Present: Flying airplanes for American Airlines. I live in Colorado Springs, Co, but am based in NYC, flying out of two airports: LaGuardia? and Newark.
Past: Grew up the oldest of 3 boys in Dallas, Texas. Dad was a roofer and agnostic. Mom worked at Sears, and took us to church. She died of pancreatic cancer when I was 15.
Decided I was allergic to land mines, booby traps, and trench foot during high school in the '70s (Viet Nam was on, and I had a draft card), so I went to the Air Force Academy and joined the Air Force. Flew KC-135's for almost 12 years and got out to fly for American Airlines.
Interests: -- Hiking, fishing, target shooting
-- Reading: current favorites:
"Contact", CarlSagan The Gunslinger series, StephenKing "Mere Christianity", CsLewis "A Case for Christ", LeeStrobel "The Bible", NIV, God "Brief History of Time", StephenHawking "Undaunted Courage", StephenAmbrose "Wild At Heart," JohnEldredge (A MUST READ for both men and women!) "Equiped to Love," NormWakefield "Love and Respect," EmersonEggerichs
-- Self-diagnosed "Vidiot"; can sit in front of any video screen (movie, TV, computer) for hours on end.
-- Famous for por spellling! Got a 96 percentile in science and 20 percentile in spelling on the PSAT in Jr. High.
Even so, can you not review your spelling (before or after saving) - you recently even misspelt your own surname!
Me-in-a-nutshell: (I didn't say nut-case!) Grew up in a small east Texas Baptist church that taught that it was a sin to dance, or go "mixed bathing" (swimming). Rock music was from Satan, and my long hair (in the '70's) was a sign of the end for me. When I cornered my Scout Master on these issues, he admitted that these weren't sins, but that there were certain circumstances we can put ourselves in that make it almost impossible not to sin. Well, what they were doing was teaching lies. When I found out, it destroyed their credibility. It made a permanent mark in my mind, and I've "questioned authority" ever since. I take no man's word for it, simply because he claims to be an expert. I investigate his claims. If they prove accurate, then he starts to build some credibility. This goes for religious as well as scientific experts.
I enjoy science and had read some of Sagan's stuff. But Sagan was an evangelical Atheist. He always made an effort to convince the reader that since science would answer all our questions, we didn't need this silly idea of god. His claim seemed unscientific to me. The question of whether we needed god has nothing to do with whether god is real or not. So, I went on a quest. I threw everything out and wanted to know if god is real or not. The short of it is, that a couple of atheist-turned believers settled the matter for me. C.S.Lewis was an ancient literature professor at Cambridge who set out to prove that God did not exist, using pure logic, and proved just the opposite. Lee Strobel was the legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, in the '70s, and went to university professors in various subjects asking the usual tough questions about god, the bible, Jesus, etc., and came away with a huge stack of compelling evidence that it was all true.
My life will never be the same. I now have Meaning in my life. I have Peace, even amongst my wrecked marriage. I have fallen in love with the Maker of all that is. Mushy stuff, I know! But it's been a blast!
[I need to add a PS here - after a 5 week separation, my wife and I are now back together and working together to save our marriage. We are learning the right way to communicate and resolve conflict. It is messy and tough. Each day is a challenge. But after several years of prayer, God's timing, love and patience with us is beginning to change our hearts toward each other.]
Visit my website: http://www.LBMinistry.org to read more of my story, as well as articles I write on various subjects. Some favorites:
Note: as of Jul 21, 07 these links will not work. If I can find a new location for them, on the web, I'll fix the links
You asked for it, you got it, Toyota! (sorry, dated TV-sourced figure of speech, there!) Executive summary -- McKay?, even as a "believer," fails to make the slightest effort to find answers to the delimmas he poses. His article "Why I am not a Fundamentalist" is 19 pages long. My "brief" reply is 7 pages, and can be read at ReplyToNotAFundamentalist. -- BrucePennington
I understand how that can be. Have you tried my "Bible Contradictions and Errors -- Resolved!" pages? -- BrucePennington
[Yes. Some I agreed with, some I didn't. When I find an account (e.g., most of Genesis) that reads like a fictional story, I don't need to treat it as fact, rather than a fictional parable (or an account based on a dream).]
Man wrote about the idea of god, and taught others the same. If there were a god, would he waste his time writing through the unreliable and untrustworthy hands of man? Heck no, only a fool would do that! Religion and god were invented by those who want to get a "one-up" on somebody or a bunch of somebodys. When you can claim that you should be the ruler and paid homage to because "god said so" or if you can control other people's behavior by giving them "rules directly from god" you have a mighty power on your side. It all began with the love of wealth and power, and that is where it still is today, given the exceptions of the insane and the fanatics. If there really be a god that is supposed to be superior, then he has lots of explaining to do about why he is so stupid and evil.
I appreciate your thoughts and hear your concerns about Mankind's misuse of power to hurt people. I've been studying the earliest evidences of the human propensity for worship, and you will find that as far back as we have evidence, Man has always worshiped. The earliest records show that agrarian families used their fireplaces for their altars and the father was the priest. An article in Discover Mag quoted an anthorpologist's claim that the first cities were formed as neighboring farm families discovered that they were worshiping similar gods (or the same god) and moved together forming the first cities in order to worship together. A very weak, but strongly proclaimed evidence of religion comes from the finding of the first grave of a buried Neandertal. The theory is that the Neandertals buried their dead because they believed in an after-life. -- BrucePennington
I agree with you that Mankind exibits plenty of evil and has used religion to perpetrate much of it, however the fault lies in the heart of man, not the religion (although Islam particularly lends itself to promoting evil). You will find that if men closely followed the teachings of Jesus, we would rapidly see a drastic decline in evil. -- BrucePennington
The following discussion moved to /Islam.
Hi bruce, I added /FalsifiableTheory to help you find such a theory.
I'd like to suggest that rational debate about the subject of Christianity and logical analysis of Christian concepts, are not productive means of learning about the world or even about Christianity. You will learn infinitely more about Christianity if you study alternative worldviews, because you will have something to compare it with.
It's very much akin to someone who wanted to learn about ?, let alone anything about Grasshopper, KeyKOS?, Smalltalk, and so on and so forth. They won't have any appreciation for what's beautiful or necessary and what's crud.but the only thing they did all day was look through the Linux kernel source. Sure, at the end of the day they would know a hell of a lot of details about the Linux kernel. But that's it. They wouldn't know anything about Unix' close cousins like Windows and MacOS
The idea here is not to inbreed your knowledge. And if you keep digging in the same spot deeper and deeper, you'll just get a very deep and extremely narrow hole from which you won't get out of. And these little confrontations with others about biblical accuracy aren't helping any because all they do is encourage other people to dig themselves in in their own tiny little spot. Sooner or later, someone will have dug themselves in so deep that they'll provoke a cave-in and suffucate. You don't want that to be you; you don't want to get lost in a tower of unstable intellectual arguments until you've lost touch with reality. The best possible outcome in such scenarios is that you've wasted a lot of time and effort.
What I would recommend is if you studied the history of religion in all of its respects. I'm not talking about Buddhism or Islam. I'm talking about Mithraism, Zoroastrianism and Gnosticism. And of course, you'll have no way of understanding these religions if you don't understand the cultures they were immersed in. A few books on the history of culture will do you well. I recommend ? by . Not because they're true but because they are thought-provoking.by and HistoryOfChildhood
If you want to stick to the subject of Christianity, I highly recommend reading books about how, for example, the Jesus Christ of Christianity simply never existed. Or almost as good, how he was gay and not at all like any branch of Christianity portrays.
Richard, welcome my friend! Just read your RichardKulisz page. We are kindred spirits to some degree, as I also enjoy challenging people to think (I know, you said "expand their minds"). I have to tell you that I am a bit of a novice at all this, and have much to learn. So little time -- so many books! The discussion on the FreeThinkerOxymoron page was my original point of coming to WardsWiki. Since I have been here, several people have been asking me some very good and challenging questions about my faith, God, and the Bible. It is not really my desire to debate them per se. It is my desire to get at the Truth. Most of us grow up believing things like God or Evolution, simply because it is what the "experts" taught us. I have found in my search for Truth, that the experts often slant the facts, leave things out, or flat out lie because they have a personal agenda. I've found this with preachers as well as scientists. I appreciate your challenge to get at the history of religion as well as religions. And I agree there is value in reading the works of oposing opinions. My search for truth has gone from "Is there a god or not?" to "Ok, God is real, but whose God?" to "Jesus is legit, what did he teach?" to completely falling in love with Jesus, God, and his Word. Much of my recent time has been spent learning as much as I can about them. I've spent some time looking into the major world religions, and some of the primary key spin-offs of Christianity; but haven't gotten to the point of reaching back into history as you recommend. It is certainly a good idea. I also appreciate your concern that I loose my objectivity by digging a "very deep and narrow hole" that I can't get out of. I seriously attempt to protect my objectivity at all times. For example, I will not infrequently, hear something said by a very respected theologian (even one I respect), that I clearly disagree with. So, I am never blindly following anyone's teachings and always challenge what I hear and read. Speaking of challenges, welcome to The Adjunct! Hope to develop a lasting relationship as we stretch some grey matter! -- BrucePennington
Bruce, can you factor out my latest exposition in AgeOfTheEarth? I have a title in mind but it's lame and you've come up with some good titles. -- RK
Ok, sure thing! -- BrucePennington
I apologize for jumping on you about genetics on the stem cell page. I only figured out now why I did it and it wasn't a good enough reason. The way you described life was very clean and antiseptic. Biologists throw all of these grossly oversimplified images at people and they don't seem to care that they're passing on an understanding of life that's deeply flawed at its most fundamental level. It's a real sign of contempt by elites for ordinary people. The most fundamental truth about biological life is this, it's a big fucking mess. There's no possible rule you can invent which hasn't been broken, repeatedly.
Take "species don't interbreed". That's funny because all higher life forms are the result of repeated interbreeding between other species. Make that all multicellular life. Do you know what wheat is? It's a composite of three different grass species, with the chromosomes of all three species. And it's a safe bet that every species that has multiple pairs of chromosomes got those pairs by the fusion of two or more species. And then of course, there's gene transfer between different species via these hybrid intermediaries, whether the hybrids are viable or non-viable. The same with multicellular life which all just happens to have organelles. Those organelles? Other cells which were only partially digested. Mitochondria and chloroplasts both have their own DNA.
Now suppose you take "DNA codes for the organism" except that it doesn't. What about methylation regulation of gene expression? What about RNA interpreting DNA into many different kinds of proteins? And speaking about DNA, how about that old saw about the universal unchangeable code for DNA triplet to animo acid translation? That's a good one since there are species that use different codes. In fact, there are species that have recoded the meaning of triplets that were already in use. According to dogma, the same dogma which biologists will now try to convince you they "never really believed in the first place" (so were they deliberately lying to everyone?), that's not supposed to be possible.
Biological life follows only a set of very loose rules because it's a big fucking mess. Fundamentalist Christians do a great disservice to their god by insisting that he designed it all. If I had designed anything such as this, this barely working piece of shit, I certainly wouldn't want to be associated with it. -- RK
Richard, thanks for the apology. I enjoy our discussions, and took no offense. I'm a recovered RoadRage -aholic myself, so I can empathize with your emoting on topics you are passionate about. Personally, I learned that my RoadRage, as well as some HairTrigger emotions I've develped though my marital struggles, were only harming me and my relationship with those I cared about. So, I encourage you to delve into an old honored tradition called Civility. We all benefit from treating each other respectfully even if we don't actually respect someone. It frees one to discuss even the most difficult matters fully, when it can be done without personal attacts or slurs. -- BrucePennington
Concerning your thoughts on Biological Life -- I find it fascinating when you start looking even deeper than just genetics. All living things are made of chemicals. Those chemicals are made of molecules that in turn are made of atoms. Atoms are just "balls" of neutrons and protons surrouded by electrons, each held to the other by some "force." The spaces between the electrons and the nucleus are so great, relatively speaking, they exceed the distances between the stars. The physical space our bodies occupy is mostly made up of this "force," rather than material objects of electrons and protons. In fact, according to StephenHawking, even those electrons are more than little BB's. They probably exist in more dimensions than our 3. We just observe them as they interact with our world. So, now, as I see someone coming toward me, I imagine them to be this collection of tiny BB's jumbled together and held by globs of "force." It kind of de-humanizes us. Yet, in the midst of this jumble of weird stuff, we actually do have a mind, a character (soul if you will). We really are more than the sum of our parts. It is easy to get to a CantSeeTheForestForTheTrees condition when you try to analyze things down to their minutiae. -- BrucePennington
Bruce, do you object to organ transplantation? When does the donor die?
Interesting discussion moved to AmIDeadYet?
Bruce, does, in your view, a baby retain its babyhood in "the afterlife" or does it proceed to adulthood? More generally, can one imagine any afterlife (for the "saved" or others) which is consistent with Christianity without introducing all sorts of problems which can't apparently be resolved? (After all, who'd want to be a baby for eternity?)
Something I thought you might appreciate http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=64317
Thanks! It is a powerful page. It could take our disussion in several directions. Where would you like to take it? -- BrucePennington
Thanks, Earle! I'm a slow learner, but trainable! -- BrucePennington
This is going to sound incredibly odd, I imagine, but I've tried unsuccessfully to put it out of my head enough times that I might as well try. I'm reading the BrucePennington would think of this ..." Actually, you know how one might dialog with various characters, for example I have a running dialog with about how crazy modern life is, oh and , except he doesn't say much, and upon occasion Jesus or Freud pop in, along with the author of whatever book I'm reading. For some reason, you've entered the fray.for the second time, you see, and for some reason which I can't quite grasp, I keep thinking to myself, "I wonder what
So why would I have this editorializing voice while rereading the Gita? Why would I wonder what a Christian fundamentalist thinks of an epic Hindu religious poem? You probably first popped in first because of a sitting to read in which I'd just left wiki or read something by you, but now I have this sort of twisted fascination with the dialog which continues because of how simply plausible it is. (I'm recalling a comment you made about how some sorts of religious beliefs may as well be pre-Christian Christianity, essentially.) And now, I'm simply just dreadfully curious how you'd react to the various points it makes.
So I'm curious if you've ever read the Gita, and whether you'd be game if I drop-shipped you a copy (it's short). Purely as an intellectual exercise, no evangelism intended. What do you think?
Jason, I haven't read any of his works. Thanks for the link, though, I just ordered a copy and will read it. I enjoy our exchange of ideas, here at TheAdjunct, and [Warning! Emotional, gushy stuff immediately follow] find my heart and mind probably permanently linked with all here. [Whew! I edited that as much as I could, but it still sounds mushy!], so I underestand what you mean! Thanks for the great laugh. I'll report in when I've read the book (probably a couple of weeks) -- BrucePennington
Hee. Hope I'm not way off base (and don't be afraid to say so if I am...) And while Gandhi didn't write it (only translated and comments heavily on it), I've read a dozen Gandhi anthologies and this is the clearest picture of his philosophy I've found to date. Looking forward to hearing. --JasonFelice
Cool. I'm most interested in your thoughts on overall compatibility and more specifically which, if any, areas are in total agreement and which, if any, areas are show-stoppers. Shall we make a BrucePennington/OnTheGita ?
Sounds good! I've finished the Intro through Chapter 3. I'll post as I go. -- BrucePennington
Spelling lesson of the day: balance (mostly on TheMarriageOfReasonAndEmotion). -- Eliz
Thanks! Caught me again! -- BrucePennington
When do you plan on fixing your 'ballance's, hmmm?
LOL! Crack that whip! Ok, I've fixed them! -- BrucePennington
Hooray! Now I bet you know how to spell 'balance'. :-)
Hi, Bruce. For your "Bible Contradictions" page, I keep hearing about this one - the two stories of creation told in Genesis 1 & 2. Care to investigate? I'm reading JosephCambell?'s ThePowerOfMyth?, and he tracks each of the stories, the first to 4th century B.C. and the other to 8th century B.C. --JasonFelice
Jason, thanks for the good question! I've done some investigating and will write a formal page for my website, like you suggest. I'll try to give a brief summary here, though.is a day-by-day, or epoch-by-epoch, account of creation. It doesn't delve into relationships and doesn't even deal with Eden. focuses on Eden and God's personal interactions with Man (Adam & Eve). The confusion arises with the talk about the "shrubs of the field" and the "plants of the field". The chapter deals with Man's need to "subdue the earth." The english phrase "of the field" is an attempt to translate a Hebrew word that can mean several things. One of them, and the one I believe was meant by Moses, refered to a cultivated field like a farm field. Chp two is not saying that there were no plants anywhere on the earth when God made Adam and Eve. It was saying that everything was wild, with no cultivated crops being grown. The Garden of Eden is introduced, with all its fruit-bearing trees and Adam is placed in it to work it and care for it. Even when he and Eve sin, and are kicked out, the focuse remains on their need to cultivate the land and toil at maintaining order over the land. Of course, the primary focus is on God and our relationship to Him, but it is in the context of His placing upon us the responsibility to sudue, or create order, in the land we live.
I'm assuming this is the controversial issue you are refering to. If not, let me know. Give me another week or so, and I'll post a reference here, to the formal write-up on this question. Thanks, Jason. -- BrucePennington
I'm going to guess that Jason is talking about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_according_to_Genesis#Theories_of_textual_interpretation. -- EricHodges
Yes, that is a good synopsis of the debate over the two chapters. While not an expert on all the issues discussed, there, based upon my search for AbsoluteTruth, I stand by the opinion that the problem exists because of the translational diffficulties discussed above. Thanks for the link! -- BrucePennington
Which (if any) of the 3 theories described there do you think is correct? -- EH
If I had to pick one, Eric, it would be the first (Single Account Theory). I agree with the author they quote: "Genesis 1 mentions the creation of man as the last of a series, and without any details, whereas in Genesis 2 man is the center of interest and more specific details are given about him and his setting." (Kitchen 116-117)." Chapter 1 is clinical and factual, but gives no detail about God and His relationship to Man. Chapter 2 goes into that detail and depicts His commands to Man to "subdue" the earth and cultivate the land. I've completed my study of the issue. If you're interested, you can read my study at BrucePennington--
Just a note to let folks know, that as of next month, Aug 07, I'll be taking a sabbatical to work on my marriage. I'll try to drop in periodically, but it won't be near as often as before. I'll be shutting my LBministry.org website down, as well, so the links won't be working.
I've truly been blessed by all who have spent time with me, here, and on C2. I consider myself a richer man for knowing you all. You are always in my prayers, and that won't change. May God bless each of you greatly in the days to come. Your friend -- BrucePennington
Good luck, Bruce, and thanks for participating. You'll be welcome here any time. -- EarleMartin
Don't let your wife be a computer widow. Hope all goes well. -- ElizabethWiethoff
I guess I shouldn't wander off for months at a time. All the best, Bruce. At least drop by and stir the pot. -- GarryHamilton