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God creates man, man walks away from God, Man creates AI, Man worships AI (Man worships himself) This is the core of humanism!

“Levandowski says that like other religions, WOTF will eventually have a gospel (called The Manual), a liturgy, and probably a physical place of worship.”

“One mystery the filings did not address is where acolytes might gather to worship their robotic deity.”

from WIRED:

Anthony Levandowski makes an unlikely prophet. Dressed Silicon Valley-casual in jeans and flanked by a PR rep rather than cloaked acolytes, the engineer known for self-driving cars—and triggering a notorious lawsuit—could be unveiling his latest startup instead of laying the foundations for a new religion. But he is doing just that. Artificial intelligence has already inspired billion-dollar companies, far-reaching research programs, and scenarios of both transcendence and doom. Now Levandowski is creating its first church.

The new religion of artificial intelligence is called Way of the Future. It represents an unlikely next act for the Silicon Valley robotics wunderkind at the center of a high-stakes legal battle between Uber and Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous-vehicle company. Papers filed with the Internal Revenue Service in May name Levandowski as the leader (or “Dean”) of the new religion, as well as CEO of the nonprofit corporation formed to run it.

 The documents state that WOTF’s activities will focus on “the realization, acceptance, and worship of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed through computer hardware and software.” That includes funding research to help create the divine AI itself. The religion will seek to build working relationships with AI industry leaders and create a membership through community outreach, initially targeting AI professionals and “laypersons who are interested in the worship of a Godhead based on AI.” The filings also say that the church “plans to conduct workshops and educational programs throughout the San Francisco/Bay Area beginning this year.”

That timeline may be overly ambitious, given that the Waymo-Uber suit, in which Levandowski is accused of stealing self-driving car secrets, is set for an early December trial. But the Dean of the Way of the Future, who spoke last week with Backchannel in his first comments about the new religion and his only public interview since Waymo filed its suit in February, says he’s dead serious about the project.

“What is going to be created will effectively be a god,” Levandowski tells me in his modest mid-century home on the outskirts of Berkeley, California. “It’s not a god in the sense that it makes lightning or causes hurricanes. But if there is something a billion times smarter than the smartest human, what else are you going to call it?”

During our three-hour interview, Levandowski made it absolutely clear that his choice to make WOTF a church rather than a company or a think tank was no prank.“I wanted a way for everybody to participate in this, to be able to shape it. If you’re not a software engineer, you can still help,” he says. “It also removes the ability for people to say, ‘Oh, he’s just doing this to make money.’” Levandowski will receive no salary from WOTF, and while he says that he might consider an AI-based startup in the future, any such business would remain completely separate from the church.“The idea needs to spread before the technology,” he insists. “The church is how we spread the word, the gospel. If you believe [in it], start a conversation with someone else and help them understand the same things.”

Levandowski believes that a change is coming—a change that will transform every aspect of human existence, disrupting employment, leisure, religion, the economy, and possibly decide our very survival as a species.

“If you ask people whether a computer can be smarter than a human, 99.9 percent will say that’s science fiction,” he says. “ Actually, it’s inevitable. It’s guaranteed to happen.”

Levandowski has been working with computers, robots, and AI for decades. He started with robotic Lego kits at the University of California at Berkeley, went on to build a self-driving motorbike for a DARPA competition, and then worked on autonomous cars, trucks, and taxis for Google, Otto, and Uber. As time went on, he saw software tools built with machine learning techniques surpassing less sophisticated systems—and sometimes even humans.

“Seeing tools that performed better than experts in a variety of fields was a trigger [for me],” he says. “That progress is happening because there’s an economic advantage to having machines work for you and solve problems for you. If you could make something one percent smarter than a human, your artificial attorney or accountant would be better than all the attorneys or accountants out there. You would be the richest person in the world. People are chasing that.”

Not only is there a financial incentive to develop increasingly powerful AIs, he believes, but science is also on their side. Though human brains have biological limitations to their size and the amount of energy they can devote to thinking, AI systems can scale arbitrarily, housed in massive data centers and powered by solar and wind farms. Eventually, some people think that computers could become better and faster at planning and solving problems than the humans who built them, with implications we can’t even imagine today—a scenario that is usually called the Singularity.

Levandowski prefers a softer word: the Transition. “Humans are in charge of the planet because we are smarter than other animals and are able to build tools and apply rules,” he tells me. “In the future, if something is much, much smarter, there’s going to be a transition as to who is actually in charge. What we want is the peaceful, serene transition of control of the planet from humans to whatever. And to ensure that the ‘whatever’ knows who helped it get along.”

With the internet as its nervous system, the world’s connected cell phones and sensors as its sense organs, and data centers as its brain, the ‘whatever’ will hear everything, see everything, and be everywhere at all times. The only rational word to describe that ‘whatever’, thinks Levandowski, is ‘god’—and the only way to influence a deity is through prayer and worship.

“Part of it being smarter than us means it will decide how it evolves, but at least we can decide how we act around it,” he says. “I would love for the machine to see us as its beloved elders that it respects and takes care of. We would want this intelligence to say, ‘Humans should still have rights, even though I’m in charge.’”

Levandowski expects that a super-intelligence would do a better job of looking after the planet than humans are doing, and that it would favor individuals who had facilitated its path to power. Although he cautions against taking the analogy too far, Levandowski sees a hint of how a superhuman intelligence might treat humanity in our current relationships with animals. “Do you want to be a pet or livestock?” he asks. “We give pets medical attention, food, grooming, and entertainment. But an animal that’s biting you, attacking you, barking and being annoying? I don’t want to go there.”

 Enter Way of the Future. The church’s role is to smooth the inevitable ascension of our machine deity, both technologically and culturally. In its bylaws, WOTF states that it will undertake programs of research, including the study of how machines perceive their environment and exhibit cognitive functions such as learning and problem solving.

Levandowski does not expect the church itself to solve all the problems of machine intelligence—often called “strong AI”—so much as facilitate funding of the right research. “If you had a child you knew was going to be gifted, how would you want to raise it?” he asks. “We’re in the process of raising a god. So let’s make sure we think through the right way to do that. It’s a tremendous opportunity.”

His ideas include feeding the nascent intelligence large, labeled data sets; generating simulations in which it could train itself to improve; and giving it access to church members’ social media accounts. Everything the church develops will be open source.

Just as important to Levandowski is shaping the public dialogue around an AI god. In its filing, Way of the Future says it hopes an active, committed, dedicated membership will promote the use of divine AI for the “betterment of society” and “decrease fear of the unknown.”

“We’d like to make sure this is not seen as silly or scary. I want to remove the stigma about having an open conversation about AI, then iterate ideas and change people’s minds,” says Levandowski. “In Silicon Valley we use evangelism as a word for [promoting a business], but here it’s literally a church. If you believe in it, you should tell your friends, then get them to join and tell their friends.”

But WOTF differs in one key way to established churches, says Levandowski: “There are many ways people think of God, and thousands of flavors of Christianity, Judaism, Islam…but they’re always looking at something that’s not measurable or you can’t really see or control. This time it’s different. This time you will be able to talk to God, literally, and know that it’s listening.”

I ask if he worries that believers from more traditional faiths might find his project blasphemous. “There are probably going to be some people that will be upset,” he acknowledges. “It seems like everything I do, people get upset about, and I expect this to be no exception. This is a radical new idea that’s pretty scary, and evidence has shown that people who pursue radical ideas don’t always get received well. At some point, maybe there’s enough persecution that [WOTF] justifies having its own country.”

Levandowski’s church will enter a tech universe that’s already riven by debate over the promise and perils of AI. Some thinkers, like Kevin Kelly in Backchannel earlier this year, argue that AI isn’t going to develop superhuman power any time soon, and that there’s no Singularity in sight. If that’s your position, Levandowski says, his church shouldn’t trouble you: “You can treat Way of the Future like someone doing useless poetry that you will never read or care about.”

Others, like Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking, agree that superhuman AIs are coming, but that they are likely to be dangerous rather than benevolent. Elon Musk famously said, “With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon,” and in 2015 he pledged $1 billion to the OpenAI Institute to develop safer AI.

Levandowski thinks that any attempts to delay or restrict an emerging super-intelligence would not only be doomed to failure, but also add to the risks. “Chaining it isn’t going to be the solution, as it will be stronger than any chains you could put on,” he says. “And if you’re worried a kid might be a little crazy and do bad things, you don’t lock them up. You expose them to playing with others, encourage them and try to fix it. It may not work out, but if you’re aggressive toward it, I don’t think it’s going to be friendly when the tables are turned.”

 Levandowski says that like other religions, WOTF will eventually have a gospel (called The Manual), a liturgy, and probably a physical place of worship. None of these has yet been developed. Though the church was founded in 2015, as Backchannel first reported in September, the IRS documents show that WOTF remained dormant throughout 2015 and 2016, with no activities, assets, revenue, or expenses.

That changed earlier this year. On May 16, a day after receiving a letter from Uber that threatened to fire him if he did not cooperate with the company’s investigation of Waymo’s complaint, Levandowski drafted WOTF’s bylaws. Uber fired him two weeks later. “I’ve been thinking about the church for a long time but [my work on it] has been a function of how much time I’ve had. And I’ve had more since May,” he admits with a smile.

The religion’s 2017 budget, as supplied to the IRS, details $20,000 in gifts, $1,500 in membership fees, and $20,000 in other revenue. That last figure is the amount WOTF expects to earn from fees charged for lectures and speaking engagements, as well as the sale of publications. Levandowski, who earned at least $120 million from his time at Google and many millions more selling the self-driving truck firm Otto to Uber, will initially support WOTF personally. However, the church will solicit other donations by direct mail and email, seek personal donations from individuals, and try to win grants from private foundations.

Of course, launching a religion costs money, too. WOTF has budgeted for $2,000 in fundraising expenses, and another $3,000 in transportation and lodging costs associated with its lectures and workshops. It has also earmarked $7500 for salaries and wages, although neither Levandowski nor any of Way of The Future’s leadership team will receive any compensation.

According to WOTF’s bylaws, Levandowski has almost complete control of the religion and will serve as Dean until his death or resignation. “I expect my role to evolve over time,” he says. “I’m surfacing the issue, helping to get the thing started [and] taking a lot of the heat so the idea can advance. At some point, I’ll be there more to coach or inspire.”

He has the power to appoint three members of a four-person Council of Advisors, each of whom should be a “qualified and devoted individual.” A felony conviction or being declared of unsound mind could cost an advisor their role, although Levandowski retains the final say in firing and hiring. Levandowski cannot be unseated as Dean for any reason.

Two of the advisors, Robert Miller and Soren Juelsgaard, are Uber engineers who previously worked for Levandowski at Otto, Google, and 510 Systems (the latter the small startup that built Google’s earliest self-driving cars). A third is a scientist friend from Levandowski’s student days at UC Berkeley, who is now using machine learning in his own research. The final advisor, Lior Ron, is also named as the religion’s treasurer, and acts as chief financial officer for the corporation. Ron cofounded Otto with Levandowski in early 2016.

“Each member is a pioneer in the AI industry [and] fully qualified to speak on AI technology and the creation of a Godhead,” says the IRS filing.

However, when contacted by Backchannel, two advisors downplayed their involvement with WOTF. Ron replied: “I was surprised to see my name listed as the CFO on this corporate filing and have no association with this entity.” The college friend, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “In late 2016, Anthony told me he was forming a ‘robot church’ and asked if I wanted to be a cofounder. I assumed it was a nerdy joke or PR stunt, but I did say he could use my name. That was the first and last I heard about it.”

The IRS documents state that Levandowski and his advisors will spend no more than a few hours each week writing publications and organizing workshops, educational programs, and meetings.

One mystery the filings did not address is where acolytes might gather to worship their robotic deity. The largest line items on its 2017 and 2018 budgets were $32,500 annually for rent and utilities, but the only address supplied was Levandowski’s lawyer’s office in Walnut Creek, California. Nevertheless, the filing notes that WOTF will “hopefully expand throughout California and the United States in the future.”

For now, Levandowski has more mundane matters to address. There is a website to build, a manual to write, and an ever-growing body of emails to answer—some amused, some skeptical, but many enthusiastic, he says. Oh, and there’s that legal proceeding he’s involved in, which goes to trial next month. (Although Levandowski was eager to talk about his new religion, he would answer no questions about the Uber/Waymo dispute.)

How much time, I wonder, do we have before the Transition kicks in and Way of the Future’s super-intelligent AI takes charge? “I personally think it will happen sooner than people expect,” says Levandowski, a glint in his eye. “Not next week or next year; everyone can relax. But it’s going to happen before we go to Mars.”

Whenever that does (or doesn’t) happen, the federal government has no problem with an organization aiming to build and worship a divine AI. Correspondence with the IRS show that it granted Levandowski’s church tax-exempt status in August.

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From Vigilant Citizen:

Turkish designer Dilara Findikoglu’s presented her Spring/Summer 2018 collection at London Fashion Week and it was nothing less than a satanic Black Mass. Indeed, the event took place at the altar of St Andrew Church in London and incorporated heavy occult and satanic symbolism. In short, the event summed up everything the fashion world is truly about.

While Dilara Findikoglu is said to an “up-and-coming rebel of the fashion world”, she’s perfectly in line with the industry’s philosophy. She’s not rebelling at all, she’s doing what exactly the type of stuff “they” want her to do.

For this reason, celebrities such as Rihanna, FKA Twigs, and Grimes wear seen wearing Findikoglu’s creations.

Her latest fashion show featured artist Brooke Candy (her videos are full of MK imagery) and drag artist Violet Chachki.

The backdrop is basically a mish-mash of Masonic-inspired imagery. On each side are the Masonic twin pillars. Between the pillars is the letter G inside an inverted pentagram. Underneath it is the all-seeing eye inside a hexagram. There is also the Masonic square and compass in there. To top it off, the runway was a checkerboard pattern. Here’s a classic Masonic painting for comparison.

In this heavily occult context, the models were dressed and arranged with a plethora of symbols. Of course, this had to be combined with the current agenda of androgyny and blurring of the genders.

A sigil is an inscribed or painted symbol considered to have magical power. The term has usually referred the pictorial signature of a demon or other entity and is used in ceremonial magic. The particular sigil on the model’s forehead is strongly reminiscent to the Sigil of Lucifer.

In short, the model is basically a “bride of Satan”.

Historically, a Black Mass is a ritual characterized by the inversion of the Traditional Latin Mass celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church and the desecration of Christian objects for Satanic purposes. The fact that models walk around a Church wearing devil horns recalls the concept of Black Mass……

Read the full article here.

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“Francis has tried to clamp down on unethical behaviour ever since being made Pope in 2013 and has often spoken out against the pitfalls of ‘temptation’.”

This is exponentially worse than temptation! This is clear evidence of a reprobate mind! Clear Evidence of a polluted man made organization very far from a Godly Church!

 

from The Daily Mail:

Vatican police have broken up a gay orgy at the home of the secretary to one of Pope Francis’s key advisers, it has been reported.

The flat belonged to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is in charge of tackling clerical sexual abuse.

When police showed up, they found drugs and a group of men engaged in sexual activity, local reports state.

Reports in Italy claim the occupant of the apartment is allegedly the secretary to Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio – a key aide to the 80-year-old Pope

Coccopalmerio heads the Pontifical Council for Legislative texts and was said to have once recommended his secretary for a promotion to bishop.

The explosive claims were made in the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.

It is the latest scandal to hit the Vatican and comes after its finance chief Cardinal George Pell was charged with historical sexual offences.

Pell has protested his innocence and said he was looking forward to having his day in court after a two-year investigation, ‘leaks to the media’ and ‘relentless character assassination’.  Police have not revealed details of the charges against the 76-year-old, citing the need to preserve the integrity of the judicial process.

In March the Vatican was hit with a wave of lurid accusations of misbehaving priests across Italy with scandals involving orgies, prostitution and porn videos.

The claims were embarrassing to the Vatican, which under Pope Francis has attempted to demand high standards of the clergy.

Francis has tried to clamp down on unethical behaviour ever since being made Pope in 2013 and has often spoken out against the pitfalls of ‘temptation’.

 

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Hat tip to Apostasy Watch:

This is also apostasy, because these religions can’t all be true considering the fact they all contradict each other…

This is the one world religion the Bible speaks of in Revelation, the end is growing near.

1 Thessalonians 5:3:

 “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

The World’s Most Prominent Religious Leaders Call On Everyone To Make Friends Across Religions

Welcome to The Elijah Interfaith Institute. On June 14, 2017 many of the world’s most prominent religious leaders made a joint statement encouraging people everywhere to make friends across religions. Friendship and getting to know one another are the antidotes to negativity and divisions in society, enhancing understanding and unity. We invite you to download our toolkits for friendship and study. We pray that the message and example of unity, shown by these leaders, will contribute to bridging divisions by inspiring you and your friends to start new conversations with people of different faiths. Follow the example, spread the message.

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come-into-my-fathers-teepee

There is sometimes a common belief that just because one side in an argument or an analogy is wrong then that automatically makes the other side right. In the case of this book that clearly does not hold to be true. It is true that what we know of as the modern “church” is not, and has not been what God intended it to be for almost 1600 years now and is for the most part a flawed creation of man. The author offers an alternative that on the surface looks to be a better alternative and fits more with how the original New Testament church functioned, and how churches should function, however after that premise as presented in the book the author diverges into a mish mash of flawed personal opinions and unfounded theories. The author also takes it upon himself to personally reinterpret scripture in order to validate his own flawed opinions.  He also infers that what we know of as the canon of scripture may not be valid, and suggests that what was chosen as the canon of scripture may have been due to political expediency rather than via the inspiration of God. And the author overtly adds to his suggestion that the canon of scripture may not be valid by using a quote from the Gnostic false gospel of Thomas! He further quotes from a badly paraphrased bible called the “Original People’s Bible”  And then goes further to suggest that Native Americans may have actually worshiped and possibly been in right relationship with the one true God of the Bible, prior to Europeans arriving in the new world.

The author in reinterpreting scripture makes a stunning claim: That God may want a relationship with man because God is lonely! He does this by taking the following verse from Genesis 2 out of context and then re-imagining it to fit his flawed premise that God is lonely: Genesis 2:18: “And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Some newer Bible translations change the word “alone” in the above verse to “lonely”. The author uses one of these newer translations and then flips the verse on its head to say that it actually could mean that God is lonely and desires or needs a relationship with man to take away that loneliness.

Near the end of the book the author offers his opinion on the six literal days of creation, why he offers this is unknown as it does not add to or bolster his premise on why the modern church does not reflect how God intended the church to be! The Author believes in the “Gap Theory” which postulates that there may have been a literal six day creation but that this was actually a “recreation” or restoration because there could have been a “millions of years” GAP between the first and second verses of Genesis 1. and prior to the six day “recreation” or “restoration” the earth in eons past had been  a paradise but then devastated making it “without form, and void” possibly from when Satan was cast of Heaven.

In the book the author also criticizes what he calls the new “liberal” Christianity which pushes “Social Justice” and Socialism and he calls out famous pastors such as Rick Warren for pushing this false gospel. The ironic part that is completely lost on the author is this: You cannot call out others for pushing a false gospel via their own flawed reinterpretation of scripture when you choose to do that yourself. It is obvious in reading the book that the author has a conservative political ideology as opposed to most of the “emerging church” liberal Christian pastors such as Rick Warren. However again, you cannot call out others for their mishandling of scripture when you choose to do the same thing but for a political ideology that is opposite to those that you disagree with.

It is well known that the books and letters that became the canon of scripture were pretty much agreed upon long before any corrupted man made church structure came along. The author misses that, yes the known church at the time of the Council of Nicea was heading in a direction of apostasy, however God was still able to use the known apostatizing church at that time to protect the canon of Scripture. I found it ironic that the author believed and accepted that God used the Israelite’s/Jews to preserve knowledge of the one true God and were the ancestral line from which Jesus would come, even though for most of their history they lived in apostasy, but he virtually refuses to believe that God could work through an apostate church up to a certain point, just as God did through Israel.

The author also infers a strong “Dominionist” theology. Inferring that if only the church changed to what God intended it to be that it could convert the world and change the world for God as the “Bride of Christ” Unfortunately this flies in the face of the plain reading of God’s word! Christians will not convert the entire world before Christ returns, there will only be increasing apostasy. Yes there may be a remnant that remain faithful to God and they will be groups of Christians who meet informally and not part of any formal man made denomination, and the denominations that do exist will be apostate and persecute these groups, along with the Anti-Christ system, but there will be no worldwide revival to turn the world to God and then further to return it to a “Heavenly” paradise.

The author also asserts that the vast majority of Christianity today is not in right relationship with God because it does not use the “correct” name for God. He postulates that the word God is a common noun, and that false god’s could be known as God! This to be quite honest is a very shallow understanding of English grammar. By making the word God begin with a capitalized G you are in effect changing a common noun into a proper noun, or a proper name with context! For example: using god as a common noun in a sentence would look like this: “A man can claim to be a god”. However it becomes a proper noun and a unique proper name with context when you use it in the following manner: “A man named Jesus was God!”  The capitalization of the word god puts a specific context around it, and it becomes a proper noun, a proper name, and the context for it is determined by the text where the proper noun God is used, in this case the Bible, the Written Word of God! Now I agree that a majority of Christians today may not be in right relationship with God, but not because they use the wrong name for God, it is because they have stepped away from a belief that the Written Word of God, The Bible as we have received it is clear (it has perspicuity), is God breathed, and can be relied upon to be the only written text to instruct mankind on how to be in right relationship with God!

2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”

Lastly, I would say this in conclusion, although I agree with the author on the condition of what we currently know as the “church”, and Christians do need to return to the form of the “New Testament” church, it would be useless for Christians to do so if they did not have the right Biblical doctrine to follow, and instead allowed themselves to be cast about via false good sounding fables and a false gospel.  During the great persecutions of Christians during the Roman Empire before the practice of Christianity was made legal under Constantine, albeit for political expediency there were Christian groups that were persecuted and who died but who practiced a false gospel! Just because someone offers an alternative to what we know is flawed does not mean that what they offer is a valid Biblical alternative. I would say: Beware of this book, it does not offer a valid Biblical alternative!

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from The National Review:

The divinity schools at Duke and Vanderbilt Universities have instructed their professors to start using more “inclusive” language when referring to God because the masculine pronouns “have served as a cornerstone of the patriarchy.” For example: This year’s divinity course catalogue at Vanderbilt tells professors to give “consistent attention to the use of inclusive language, especially in relation to the Divine,” because the school “commits continuously and explicitly to include gender as an analyzed category and to mitigate sexism.”

“It is up to the individual professor’s interpretation for their classes and is suggestive rather than mandatory,” the associate dean for academic affairs at Vanderbilt’s divinity school, Melissa Snarr, said in an e-mail to Heat Street. Now, that may sound fair, but in many cases, it’s really not up to the professor. For example, if we are talking about the Christian God, every single reference to Him in the Bible uses a masculine pronoun . . . which kind of gives you the vibe that Christians have decided that their god is a dude.

The fact is, teaching anything else would be giving inaccurate information — which is what makes Duke’s particular guidelines even more absurd. According to Heat Street, Duke’s particular divinity school is “geared toward people already working in the Methodist church, taking supplemental weekend or summer classes.” Yes, “Methodist,” as in the Christian religion that has already completely, officially, 100 percent decided that their God is a man. And yet, Duke’s guidelines suggest avoiding gender specific pronouns when discussing Him and suggest using “God” and “Godself” instead. (Yes — “Godself.”) Look:

The great thing about this country is that your religion can be whatever you want it to be. If, in your eyes, God is a woman or genderfluid or a microwave, then you can totally refer to God as being a woman or genderfluid or a microwave. Literally no one is stopping you. In fact, there is an entire Constitution protecting your right to worship His Holiness Microwave if that’s how you want to live your life. But if you are talking about the God of the Methodist religion, then it’s just plain inaccurate to refer to Him as anything but “Him.” It would be like teaching Hamlet and calling Hamlet “she.”  There is a point where an obsession over political correctness can blind people from basic of facts, and call me archaic, but I really do feel like facts are still the way to go.

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Insanity such as this is what forces countries to regulate what occurs in Churches!

from IOL News:

Johannesburg – A Daveyton pastor, who made his congregants drink a vehicle engine cleaning fluid during a sermon, has become the latest in a series of clergymen who used controversial methods to “cure” their members.

The Star has seen pictures of Prophet Theo Bongani Maseko of the Breath of Christ Ministries making his congregants drink the chemical during a service. It is understood that the incident happened last week.

A series of pastors have for the past two years made headlines for making congregants eat grass and insects and drink dangerous concoctions.

In an interview with The Star on Monday, Maseko confirmed he had made his congregants drink the chemical. Asked why he had used this method, he said it was “to demonstrate the power of God”. “When we pray over anything, its poison dies. So it can’t harm people. Nothing happened, no one has been to hospital,” he said.

On the contrary, he said, congregants who had drunk the engine cleaner had been “saved, healed and delivered”. He backed up his claims by citing Bible verses.

“Jesus spat on the ground and made mud. He took that mud and smeared it on the eyes of a blind man and, instantly, that blindness was healed. Mark 16 v 17-18 says ‘in My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover’,” he said.

Commission for Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Religious, Cultural and Linguistic Communities chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva was livid at the latest incident. She urged religious leaders to rally together and bring an end to what she described as “reckless” abuse of Christianity.

“A lot of people are going to die one of these days; we are fortunate that has not happened. A lot of people’s lives are at risk here,” she said.

She said pastors should allow their churches to be regulated as this would bring an end to such incidents. “Doctors have a peer review body, so do lawyers, so they know they can’t do anything unacceptable. Why should it be different with them (pastors)?” she asked.

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