Sunday, March 02, 2008

Josiah meets his Judas

A Southern schism

Trouble has arisen in another small corner of the extremist Christian right. I've already posted the fascinating misadventures of the hapless college Christian bloc in Sacramento. Now a new dust-up comes to my attention. The Young Christian Leaders' Alliance in South Carolina has suffered a schism. Its charismatic president and founder, Josiah Magnuson, has suffered the loss of the organization's vice president and co-founder. He has been visiting websites that referred to the YCLA and posting a crystal-clear denunciation of the group he helped to start:
I, [Name], former vice-president and officer of the Young Christians Leader's Alliance (YCLA), do by this writing; officially denounce any public association with the YCLA. I do not hold any association with the YCLA as an organization, and although I believe the YCLA was founded with good intentions, I have forsaken the absurd, heretical, political and theological philosophies promoted by the YCLA. I do not necessarily endorse any ideas, doctrines, documents, persons, candidates, or other material created or promoted by the YCLA. I remain in the fundamental beliefs that I held before association with the YCLA.

It follows that the young man is still a right-wing Protestant fundamentalist creationist, but he dissociates himself totally from the “absurd” and “heretical” version espoused by Josiah Magnuson and those that remain allied with him. Interesting. (Heresy is always more fun for Protestants than Catholics because everyone gets to play; they don't have to worry about the pope ending the game by taking the ball home.)

Whence this tragic schism? I can but hazard a guess. One possible factor is Magnuson's peculiar devotion to the politics of Ron Paul. While one suspects that Magnuson would be loath to give up the anti-drug and anti-sodomy laws that would be swept away under the libertarian policies of a Paul administration, perhaps he thinks that such a laissez-faire government would merely open the way for gangs of Christian citizens to establish local moral codes on a freelance basis. (This approach has been extremely successful in many Islamic nations, where self-appointed guardians of public morals splash acid on the faces of women who aren't hidden behind veils.) The former vice president, on the other hand, has taken a more conventional stance in his endorsement of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Huckabee, you may recall, has bragged that he, unlike other candidates, is willing to amend the U.S. Constitution to make it more Christian. Despite this attractive bait, Magnuson denounces Huckabee as a tax-and-spend liberal (“Huckabee is not the answer...”).

One can see how the former YCLA leaders came to a parting of the ways.

The Future Lies Ahead!

The former veep posted his denunciation of Magnuson and the YCLA on this blog early Saturday morning. On the same day he posted an identical message on Pharyngula. That is, he chose to publicize his departure from the YCLA ranks by posts on the blogs of a pair of atheistic evolutionists. Does this make any sense?

Sure it does. Magnuson's little brown-shirt brigade got more attention from us than anywhere else. Once PZ Myers linked to my article, the floodgates were opened and Magnuson was giddy with delight.
In the past few days the number of visits here has thus become quite astronomical. Thanks, Zeno! :-)

You're welcome, Josiah, but did you stop to consider that it's not exactly a positive benefit when your hordes of visitors are there specifically to mock you or shake their heads in dismay?

Fame is fleeting, however. Although the rush of unbelievers to Josiah's website produced almost (but not quite) 900 hits in the month of September, it's been downhill from there. In February of this year he had only 81 visitors. The revolution will not be televised. Heck, it won't even be blogged.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Zeno,
My recent disassociation from the YCLA and its officers has come about by a difference in philosophies that I was not aware of at the beginning of this venture. At first I thought that perhaps I could “go along to get along,” but I soon realized that given both our political and theological differences this would be impossible. I am a fundamental independent Baptist, creationist, conservative. Unlike Josiah, I do not support Ron Paul, am not a libertarian, and cannot agree with his extra-biblical doctrines. I came to my decision only after much debate which proved futile in our coming to an agreement. The YCLA doctrines have already come under attack from at least three local churches. At Carson Creek Baptist Church (Brevard, NC), a conflagration that Josiah started with the Pastor ended in the authorities being called. From these and other incidents, the YCLA has a bad reputation that my beliefs should not be linked with. Josiah was fully aware of my resignation long before I publicly posted it. I put it on your site because I wanted it to widely known that I do not hold to the YCLA philosophies. I wrote the doctrinal statement of the YCLA; however the constitution adopted includes dozens of changes to my statement that Josiah made so they could conform to his views. As for your mention to Huckabee, if he has lost the nomination, I still remain a republican and won’t go for third-party candidates. Although the YCLA is very much neo-confederate and pro-Ron Paul, (I am neither) I still can not understand where you were able do get the idea that they are neo-Nazi. I would be grateful if you could back up your assumptions. In closing, I hold no malice toward the YLCA and associates; I have only recognized certain differences that make it impossible to continue forward. Any fault is mine for not doing a though enough check of Josiah’s beliefs before joining.
David M. Aguilar

Zeno said...

Thank you, David, for providing a clear statement of your beliefs and some clarification on how they are distinct from Josiah's. Your own words are more useful than the speculation of a third party.

My lampooning of the YCLA as equivalent to a Hitler Youth group is based on Josiah's apparently unwitting use of the full panoply one would expect of a paramilitary group. Your characterization of it as a neo-Confederate group helps to explain where some of that comes from. If Josiah doesn't want his organization taken for an extremist revolutionary group, he shouldn't run it like one.

R. Josiah Magnuson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R. Josiah Magnuson said...

Hi Zeno. Thanks for the articles on me and my work. :-0

I must admit though that I am very surpised at David Aguilar for creating such a scene regarding the group we helped each other begin. I appreciate his defense of the YCLA that it is not "neo-Nazi," but he continues to condemn me as a heretic and a libertarian.

Zeno, I do not believe David to be a heretic. Nor do I call political names about him. He is my friend. Please do not assume that all believers in Christ wish to slam each other and cause problems in their groups. If David chose to be a Judas to me, it is not the fault of Christ or of any other Christians. It should not be common Christian activity to attempt to cause havoc.

I could post things I know about David's family, church, personality, and actions as he has of me and my family. But why should I return evil for evil? I don't want to make him look bad.

However, I will note that it was his idea to hold the guns on the pictures that first brought the YCLA to your attention. I was not in favor of it, but went along with it to avoid an argument. Even after it caused a problem, I accepted responsibility and attempted to clear it up as much as possible. I had no idea the guns incident was the omen of a much greater attack on me.

Please forgive me if I have been an offense to you or to anyone who reads my site. I do not intend to hurt anyone or force them into my positions. Also, please forgive David as I do for his unfortunate activity. I hope the YCLA will become a beacon of light for those without Hope, rather than a continued source of fright and glee for those who may be rather self-assured.

I guess I have certainly learned to, as we Scouts say, "Be Prepared!" :-) No more blind forward motion for me.

And if there are any believers who visit this site, please pray for us.

Thanks again!

Your friend in blogging,

R. Josiah Magnuson
YCLA President

Anonymous said...

In response to Dr. Zeno (second comment)
A clarification: the YCLA can be considered militant, as in very firm about what they believe and ready to share it with others, but they are not violence promoting group. The same is true with supposed neo-Confederacy, which is more the YCLA’s interpretation of history than their engaging in neo-confederate activities.

However to say that the YCLA is neo-Nazi, either in philosophy or actions, is a patent falsehood. There were no Hitler Youth posters, Nazi flags, or swastikas present at the signing of the constitution, or at any YCLA meetings. I am not necessarily choosing sides, only endeavoring to clear up error derived unsupported assumptions.

As you already know, I am a Creationist. However I can’t exactly call Creationism science. My definition of science is “mans observation of the physical world,” so even though I may be able to generate scientific facts that seem to point to Creationism, the theory is still not science. To justify my belief that there is one true God that created and maintains the universe (Creationism), I must use blind faith. Faith that, first, there is a supernatural power above my understanding that created me and everything else. And second, since God created me, I will be responsible for how I live and whether or not I accept his Salvation from sins as described in the Bible.

This all sounds like ridiculous fairy tales until you considered one thing: the theory of Evolution is no different. To believe in it you also must use blind faith. Faith that first, by a process that you can only make theories about, scores of mutations happened perfectly and in the right order, to create everything we see here today. And second, that without gravity, light, matter, or anything else something came form nothing that in eventually turned into everything else. One question that Evolution can not explain is, “where did the first molecule come from?” Before something there was nothing, and something can’t come out of nothing. No theory can accurately explain this, so you have to use faith. And like it our not, your faith, either in God (Creationism) or in yourself (atheism, evolution), defines everything about you. It decides how you think, what you believe in, who you are. It causes you to poke fun at Christians and the Bible. When I say “Christians” I man real Christians. There are many people who claim to be Christian, freaks who branch of and start their won cults, and tons of hypocrites who gain money by “preaching to please the crowd.” And so I come to a question: have you ever read the Bible through from cover-to-cover? Even if you hold as a book of ridiculous nonsense is it not illogical to poke fun at a book that you have never studied or even read? I challenge you to read the Bible and then make any assumptions you might have of its “fairy tales.”

Since the beginning of time, man has always wanted to trust in himself. Examples of consequences from this decision abound. To believe there is no God is to trust entirely in ones self. That would mean that you would have to be: all knowing, all powerful, understand every thing, and be everywhere at the same time. Since this is impossible, you can not with all certainty denounce God. You need to put your faith in something that is all of the things I just listed.
A wise person will invest in his future (by getting an education, gaining skills, etc.) so that he will have a successful fulfilling life. In the same sense, a truly wise person will invest in his life after death. Every second is a second closer to death. I’ve made sure. I have put my faith in Jesus Christ to take away my sins and give me a place in heaven when I die. He has given me salvation, I don’t have do work for it, and just like everybody else I don’t deserve it. The historical facts around Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection our well documented. All you need to do is believe it.

But what if I’m wrong? Suppose you’re right, there is no God, we just live our lives as we please and there will be no eternal consequences (after death nothing). So what? I have only “wasted” some of my life making sure. If I’m wrong it won’t matter. But what if for some reason I am right? Think about the consequences. You will have to answer to your Creator for everything you have done. You will have to give an account of why you rejected God’s salvation, and this insignificant blog comment will be brought to your remembrance. A warning rejected.
The clock is ticking.
Are you ready?

David M. Aguilar

Anonymous said...

David states, ". . . even though I may be able to generate scientific facts that seem to point to Creationism, the THEORY is still not science. To justify my belief that there is one true God that created and maintains the universe (Creationism), I must use BLIND faith.

Theory? Blind faith?

First, the David of the Psalms was a bit wise in his meditations I trust you would agree:

"The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth (something one sees) his handiwork." Nope no blind faith from the David of the Bible in regard to the handiwork of Creation. Should I quote a few more verses that say the same thing?

Biblically faith is not blind.

I will be happy to converse with you more privately if you wish to contest this. I will happily take your comments and simply feed you back statements from the Bible, as well as feed you a few Greek terms, or English N.T. parables which confirm this fact of the necessity of faith based on things seen. It all depends on what you look at and HOW you look at it.

All over the place are things which might reasonably be seen as orderly, arranged, designed, intelligent, communicative, reproductive, involuntarily operative.

(An aside, So you consider a report from the Bible to be justifiably called a "theory?" I am curious: Is this just because you want to be a nice guy, or because you do not really believe in the Bible?

Shame on you.

Christians can't be nice guys. They can and must be kind and gentle but they must first speak the truth, as God speaks it or they do not have it ("God's wisdom is first pure then peaceable" as you must know James says.)

But secondly to return to "blind faith." Philosophically those of us who believe in objective truth take issue with Kierkegard whom you are unwittingly promoting.

"Spiritual" Christians (as opposed to the normal "fleshly" modern Christians) would not accept Kierkegard's views on that "blind leap of faith into the unknown" which you seem either too ready to accept and use or too happily ignorant of.

I am sorry to have to read of a budding philosopher who seems to be ready to speak with a metaphor before seeking to think more deeply upon its meaning Biblically as well as historically and philosophically.

But thirdly, a true Christian practices "observational science," and does appeal to scientists to do likewise rather than practice their pseudo theoretical science which sets up hypothesis in contrast with simple laws of nature and physics.

Substantiating observational science as pro-creation is easy. For instance, everywhere we look around us we see order and therefore deduce naturally that order must have sprung from order rather than chaos. Experience and eyesight tells us that explosians (or big bangs) have never yet ended in orderly bodies, beauty and symmetry all at the same time. Such wise explosians have yet to be seen.

My faith was not blind. I trusted the Gospels. Jesus is the light to give light in the spirit through the words of Scripture. Even a blind person sees this light, and sees its products, hundreds of Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament coming True in the New Testament after 400 documented years of silence (intertestamental period). In THIS day for instance, look at my van, it is a direct answer to prayer. I have had three vans which came simply as answers to prayer which I did not ask anyone about or tell anyone about. Evidence like big vans which come by faith is not blind and provokes you to pray more and trust God more, as it has me and others I have told about this little thing God has done for me among hundreds of others which I could write the night away telling you about.

Jesus is the Light of the world. The most common directive in the Bible is, guess what? Look. Behold, or Lo. Check it up David. Open up your Strong's concordance. The very thing God calls for IS sight, and he uses natural sight to enable spiritual sight. That is the purpose Jesus walked on this earth, literally!

Do you not understand the Gospel, the Good News that God became man that men might SEE their Creator? YES, it is faith, but NO it is never blind faith.

If it is blind faith it will never and cannot save the soul. Look and live my brother live.

Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is none else.

Do a word study in the Bible my friend David! Look up behold, look, eyes and all the critical verses that instruct us to NOT have a blind and false faith!

Faith is the most true sight.

Now, significance? Blind faith is what brings all the things you stand against my brother David. CCM, bogus bibles, feminism in the church (you probably have not really dealt with that one yet but I mention it for your progressive consideration) etc. Evangelicalism of our day is a DIRECT outgrowth of Soren Kierkegard's destructive teachings.

He has said things that I often quote, like "Life must be lived forwards but can only be understood backwards," however the message he gave is existentialism and it is the core axiom which corrupted 20th C. evangelicalism.

Thanks for your friendship to Josiah in days past. I hope you will be careful about the use of neo-confederate term. Soon there will have to be a distinction made between militant neo-confederates and constitutionalists I guess, lol.

Heh, keep thinking, and learning something new every day, especially in the Great Books.

All my life I have seen Christians who seemed really blind, haven't you. I have found it is because they have come to accept the false notion that a blind faith saves!

A blind faith darkens the mind so that it eventualy slips into the subjectivity and does not think truth can ever be truly known.

Yours for Jesus words (who opens blind eyes so they can believe), Roy M.

Anonymous said...

Friends, please allow a few words on vans! lol. In summer of 1984 I served as a teacher/counsellor at Camp Assurance in Illinois. I almost did not go. The potholes of NYC where I was teaching and serving in an inner-city church had destroyed the suspension on my older car.

Since I had only 450 dollars (from the sale of my old AMC car)I was tempted to skip the weeks at summer camp in the midwest. My parents drove me out there and I just trusted the Lord. I stayed breifly with some friends. before camp began and he had a van! Wow a van! If I had a van I could load up my books and clothes and go back south to get a job and attend seminary I thought.

So I prayerd, Lord I want a van. I was tempted in the next six weeks to fear every so often. How would I ever get back to SC? But I would instantly shrug it off and renounce the thought. Then i would reaffirm and simply tell the Lord, Lord, you know I need a vehicle - and if possible I really want a van!

I would leave that in God's hands and just enjoy my campwork, (which was great fun). Two weeks before Camp ended my Dad called me up and by the way said, Heh, a guy by name of Skip Carpenter came to me and said he has a van he wants to give you.

I was dumbfounded (It was my first van you know). I said, what?! He said, yeah he has an extra vehicle and doesn't need it - You can pray about it.

I blurted out, Dad I don't need to pray about it, I already did.

Well the second van we got about 1999 when we needed one despaarately as our little minivan had only one seat for our growing family, and this last one, another conversion van I got last year, as I was needing a serious work truck and my boss had this vehicle for his missionary brother. Shortly after i prayed God would let me have it, he asked me if I wanted it.

I haven;t had a lick of trouble from any of them (mechanically), except for basic minor things.

I must admit my first white Chevy van was a Northern one, rusted out and some panels rewelded on, lol. But heh I was a poor bachelor and it was a genius vehicle for about five years!

Can't miss those vans, big and very visible. They help me, if noone else.

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for the EVIDENCE of things not seen."

One does not believe in the wind by blind faith, he sees the trees swaying by it. He feels it blowing across his skin. He hears its power rustling the leaves.

Likewise, one does not trust in the Holy Spirit by blind faith, he sees the transformed lives, the miracles and answers to prayer the Spirit of God brings, and which the Scriptures discuss greatly to tell us what is happening when we see these things.

Heh, lets exchange answers of prayer, yes?! lol. I love to hear of em. God is alive and loves to delight us with our wants, not just our needs, esp. if we will use them to his greater glory!

Is God jealous? Of course he is. He made it. He should get the glory for it, (and not be lied about) just like any of us want to be recognized for our work.

Hope that clarifies a few things.

Anonymous said...

I'm dumbfounded. You're all quite, quite mad.

Anonymous said...

Well it is march, aint it?

I love March madness, lol.

No, really: Did you know they said that about the Apostle Paul? The Bible reports that the presiding ruler of the day said, I percieve Paul that much learning doth make thee mad!" lol. you should read his stories if you thought these were weird! Wow!

But when one experiences similar things he sees in the Bible and for the same reason as people in the Bible (and there are many like us!) because one does do what Jesus said, (most of the time), and Loves God with all his heart mind sould and strength so as to get to know him in his autobiography, God is pleased and becomes a personal friend!

Jesus said that. Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I say unto you. One can obey the words of Jesus!

Or do you deny that the Apostle Paul is documented in history as having said some things which are clearly authentic? Some of us have searched and tested, (VERY heavily I might add, from both a scholarly as well as a practical basis)the words reputed to be from God (as almost every American president has testified about.)

If you deny the authenticity of those records let me tell you about an incident about two weeks ago. I had recieved a few thousand bucks for having my guy repair a very large flat roof in numerous places.

It rained heavily and it leaked again almost everywhere it was before - maybe seventeen places. Oh the liablity! ughhh! WHAT TO DO?! Flat roofs are nightmares.

This is no joke. I got up there myself with a small window of time days afterward. It was supposed to rain that afternoon and I had to somehow stop those leaks while the roof was still dry from the previous days sunshine when i had gone there breifly to broom off the puddles and help it dry.

Yeah. I prayed and asked for God's help, foolish, mad me. :-O

When I got up there, soon after i started finding where my workman had messed up. As I began to work with great intensity it began to sprinkle. Well at first I just about jumped, How could God let this happen; He hadn't failed me before. But after a few seconds I stopped myself and figured its a test of faith maybe!

I stopped. Looked up to heaven and asked God if I wasnt right about trying to make this landlord happy! Pleas stop the rain. That was all.

But I was fervent! (The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much!) I was actually desparate and called out to God, simply, humbly and reverently!

My friend JC, I went back to work trusting God, and as I did the pitter patter on the roof just stopped, instantly.

I was up there for most of the afternoon, and I worked for the next hour and a half (at least! probably more) after that point. Later the following day found I had resolved all those leaks. It had poured down rain after I was finished, and that night. Not a drop, praise God.

But here is the kicker. While working I had had to stop breifly about a dozen times and simply ask God to stop the rain as it kept trying to start up. Each time it stopped instantly, AFTER I turned back to start working.

I was talking to a personal God (whom I know also as a powerful God since he created as the Bible states, stuff like DNA and other anomalies that science has no clue to explain). I had read of Him in the Bible and reading through the whole Bible. I was not talking to some impersonal or universal force.

Yes this takes faith.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

Real, operative Faith comes from reading the Bible through and asking God to reveal himself. He will! Try it yourself, lol. It really works if you work faith.

IF you are, uhhhh, mmmmm, (please don't be offended), humble enough.

Well, if it had begun raining for just a few minutes, or raining hard there would be no way to get those many many leaks resolved, and the landlords customers would have been irate. . . .

Synchronicity? LOL. Yeah I know all about teachings on "synchronicity," but lets just say that when sychronicity overlaps synchronicity upon even more coincidences, simultaneously, the likelihood that some Mastermind is not behind the amazing event becomes absurdly anti-rational, even for supposedly "evolved" creatures!

Heh, thanks for reading this. The stopping of a rain like that has happened many times in my life - dare i say it? It is true. So are many other answers to prayer, but that would take all day and into tomorrow to try and encourage you with.

Suffice it to say, every time it has rained (since my first bike ride back to Bible college over here on Rutherford Rd. and it was totally dark and God stopped that pitter patter when I prayed, (because God gave me faith) - since i knew I was doing the right thing and needed it to stop, God has always stopped the rain when I needed it.

BTW, as I climbed down the ladder that day from the flat roof I must finish the story, and this is the "God-honest truth" (if you will allow me to sound slightly secular for a moment), a light pitter patter finally took over. And as I pulled onto the highway (in my conversion van which I spoke of earlier), you guessed it, the heavens began pouring down just like it had been threatening to do all afternoon.

But couldn't.

Now, please get out an old-time Bible and look at it again and ask God if He would like you to try and read it, JC and all who have taken such time to read such "mad" things.

But this is March madness month. Do something mad for a change and your life will become changed for the better in ways you never could have believed.

I am so glad my roof repair guy (whom I never trained), failed miserably! But you can believe he and I have lots to work on, yep!

Yours, for Jesus words, and love. Roy, rgmpilgrim.

Abraham and his sons "confessed that he was a stranger and a pilgrim in the earth." Thats Bible. So too others of us in the modern day.

Anonymous said...

Shame he can't do anything about world hunger, etc. I guess stopping the rain on demand must really take it out of him.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I have read the Bible. One of the few things I can say in its defence is that it is not as far out as the Koran.