by Dirk J. van der Merwe, author of 'Scrap Religion, Live Extra-ordinarily'
Soon after I became a born-again Evangelical Christian I felt the call to become a minister. My Christian brothers and sisters told me if God was in a matter He makes your path smooth. Translated from Churchese--- the language spoken by Christians, indicated in italics throughout this essay--- it means: if something is God's will for your life, everything will fall into place and work out just right. Well if that is the case, then God really wanted me to become an ordained minister. For He truly made my path, in that regard, as smooth as silk--my college education, you see, didn't cost me a dime.
When the word got out that I wanted to study for the ministry, one of the church elders, a wealthy man, came to me one evening after church and said, when he was a young man about my age he hardened his heart to the Lord by resisting the call to the ministry. He had decided to make restitution to the Lord by paying for my three years of tuition, which included boarding and lodging for my wife Elsie, Riana, our daughter of eighteen months and myself. A Swiss couple, who later returned to Switzerland, offered and paid the monthly instalment on our car; our local church paid for all my books; and my parents, also born-again, much to the chagrin of their pastor, gave us their tithe for pocket money. So for the three years I was at theological college, it not only cost me nothing, it also meant my wife didn't have to work, with the result our daughters enjoyed the good fortune of being raised by their mother--- Zouna, our second daughter was born about fourteen months after I entered school.
So starry-eyed and hungry to learn as much as I could so one day I could fulfil God's calling and purpose for my life, we set off to Berea Theological College in Irene, South Africa. I thought I was going to see the manifestations of God through signs and wonders every day in those sanctified halls of higher Christian education. Mercifully it didn't take me long to wake up to reality… one can only hold one's breath so long while waiting for a sign or a wonder to happen. I was in college less than a month when I realised the rector, rumoured to have a very close walk with God, was in fact a phoney who abused and manipulated our sincerity for his own selfish goals.
Here's what happened: He asked us to give him some information about the early church fathers, stressing how important it was that we have it the next day and what trouble we'd encounter if we didn't have the facts. Then, ever so casually, he said we had to read a certain chapter from The Synoptic Gospels. However, he said it in a manner that suggested he couldn't care a hoot whether we read it or not. That evening during study-time, every one of my classmates, with the exception of myself and one other student, descended on the school's library in search of the required information.
Had they read the chapter in The Synoptic Gospels they would have found the information right there.
The next day, naturally, everyone had the needed data; in the lead up to his lecture, the principal nonchalantly asked about four or five of the students where they got the information, to which everyone proudly answered, the library--- after all we were students on a research and knowledge acquiring mission. That settled, he continued with his lecture in his usual manner. Then, about twenty minutes later, in mid-sentence, he abruptly stopped talking. He closed his eyes and cocked his head slightly to one side as one would do to hear better. He kept the charade up for a few seconds to create the proper ambience of mystery and also to heighten our expectation, all the while pointing an accusing finger at one of the students who said he got the information in the library. Then, just as suddenly as he had stopped talking, he realigned his head, opened his eyes to meet those of the confused student and said in an accusing voice: “ The Lord God has just told me you didn't read the chapter I asked you to read.” The kid damn near besmirched himself and almost transfigured at such a display of a close walk with God.
The oohs and the ahs of my awed classmates sounded like the soundtrack for a low budget porno movie. For them the moment was truly magic. That was it; that was what they expected of a close walk with God in the sanctified halls blah, blah, blah…
The kid that was the butt end of the con couldn't wait to confess and plead for forgiveness, which in the true Christian spirit, the principal, with a benign smile, liberally bestowed on his weaker brother in the Lord.
You don't have to be a founding member of Genius Anonymous to figure out how he did it. So I explained his method to the students; under my guidance we set him up the next time he tried the same scam, which left him with egg all over his face--- the exposure of his scheme, which did enormous damage to his image as a living saint, eventually resulted in me facing the school's disciplinary board and expulsion. The outcome of that hearing is as surprising as it is hilarious.
The spurious ways of the rector aided immensely in removing the scales of Christian-innocence from my eyes. I was catching on quickly to the real world of Christianity in which we were taught by example that what we preach is not what we necessarily do. It was one hell of a let down for me and I didn't like it one bit, I felt betrayed. I was only saved for eight months when I enrolled for college. I was just a baby in Christ.
Since there was nothing I could do to stop it, I decided to keep my doubts about higher Christian education and being prepared for Christian service to myself, at least until I was ordained.
The following incident bludgeoned to death the last bit of respect I still harboured for the man with the close walk with God or illusions I harboured about higher Christian education:
Up the road from our college was a school for black children. They had to walk right by us to get to their school. Our first winter at college was a particularly cold one. I convinced my classmates to pool our tithe to buy each of the little kids a good quality warm sweater--- the proverbial blind person could see how they shivered in their tattered and worn-out clothes that were simply no match for the bitterly cold weather. Well, we did, and soon after I, as the spirit of decent amongst the brethren, was called into the rector's office to be told, in his holier than though voice that he reserved for preaching and public prayer, “If you want to use your money to buy those kids clothes, do it; but don't use God's money for it! The tithe belongs to the Lord and must go to the local church”--- of which a significant portion went to service the mortgage account.
However, when students, in an attempt to get on his good side, gave him their tithe--- telling him, the Lord impressed it upon my heart to give it to you, the two-faced hypocrite didn't turn it down. How do I know it for a fact? When I started running afoul of him because I had bucked the system once to often, I, like an utter weakling in the hope of gaining his favour, did exactly the same. Had I not decided to forgive myself for it a long time ago I still would have been living in self-loathing.
Those two events, in addition to the gossip (of this I was as guilty as the rest, which included the rector's wife) and backbiting amongst us students (I never was guilty of ratting on any of the students), gave me cause to look at Christianity through less naïve eyes.
Besides waiting until I became ordained before challenging the system, I decided to do what I was conditioned to do from the first time I asked questions when Christian actions didn't mesh with the Christian message: I took my eyes off men and kept them focused on Jesus. About ten or eleven years later I took my eyes off Jesus long enough to look at men, the ones who wrote about him in the gospels and epistles, etc. and learned, from Christian historians, there was nothing to look at. He was a phantom created through deception and maintained by the power of ignorance and faith. As for my decision not to shoot my mouth off about the system before ordination: let's just say my flesh was very weak, I simply couldn't bridle my tongue; about a year later the principal had my ass hauled before the disciplinary board for expulsion. The main charges, I learned the night of the hearing, were: a poisonous tongue, disrespect for authority and general troublemaking.
MY LIFE'S CALLING CONFIRMED BY CHRISTIANS
Twice in my career as a minister I had total strangers come to me with a message, they claimed, to have come from God, which confirmed that if anyone was in fact called of God for a special purpose, it was I. My purpose, it turned out, was to expose Christianity as an elaborate hoax. Yes, you read me correctly: God called me to expose Christianity for the farce it is! And if it isn't God who called me to this sacred task, then every other Christian minister should resign immediately, because I used the exact same methods they used to have their God ordained calling confirmed. I just happen to have additional confirmation that came from total strangers, which very few if any of them had. How many ministers can say they know for a fact God called them because God told people to pay for their education and their family's keep? Mommies and daddies who pay because they want a son labouring in God's vineyard don't count. Better yet, how many ministers have had a total stranger in a foreign country do the same? Stick with me you're going to like this story.
The fist time a complete stranger gave me a special message confirming my calling as being from God, it was a Sunday afternoon and I had decided that very day to quit the ministry. Deep down in my heart of hearts I knew I shouldn't do it, but by then I had had enough of the church, its demanding double standards and its general pain in the ass self-righteousness. A Pastor Wright, a total stranger to me and from a rival denomination to boot, came to our home because of a bungled up telephone call and told me something to this effect: “God told me to come and tell you that you must not quit the ministry. He has a special job for you to do.” (The details of the bungled up phone call, like everything else in this essay, are included in my book).
The second time an absolute stranger confirmed my special calling was when I followed what I believed was the leading of God to immigrate to Canada, where we, as a family, lived for almost thirteen years. Talk about real life high drama. Fiction can't be more exciting and suspense-filled than the saga of our immigration to Canada. (WARNING: If you allow absolutely no room for a Deity in your thinking, DO NOT read my book; you don't need to add insomnia to your problems too. Take note: I said Deity, not the god of organised religion).
We were in Canada about a month and our funds were running very low when I got what I believe was my lucky break: an invitation to speak at one of the largest Evangelical churches in Toronto. I just knew it; something great was to be born that night. My excitement oozed from me like perspiration in humid weather; everyone around me sensed it. I believed it was the chance to launch my career as a popular itinerary speaker in Canada, too. Back in South Africa my speaking schedule was logged at least six months in advance. I was totally convinced I was destined to repeat and even better it in Canada.
However, I masterfully screwed up the golden opportunity and nothing in the form of preaching fame came from it.
Something far greater for my true calling came from it, though I didn't understand nor appreciated it at the time. It happened some time during September 1976; I was 30 years old.
After the meeting, where I totally misread the audience and consequently blew it, a guy by the name of Dave Strong came up to me and asked in an almost demanding way why I was in Canada. I told him it was a very long story, so we agreed that he would call on me the next day at the motel where we were staying.
On the half hour drive home I experienced a strange empty feeling; a feeling like the one at the conclusion of your graduation ceremony. Suddenly an era, with all its joys and sadness, where you knew precisely what was expected of you, is over and you are overcome by sweet nostalgia… but also by apprehension at the harsh realisation: what am I really going to do with my life once I take off this cap and gown? The two emotions cancel one another out, which leaves you feeling neither happy nor scared, just flat, empty. That's how I felt.
I put the feeling down to the intense disappointment of screwing up my big chance. In the void an idea slowly and gently started growing; it started as a soft whisper, by the time we arrived at the motel it had matured to an all out thunderous shout. I told Elsie about it and she didn't think me nuts--- she truly is my soul mate. I had this definite 'inner conviction' I shouldn't continue preaching for our living, something I had done for almost four years by then, and, furthermore, that neither she nor I should take a job. Additionally, I 'felt' that I should 'study and observe.'
I was of the impression God's call was without repentance, that it was to last for the duration of your natural life. Surely I wasn't being retrenched or made redundant after only four years of flapping my gums on a pulpit. I was so absolutely convinced God had a special job for me to do. Self-pity sat ready to pounce.
Damn it. Besides, we didn't have the money to last us till the end of the month when the rent came due; how were we going to survive in a strange country without family or friends if I hung around studying and observing God-alone-knows-what? Pissed off-ness was more likely to pounce.
Anyhow, neither of the villains really went on full attack, so I went to bed neither crying nor accusing God of unfair labour practice.
The next day Dave called. I told him the whole fascinating, dramatic and even traumatic events that had brought us, as a family, to Canada. He listened very attentively; he asked me to elaborate on a few points, which I did; then very abruptly he stood up and asked if he could call on me two, or maybe it was three days, later. Naturally I agreed and, two or three days later, Dave was back. The first thing he asked me was, “Did God tell you not to preach for a living and neither your wife nor you should take a job and that He wants you to study and observe?”
I was gob-smacked; I couldn't believe what I heard. I lamely said yes and he continued by saying something to this effect: “I asked you for the time-break to make absolutely sure that it was God who spoke to me when you told me the story of why you are in Canada. I was in South Africa about a year ago,” he said. “One night at the conclusion of the meeting, the pastor asked me to dismiss the assembly in prayer, which I did. Then, just as I was about to say amen, it popped into my mind to pray for a South African to go to Canada, which I also did. On Sunday night when you preached, God told me you are the man I prayed for. And, because it was my prayer that brought you here, and because God wants to teach you something through study and observation, and, therefore, doesn't want you or your wife to work, God told me I must give you 10% of my business' income for however long it's needed.”
Yippee! I wasn't retrenched; I was just given a new assignment!
With the exception of speaking at a few small meetings I never made my living as a preacher again… but I was still on a mission for God.
I don't expect anyone to believe me, but I have a letter signed by Dave giving me permission to use his name in full after he read the pre-edited script of that encounter.
What makes Dave's consent to use his name in full that more potent is the fact that Dave and I are no longer friends because of me rejecting Christianity and, as he states in his letter, I'm far too liberal for his liking. No matter our differences, Dave Strong is man who lives up to his last name. The rock of Gibraltar has bugger-all on Dave's strong, immutable, commitment to what he believes and stands for. For that I respect him immensely.
BACK IN SCHOOL, THIS TIME AT THE TORONTO CAMPUS OF USO (UNIVERSITY of STUDY and OBSETVATION) WITH ALL EXPENSES ONCE MORE PAID BY A CHRISTIAN OBEDIENT TO GOD'S VOICE
Dave's money was needed for 10 months during which time, lead by the same inner conviction, I studied and observed organised Christian Evangelical religion.
As part of the curriculum, I followed every sermon and every Christian talk show on TV I could and attended as many different evangelical and charismatic meetings as possible as part of my study and observing program. Most of the time I studied the underlying theology of what they said, but occasionally I would just observe their body language. It's incredible how many preachers' bodies said: “This guy doesn't believe what he's saying.” I would get as close to them as I could when they spoke one on one to the sick and elderly who responded to their call for healing. I would listen to the compassionate words they spoke, which overflowed with love and concern, but as I studied their eyes--- the windows of their souls--- it revealed a cold hard professional, going about his job. (Yes, there were sincere compassionate men, but they were found in small assemblies far from the glitz and the limelight. Strangely enough, they had no political ambition to advance in the church hierarchy or to seek the big-time limelight. I met many of them when I was a bagman (fundraiser) for a mission. And, believe it or not, every one of them had grave doubts about the church and its purpose. How do I know? They told me so when I was their guest speaker, long after every one in the household retired for the night and we were alone. They are the ones who finally leave Christianity because there is no big money or important position to keep them. I was one of them.)
Furthermore, I read umpteen non-fiction books spanning the whole spectrum from the religious rabid right to the same lunatic left and a lot in between. On two occasions I went on three-day fasts, ingesting nothing but water, Christian broadcasting and literature. I was committed to my studies.
What I observed and studied, on God's instruction and so confirmed by an honest God-fearing man who put his money where his mouth was, laid the foundation for my exit from Christianity. See? I am called and directed by God to do what I'm doing.
And what did my study and observation reveal? First, if you accept the New Testament as the ultimate in truth and follow what the preacher says without filtering it through what you believe, and resist the temptation to throw back mental arguments, they all made sense. In other words: if you followed their argument, stayed with their logic based on their interpretation of the New Testament, they ALL seemed spot on with the truth. Second, no matter how much they differed and contradicted one another on other issues, they all agreed: without the people's financial support, the work of God couldn't continue!
So, unlike God's work in the rest of the universe, which is self-sustaining and independent of man, within the confines of organised religion its success is 100% dependent on the goodwill of man. Organised Christianity is big business, plain and simple.
In addition I also learned the following priceless truths---sorry that's a misnomer, it does carry a price to have reached my ears, 10% of the prayer and support partners' income. Every single fact that follows is a scripturally based fact from the New Testament. If appears to be a little confusing, it is only because it is, but hang tight if you accept it by faith it'll all make sense in the end:
There definitely will be a rapture. There, most assuredly, will not be a rapture. The rapture that is and isn't going to take place will without any doubt happen before the tribulation, and also definitely takes place midway through the tribulation and without question, because the bible, Gods word, can't lie, says so, it will also happen at the end of the tribulation. Clearly, who can argue with God's word? (The Rapture is an event by which Jesus allegedly will pluck his followers off the earth. The Tribulation is when all hell breaks loose on earth when God supposedly will judge mankind for its sins. Nowhere in the bible is the word Rapture mentioned.)
Speaking in tongues is God's gift to the saints to be able to speak directly to Him without the devil knowing what is being said. Speaking in tongues is from the devil to mislead the body of Christ. Once you are saved it is a done deal for time and eternity, nothing can separate you from God after that. Once you are saved it is your duty to hold onto your salvation till the day you die, or else... Baptism by emersion is essential for salvation. Baptism by emersion is not crucial for salvation because it is something man does; salvation is a free unmerited gift. Do you see matters any clearer yet?
God ordained predestination. Predestination is a ploy of Satan to lull sinners into a false sense of security. The promises made to Abraham are for the body of Christ. The promises made to Abraham are for the Jews in the state of Israel. The promises made to Abraham are for Britain, America and the nations of Western Europe, the ten lost tribes. Salvation is for all people. Salvation is only for white people, because only white people can blush. The Sabbath is on Sunday. The Sabbath is on Saturday. Starting to make much more sense, isn't it?
Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Jesus was crucified on a Thursday. The King James Bible is the only true preserved word of God. The King James Bible is just another translation. God's name is Jehovah. God's name is Yawe. God's name is Yahweh. The name of Jesus is Jesus. The name of Jesus is Yehosua. The Jews are the seed of Abraham. The Jews are the seed of Satan. The water Jesus turned into wine was alcohol-free grape juice. The water Jesus turned into wine was the real Mc Coy. Hang in there! As soon as you develop enough faith it will all gel, it's a scriptural promise that it will.
If you eat pork it's a sin. If you eat pork, after you have said prayers over it in the name of Jesus, it isn't a sin. The church is a building where the saints worship. The church is made up of those who believe in Jesus as their saviour. The office of an apostle no longer exists. The office of an apostle is still in force. God is a trinity. God isn't a trinity. The Pope is the anti Christ. Henry Kissinger is the anti Christ. Hitler was the anti Christ. The anti Christ is a man. The anti Christ is a system. The anti Christ is anyone who doesn't proclaim Jesus as Lord. Women are allowed to hold an office in the church. Women aren't allowed to hold an office in the church. Beginning to make even more sense as you jack up the faith, huh?
Ten percent of your income belongs to the church. Ten percent of your income belongs to God. Ten percent of your income belongs where your soul is fed. Ten percent of your income belongs where you worship. Ten percent of your income belongs where you participate in fellowship with the saints.
Ten percent. Finally, unanimity! The body of Christ is not divided, see? The New Testament makes it all perfectly clear to believers in the inerrancy and infallibility of the scripture.
All these blatantly contradictory teachings, and there are many, many more, passed on as truths from God's word, brought me to the only logical conclusion any rational person can come to: if three hundred people (I understand that's the number of denominations there are, it could be more it could be less, who cares?) use the same source to contradict one another in order to prove themselves correct, then they can't all be right. This simply means they, myself included back then, must ALL BE WRONG!
I, notwithstanding, remained a Christian, but I turned a deaf ear to anything of a doctrinal nature, but it was almost impossible not to be exposed to such nonsense, so finally I just gave up on going to church altogether. But I still diligently followed the admonition: when men fail you keep your eyes on Jesus. But you can only walk into so many lampposts, and trip a limited number of times over your own two feet by looking elsewhere instead of looking where you're going, before you start studying and observing that wisdom too.
It was about five years later, about two years after we gave up on church attendance as such, that I made the discovery, which proved Christianity a hoax and the 'Jesus of the gospels' a fictitious character, from material supplied by CHRISTIAN SCHOLARS AND HISTORIANS! And, let me tell whoever is interested in knowing: it was most definitely not so-called liberal historians who taught me. They were scholars who made a case for both Jesus and Paul's place in history. The people whom I worked for, from whose library I got the material that enlightened me, were archconservatives. Why hell, they believed Pierre Trudeau was a communist and Margaret Thatcher was underhandedly working for the Illuminati, the secret cabal that allegedly governs the world, through one of their clandestine fronts, the Bildebergers. The Canadian flag, the red maple leaf, they scornfully called Trudeau's rag. They wouldn't allow anything remotely liberal or progressive on the premises.
My date with destiny arrived when I was the printer for the religious group I just referred to, in Vancouver, BC, Canada. During every lunch break, after we had eaten, the bible was read and prayers were said, which was usually followed by a general discussion of some sort, mostly the main news of the day. One specific lunch break we had a good-natured argument about the New Testament church's role in society. There were about seven of us sharing in the discussion, all contradicting one another whilst each of us generously quoted from the New Testament to motivate our premise. I had been in that kind of argument innumerable times, but that day, for the very first time, it struck me: how the hell can we all use the same source yet all of us have a different view of what is expected of us? That meant: we, in our zeal to be true to our understanding of the New Testament, were pitching the New Testament against itself! And that can't be possible: for a house divided against itself cannot stand! Furthermore, it struck me that any book that is all things to all men is a pathetic excuse for a guide or recipe book, which is supposed to offer the only true infallible direction to build your life and eternal expectations on.
If you give ten thousand chefs the same recipe, then ten thousand of the exact same dishes will be prepared. But we seven lunchtime geniuses were all using the same recipe book and we were coming up with seven totally different dishes. It's a joke.
Déjà vu! I recognised the pattern from the time I was a student at the Toronto campus of USO where the teachers were religious know-it-all clowns contradicting one another in the name of Jesus on the strength of their denominational interpretation of the New Testament. We omniscient lunchtime biblical-scholars were repeating the same folly. Then, something strange but very real happened to me: it was as though a thick blinding fog lifted and I could see clearly. It didn't literally happen, but I had the sensation that I became an outsider looking in on the seven of us; I didn't know whether I should be ashamed or whether I should laugh at what I saw, so I did both. I laughingly said something to this effect, “You people are probably right, I've had enough, I'm out of here”.
I was ready for the final lecture from Christian scholars. I was about to graduate from USO.
I decided it was time to educate myself on the source itself, the New Testament. I excused myself from the table and went straight to the organisations very own extensive library. I took the first bible encyclopaedia I saw and sat down to start my research. I was still wondering where I should start when a powerful inner conviction, similar to the one I had on the night I met Dave Strong, made me decide to check the dates on which the books of the New Testament were written.
In less than twenty minutes, based on the information supplied by Christian scholars, the New Testament proved itself an elaborate deception. Since its inception it was formatted to deceive and mislead; to create the illusion that Paul's epistles, the foundation of the New Testament church and its myriad teachings, which include the dogma of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, were based on the teachings of the gospels. It's unequivocally not the case! Every single Pauline epistle was written years before the gospels. It should, therefore, precede the gospels in placement.
By implication it would appear from my lecturers at USO that Jesus didn't recreate Paul in his image, but rather Paul and his pals create the 'Jesus-of-the-gospels' to suit the image they wanted to portray of what the Creator wants from us-- to enslave the mindless masses by faith, not by reason, to a religion from which a select few grow rich and fat. Like I said, my book deals with the details.
I later learned from the documentary series, 'Forensic Detectives', and 'The FBI Files', the method I used to understand the fraudulent composition of the New Testament is standard procedure in police investigations and forensic analysis and is accepted in courts of law the world over. It's called establishing the Time Line: that's why the first thing cops always do in an investigation is ask the suspect for their alibi... Where were you AT THE TIME OF THE CRIME?
It was from the same library that I found a very old copy of Josephus's work, published somewhere in the early 1800's in, I believe it was Poland, where the reference to Jesus Christ was exactly 15 words, as compared with the more recent edition, which has about 50 words to the paragraph. My essay “I'm Sorry Samantha, I Really Am” shows why the claim by Christians that it is external biblical proof of Jesus' existence, is the biggest laugh in the academic circles that deal with such matters (no I'm not an academic, but I don't hesitate to phone them when I want their educated opinion) and the most ridiculous claim in the arena of common sense. If you want a free copy of the essay simply ask for it: email@example.com
AN OPEN CHALLENGE
I defy any Christian to prove it wasn't God that 'revealed' Christianity as a colossal fraud to me. The inner conviction that convinced me to go to theological college was the same inner conviction that prompted me to go to Canada, and then to study and observe Christianity as a confusing, self-contradicting moneymaking enterprise. And it was the exact same inner conviction that had me check the dates that day in the Christian encyclopaedia. And if it was the work of the devil, as some misguided brainwashed soul, desperate to cling to the myth and his job, is bound to say, then my only retort can be: the devil is much more reliable than the God of Christianity can ever hope to be--- every inner conviction I ever had, and I've had quite a number of those, well documented in my book, have always resulted in a single clear instruction with an unambiguous outcome---not three hundred different options and similar or even double the amount of maybes. Furthermore, I never once had to play fraudulent games with dates to convince good Christian people of my special calling in life. (We all have a special purpose in life. By now you know where you'll find the details).
For whatever it is worth: I don't even believe in a devil, but if it were the work of the devil who told good Christians to pay for my schooling and expenses--- at least one of them has since died in the faith--- then all of them, including Pastor Wright and Dave Strong, mistook the word of the devil for the word of God.
Furthermore, the non-existing devil is endlessly more kind and infinitely more loving than the confused God created by Christians: No sane God puts thousands of his spokespersons at enmity with one another by giving them each a different message or theology from the same source. How can a compassionate benevolent God, with all his faculties in place, want his money to be spent on lifeless church buildings rather than needy and cold little children?
In conclusion one last challenge: At college I was taught 'The Law of Compound Probabilities' is the proof that prophecy is given by God. This Law states: Every time detail is added to a prophesy or a prediction the chances of it being a coincidence when it occurs is one out of two to the power of the number of detail. Example: if I say, “A man will call on you tomorrow,” the chances are one out of two that it'll be a coincidence or a random chance. The man may call or he may not. If I add: “The man will call at noon,” it once more doubles the probabilities and now becomes one out of four. The man may call or he may not call; he may call at noon or he my call but not at noon. If I add, “He'll be wearing a green suit when he calls,” the chances are raised to one out of eight. It increases to one out of sixteen when I predict he'll have a dog with him, etc., etc.
On at least eighteen occasions during my time as a practicing Christian I've had an inner conviction that resulted in events happening as I anticipated or predicted they would happen. Each one of them had a direct bearing on my call by God to fulfil my special calling, which is to expose Christianity as a hoax. (No, I don't hear voices and I've never had a special message for anyone but myself).
Elsie is prepared to attest, under oath, that at least half of those inner convictions I told her would happen did, in fact, occur. About twelve of those are discussed or alluded to in my book; every one with its astounding outcome was instrumental in shaping my life and the events that resulted in my graduation from USO.
According to the same Law of Compound Probabilities, used by Christians to prove Old Testament prophesy as given by God, the chances that my special calling is a coincidence, is one in 262,144; that's the sum total of 2 to the eighteenth power. A person who lives to be seventy years old has lived 25,550 days. That person has to take an average of ten significant chances a day, every day from birth, to equal 262,144 meaningful chances over his or her lifetime to earn the right to claim she or he has lived a life shaped and influenced by merely taking risks and chances. Most people take less than 10 life-changing chances in their lifetime before they end up either in the slammer, the bankruptcy court or the morgue.
So, all ye Faithful, don't tell me my life has been guided by coincidences or God didn't call me for the job of proving the faith once delivered unto the saints an elaborate deception to enrich the few and to enslave the masses --- prove He didn't if you can. Any bookmaker will tell you at 262,144 to 1, you'll be a fool for trying, but go for it anyhow, sport.
Am I an atheist? Mercy no! How could I, with my experience, not believe in and completely love the Creator who reveals Her/Himself to me through His/Her creation and through the inner voice or inner conviction. Am I a Deist? Maybe, but I doubt it. I was introduced to Deism as little as three weeks ago. But what I have read from Deist sites, it would appear to me that most Deists are actually Paineists! They endlessly quote Thomas Paine. I have yet to read anyone of them state, my inner conviction directed me to… Or my intuitive knowledge with which I was born, my Inner Voice, revealed to me… I sincerely wish to be corrected because Mr Paine confirms a lot of things my Inner Voice taught me.
No, I am just myself, and so should anyone be who wants to be free to be directed by his or her Inner Voice. Read it in 'Scrap Religion, Live Extra-ordinarily,' which can be ordered from: http://www.1stbooks.com/bookview/12209. ISBN: 1-4033-5161-9
Dirk only waives his rights, protected by international convention, if this work is passed on, duplicated, published or read in public, exactly as is, which includes the material promoting his book.