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  God's prerogative, human ethics, and a sign of God or of "not God"

  One area of theology is often called God's prerogative.  Basically, it means
God created everything, so he's the first owner of everything, even all life.
How he wants to run things, even cause or allow the troubling things of the
world, is fair game--that's his prerogative.  There's nothing new under the sun
there.  It's covered a bit in Job, which some think is the oldest book of the
Old Testament.

  That theology doesn't give people the same right.  They have the freedom to do
whatever, but not all of it rightfully by God.  In this case, God is the God of
the Bible, but the JWs leaders' doctrine on blood isn't a Biblical guarantee.
It's a claim of the JWs' Governing Body that the JWs leaders are the sole recip-
ients of special messages from the holy spirit or angels who allegedly want them
to claim they got some divine message to play prophet--with a string of forced
points, misuse of research material, and omission of pertinent evidence--to es-
tablish the divine authority to add their rules about the medical use of blood
to the requirements for salvation.  This isn't confidently and forthrightly made
clear in JWs leaders' literature on their blood doctrine, but that's all it is.

  You may want to have a hope commitment for God.  You may even figure God can
use His prerogative to have someone cause the death of another in a way we'd
otherwise consider unethical.  (Amnesty International might not be crazy about
all the things there were capital punishment for in Mosaic law, in how some
Christian leaders became more political than Christian and ran things in the
dark ages--notably around 1,000 AD, or severe punishments for religious reasons
in Saudi Arabia, for example.)  But if it gets into unethical things--

  - a fake prophet (JWs leaders) or fake faith healer (Popoff) or such causing
people to forgo proper medical treatment and possibly die, or endorsing other
bad ideas,
  FBI Audiotape Project:

  - someone's idea of "us"es flying jets into skyscrapers full of "them"s,

  - following centuries of peaceful Christians by making Christianity the law,
so creating a ton of people who say, "Yeah, I'm a Christian, I plan to read
about it sometime--don't hurt me," then having political reasons to sic them on
others for gain as if Jesus taught to find people who believe different and beat
them up,

  - people angered into attacking from either side of the Palestinian border,

  the most popular source material I know of would have you look for a sign of
God, or not God, before complying or it's just lies and murder.  A sign of God
and good ethics are a good combo for complying with such a request, and a sign
of not God and unethical behavior is the worst.  If it gets into unethical
things, only excusable at the level of God's prerogative, some of us would like
you to put a sign of God on the table or shut up--you're just running around
making trouble like you've got no sense.  If the ancient account has it that God
told someone to kill another, I'd ask for the same--show me the clouds parting
and Charleton Heston talking out of a shrub or such or no deal.

  So it comes down to whether or not you want to throw a hope commitment in the
direction of the JWs leaders' claim.  But I hope I've shown you every reason to
see it's not something you have to do to have a hope for God, including the God
of the Bible--it's to wonder if you want to have a hope commitment that the JWs
leaders are the exclusive voice of the holy spirit on Earth.

  It's not like their track record is a big secret, either; the JWs leaders
haven't delivered the goods on any supernatural claim, and the evidence of their
past failed predictions, the current leaders' claims about their past record,
forced points, quotes used deceptively out of context, revisionist history,
omission of pertinent evidence, etc., shown in this article are signs of "not
God."  I wouldn't let a kid die at a hospital over it.  I wouldn't spare it the
left mouse button click for "spam" if it showed up in my e-mail.

  You might hope for something possible that's good, but this is the difference
between God and the JWs leaders as God's sole channel of information: God is
possible--they're not.

  The false prophet makes special rules or predictions to define the righteous
ones, it creates unnecessary divisions and accusations between followers, and
people may even get hurt or killed.  This is why Mosaic law had false prophets
dodge rocks.  It's supposed to be an internal corrective--you're not supposed to
make heros out of them.

  To send hope in the direction of the JWs leaders' claim has carried the possi-
bility of a loved one having a diminished range of medical options, so a great-
er risk of fatality, in a hospital for over half a century now.  I don't know
why anyone, aware of how cynical it is for the JWs leaders to keep up preten-
sions in spite of of the harm and fatalities that can still happen, would hope
for that.  But since that's what the JWs Governing Body is asking JWs to do
even unto pain of death, and their own literature on the blood issue won't be
straight with them and the general public, and that literature is spread in
many places where the JWs leaders' organization can make money from it, I hope
this article spreads the word about it a bit.

  People shouldn't be too 'centric
  (including about belief or non-belief in God)

  Belief in God is faith.  Even the NT says you're saved by faith--a hope
commitment in a possible God.  In my ideal of it, it's not a disagreement about
the see-able, touchable, measurable things (some people's arguments for literal
interpretations of Genesis and such notwithstanding).  I would think both sides
of it would understand that, it's just one chooses to hope for a God beyond
those things and the other doesn't.  When either side tries to rationalize it
too much, I think they miss the point.  It's fair game that one might try to
persuade the other to their choice, but whether the other goes for it or not, I
hope they're still friends afterward.

  But when people see they're in a group, some rationalize they're the good ones
and others are stupid and crazy and cause all the trouble in the world--they get
'centric.  They might do it over race, income level, nationality, etc.--someone
once divided a room in half, and some of the poeple on one side of the room got
that way about the ones on the other side of the room.  And they might do it
over the choice of whether or not to believe in God.

  But a recent article in Yahoo showed that more kids in school are more relaxed
over each other's different choices about God.  I think that's healthy.  We're
never going to have everyone the same in each category, but we can be more re-
laxed and friendly about there being the different kinds.

  Some people have said they don't know of anything that's caused people to kill
people as much as belief in God.  I'd say nothing has been as big a cause of
people killing people than people getting too 'centric.  Jesus didn't teach to
look for people who believe differently and beat them up, and neither did Paul
(1 Cor.10:31-11:1).  Even in the examples of religious people fighting over such
things, the fighters aren't all the people with faith in God--it's when people
get too 'centric, if and when that happens among religious people or any other
kinds of people--that the fighting starts.  Then walls of alienation go up, with
people distrusting and even hating the ones on the other side.

  It's when people get too 'centric over it that someone is burned at the stake
or the jets fly into the skyscrapers or a Hitler without faith tries to manipu-
late Christianity for genocide or a Stalin has tens of thousands of priests,
etc., killed.  I wouldn't knock myself out arguing over the seeable, touchable
things because that isn't where the difference is.  And you want to guard
against getting 'centric about it, whichever you choose about having or not hav-
ing faith in God, because that's when it becomes unfriendly or worse. 

  The God of the Bible isn't meant as a concept of an all-beneficent God, just a
God of love as it's found in Him.  An all-beneficent God would have everyone
live forever in heavenly circumstances, but that wouldn't be credible.  To be
credible, the God concept has to be reconciled with the see-able touchable
world.  A bigger concern than deaths in battles or such is that the God of the
Bible has everyone die and didn't need to have it that way.

  That's the issue of God's prerogative: as creator of everything, He owns
everything, including all life, and all life other than His would be a lower
form of life.  It's all His to do with however He wants.

  That's dealt with in Job, one of the earliest books of the Bible.  The Devil,
as an adversarial lawyer, contests Job's faith in God to God, claiming Job only
has faith in God because things are good for Job--he's healthy and wealthy with
a big family.  God lets the Devil change all that, but Job still has faith.

  One way to make that easier to understand in a secular way is to take God out
of it.  Someone could be cynical about life because of all the bad things that
can happen, but someone else could see all those things yet could be glad they
got the chance to find what good in life they found.  Just add God to the latter
outlook, and that's Job.  The bad things aren't a make-or-break point about be-
lief in God (except regarding an all-beneficent God concept) any more than
they're a make or break point for someone being glad for the good they found in
life as a secular view (except regarding a view that all life is like heaven on

  The danger is in the believer or non-believer leader getting too 'centric
about it, and that's what the JWs leaders do to the point of cooking up the re-
search books to try to prove their dozen or so distinctive rules, meant to prove
their exclusiveness, are right.  People who believe in God or don't can be
friends, but thousands have died by making the mistake of following the JWs
leaders' cooked up cases about blood, worldliness and politics, and were separ-
ated over their shunning rules.  The case I have for that is at the next links,
which is what I'd recommend to JWs worried about the fate of those who don't
follow the JWs leaders.