that these animals would conceive while at the watering trough, IT WOULD BE NECESSARY FOR HIM TO HOLD THEM THERE, LOOKING AT THOSE RODS FOR 36 HOURS! And there being no connection between a mother and the embryo, it is impossible for a mother to “Mark” her offspring: The only Thing a mother influences, is growth, her only connection being a food supply.
Therefore this is “An Old Wives Tale“, and NOT the word of a creator who has infinite knowledge!
There is NO Christian Bible compiled at ANY date, that is free from error.
Now if Jesus was The Son of God in a PHYSICAL sense, as nearly all pious people believe, he could only have had ONE Grandfather–his MOTHER’S father; yet according to Matthew, Jesus’ grandfather was Jacob; but according to Luke, he was Heli! See Matthew 1:16 —then Luke 3:23. WHICH ONE TOLD THE TRUTH ? ? ? ? ?
There are hundreds more errors in the Bible, and I haven’t time to list them; I haven’t time to show the parallel that exists between the cult of the Egyptian Osiris and the New Testament.
Are you aware that:
The Bible refers to the BAT as a bird, not an animal?
Describes the earth as being FLAT?
Biblical writers thought the earth was rigid, and could not rotate?
There are words in the Bible, NOT FOUND IN THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS? (could be the work of those “Christian Fathers under Constantine!)
That Jesus contradicts himself MANY times?
That there is one besides God, who is GREATER THAN JESUS?
There are two CONFLICTING accounts of the TEN COMMANDMENTS, The creation of the world, and THE FLOOD?
God refused the prayers of deformed people?
NOPE! I AM NOT TRYING TO TEAR THE BIBLE TO PIECES: I merely state the FACTS as they are, and it is not MY fault if those early “Christian” Fathers (Roman Catholic) messed up the whole thing when they COMPILED and EDITED both the Old and New Testament — I don’t think it was God’s fault either.
Those old devils were unprincipled, depraved, RATS, and trickery, lies and fraud were the stock in trade of that gang; back there, about the year 800 it was a common practice for priests to sell the “Faithful little bottles, containing several doses of “The Holy Spirit”!
It is an historical FACT,that the CHURCH also sold gullible saps little bottles containing MILK from the “Virgin Mary” — imagine THAT!
Is it any wonder that the Christian Bible is FULL of errors, false statements and preposterous tales, when it came through the hands of such a gang? CAN YOU GATHER FIGS FROM THISTLES? Does an evil tree bring forth good fruit?
As a guide in MORALS the Bible is worth study, although it is inferior in some respects to the Bhagavad Gita; The Bhagavad Gita was NOT compiled and edited by cut-throats, arsonists nor rapists — those who DID write it were sincere and of pretty high motives; (KING CONSTANTINE, who influenced the compiling and TAMPERING with the manuscripts we call the BIBLE, was a detestable, sub-human rat, and a murderer; the “Church” took him in because he had an army that could be used to cram their religion down the throats of every one and control the whole race.)
The Bible that Armstrong says is the Word of God and every word true, came from that gang of rascals; it is almost exactly the same as a Roman Catholic Bible: Too bad; BUT THAT IS HOW IT IS!
“Christian” doctrine requires belief in the Resurrection of the BODY; the Bible doesn’t say whether this is a Physical body, or the astral body mentioned by St. Paul. If an astral body is meant, I’ll go along with THAT — but resurrection of the physical body is ABSURB, and the belief came directly from Egypt: those early Church “Fathers” lifted a whole lot of ideas from Egyptian religion, WHEN THEY EDITED THE NEW TESTAMENT!
According to Genesis Chapter 2, it took God some time to create the first man — had to stir up a mud-pie, and breathe life into it–and it was just ONE.
He must have gained quite a bit in knowledge and power since then in order to suddenly create several MILLION physical bodies: GOING TO TAKE A LOT OF MUD! However, it is plain, that Chapter 2 has no business being in the Bible in the first place.
(John Shaffer here: No problem, if you see this as two separate stories from two separate sources. Plus it helps if you don’t read the stories as history.)
But we all have an astral body already, even if SOME people don’t know they have it: thousands of people have lived all their lives, without ever knowing they had an appendix or a thalamus gland; so what? They don’t know they have it, because most people’s CONSCIOUSNESS is directed OUTWARD to the physical world of form, instead of inward — they are MATERIALISTIC, even while they rant of “Spiritual” things! Didn’t Christ say “LOOK WITHIN?” Armstrong can twist this to mean something ELSE, but no doubt Christ meant just what he said! How many do that? About 1% — they DON’T KNOW HOW; NEITHER DOES A MUD-TURTLE!
Now it isn’t possibe to get the complete picture by reading just the Old Testament and nothing more: there is also the Hebrew Talmud and the Torah which SHOULD be studied in the original Hebrew. There is also the Holy Kaballah, a stupendous mathematical SYSTEM which purports to explain not only the Creation of the universe, BUT MAN’S PLACE THEREIN. The Urim and Thummim together with the Kaballah were used by priest and prophets as a means of foretelling future events! The Uria & Thummin were kept in the same place as the Ark of the Covenant.
Last summer, a man said to me: “But We’ve Got Enough Information To Get Us To Heaven” —
I ASSUME that all his information came from the Bible; if it satisfies HIM that’s fine; IT DOESN’T SATISFY ME, however!
Now I am NOT antagonistic toward preachers, except those arrogant, self-appointed sort, who suddenly think they ought to take charge of OUR “SPIRITUAL” development AS A MEANS OF IMPROVING THEIR OWN TEMPORAL AND FINANCIAL SITUATION!
SOME of thse people never went to a theological seminary, nor in fact ever really STUDIED anything much — they assume a top-lofty and superior attitude, and begin telling ME that I should get a Bible and read it — even though I have read it from cover to cover 6 or more times!
For a young squirt, who is hardly dry behind his ears, and whose I.Q. is hardly above 75, to start teaching a man who has spent 60 years in the study of every possible line of thought that has any bearing upon the most important subject of all, is in poor taste, to say the least!
Mrs. Henry Straub of Anchorage (now deceased), immediately assumed that I lacked most of my marbles: when I quoted the Lord’s Prayer, she said I misquoted it — that I should say “Who” instead of “Which” — when I asked her to get HER Bible and take a look, she said: “MY Bible says Who” — then she looked and saw that I was right; yet SHE posed as a fit teacher for low wretches such as she believed me to be.
Now a man who claims to be an authority on RELIGION should know something about the 5 great religions, even if he DOESN’T believe them. This Henry Straub brought two friends to see me, in an effort to get me saved — (Before he knew if I had ever embraced Christianity or not!) and wanted to baptize me right away; one of his friends started “Teaching” me, and so I quoted from The Bhagavad Gita: HE SAID HE’D NEVER HEARD OF IT! SOME STUDENT!
(John Shaffer here: in the 1980’s, when I was the pastor at East Anchorage UMC, some one was promoting something like the Christian Yellow Pages. Hoping to impress me, he informed me that he had graduated from Oral Roberts’ Seminary. In the course of the conversation, I mentioned Gandhi. This “scholar” had never heard of Gandhi. In the spirit of E. G. Barrett, I asked the fellow to leave my office. I could understand why someone might not have heard of Gandhi, but not some one who claimed to be highly educated. It was as shocking as those students today who have heard nothing aboout the Holocaust. This may be gift of Texas school texts. This helps create SOME STUDENT!)
The part I quoted, was in regard to “Covetiousness; the last Commandment in the Christian Bible, isn’t the only place you will find it forbidden; The Bhagavad Gita classes DESIRE right along with covetousness; It says: “Thy first Task should be To Conquer This Foul Dweller Of The Mind. Mastering first the Senses and Sense Organs, Do Thou Then Proceed To Put To DEATH This Thing of Evil”. Why is this? Because DESIRE creates NEED, Need creates Use, and the decline from perfection begins: Christ said; BE THOU PERFECT, EVEN AS THY FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT”; What is perfection ? ? ? ? PERFECTION DESIRES NOTHING, NEEDS NOTHING, USES NOTHING, for it is sufficient unto its’ self. True perfection is impossible in THIS physical world of form, for perfection is an attribute of INFINITY: THINK ABOUT IT.
Now reason is not the same thing as logic; neither one will lead to TRUTH unless we START with an absolute TRUTH. Because there is NO Truth on this earth which is not modified or balanced by an opposite fact, we cannot EVER reason upward from a physical fact and understand or explain TRUTH as it exists in INFINITY. BUT: if we can focus the MIND (not the brain) upon Infinity and reason downard, we can reason truly UNTIL WE REACH THE PHYSICAL PLANE which is bound by dimension: then we no longer have complete Truth, but MERELY OUR IDEA OF IT! THINK ABOUT THAT.
The reason that the Bhagavad Gita looks upon DESIRE as an evil thing, is this: Desire results in NEED, need results in USE, use results in HABIT and habit results in ENSLAVEMENT; in spite of all this tak about FREEDOM, no one really IS free. The Internal Revenue Office owns our income, the A.M.A. tries to own our bodies and the churches want to own our souls (if any) except in the case of Armstrong: HE ADMITS HE HAS NONE! (Snicker)
That fellow who was here last summer, said: — “But We Have All WE Need to Get to Heaven”; — HAVE WE ? ? ? ? ? Let’s look into it.
When those Church “Fathers” were engaged in compiling the Bible and editing the Gospels, they also REVISED and altered the Old Testament as well; they borrowed or stole ideas and writings from Egyptian records as well as from every available source, and incorporated them in both their version of both the Old & New Testament; that is why the “Buluk” Hymn, which was used in Egypt to venerate the Sun-God Amon-Ra during the reign of Amen-Hotep III was “Lifted” WORD FOR WORD and now appears among the Psalms as the work of King David! The story of “Moses In The Bull-Rushes being found by the King’s daughter” was “Lifted” from writings in which King Sargon III had the same thing happen to HIM several hundred years earlier!
The suffix “MOSE” was common to several Egyptian names of kings and nobles: Example Thutmose — and the Word Moses is plural, meaning two or more; now Egyptian HISTORY does not agree with the Old Testament account, and from their records it appears that during the reign of Amen-Hotep III this man “Moses” held a high position in the king’s court; the religion at that time was the worship of ONE god, viz. OSIRIS; the Israelites also worshipped ONE God, a different one: JHVH.
Now then, when Amen-Hotep III DIED and Amen Hotep IIII became Pharoah HE began to revive a dozen or more old “Gods” and made them the State Religion; this man or men, “Moses” made a great fuss and adopted the God of the Israelites; the King demoted him— reduced him to the level of a slave nearly. And that made “Moses” good and sore! He aroused the Israelites to rebellion and they made so much trouble that the Pharaoh was glad to get rid of them; No miracles by Moses are mentioned in the Egyptian writings.
Now these Egyptian records were in the Alexandrian Library, which contained over 700,000 volumes of priceless manuscripts; so in order to hide and cover up their skull-duggery, those “Christian” Fathers and Bishop Theophilus burned the library, and the church tried to lay that onto the Arab tribes — NO SOAP!
Now it is generally believed by ordinary Christians, that these Roman Catholic Christians merely killed off the true followers of Christ — that is not strictly correct: They made a business of hunting down, and killing Gnostics, Essenes, and all those writers of manuscripts that did not agee with the brand of religion they were organizing. After they had liquidated all those who opposed them, this Catholic told Constantine that he was sure that they now had a clear field, and that all that old knowledge had disappeared from the Earth!
HE WAS WRONG! He didn’t know that the writings of Appolonius of Tyann who preached about a hundred years before Christ was born, and whose writings and sermons CONTAINED MUCH OF THE SAME MATERIAL WORD FOR WORD as the sayings now believed to have originated with Christ — he didn’t know that SOME day this would come to light!
Neither did he know that SOME day, the Dead Sea Scrolls would pop up to confound the whole Christian world! (It is interesting to note, that even PROTESTANTS are against any one finding out what those scrolls contain!)
And he didn’t know, that some day the ROSETTA STONE woud give mean, snoopy students a clue to the Egyptian language!
He never suspected, that some day it would be known that 98% of Solomon’s Proverbs were “LIFTED” from earlier writings: “The Wisdom of Amenamore”
Or that some day, Napoleon would invade Egypt, and camp at the place where the Israelites crossed over — and that when his field marshal asked him about crossing he said: “Have patience — the water will recede in a week or two, just as it always does every year at this time”!
Those Church “Fathers” EDITED and REVISED what we now call the Gospels; They didn’t say the Gospel BY St.Luke, Matthew, Mark or John, but ACCORDING To: NOBODY knows WHO wrote them, but they DO know who edited them and “Screwed Them Up” beyond any hope of repairing the damage! They have Jesus making a PUN, which is the lowest form of wit, and in LATIN at that: Jesus spoke Hebrew and Aramaic; They have him saying: “Thou Art Peter (Petra, small rock in Latin) AND ON THIS Rock I Will Build My Church — No such word as church in Hebrew or Aramaic.
This “Saying” was put in there to lay a foundation for a SUCCESSION OF POPES: PETER having been given “The Keys To Heaven & Hell”. Now they also have Jesus saying: “No Man Cometh Unto The Father, Except By Me”. — This makes it possible for a Catholic Priest to CONTROL the “FAITHFUL”, for the Priest claims to be the Vicar of Christ, and HE would talk to GOD about it. This is called “Going Around Robin Hoods Barn” —–
The Gnostics believed it was possible and allowable, to approach God directly: if they were wrong, WHY DID JESUS SAY: “In This Manner Shall Ye Pray: “OUR Father Which Art In Heaven — evidently, those old scamps forgot to delete that saying of Christ!
The Jewish archives contain a BIRTH record of this person we now call “Jesus Christ” — THEY state, that he was the son of a Roman Soldier: Jehoshua Ben Pandira; that his mother, under Jewish Law could have incurred the death penalty, IF her husband had “Put Her Away”, as he meant to do; That in order to get out of a “Jam”, she concocted the story, that an Angel told me that God did it; and Joseph then claimed to have had a dream, etc. So if THAT is fact, the whole belief in the Divinity of Jesus rests upon a dream supposed to have been dreamed by this “Joseph“!
The fact that the coming of “Messiah” was prophecied in the Old Testament, means nothing at all, because this could have been stuck in there AFTER his birth, even as late as the year 325 — those church “Fathers” were busy from the year 325 ’til 400 EDITING BOTH OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT. The controversy: Origin vs. Celsus pertains to this birth record. You might read three books by Dr. R. Bernard, A.B. M.A. Ph.d. as follows:
“The Dead Sea Scrolls, and Life of The Essenes”
“The Secret Life of Jesus, the Essene.”
“Appolonius of Tyanna, Mystery Man of the Bible”
“The Unknown Life of Christ”
One other: “THE GREATEST FRAUD IN HISTORY” by Nicholas Notovitch
Dr. Bernard is a highly educated sholar, a life-long student. HE says that Appolonius was the one whose work is now attributed to Christ, and that the man, Jehoshua Ben Pandira, was the one crucified — for trying to overthrow the government. HE says that the early Christian “Fathers” juggled and twisted every thing to gain their own ends.
Well, they DID control the whole human race for a THOUSAND YEARS! The Christian churches all do a lot of hollering about all those Christian Martyrs. The TRUTH is, that only about 240 were ever killed, BUT after the church established Christianity BY FORCE OF ARMS (Constantines army) they killed an average of 10,000 every year FOR 400 YEARS — 400 Ad ’till 1050 Ad.
THAT ADDS UP TO FOUR MILLION INNOCENT PEOPLE BURNED AS HERETICS OR WITCHES. Thousands more were imprisoned, in dungeons with bread and water to live on. Napoleon’s army raided one of those places that still existed in his time, and found victims chained to walls, where they had been for years; All this done in the name of Jesus Christ!
There are people TO DAY who would do the same if they COULD. They are the ones who want to FORCE their religion into the Public Schools!
One reason that the race is decadent is because of the after-effect of that thousand years of mental darkness. We hear a great talk about a “War on Poverty”, while the Government encourages all sorts of efforts to make people poorer we hear about a “GREAT SOCIETY”. Can you found a Great Society upon Juvenile Delinquency, Crime, Political Corruption, Immorality, poisoned air, food and water, and pornography ? ? ? ?
Now then: As long as Christianity is as it is, and as long as Christianity is based upon The so-called Apostles Creed, I will not accept it, because there are things in the Apostles Creed that I cannot swallow. I don’t accept these things and ideas: Vicarious Atonement, Parthenogenesis. Resurrection of a PHYSICAL body.
I do NOT believe that EVERY word in the Bible is the WORD OF GOD. The Bible says the sun stood still, making a long day — I don’t believe any creator wrote that, because the earth don’t stand still while the sun whirls around it — and a Creator would Know better. The sun is 92,000,000 million miles away — use “pi” and figure how big a circle the sun would travel every 24 hours!
No danger that I will follow Armstrong: many of his statements in the Plain Truth magazine pertaining to early church history are FALSE; and he doesn’t know what he is talking about when he refers to the world of Form as “Matter”
That is like pointing to a house and saying “Brick” —-. Form is merely the manner in which matter manifests it’s self.
I spoke of SINCERE preachers, and also the other sort; THERE IS STILL another variety: the sort who will stoop to the lowest form of dishonesty in order to influence some one. That Henry Straub is a case in point:
He was telling me how Voltaire “Spent His Life Fighting Against God, And Then How On His Death-Bed, He Cried Out To The Lord, and Said: Oh God, (if there be a God) Have Mercy On Me–I Must Die Abandoned By God And Man”;
Now this was a most contemptible LIE: Voltaire was mourned by hundreds of poor people he had helped; his last words were: “I Die, revering God. Let me die in peace.”
Like many others, Straub found it easy to SLANDER A DEAD MAN! Another preacher told me how Robert Ingersoll got scared and suddenly got “Saved” on his death-bed; THAT ALSO WAS A LIE, and his wife said so.
THAT SORT OF PREACHER MAKES ME BOILING MAD! Mad, because they take me for a FOOL, mad because they will lie to gain their ends, MAD because they will slander a dead man — what does the Bible say about BACK-BITING, and speaking despitefully of others ? ? ? ? Either alive or dead ? ? ? ?
A woman of my acquaintance, started “Saving” me a while ago; I tried to explain to her my reasons for not joining any chuch. She said: “You Are Trying To Destroy My Faith, And Offering Me Nothing To Take It’s Place” — The answer to That is: When Hercules (Greek Mythology) was ordered to CLEAN the Egean Stables, HE WAS NOT REQUIRED TO REFILL THEM!
One last thought: Samson said: With The Jaw-Bone Of An Ass, Have I Slain A Thousand Men” — so what? WITH THE SAME WEAPON, Armstrong has paralyzed the minds of a HUNDRED THOUSAND!
And now Buenes, Adieu, Leib Wohl, and DOMINUS VOBISCUM!
E. G. Barrett, Hope, Alaska 99605
This letter was written to make my position clear, and show why I don’t join any Church. You should feel flattered – I couldn’t spend this much time on every one who talks to me about religion. (JJS – I was flattered)
If any more of them start reforming me, I’ll refer them to you, as you now know what I think – well not quite all, but enough, to answer.
Do you have what “Faith” is? Belief without evidence in what is told by one without knowledge, of things without parallel. Theological schools teach you what they want you to believe – No More, No Less.
(Note by JJS: True of some schools, but not all. I would now refer Mr. Barrett to Claremont School of Theology as an example of a theological school that is different than his image, as of 2020.)
My typewriter is no good – but here’s another thought: take some card board boxes and build a model Ark to scale 1/8 inch to the foot –
It will be:
4.68 ft. long
9.3 inches wide
5.63 inches high
Windows 3/16 inches square.
Now place two or three mice in each level and see how long it takes them to die of suffocation. I already know!
There were several thousand animals including Noah and his wife on that tub! I can’t help but think how long it must have taken the South African Sloth, that only travels a few feet a day, to crawl the whole length of the United States and Canada, cross the Bering Straits, and get where Noah was, and do it upside down!
(Note from Mr. Barrett dated 1/31/67)
When you look at a mountain, a grain of sand; an ocean or a rain-drop; a flower or a star – or even a miserable worm or a woman (ugh!) – You are seeing “God” manifesting as form.
It’s as simple as that! It doesn’t matter whether a rabbit chews a cud or not –
It doesn’t matter what some one believes – Truth is all that matters, and there is no truth, short of infinity.
Everything in the physical has its opposite – Infinity has no opposite.
There is one peculair trait or attitude common to nearly all very religious Christian people! They appear to think that no knowledge exists outside of their Bible, and that anything not in the Christian Bible is of no value; their minds are closed to everything except this one book – a book teeming with errors, and contradictory statements. I’ve read it through four times and studied every part of it, in the light of considerable knowledge and common sense – I know the historical facts pertaining to the origin of Christianity.
There is Chinese proverb which says:
He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not is a fool — Shun him.
He who knows not, and knows that he knows not is ignorant – Teach him.
He who knows, and knows not that he knows is asleep – Wake him.
He who knows, and knows that he knows is wise – follow him.
(But this is not in the Bible)
More Words – Letter to the Editor in the Anchorage Times dated 3/25/69
Another Word on Moose by E. G. Barrett, Hope, Alaska
I would like to express a few opinions in connection with the recent “moose massacre” which was not only foolish, but atrocious to the last degree. If the people who instigated this farce had been content to wait just three weeks, those pregant cow moose would have gone back into the hills and their calves might have been born without pestering the timid people of Anchorage.
I concede that too few moose can not eat the browse down and it may grow up beyond reach of young calves, and they might starve; on the other hand, too many moose might eat all the browse up before spring and that might cause some to starve.
So what? It would be the weak ones that starved, leaving the strong to reproduce, which is the natural order and results in improvement of the specie. Certainly these bright biological “experts” must have heard of the Darwinian law of survival of the fittest. This law applies to other forms of life also. In British Columbia, it is illegal to cut trees, and they are so thick they almost touch each other. This causes the strong ones to grow straight and tall, with no knots for 30 or 40 feet — the small ones finally die, but what of it?
I came to Alaska 11 years ago (added-1958?), and for six years rambled all over the area around Resurrection Creek, and Fox Creek, also Big Indian; I never saw a moose skeleton or body of one that died of starvaton during that time and old men tell me that they never did.
Thse college experts are mostly young men, who have not lived long enough to gain a true perspective. I am 75 and have lived to see more than 50 species of wild life exterminated: I saw most of the song birds in Michigan destroyed by poisons.
When you destroy a pregnant moose, you reach into the future. At least half of those pregnant moose carried heifer calves, each of which might produce six calves during their life. The mother of this calf might produce three more. That is ten moose destroyed every time you kill a cow which is carrying a heifer calf. I think it most contemptible.
(Letter dated August 18, 1986, to The Rev. Dr. Richard Gay, Hope, Alaska 99605)
The enclosed material (a few pages of material by Mr. Barrett) will reveal that Mr. E. G. Barrett came to Alaska in approximately 1958 and that he was still alive in 1969…..
I am pleased to share with you that which Mr. Barrett shared with me. He was an unusual gentleman. Since you had at least one encounter with him, you will appreciate it all the more….
I am sorry that I can not document the date of his death.
Sincerely, John J. Shaffer